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New alumni constitution to be discussed at Homecoming

A task force charged by Dartmouth's Association of Alumni and the Alumni Council has drafted a new alumni constitution that would reunify the two historically linked organizations and strengthen communication between alumni and the College.

Joe Stevenson '57, Tu'58, Chair of the Task Force on Alumni Governance, said the new approach would improve the alumni trustee nomination and voting process, facilitate two-way communication between alumni and the College, open new leadership opportunities for alumni and encourage higher levels of participation in volunteer leadership nominations and elections.

"Our objectives are to create a superior alumni organization and to establish a clearer and more equitable process for electing alumni trustees," said Stevenson.

The nine-member task force has met regularly over the past year to overhaul the constitution and submit a revision to the Alumni Association and Alumni Council, which will be followed by a final ratification vote by all alumni. Alumni who will be on campus for the annual Association of Alumni meeting on Sunday, Oct. 23, will have the opportunity to review and discuss the document at an open forum at 11 a.m. in Alumni Hall.

The fresh constitution is designed to provide greater transparency in the governance structure, more opportunities for alumni to actively express their opinions and a modernized election process that takes advantage of technology and remains strong and accurate.

"We need a mechanism that helps us understand what 65,000 alumni think," said Rick Routhier '73, Tu'76, President of the Alumni Council. "These changes will update a pretty archaic process established in 1913. A new system of alumni governance will give us all a more effective voice. Where alumni live, how they communicate, their diversity, modes of travel and the way they engage with Dartmouth have all changed. The task force wanted to help the Association evolve to reflect those changes."

Proposed changes to the Association of Alumni constitution include:

  • The establishment of a new Alumni Assembly which will replace the existing Alumni Council and the creation of an Alumni Liaison Board.
  • The Alumni Assembly will increase the number of democratically elected representatives from classes, clubs, affiliated groups and the general alumni population.
  • The Alumni Liaison Board will be charged with gathering alumni sentiment through personal engagement, research and a variety of media, and reporting those opinions back to the Association of Alumni, the trustees and the President of the College.
  • Increased participation in the democratic process by enabling alumni to elect the President of the Association of Alumni without having to attend an annual meeting in Hanover. Opportunities to vote through the mail and electronically will enable more alumni to be heard.
  • Direct election of Alumni Assembly at-large members.
  • A clearer process for electing alumni trustees, eliminating confusion and allowing alumni to state their preference for a candidate by ranking their choices.

Members of the task force are:

  • Joe Stevenson '57, Tu '58 (chair)
  • Jim Adler '60
  • Anton Anderson '89
  • Trevor Burgess '94
  • John Daukas '84
  • Kelley Fead '78
  • Martha Hennessey '76
  • Bill Hutchinson '76
  • Joseph Mandel '60

To learn more, ask questions or share opinions on the new constitution, contact the task force members via e-mail or via mail at Alumni Governance Task Force, 308 Blunt Alumni Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755.

By DIANA LAWRENCE

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Last Updated: 5/30/08