Friday, December 4, 2009

Dartmouth Trustee Nomination Follow-Up

I wanted to add some follow-up thoughts to this afternoon's post about the Dartmouth Trustee Candidate Nominations.

First, I neglected to thank both Tom Daniels '82, who chaired the Nominating Committee, and Janine Avner '80, Alumni Council President. Though I disagree wholeheartedly with their nominating strategy and their belief that the Alumni Council should now actively work to elect the Committee's nominees over any petition candidates who emerge, both have gone out of their way to welcome my input, and to give me a chance to share those opinions with my fellow Councilors. From past Councilors, I understand that this is a marked improvement from the way dissenting voices were welcomed over the past several years. It shows we can disagree, sometimes passionately, about the issue facings us at Dartmouth, and still respect each other. Of course, I think that reinforces my view of the world, but I would, wouldn't I.

Scott comments on the prior post that since petition candidates can and likely will step forward, it's unfair to claim that the Nominating Committee set up an uncontested election. But in the Nominating Committee's mind, there shouldn't be a contest. We should confirm its choices. And any candidates who get their name on the ballot should be defeated. I find this an obvious overreach of their responsibility.

Further, the Nominating Committee strengthens the presumption that Dartmouth Alumni are forever split into two camps, insiders and outsiders, and that each camp distrusts the other's motivations and judgement. Having watched the governance battles of the past five years, I believe that the division they seek the quell stems at least as much from Alumni Council defensiveness as from disaffected alumni. Building those divisions into the nominating process is a bad idea.

I'm not going to belabor the process argument much further. Alumni interested in serving on the Board of Trustees now have the opportunity to seek petitions to be put on the ballot, and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to find out and share their vision of Dartmouth, along with Mr. Kondracke's and Mr. Replogle.

I'll have full report from the Alumni Council Weekend for the Class of '94 and anyone else interested tomorrow or Sunday. President Kim's speech tonight was phenominal. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to watch the Mort Report and buy some Burt's Bees lip balm.

Go Big Green!

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