David Spaulding withholds media lists from AoA

This past Friday July 6th, Frank Gado ’58 wrote this important letter to the editors of The Daily Dartmouth, which reveals the disturbing hand the administration is playing in the 1891-Agreement imbroglio. Pay special attention to Gado’s last two paragraphs, in which he explains that David Spaulding, who is employed by the College, is deliberately withholding media lists from the popularly elected Association of Alumni’s (AoA) Executive Committee. These media lists would allow the AoA to inform alumni about the current dispute over the 1891 Agreement, and it would allow the AoA to assess the alums’ response to the current Board’s structure.

To the Editor:

At the May Alumni Council meeting, Rick Routhier, chairman of the nominating committee whose candidates lost the recent alumni trustee race, pronounced the electoral process broken. In tandem, William Neukom, outgoing chairman of the Board of Trustees, promised help in the form of a report by the Board’s Governance Committee. After the Board’s June 8 meeting, the Governance Committee announced that it was seeking comment on how to “improve” the Board (“Trustees reassess Board’s composition.” July 3). This had all the signs of a fig leaf for a decision already made.

Among its first semi-public acts, the Governance Committee has distributed a questionnaire to the upper echelon of the Alumni Council, pointedly ignoring the Executive Committee of the Association of Alumni, the only alumni body elected by all alumni. Any honest assessment would recognize that the Council itself is the root of the problem. In five successive elections, the Council’s unanimous endorsements have been rejected by a majority of alumni. The Council’s views are incongruent with those of the alumni it pretends, unconvincingly, to represent. But the Governance Committee apparently believes that the “problem” is that alumni are not electing the “right” candidates or making the “right” choices; hence, instead of curtailing the Council, the governance committee wants to curtail the alumni.

Equally disturbing is the administration’s role in this affair. At the most recent EC meeting, David Spalding, the Association’s elected secretary-treasurer and the College’s Vice President for Alumni Relations, asserted that the e-mail lists of alumni were the College’s property, and he — not the EC — would rule on access to them. He then denied a request to e-mail resolutions on the alumni trustee matters to the Association’s own members or to authorize funds for a postal mailing that included a questionnaire of the EC’s own creation.

Any honest effort by the Governance Committee to evaluate alumni representation on the Board of Trustees should include placing a petition trustee among its members and, in observation of the 1891 accord, conference with the Association’s duly elected Executive Committee to obtain and present the alumni’s views.