Good news and bad news from Dartmouth

There’s good news and bad news from Dartmouth today. First, the good news. Our friend Joe Asch has announced that he is gathering signatures in order to run for an Alumni Trustee seat on the Board. Joe follows Dartmouth like I follow Everton, except that he has the benefit of proximity (he lives in Hanover) and an interested readership (he is now the main writer for Dartblog). In the coming weeks, I’ll have much more to say about Joe’s campaign.
For now, I urge alums to visit his campaign website, JoeForDartmouth. There, you will be able download his peitition and, if you are so inclined, sign and return it so he can make his run.
The bad news is that a New Hampshire judge has granted summary judgment in favor of the Dartmouth Trustees in a suit brought by several alums seeking to enforce the 1891 Agreement between the College and the Association of Alumni. The 1891 Agreement provided that alumni would elect half of the Board. I have no word on whether the plaintiffs will appeal.
This decision is bad news for two reasons. First, it means that the ability of alumni to influence the direction of the college will be slight. This, in turn, perpetuates the power of those who have presided over the decline of Dartmouth. That, of course, is why this small group abrogated the Agreement in the first place.
Fortunately,Dartmouth has a new president. It is possible that he will attempt to reverse Dartmouth’s decline, a possibility that did not exist as long as his predecessor was in office. But he will need allies on the Board, which is why electing Joe Asch is so important.
Second, the absence of “parity” on the Board means that those alums who vehemently support parity (such as me) will continue to feel alienated from Dartmouth. This highly alienated group does not represent anything like a majority, but there are, I believe, a substantial number of us.
A unified, engaged alumni has been one of Dartmouth’s greatest strengths. It has been squandered by the high-handed acts of a few power-hungry Trustees and a handful of lesser lights on the Association of Alumni who wish to curry their favor. No matter how well the new president performs, Dartmouth will be weaker as a result of the Trustee power-grab.


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