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A Letter from Bill Carney, Class of 1975

Bill Carney is a member of the Dartmouth Council of Alumni and was asked, like his fellow Councillors, to vote on the proposed new constitution preliminarily—that is, before it goes out to the whole alumni body. (It will go out on September 15.) He first voted in favor of the constitution. When asked to vote again a month later, he reconsidered and changed his vote to no. Bill writes:

Dear Joe:

I see that word has gotten around that the Alumni Council vote on the AGTF constitution is no longer unanimous. (The Alumni Council voted unanimously in favor of the constitution at its May meeting. Subsequently, some minor modifications were made and the Council was asked to vote again in June.) I, for one, changed my mind after the first vote and voted against the constitution. Having switched my vote to Kerry in 2004, I accept the €œflip-flopper € label.

I came to the Council meeting with some reservations about the constitution. Specifically, I felt that the proposed changes still left too much power in the hands of a predominantly appointed Nominating Committee. Despite my concerns, I voted in favor. I figured that the new constitution, although not perfect, was a reasonable compromise and it was time to move on.

Having had two more months to think about the issues and follow the debate and especially the student reaction, I am now opposed to the new constitution. To make a long story short, I think there needs to be much more separation between the trustee election process and the other volunteer activities that the alumni organizations perform. I have been an active volunteer over the years, most significantly as the district enrollment director in Fairfield County, and I have no objection to the various alumni organizations being controlled by their most active workers. Many of us do a lot of work. Much of the work could be considered grunt work and very little of it involves College policy or practices. If leaders of these organizations are appointed with or without the formality of handpicked nominating committees and uncontested elections, so be it. But trustee elections should not be handled by these same methods. Anything short of open nominations and elections gives too much power to the loyal volunteer corps. Moreover, only a small portion of this loyal volunteer corps (i.e., Association of Alumni Executive Committee, Alumni Council Nominating Committee, and the AGTF) is involved in the trustee election process. Most of us, even most Alumni Councilors, are just as much €œoutsiders € as everyone else.

Those who fear giving too much democracy to the alumni do not give the Dartmouth alumni enough credit for being intelligent, reasonable, and concerned for the wellbeing of the College and its students.


Bill Carney €˜75
Darien, CT


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