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The Dartmouth: “Association of Alumni halts imminent elections”

Rebekah Rombom at The Dartmouth reports on the unconstitutional power grab of the Association of Alumni’s Executive Committee and leadership, calling it an important factor in the debate on the Alumni Governance Task Force’s anti-petition constitution proposal:

In the latest twist of the ongoing discussion over the Alumni Governance Task Force’s newly proposed alumni constitution, the executive committee of the Association of Alumni has announced that it will postpone its annual fall meetings as well as the accompanying elections.

According to a statement issued by Merle Adelman ‘80, first vice president of the Association, the meeting and elections have been postponed “because the results of the vote on the proposed constitution will not be available until after Oct. 31, 2006.”

If the constitution passes, the two alumni governing bodies that currently exist would be combined into one, thus changing the format of the elections.

“To have the election and the annual meeting, you might two weeks later discover that body doesn’t exist anymore,” Adelman said. “We really debated this around and around, to say, ‘What makes most sense for the alumni body in general?’ to make it as easy a transition as possible.”

Merle Adelman’s quote is deliberately misleading. Whoever is in power at the time the proposed constitution is ratified will be transposed into a long power arc under that constitution, and furthermore will fill up the very-powerful transition committee, which could exact power over the next trustee election. It isn’t the case at all that the body won’t “exist anymore”. It is a well-crafted and fundamental part of this proposed constitution that exactly who is in power now remains in power once it is ratified.

A few more items from the article:

Some members of the Dartmouth community feel that moving the meeting and postponing the elections was an inappropriate move. David Gale ‘00 said that while he feels the AGTF has improved the newly proposed constitution with each draft, “there are still significant flaws in it.”

On his weblog, Gale likens the Association’s postponement of the elections after having scheduled the constitution’s voting period to overlap with the annual meeting to “a student saying that he can’t take his final exams because he’s scheduled a trip to Hawaii for term’s end €¦ Somehow, I don’t think that would fly.”

Gale, who said his biggest problems with the newly proposed constitution involve changes to the way petition trustee candidates can run for office, does not support the executive committee of the Association’s decision to essentially extend their terms to more than one year.

A new date for the meetings and elections has not been set, causing some to worry that the current leadership will stay in power long enough to influence decisions, such as the awarding of honorary degrees, that they were not supposed to be involved with.

More importantly, they likely would be able to influence a trustee election.


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