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Kangaroo Court, Indeed

In an interview with The Dartmouth, alumni-elected trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70 explained his reasons for declining to participate in future evaluations of trustees up for “re-election,” namely the “kangaroo court” nature of such discussion in the case of former trustee Todd Zywicki ‘88. Dartblog has covered that unreelection here and here.

I put reelection in quotes up above for a couple of reasons:

One, in no sense can reappointment by the Board of Trustees properly be considered an “election” of any sort. Indeed that is what the whole issue of (now-defunct) Parity was all about: the notion that the passage of judgment by the full body of distinguished Dartmouth alumni comprised an election, whereas the sentiments of the existing Board was something less.

Two, it is profoundly ironic that an individual, such as Mr. Zywicki, who served the Dartmouth Board and community with distinction and, importantly, was elected by the ballots of thousands of alumni, could be dismissed because of the whims of a few individuals.

Finally, it is becoming increasingly clear just how the so-called “reelection” discussions proceed, a process so abysmal—at least in Todd Zywicki’s case—that any and all trustees wishing to fulfill their legitimate duties to the College would be justified in boycotting.

The process begins with 21 (currently) or as many as 24 trustees) future walking in to a room, no more than 8 of these men and woman will have been elected by the full body of Dartmouth alumni. These individuals exclude the trustee under consideration from the room, whereupon all manner of charges and falsehoods might be levied against the individual. The trustee under examination is not informed of and cannot contest the statements made against him (incidentally I believe that similar principles were at issue in the 2004 case of Hamdi v Rumsfeld in which the Supreme Court ruled against such absurdity—but, no matter, in this post-Parity world anything goes). Information presented is not checked for accuracy and may not be corrected later if new information later comes to light. And, the kicker, members of the Dartmouth community—students, alumni, professors, etc—can’t know about any of the goings on, save that released in official statements, because of the Board’s confidentiality rules.

A Kangaroo Court, indeed.

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