Routhier attacks Smith

Rick Routhier, who heads the Nominating Committee, has published a letter today to The Daily Dartmouth responding to Trustee Stephen Smith’s recent editorial in that same paper. Routhier is upset that Smith editorialized about his campaign fees rather than focusing on “real issues” such as “reforming the [trustee] election system…that he feels is so unbalanced and unfair.” In Smith’s defense, much of the current upheaval about the trustee election system has focused on the exorbitant amounts of money candidates spend to campaign; moreover, those who desperately want the system changed point to Smith with a critical finger, claiming that he “bought” the election and that this clearly reflects a flaw in the electoral system. In his editorial, Smith merely sets the record straight, and therefore hushes the criticism of those who undermine the legitimacy of his victory.

As to Routhier’s point, “It will be a telling sign of his leadership whether or not he makes an effort to lead the reform of a system that he feels is so unbalanced and unfair,” of course this would be a great idea, except for one problem: the already established Governance Committee of the Board is leading such reforms—a Governance Committee composed of five individuals, including President Wright, Chairman of the Board Ed Haldeman, and three alumni trustees. Unfortunately, the powers that be excluded Smith—and the other three petition trustees, for that matter—from the Governance Committee, which is steering the effort to alter the Board’s structure and/or composition.

Mr. Routhier, perhaps you can request to have Smith added as the sixth member of the Governance Committee? That would be the most effective way for him to answer your questions below and lead the reforms that you want him to lead.

To the Editor:

In his recent guest column Professor Stephen Smith decries the latest “establishment” challenge to alumni rights (“Countering Campaign Charge,” July 17).

Fortunately, Trustee Smith is now in an excellent position to make a real difference, if he chooses to focus on real issues.

Whether he spent $20,000 or $200,000 is not the issue. Is it conceivable that Professor Smith can approve of the need for any candidate to raise any money in order to participate in a Trustee election?

Trustee Smith should therefore take the lead in reforming the election system — a system he claims he had to fight so hard to beat (again, great rhetoric). He might begin by suggesting simpler hurdles for petition candidates to access nomination. He might then suggest specific ways in which the College could support all candidates fairly. He might also suggest a method by which the Alumni’s Nominating Committee could become more representative itself, perhaps through the direct election of its members by alumni.

It will be a telling sign of his leadership whether or not he makes an effort to lead the reform of a system that he feels is so unbalanced and unfair.