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September 20, 2007, Conference Call
Participants: Bill Hutchinson, Kate Aiken, Tim Dreisbach, Frank Gado, Bert Boles, David Spalding, Cheryl Bascomb
Proxies: Marji Ross to Bert Boles; David Gale to Tim Dreisbach; Alex Mooney to Frank
Absent: Kathryn Wallop
Bill - Last night was a reasonably good meeting with Alumni Council participants, including: Bill, Tim, Frank, David Gale, David Spalding, and Alex from the AoA and from the Alumni Council: Rick Silverman, Jeff Weiss, JB Daukas, Rick Routher, Chrissie Drescher, and Anton Anderson.The group mostly looked at things we should tackle, but the meeting was well run.They're working on another date.
Tim - Confirmed there was a positive spirit in the room - put aside what trustees should do and what alumni should do.Good discussion about amendments and about balloting issues.
Frank - Showed it would have been good if we sat down with the trustees.
Tim - It showed we are not the gang of seven agreeing in lockstep on all issues.
Frank - Said that a point of disagreement, but not much of one, was whether we should work towards the best system possible and offer it to Trustees even if it's not exactly what the Trustees asked for.
Tim - It is good that we spent a lot of time on composition of the Nominating Committee and that Bill brought up the issue.Only one person resisted openly, Rick Routhier, who suggested that for simplicity sake we not change the composition of the committee now.
Frank - There was general endorsement of more cooperation between Nominating Committee and AoA leadership.I threw out my proposal to Governance Committee.
Bill - I invite all of us to join this discussion with the Council.
Tim - Looking for someone to lead this.There are people who want to get involved.
Bill - Tentative next meeting of the group is October 4.
Next item - Trustee resolution
Bill - Where do we go from here?
Tim - Rather than us throw things out, what do you think, Bill?
Bill - We lobbied for parity and didn't get it.Some want to force it.I don't think that would be productive.David Gale has proposed a trust for those who protest.I don't agree with that either.I'm trying to think of how to handle that part.On the resolutions, I'm not as upset as others are.There was a great resolution emphasizing the importance of research and teaching.I don't see much problem with reforms except they're telling us what to do.I am concerned about the timeline; I don't think they realized how tight it is.
Tim - The Board should have come back with substance on the faculty resolution such as requiring peer review of the faculty.
Frank - The resolution on research and teaching is apple pie and motherhood.There needs to be indicated action to define what is meant in that resolution on faculty.
Bert - The question is how to coerce or force change in the Trustees' decisions.Let me ask what means are available?I was contacted by a classmate who is a mediator to see if mediation could lead them to reconsider.I would like them to reconsider parity.Is there any chance they would change that?Bill said that he would be surprised if they would choose a different course.
Tim - What if we went back, said we understand the need to increase the Board to meet needs, but could it be a four person/four person or eight person/eight person if we also solved the concerns on elections?
Bill - Possibly, but that is a tall order.We would have to fix everything and then ask them to restore parity.
Tim - I doubt they will.
Frank - The time to take this up was during the summer.They ignored our call and have too much invested in this to reverse course now.
Tim - David Spalding?
David Spalding - I have not directly asked if parity is set in stone.I only discussed the charge to AoA and Council with them. I have heard their reasoning for changing parity.
Bert - Before we move ahead with anything, I would like to know if parity is set.
Tim - Election rules tie to parity.Even if we come up with great rules, if enough alumni are unhappy about parity then it can't pass.
Frank - Ultimately this is a political matter.If alumni are unhappy with the change in parity, they will vote against any constitutional changes.The time for mediation is down the road when it's clearer what the trustee rights are.
Tim- I agree.
Bert - I would like Bill to discuss this with Ed Haldeman to know if parity is open at all.
Tim - It was not on the call we had with Ed and Christine where they hinted on election flexibility but did not hint on flexibility on parity.
Frank - I hope Bert hasn't forgotten to rewrite my motion about the DAM urging the magazine to conform to its mission statement.It is vital that voting alumni be informed and exposed to conflicting views.
Tim - All of us should provide a position on what is our view of this decision to go out to all alumni.Marji is working on drafting this and it could be multiple pages.
Frank - It won't be a consensus.If we do come up with a statement, how do we get it out?Will David Spalding give money, the address list, and agree to post it?Do we have that access?
Spalding - You were able to get out your press release without help from my office.
Tim - There's a difference between action of majority of the committee versus something voted on officially by the Executive Committee.
Bill - This might need a minority report.
Tim - I'd be potentially okay with that, but I would need to see it.
Frank - Would you post it?
David Spalding - I will think about it.
Tim - What are the considerations?
David Spalding - Among other things, talking with trustees about whether this is a debate to be carried out using College resources when the decision has already been made.
Tim - You said earlier that candidates have free speech, not subject to your approval.Why a distinction between what candidates can put up vs. what the AoA can put up?
David Spalding - Candidates have their own pages; the AoA does not have a page, it's a page the College uses to describe the AoA.
Frank - That's outrageous, how can we keep alumni informed between elections?
Tim - So we will come up with a statement and then ask the College to post it and send it out in Speaking of Dartmouth.
Bill - David would need a specific request.
Tim - The decision should be made irrespective of content.
Kate - It seems it's a content based question.
Tim - If it's not libelous, scandalous, etc., David still wants to decide not to send.
Bill - It's a use of College resources.
Frank - When will you let us know?
David Spalding - Three weeks.
Frank - Come on, David.Your mind works faster than that. It's not so complex.It should not take three weeks.
Tim - We should continue putting together a statement, and we should check with Marji on where she is.Alumni are calling for this statement across the board.
Cheryl - I haven't seen that request from anyone.
Kate - I've seen people ask for the two women in the gang of seven to speak, but nothing more.
Tim - They're out there.
Bill - Can you collate those requests and send those to us?If there's a hue and cry, send it to us.Sounded like you wanted a unified statement.
Tim - No, doesn't need to be unanimous.The Supreme Court acts even when it's 6 to3.
Frank - So far alumni have only seen what Bill says.Our alumni would think we agree based on your statement, need to hear from all of us.
Bill --Frank, you don't have trouble getting your views out.
Frank - No, we need College support.We haven't the financial resources.
Bill - You should get Peter Robinson to help us given his ability.
Frank - That's not the help we need.
Bert - Understand there is disagreement here over websites.There are other medium.Is Marji drafting something?If so, when do we review and comment?
Tim - Should be at next meeting which is?
Kate - Tuesday, October 2.I will be out of the country three weeks in October.
Bill - Let's move on to David Gale's motion:
Moved, that the Association of Alumni Executive Committee create a Trust, managed by Charter Trust Company, to which Dartmouth's alumni may donate; the funds in this Trust to be donated to the College at such time as the Board of Trustees is comprised of an equal number of members elected by the Board ("charter Trustees") and elected by a vote of all voting alumni ("alumni Trustees"), or at such time as a three-fifths majority (60%) of alumni voting in an all-media vote determine that the Trust is no longer necessary.Further, that any interest from this Trust be used as the Association of Alumni Executive Committee deems appropriate, including, but not limited to, meeting normal operating expenses of the Association and scholarship grants to undergraduate students.Further, that the amount of funds in and number of unique donors to this Trust be announced to alumni in the Secretary/Treasurer's report at each annual meeting, and subsequently communicated directly to the Board of Trustees.And, further, that the existence of this Trust, and instructions for donating money to it, be announced annually to all alumni through whatever means deemed appropriate by the Executive Committee of the Association.David Gale is tasked with coordinating the creation of this Trust with Charter Trust Company.
Tim - I seconded the original motion and I second this revised one.David Gale feels this is a positive action to take.It's a way to approach parity.Give people a chance to give money to leverage this.David says we should not be encouraging people to give to this rather than the DCF, that would not be good for the College.I don't know if it will work, it didn't work at Princeton, but if it does work it will strengthen our position.
Kate - I have a concern that setting it up and announcing it makes it an endorsement and I don't think you can say otherwise especially when you make the point that it strengthens our position.
Tim - We are not neutral on parity, but this is another way to give, just like people give to Friends groups.
Kate - I appreciate that, but this would be a call to action to divert funds.
Frank - I get asked about people not giving to the College, and I tell them that giving is up to their conscience.I don't think this will work.It will never generate enough money to cover the Association needs.Despite my reservations, I will support the motion.
Tim - Speaking for David Gale, he doesn't know if it will work.I share Frank's reservations, but I don't see the downside.
Frank - This could drag us down if it doesn't work.I would support it, but I'm not ready to vote today.
Bert - I agree with Kate how it will be seen, I share the concern that without a head of steam it will fizzle out.I would vote against this today, but maybe we should wait until we can hear from David Gale.
Frank - The time is not right to consider this.
Kate moved to table the motion and Bert seconded her motion.
Frank - This means it's the first item for next meeting, doesn't mean we need to act then.
Tim - I would like more time to consider this.
Bill - It might be okay, if someone else did this and we could tell people to give there, but we shouldn't do it.
Tim - The advantage for the College is that people are still giving, therefore easier to get them back if we let them give to this.
Vote:All were in favor of tabling, and Tim cast David Gale's proxy in favor.
Bill - David Gale has contacted people to consult with us on this.
Tim - We talked about mediation, sounded like we should not pursue that now.Frank, is there anything on the legal front?
Frank - It is a possibility, and we should reserve that for our next meeting.Now that Bert is back, it bothers me that "vox" is being used as a verb by Dartmouth College.Can I ask David Spalding to stop doing that?
Kate - Signs off and gives her proxy to Bill.
Bert - Signs off and gives his proxy to Frank.
Tim - Is there a serious reason you bring this up?
Frank - I shiver at how far we've gone.It stinks like Madison Avenue.It's meaningless.I just thought I'd bring this up.
Tim - If anyone goes to the Trustee events, are we designating spokespeople or do people speak as individuals?
Bill - We should go as individuals.
Adjourned at 1:30 p.m.
David P. Spalding
Secretary and Treasurer
Vice President for Alumni Relations