Sunday, February 12, 2006 at 11 am
President Allen Collins '53 called the meeting to order at 11:10 am. He thanked all for coming and introduced his fellow officers and members of the association executive committee.
Mr. Collins shared the thoughts of the executive committee regarding all-media voting and the threshold for constitutional amendments, and gave a chronology of events since the annual meeting in October, when the officers and executive committee were elected. In only 16 weeks since the annual meeting, many complex issues have arisen. After hearing many alumni call for all-media voting on association matters, the executive committee put a constitutional amendment forward for vote at this special meeting. Considering the dramatic change that all-media voting would effect - allowing votes from all 66,000 alumni rather than just those present and voting in Hanover - the amendment includes a provision to change the threshold from three-quarters to a more realistic two-thirds. As background for the amendment, extensive research was conducted regarding a two-thirds threshold for constitutional amendments. This seems to be standard among governmental, educational, and other nonprofit institutions, and the executive committee found this to be a reasonable practice. Mr. Collins believes this amendment is the start of greater democracy, inclusion, and participation by alumni in association matters.
Mr. Collins then spoke to the lawsuit brought by John MacGovern '80 and the temporary restraining order against the association that Mr. MacGovern requested, which would have mandated that proxies be allowed at this special meeting. In a hearing on this matter held February 8, New Hampshire Superior Court denied the temporary restraining order. Therefore, proxies were not allowed at this meeting.
Mr. Collins also noted that he and the executive committee had had conversations with the Alumni Governance Task Force, which is drafting a new constitution to bring the association into the modern era. The executive committee supports having the task force's proposal come before all alumni for a vote and hopes this amendment will allow such a vote to go forward. It also supports the work of the task force on a new constitution, and in particular the provisions that call for all-media election of association officers. The committee wants to reflect the will of the alumni and make it possible for all alumni to vote on association matters.
Mr. Collins called on Bill Hutchinson '76, member of the executive committee, to introduce the following amendment:
"Moved, that Article VII of the Constitution of the Association of Alumni of Dartmouth College be amended as follows:
The executive committee or any one percent of the voting members of the Association may, in accordance with a schedule and procedures adopted by the executive committee, file with the Secretary a proposed amendment to this constitution. The Secretary shall, pursuant to procedures adopted by the balloting committee, send to each voting member of the Association, by mail or other appropriate means, an official ballot and related material containing the proposed amendment and such other information as shall be required by the balloting committee. The proposed amendment shall be adopted if it is approved by a two-thirds vote of all Association members who cast votes."
The amendment was moved and the motion seconded.
Forty minutes of discussion on the amendment ensued, with some alumni speaking in support of the amendment and others in opposition.
Discussion centered on the role of the ballot committee, the two-thirds vs. three-quarters threshold for passage of constitutional amendments, all-media voting provisions, communication about future constitutional amendments, and voting guidelines.
Ballots were collected and tabulated. The results were 198 in favor and 32 opposed. With 230 present and voting, the amendment passed by 86 percent, exceeding the 75 percent threshold for passage.
The special meeting was adjourned at 12:40 pm.