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Who Are ‘Dartmouth Alumni for Common Sense’?

A curious new organization has sprung up and is sending around this letter to recruit support. Please read the letter, which is signed by former chairman of the Dartmouth Board of Trustees Susan Dentzer, and then the below analysis from a reader. Note also that the recruitment letter lays out precisely two goals for the new organization: 1) To pass the controversial proposed constitution and 2) To never allow petitioners to win spots on the Board in the future.

The reader writes:

In an incredible display of insider entitlement, the former chairman of Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees, has written a letter advocating that alumni vote in ignorance in all future elections of trustees. Specifically, Susan Dentzer ‘77 has recently co-authored a letter with Dick Page ‘54 encouraging members of alumni groups to vote for nominated trustee candidates and against petition candidates “in 2007 and beyond” without any consideration of who the individuals might be, or what vision they have of Dartmouth.

Further, this letter presumes to politicize Affiliated (ethnic minority) Alumni Organizations, as it was addressed to the leaders of those groups, asking them “to support the Alumni Assembly-designated candidates for Trustee” and “to include the name of your group €¦ in communications we’ll be sending out to Dartmouth alumni in the weeks and months ahead.”

This is very strange, because the drafters of the proposed constitution have claimed that the Nominating Committee will be independent of the Assembly. But Dentzer calls the candidates “Assembly candidates,” implying that critics of the constitution, who have argued that the text of the constitution would result in a less democratic nomination process, are accurate.

Ms. Dentzer writes on the letterhead of “Dartmouth Alumni for Common Sense” though her signature assumes the title “Chair, Dartmouth Trustees for Common Sense”. A bit unbecoming from a former trustee? But perhaps not surprising coming from the individual who led the Board when it directed the College through the Student Life Initiative, acknowledged in hindsight even by the Administration as a disastrous mistake.

So who are “Dartmouth Alumni for Common Sense”? Why are they so incredibly condescending? And why, for heaven’s sake, are they asking all Dartmouth alumni to prejudice future (yet unknown) candidates for the Board?

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