Archived post

This is an archived post. Please click here to see the latest entries.

« New Hampshire Insider | Home | A Further Note on the Constitution »

Stings Like Justice

This bright morning, the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal weighs in on efforts at Dartmouth to ensure that petition trustees, such as those three most recently elected, can no longer to elected to the Board. Read the editorial here.

An excerpt:

Since 1891, Dartmouth has been among the handful of colleges and universities that allows alumni to elect leaders directly. At present, eight of the 18 members of the governing Board of Trustees are chosen by the popular vote of some 66,500 graduates, from a slate nominated by a small, mostly unelected committee. (The remaining seats, reserved for major donors, are filled by appointment.)

In practice, the Trustees have been largely ornamental overseers, rubber-stamping the management decisions of the “progressive” college administration and faculty. The passivity of the Trustees owes, in part, to the fact that many official alumni representatives operate as a de facto wing of the establishment, pushing candidates who won’t make trouble.

In 2004 and 2005, however, Dartmouth alumni were finally offered genuine choices. Over three successive Trustee contests, independent candidates bypassed the official channels and got onto the ballot by collecting alumni signatures. Each of the petition candidates — T.J. Rodgers, a Silicon Valley CEO; Peter Robinson, a former Reagan speechwriter and current Hoover Institution fellow; and Todd Zywicki, a law professor — ran on explicit platforms emphasizing academic standards, free speech and Dartmouth’s acute leadership crisis. All three were unexpectedly elected by wide margins despite intense institutional opposition. Not only did the trend give expression to the general alumni discontent over how Dartmouth is being run (a rare thing in academia), but a critical mass was also building for more muscular stewardship, and, with it, fundamental change.

Dartmouth’s inner circles, quite naturally, loathe all of this. And so the Alumni Council — the representative body of sorts for the whole — decided there was nothing to be done but change the rules. At issue is a new proposed constitution, cooked up in 2004 and constantly altered in response to events, that would “reform” the incorporation of the Trustees.

When people try to do nasty things, they get called on it. It is comforting to know that the world tends to work that way.


Featured posts

  • August 14, 2013
    Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
    History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
  • June 25, 2013
    Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
    Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
  • October 18, 2009
    When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
    We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
  • October 9, 2009
    D Afraid of a Little Competish
    So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
  • September 4, 2009
    How Regents Should Reign
    As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
  • August 29, 2009
    Election Reform Study Committee
    If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…

Dartblog Specials

Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address:

Help, Pecuniarily

Please note

This website reflects the personal opinions of its authors. Any e-mails received may be published along with the full name of the sender. If you wish otherwise, please say so.

All content appearing at should be presumed copyright 2004-2018 its respective bylined author unless otherwise noted or unless linked to original source.




March 2018
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31