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Independents Just Keep Winning Elections

This past week has been a remarkable one for Dartmouth. The fourth petition Trustee in a row, Professor Stephen F. Smith, was elected. An unprecedented 55% of alumni voted for him, despite a schoolyard campaign of personal attacks that revealed the intolerant ideological zeal of, among others, biology professor Roger D. Sloboda. (He claimed that Trustee-elect Smith is unfit to serve because of his religious beliefs. Mr. Sloboda then failed to retract his misrepresentation of Mr. Smith’s beliefs after the latter made clear that he supports the theory of evolution.)

All the acidity is, very happily, in the past. Trustee-elect Smith’s positive agenda for Dartmouth was laid bare for all to see, and it was given an exceptionally healthy mandate. This is a boon for the cause of reform and good governance at Dartmouth.

The victories did not end there, though. You may recall the unfortunate story of the Executive Committee of the Dartmouth Association of Alumni. The Association is Dartmouth’s single inclusive alumni organization—all 66,000 alumni are members. The Executive Committee, elected by a small coterie of voters in Hanover, spent most of last year attempting to contrive ratification of a deeply flawed new constitution for the Association.

The constitution would have impaired petition Trustee candidates in the future. That same Executive Committee cancelled the annual elections for that year, unilaterally granting themselves a half-year extension of office so that, when the constitution failed, they would still govern over the Trustee election that has just ended.

In a vote whose results were announced on Saturday, that Executive Committee was replaced by a slate of petition candidates and one officially-nominated candidate. Additionally, one of the vice presidents of the Association is now a petitioner. There is no guarantee these petitioners, who now control seven of eleven executive positions, will agree on everything. But there is almost no chance of abuse of power now that the Association is staffed by a cacophony of differing voices.

Congratulations, then, to the new Association executives: Bill Hutchinson ‘76, Kate Aiken ‘92, *Frank Gado ‘58, Vice President of Alumni Relations David Spalding ‘76, *Marjory Grant Ross ‘81, Cheryl Bascomb ‘82, *Martin R. Boles ‘80, *Timothy A. Dreisbach ‘71, *David S. Gale ‘00, *Alexander X. Mooney ‘93, and *Kathryn Flitner Wallop ‘80. (Petition candidates are starred.)

May they all work to protect and further the process of reform.

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