Saturday, September 06, 2008

Haldeman Announces New Charter Trustees

From Ed Haldeman's Open Letter:

Dear Members of the Dartmouth Community,

I am pleased to announce new appointments to the Dartmouth Board of Trustees.

Five distinguished alumni, who have devoted many years of service to the College, were elected to the Board today:

* Jeffrey Immelt '78, chairman and chief executive officer, GE;
* Sherri Oberg '82, Tuck '86, founder, president and chief executive officer, Acusphere, Inc.;
* John Rich '80, chair, Department of Health Management and Policy, director, Center for Academic Public Health Practice, Drexel University;
* Steven Roth '62, Tuck '63, chairman and chief executive officer, Vornado Realty Trust, and
* Diana Taylor '77, managing director, Wolfensohn & Company, LLC.

These individuals bring a breadth of skills and perspectives that will further strengthen the Board's capacity to steward and support Dartmouth's mission

See news release with bios


parroty said...

It irks me that they keep increasing the percentage of alumni on the board without asking permission from anyone -- not Parkhurst, not the Hanover Board of Selectmen, not even the Ivy Group of Presidents. Who knows where it will stop? Does Haldeman intend to try to fill the whole board with alumni?

Anonymous said...

The whole board during the 20th and 21st centuries is always made of alumni who serve as trustees (with the exception of the two ex-officio trustees). So, yes, Haldeman is required to fill the whole board with alumni.

Anonymous said...

No, it's just another crazy Dartmouth tradition.

parroty said...

@2:32: the board is not required to elect alumni. None of the founding trustees was an alum, and a Dartmouth degree is not one of the criteria for trusteeship in the charter. The Gov Report suggested electing some non-alums in the future.

A Suggestion said...

Once again people are confusing the roles of alumni serving as trustees with alumni electing trustees (or more accurately electing trustee nominees.)

Here's a radical proposal. Eliminate the distinction between charter-appointed and alumni-elected trustee classes. Have the Board take the job of nominating trustees back from the Alumni Council, where it has been held on behalf of the Alumni Association. Having the Trustees themselves put forward nominees would insure they are picked with an eye to real requirements. Then have all those put forward by the Board stand for an election "vote of confidence" by alumni. If one is not elected, presumably only in the case of a very serious disconnect of understanding, then the Board could either put forward another candidate or alumni could put forward one by petition. This is essentially the system for choosing board members in other corporations and it has worked well for years.

John said...

Realistically speaking, I'm not sure if there was ever a difference between Charter and Alumni Trustees, until we got the recent petition dudes, who've turned out to be a collection of smoothies and quacks. (In the current brouhaha about Gov. Palin, it's been broached that, insofar as speechwriters have a code of ethics, it's unethical for them to say they wrote speech X for speaker Y. So why has Peter Robinson been claiming for roughly the past generation that he's really the guy, not the Gipper, who made Gorby tear down the wall?)

But also consider this: none of these folks currently elected is an intellectual, by any stretch. Immelt on top of that would probably, if he were to announce his retirement, drive up the price of GE shares by a sawbuck. So why are these good ol' people so interested in serving on the Board of an educational institution?

Anonymous said...

1. Ego
2. The power of networking.
3. Service

The real question is in what priority order.

DartBored said...

John - I'll give you the "quacks", but the "smoothies" have always been in charge.

And forget about "intellectuals". Followers don't need them. All the College wants is money.

Some alumni haven't figured this out yet.

parroty said...

You don't let addicts run the treatment facility or schizophrenics run the mental ward, so why would you want intellectuals, people known for something other than management skill or financial acumen, running an educational institution? It would seem a better idea to appoint people with a talent for running things.

@A suggestion: can you explain why the board would want to go through a charade of a voting process? You could reduce the workload of the nomination committee by half if you cut the alumni voting out of your plan. No one is confusing alumni serving as trustees with alumni trustees. All the elected trustees are elected by the board, and all are alumni. Their nominations come from different sources in proportions that change over the years.

John said...

I think everyone here agrees that if nothing else, the current crop of Trustees represents more of the same. But in the discussion following the Board's recommendation on expansion, one point it made was that, with extra slots, it could consider non-traditional nominees. I think the specific example given was people from the arts. I immediately thought of Dimitri Gerakaris '69, for instance, as an obvious possibility. And OK, if you don't have to get nominated via alumni processes as a Charter Trustee, the Board could have chosen an artsy-craftsy type.

Well, no Dimitri. (He's a classmate of mine; I was acquainted with him slightly in Hanover, but have had no other contact since, and I have no idea if he'd even accept such a position, though if it were offered, I think he should.)

I know Andy Erickson won't like this, but this still goes to the Forbes ranking of Dartmouth as 127, which should be a wake-up call if nothing else. But the Board just elects more of the same, when by its own reckoning, it could have done otherwise.

another crazy dartmouth said...

But that's the essence of a right, isn't it? The freedom to do a thing, if you want to -- but not the requirement that you do it. The plaintiff in the lawsuit was trying to take away the board's right to choose anyone it wanted, possibly but not necessarily including artists. The board fought to retain its right to elect trustees, a right that is perpetual and written in the charter. 150 years from now, the board very well might place an artist in a seat that it wouldn't be able to affect if the plaintiff had had its way. And then it will have lived its rhetorical point about being able to select artists.

not as crazy said...

The defendant in the lawsuit was trying to take away the alumni's right to choose anyone they wanted (for half the non-ex officio seats, following a process they control), possibly but not necessarily including artists.

The Board assigned this right to alumni long ago, as an independent and neutral authority (the court) would have found if it had been allowed to.

another crazy Dartmouth said...

This has been discussed many times here. The defendant was not trying to take away the alumni's right to choose anyone they wanted.

The alumni never had that right because the Board never assigned it to them. Governor Wentworth gave the right to the Board to hold forever and never to sell or give away.

Allegations about an uncertain oral contract made over 100 years ago would not have convinced the court to find that the Board assigned its right. Especially when those allegations directly contradict the written evidence: in 1891 the Board reserved the right to elect trustees and gave alumni permission to nominate them. No court would have found an assignment of rights.

Not As Crazy said...

Crazy: Yes, this is old ground. The board did not give away rights, but it is only your opinion that they did not assign them. The court might have found otherwise. And no where in the charter is such assignment forbidden.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of rights, the Board could have accomplished its expansion goals by saying "we need more trustees, with expertise in the following areas", and have asked alumni to share in the process by nominating half of them. They did not, putting themselves above their fellow alumni. Some alumni are OK with being told their opinions are not as important; others are not.

parroty said...

@1:50: yes, the Board could ask alumni to nominate people meeting certain criteria. And Pittsburgh residents could drive to meetings in Philly via Memphis if they wanted to. It could be done; it would benefit them (the scenery, the barbecue); and the good people of Tennessee want them to fill up their tanks there. You would be putting yourself above your fellow Americans if you took the route that any reasonable driver would regard as superior. What, do you think you own the car and have the right to decide how to use it, and how to spend your time?

No one's opinion is as important as the opinion of the trustees when it comes to running Dartmouth. The Board owns the College and is the only organization that gets to decide how to run it, or how to run itself. Full stop.

parroty said...

@not as crazy: The Board may not alienate its fundamental rights whether you call it "giving away" or "assigning" "selling" or "trading for crack."

Do you think the governor had to prohibit by name every wrongful act the trustees could possibly attempt in order for it to be prohibited?

Hardly anything is forbidden in the charter, and yet the Board is not free to do anything it wants. Does this language leave any room for assigning elections to outside clubs? "[W]e have willed, given, granted, constituted and ordained, and by this our present charter, of our special grace, certain knowledge and mere motion, with the advice aforesaid, do, for us, our heirs and successors forever, will, give, grant, constitute and ordain that there shall be in the said Dartmouth College, from henceforth and forever, a body politic consisting of trustees of said Dartmouth College.... And also that the said such trustee or trustees as shall supply the place of him or them so dying, or becoming incapable to serve the interests of said college."

It's my opinion that the world is round and that Scientologists can't really communicate with aliens. The fact that contrarians exist does not lead to the conclusion that such people hold reasonable beliefs.

parroty said...

@not as crazy: Nor should you need reminding that a lack of a prohibition against assignment is not proof that an assignment actually existed in 1891.

If you were trying to assign your election right to somebody, would you write that the recipient "may nominate" an alum but that you will still handle his "election" to the Board? That's all the written proof you've got to work with, and it backs up the Board's version of events.

Not As said...

@Parroty: "yet the Board is not free to do anything it wants."

Get your story straight!

John said...

Isn't this all moot? The petition dudes screwed themselves by showing that the alumni were arguing with the Board over the right to nominate an additional eight Zywickis, and it didn't go over. Why not drop it?

By the way, is Jeffrey Hart still an Obamaniac? That would be a more interesting topic.

Full Stop said...

The board could elect 24 Zywickis and the alumni would have no say because only the board can make these decisions.

W. Aubin said...

@John: He is indeed. He went on record recently calling Sarah Palin "radically unacceptable". FWIW.

another crazy Dartmouth said...

I wish people would drop the election-right myth, but a small number of conspiracy theorists or Hanover Instituters seem intent on keeping it alive.

Maybe these people are trying to convince us the lawsuit had a chance in order to lay the groundwork for another suit in the future. The Hanover Institute still seems to be raising cash for the suit, even though it was dismissed (a fact you'd never know from the recent updates on its Web site).

John said...

Thanks for the tip. I went to the article, and the whole quote is Jeffrey Hart,a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan and former editor of the National Review, said: “I consider Sarah Palin radically unacceptable.” He then criticised her for supporting the teaching of intelligent design – a form of creationism – in schools, believing the Iraq war was mandated by God and promoting abstinence in sex education.

I believe a good part of the objections he cites, other than the abstinence bit, is urban myth. But I wonder how Hart, who is presumably still a professed Catholic, handles Obama's "above my pay grade" position on where life starts, when the Bishop of San Francisco has "invited" Speaker Pelosi to "discuss" whether she should continue to take communion as a Catholic based on her own position, similar to Obama's.

My own view is that this goes to the narcissism of the Ivy League -- Hart, unfortunately, has at various times declared his affection and so forth to this aggregation of highly overrated institutions. Obama is your typical glib honors student. Palin, on the other hand, seems to have genuine talent -- like the Gipper, a natural -- and also like the Gipper, not your Ivy League slickster. It's also worth pointing out that the Naval Academy was rated in the Forbes Top 10, and since it seems to be turning out its share of Presidents and Presidential candidates -- certanly more than Dartmouth -- this may be an inspired choice.

Unfortunately, I don't think Hart is in his dotage over Obama; this is the logical conclusion of his tendency over some decades.

Anonymous said...

"I believe a good part of the objections he cites, other than the abstinence bit, is urban myth."

Who's the narcissistic Ivy Leaguer?

Palin, speaking on KAKM Anchorage as quoted by the Anchorage Daily News, on the teaching of creationism versus evolution:

"Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both."

Palin, speaking at a church, as quoted by the AP, on the Iraq war and God:

"Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God," she said. "That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God's plan."

John said...

How is "teach both" advocating creationism over evolution? And assuming "day" is metaphorical (and how can it be otherwise if on the first "day" he created light?), then the Bible is saying that creation took place in stages, which isn't much different from evolution.

If you accept American exceptionalism -- as the Gipper certainly did -- I don't see how Palin's remarks on Iraq differ much from recent Presidents. GW Bush's view, for instance, is that freedom is a human right given by God (a view expressed pretty firmly in the Declaration of Independence); to promote democracy elsewhere in the world is doing God's work. Sounds like Palin isn't too far out of line with these views. Reagan himself seems to have held pretty radical views on the Cold War and his, and the US's, role. You can disagree with all this if you're a liberal. My issue is that Jeffrey Hart at one point was a conservative. For instance, he came out in the 1990s and said the easiest explanation for the Shroud of Turin is that it's authentic. In other words, that it's the actual print of JC's face. Not even the RC Church goes this far. More recently, Hart seems to take the RC position on abortion much less seriously. At one time, Hart wouldn't have approved of the idea that it's OK to roll your own on these things.

It seems to me that Hart has in fact been changing his positions, which in turn makes me wonder about TDR as a conservative organ. Where, for instance, does TDR stand in relation to Hart's positions here?

not a churchgoer but... said...

Everything is God's plan, including giving people free will. Palin's comments can only be deemed worthless by cynical atheists. Perhaps Anon 4:11 is one of those.

One cannot support the merits of religion, freedom of religion, related belief systems and the rights of individuals to practice what they believe and then expect adherents to keep their beliefs confined within the walls of their churches. Believing in a God can be factored into account when judging how someone will serve the public; the default should not be automatic disqualification.

Is Anon simply knocking Palin because she believes in a god? Or because she believes in a merciful god, causing her to pray that difficult situations are ultimately his plan. Or does Anon think the entire concept of prayer is wrong... if so, he/she is in a distinct minority in the US and around the world. On his/her basis of judgement, the US founding fathers also were unfit for office... there are many of their quotes to confirm their actions were trusting to "Divine Providence".

Anonymous said...


The founding fathers trusted to Divine Providence because they were not as intelligent and well-educated as we (or some of us) are today.

At least this is what today's intelligensia want us to believe.

John said...

There's more discussion of what Palin meant regarding God's plan and Iraq here.

I agree with 5:26 that Palin's comments, especially as explicated by Taranto and his interlocutor, are pretty middle-of-the-road theologically. If atheists want to get bent out of shape over them, fine, but atheists haven't exactly been carrying elections. Franklin and Jefferson, for that matter, were hardly Bible-thumpers and may not have been nominal Christians.

Anonymous said...

"How is "teach both" advocating creationism over evolution?"

It's not necessarily advocating creationism over evolution. It's advocating creationism at all. Therefore Palin's views of science education are unscientific, and laughably so. No one who advocates the teaching of junk science, nonscience, unscientific hokum, or creationism in the public schools is qualified to be Vice President. (And no, the Founding Fathers never advocated teaching creationism in the public schools. Among other things, they didn't have free state-funded elementary education at all.)

John said...

Oh, boy. Check Drudge and BarryO's Lipstick on a Pig remark, followed by reflections on the smell of dead fish.

TDR, you guys need to get an exclusive from Hart on this one! Is this radically acceptable, or what?

Anonymous said...

Since we can't have parity, let's have trinity.

@ Anon 5:48 said...

"the Founding Fathers never advocated teaching creationism in the public schools. Among other things, they didn't have free state-funded elementary education at all."

More evidence that we know more than they.

Anonymous said...

So who endows us with our unalienable rights... to education, to health care, whatever?

Anonymous said...

Steve Mandel does all the endowing we need to care about.

Daniel F. Linsalata said...

Hart has been advocating for Obama for a long time now. To my knowledge, nobody at TDR is on board with that. Even during my time, he was moving himself incrementally away from the positions the paper advocated. Don't worry, John, TDR is still quite conservative. Hart is...well, less so now.

winston said...

As Winston Churchill said, if you are not a liberal when you are young, you do not have a Hart (and if you are not a conservative when old, you do not have a Head).

Anonymous said...

@anon 9/9, 7:47

We cannot have Trinity; it is already claimed. It is a church in Chicago.

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