AGTF Blog

This is the combined blog for the members of the Alumni Governance Task Force, a body commissioned jointly by the Association of Alumni (AOA) and the Alumni Council. As volunteers, we have a developed a constitution that reforms many alumni governance processes, providing for greater transparency, greater democracy, and greater opportunities for broad alumni involvement. Use the search box (above) to view our archives to see the discussions that occurred throughout the comment-gathering period. Please join the AOA Blog for an ongoing discussion of these issues. If you have questions, contact us directly by sending an email to AGTaskForce [at] alum [dot] dartmouth [dot] org; it will go to all of us, and we will respond to your email.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Affiliated Groups

The AGTF has maintained the recommendation of the Joint Committee and Draft 15 to maintain the Alumni Council tradition of extending membership to the officially recognized Affiliated Groups (we did not want to take away their existing representation). Each officially recognized Affiliated Group would have two seats on the Assembly so long as they maintained official recognition by the College.

The bar is set high for official recognition: http://alumni.dartmouth.edu/groups/aapolicies.html and is limited to those groups of alumni who have been "historically marginalized."

As the makeup of the alumni body has changed, so too has the way that some alumni affiliate and interact with the College. Until the 1970's the student body was all male and predominantly white. As Dartmouth becomes increasingly diverse, we think it is important that we also encourage similar diversity of participation in our alumni governance organizations.

Since ALL alumni recognize that greater alumni involvement is one of the primary objectives in our efforts to strengthen all aspects of alumni governance, moving from four Affiliate Group representatives (as in the Alumni Council) to eight - just 7% of the proposed 122-member Assembly - seems both reasonable and appropriate, given that these groups have voiced a desire to have greater participation.

For some alumni, the class construct is just not relevant - and does not tug at the heartstrings. In a poll conducted by D-GALA, they found that 100% of those surveyed more closely affiliated with D-GALA than with their class. D-GALA was able to use this information to help the Dartmouth College Fund greatly increase its member's DCF participation through direct solicitation.

Affiliated Groups, like Clubs, Club officers, Class officers, District Enrolment Directors, etc., are just another way for Dartmouth's alumni to interact with the college they love.

UPDATE: Edited slightly to reflect the fact that the Affiliated Groups currently have seats on the Alumni Council.

28 Comments:

  • ---------------------------------
    The bar is set high for official recognition: http://alumni.dartmouth.edu/groups/aapolicies.html and is limited to those groups of alumni who have been "historically marginalized."
    ----------------------------------

    While 100 members may or may not consitute a "high bar", there certainly is no set requirement for the membership that these groups need to maintain. Some of the officially recognized groups have stable and healthy memberships, some do not. All are given the same representation. Can you imagine Dartmouth College ever revoking an alumni group's charter? Even if the member ship fell to a third of the 100 member figure?

    Until the alumni office mandates and enforces a "high bar" for group membership, we should not offer these groups representation.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:50 AM, December 01, 2005  

  • Anonymous,

    The memberships of these groups are only growing and the smallest represents hundreds and hundreds of alumni. I hope that black alumni, for example, never have only 33 living alumni!

    I think there is a general misunderstanding of the affiliated groups. They represent all alumni that fall within a particular category. DGALA represents all gay and lesbian alumni - there are thousands. BADA represents all black alumni - there are thousands - and has them all as their members - just like a class.

    Many classes have fewer than 400 members and unfortunately are shrinking but we are not debating their validity or recognition.

    The face of Dartmouth College is changing and the way that many alumni choose to affiliate with the college is changing. The members of affiliated groups are bringing a new and vibrant spirit of alumni affiliation and volunteerism.

    Thank you for your comment and I hope this clarifies some of your questions.

    Trevor R. Burgess ‘94

    By Blogger Trevor Burgess '94, at 6:14 AM, December 01, 2005  

  • From the original post: "moving from four Affiliate Group representatives (as in the Alumni Council) to eight...seems both reasonable and appropriate, given that these groups have voiced a desire to have greater participation."

    Well, color me surprised. The affilate groups want to have greater control over the course of the alumni association, and thence the college itself? What a shock! Here I was expecting most of them to want to just, you know, drink beer in the woods, or something.

    Ok, enough with the sarcasm--but I hope you get my point. Giving a group more influence simply because they asked for it is, well, silly. Why stop at two representatives? Why not give them ten? I'm sure they wouldn't mind! (Oops, sorry, slipped back into sarcasm there...)

    And, to Trevor's comment that, "Many classes have fewer than 400 members and unfortunately are shrinking but we are not debating their validity or recognition." While this is true as stated, it's also true that classes beyond 50 years ago are not as strongly represented as the younger classes (1 rep for every five classes, if I remember correctly). Since these older classes are the ones that are most likely to have less than 400 members, it'd be very easy to argue that, in fact, the new constitution (as well as the old one) does, in fact, "debate their validity [and] recognition".

    Finally, to the larger point:
    These set-aside seats, rather than eliminating or mitigating discrimination, are inherently discriminatory. To argue that they benefit "historically marginalized" peoples is ridiculous--the Jews, for instance, are arguably the most historically marginalized people still extant today, but they don't receive any bonus for that. I'd be surprised if any living Dartmouth Alum had been a slave at some point, and, even if they have (or are descended from slaves), isn't the fact that they were able to get a degree from one of the best colleges in the nation a clear sign that they've overcome the problems caused by that slavery (generally viewed to be poverty and illiteracy)? Why should a successful asian lawyer get more representation in the association than a white engineer?

    It just doesn't make sense to give any subset of the alumni more representation than any other subset. We're all sons and daughters of Dartmouth; we've all benefitted from going there, regardless of our personal stories.

    By Anonymous David Gale '00, at 9:23 AM, December 01, 2005  

  • Trevor wrote:

    "I think there is a general misunderstanding of the affiliated groups. They represent all alumni that fall within a particular category."

    As an alum whose racial background falls under (at least) two alumni groups, I vigorously protest that these groups "represent" me just because I happen to have the same ethnic background as them. I (and many others) have made the decision NOT to join these groups because I do not wish their representation.

    My point: it is very dangerous to assume that a group represents or speaks for a larger body of people than those who have taken the time to join or vote as part of the membership.

    Whether you give these groups 1 vote,10 votes, or veto power over the bodies; don't do so on the mistaken assumption that they magically "represent all alumni that fall within a particular category."

    - SK '03

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:25 AM, December 01, 2005  

  • Until you're ready to add a seat to the council for the DOC, the Dartmouth, and every Greek house and sports team, I refuse to buy your explanation that "for some alumni, the class construct is just not relevant - and does not tug at the heartstrings."

    Based on the Larimore flap about a year ago, I think it's a fair point to make that many ex-football players don't find any construct relevant other than the football team.

    Based on the fallout after the SLI, I think it's safe to say that for many members of Greek houses, the house is a much more "relevant construct" than the class.

    Based on my experience at Dartmouth and afterward, I don't think that the class construct is particularly relevant for anyone, and is an insufficient justification for this.

    Just admit that the council is selling out to interest groups. Please. "Historically marginalized" implies that Dartmouth is in danger of becoming a male WASP-ocracy if these seats aren't added. Either show me the minority alumni who have had any trouble getting leaderships in Dartmouth organizations, or just admit the truth.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:40 PM, December 01, 2005  

  • Apparently, anonymous comments are now being ignored.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:59 AM, December 05, 2005  

  • "Apparently, anonymous comments are now being ignored."

    Well, on the main page, right up near the top, it does say, "NOTE: Anonymous comments run the risk of not being taken seriously, or being deleted..." And it's not like it's hard to post non-anonymously; just select "Other" under the "Choose an identity" label, and put in a name. You don't even need to supply a web page!

    If you want them to pay attention & take your comments seriously, the least you can do is to associate a name with your post. (If you post anonymously, how can they even tell if you really are an alum? Do we want the AGTF to listen to people who could just as easily be Harvard alumni?)

    By Anonymous David Gale '00, at 11:19 AM, December 05, 2005  

  • I can see little benifit in granting special representative statis for groups of "historically marginlized alumni" and much potential harm. To do so will create a strong likelyhood that this will further exasperbate the contraversy already evident concerning their separate statis and further separate them from the body as a whole.
    Further it creates the likelyhood that other relatively small groups will want (demand?) similar statis, getting us further away from that for which we should be striving, a united aluimni body open to all, representing all and giving equal voice to all.
    Let us instead celebrate what brings us together, love for Dartmouth and a desire to see it continue to prosper, not what separated us in the past or for that matter what separates us yet today .

    By Anonymous E. P. Carver, at 2:42 PM, December 20, 2005  

  • Please note my related comments under the Alumni/College Relationship thread.

    By Blogger Tim Dreisbach '71, at 1:05 PM, February 04, 2006  

  • There have been various comments on both AGTF and AoA forum threads related to group representation. I am posting this here because it seems the most likely spot where people new to the discussion will start.

    I believe the AGTF could gain more support to pass their recommended constitition by making the following change:

    1. Eliminate the can-of-worms opened by the subjective "historically disadvantaged" requirement for affiliate groups.
    2. Permit a group representative for any collection of alumni who have a self-indentified common interest that is related to Dartmouth.
    3. Require that the group is "real" and "lasting", in that it have some critical mass of members (100?250?), a written charter/constitution, and that it have been in existence as evidenced by meetings/activities for some number of years. (3-5?)
    4. Allow each group one seat in the new representative body.

    #1 would eliminate much controversy
    #2 would allow representation for current (ethnic) affiliate groups, as well as all those those having graduating class and geography (i.e. the classes and the regional "clubs") as their binding force.
    #3 would open this up to all legitimate interests. If there is AGTF concern about an unwieldy legislative body with too many representatives, than raise the membership limit to be a recognized group. Certainly recognition for representation should be a function of the AoA and not the College administration.
    #4 would allow group participation while philosphically adhering closer to a "one person/one vote" concept.

    Note that this form also would handle older classes. As older classes drop below the threshold in individual membership, they can join a single group for purposes of having and electing a representative.

    Seems more fair, and actually much simpler than the current hodge-podge.

    The devil is in the details... any comments?

    ps The alumni relations office might consider doing the same for how it recognizes and works with groups of alumni. They should support a reunion of Ledyard canoe club enthusiasts just as they would a similar-sized group of hispanic alums.

    By Blogger Tim Dreisbach '71, at 12:37 PM, February 09, 2006  

  • Tim,

    I have to say, I disagree. My concern is that of equal representation. Under the current proposal, a black, gay alum gets five representatives, while a white, hetero alum gets one, which is obviously discriminatory; your proposal would exacerbate the situation--an alum who is a member of a wide variety of groups gains far more representatives than those who belong to only one or two (if any).

    By Anonymous David Gale '00, at 3:16 AM, February 10, 2006  

  • to All:

    My first instinct is to agree with David, though I'm persuaded by arguments to the contrary.

    One must ask, is there a moral obligation or IMPORTANTLY a pragmatic advantage to the College in recognizing and allowing groups to have a voice in governance? Keep in mind we are talking about regional clubs, sororities, the very active Cabin&Trail email group, etc., not just ethnic affiliates.

    There are arguments pro and con to the former, re racial groups. I have only heard positives about the latter. If the answer to this question is NO, then David is right. If the answer is YES, then one must find an approach that is as fair and workable as possible. The current proposal, as David points out, is unfair. Thus my prior suggestion as an improvement to the current hodge-podge approach.

    As to the concern some people have more repesentation than others, I'd suggest that the (single) vote by a group is reflective of the group, not individuals. As Daniel Webster got the Supreme Court to agree, private contracts have validity and organizations have rights just as individuals do.

    Aside: At least with regional clubs, anyone can join and thus have a say. According to the affiliate charters, one not of the ethnic background can only join with the permission of the leadership, and others may be considered members who do not wish to be. So there are differences here.

    Without a broadening of the definition of which groups get representation, I am back with David saying have none. That surely is a big change vis-a-vis regional club representation, but it also eliminates inequalities around ethnic affiliates.

    By Blogger Tim Dreisbach '71, at 7:10 AM, February 10, 2006  

  • A few follow-ups.

    It's been stated in this blog that: "granting special representative status for groups of "historically marginalized alumni...will...further separate them from the body as a whole."

    This is not true.

    First, affiliated groups have representative status now - to take that away WOULD further separate them from the alumni body as a whole. Second, DGALA, for example, has become MORE connected to the college and the alumni body as a whole since being involved on the representative body - evidence their DCF giving rate, their co-sponsorships of events with other alumni groups, their highly successful reunion etc. etc. Real separation comes from not having a seat at the table.

    There has also been talk of gay black alumni getting excess representation. This is just not at all realistic.

    Go to ANY Alumni Council meeting and you will see that heterosexual white older men make up the vast majority of those at the table.

    Dartmouth would be well served to have its Alumni representative body start to change to be able to deal with the issues on campus today. About 10% of the alumni are people of color. About 33% of the student body is.

    In any alumni council meeting we are lucky to have 5% people of color represented (having observed the past 7 council meetings myself).

    To show you how far this goes - there was even a recent slate of at large representatives put up by the nominating committee for election - and they were ALL men! Not one single woman!

    We should all be much more concerned about getting more diversity to the table not less, else the new assembly will be ill equipped to help serve the Dartmouth of today.

    By Blogger Trevor Burgess '94, at 5:59 AM, February 11, 2006  

  • Trevor,

    You said, "There has also been talk of gay black alumni getting excess representation. This is just not at all realistic." Under the proposed new constitution, a white heterosexual alumnus gets to vote for one representative--the one his class sends. (Actually, there's no guarantee that those representatives are the result of a vote, but that's an issue for each class individually.) A black alumnus gets to vote for three representatives--one for his class, and two from the African-American affiliated group. A homosexual black alumnus gets to vote for five. How does this not lead to the strong potential for excess representation? Why should one alumnus get to vote for more representatives than another, based simply on the tint of his skin? (Also, the proposed constitution doesn't address what happens if someone wins a representative slot from multiple affiliated groups--if our hypothetical gay black alumnus were chosen by both the GLBT and African-American AGs, would he have two votes on the Assembly?)

    You raise the fact that only about 3% of those on the current Council are "people of color". While probably true (having not been at Council meetings, I cannot deny or verify), it's impossible for any subset of a group to perfectly match the proportions of the larger group on all defining characteristics. (For instance, you mention a lack of women; surely women are now a larger percentage of the alumni than gays and lesbians, and yet they don't get special representation?)

    The Council is (and, by extention, the Assembly will be) made up of alumni who are chosen by a subset of the alumni body to represent them. The issue at hand is the nature of those subsets. The simplest manner is class structure, as that ensures minimal overlap between subsets; adding affiliated groups adds in overlapping subsets, and thus excess representation, for certain alumni at the expense of others. Yes, this may mean that there are fewer (black/gay/female/Jewish/left-handed/short/etc.) representatives on the Assembly than strict statistics would predict, but there isn't anything guaranteeing that; any alum can be chosen to represent his or her class, regardless of physical characteristics, by convincing the majority of his/her classmates that they are the best choice. How is that less than the democratic ideal?

    By Anonymous David Gale '00, at 10:30 AM, February 17, 2006  

  • David-

    First of all, thanks for your input; we appreciate you being a part of the conversation. I feel that your worries about "over representation" are unfounded. Help me understand, in a practical sense, where you feel the problem is?

    Let's say you're a Dartmouth '00 / Tuck '02 alum from Cleveland. There's a Dartmouth Club there, and they happen to have a person who becomes a representative of the Club Officers' Association to the Alumni Assembly (as envisioned in the Sept '05 draft). So, technically, you have three representatives: your class rep, one from Tuck, and the person from the Cleveland club. What does that mean? To me, it means you have three channels to participate in the discussions and debate that we hope will be fostered by a more (but not purely) representative Alumni Assembly. I say, "Good! More channels are better." Is your voice somehow louder? Probably not, unless you're driving some sort of crazy political agenda, but that will hopefully be obvious by you spamming every rep where you have any sort of connection.

    Part of the point of having the Assembly is to have a forum for debate and discussion; exactly the sort of forum you suggested in your comments at Sunday's AOA meeting. Will someone hold more than one seat in the Assembly, thereby have more than one vote? No. We'll make sure that there is language in the constitution that prevents it; good suggestion! Just don't beat us up for making the document "more complicated".

    One of the thoughts behind the makeup of the Assembly is that people connect to the College via different channels; some through their class, some though their Regional Club (that would be me), some through their Aff Group, and some through some other way (hence at-large seats). If a person has more than one channel, most normal people will have one avenue they use more than others, and not try to game the system by working multiple.

    We want the Assembly to have as many perspectives of Alumni to be heard as possible. Insomuch as the College has recognized (and supports) specific Alumni groups (i.e.: classes, clubs, aff. groups) as having distinct perspectives on Dartmouth it seems a logical extension that we utilize those same channels to foster further communications and connections between the College and her Alumni.

    -Anton Anderson '89

    By Blogger Anton Anderson, at 4:42 PM, February 17, 2006  

  • Anton:
    Re your note to David, if the purpose of multiple group representatives is to open more "channels" for discussion, rather than to count votes, your logic implies every group needs only one representative. The assembly can use the reduction of multiple reps per group to permit recognition of more groups... e.g. friends whose primary alumni loyalties are to the out-of-doors and the DOC. Such a change would be consistent with the philosophy that guided your comment.

    By Blogger Tim Dreisbach '71, at 5:17 PM, February 18, 2006  

  • Anton,

    You and I are, clearly, looking at the same situation and seeing it from different sides. Where you see "more channels" for some alumni as a good thing, I see granting select alumni more representatives based on nothing more than skin color, location, or sexual preference as a bad thing. (Yes, I'm against the regional groups having representatives as well as the affliliated groups; how is your Cleveland alumnus better than one who decides to live and work in Kenya?)

    To my mind, the only thing that matters is the fact that we are all, in some manner, alumni of Dartmouth College. I don't care what race you are, what your sexual preference is, where you chose to live, how many X chromosomes you have, or even how many of your ancestors went to Dartmouth; everyone who has shown that they have what it takes to earn a degree at Dartmouth is entitled to equal representation. I also feel that my fellow alumni are capable of electing representatives based on their positions on issues, rather than any of the extraneous features listed above. Perhaps this is ideallistic of me, but shouldn't we be striving for the ideal, rather than instituting a pessimistic view of our fellow alumni?

    I am also confused by your (apparent) assertion that having more representatives ("channels") doesn't make one's voice louder. If one alumnus has one representative that he can contact (and vote for or against), and another alumnus has five, doesn't the second have more potential to influence the Assembly? (Note that I'm assuming everything else is equal between the two, including their level of political involvement.) If my state had four Senators, while every other state had the normal two, wouldn't I have a louder voice in national politics? Also, even if one assumes that people only focus their energy on one "channel" normally, isn't it safe to assume they will utilize every "channel" available to them if/when an issue comes up that is important to them?

    By Anonymous David Gale '00, at 5:28 AM, February 20, 2006  

  • David-

    Like you, I'm idealistic about many things. I think that the overwhelming majority (>90%) of those who "have what it takes" to earn a degree at Dartmouth are rational people; I'm confident that the motives of most alumni who are engaged with the College are benevolent and they have the best interests (as they see them) of Dartmouth at heart. I like to think that most alums will not maliciously game the system, whatever that system turns out to be, and that those who do will be outweighed by those who don't.

    With regards to voting (specifically for Trustee), you and I agree; "one man/woman, one vote" is the preferred method. That is not currently the case in Trustee elections (in the last election you could vote for as many as you liked); we're working to address that, though (as we discovered from hours and hours of meetings with voting-method experts) no system is perfect.

    You and I will have to also agree to disagree on some things, so I will not debate them for the sake of debating. I will, however, ask how you would solve some of the challenges we on the AGTF face. If the Assembly is meant to be a forum for discussion and a means of communication and dissemination of information, how would you come up with bodies from which a representative could be elected? Strictly by class? What about those who don't feel connected with their class? Tim Dreisbach '71 also comments on this issue. What about the notion of existing "alumni rights"? We have tried very hard to maintain or enhance the volunteer leadership roles available to alumni (and yes, there have been some trade-offs); how would you make the case for taking something away?

    Perhaps, if we were crafting a constitution in a vacuum, things would be different. I know that if the AGTF consisted of the triumvirate of Me, Myself, and I, the proposed constitution would be different; I think everyone on the AGTF feels the same way. Part of the magic of our task force is that we have a wide variety of opinions; we all feel a very strong love for Dartmouth, and yet we listen to each other, as well as to input from other members of the Dartmouth community, such as yourself. While I cannot promise we will implement whatever concrete suggestions you make, we will listen and take them into consideration.

    -Anton Anderson '89

    By Blogger Anton Anderson, at 4:14 PM, February 20, 2006  

  • Anton,

    I agree--there are some things that we definitely won't agree upon; the issue of affiliated groups is probably one of them.

    However, I think you mis-state your case when you claim that the last trustee election was not a case of "one man, one vote" (given that there were two openings, requiring each alum to only cast one vote would've been silly). In the last election, there were six candidates; every single alum(nus/na) had the right to vote "aye" or "nay" on each of the six candidates. I gave the two I felt best qualified "aye" votes; the other four received "nay" votes from me. Mathematically, it can be shown that a fair number of alumni gave more than two candidates "aye" votes, and by default, roughly 75% of the alumni cast "nay" votes for all candidates (by not voting). Every single alum had the same opportunity and ability to vote--clearly a case of "one man, one vote". Preference voting, on the other hand, breaks this; whoever votes for the least-favored candidate(s) gets a second vote counted, while the alums who vote for the top candidate(s) only get a single vote. I could go on, but this isn't related to the purpose of this thread.

    You ask what form of government I would suggest; perhaps you responded before my post (below the one by Tim, which you linked to). At this point, my preference would be to grant the power to form a slate of candidates (for officers and for trustees) and propose amendments solely to the alumni, making all candidates and proposals (in effect) petition ones, with the potential for them to seek and/or receive the endorsement of the Assembly. Doing this moves the most important political decisions to the alumni (where it belongs), and frees the Assembly up to be the forum for discussion & dissemination of information you describe (and making the ALB redundant; get rid of it!). At that point, I would have no qualms over letting any significant group of alumni (whether the regional clubs, the five recognized affiliated groups, friends of the canoe club, etc., etc.) send a (single) representative to the Assembly. As the primary vehicle for communication with the College and the Trustees, every group would want to be represented, even without the draw of political power that comes with controlling what comes up for a vote. Yes, there'd have to be some control in the constitution over what constitutes a "significant" group of alumni; the current "classes, regions, and recognized affiliated groups" is a good start, though I'd be open to broader guidelines. (One side benefit would be that the new constitution would be drastically reduced in size and complexity, answering those who've complained about it being too large.)

    By Anonymous David Gale '00, at 6:06 PM, February 20, 2006  

  • David-

    Let me make sure I understand your suggestion. You're saying that you would like ALL matters requiring a vote, namely Const. Ammendments and selection of potential Trustees, to be done solely by petition. Is this correct?

    -Anton

    By Blogger Anton Anderson, at 6:23 PM, February 20, 2006  

  • Anton,

    I don't think I'm proposing "ALL matters requiring a vote", but I'd say the three important ones--selection of candidates for trustees, proposal of amendments to the constitution, and selection of candidates for officers of the Assembly. All three of these already have provisions for petitioning, and require all alumni to vote for acceptance; my proposal merely removes the ability of the Assembly to "drive through" or block potential candidates/amendments. (As I indicated in the other thread, I don't understand the requirement that petition amendments garner at least a majority vote in the Assembly before the alumni can vote on it, especially in light of the 2/12 amendment.) As I've indicated elsewhere, most political elections are run this way--each candidate must collect a certain number of signatures before his name can appear on the ballot.

    This would increase alumni involvement while levelling the playing field between "insiders" and "reformers". All candidates would have to make their case to the alumni, rather than riding on the coat-tails of those in power. Reform proposals would have to be backed by a sizable contingent of alumni. Timing between announcement of the nominated slate and the deadline for petitioners would be a non-issue. Real control of the Alumni would reside with the Alumni, rather than a small contingent of them. If more than 90% of the alumni are rational people, should we not trust them with this power, rather than granting it to an Assembly comprising a mere two-tenths of a percent?

    By Anonymous David Gale '00, at 7:17 PM, February 20, 2006  

  • David-

    I truly want greater Alumni participation. The sad fact (based upon the last Trustee election) is that upwards of 75% of Alumni do not participate. I did a highly informal survey of friends (of various graduating years) who did not vote, and what I discovered was that they (to quote one of these friends, easily 25+ years my senior) "trust people who have been more involved and studied in the issues to do the right thing." I personally do not like that sort of excuse for not voting, but it's out there.

    Someday, perhaps over a drink, we can debate whether our current political system truly brings forth the best possible candidates for any given post, or simply those who have the ambition (and resiliency) to deal with the meat-grinder of American politics.

    Regarding Trustee elections, nobody is even thinking of eliminating the ability for an Alum to petition to be on the ballot for Trustee elections. So that's not an issue.

    -Anton

    By Blogger Anton Anderson, at 9:43 AM, February 21, 2006  

  • Anton,

    I agree, it's sad that over 75% of the alumni don't participate in elections. There are some things we can do to attempt to change that, but given that over 50% of the people in the US don't vote for president, I'm not sure how far we'd be able to change things. We ought to strive, however, to make sure that those who do decide to get involved, can, in as fair and balanced a system as we can. I believe the AGTF is trying to do this (even though I think some of it's proposed changes are wrong-headed, I don't doubt your motivations).

    "Someday, perhaps over a drink, we can debate whether our current political system truly brings forth the best possible candidates for any given post, or simply those who have the ambition (and resiliency) to deal with the meat-grinder of American politics." I don't know that the current system (or the AGTF proposal) does either of these. It strongly favors those who are well-known to the Executive Council, as being nominated by the EC grants a strong advantage over petition candidates. Yes, those who are interested in the post(s) are able to contact the EC, but the nominating committee is more likely to pick someone they know over someone they don't. Petitioning is an option, but it carries with it a sizable burden; for instance, under the current proposal, someone who was hoping to get the nomination from the committee, but was rejected, wouldn't be able to petition, having not filed a notice of intent to petition before finding out that they didn't get the nomination.

    "Regarding Trustee elections, nobody is even thinking of eliminating the ability for an Alum to petition to be on the ballot for Trustee elections. So that's not an issue." I agree, and I hope I didn't give the impression I thought petitioning was on the chopping block. (Note: I said above, "All three of these already have provisions for petitioning...") It's true that the requirements for petitioning are being changed, and I don't like some of those changes, but that's a different topic, and should be discussed on another thread.

    By Anonymous David Gale '00, at 10:11 AM, February 21, 2006  

  • Anton,

    I'm still waiting to hear from you (or other AGTF members) any arguments against my proposal to make all officers, trustees, and constitutional amendments go through a petition process rather than a nominating committee, freeing up the Assembly to take on the role currently assigned to the ALB. As I indicated in my e-mail to you, I don't see any downsides, though it may be just that I'm too close to my idea. It's been known to happen.

    By Anonymous David Gale '00, at 6:24 AM, February 27, 2006  

  • David-

    Despite the occasional appearance to the contrary, our goal with this blog is to get input from you (and other Alumni), not to have an big argument about the ideas brought forth. We're very close to issuing a "penultimate" draft of the constitution, so thanks for your input.

    -Anton

    By Blogger Anton Anderson, at 8:30 AM, February 27, 2006  

  • Anton: I am disappointed. I had thought the purpose of this forum was to have a positive discussion among both members and non-members alike as to various issues. David has put forth a proposition and a rationale for it, which he termed an "argument". You used the term differently, in a perjorative sense, to defend why you view this as only a one-way process... input to your committee.. rather than a two-way forum. Does this mean we need to await your next draft to get any response to his input?

    By Blogger Tim Dreisbach '71, at 12:09 PM, March 04, 2006  

  • Tim-

    This is NOT a one-way process. I've already responded to David here regarding what was seen as a "terse" reply.

    We're in the midst of reviewing our "penultimate" draft, which incorporates many of the suggestions given to us; my efforts have been focused this week on giving it a thoughtful read before it is put out for all Alumni to help us fine-tune it. Meanwhile, my hope is that others (not just you and David) among the wider Alumni community will jump into this conversation.

    -Anton

    By Blogger Anton Anderson, at 2:55 PM, March 04, 2006  

  • Anton:

    Agreed... it is a shame more people do not have time, or care enough to take time, to provide their personal inputs. You and the committee must be getting feedback from a very small percent of the alumni overall. The number of posters here is minimal, and even the numbers of viewers is small. Surely you are getting inputs from other channels, but this blog is the one that should nominally provide the widest spectrum of ideas and be most accessible to all for review.

    To other readers... the inclination is to read and be silent... please speak up, both with independent thoughts, or merely to register agreement\disagreement with other postings.

    Tim

    By Blogger Tim Dreisbach '71, at 5:03 PM, March 05, 2006  

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