The 197th session of the Dartmouth Alumni Council opened with meetings of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee and the Alumni Liaison Committee, followed by an orientation session for first-year councilors.
Councilors gathered for a reception at the home of Tom Crady, dean of the College, and his wife, Lisa Bard.Dinner followed in the Daniel Webster Room of the Hanover Inn. Alumni Council president John (J.B.) Daukas addressed the councilors.
J.B. Daukas opened the morning plenary session and introduced Adam Keller, vice president for finance and administration, who made a presentation on the College budget.
He provided background information on the budget, how the College is responding to the economic crisis, and possible outcomes.He commented on the capital campaign, noting that there were three main priorities:
Continue to increase the size of the faculty
Enhance the financial aid package
The endowment’s performance was in the top quartile.The College formulated a financial model that would spend the endowment at a rate of six percent of market value and would add one percent for a short period (five years).The board of trustees approved the model a couple of years ago.Once internal mechanisms were in place, the plan to expand endowment spending would begin on July 1, 2008.Now, the College is faced with a declining endowment, possibly 13 to14 percent in its public positions in the first four months of this fiscal year.During the same period, Harvard’s endowment was down roughly 22 percent.
The College is now looking at a financial projection with substantial reductions in the endowment, possibly 15, 20 or 25 percent by 2011. As a result, there is a possibility of up to a $40 million shortfall in the operating budget.There are fixed expenses: debt service; tenured and tenure-track faculty; and the new financial aid policy.The College is looking at handling the reductions in two years with a plan in place in February 2009.The College administration is being open and transparent on campus.
At present, the deans and vice presidents have been formulating plans for a 5, 10 and 15 percent reduction in their areas.Facility projects are being reviewed with the board.The College is taking the opportunity over the next 18 months to enhance the current efficiency plan in progress.There is not much, if any, fat in the budget.
The planned additional spending of the endowment did not model for a 25 percent decrease, which will have a definite impact.The College has been in a successful campaign.The board of trustees has decided not to spend down an extra one percent of endowment.The College will continue to use the current formula of spending down six percent of endowment.
Alumni councilors posed questions to Adam Keller regarding the operating budget, tuition, faculty, and research funding. He closed by stating that there would continue to be ongoing communications on campus.The College will make any announcements as a whole.He emphasized that this is a complex process.
J.B. Daukas commented that last year 92 percent of Alumni Council members gave to the Dartmouth College Fund.He encouraged the councilors to participate in the Dartmouth College Fund so that the Alumni Council could increase participation to 100 percent this year.
A presentation by dean of the College Tom Crady followed.Dean Crady mentioned that before he accepted the position earlier this year at Dartmouth, he requested that a data set be sent to him from Health Services, which included information about alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, etc.He gave some statistics on the fact that young men and women are drinking before they arrive on campus as freshmen.After the implementation of a number of strategies, a 2008 health survey of Dartmouth students showed that binge drinking dropped from 57 percent in 2004 to 44 percent in 2008.Dean Crady has recently proposed a new alcohol management program on campus and has been gathering feedback from students.Additional information about this can be found online at www.dartmouth.edu/~deancoll/.
An international student presentation titled “’Round the Girdled Earth They Roam” followed.Panelists included Stephen Silver, director of the International Office; Rebecca Munsterer ’05AS, senior assistant director of Admissions; and undergraduate students Helen Chow ’09, Kevin Jackson ’10, and Kevin Mwenda ’10.
Rebecca Munsterer reported that recruitment has been exciting and unique this year.With the new need-blind policy for international students, international applications are up about 28 percent.The actual effect of the need-blind aid policy won’t be known for a while.Dartmouth is one of eight schools who have need-blind admissions, including admissions for international students.Stephen Silver gave a brief overview of his role, which is to help the international students navigate the policies and processes of the College experience effectively.Kevin Jackson ’10, chair of the International Student Association, is from Venezuela.He reported that the objectives of ISA are to instill a sense of community; integrate diverse cultures on campus; and serve as a conduit to the administration.He commented that he has had a great experience at Dartmouth. Helen Chow ’09 is from Hong Kong and also lived in Australia and Wales. She thought she was ready for Dartmouth but experienced many challenges during her first year, including weather and culture shock. However, she said she has “discovered” herself, met wonderful people, and had the opportunity to participate in many educational trips and extracurricular activities. Kevin Mwenda ’10 is from Nairobi, Kenya.He attended school in Kenya, followed by two years of education in Canada.When he arrived at Dartmouth he realized he wasn’t ready.He was far from home and he panicked a little.It was colder than he was used to, even in September, when he arrived.He participated in a DOC First-Year Trip which was a good start.He had a lot of fun, especially after learning to speak more slowly so others could understand him.It took an entire term before he began to speak up in class, as he was taught to listen and learn but not ask questions of his teachers.ISA wants to help make these types of transitions easier for international students.
J.B. Daukas participated in a presentation about the work of the Trustee Election Working Group.Rick Silverman ’81, chair of the Alumni Liaison Committee, and John Mathias ’69, president of the Association of Alumni, assisted with the presentation.
J.B. Daukas noted that the Trustee Election Working Group included members of the leadership of both the Alumni Council and the Association of Alumni Executive Committee.The following alumni served on the Working Group: John Mathias ’69, president, Association of Alumni; Cheryl Bascomb ’82, first vice president, Association of Alumni; Ron Schram ’64, Executive Committee, Association of Alumni; trustee emeritus; J.B. Daukas ’84, president, Alumni Council; Rick Silverman ’81, chair, Alumni Liaison Committee; immediate past president, Alumni Council; Jeff Weiss ’86, immediate past chair, Alumni Council Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee.
J.B. Daukas discussed the objectives of the Working Group, provided background about the roles of the Alumni Council and the Association of Alumni, described the composition and selection process of the board of trustees, and gave a history of the trustee election rules.
John Mathias described the cost, publicity, and other resources involved in an alumni-wide election, such as those conducted for the Association of Alumni Executive Committee and for alumni-nominated positions on the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees.
John Mathias said that Ed Haldeman ’70, chair of the board of trustees, contacted him shortly after John was elected president of the Association of Alumni to set up a meeting to open a dialogue with the association.
Due to time constraints, the Trustee Election Working Group discussion was continued to Saturday morning’s plenary session.
Alumni councilors had the opportunity to attend one of three lectures from the popular Alumni College at Reunion program.This new program is offered in June when Dartmouth faculty members present a variety of lectures available to alumni attending reunions in Hanover.The following three lectures were offered to councilors.
“The Life and Literature of Norman Maclean ’24” — Donald Pease ’68a, Professor of English, Avalon Foundation Chair of the Humanities; Director, Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program
“Honor and Integrity: What Does It Mean to Serve the Common Good?” — Aine Donovan ’59a, Executive Director, Ethics Institute; Research Associate Professor
“Who Are We?New Perspectives on the Brain” — G. Christian Jernstedt, Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences; Adjunct Professor of Community and Family Medicine; Director of the Center for Educational Outcomes at Dartmouth
After the lectures, luncheon meetings were held for the Young Alumni and Honorary Degrees Committees and an extra orientation make-up session was offered for new councilors.The new Ad Hoc Committee to Support Greek Letter Organizations also met during the luncheon period.
The afternoon plenary session was held in Floren Varsity House. Carrie Pelzel ’54a, vice president for Development, opened the meeting with a campaign update. Carrie thanked J.B. Daukas for encouraging alumni councilors to increase their Dartmouth College Fund participation rate to 100 percent.This year is particularly difficult because of the economy. The campaign will end on December 31, 2009. The College began this campaign in a recession and it will end in one.
Carrie Pelzel noted that the declining stock market affects educational and foundation endowments, and the value of companies, jobs, individual portfolios, and retirement investments.Dartmouth has responded to the current financial situation by focusing on its core mission, cutting expenses, rethinking the way it does business, and raising as much as possible for current operations and selected capital priorities.
She provided a brief history of giving. Donations dropped in October. Pelzel referred to the November 29, 2008, New York Times article Alma Mater Is Asking... . The article noted that
while many needs seem more urgent, these donations have a lasting effect;
every scholarship student has the same obligation to throw the rope back for others;
schools need to start acting like a cause and stop acting like an institution.
Giving to Dartmouth is giving to the students: the cause.The campaign is still above the trend line; however, we have $160 million to raise.Carrie Pelzel gave a brief overview of the current status of money raised and designations.The Dartmouth College Fund is currently lagging in dollars but ahead in participation.Many institutions are experiencing declines; however, we’re staying pretty strong.Carrie outlined what is being called “the Two-Forty-Two Factor.” It is the cost of the Dartmouth Experience per day per student:$242. Your contribution of $242 or more gives a student a day at Dartmouth.
A panel presentation on the Wearers of the Green followed. Panelists included JoAnn (Josie) Harper ’47a, director of Athletics and Recreation; Robert Ceplikas ’78, deputy director, Athletics; Wearers of the Green Master of Ceremonies Peter Roby ’79; Eugene F. (Buddy) Teevens III ’79, head football coach; and Christina (Chris) Wielgus, head coach, women’s basketball.
Josie Harper provided an overview of the Wearers program that began in 1984 and which will be held (the sixth gathering) on May 16, 2009, in Boston.It is Dartmouth’s signature athletics recognition event. Bob Ceplikas ’78 listed the criteria for eligibility for induction in 2009.There are currently 168 inductees for 2009.For more information on the Wearers, visit .The theme of the 2009 celebration will be “Honoring the Past, Building for the Future.”
A video presentation shown at the fifth gathering was played for councilors. Buddy Teevens ’79 spoke about the facilities in the new Floren Varsity House.Chris Wielgus mentioned that we are now comparable with other schools where male and female athletes work out together, which creates a sense of community that is passed down. Peter Roby ’79 mentioned that if not for his former Dartmouth basketball coach, Gary Walters, he would not have thought about being a coach/educator. Peter encouraged alumni councilors to attend the Wearers of the Green event, which will take place on the final day of the spring Alumni Council meeting.
Tours of Floren Varsity House were offered after the plenary session, followed by a group photo of the councilors.
Meetings of the Academic Affairs, Communications, Enrollment and Admissions, and Student Affairs Committees followed. See Committee Meeting Summaries.
A reception was held at the Daniel Webster Room with entertainment by the Dartmouth Aires, followed by dinner in Alumni Hall, Hopkins Center.
J.B. Daukas welcomed everyone and acknowledged the four past presidents of the Alumni Council who were in attendance: Al Collins ’53, Karen Calby ’81, Martha Beattie ’76, and Steve Mullins ’54.He presented flowers to Bonnie Bourdon who supports the work of the Alumni Council. J.B. Daukas provided a description of the Dartmouth Alumni Award and then presented the Alumni Award to Karen McKeel Calby ’81.
After dinner President Wright addressed the Alumni Council. President Wright noted that he had envisioned this year as a year of work, not as a year of farewells. He listed the following accomplishments from the past year.
Enhanced undergraduate program
The creation of the Board of Trustees Alumni Relations Committee and the Alumni Council Alumni Liaison Committee
Changes to the Alumni Council constitution
President Wright discussed the current financial situation and the impact on the College budget, noting that the College will reduce expenses.He mentioned that he and Susan Wright have taken time this fall to interact with students at sporting and arts events and weekly luncheons, and he even met with students who had come to the front of his house on the evening of the presidential election.President Wright closed by commenting that Dartmouth is marked by a sense of community; there is a deeply caring relationship between faculty and students.We need to protect this.We are united in a sense of purpose and we are ready for challenges. He thanked the alumni councilors for all the work they do for Dartmouth.
The Alumni Liaison Committee held a breakfast meeting with trustees who were in town.
President-elect Janine Avner ’80 opened the plenary session with a continuation of the discussion about the work of the Trustee Election Working Group.J.B. Daukas, John Mathias, and Rick Silverman responded to questions and comments posed by the alumni councilors.
John Mathias stressed the one person, one vote guideline that the working group has established. He said that some of the questions that have been emailed to him with respect to the election of alumni-nominated trustees have included
Why would the Alumni Council nominate two candidates?
Why not have an instant runoff?
Why change Trustee term lengths?
He said the last item is easy to answer.In the Association of Alumni constitution it states that there are five-year trustee terms, when in actuality there are four-year terms.The amendment makes a correction rather than a change.
In the foreseeable future, John said that he would expect the Alumni Council to nominate one candidate in anticipation of a petition candidate being placed on the ballot. If at some point there are no petition candidates on the ballot, the Alumni Council might want to nominate two candidates so that alumni have a choice. Rick Silverman noted that there was only one person nominated by the Alumni Council until 1990 when some alumni complained that they weren’t given a choice of candidates. There were few petition candidates then. Approval voting was established as a response to these concerns. With approval voting, you can have two or more candidates stand for one position. A voter can cast a vote for one, two, or all three candidates, with the candidate with the most votes winning the seat.
John Mathias noted that using instant runoff voting does not allow a candidate to receive a majority vote. Instant runoff voting has a lot of complexities and might generate unnecessary political controversy. There are more expenses for an actual runoff; however, the need for a runoff is unlikely to occur in head-to-head races.
After a period of discussion by alumni councilors, Dennis Ryan ’81 proposed the following resolution:
In recognition of the unique and long-standing role of the Association of Alumni in the selection of nominees for the Board of Trustees of the College, and
To assure the continued authority of the Association of Alumni in administering the alumni trustee nominee election process,
BE IT RESOLVED that:
The Alumni Council supports the principles set forth in the current draft of the proposed Amendments to the Constitution of the Association of Alumni, which will simplify and make more democratic the election process by, among other things,
(i)providing for a reduced number of required nominees,
(ii)instituting a “one person, one vote” system,
(iii)maintaining an open and fair, independent petition procedure, and
(iv)requiring a majority of votes cast to determine a winner (including, if necessary, a runoff election).
The Alumni Council recommends the alumni vote in favor of the proposed Amendments to the Constitution of the Association of Alumni.
The Alumni Council approved the resolution with the following votes cast.
Do Not Approve -1
Janine Avner asked council chairs with “burning issues” to come forward to report. Martha Hartfiel ’83, chair of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee,
mentioned that she and other members of the Alumni Council Executive Committee served students the night before at the “Late Night Breakfast” at Thayer Dining Hall. She said that it was a great experience and she hopes that in the future more alumni will take the opportunity to engage with the students in various ways. Martha Hartfiel noted that alumni councilors received two forms in their registration packets soliciting their nominations for trustees and for the various positions that need to be filled on the Alumni Council such as at-large members and the slates for the Nominating Committee and the Alumni Liaison Committee.She asked alumni councilors to complete the forms and turn them in.
Belinda Chu ’98, chair of the Young Alumni Committee, reported that her committee had an interesting discussion about Career Services. Belinda said that Career Services is expanding its services to alumni. Once she has an outline of the services, she will email councilors and ask them to share this information with their constituents.
Rick Silverman ’81, chair of the Alumni Liaison Committee, made a presentation about the work of his committee. He described the role of the committee and listed committee members, and gave an overview of the composition and selection of the members. He emphasized that it is important for all councilors to forward all feedback to the ALC mailbox as the ALC wants to know that council messages are getting out whether the response is positive or negative. The ALC mailbox address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Andy Horne ’87 prepared the first report and John Osborn ’88 has volunteered to prepare the second year’s report. The committee met with the Board of Trustees Alumni Relations Committee in September and expects to meet with them annually in the future.
A trustee report was made by Ed Haldeman’70, chair of the board; Al Mulley ’70, trustee and chair of the Presidential Search Committee; and trustee Jose Fernandez ’77.
Ed Haldeman thanked the councilors for what they do for Dartmouth, acknowledging that it’s not always easy. He said that Rick Silverman’s report by the Alumni Liaison Committee is a critically important part of communications. He noted that the trustees welcome the feedback. Ed Haldeman mentioned that the five new charter trustees were carefully selected and he appreciates the community support he has received for the selections.The trustees chosen represent the professional schools and they have expertise in health care and construction. The board is working together on the budget issues which will result in budget cuts. Some things will be changed but the goal is to keep student life and the academic experience viable. The board will make their decisions within approximately 90 days. Two other current important agenda items are facilities and the presidential search.
Jose Fernandez spoke about the facilities. The decision has been made to complete projects currently under construction while delaying or deferring some projects.
Al Mulley updated the Alumni Council on the presidential search. He commented that the committee has attempted to emphasize what is distinctive about Dartmouth, be as transparent as possible while still maintaining confidentiality, and search as actively as possible. From June to September the committee prepared a leadership statement. After the first of the year they hope to begin preliminary interviews. Timing is on track for a spring 2009 announcement.Ed Haldeman agreed that the search committee was ahead of schedule and the number and quality of people in the pool are highly regarded.
The following information was provided by the trustees in response to councilor questions and comments:
Jim Wright and College administrators are talking with their departments about priorities to reduce the budget by $40 million over two years. The final decisions will be made by the board of trustees. The board of trustees does not micromanage; however, the ultimate responsibility for policy lies with the board. Specific details pertaining to the budget will come in approximately 90 days, and the board will communicate them to the councilors so that councilors will communicate this information to their constituents.
Approximately $1 million will have to be spent by the College to defend against the recently filed lawsuit.
In addition to the undergraduate program, the professional schools are also included in the leadership statement produced by the presidential search committee and are widely acknowledged.
There has been a period of healing for alumni since the AOA election last June.
Typical tenure for college and university presidents has declined to 6-7 years. Dartmouth has been fortunate to have had presidents with long tenures.
It has been the history and the culture at Dartmouth to have the AOA run the elections. However, if the proposed constitutional amendment does not pass by a two thirds majority, then the College can run the elections.
J.B. Daukas, chair of the Election/Selection Committee, provided an update about the work of the committee. The committee broke into subcommittees to research and provide recommended best practices for the election/selection of representatives to the Alumni Council. This is not a constitutional item, but will be a compilation of suggestions. J.B. noted that, since the constituencies are very different, no one size fits all. The committee wants councilor feedback to create a list of best practices for each alumni group to use as a resource when electing/selecting their representatives. A suggestion was made to present a workshop to the class presidents at Class Officers Weekend.
Jonathan Murchinson ’91 and Christopher Robinson ’86, vice chair and chair of the Communications Committee, made a presentation about the Dartmouth YouTube channel.Jon described the various types of subject matter that can be posted on a college YouTube channel. Lectures are very popular. He said that an interesting statistic shows that 18–55 year olds (64 percent) use the platform and that there is a 50/50 ratio between male and female. Google has bought YouTube and there are select universities branded on the channel. There are currently 39 videos posted. Dartmouth statistics indicate a user age range of 45-54 with a 63-37 male-female ratio.
Janine Avner announced the Open Microphone session. No alumni asked questions or made comments during this session.
Janine opened the New Business session. John Manaras ’67 proposed that the following resolution be voted on by councilors.
PROPOSED ALUMNI COUNCIL RESOLUTION ON TRUSTEE LITIGATION
WHEREAS, a new lawsuit has been filed against the Trustees of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire Superior Court by seven self-appointed individual alumni claiming to represent the collective 69,000 alumni of the College seeking to compel the board to reverse its addition of eight charter trustees to the board and its decision to reform the trustee nomination process, which lawsuit is captioned Brooks, et al v. Trustees of Dartmouth College (the “Lawsuit”);
WHEREAS, a lawsuit filed by certain members of the Association of Alumni Executive Committee and requesting nearly identical relief as the new Lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice in June, 2008, after the alumni of Dartmouth College voted by a 60percent to 40percent margin to replace such committee members and to elect a new slate of officers to the Association who promised to dismiss the lawsuit;
WHEREAS, Dartmouth is in the process of searching for a new President of the College;
WHEREAS, Dartmouth is being and will be forced to divert and expend significant time and effort to defend against the Lawsuit to the detriment of the College and its students;
WHEREAS, the Lawsuit is counterproductive to ongoing discussions between duly elected alumni leadership and the Board of Trustees about improving the alumni trustee nomination process; and
WHEREAS, the Alumni Council of Dartmouth College is constitutionally charged with the responsibility to represent and speak on behalf of the alumni of the College:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED:That the Alumni Council opposes the Lawsuit and calls for its immediate withdrawal.As demonstrated by the 2008 Association of Alumni elections, the lawsuit is opposed by a strong majority of Dartmouth’s alumni.The continuation of such internecine litigation can only hinder the College’s presidential search, and is counterproductive to efforts to improve the alumni trustee nomination process.
Discussion ensued. The resolution was approved by the alumni councilors.The voting was as follows.
Do Not Approve -2
Additional discussion pertaining to the current litigation against the College followed.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:17 pm.
An Executive Committee debriefing followed.