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The Dartmouth Editorial Board on the A.o.A ExCom

From today’s issue:

The surprise, then, comes from the way in which the Association went about approving these measures. As our article on Monday reported, the meeting did not follow any defined rules of procedure and its leaders were unresponsive to repeated requests into why this was the case. As a result, the meeting provided little room for dissenting voices to fully express themselves. Instead of being passed in an open and egalitarian manner, the changes to the constitution were rammed through the Association in a manner that can only be characterized as undemocratic.

This is behavior that should not be tolerated among current Dartmouth students. That is why it is shocking when our graduates act contrary to the values they fervently work to pass on to future classes.

It is important to talk about where to go from here. The Executive Committee has taken a leap down the path of ramming through the Alumni Governance Task Force’s proposed constitution. Yet the Committee’s members have paid extensive lip service to the idea of all-media voting, while, when it comes to action, has only supported it where it can be made to suit their unique goals. As David Gale points out, the next Executive Committee election should be open to all alumni, but as of now they will not be, because the current Committee is refusing to address the issue outside of the context of the proposed constitution. In the extended, please read David’s post, where he outlines what the Executive Committee can and should do if it wants to show any respect at all to Dartmouth’s alumni.

David Gale ‘00 writes:

In the thread, “Looking Ahead: The October 2006 Executive Committee Elections”, Bill [Hutchinson ‘76, Executive Committee member] indicated that he and the executive committee feel that “that the 2006 elections [should] be on an alumni-wide, “all-media” basis.” I’ve asked this question before (I hate sounding like a broken record), but I haven’t gotten a clear answer—if the only way the Executive Committee is going to enact all-alumni voting for officers is through the AGTF proposal, how can the 2006 elections be all-alumni?

Even if section XII of the proposal is re-written so that the constitution takes effect immediately, and assuming the proposal is accepted, there won’t be sufficient time between adoption of the proposal (in mid-summer) and the elections (currently scheduled for October’s annual meeting) to get the systems necessary in place, appropriate time for petition candidates to collect signatures, ballots to be sent out, etc.

Personally, I’d also question whether there’ll be enough time for examination, comments, and criticism of the new proposal, since the version currently on the AGTF website is not (according to Bill) the version we’ll be voting on. It’s a complex document; it’ll take us a while to digest the changes. (Or, put a different way: if a month is not enough time to examine a one-line amendment, how can three months be sufficient to examine a whole constitution?)

As I see it, the options are: a) the executive committee changes the guidelines now to allow for all-alumni voting for officers, relieving all time pressures; b) the executive committee attempts to force through the AGTF proposal extremely quickly; c) the executive committee doesn’t hold elections this year; or d) the executive committee postpones this year’s annual meeting to some later date. The first option is my preference, and one I’ve advocated for loudly; the second is controversial, and may well not work or get rid of the time constraints; the third is in direct violation of the current constitution (IV.1); the fourth is in violation of the current second guideline, and if the EC were to vote to change this, rather than the first guideline, many, many people would be upset—it’d be a public relations disaster.

Frankly, I’m not sure why the executive committee is committed to ignoring the first option in favor of the second—they’re not mutually exclusive. Let’s change the guidelines now, and take our time changing the constitution, so we can ensure the changes are the best ones possible.

The only response came from Merle Adelman ‘80, Vice President of the Alumni Association, who wrote, “your comments are well-taken and very valuable to the process. We are in the process of reviewing the different options that you outlined.”

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