Alumni: I have some things add to Andrew’s blitz on the Dartmouth Alumni for Open Governance. The purpose of the organization is quite simple. It aims to reinvolve Dartmouth alumni in charting the course of the College. In the past, as described in detail on the DAOG website, such an arrangement was the norm, much to the benefit of all concerned. By involving the College’s graduates in its governance to a degree largely unknown in other such institutions, Dartmouth managed to build a base of alumni support that remains, even in its much degraded condition, the envy of the nation’s colleges and universities.

In recent years, however, the College has gradually reduced the role of the alumni, and centered what power remains in a small, cooperative group of alumni “leaders” that is increasingly self-pertetuating, if not directly chosen by the College administration itself. As the involvement of the wider body of alumni in the governance of the College has diminished, so too has their support for it. Nor is it an accident that this decline in alumni authority has coincided with a de facto cessation of consultation with the alumni over the future of Dartmouth, even as radical reforms have been contemplated and initiated.

Whether they believe, as I do, that administration and Board of Trustees’ path towards a research university model is a terrible error, and whether they agree with me that the attempt to eliminate Greek organizations in favor of an ill-defined new “student life” structure is an improper and foolish attempt at social engineering, any alumni of the College should be deeply disturbed that these decisions have effectively been removed from our hands. The alumni are the conscience of the College, as well as its financial backers. Faculty and administrators come and go, and are inevitably succeptible to the latest fads in higher education. The alumni are always there, and have an institutional memory that is invaluable and irreplicable. To exclude us from the governance of the College is to lose a large part of what has allowed a small school in the backwoods of New Hampshire to compete effectively with massive institutions in Boston or New York.

The Dartmouth Alumni for Open Governance are dedicated to reversing this trend. It is a laudable goal for anyone who believes in the continuing connection of alumni to Dartmouth. I urge all alumni to go to the DAOG website and join. There is no monetary or time commitment involved unless you so choose, but you will be kept informed of important developments relating to these issues. I also urge any who can to attend the meeting of the Association of Alumni on Saturday May 18 (Green Key Weekend), where several important resolutions will be debated. Anyone interested in DAOG, or alumni affairs generally, should feel free to contact me: ajwi@alum.dartmouth.org