• September 1, 2014

Dartmouth Expands Board, Reducing Role of Alumni Elections

The Dartmouth College Board of Trustees voted on Saturday to expand to 26 members, adding eight new trustees, the college announced. The board will continue holding alumni elections for eight alumni-trustee slots, but those trustees will hold a smaller share of seats on the board. All other trustees are appointed by the board itself, except for the state’s governor and college’s president, who are both ex officio members.

“Given the divisiveness of recent elections, we did not believe that having more elections would be good for Dartmouth,” Charles E. Haldeman Jr., the board’s chairman, said in a written statement. “We also believe that the board needs more trustees selected for the specific talents and experiences they can offer the college — which elections can’t guarantee.”

Dartmouth’s alumni elections have attained a remarkably high profile in recent years, drawing attention from the national news media and organizations such as the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. In the weeks before the board’s planned governance overhaul this weekend, an alumni group bought $300,000 worth of newspaper advertisements to argue against a diminished role for elected trustees, a position The Wall Street Journal echoed in an editorial.

In his statement Mr. Haldeman predicted criticism of the governance changes, which he said “address the destructive politicization of trustee campaigns.” Within hours bloggers were denouncing the board’s decision, with the prominent blog Power Line dubbing it “Dartmouth’s Disgrace.” —Paul Fain

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