Zywicki’s Second E-mail

With just three full days left until balloting ends on Friday, Alumni Trustee petition candidate Todd Zywicki ’88 has sent his second and final email to alumni:

DARTMOUTH’S FUTURE
Professor Todd J. Zywicki ’88

Dear Fellow Dartmouth Alumna or Alumnus:

Just one week remains to vote in the ongoing election to fill two seats on the Dartmouth Board of Trustees. I hope you will consider voting for me before the balloting ends on May 6. If you have not yet voted and need a ballot or additional information, you can receive either an electronic or paper ballot by contacting the Dartmouth Alumni Affairs Office at (603) 646-2258 or send an email to darthelp@eAlumni.com. This election is extremely important to shape Dartmouth’s future and this is your opportunity to provide your input into the priorities and mission that should guide the College.

For more than two centuries, Dartmouth has pursued a mission that is unique among Ivy League schools, a dedication to undergraduate instruction and a dedication to educating well-rounded students and leaders. I believe that Dartmouth’s current and future generations of students will be best served by building on Dartmouth’s great traditions and distinctive strengths, and not simply try to become like “any other university.”

But I believe that Dartmouth has drifted from its core mission in recent years. If I win your trust, I will work to recommit Dartmouth to its traditional mission of undergraduate education and the development of well-rounded students. I will work to increase the accountability and transparency of College governance and communication with Dartmouth students, parents, alumni, and faculty. Finally, I will work to insure that the College’s financial priorities reflect its core mission, and are not diverted to administrative bureaucracy and noneducational purposes.

Last week the College announced the creation of a new administrative position for a “Sustainability Director.” According to The Dartmouth, the Sustainability Director will “work to support and further develop the sustainability efforts already in place at Dartmouth, such as the organic farm, composting and recycling programs. He will develop a strategy to embed principles of sustainable prosperity in the school’s role as a place of learning and research, a business enterprise and a member of the local community, the College press release said.” See “Merkel Appointed First Sustainability Director,” The Dartmouth (April 27, 2005), http://www.thedartmouth.com/article.php?aid=2005042701010

As noble as the College’s intent may be in adding a new sustainability director to its bureaucracy, this decision seems difficult to justify in light of more pressing educational and financial needs on campus. According to U.S. News & World Report, Dartmouth is among the worst in its peer group in the percentage of classes with 20 or fewer students. According to reports in The Dartmouth, class sizes have burgeoned, classrooms are routinely overcrowded, and still students frequently face difficulty enrolling in necessary classes. Dartmouth’s student-faculty ratio is compares poorly with schools such as Yale, Princeton, and even Harvard. Published reports indicate that in recent years, expenditures on non-faculty employees have substantially outpaced investment in faculty. And just two weeks ago, Jim Kuypers, the sole professor in the speech department resigned, citing a lack of institutional and financial support from the College. The loss of this popular professor and the apparent shuttering of the speech program – coming less than a week before the naming of the new sustainability director – has disappointed many current and former students.

In short, the College’s questionable decision to create a new sustainability director while basic educational needs remain unmet is not an isolated occurrence, but rather reflects a deeper confusion about the College’s current mission and financial priorities. Just a few years ago, for instance, when faced with a severe budget cuts, College leadership proposed to cut funding for the swim team, Sanborn Library, and the human biology program while simultaneously proposing the creation of a new deanship, a move that the student editors of The Dartmouth has knocked as a “wanton expansion of administrative bureaucracy in a time of fiscal crisis.”

If elected to the Board, I will work to recommit Dartmouth to its core mission of undergraduate education and ensure that financial priorities advance this core educational mission. Dartmouth faces obvious and pressing needs in its faculty, athletic programs, and student housing, just to name a few. Given the high price of Dartmouth’s tuition, and the recent launch of a major capital campaign, Dartmouth’s students and alumni are entitled to know that their contributions are being allocated to advance Dartmouth’s educational mission, not to advance extraneous political and social agendas. The College simply cannot afford to squander precious resources on an ever-expanding administrative bureaucracy and the pursuit of programs that fail to advance the core mission of the College, no matter how socially or politically meritorious they may be. If elected to the Board, I will work together with Dartmouth’s students, faculty, parents, and alumni to ensure that the College’s resources are spent wisely and responsibly and not diverted to noneducational purposes.

This election is a chance for you to make your voice heard and to help shape Dartmouth’s future. If you have any questions or would like more information about my goals for Dartmouth, I hope you will contact me at tjz2@law.georgetown.edu. But please hurry – balloting ends this Friday, May 6.

Sincerely,

Professor Todd J. Zywicki ’88

Update: The email, we are told, was sent only to alumni who have not yet voted–a number which includes many who are still without paper ballots. Alumni should cast their ballots online to ensure it goes through on time.