In 2004 Cypress Semiconductor chief executive officer T.J. Rodgers waged a successful insurgent campaign — the first in 24 years — for election to the Dartmouth board against three candidates selected by the alumni council nominating committee. Rodgers leans libertarian and shuns characterization on the left-right divide; he says he was motivated to run by “the degradation of freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly . . . at [Dartmouth] today.”
Rodgers’s election to the Dartmouth board has been followed by the election of petition trustees Peter Robinson, Todd Zywicki, and Stephen Smith as well as the resounding rejection of the proposed new alumni constitution that would have changed election procedures. The powers-that-be at Dartmouth are not pleased with the outcome of these elections and apparently mean to do something about it the old-fashioned way.
In today’s Wall Street Journal, Joseph Rago interviews Rodgers regarding his experience on the board. Rodgers anticipates an unhappy outcome to the governance committee review of election procedures that will be presented to the board next month:
[A]fter losing four consecutive democratic contests, the Dartmouth administration has evidently decided to do away with democracy altogether. “Now I’m working on the existence question,” Mr. Rodgers notes mordantly.
Though he cannot say for sure–“I’ll be kept in the dark until a couple of days before the meeting on what they’re planning on doing”–a five-member subcommittee, which conducts its business in secret and includes the chair and the president, has embarked on a “governance review” that will consolidate power. “It looks like they’re just going to abandon, or make ineffectual, the ability of alumni to elect half the trustees at Dartmouth,” Mr. Rodgers says.
Rago’s interview with Rodgers is “Mr. Rodgers goes to Dartmouth.” I took a look at unfolding events at Dartmouth at a more optimistic stage in the Standard column “Bucking the deans at Dartmouth.”
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