September 8, 2007


Battle Over Board Structure at Dartmouth Raises Passions of Alumni (TAMAR LEWIN, 9/08/07, NY Times)

Even for an Ivy League institution with a long and storied history, it is remarkable that Dartmouth College has created such a stir with a governing fight: full-page advertisements in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, furious discussion among conservative bloggers and publications, a new Committee to Save Dartmouth College and charges of power grabs by a “radical minority cabal.”

Cabal or not, it is true that since 2004, four conservative or libertarian candidates have been elected to Dartmouth’s board of trustees after petition drives to get on the ballot to challenge candidates backed by the official alumni association.

Now the college administration is reconsidering the entire trustee structure and in the process has set off a battle over whether alumni will be disenfranchised. The advertisement in The Times ran under the headline: “Q: Who won’t get to vote in New Hampshire? A: Dartmouth College Alumni.”

The showdown over how Dartmouth, in Hanover, N.H., will be governed will probably come this weekend at the board’s annual retreat, when a five-member committee including the college president and the chairman of the board but none of the petition trustees presents recommendations for change.

As with many Ivy League disputes, there is a question of tradition. Since 1891, Dartmouth alumni have elected half the board’s members, giving them an unusual degree of alumni power. Then, too, the board is unusually small, with just 18 members: the New Hampshire governor, the college president, eight trustees appointed by the board, and eight chosen by alumni.

Now there is debate about whether all this democracy is such a good thing.

A pluperfect instance of the Left's opposition to tradition and consensual governance.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 8, 2007 7:16 AM

To quote the song, "This could be the start of something big."

Posted by: erp at September 8, 2007 10:28 AM

The administration of Dartmouth is acting exactly like the professor who, 25 or 30 years ago, picked up the stacks of "unauthorized" issues of 'The Dartmouth Review' and began tearing them up on the steps of the student union. Of course, he also shrieked at the student who left them there and generally acted insane. I can't remember if he spat on the student or not.

Imagine if George W. Bush or Antonin Scalia were elected to the board at Harvard. The hive doesn't like diversity.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 8, 2007 10:46 PM

The issues has been resolved but when I clicked over to the
provided by Instapundit, I still have no idea which side won.

Posted by: erp at September 9, 2007 12:29 PM