Saturday, September 18, 2004
President Michael McClintock '80 opened the meeting and welcomed all present. He introduced his colleagues on the Association of Alumni executive committee and thanked them for their contributions. He then reported on the recent alumni trustee balloting process, which resulted in the election of T.J. Rodgers '70 to the Board of Trustees. Voter participation was 24%, up from 20% in 2003, with 14,661 alumni casting 20,584 votes. Mr. Rodgers received 8,025 votes, 55% of those voting and 39% of votes cast, since alumni have the option to vote for multiple candidates. He asked those present to also thank the other candidates, Bruce Duthu '80, Dan Papp '69 and Laura Stein '82, quoting Teddy Roosevelt by noting that "Credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena."
McClintock then noted that the Association's executive committee has revised the Alumni Trustee Nomination Guidelines to allow all candidates to communicate with alumni during the balloting period. Each candidate will be allowed to send two emails to the alumni body, addressing any questions and/or concerns that arise during the balloting period, and stating their case for election directly to the alumni. The executive committee will review the emails before they are circulated among the alumni. Copies of the revised guidelines are available from the Alumni Relations Office and are posted on the Association's web site.
Report from the Alumni Governance Task Force by Josiah Stevenson '57, chair
The task force was commissioned last February by the Alumni Council and the Association of Alumni to address the failure of the last constitutional amendment to gain 75% approval, although that constitution received a supermajority of 71%. By way of background, there are two principal organizations that have two separate constitutions and governing boards: the Association of Alumni and the Alumni Council. Confusion about the purpose and function of these two organizations is widely present in the alumni body. Three years ago, a joint committee was established to address alumni governance issues and after two years it offered a unified construct for alumni organization and a single constitution. The new constitution failed by nine votes last December. The task force was created to address the status quo and come up with an improved construct.
The task force is charged with reviewing the last draft constitution, obtaining additional feedback from alumni, propose modifications to the constitutional construct, and create a final constitution to be voted on by the Alumni Council and the Association of Alumni. Membership includes: Jim Adler '60, Anton Anderson '89, Trevor Burgess '94, John Daukas '84, Kelley Fead '78, Martha Hennessey '76, Bill Hutchinson '76, Joe Mandel '60, and Joe Stevenson '57. Since the task force was formed there have been several phone conferences and two in-person meetings. His aspiration for the task force is to come up with the best alumni governance system that fosters good communication from a broad spectrum of alumni, and he also hopes to build bridges among disparate alumni groups.
Elements of the original draft constitution that are good ideas: simpler voting for alumni trustee, better representation for classes and affiliated alumni organizations, direct voting for at-large representatives, improved democratic processes for election of class and club representatives, and all-media voting on constitutional amendments.
The task force wants to do serious outreach with its proposals to alumni before a new constitution is proposed. Relatively non-controversial issues include: five representatives for all post-50 th reunion classes, and the number of signatures needed for a trustee petition drive. More serious issues include: the number of representatives for affiliated alumni organization and the threshold for approval for constitutional amendments (75% or 2/3?). The most serious issues are: should all alumni governance be under one organizational aegis? How should communications be fostered with the Board of Trustees? Should there be direct election of association leadership? On the subject of all-media voting on constitutional amendments, what is the best mechanism to ensure rational and considered discussion before a vote is taken? He feels there needs to be a provision to ensure ample opportunity for discussion.
Moving ahead, it is imperative for the task force to move quickly and come up with tentative working answers and take them out for discussion with all alumni. Stevenson would like to hear a lot of feedback on a constitution that works better and is acceptable to the vast majority of alumni.
Eugene Ellsbree: How will communications among alumni occur? Answer: Town meetings, articles in college publications, electronic media, etc. Feedback will be consolidated prior to a final proposal.
Bill Tell: The matter needs to be handled with great care; he worried about 'doing away' with the Association and mentioned that many alumni don't like the way that the 'ship' is going. Answer: There has never been any proposal to do away with the Association of Alumni.
Report of the Nominating Committee, by Christen O'Connor '87
The nominating committee of the Association looked for strong volunteer involvement as it thought about presenting its slate of candidates for officers and the executive committee. It sought a demonstrated commitment to Dartmouth College through broad array of alumni service, as well as a diversity of alumni affiliation, geography, gender, Dartmouth class, and ethnicity. In this way, the committee felt the slate would best represent the alumni body.
Candidates presented by the nominating committee were as follows:
President: John Walters '62, Alpharetta, Georgia
1st Vice President: Anton Anderson '89, Altadena, California
2nd Vice President: Merle Adelman '80, North Chelmsford, Massachusetts
Secretary-Treasurer: Nelson Armstrong '71, Hanover, New Hampshire
Allen Collins '53, Boston, Massachusetts
Jeanhee Kim '90, New York, New York
John Meck '67, Denver, Colorado
Frederick Roesch '60, Etna, New Hampshire
Kaja Schuppert '95, Boston, Massachusetts
Precious Stargell '85, Atlanta, Georgia
Steven White '77, New Rochelle, New York
Candidates offered by petition were as follows:
President: John B. Daukas '84, Dover, Massachusetts
1 st Vice President: William Hutchinson '76, Nantucket, Massachusetts
2 nd Vice President: Eugene V. Elsbree II '55, Atherton, California
Secretary-Treasurer: John R. Harrington '80, Concord, New Hampshire
John D. Flitner '52, Santa Rosa, California
Malcolm Robinson '57, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
John F. Steel M.D. '54, La Jolla, California
Alexander J. Wilson '01, New York, New York
John F. MacGovern '80, Windsor, VT
Janos Marton '04, Hanover, NH
Joseph C. Asch '79, Hanover, NH
John MacGovern '80, asked if the secretary-treasurer is subject to term limits. The Nominating Committee chair, Mike McClintock said he did not believe so, by tradition. (The secretary-treasurer position has historically been occupied by the Secretary of the College or the Director of Alumni Relations.)
Quentin Kopp '49 asked if campaigning for association officers is prohibited. The nominating committee has never been asked to rule on this question in the past.
Bill Tell presented the opposition slate. He questioned whether volunteer leadership experience is the appropriate qualification for officers.
Statements were heard first by candidates for Association president.
John Walters '62: Talked about his many years of alumni activity. He believes that alumni service is an important criterion for leadership. As a result of his alumni volunteer work, he does know something about alumni affairs and student affairs. He has always been willing to step up to the plate for Dartmouth and its alumni. He perceives a strong sense of independence among alumni volunteers and has never felt used by the administration to further its own agenda, a charge that has been bandied about by some on the petition slate.
John Daukas '84: Wants to reach out to all 63,000 alumni to hear views of everyone, and to reach out to disaffected alumni. As an alumnus, he has done alumni interviewing and was on his reunion committee. Most important he has been an adviser to Kappa Sig (Chi Gam) fraternity and was recently asked to join the Alumni Governance Task Force. He believes that the alumni, students and faculty are the college, not the trustees. Trustees themselves are making alumni communications a priority and he wants to work with them. He would like to see surveys, town meetings, and other dialogue happen with alumni. He doesn't want to micro manage the college, but believes that the alumni view does need to be heard and respected. He wants to ensure that all alumni can express their love for Dartmouth.
Statements were then presented by the vice presidential candidates.
Anton Anderson '89: He is a self-proclaimed newcomer to the Association, although he has been involved heavily in the alumni club system. He is also very excited to be part of the Alumni Governance Task Force and to create a governance system that will foster communications among all alumni.
Bill Hutchinson '76: He would like to continue reforms that the alumni opposition has initiated, and to be a conduit for alumni opinion.
Merle Adelman '80: A class president, she is pleased to be asked to be part of this slate. As a professional in the corporate and non-profit sector, she feels she could put her marketing expertise to good use in this officer position.
Gene Elsbree '55: A retired executive from California, he knew David McLaughlin well. He has not been involved as an alumni volunteer, but does believe that the Association needs new leadership. He claimed to be disenchanted and disgusted with Dartmouth over the last five years.
The candidates for secretary-treasurer then spoke.
Nelson Armstrong '71: As director of alumni relations, he is following in the footsteps of other secretary-treasurers such as Ernest Martin Hopkins '01, Sidney Hayward '26, Michael McGean '49, and Mike Choukas '51. He believes this partnership serves the Association well, and asked those present for their vote.
John Harrington '80: The position statement circulated by John Walters does not reflect his views. He accepted the petition nomination because open governance is important to him. He believes that the Association executive committee should not have the power to decide how alumni trustee elections and alumni governance should work. Steps toward more open governance have happened because alumni opposition has pushed it.
Some of the petition candidates for the executive committee asked to speak.
John Flitner '52: Wants to see reform, better communications, opposes the change of Dartmouth from a college to a university, wants to reduce minority groups on campus, and wants to review Dartmouth's obligation to education. He endorsed Daukas for president.
Malcolm Robinson '57: Expressed concern about Dartmouth's institutional governance, and thinks things right now are a shame.
John Steele '54 (former trustee): Was alerted that there was something afoot to do away with the Association of Alumni. At the very least the communications effort has been poor.
One candidate from the nominating committee's slate asked to speak.
Precious Stargell '85: Introduced herself and what she would bring: a spirit of good will, enthusiasm, passion and inclusion of all alumni views.
John Hatheway asked why the opposition slate has no women on it. The reply was that the deadline for nominations did not allow time for the petitioners to include women.
Quentin Kopp asked John Harrington if he would abide by the three year term limit. He said yes.
Joe Asch '79: A self-proclaimed supporter and critic of the college. He believes that the budget process is opaque and not transparent and wanted to know if the candidates would address this with Board of Trustees. Would candidates push to have operating budget be more open? Daukas responded that we need greater transparency and would bring this up if alumni wanted him to.
Kate Aiken '92: Who can reach out to her so that her voice is heard? Anton Anderson responded that he would do this through listserves, email, web site, club system and in person. Bill Hutchinson suggested meetings of the Association in places other than Hanover.
Alex Wilson: Is there a vision of the Association that goes beyond the oversight of trustee elections? Alumni are disillusioned and we need to reach out to them.
Voting for officers was called.
The slate of officers and executive committee presented by the Association of Alumni Nominating Committee received the majority vote, and all were elected to their respective positions. The breakdown is as follows:
Walters - 168 (64%)
Daukas - 95 (36%)
1st Vice President:
Anderson - 172 (66%)
Hutchinson - 88 (34%)
2nd Vice President:
Adelman - 170 (66%)
Elsbree - 89 (34%)
Armstrong - 156 (60%)
Harrington -105 (40%)
Association Executive Committee (collectively 67%):
Collins - 185
Kim - 171
Meck - 175
Roesch - 176
Schuppert - 178
Stargell - 181
White - 165
Petition Executive Committee Slate: (collectively 33%):
Flitner - 88
Robinson - 92
Steel - 101
Wilson - 77
MacGovern - 82
Marton - 77
Asch - 87
Discussion and vote on constitutional amendments
1. Amendment to Article VI (Order of Business)
The first sentence of Article VI (Order of Business) of the constitution of the Association of Alumni shall be amended to read and, if passed, become effective at the time of the next annual or special meeting of the Association:
"Annual meetings of the Association, or any Special meeting convened by the executive committee, shall be conducted pursuant to Robert's Rules of Order."
Bill Tell spoke in favor of the amendment, John Walters spoke against it.
Joe Mandel subscribes to Walters' position. Adoption of Roberts Rules is counterproductive to making governance more open. The formality is intimidating to many, and some would find it very tedious to be constrained by Roberts Rules.
John Flitner: Why not adopt Roberts Rules?
Quentin Deming: Pointed out that most faculties use Roberts Rules of Order.
Bill Montgomery: Joe Stevenson's committee is undergoing a complete review of constitution now. Separate amendments should not be entertained at this time.
Quentin Kopp: Montgomery's statement is stale. Democracy is important and people should be able to vote by mail and email.
Voting took place on the amendment, which required 75% approval to pass.
RESULTS: A total of 260 votes were cast. Yes: 138 (53%), No: 107 (41%), Abstain: 15. The 75% threshold was not reached and the amendment thus failed.
2. Amendment to Article VII (Amendments):
Article VII of the constitution of the Association of Alumni shall be amended to read:
"This constitution may be amended by a three-fourths vote of alumni cast by mail, email, internet or in person."
Bill Tell spoke in favor of the amendment and Henry Nachman spoke against it. Nachman noted that the Alumni Governance Task Force will propose a constitution next year on which all alumni will be able to vote by all forms of media (mail and electronic).
Kelley Fead: There are pitfalls with this amendment. She urged people to wait until the task force's work is completed.
Stan Colla: raised a question about timing. Would there be time limits on implementing amendments?
The vote on this amendment was called. A 75% approval vote was required for passage.
RESULTS: A total of 259 votes were cast. Yes: 141 (54%), No: 102 (39%), Abstain - 16. The amendment failed.
There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:45 p.m.