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The Effects of Good and Bad Governance

Yesterday’s post about the whistleblower letter by the anonymous Friends of Eleazar Wheelock group of Dartmouth employees detailed the placement over the last decade of much of the endowment with investment funds run by Dartmouth Trustees and other alumni cronies. Let’s update the figures showing the disastrous effect of this policy.

During the 1990-2000 period, Dartmouth’s endowment enjoyed the highest growth in the Ivy League:

Ivy Endowment Growth 1990-2000.jpg

In the subsequent eleven years (2000-2011), with much of the endowment in the hands of Trustees and their friends, the endowment had the lowest level of growth in the Ivies.

Ivy Endowment Growth 2000-2011.jpg

What will be the end result of this corrosive insider dealing, and the concomitant atmosphere of spin and dishonesty that pervades the administration? At some point in time, faculty, students, staff and alumni will say that they have had enough of poor governance — and of Dartmouth. However, I fear that none of these groups will act collectively to stop the rot; rather, individual members of the faculty will leave Hanover, the best students won’t come here, the finest staff members will depart, and alumni will reduce their donations to the College. One can argue that this process has been underway for some time now.

Addendum: As we have noted, to make up for the endowment’s poor performance, the Trustees permitted the College’s total debt to explode over the past twelve years, both in absolute terms and in comparison to our Ivy sister schools.


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