Anti-Lawsuit Alum Accuses Conservatives of Misrepresenting the Issue

Drawing parallels to the issues of abortion (pro-life) and civil rights (special rights), Roger Klorese ’77, in an op-ed piece in the Daily Dartmouth, accuses those opposed to the board-packing plan of changing the language involved to establish a bias. I love how the op-ed begins with:

As with other conservative movements, the take-over faction who has brought suit against the College is attempting to define its issues by changing the language. Their right-wing kin have biased the language in the discussion of abortion (who, after all, is “anti-life”?) and equal rights (because it is easy to get people to oppose “special rights” even if those rights are no more special when applied to those who seek them than to those who would deny them).

Of course, it’s completely okay when the opposing side does the same thing (i.e. politicizing the issues as pro-choice and equal rights; who opposes choice and equality?) because they’re the good guys and their “good” ends justify the means.

More after the jump.

Either way, Klorese claims that parity and democracy don’t apply to the issue at hand. He says that an issue of democracy requires “a constituency forming a government from its own membership,” and being an alumnus does not make you a member of anything. He continues later by saying that a board should be most well equipped to “drive forward the goals of the managing administration.” What Mr. Klorese fails to realize, despite having served on the boards of SEVERAL non-profits, is that the board in question is a Board of Trustees which does indicate a membership. Those who invested in the college’s interests (the alumni who at least paid 4 years of tuition) are the ones who form the constituency. What those non-profits failed to teach Klorese is that corporations often form their Board of Trustees by holding a vote of the shareholders or those invested in the future of the organization. Granted, the alumni don’t actually own portions of the college, so the trustees don’t necessarily have to represent them. Still, many believe the accountability to the alumni make this college great.

On parity, Klorese says that there must be two differing interests involved for there to be an issue, and the Board of Trustees is one interest. Unfortunately, Mssrs. Merriam and Webster disagree with Klorese’s definition; they say that parity is “the quality or state of being equal or equivalent.” I’m pretty sure that were the board’s change in governance to pass, there would be an inequality of some sort that would disrupt the current parity between alumni elected and board appointed trustees.

All in all, even if the conservatives are changing the language to bias the issue, at least they’re not making up new definitions for words to try and make a terribly articulated point. As Mr. Klorese would say, It’s laughable that he’s tossing around definitions without looking the words up first.