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Thoughts on the Association of Alumni Lawsuit

Amidst a great deal of evident confusion, I just wanted to post a few remarks on the Association of Alumni lawsuit against the 16-member Board of Trustees (4 of whom agree with the A of A).

1. The cause for the lawsuit: if there was no Board-packing plan there would be no lawsuit. The lawsuit is a measure to stop the loss of Parity and the packing of the Board of Trustees with unelected, hand-picked candidates. In my mind, when something very important is being taken away for arbitrary or ulterior motives, sometimes you need to sue or fight to take it back. In the Dartmouth College Case of 1819 Trustees sued to stop the NH legislature from taking away their right, in the American Revolution 13 states sued for their right of independence, and in World War II, America and other countries fought for freedom from tyranny and for human rights, to cite just a few examples that come to mind.

2. The cost of the lawsuit: the figure being thrown around most often is 2 million dollars. This is certainly a hefty sum but I would just like to point that the hair in Baker Library last spring and summer cost the College at least that much, and that did not even serve a purpose.

3. The end of the lawsuit: preserving democracy at Dartmouth. The main argument for adding Unelected trustees to the Board and diluting the right of alumni to vote is that elections for trustees are divisive. To use yet another analogy, are presidential elections divisive? Maybe, but what is the alternative? If Republicans (or Democrats) tried to pass a law that all future presidents would be appointed (presumably by and of the same party that passed the law, wouldn’t we be right to reject that attempt? Wouldn’t the people be justified in suing for their right to vote?

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