Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Trustee Letter Upsets Alums

Alumni have been contacting The Dartmouth Review en masse about the trustee letter sent out to them last night. Here's a sample response, representative of most of the feedback we've been getting, below the fold.



WOW! Alumni, except those who are Trustees chosen by the administration, are all a bunch of idiots who can't think for themselves. They might be under the sevengali-like spell of "organizations" with "AGENDAS!" When the administration and its lackey Trustees stop acting like Stalinists trying to shove their cramped, narrow, ideas about the college down everybody's throats, perhaps law suits wouldn't be necessary. But they sure were in Daniel Webster's day, and appear to be equally necessary today. And by the way, the lawsuit was started before Wright said he might leave in a year, so your cause and effect for confusion is 180 degrees off-kilter. Talk about agendas! You apparently don't like your fellow elected Trustees, so you are trying to marginalize them with the Boogey-Men of the Dartmouth Review and Hanover Institute, the Review's fundraising arm. Don't you people believe in academic freedom, the right to disagree successfully, the right to suggest alternatives? Apparently not.

John Gridley '64.

PS. And f--- you too, Brad.


UPDATE: Just a quick note: the Hanover Institute is actually not the Review's fundraising arm. In the note above, I think it may be unclear whether Mr. Gridley himself is asserting that the Hanover Institute is the Review's "fundraising arm," or if that is the impression Dartmouth Undying is giving to alums such as Mr. Gridley. In either case, the assertion is wrong. Thanks. -Emily

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Parity for apoplectic old men... lovely. Didn't the trustees also shove their cramped, narrow, Stalinist idea of coeducation down the collective throat of the alumni?

F***ing gridiot said...

"Cramped, narrow ideas"? John Gridiot is talking about himself, of course. The petition Trustees, all of whom have disgraced Dartmouth and their offices by acting with utter disloyalty and unprofessionalism, are not being "marginalized" by the Board. They are marginalizing themselves.

This has nothing to do with "academic freedom." It is about corporate governance. Governance of a corporation by its duly-elected board. This is a basic concept, and yet Gridiot goes on about "agendas" and "Stalinists" ... as if Coke or Princeton or Delta Airlines or any other corporation were free to act without consulting him, but Dartmouth isn't. With alumni this ignorant, it is no wonder the Board sought to reduce alumni influence.

Anonymous said...

Where's the good old Dartlog "sic"? Is that reserved for people who disagree with you?

I count 5 places where it would work... arguably seven. Perhaps the Dartmouth writing program isn't such a failure after all.

Complete scumball said...

It's beginning to look like the Trustees should take away the eight spots the alumni get to vote on now.

I wish Wright and the Trustees would just come out and say that alumni aren't qualified. Then, at least I would feel that I'm not being lied to.

Anonymous said...

@ Scumball:

The Trustees said as plain as day alumni nominees can't be expected to be the same candidates the Board wants. That's not to say all alumni are unqualified as a rule, but that wouldn't make much sense given that the Board is almost completely dominated by alumni.

Complete scumball said...

@ anon 1:07:

You agree with what I said. The trustees should make all the spots Charter. They just shouldn't make believe otherwise.

Wrinkles said...

One again, a supporter of the lawsuit offers a procession of fifty different incoherent principles, half of which contradict one another, the other half having nothing to do with the matter at hand. This argument could be condensed to the following:

"Bleaaargh! Stalin is bad! The ADMINISTRATION is like Stalin! So it's bad! I disagree! Only I'm allowed to disagree! If you disagree with me, I'll sue you for not allowing me to disagree! Democracy! Freedom! America!"

OK.

anonymous 1:07 said...

@ Scumball:

I don't agree that all the seats should be charter seats, but my thoughts on the matter are irrelevant. As is your reaction to the tone of the Board's public relations. It doesn't matter that you think the majority of the Board actually believes that alumni (they are alumni themselves) are inherently unqualified to be trustees.

Anonymous said...

Wrinkles, you have to give this guy credit for picking Stalin instead of Hitler, Tienanmen Square, Hugo Chavez, or any of the other brutal regimes actually cited by the cheerleaders for the lawsuit.

Complete scumball said...

@ 1:07: Wouldn't it be great, if everyone agreed with us that their opinions regarding college governance matters are irrelevant? And that the college could admit this without taking another PR hit?

anonymous 1:07 said...

@ Scumball: necessarily irrelevant regarding Board decisions, but not all college-related matters. Alumni opinion matters to the AC/AoA, and I believe the alum. relations and presidential search committees of the Board when they say they are seeking opinions.

Complete scumball said...

Of course, alumni are always encouraged to plan their reunions and write newsletters and the like - all of which is unrelated to governance.

Anonymous said...

Todd the Reprimanded Trustee is the first person in history to be deluded enough to refer to the majority of Dartmouth's board as "non-petition Dartmouth Trustees," in his latest squirt at the Volokh Conspiracy.

Todd used to come across as shrewd, but that was just a fa├žade for his cluelessness. He seems to think the Trustees' letter was meant to defend the merits of the expansion and criticizes it for failing to meet his expectations, for example. Why? The letter is about the election and its effect on the lawsuit. The merits have not been challenged by the lawsuit and do not need a defense.

It is just like the Board majority said, the four petition trustees are trying to use the court to make an end-run around a majority vote that they lost, fair and square.

------------
Todd Zywicki
April 29, 2008

Dartmouth Trustee's "Gang of 12" Defend Board-Packing Plan:

Voting began yesterday in the Dartmouth election for the Executive Committee of the Association of Alumni. As I noted last week the issue in the election is straightforward--it is a referendum on the Board-packing plan adopted last fall by the trustees. If you oppose the board-packing plan and want to preserve the traditional parity between elected and appointed trustees then you should vote for the Dartmouth Parity slate and if you support the board-packing plan then you should vote for the Dartmouth Undying slate.

Into the fray yesterday came the "Gang of 12" non-petition Dartmouth Trustees. The letter is published on Board of Trustees letterhead and is posted on the College's website--even though it purports to be from only 12 trustees and is not an official board action. It is not clear whether the letter is being printed, mailed, and emailed using Dartmouth resources or whether any College employees assisted in its production, but this appears to be the case.

Reaction to the letter has been swift and skeptical. Doug Anderson's short critique is simply devastating. Doug (Class of '89) writes, for example, "Fourth, the letter is breathtaking in its Orwellian constructions, like 'Four of our trustee colleagues filed an amicus brief against the College to try to achieve through the courts what they could not achieve in the boardroom through normal Board processes.' I guess no one could possibly think that these board members were trying to achieve through dilution of alumni elected trustees a result that they could achieve through alumni elections." Read the whole thing.

Paul Mirengoff, who is a candidate for the Second Vice-President position, comments here.

As Paul and Doug note, very little in the Gang of 12's letter actually defends the merits of the board-packing plan itself. So it seems to be largely an effort to distract alumni from the central issue of the election--which is the board-packing plan. If the disruption and cost of the lawsuit is a concern, then this problem is easily solved by the majority of the Board simply settling the suit and rescinding the board-packing plan in light of the court's rejection of the motion to dismiss.

Anonymous said...

Attention Parity Supporters: It's not too early to begin planning your Post-AoA Election Victory Parties on June 6th. With a nod to Lincoln's "malice toward none, with charity for all" ethos, remember to invite a few supporters of the losing side as well. And pretend to be interested when they attempt to explain how a clear majority of Dartmouth's 70,000 alumni "just don't get it".

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and then get ready to lose the lawsuit. Because popular opinion doesn't hold any sway over the decisions of a nonprofit. If you want to give The People power over the decisions of their corporations, move to frickin' Venezuela.

Anonymous said...

The success of the Parity slate in the AoA elections will enable the lawsuit to run its course, which will, undoubtedly, be successful as well. It will then be the continued election of petition Trustees by Dartmouth's loyal alumni who exercise power over the decisions of Dartmouth. As for Venezuela, I don't even buy gas at Citgo (owned by the State of Venezuela and America-hater Hugo Chavez), but I do believe I saw Anon 6:44 PM waiting to buy gas there just the other day.

Stray Beaver said...

"And pretend to be interested when they attempt to explain how a clear majority of Dartmouth's 70,000 alumni "just don't get it"."

You know, after reading what we are all saying, I'm beginning to think that the 45,000 or so alumni who don't vote are on to something.

Anonymous said...

Relax, Beav. You know what they say about Democracy and Sausage-making, don't you?

Stray Beaver said...

Thanks for the reassurance. I'll jump back in. But your mentioning democracy has opened us up to another lecture from you-know-who. I'm signing off.

Anonymous said...

The half-billionaires et al on the Board of Directors are trying to undercut and undermine the five victories of the reform/Parity group of alumni by claiming that they only got pluralities, and if they got majorities, then they did so with low turnout.

What a joke.

Alumni participation has skyrocketed.

More alumni than ever take an interest in the school.

If recent Alumni Trustees have no mandate, then certainly the bogus Alumni trustees elected without much participation and without any opposition and only token alternatives have no credibility and no claim even to a mandate.

The 8 charter trustees were chosen by themselves, both figuratively (the board selects charter trustees) and literally (the billionaire Charter trustees have written big checks).

It's ok to donate to charity and name something after yourself, but I don't think liberal politics or million dollar donations or crony friendliness are the sole qualifications for being an excellent Dartmouth College trustee.

Long live diversity of opinion!

Anonymous said...

Straw man set up:

The half-billionaires et al on the Board of Directors are trying to undercut and undermine the five victories of the reform/Parity group of alumni by claiming that they only got pluralities, and if they got majorities, then they did so with low turnout.

And knocked down:

What a joke.

Where are they claiming that?

Anonymous said...

beav, where are you?