Dartmouth Constitution Battle:

Many of you saw the story in the New York Times a few weeks back regarding the proposed Dartmouth alumni constitution (and mentioned by Orin here). The Times story was triggered by a letter objecting to the cancellation of this year's elections for the alumni executive committee and the general debate over the wisdom of the constitution. Those interested in the folow-up to the Times story may want to read some of the recent commentary offered by Joe Malchow, particularly regarding the controversial decision to cancel the annual elections of the alumni executive committee. After doing some research it turns out that "annual" means, well, "annual" after all, not "every 18 months or whenever we decide to set it."

Malchow also notes the early ramping up of the pro-constitution propaganda machine through the use by proponents of college-affiliated listserves and mailings. Peter Robinson, TJ Rodgers, and I have previously criticized the use of ham-handed procedural and other tactics to try to ram through this constitution. More of this can be expected over the summer.

Malchow's commentary and sources on these issues has been collected on a special page on his web site Dartblog. For those seeking to understand what is going on here, Malchow's analysis is very insightful and he is keeping track of all of the ongoing developments.

And if you click over to Dartblog, you should also check out some of the other links there, including the thoughtful recent joint op-ed by the Presidents of the New Hampshire College Democrats and the Dartmouth College Republicans opposing the proposed constitution, which comes on the heels of a similar joint op-ed last month by the editors of the liberal Dartmouth Free Press and the Dartmouth Review as well as this online petition signed by almost 5% of the rank-and-file student body this spring.

I'll have more to say about all this later this summer, but for now I wanted to provide an update on recent developments for those who saw the Times story. The shame of it all is that until recently everyone generally seemed to agree that 100-year old constitution basically worked fine. Moreover, there will be a handful of short amendments that will be on the ballot this fall to update the constitution in light of modern technology.

Also, to ensure that there is no misunderstanding, I want to stress that anything I say about this matter is solely in my capacity as an alumnus of the College, not as a trustee or on behalf of any other trustees.