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Yet Another Student Letter In Opposition to the Board-Packing Plan

In opposition to the Board-packing plan endorsed by the organization called “Dartmouth Undying,” two seniors, Diane Ellis and Joe Braunreuther, are circulating the below letter. They are asking for signatures to the “Dartmouth for Democracy” one-pager, so students interested in signing should shoot an e-mail to either Diane or Joe.

Dear Friends,

As you may remember, in the spring of 2006 a small committee proposed to change the alumni constitution to significantly alter the democratic process of Trustee elections, making it virtually impossible for candidates other than those on an administration hand-picked slate to run. The Dartmouth Undergraduate community including students from Young Democrats, College Republicans, and an array of academic and athletic backgrounds, noticed this deplorable power-grab scheme to silence the voice of the alumni, and ardently opposed this constitutional change through petitions, phone calls, and op-eds in nearly every campus publication. The vote for the Board’s constitutional changes was not even close: the move to end democracy was overwhelmingly crushed by the alumni vote.

Unhappy with their failed attempt to democratically end democracy, Chairman of the Board Ed Haldeman and his small committee devised a Board-Packing plan that proposed, “unilaterally, to change the structure of the Board, leaving unchanged the number of elected trustees while doubling the number of unelected trustees - in other words, reducing [alumni] representation on the Board from a state of balance, or parity, to one of a permanent minority.”

This proposal to eliminate parity signaled a breech of contract in the agreement established in 1891 between the Board and the Association of Alumni. Thus the alumni, seeking to protect the voice of all alumni, present and future, had no other option but to seek legal remedy for this matter.

The lawsuit has become an extensive affair that need not and should not exist at all!
In a preliminary Court ruling, the Court wrote: “The College, having agreed with the Association such that the Association undertook to raise funds for the College, modified its constitution, lifted an embargo on alumni donations, and forbore to file suit, ought not to reap the benefit of its bargain and then deny that the Association has the capacity to make such an agreement. Such a notion offends the obligation of good faith and fair dealing implicit in any contract.”

It is unpardonable that the Board continues to fight a bitter, expensive lawsuit that tarnishes the name of Dartmouth throughout the media when the alumni and undergraduate community have clearly and passionately spoken out AGAINST the Board-Packing scheme, AGAINST crushing parity on the board of Trustees, AGAINST ending democracy at Dartmouth.

Attached is a letter that we will be sending to alumni and the Board that expresses our grave concern of the matter.

We implore you to join us in speaking out against the Board-Packing Plan by adding your name to the letter. Please blitz “Diane Ellis” or “Joe Braunreuther” to be added.

Sincerely,

Diane Ellis ‘08
Joe Braunreuther ‘08

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