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Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Dartmouth's Trustee Election

Just received this email today from the Dartmouth Asian Pacific American Alumni Association (DAPAAA), whose mailing list I have hastily unsubscribed to.
Hi all,

We'd like to draw your attention to the upcoming Trustee Elections (starting March 7). Whatever your views, your vote COUNTS. These trustees will impact our administration and our students and our prospectives. A helpful site that someone alerted me to is: that gives overviews of all the candidates.

PS We have some good news re: tenure-track professor for Asian American literature...let's keep these good news coming. Please don't forget to subscribe to the listserve: job listings, news, and local events are posted there.

I also wanted to pass on this email: these Trustee elections are fueling strong sentiments on all sides, so FYI:


This trustee election matters tremendously for the future of Dartmouth College and it's critical that all alumni take the time to understand the issues and positions of each candidate, and VOTE. To refresh your memory, the trustee election allows for multiple voting, so you can vote for one or six people, with the persons having the highest numerical total winning.

As a concerned alumna, I believe that the two petition candidates ­ Peter Robinson '79 and Todd Zywicki '88 -- present destructive views of the College, that their election would be highly damaging for the institution and President James Wright, and that their messages about wanting to make Dartmouth better are really 'code' for going
backwards. I highly urge you NOT to vote for them, and tell others as well; here are some points I would encourage you to share:

Athletics ­ Dartmouth athletes would be stunned to hear that they're mediocre, per Peter Robinson (neither Robinson or Zywicki were athletes at Dartmouth). The women's basketball team is undefeated in Ivy League play, and men's hockey is ranked 17th nationally, with women's ranked #2. Men's soccer won the Ivy League title, the figure skating team was national champion in 2004, the Rugby Football team has qualified for the nationals this spring, and men's basketball just defeated Princeton, Cornell and Columbia: quite a hat trick for first year coach Terry Dunn!

If athletics is in disrepute at Dartmouth, consider the University of Michigan: Dartmouth has 34 teams with a student population of 4,500, while national powerhouse Michigan has only 27, with a student population of 38,000. Since 1969, Dartmouth has increased the student body by 35 percent, but the number of teams by 70 percent. President Wright has stated repeatedly that intercollegiate athletics activities are a central part of the educational experience at Dartmouth.

Football ­ Buddy Teevens '79 is the new Dartmouth football coach and he's satisfied that Dartmouth is an environment to which he can recruit football players successfully, with the full support of the President, the athletic director, the dean of admissions and the dean of students ­ all focused on supporting Dartmouth's strongest winning record in the Ivy League.

Undergraduate focus ­ What Dartmouth has is what every other college wants. The Dartmouth academic experience is rich and full, and student satisfaction is at its highest levels ever. If either petition candidate spent time on campus, they'd see how vibrant student life is, with nearly 300 student groups. The number of applicants to the class of 2009 is the highest in Dartmouth history!

To quote students in The Dartmouth: "Dartmouth isn't perfect, but keep it all in perspective. To focus on what's wrong about Dartmouth is to miss out on everything that's right about it." The petition candidates claim the administration (and current Board) has weakened Dartmouth; clearly virtually all students disagree!

Dartmouth's future ­ Let's talk about continuing Dartmouth's pre-eminence in 2050, not what Dartmouth was in 1950. No great institution focuses on its rear view mirror. A new Booz Allen survey recognized Dartmouth as one of the 10 most enduring institutions in the world, with the likes of GE, Oxford and The Rolling Stones.Dartmouth isn't 'broken,' in fact it's terrific.

Faculty ­ The Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience targets support for 25 new Arts & Sciences faculty positions to further decrease class size. 96% of Dartmouth students surveyed are satisfied with faculty! If Dartmouth's priorities change, there's a substantial risk that the College would lose many bright lights, especially younger, talented educators.

The petition candidates say Dartmouth faculty members don't like teaching, preferring research. Yet student guides to colleges consistently rate Dartmouth faculty as among the most exciting and involved professors across the country. Zywicki himself hasn't taught students at George Mason University for TWO YEARS as he worked at the FTC and is now visiting at Georgetown Law Center. Dartmouth professors teach at Dartmouth!

Alumni involvement ­ Neither petition candidate has meaningful participation as alumni. Other alumni have contributed MILLIONS of man-hours, interviewing and recruiting students, running clubs and class organizations, serving on Alumni Council, contributing to the College Fund, etc. It's fine to be an outsider, but you owe the institution involvement FIRST. "Hijacking" the Dartmouth Board of Trustees isn't the way we operate at Dartmouth.

Greek organizations ­ today there are more Greek organizations than when either petition candidate was a student. There is no 'war against fraterNities and sororities.' President Wright has publicly stated his support for them, and recently Phi Delta Fraternity was rechartered.

Free speech ­ the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is a self-appointed group that allegedly monitors speech on campuses. It rates most Ivy League colleges, as well as Stanford and MIT and many other top colleges, poorly. Why isn't Peter Robinson fired up about Stanford? Moreover, Trustee TJ Rodgers has written to FIRE recommending upgrading Dartmouth's rating because HE IS CONVINCED THAT THE COLLEGE PROTECTS FREE SPEECH!

The petition candidates claim to be running independent campaigns, but their materials were mailed from the same PO box in White River Junction and are EXACTLY the same. Mmmm.

Lastly, Robinson and Zywicki both speak about their debt to Dartmouth for their education, their friendships and their careers. Has either repaid that debt? Ask them. After all, alumni generosity is what allows Dartmouth to continue to educate each generation and if you're not supporting the College, you're preventing someone else from benefiting as you have.

Momentum is building for this point of view, and a website,, is now live. It contains facts in support of the College, designed to share another perspective with alumni about the issues, since the petition candidates are apparently keeping their websites live.

We really need people willing to step forward and endorse these points of view (as part of an organization called Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth.) We hope that you are comfortable allowing your name to be used on this site, and if there are others who you know are comfortable being named, please let us know as well. It's important
that we demonstrate the breadth of support for the College across the alumni body, since one misperception is that most alumni are angry and disenfranchised. Thanks for your help!
I'll add my comments in a later post. For now, check out the extensive election coverage at Dartlog.