Friday, July 27, 2007

Alumni Blog Open to All Alumni

In the past, this blogsite has provided an mechanism for the alumni's elected Executive Commmittee to post news deemed important to alumni, as it relates to your Association. While anyone can comment in reply, it has not been possible for you to post your own topics that you feel merit thoughtful discussion among your peers.

Your Executive Committee is exploring alternatives with the hope of providing a true discussion forum open to all. On an interim basis, one member is willing to receive your desired posts and place them up here for you. Please send any new discussion threads via email to Include the topical headline, the text message of up to 500 words, your name and class. I will do my best to post them in a timely manner.

This is an interim "patch" and not a final solution. Let's all consider it a trial. The volume is likely to be minimal to start, but my apologies in advance if I do not always get your posting up as quickly as you want. While the blog does permit anonymous posters, only those who provide their name will be taken seriously enough to merit their own titled discussion thread.

Let's see how it goes. More later on a "real" discussion forum with better features that will enhance communication among our alumni members.

Tim Dreisbach '71


  • My feedback to the Governance Committee's website:

    Please forget the apparent "exclusivity" it seems you are trying to obtain with the "Governance Board". Let the alumini, as we have with the recent Alumni elections, decide whom to represent us and how we are to be represented. Also, as much as I respect President Wright, he does not belong on any Alumni Association Board. He should receive our feedback and input, not decide on that input and feedback.

    By Anonymous Shoun T. Kerbaugh, at 7/28/2007 10:01 AM  

  • Shoun’s post above merits a note of clarification. President Wright does not sit on any alumni association board. He is one of five trustees who do sit on a Governance Committee developing recommendations to the full Dartmouth Board of Trustees regarding their composition and selection.

    Your Association’s executive committee has sent a letter of concern to all trustees reminding them that alumni involvement in the Board has been a benefit, and that the selection of trustees by alumni falls within the province of the alumni and its Association.

    We have ourselves recently established a governance group, not to be confused with that of the trustees, to look at our own constitution (for example to deliver on a promised amendment to guarantee “all-media” officer elections that happen today at the whim of whomever is incumbent). The trustee committee is aware of our group, and our desire to work in partnership with them if they would like to recommend changes to the process whereby alumni select trustees in our elections. To date they have not shared with us any specific concerns that merit any changes or any recommendations for change. Hopefully they are wise enough to understand that unilateral changes without our involvement would be a violation of the long-standing partnership between the College and her alumni.

    By Blogger Tim Dreisbach '71, at 7/28/2007 10:42 AM  

  • Shoun's post demonstrates how very much we need to develop a greater degree of knowledge about how this confusing alumni political apparatus operates (and how it doesn't). It really isn't your fault, Shoun. Maybe if the DAM stops worrying about winning graphic design awards and emulating People, and instead tended to its purpose to serve the alumni, it would be easier for alumni to participate in alumni affairs.

    By Blogger Tom Paine, at 7/28/2007 3:31 PM  

  • [Copied from my post to the Governance Committee]

    Governance Committee,

    Per recent communications regarding the board make-up and numbers, I have NOT seen one good reason why this is a major project being reviewed. What is broken? Why is this being reviewed? What is the motivation? I feel that a ridiculous amount of effort and resources are being invested in something that is not fundamentally broken. Please focus on the issues that need to be fixed, not on trying to systematically gain more power year after year.

    I do not support any changes in the number, make-up or process in electing the Dartmouth Board of Trustees. There is no good reason (that I have seen) to change a policy that has been in place since 1891.

    Bob Teree, '90

    By Blogger Bob, at 8/14/2007 3:48 PM  

  • Frank,

    I just posted this on the Alumni Association Blog-site. I tried to send it first to Tim Dreisbach, but he is away.

    I am not even sure if it actually got posted. The Blog-site rejected it a couple of times because several of my emails quoted in it contained my email address. Don't know why that should be a problem, but I guess it is.

    Do me a favor and see if it actually appears. I am going to try posting it again, without my email address.

    I will also send this to Tim Dreisbach, but I don't know when he will read it.


    A Letter to the Trustees as requested by the Alumni Council's Democracy At Dartmouth:

    To: Vote.Dartmouth

    Ladies & Gentlemen:

    Fair Warning: This is a long email. I hope you will be motivated to read all of it. Everything here is written from the heart, and with full use of the frontal lobe of my brain; aka the reasoning segment.

    Neil P. McCulloch '50

    Who is this Jim Haldeman? Why, if he is a loyal son of Dartmouth does he seek to tear down its foundations?

    We know a lot more about President Wright who, sadly, is "in bed" with Mr. Haldeman's so-called Governance Committee. But I, for one, have not been familiar with Jim Haldeman ... until now.

    We alumni all received a heart-wrenching letter from Mr. Haldeman, advising us of all the very hard work he and his Committee have been so tediously been involved with. It is apparent they have been doing this work behind closed doors, outside the scrutiny of anyone who might seriously disagree with what they are working on.

    I, for one, was touched by the description provided by Mr. Haldeman, about how laboriously, scrupulously and diliigently his Governance Committee has worked on their agenda. Note: The key word here is •their•.

    On the other hand, Mr. Haldeman provides us with very sketchy information about such explanatory topics as (1) who instigated their work, and why conduct it in secret; (2) exactly what do they hope to accomplish?; (3) why was their work begun, unknown to the greater body of alumni, right after the sound defeat of the recent administration-supported constitutional amendment?

    Mr. Haldeman's long preliminary report asked for input from the alumni to whom it was sent. I took the time to respond and was rewarded with a form letter. I wonder if it was as hard a job for someone to write that as we were told it was for the Governance Committee to conduct their review.

    The Alumni Association has sent out a thoughtful response to Mr. Haldeman and his cronies. It is entitled "Democracy At Dartmouth." It is endorsed by the Association and signed by four members of the Board of Trustees, who, obviously, are in disagreement (appalled?) at what Mr. Haldman and his ally, President James Freedman, have been up to.

    The theme of the Association's letter is the word "Democracy," in the context of its eternal place at Dartmouth. In Nazi Germany, where it was considered a dirty word, government bodies also conducted their work in secret. Behind them stood a black-clad group of killers who dealt with anyone questioning their activities. They were called "SS," and their leader was a failed chicken farmer.

    Of course, the vast majority of the German people had no voice. They gave it away when they "elected" Hitler as their Chancellor. That madman's first priority was to take away their voice so he and the Nazis could do what was "best for them." That is precisely what Mr. Haldeman, Jim Wright, and the rest of the Governance Committee wants to do "for" Dartmouth's alumni.

    While they were crushing opposition, the Nazis did their best to make their subjects smile with pride and feel "included," as Mr. Haldeman does when he concludes his letter with:

    "I look forward to continuing to hear from many of you about the issues you think are most important to Dartmouth. And I hope that if you have the opportunity this fall, you will return to Hanover to cheer on the football team, catch a performance at the Hop or connect with some old friends."

    Doesn't that give us all a warm feeling?

    I am not suggesting that neither Mr. Haldeman nor any member of his Committee, including President Wright, is a Nazi. Call the reference here, "literary license." Call it "warranted exaggeration. Call it whatever you wish. At least I won't have to stay up nights in dread of a knock on my door.

    I have written several letters about what those of us alums perceive to be an attack on Democracy at Dartmouth. I would like to include some of my letters as an appendage to this one. Before I do, however, I would like to ask the question:

    If Dartmouth is one of America's premiere institutions of learning, why are we hiring more administrators than faculty. This practice will insure larger classes at a place where small class size is emphasized as one of Dartmouth's key features. Who is kidding whom? And what, exactly, are all these administrators going to do?

    This subject is eloquently discussed in an enclosure, sent with the Association "Democracy" letter. It is entitled, "Large Classes, Misplaced Priorities," by Jacob Baron, '10, contributing columnist to "The Dartmouth."

    Another equally eloquent and revealing enclosure, "Honoring the 1891 Agreement," is included. It is written by Todd Zywicki, Guest Columnist of "The Dartmouth." and a trustee of the college.

    When I read these things, most of which I have known nothing about, and learn about Mr. Haldeman's activities, I begin to get very nervous about the future of Dartmouth. I have never been anything but proud of my college. Now I have some serious doubts. I know the institution will endure, but in what form?

    Herewith, some of the earlier correspondence I have written:

    First is a letter in response to Jim Haldeman's report. This evoked the afore-mentioned form letter.

    From: Neil McCulloch
    Date: August 15, 2007 11:19:45 PM EDT
    To: Speaking of Dartmouth

    My views in support of the Alumni Council have already been expressed on their website, the one not governed by the college administration.

    I am as loyal to Dartmouth as anyone, but I do not approve of what I perceive is going on there. Perhaps I will be happily surprised after the Governance Committee announces its decision. For now, I am keeping my fingers crossed.

    I do hope that the Governance Committee will bear in mind the defeat of the administration-sponsored constitutional amendment. The ink is barely dry on that administration reversal. Yet the Governance Committee leaves the impression that, "Here we go again."

    There are many of us out here who will look with supreme displeasure upon any administration/faculty effort to reverse or bypass the spirit of that vote. Nor will we easily accept any effort which results in a take-away of our "voice" in the affairs of the college we love.

    Neil P. McCulloch '50

    Next, is a follow-up of the above letter:

    From: Neil McCulloch
    Date: August 16, 2007 8:56:02 AM EDT
    To: Speaking.of.Dartmouth


    This the second of my replies to your request for input. I have a couple of questions:

    (1) Whose initiative was it to undertake your study? What are its origins?

    (2) What is the underlying purpose of this study?

    (3) What is the Governance Committiee's desired result?

    And now a comment: Dartmouth has done mightily well under the present system for a great many years. It was even a source of pride among trustees that the Board was kept small (vs. those of our Ivy League sisters).

    My brother did yeoman service for Dartmouth prior to and after he served as President of the Board of Trustees. Of course, I was not always close enough to hear everything he may have said, but during all the years of his service to the college, still ongoing, I never heard him say he thought the make-up of the Board should be changed.

    Why, then, do you?

    Neil P. McCulloch '50

    Last is a letter I have written to President Wright.

    From: Neil McCulloch
    Date: August 17, 2007 4:48:49 PM EDT
    To: "James E. Wright"
    Subject: The Administration & The Governance Committee

    Dear President Wright,

    This is the second of my emails to you. This time I write in protest, one as strong as I can muster, against your support -- and possible instigation -- of the present activity of the Board of Trustees Governance Committee. This activity was cloaked until recently, when they sent the alumni an email, telling us all about how hard they were working, etc., to consider the composition of the Board. We also had heard about it, no thanks to the administration, when we were advised by the Alumni Association.

    This "investigation" is nothing more or less than a blatant attempt to bypass the failed result of the recent constitutional amendment, which you also supported.

    I have written several emails in strong support of the Alumni Association vs. the administration-backed Governance Committee. I have stated in no uncertain terms, my opposition and, yes, disgust, at the activity of the Governance Committee.

    I consider it appalling that you are involved in this nefarious behavior, so I must also protest vs. you.

    I include below some of the correspondence I have written about this matter:

    This email is to the Alumni Association in response to its request for opinions and/or action by the alumni as a whole:

    "With both proposals in the survey I AGREE. (1) Maintain the current balance, and (2) concerns about the make-up of the Board should be addressed to the Alumni Association ONLY. I presume the Association will inform the Alumni body when,as or if, that is necessary.

    I cannot believe the college I love is resorting to this latest, which, to me, appears to be a subterfuge designed too walk around or trample on the negative vote on the failed constitutional amendment.

    You have my full support."

    President Wright, there are many of us out here who will look with extreme displeasure upon any administration effort to reverse or bypass the spirit of the vote quashing the recent administration-endorsed constitutional amendment. Nor will we easily accept any new effort by the Governance Committee which results in a take-away of our "voice" in the affairs of the college we love.

    By Blogger Neil, at 8/19/2007 5:14 PM  

  • My comments posted on the governance feedback site:

    I am strongly opposed to any changes to the current guidelines which govern trustee selection for Dartmouth, (unless it is to increase the number of directly-elected alumni trustees from the current 50% to a higher percentage.)

    I believe concerns about the process of electing trustees should be directed to and addressed by the Association of Alumni, and that Alumni should have every opportunity through their elected representation to participate fully in the trustee selection process.

    JBM '83

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/20/2007 9:57 PM  

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The Dartmouth Association of Alumni was organized in 1854 to represent all Dartmouth alumni.

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