Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Dartmouth Review's Parity Slate

Apparently being endorsed by us is a bad thing:



Anonymous said...

Yeah I got that letter on Friday. I thought it was remarkably tendentious.

Katherine J. Murray said...

More of the boilerplate rhetoric we have expect from our Dartmouth Undying friends. They certainly make it sound as though the Review owns or somehow controls the parity slate, don't they?

Katherine J. Murray said...

"come to expect", excuse me.

W. Aubin said...

It's remarkable how the Review becomes more and more powerful in its purported back room dealings and sinister parity agenda at the same time it has ceased to be relevant/is a campus joke.

Anonymous said...

In defense of the idiots who like to trash the Review in the comments section, it is not consistent to say that the Review as an institution is powerful in its backroom dealings and sinister parity agenda, while the Review as a newspaper is an irrelevant campus joke.

Anonymous said...

It is the slate that was endorsed by the Review, but it would more accurately be called the Hanover Institute's parity slate.

Anonymous said...

Better yet, the parity slate is the one petitioned by individual alumni!

Anonymous said...

Yes, but that description doesn't explain how the Hanover Institute organized the slate and controls the law suit.

Anonymous said...

The new dogma is parity
And democracy
And that is the dogma
And they will enforce it

-with apologies to T. Zywicki

Anonymous said...

@3:00: You did not explain these items either. Please do so... or shut up with the unsupported commenting.

Anonymous said...

This Dartmouth Undying letter did not clarify, but increased my confusion.

Can anyone please tell me what they were trying to say?

Anonymous said...

Perfectly clear... Dartmouth's affairs should be "managed" by the Dartmouth "family".

Let's give the old Lord in England a call.

Seriously, other than a rejection of the principle of resorting to the courts, what the hell does that sentence really mean?

Anonymous said...

The point the DU letter is trying to make is in the second paragraph. It's fairly simple. It's probably wrong, but it's not complicated.

The rest of it is devoted to trying to make people feel creeped out by Zywicki 'n' friends. Does anyone know where the "long and vicious trench warfare" quote comes from?

Anonymous said...

4:52, I don't think it means anything beyond that.

Lesley Gore said...

Dartmouth Undying is a group supporting the election of a slate whose members include founders of Dartmouth Undying.

They are upset that they must spend $35 per hour, totaling into the millions (that's a lot of hours), in order to attract mercenary student volunteers needed to get themselves elected to non-paying positions that are only "ceremonial" and "vestigial".

It's (been) their party (for years)and they'll cry if they want to. You would be (angry) too if it happened to you.

Anonymous said...

@ 4:44, those are Zywicki's words, with "parity" and "democracy" substituted for "environmentalism" and "feminism". Zywicki's ramblings are the origin of the trench warfare quote too.

We have the Spanish inquisition and you could ask Larry Summers whether or not the Spanish inquisition lives on academic campuses today. So that's why the first point is that we are either all in or we're not. It's going to be a long and vicious trench warfare, I think, if we are serious about taking the academy back.

It's out of context, but the rest of the context is almost as demented-sounding.

The DU letter is trying to say that the pro-lawsuit slate supports and is aligned with Zywicki and Smith and their ilk, the extreme conservatives who are under the sway of a religious "anti-PC" crusade.

The pro-plaintiff's-lawyers side should drop their connections to board insiders such as Zywicki and instead follow the advice of John Sloan Dickey,

[T]he more "political" the process of appointing trustees to a college becomes the more likely is it that the board will either lose its sense of independence in favor of becoming increasingly a representative body or, if and when the board asserts an unpopular independence, it will stir up one political storm after another among the alumni as opposition candidates exploit the issues. It cannot be said that such troubles are necessarily fatal to an institution but there have been quite a few situations where they have seriously and sometimes disastrously impaired the greatness of an institution of higher learning and almost always they sap the energies of all concerned that might better be put to other uses.

Anonymous said...

JSD astutely predicted the problems with the present system, even before they arose in practice. What he did not do was propose, and defend, anything better.

Anonymous said...

No one has done so successfully. The flaws of the other proposals, from alumni, from the trustee governance committee, etc., are worse.

Anonymous said...

Enough, please. The Petition Trustees range from sincere (Rodgers) to venomous. A majority of the Petition AA candidates are characterized, among other things, by their total past non-support of Dartmouth. I have voted for petition candidates in the past, but believe that election of the current anti board-packing (a cute phrase if I ever heard one) AA slate would be tragic for both the AA and for Dartmouth. Had that slate been composed of true Dartmouth supporters their arguments would have carried more weight with me. Let's hope that, in the voting, common sense prevails.

Dan said...

I fully agree with 10:33. I think people are too quick to lump all of the petition candidates together. Rodgers was indeed quite sincere (and unquestionably qualified) in his quest for a board seat in hopes to effect change. Many of most strident supporters of Dartmouth Undying, pro-constitution, etc. will admit that they voted for Rodgers when he ran. The petition trustees have fallen off pretty steeply, both in terms of sincerity and qualifications, since then.

Also agree with 11:24 that the "Hanover Institute Parity Slate" would be a far more accurate appellation. However, nobody knows what the HI is, so it is more convenient, if wantonly misleading, to use the Review as a sort of Boogeyman.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:33 said:"A majority of the Petition AA candidates are characterized, among other things, by their total past non-support of Dartmouth. Had that [petition] slate been composed of true Dartmouth supporters their arguments would have carried more weight with me."

Murphy: Current VP, Class of 1961. Treasurer, SAE fraternity. Past President, Dartmouth Club of Central Florida; helped establish DCCF Scholarship Fund. Current alumni interviewer. Dartmouth Alumni Council, 1982-85. Past President, Dartmouth Rugby Football Club, significant contributor to Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse. Class Project Officer, 1991-96, responsible for life-size bronze sculpture of Robert Frost, a gift to the College from Class of 1961 at the 35th Reunion.

Boles: AoA committee service.

Mirengoff: Daughter Emily is a sophomore at Dartmouth.

Gado: Dartmouth alumni interviewer; DEKE fraternity. Produced 40th Reunion Book; Taught in Dartmouth ILEAD; Contributor to College newspapers. Currently Association 2nd Vice President; designated liaison with counsel in court action against Trustees. Dartmouth parent.

Hafer: Active supporter of the Dartmouth College Fund, Dartmouth Hockey, and the Class of 1999. Dartmouth alumni interviewer.

Mooney: Contributor to the Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse building fund.
AoA committee service.

Roberts: VP and Director, Dartmouth Club of Hartford; alumni interviewer for over 20 years. Currently District Enrollment Director.

Ross: AoA committee service.

Steel: Dartmouth Board of Trustees, 1980-1990. Honorary M.S. Degree. Alpha Delt; Sphinx. Board of Overseers, Dartmouth Aquinas House, 1980 to present.

IT APPEARS THEY HAVE BEEN MIS-CHARACTERIZED. Anon, you should have paid more attention to the "weight of their arguments". Yes, some can trot out the service work of opposing candidates, impressive and admirable. But this is no reason to discredit the thoughtful rationale of the parity slate.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 11:04, they are talking about the petition trustee candidates, not the AA officer candidates lacking support for Dartmouth.

Even the AA candidates can't claim they support Dartmouth today, since their main goal is to continue a meritless lawsuit against its board.

(Murphy's taste in art is reason enough to vote him down...)

Anonymous 6:10, you are right that Dickey did not propose a better system. No one did until 2007 when the entire board decided to expand without adding alumni nominees. That will prevent the board from losing "its sense of independence in favor of becoming increasingly a representative body."

Anonymous said...


The mischaracterization was specific to AA candidates, not just trustee candidates.

The main goal is not a lawsuit. That was a mechanism of last resort to the goal of alumni parity.

The 2007 proposal is not for a "better" system. If it were, there would not be all the controversy.

11:11 said...

@ 12:51

Even if the characterization was specific to AA candidates, its only error was in speaking of the pre-2007 past. The petition slate's support for the lawsuit is proof that they lack support for Dartmouth. Some of them are venomously, underhandedly, disloyally anti-Dartmouth, as shown by their support for or specific unwillingness to disapprove of the anti-Dartmouth bill in the legislature.

The main goal of the pro-lawsuit slate is the continuation of the lawsuit. Only the trustees are capable of having or not having a goal of "parity." Alumni can have opinions on this and other topics over which they have no control, but they cannot honestly have "parity" as a realistic goal.

The 2007 expansion will create a better system, and evidence for this appears in the board's report. Even if the board is not made more effective (and how can we tell until they try it anyway?) that problem is the board's and not yours. Your predictable disagreement about the board's direction is just a matter of opinion, and an uninformed one at that. If you gained legal rights just by forming opinions, you'd be a richer man. Plenty of people disagree with the board but they have the decency and good sense not to file meritless lawsuits against it, and especially the good sense not to listen to one self-interested nonlawyer pretend to instruct them on their rights.

Anonymous said...

Also remarkably tendentious.

Anonymous said...

Oops, I didn't realize this was about "decency and good sense". Is it too late too change my vote?

Robert Mugabe '46 said...

Some people are contriving ways and means of making us collapse.

Stay with us, please remain in this country and constitute a nation based on national unity.

V.Quisling '33 said...

Wait a minute Mugabe. I started the Unity party and then became President, happy to be a pawn for the uber-authorities.

Truth Be Told said...

"meritless lawsuits"???

Someone forgot to tell Judge Vaughan!!!

See his motion to dismiss ruling.

Robert Mugabe '46 said...

Vid - With a week to go, there is still plenty of time to pull victory from the jaws of defeat. And the June 10 meeting can always be delayed.

Anonymous said...

Judge Vaughan has not yet ruled on the merits of the case. He only ruled on the motion, finding that the petition did not fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. That says nothing about the plaintiff's inability to prove any of its claims at trial, which will, unfortunately, have to wait until the trial to be known publicly.

Right now only the plaintiff really knows that it is bluffing. See the scheduling order of April 1 from which it looks like the plaintiff has omitted its earlier demand for a jury trial as well as both of its jury-requiring claims at law. It looks like all the plaintiff is hanging onto is its softest claim, the one for promissory estoppel.

Vid was Executed said...

@Scott 10:53: A ruling not to dismiss the case means the judge felt there were merits worthy of his future consideration. Not failing to state a claim means a successful presentation of merits for consideration by the court.

One guesses the dropping of a request for a jury trail is not an indication of weakness but of strength. It shows a trust that the judge will rule properly on those merits, rather than risk the whims of a random jury who might be swayed by irrational emotion... as already demonstrated on these threads.

Anonymous said...

get a life.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The AoA election is nearly over. The owners of Dartmouth will have spoken. The employees are free to go elsewhere if they're not happy.

Anonymous said...

@Scott 8:01: the owners of Dartmouth are the Trustees, no?

@vid 11:19: A ruling not to dismiss the case does NOT mean "the judge felt there were merits worthy of his future consideration."

It means the petition adequately stated a claim IF all the facts alleged were considered to be true. The plaintiff will have trouble proving any of the necessary facts, because its case is without merit.

If the plaintiff is so confident about its case, why did it make three arguments in the alternative? If there really were a contract, it would only have to make one argument. If the plaintiff is so confident about its case, why did it demand a jury trial at the outset and drop it later? A more logical explanation than yours would be that the plaintiff has written off its legal claims.

Sam 0 said...

Soon the DU pawns can get out of sports-talk-show-caller mode, i.e., predicting the result of the lawsuit, and sit back and wait to see what really will happen.

On the other hand, who am I in trying to predict the result of the election?

Anonymous said...

Online voting was heavy yesterday and today, as the procrastinators weigh in.

Sam 0... What did you predict?

Sam 0 said...

A Murphy sweep - about 55/45 - as ususal.

I suppose those who "favor" parity, but consider it "indecent" to vote for it, will call this a tie or maybe even a 80/20 victory because of those who didn't vote.

Truth Be Told said...

In 1992, Bill Clinton was elected with 43% of the popular vote, and less than 50% of eligible voters cast a ballot. So the President received the support of only slightly more than 20% of eligible American voters AND NOBODY COMPLAINED.

Yet the whiners still are upset that Stephen Smith split the vote - and he got the votes of 55% of the people who cast ballots.

Murphy will win this election with a clear majority of voters. Can the losers please promise in advance to spare us any whining about how most alums did not vote for Murphy.

DU Pawn said...

It's a bit early to predict the whining from the anti-lawsuit side, isn't it? Few elections are ever about what opinion the majority of eligible voters hold -- they are all about the majority of those who actually cast a ballot.

I predict that the blizzard of tendentious and misleading pro-petitioner propaganda will have its intended effect regarding the five most important officers. Then the lawsuit will be withdrawn by majority vote.

@truth be told: the logical ones among the whiners are not saying Smith "split the vote," they are saying the system is susceptible to "bullet voting."

Sam 0 said...

What fun we will all have over the next year if Murphy wins but DU gets a 6-5 majority! Everyone can switch sides in their outrage. Then, Murphy will get to nominate the official slate of officers for the 2009 election and DU will serve up the petition slate.

Anonymous said...

If anyone is still paying attention to the AA, that is. Once the lawsuit is over in 6 months, the AA will go back to being a vestigial organization. The only purpose of a petition slate would be punishment.

Anonymous said...

@DU Pawn:

"Few elections are ever about what opinion the majority of eligible voters hold -- they are all about the majority of those who actually cast a ballot."

Obviously you are a newbie to Dartmouth governance. Your statement indicates you are not a DU pawn, as it contradicts what some of them have been saying regarding past election results. Git wit da program.

Anonymous said...

This blog has an interesting summary of the insider-outsider fight:

The blogger comments that the Dartmouth Undying tag line is:

"The Choice Ends Here".

Actually, if the insider "Dartmouth Undying" agenda is successful, I think every alum agrees that the more accurate statement is:

"Choice Ends Here"


Anonymous said...

I don't understand the statement (sometimes made) that Rodgers was great but the other petition trustees are a decline in quality. Rodgers is unique, granted. But compare Robinson, Smith, and Zywicki to other recent alumni trustees like Jeton, Chu, Fernandez, and Bucklin--not to mention those who ran against the three petition candidates. Or charter trustees like Francis or Mulley. What makes them so supposedly qualified? On one hand is the author of numerous books and senior government service (Robinson), a Supreme Court clerk-now law professor (Smith), and a major scholar who has served in a senior government position, consultant to Congress, and who has lectured all over the world (Zywicki). On the other hand you have--what? What has Jeton, Chu, Francis, Fernandez, Mulley, done? And the rest are a bunch of rubber-stamp rich guys who have made a bunch of money, but surely that doesn't qualify someone for the board unless Dartmouth wants to just start auctioning seats on eBay.

To get a sense of the nastiness and intellectual bankruptcy of the other trustees, just read their letter that they blasted out to the alumni. Are those the people who you think are fit to run a College? They can't even construct a sensible argument--it is just a string of insults, personal attacks, and innuendo.

Or read John Donahoe's appalling and offensive email: His comments are at least as inflammatory and offensive as anything Rodgers or Zywicki ever said, and unlike some loose language in a 15 minute extemporaneous talk, Donahoe's venom was premeditated. He even goes so far to attack current students for deigning to request an opportunity to question trustees about the future of Dartmouth. I can't imagine that the petition trustees would ever exhibit such arrogance and try to intimidate students.

The real question is how Robinson, et al., compare to the other trustees and those that they beat when they were elected. On that basis they compare pretty well.

So let's keep a bit of perspective here--Rodgers dominates every other member of the board, alumni, charter, or petition. He cannot be the standard, otherwise every trustee would have to be adjudged unfit for the board. Otherwise, the petition trustees are at least as qualified as the other guys, and unlike the other guys, they don't just put their manhood in a closet and rubber-stamp everything that comes their way.

It Ends Tomorrow said...

More from the well-funded coffers of the Undying, a mailing received today including letters from three faculty members. (What is their "agenda" in so writing?)

Earth to Prof. Saccio. Time for a reality check.

You state the 11 member executive committee voted for the lawsuit by a thin majority of one, 6-5. The vote was 6-3 with one abstention and one absent. You state in the same paragraph "they" also tried to involve the state of NH. False. Only one of the 11 supported that bill. You state they will not reveal the source of their funds. They have provided more disclosure on finances than Undying on theirs. You state they claim Dartmouth no longer cares about teaching and the welfare of undergraduates. They have said no such thing.

Earth to Prof. Hart. Time for a reality check.

You suggest getting on the ballot by a small number of petitions (500) does "not resemble democracy". Being nominated by 5 people is more democratic? Forget the nomination, what about the open elections themselves? Not democratic, especially now that they no longer limit voters to those in Hanover? You applaud limiting voter choices to only two candidates, both nominated by the same committee. This is democracy? You state concerns over class size and availability have no basis in fact. Then why has the College of late been promoting the numbers on how these are improving?

Earth to Prof. Ackerman. Time for a reality check.

You claim the petition candidates want to "turn back the clock" at Dartmouth, and cite the Valley News as proof. How about some tangible evidence beyond the out-of-context words of the Zywicki speech?

Sam 0 said...

"I don't understand the statement (sometimes made) that Rodgers was great but the other petition trustees are a decline in quality."

Save your energy. Nobody really thinks this. It's just a DU campaign tactic.

Layered Agendas said...

Clearly the Undying have an agenda to stop their opponents from achieving some alleged hidden agenda which the UnDying cannot describe well. What agenda for the College does Undying have in conflict with their opponents agenda? Why does one versus the other create so much fear that they cannot be discussed openly?

Anonymous said...

This comments section has turned into such a train wreck.

I don't know if this is undergrads procrastinating during exam season/senior week, or if it's alumni with nothing better to do.

I'm anxious to see the results of the election. Does anyone know when they'll be made public?

Tendentious said...

Time for a New Thread

Alum w/ nothing better to do said...

Results will be announced at the AoA meeting on June 10 at 1pm. The word will get out fast.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we should put a lot of store in the words of the blogger who has determined that DU thinks we're "stupid":

I've received probably fifteen pieces of mail about the Dartmouth alumni association election committee [sic]. This committee conducts the elections [sic] for Trustee positions [sic] for Dartmouth College.

3:42p said...

Thanks, alum with nothing better to do.

boot quisling said...

@2:59: the glaringly obvious decline in quality of Trustees is not based on the decline in qualifications alone (you fail to realize that wealth, in the form of philanthropy, is a qualification) but on the decline in honesty, loyalty, and dedication to Dartmouth. Your vague perception of "intellectual bankruptcy" regarding the trustees you happen to dislike pales in comparison to the acts of the last couple of especially low-quality trustees, the ones who disloyally spew vituperation – exceedingly idiotic and anti-intellectual vituperation – before the Pope Center or publicly accuse their own board of "a pure act of thuggery" in a court filing supporting those attempting to strip the board – their board – of some of its authority. Danahoe's email is free of venom and is neither appalling nor offensive to any rational person, and, what's more important, it was not directed against the board to which he has promised his loyalty. The idea that trustees take on legal obligations seems to be one that you cannot fathom.

Anonymous said...

Reading between the lines, it appears anon 4:26 is trying to say with sarcasm that we should not put any store in "blogger" because of those words. Yet the belief that the association election [sic- executive] committee exists solely to run alumni trustee elections is exactly what the Undying, the alumni council, and even the association's own president are trying to foist on alums.

anon. 4:26 said...

@4:47 -- my siccing seems to have been lost on you. The Association conducts the elections for alumni trustee nominees, not for trustee positions. The parity slate is trying to convince alumni otherwise, but repetition does not make it true.

anon. said...

@ Anon. 3:12: what do you think the agenda of a faculty member writing against the petition slate would possibly be? To see the official slate elected and the lawsuit stopped, perhaps?

The majority of the EC specifically declined to disapprove of the bill. Frank Gado in particular spoke of the bill in overgenerously evenhanded terms.

The majority still has not revealed all of their funding sources and took months, often obfuscating, to reveal the ones they have disclosed. Majority members continue to claim that the Hanover Institute is not controlling the use of the funds.

The petitioners and their supporters have too claimed that Dartmouth is abandoning teaching to become a university and that undergraduate dissatisfaction is high.

In disputing Hart, you imply that you believe that democracy is an appropriate yardstick for the process of nomination and election of trustees of a private college, even though only Dartmouth alumni are allowed to "vote." Why?

Whimpering "out of context" is no response to a quote from the Zywicki speech. Adding "context" would just compound the impression that he wants to turn back the clock, while taking up more column-inches. Maybe his words must be carved in stone before you accept that he believes them, deeply, and has spoken them at other gatherings where he was lucky enough not to be recorded.

Anonymous said...

@anon 4:26: "The Association conducts the elections for alumni trustee nominees, not for trustee positions."

All nitpicking and siccing aside, since you are technically correct, why don't the trustees just reject the alumni's choice if the winner is a petition candidate? That's what they want and it would save the College all the money they are now spending on the lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

"why don't the trustees just reject the alumni's choice if the winner is a petition candidate?"

Because they don't have to in order to retain their rights. The board's rights are guaranteed by charter, not by act of theater.

The lawsuit is not about petition trustees, anyway. It is about alumni trustees.

Sam 0 said...

Let's not let reality get in the way of Scott's view of the world.

Uninformed alumnus said...

"Because they don't have to in order to retain their rights."

What good is retaining their rights if they are not getting what they want?

scotty jr. said...

"The lawsuit is not about petition trustees, anyway. It is about alumni trustees."

I guess that depends on what you mean by "about".

oprah said...

"What good is retaining their rights if they are not getting what they want?"

Any right you don't use should be deemed lost, eh? Hell of a way to run a country.

Anonymous said...

This discussion went off-track. The question was, if the Board does not like a nominee elected by alumni, why do they simply not vote to seat the person. (ignoring whether they have an obligation to do so.)

Yes, they do not need to take such an action in order to defend their charter rights. Their reason for doing so should be that they truly believe the person is unqualified and not merely disagreeable. But being that blunt with alumni ("your candidate sucks") is something even they fear doing, as it would open to question the relative qualifications of their own choices (see anon 2:59 above) and set off an outcry above even the present one. Their more subtle way to skin the cat is to pre-emptively eliminate the alumni having such a choice in the first place.

The motivation for the governance review was primarily because the establishment majority of the Board was unhappy with the new trustees being elected by alumni. Some candor would be refreshing.

scotty jr. said...

As long as I can tell everyone it's my ball, I don't care if I lose the game.

oprah said...

"if the Board does not like a nominee elected by alumni, why do they simply not vote to seat the person"?

They could do that if they wanted, but why would they bother when they don't have to? I don't see the advantage of a cumbersome, time-consuming, inefficient system that would require the board to keep rejecting alumni nominees until the alumni send up someone similar but probably inferior (in the board's eyes) to the individual CPA or physician the board wants at the moment. The sham of telling alumni to pick any color as long as it's black wouldn't create enough alumni loyalty or donations to outweigh the costs of this system.

The petition trustees will only be on the board for a few more years. Those 4 individuals were not the target of the governance review, which altered the board in a permanent way. Nor were their seats the target of the review, since all 8 alumni trustee seats will remain. What the board did was decline to create more alumni trustee seats. Although it did not need to justify its action, it was being candid when it said this would allow the board to pick the future trustees and would avoid creating any more dispiriting elections than already occur.

DartBored said...

@Oprah: "The sham of telling alumni to pick any color as long as it's black wouldn't create enough alumni loyalty or donations to outweigh the costs of this system."

Not true. This is how it worked successfully for most of the 20th century. Now it no longer works. So the Trustees came up with a new method. Judging from alumni sentiment, it doesn't look like their new method will "create enough alumni loyalty or donations". But maybe the Trustees don't care about these that much anymore. Or maybe it will be back to the drawing board for everyone. We'll soon see.

oprah said...

@DartBored: if you think the system worked in the past, then you would think it still works. The alumni still nominate for the 8 seats, and the board may still reject any of them. No problem, no new method.

For the new seats, the board articulated a new reason to use the old method of board nominations: changing times. Competitive pressures, modernization, and reform require greater discernment than before in the selection of new trustees. That is why the board says it wants to do the nominating.

If the board, under these new circumstances, kept rejecting alumni nominees until the right one came up as outlined by 8:21, it would find the process far more cumbersome than conducting its own nominations. That extra burden would not be outweighed by any added loyalty or goodwill that might result from letting alumni feel as if they are sort of involved (I think that goodwill would be minimal because alumni would see that they were just being asked to throw something at a wall until it stuck). That is probably one reason the board believes internal nominations superior.

Anonymous said...

As long as everyone's just tossing idle thoughts onto the pile, I'll say this.

Maybe the Board should have just made up some procedure to boot Zywicki instead of altering its composition... then the debate would have been about what an asshat Zywicki is and not about all of this other stuff.

Anonymous said...

And Z. Moore's still an insufferable idiot.

DartBored said...

@Oprah: The system worked in the past in that alumni didn't mind that the elections were ceremonial shams. They voted for the candidates picked by a nominating committee which was picked by the alumni relations office. Alumni loyalty and donations didn't suffer.

Then times did change, as you say. Petition candidates started to win and the Board decided it needed to change the rules. Of course, they gave a whole bunch of reasons for making the change. That's pretty standard practice.

I agree that the Board wouldn't want to get in the position of rejecting alumni nominees. They decided it was better to take the hit all at once and risk a lawsuit.

Now we are where we are.

Anonymous said...

@anon 11:07

Undergraduate Zak Moore is creative and sets a good example of the intellectually-bright Dartmouth student. Read this. Even if one disagrees with his position, only an insufferable idiot would call him an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Zak Moore must be the one to blame for that horrible, horrible, horrible Phrygian poetry that appeared in the D last year.

@Dartbored: The elections were just as much ceremonial shams (meaning the board didn't reject people enough to make it a real selection process, which is what it now says it wants) at the time of the election of the four petitioners. What makes you think the system broke with Rodgers? Do you think the board made a mistake in not rejecting him?

When you say the board decided to change "the rules," which rules are you talking about? The board has asked the AA to change the rules of AA balloting for alumni nominees, but the board has not changed its own rules regarding the 8 alumni trustee nominations.

I agree that the board decided to risk a lawsuit. Beating down gadfly lawsuits has unfortunately become a cost of doing business these days. The board knew that whatever the risk of having to pay to defend a suit, the risk of losing was extremely low.

Anonymous said...

What a nice way to ask.

"Pending the adoption and implementation by the Alumni Council and the Association of Alumni of procedures incorporating these precepts and satisfactory to the Board, the College on behalf of the Board shall administer the nomination [alumni election] process."

Anonymous said...

@anon 11:44.

You say at the times of the elections of the four petition trustees, the votes of thousands of alumni did not constitute a real selection but were merely a part of a ceremonial sham.

No wonder you do not value these elections.

The same can be said about American elections... all a sham. Let's not bother with them in the future. Let's simply appoint Gore over Bush and Hillary over Obama. You over whomever you feel your inferior.

Oprah said...

@ Anon 12:01: so you object to the tone of the board's statement. It is not pampering, but it is not impolite.

@ Anon 12:21: no, Dartbored is the one saying the alumni nominations were a ceremonial sham before Rodgers.

DartBored said...

@anon11:44: "The elections were just as much ceremonial shams (meaning the board didn't reject people enough to make it a real selection process, which is what it now says it wants)...." No, meaning there was no real choice among carefully vetted candidates and the alumni didn't care that there was no real choice for 80 or so years. By the way, could this be the counter to the estoppel argument?

"What makes you think the system broke with Rodgers?"
The system didn't break as much as the alumni stopped going along with the ceremony.

"Do you think the board made a mistake in not rejecting him?" Of course not, but they had no idea what was ahead at the time.

anon. 11:44 said...


We are talking about different elections. It sounds like you think the voting among alumni to decide which Council-vetted candidate would be the alumni nominee was a sham. The ceremony that alumni stopped going along with was the one created by the Council and the Association, so I'm not sure it's related to the lawsuit.

This discussion had focused on the board's election of nominees and the possibility that the board could be forced (or implored) to start rejecting nominees as a substitute means of solving the problems cited as justification for the 2007 expansion. I think the board would not adopt that method voluntarily because it is inefficient, and it certainly could not be forced to adopt it.

I'm not sure I understand what estoppel argument you are referring to.

Anonymous said...


"Not impolite", to ask while pointing a gun to one's head?

DartBored said...

@anon 11:44: You're right. I'm not concerned with the issue of the possibility of the board rejecting alumni-chosen candidates.

I was saying that the board used to get 16 people they wanted - 8 charter and 8 chosen by "ceremonial sham". T.J. Rodgers changed this arrangement and suddenly there were four people on the board who didn't fit with the set-up. So the board decided to get its 16 seats back by adding 8 and conceding that the alumni will pick the other 8. The alumni doesn't like this arrangement. The lawsuit is the result.

oprah said...


What gun? No one is forcing anyone to do anything. The board lacks the authority to order the AA around, and the AA does not have to comply with the board's statement. It could submit 73 nominees chosen on the basis of hair color if it wanted. All the board can do -- and this is the _only_ consequence that could possibly result from board disapproval -- is to reject the AA nominees and instead elect the one put forth by the college-run vote.

anon. 11:44 said...

@ DartBored: I don't think the board used to get 16 people they wanted, I think they got 8 they wanted and 8 they could live with. That was fine in the 1960s, but the changing times have raised the stakes. It is now (and has been since the 1980s, I guess) impractical to have even a few trustees who are no more precisely chosen than ones the board "can live with."

I agree that the misfitting of the petitioners has thrown the lack of board control over selection into high relief, but even the "sham" system only guaranteed compatibility and collegiality -- it never responded to a board need for a CPA or physician or this particular donor or whatever at this particular moment by supplying that person to the board. The board has this ability for some or most seats and is not willing (and is not required to be willing) to concede it for more than 8 seats.

I agree that the alumni do not like this unwillingness and that the lawsuit is the result in the short term. Once the suit is over, the board expands to 26, and the sky does not fall, I expect very few alumni to see the change in ratio as a big deal.

Anon 3:53 said...


You are correct. "The board lacks the authority to order the AA around."

So why are they trying to do exactly that?

Anonymous said...


Why do you use CPAs and physicians as examples of specific needs? Your argument would be credible if you could list the specific needs that were filled by the last 8 charter appointments, and what 2-3 needs are unfulfilled today, besides having yet another smart networked financier.

oprah said...


Is it really an "order" if it is given by one who has no authority over the one being "ordered" and is not even phrased as an order? Is Burger King "ordering" you to enter the drive-thru when it says "come to our drive-thru"?

The board said the college will handle balloting for nominations until the AA enacts procedures the board has stated are necessary. That is not an order, it is an offer. The AA is free to decline. I don't see what advantage you gain by thinking of the board as "trying" but failing to order the AA around.

Anonymous said...

Oprah is right about "order". It's "threaten".

9:51 said...


I used CPAs and physicians as examples of specific needs because they popped into my head. I have no idea what kind of person the board wants now, or what it will want 6 months from now.

One of the board's explanations for the expansion [that it needs to retain the permanent ability to nominate trustees to the new seats] has nothing to do with the particular talents of the current charter trustees.

I don't know why you are treating this discussion as an "argument." The board can reasonably amend its bylaws without offering any explanation to the public, but it chose to release its report anyway. The decision would be no less valid if you disagreed with all of the reasons, or if no one thought they were very good at all.

Anonymous said...

The Board is empowered by the College charter, but apparently has never bothered to formalize operating by-laws. They just make it up as they go.

Anonymous said...

The board formalizes its bylaws as resolutions. They just voted (9/07) to move those resolutions into proper bylaws.

Anonymous said...

How can people claim the trustee/governance debate is counter-productive?

Donations are up.
The capital campaign is setting records.
Applications are up.
Student satisfaction is high.
The Board has finally formalized concern for academics and student life and alumni relations.
The Board has decided to adopt By-Laws.
Alumni, no matter from which "side", are engaged in record numbers.
Faculty are said to be content.

Anonymous said...

Simple. They don't like petition trustees.

Anonymous said...

If one event follows another, it must have been caused by it.

Imagine how much donations would be up if the lawsuit and the "1891 Society" donation embargo had not happened!

Warren Soros said...

Not one penny. For all 1,000 donors of $100 each who stopped giving, there were 2 DU donors who threw in an additional $50,000 apiece.

This is exactly the calculation made by the Board when it assessed the risks of pursuing their board-packing plan.

Read the D. "Money Talks". Big money talks louder.

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