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Summary of  Governance Changes

The measures adopted by the Board follow the recommendations of a Governance Review Committee that studied governance practices at institutions similar to Dartmouth, incorporating feedback from alumni, former Trustees, faculty, staff, and experts in the field. The result: the Dartmouth Board of Trustees will expand from 18 to 26 members-16 of whom will be charter trustees (those appointed by the Board itself, as outlined in Dartmouth's founding charter); the alumni-driven nomination process and contested ballot election for 8 Board members will be retained; the College's Alumni Council and Association of Alumni have been asked to devise a simpler, fairer Trustee nomination system; and three new standing committees will be created focusing on academic affairs, alumni relations, and student affairs. The Board will also appoint a vice-chair, expand the Executive Committee to include the chairs of all standing committees, and adopt Board bylaws.

According to the Association of Governing Boards, a national organization that serves boards of trustees, governing boards should periodically assess their own structures and processes to ensure they are providing the best stewardship for the institutions they oversee. Board Chair Ed Haldeman '70 says that the changes adopted last month are in line with that responsibility. "Dartmouth has never been stronger," he said in announcing the Board's actions. "But like all our peers, we're confronting new challenges and pressures ... . These governance reforms will expand the Board to help us meet those challenges as we look to maintain and build on Dartmouth's preeminent position in American higher education."

The College learned on Oct. 3 that the Executive Committee of the Association of Alumni, by a divided vote, had decided to file a lawsuit against the College concerning these governance changes. Haldeman says that while he respects the fact that there were differing views, "It's regrettable that a small group of individuals would cause the Alumni Association to file this lawsuit, particularly when there is no legal basis for it. It's certainly not in the best interest of the College or its students for Dartmouth to be tied up with costly and counterproductive litigation. I hope instead that thoughtful alumni and friends of Dartmouth will come together in support of our common goal of continuing to build on Dartmouth's world-class academic programs."

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Last Updated: 5/30/08