(Mis)representing Dartmouth Students to Alumni

The Dartmouth Review has obtained the text of a letter “from Dartmouth students” denouncing the AoA lawsuit that Dartmouth Undying will be releasing Thursday. The letter, titled “From Dartmouth Students to Alumni” is being circulated for signatures among campus leaders deemed “receptive” to the anti-lawsuit cause. It appears that the letter was written solely by Bonnie Lam, who has obviously consulted every single Dartmouth student to find out how they feel about the lawsuit before speaking on their behalf. Below is the text of the blitz sent out by Bonnie Lam to around 50 selected student leaders along with the full text of the letter itself.

UPDATE: A member of the Panhellenic Council has informed us that at last night’s meeting Lam was opposed to printing the letter in the Daily Dartmouth or releasing it to the student body at large in any way *before* Dartmouth Undying publishes it. What a great way to ensure Dartmouth students’ voices are being heard.

UPDATE 2: Miss Lam is now claiming that she is not the author of the letter. —A.S.

UPDATE 3: And…now she’s claiming that she is the partial author. —A.S.

UPDATE 4: There is a claim in the comments that we here at The Dartmouth Review are illiterate. The foundation for the claim? That nowhere in the letter does it purport to be from Dartmouth students, nowhere in the body of the letter that is. The title of the letter is “From Dartmouth Students to Alumni.” The PDF of the original letter is below. —A.S.


Date: 22 Apr 2008 11:17:44 -0400
From: Bonnie F. Lam
Subject: update on the letter
To: (Recipient list suppressed)

Hey Guys!
So I just wanted to thank you all for supporting this effort. Please continue to reach out to anyone you know who may be receptive to this idea. Alums unfortunately identify and understand titles most, so it’s very important that we all try to get as many campus leaders as possible to show the strong support of this letter.

The letter will be printed on Thursday so I need electronic signatures/agreements by Thursday morning. The format will be as follows: the letter on one page with signatures on the other. Signatures will have position of leadership of each person beneath. A disclaimer will on the top of that page explicitly saying in much better prose that the signatures do not mean support from the entire organization, just from that specific individual who signed. If you have ANY RESERVATIONS with this, PLEASE talk to me and we can figure something out.

Attached is the letter which you can show to friends who would think about supporting the cause. Please DO NOT distribute it to people you KNOW would not be receptive.


And the letter itself after the jump:

As leaders within the Dartmouth undergraduate community, we believe the lawsuit brought against the College by the Association of Alumni Executive Committee is the wrong means to an end upon which we all agree: the distinguished prominence of Dartmouth College.

We come from different backgrounds, have different political affiliations, and owe our allegiances to different groups across campus. Yet, we have a common, love for the College on the Hill. Our views widely differ on whether the Board of Trustees should maintain parity between trustees nominated by alumni and those appointed by the Board. That is not the issue here.

As the Editorial Board of The Dartmouth agrees, the lawsuit is “harming the College.” We are united against the lawsuit because it prevents an open and balanced community-wide dialogue. It limits that dialogue to a set of legal terms and boundaries that inaccurately reflect the complexities of Dartmouth’s continued educational excellence. It serves as a public misrepresentation of the Dartmouth community and the nature of divisions within it.

Dartmouth’s position as one of the leading undergraduate institutions in the world will never be the result of a simple equation ensured by a court ruling. It is the result of a constellation of experiences best understood through the lens of students and within the Dartmouth community. No single issue will ever define us or Dartmouth.

We implore the alumni body to consider our perspective and to reflect deeply about the dimensions of the lawsuit facing Dartmouth. Better yet, we urge you to get in touch with current students, faculty, and the administration to get the real story about today’s Dartmouth.

We ask that you take the time to consider voting in the Association of Alumni election for a executive committee that consider ending the lawsuit and work in an amicable and independent manner with the College, bringing truly healthy dissent and different perspectives to the administration in a way that will benefit us all. Together, not divided, we can collaborate for the betterment of our College.

Mailing cost for this message has been paid for by Dartmouth Undying as a service to Dartmouth Alumni. The message was created, prepared and signed solely by students. Dartmouth Undying did not solicit this message. A signature on this letter does not necessarily imply support for Dartmouth Undying.