Thursday, April 24, 2008

Letter Circulating Campus, pt. II

From the pro-Parity crowd, after the jump.

Dear Friends,

As you may remember, in the spring of 2006 a small committee proposed to change the alumni constitution to significantly alter the democratic process of Trustee elections, making it virtually impossible for candidates other than those on an administration hand-picked slate to run. The Dartmouth Undergraduate community including students from Young Democrats, College Republicans, and an array of academic and athletic backgrounds, noticed this deplorable power-grab scheme to silence the voice of the alumni, and ardently opposed this constitutional change through petitions, phone calls, and op-eds in nearly every campus publication. The vote for the Board's constitutional changes was not even close: the move to end democracy was overwhelmingly crushed by the alumni vote.

Unhappy with their failed attempt to democratically end democracy, Chairman of the Board Ed Haldeman and his small committee devised a Board-Packing plan that proposed, "unilaterally, to change the structure of the Board, leaving unchanged the number of elected trustees while doubling the number of unelected trustees - in other words, reducing [alumni] representation on the Board from a state of balance, or parity, to one of a permanent minority."

This proposal to eliminate parity signaled a breech of contract in the agreement established in 1891 between the Board and the Association of Alumni. Thus the alumni, seeking to protect the voice of all alumni, present and future, had no other option but to seek legal remedy for this matter.

The lawsuit has become an extensive affair that need not and should not exist at all!
In a preliminary Court ruling, the Court wrote: "The College, having agreed with the Association such that the Association undertook to raise funds for the College, modified its constitution, lifted an embargo on alumni donations, and forbore to file suit, ought not to reap the benefit of its bargain and then deny that the Association has the capacity to make such an agreement. Such a notion offends the obligation of good faith and fair dealing implicit in any contract."

It is unpardonable that the Board continues to fight a bitter, expensive lawsuit that tarnishes the name of Dartmouth throughout the media when the alumni and undergraduate community have clearly and passionately spoken out AGAINST the Board-Packing scheme, AGAINST crushing parity on the board of Trustees, AGAINST ending democracy at Dartmouth.

Attached is a letter that we will be sending to alumni and the Board that expresses our grave concern of the matter.

We implore you to join us in speaking out against the Board-Packing Plan by adding your name to the letter. Please blitz "Diane Ellis" or "Joe Braunreuther" to be added.


Diane Ellis '08
Joe Braunreuther '08


Anonymous said...

1. 'Parity' is not a proper noun.

2. People can oppose the lawsuit in practice and support parity in principle.

dartfraud said...

2. People can oppose the lawsuit in practice and support parity in principle.

I agree with you, in principle. But Haldeman has kind of made that position untenable by the imperious way he has gone about things. Neither side is acting pretty in this, but let's not forget this whole thing started because Haldeman wanted to assert his will to power.

Anonymous said...

'Parity' is not a proper noun

I think the purpose of the capital p is to denote that the "crowd" supports a specific instance of parity, and not just "parity" generally. Someone has decided that that's the proper name of the cause.

If scare quotes had been used instead, the effect would have been very different.

DartBored said...

Telling people they can be for parity while being against the lawsuit is just campaign spin.

In the last trustee election, if the nominating committee had chosen one candidate who had voted against the constitution (as a majority of voting alumni did), we wouldn't be where we are now.

Anonymous said...

On the whole, I think the pro-parity, pro-democracy kids are doing a much better job.

Then again, shouldn't this be expected?

Anonymous said...

How about a comparison on how the adults are doing?

Anonymous said...

No, the whole thing started because one person decided that he should cause the Association of Alumni Executive Committee to sue the Board of Trustees and found five people on the Committee who would allow him to do his work.

Haldeman has a "will to power"? At least the majority of the duly-elected Board of Trustees voted for the expansion. What about the undisclosed and purposefully concealed connections between the Association's VP and the Hanover Institute? Do you think it is a coincidence that Frank Gado refused to reveal his corporate role in the election, initiated contact with the lawyers, conducted background research in the archives, personally bankrolled the propaganda effort (secretly hiring his own corporation), nominated and voted for himself as Liaison for Legal Affairs, took almost sole charge of the lawsuit, and hid, lied about, and delayed the revelation of his corporation's funding of the suit?

dartbroad said...

DartBored, telling people they can be for parity while being against the lawsuit is not campaign spin.

The very word "parity" is campaign spin. It only refers to the balance within fraction of the Board, intentionally hiding the fact that the alumni accepted a permanent minority on the Board from the very beginning. "Parity" is a meaningless abstract concept, a way of saying "we don't want our minority to get smaller" without admitting that one's in the minority already and by design.

All that distinguishes the "parity" side is their support for the lawsuit, and "pro-parity" is pure campaign spin intended to avoid the negative connotations of words like "plaintiff," "trial lawyer," "lawsuit," and "litigation."

Anonymous said...

TickledPink says:

Anon. wrote:
"2. People can oppose the lawsuit in practice and support parity in principle."

That's very humorous!

The anti-Parity crowd WILL end the lawsuit and give up on our contractual rights.

If you're implying that the Board will reinstate Parity after negotiation, then what exactly is the bargaining chip the Alumni hold, other than their contractual rights? Withholding donations? Stomping our feet? Voting against the candidate selected by the insiders? Hey - that kind of Alumni participation is exactly what the board didn't want - they lost several elections already.

If you're implying that when things settle down, when the insiders control all levers of alumni power, when all rules and bylaws are rewritten and when the alumni lap dog is entirely tamed as a french poodle, that the Board will then reinstate a Parity that they will control - well, that's just a miserable outcome.

I'm not interested in sham-parity or Parity In Name Exclusively (PINE). I want our old time Parity!

Let me ask you this: if you were a 19th century New Yorker and South Carolina seceded merely because Lincoln won lots of elections, would you or would you not force South Carolina to terms one way or another?

If you're the type to let the insiders take away all the marbles once things start going against them, then keep doing what your doing.

Let me put it one last way:

Suppose there were rules.
Suppose there was Parity.
Suppose there was an excruciatingly slow way (one election every year or two) for an outsider to access the board
Suppose these outsiders bit by bit against all odds sustained arguments to elect themselves to that board

Suppose this continued until they somehow influenced or controlled the board.

That's the real fear isn't it?

That the outsiders, the Conservatives, the Libertarians, the gadflies, whoever - will gain control of Dartmouth.

Suppose all that was possible and happened.

Would you commit fraud or break rules simply to stop that electoral triumph?

How far will you go to keep your power?

Will you burn down Dartmouth to rule the ash heap?

DartBored said...

Nicely said, TickledPink. You have it all figured out. (You're not David Spalding, are you?)

Does anyone understand dartbroad? What is "balance within fraction"? Is this just the old nit-pick argument that, when you throw in the president and the governor, the alumni never voted for half?

dartbroad said...

Sorry, " It only refers to the balance within a fraction of the Board." That fraction will soon be 24/26, and the alumni are suing to gain control over half of it. Not half the board, half the fraction. Because that's all alumni bargained for in the "1891 agreement" -- a permanent minority. When you are talking about voting power, you are using a bizarre kind of math if you think that 12 is half of 26.

TickledPink is not Spalding, it's some pro-lawsuit person. Someone who thinks he has some kind of contract with the Board of Trustees. And maybe the Brooklyn Bridge too.

Stray Beaver said...

Dartbroad - Are you saying all minorities are equal?

dartbroad said...

He he he. I'm just saying that if it's "nitpicking" to point out the difference between 24/26 and 26/26, then maybe you won't mind giving me the leftover 1/13 of your money, or maybe 1/13 of the tires on your car -- they don't matter, right?

Anonymous said...

It's true the Ex-Officio officers are not part of the PARITY model, but since the Governors rarely ever show up to vote and since the most important part of the Board's actions are choosing or regulating the President (who would be absent or recused), it remains a practical Parity that we all know and understand.

DartBored said...

Dartbroad - You've lost me. The alumni went from 8/18 to 8/26. The pro-parity people want either 8/18 or 12/26. Am I wrong about this?

Anonymous said...

Out of Proportions says:

Talking about "12 parts of 24" when everyone in the discussion knows this is shorthand for "12 parts of 24 parts of 26" is being practical. Making a big deal over the shorthand is nitpicky.

"DartBroad" must be related to "Scott".

DartBored said...

"DartBroad" must be related to "Scott".

I was thinking the same thing, but the name threw me.

Anonymous said...

ParityRights says:

The anti-Parity crowd is trying to make an argument that there really isn't Parity on the board anyway:

13 Charter
13 Alumni
1 Pres
1 Gov
28 total

13/28 is not half is their point, arguing that the 1/13 of the board that the Pro-Parity people ignore somehow defeats the Pro-Parity arguments.

Let's turn that around!

If 1/13 is such a big deal, then don't tell us that losing 15% of the voting power on the board is a tiny deal: a dilution of our rights by 50%!

We have rights to seats on the board.

We have rights to nominate people to run for those seats.

We have rights to see our majority-elected candidates seated.

We have rights to enforce our rights.

Why are you taking away alumni rights?

Anonymous said...

More Numbers says:

The alumni today are at 8/18. But the trustees' plan is a change from 10/22 (their prior objective) to 8/26, a reduction for alumni in number as well as percent. As the governor is a non-factor, and the President should recuse himself on most votes, the parity ratio matters a great deal.

The important numbers: All trustees make a formal vote to seat all nominees. But who better to determine the nominees--- an appointed group of only five individuals (the governance committee) meeting in secret or 70,000 alumni in open elections choosing across multiple candidates after an open discussion of College-related issues. Both approaches have merit, but neither merits twice the power of the other. Maintain parity!

Anonymous said...

Anyway there is Parity now between outsiders and insiders:

8+1 insiders (charter + president)

8+1 outsiders (alumni + governor)

The fact that the governor is a dolt doesn't change the math:

Parity Parity Parity

The idea that the Percentage for Outsiders never was 50% so any change from the status quo is permissible is rubbish.

Quit taking away my rights!

Can five Charter trustees on the insider committee really con 70,000 alumni into giving up their rights?

creative nickname said...

The only insider-outsider distinction that matters to this corporation is the difference between the board members (owners) and those who are not board members, which is everyone else. Insiders are the only ones who have a right to pick trustees. All of the trustees are insiders. The insiders are now fighting a defensive battle to maintain their independence from outsiders who are trying to exert their influence by using the courts.

Fantasies about parity and democracy are not very effective at transferring rights from one group to another, especially when those rights are inalienable.

Truth Be Told said...

Hey, but Judge Vaughan in his motion to dismiss ruling said that the Trustees "as a matter of law" most certainly could alienate their right to choose trustees to the AoA.

But then I guess that Judge Vaughan was wrong and you, Mr. creative nickname, are right.

Your only flaw is excessive modesty.

Once again, I smell a Meacham under yet another pseudonym!

creative nickname said...

Judge Vaughan did not say the trustees could not alienate their authority as a matter of law. He said it would be improper to hold that, as a matter of law, they could not to so. He still may hold that both sides knew in 1891 how illegal the sale of charter duties would have been, and that is why they only made a nonbinding agreement.

Judge Vaughan has been wrong before, like the last time he ruled against the Hanover Institute. That is what Frank Gado implied anyway, when he said it was hard to win against Dartmouth.

Extremist spin aside, it is the alumni who are trying to manhandle Dartmouth's charter by trying to take the rights of the board, specifically the right to elect trustees.