Our friend Joe Malchow, who somehow manages to find the time, on top of all his other activities, to keep Power Line humming along, has written a memorandum on the fiduciary duty of college trustees, its history, and the oddities of its performance at Dartmouth. Joe’s co-author is Harvey Silvergate, the distinguished civil liberties lawyer. Silverglate is a man of the left, but he shares common ground with conservatives who favor free speech on campus and robust alumni participation in college governance.
The Sliverglate-Malchow memorandum on college goverance and the fiduciary duty of trustess recounts the entire “Dartmouth saga” in chronological order, from the election of the first petition trustee through each attempt by the Dartmouth’s power structure to impair the petition process. Then, the authors describe how the fiduciary duty has been performed at Dartmouth and elsewhere, and how its incorrect interpretation can lead to disastrous ends. They argue that the Dartmouth petition “safety valve” has been an exemplary implementation of proper oversight.
It’s a pity that Dartmouth sees this “safety valve” as an affront, and is thus engaged in a systematic effort effectively to eliminate it. But then if college administrators and the forces behind them didn’t behave this way, the need for the safety valve would not be as great. .
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