Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mirengoff Responds to Trustee Letter

At Power Line, below the fold:

Now, let’s address the trustees’ diversionary attacks on those of us who disagree with them. Are we “well-organized and well-financed?” I hope so, and we have been able to run a few ads, do some mailings (though the college won't give us the full alumni mailing list), and establish a web-site. Not surprisingly, however, we are substantially outgunned by the Dartmouth establishment. For example, the pro-capitulation slate was able to place its glossy ad on the front page of the alumni magazine. Ours was somewhere in the back, as I recall.

Do we have a “political agenda?” I don’t know the politics of most of my fellow parity candidates, though I'm vaguely aware that not all of them share my take on politics. It’s possible that, as a group, some of our views of what’s good for Dartmouth differ from the views of the opposing slate. If so, that wouldn’t mean that we have a “political agenda” and our opponents don’t. In any case, the only “political” issue we can expect to be able to influence if elected is whether Dartmouth alums will retain the right to elect half of the college’s trustees. All of us think they should.

Is the lawsuit costing the college money to defend? Yes, but the trustees can put an end to that by adhering to the 1891 agreement. Indeed, assuming the trustees act with a modicum of good faith, they will try to settle the lawsuit if their slate loses this election. The trial court’s denial of the trustees' motion to dismiss plainly signals that the trustees have a losing hand. Thus, the sensible course (if the trustees' election gambit fails) would be to concede the issue of parity and to negotiate other issues they say concern them, such as expanding the board and reforming the election process. Unfortunately, the trustees have never shown an interest in negotiating. They prefer to dictate.

Finally, we come to the biggest red herring: who is paying for the effort to oppose the trustees’ power grab? As I understand it, funding comes through the Hanover Institute, a 501(c)(3) educational foundation that was founded and is run by Dartmouth College alumni. The Hanover Institute raises money primarily through letters sent to Dartmouth alumni. By an overwhelming majority, most contributions come from thousands of Dartmouth graduates. A few come from non-alumni who wish to lend support because they are offended by board’s power play, favor free and fair trustee elections, and/or agree with the Institute with respect to the primacy of undergraduate education, or similar issues.

Full post, here.


Anonymous said...

Is the lawsuit costing the college money to defend? Yes, but the trustees can put an end to that by adhering to the 1891 agreement.

This is a silly debate. If you already agree with Mirengoff, then he doesn't need to convince you. If you don't, then he's just saying "does it cost too much to fight? Yes, but the trustees can always surrender."

Anonymous said...

The Trustees had a heck of a time paying Webster in the early 19th century. Perhaps they should have put an end to that lawsuit by bowing their heads and adhering to the state legislature's interpretation of the Charter.

Anonymous said...

Do we have a “political agenda?” I don’t know the politics of most of my fellow parity candidates, though I'm vaguely aware that not all of them share my take on politics.

That isn't responsive to the letter. He says nothing about Zywicki's speeches, nothing about the hit piece on Haldeman, and nothing about the bill in the NH Legislature. There are some weak arguments that the non-petition Trustees have made, but knocking down strawmen isn't an adequate response.

True North said...

I do not think this Mirengoff is a credible candidate. Who would want to elect a clueless "blogger" who complains about where his slate's glossy 2-page ad appeared in the alumni magazine?

The Hanover Institute's "Dartmouth Parity" slate is nothing but a political agenda. Placing its members into elected office to carry out the Institute's agenda is the sole purpose of "Dartmouth Parity". The agenda is the lawsuit, not some abstract nitpicking about trustee proportions.

Paul Mirengoff is a complete scumball for implying that the Trustees will not be acting in good faith if they refuse to settle after the Institute wins the election. Complete scumball. After carefully attacking your alma mater by supporting the filing of a meritless lawsuit against it, what better way to top off the insult than by accusing it – the defendant – of lacking good faith as it refuses to capitulate to your assault.

Mirengoff should stop "blogging" about topics he knows nothing about. The effect of a denial of a motion to dismiss is one of those topics. The denial of the Board's motion does not signal a losing hand. It signals that the plaintiff will not lose automatically, and that is all. Another topic is the nature of private corporations in the U.S. The Trustees prefer "to dictate"? What corporation in this country doesn't make decisions without feeling obliged to consult every crackpot whose feelings might be hurt? That is how corporations operate – get used to it.

Mirengoff apologizes for the Hanover Institute ("As I understand it"? Come on...) but naturally refuses to do the honest or transparent thing and acknowledge that the Institute (a) is directing the lawsuit in its own interest, (b) pays for and actually mails out the Executive Committee's propaganda, and (c) composed Mirengoff's very own slate.

anonymous said...

How does Paul Mirengoff know where the Hanover Institute raises its lawsuit money and what its donors think? That kind of private information has not even been disclosed to the beneficiary of those donations, despite the repeated requests of Executives.

Anonymous said...

Mirengoff whines in his first paragraph that the Unity Slate got an ad in the current issue of the DAM on the inside front cover and page one and infers some special treatment. His own slate had the same spot in the previous edition of the DAM and he doesn't seem to remember that. How about it, Mirengoff?

Anonymous said...

And his ad is on pages 16-17 of a 113-page issue. How is that near the back of the magazine?