“If we don’t elect them, your vote will never matter again”

Voting continues in the election for leadership positions in Dartmouth’s Association of Alumni. The election presents a choice between two slates. One (the parity slate which I’m on) favors maintaining Dartmouth’s longstanding practice of having alumni elect half of the college’s trustees. The other slate favors capitulating to Dartmouth’s decision to terminate this practice.

This message sent to members of the Class of 1985 by Mark Byrne ‘85 T’86 and Patrick Byrne ‘85 (as noted here by Scott) makes the case for the parity slate as well as I’ve seen it made. They wrote:

We know you are being bombarded with email and snail mail, and regret
adding to that pile. However, we felt compelled to write to you, to urge you to vote in the Association of Alumni election, and to tell you why we are voting for the Parity Slate (http://www.dartmouthparity.com/vote/).

The College-sponsored slate has the full tools of the College propaganda machine; the Parity team do[es] not, and must rely on partial, obsolete mailing lists. That kind of undemocratic approach is key to why we feel continued Alumni – elected involvement at the 50% level is
vital to the future of the College.

The first tool of the propagandist is the ad hominem attack. They don’t really try to defend the indefensible, namely the implementation of the Board-packing plan by stealth. Instead, they label their opponents, especially the four petition trustees, as extremists, bent on taking
over Dartmouth.

We are not extremists, and we have never met the petition Trustees or any of the Petition slate. We are two brothers, who love Dartmouth and have consistently supported the College for many years. Frankly, we expect that there would be important disagreements between us if we did meet the petition Trustees. But these things are clear:

1) Because a few trustees got elected by petition, who had differing views to those of the leadership, the college tried to change governance by referendum, to make it harder for petition trustees to get elected. They lost that referendum.

2) President Wright wrote to us shortly thereafter, promising an end to the matter.

3) The matter was not, in fact, dropped, and a five man governance committee managed to plan and narrowly pass a resolution to turn Dartmouth’s Trustee’s Board into a self-electing elite, permanently. The courts will decide whether this was a breach of contract. However
we don’t need a court to tell us it was a heavy-handed and undemocratic thing to do.

4) The extremists are the ones who breached a hundred year old deal because a handful of trustees had views they didn’t like.

We urge you to vote for the Parity Slate. If we don’t elect them, your vote will never matter again.

Via the Dartblog.


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