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The New York Sun Reveals Crass Efforts at Passing the Constitution

In today’s editions of The New York Sun, Eliana Johnson looks at the unprecedented tactics being used by the group of folks intent on passing the proposed new constitution and securing their own positions of power, sealing Dartmouth alumni governance—and indeed Dartmouth itself—from independent voices.

The Sun also exposes the bifurcated mission of the principal pro-constitution group: To pass the constitution and then to defeat all future petition candidates for trustee, no matter who they are or for what they stand.

A selection:

Dartmouth’s administration says it is impartial about the new constitution. “The college does not have a position on whether it should be passed,” the director of communications for alumni relations, Diana Lawrence, said.

Opponents say the college has violated its pledge of neutrality. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a nonprofit organization that explores issues of academic freedom, said in a statement that Dartmouth’s president, James Wright, “voted — in his capacity as a Dartmouth trustee — to recommend that alumni vote yes on the proposed constitution” and that Dartmouth officials used college computer servers to send e-mails exhorting alumni to support the constitution.

“These aggressive and expensive campaign tactics are the kind of thing I would expect from an embattled corporate board of directors facing a hostile takeover attempt,” a 1965 Dartmouth graduate who has received e-mails and phone calls from the public relations companies, Dale Beihoffer, said. “The Dartmouth administration and current alumni officers seem to be deeply afraid of an open and honest debate and fair election procedures, throwing everything they can into persuading alumni to vote €˜Yes,’” Mr. Beihoffer said.


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