Getting away with it

What a wild, crazy, no-holds-barred, anything-goes weekend for collegiate governance. As a majority of the trustees voted to do away with the means by which they might be contradicted, I imagined that they snapped on little black burglar masks, similar to the one pictured in the graphic I’ve usefully included.

Packing the board was perhaps conceived as a judicious compromise in the face of no-so-hot press in billions of periodicals around the world, the message being, “We didn’t technically curtail democracy, see?” Once again, brilliant move. These men and women fall somewhat short of Søren Kierkegaard in their grasp of human behavior and motivation, but they are at least entertaining in their efforts. (See also: Ask Dartmouth, Vox the Vote.) Seriously, this cannot be said for many, and for that at least they must be congratulated.

Perhaps the logic was that alumni, still being able to pick eight trustees, would not notice the extra eight charter trustees slathered onto their Salisbury steaks. However, alumni do not fetishize lucky number eight per se. It was a nice figure when it made up a goodly chunk the board. Suddenly, though–no offense–it looks a little measly. The thing about alums is they grin ear-to-ear when their votes influence college governance. They’re very particular vermin that way.

As soon as the hamburglars of Parkhurst and Blunt recover from the raucous celebration party they probably threw this week, they should scan the internet and see how they’re doing in the court of public opinion. And what a sobering experience that’ll be.

*Well, to begin on a note of hope, we have the college press office’s release (no link). Right on, lots of strengthening going on here, we see, mm-hmm, very well put you incredible nitwits.

*The Association of Alumni executive committee issues a bold statement to the press.

*The ennui-filled ironists at IvyGate, after calling this publication “nativist” (include me out), dabble in earnestness for long enough to say:

The Dartmouth administration, meanwhile, is frankly up to no good. Last spring they introduced a measure which would have curbed the power of alumni to determine the trustees. Shockingly, the alumni declined to vote away their own voting rights. Now the administration has sunk to a new level of insidery skullduggery: they’ve convened an ominous-sounding “Governance Committee” to “reform” the process of trustee-elections.

*The Valley News account of Wright’s visit does not make it sound as if divisiveness has disappeared or anything cool like that.

*The New York Times chimes in.

*Review chairman James Panero over at New Cri takes another thwap at the Parkhurst piñata:

This is a dark day for the school. What’s so unfortunate is that people like Ed Haldeman will risk destroying Dartmouth to save his consolidation of power. It is interesting to note that Alumni giving reached record levels of participation after the election of the four petition candidates and the defeat of the new constitution. I gave a donation to the school for the very first time. But Haldeman does not care about such statistics, nor does he care if he turns off thousands of loyal alums in the process. Haldeman has called the petition elections “politicized, costly, and divisive”–these are elections that alumni voted in. Are their votes divisive?

*And, as already noted, the Wall Street Journal‘s editorial.