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An Update on Governance

Following the September announcement by Dartmouth's Board of Trustees that it would expand its membership from 18 to 26 members—16 of whom will be Charter Trustees—the Dartmouth Association of Alumni's Executive Committee, by a divided vote, filed a lawsuit in New Hampshire Superior Court seeking to block that expansion, arguing that a resolution approved by the Board in 1891 constitutes a contract that gives the alumni the right to elect half the Board members other than the president and the governor of New Hampshire. The College subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the Association's lawsuit on the grounds that the Board's 1891 resolution is not a contract and does not limit the Board's authority to determine the size and composition of the Board. As Dartmouth Life went to press, that motion was awaiting a hearing by the Superior Court. In November, the Alumni Council filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief supporting the College.

In addition, N.H. State Representative Maureen Mooney (R-Merrimack) has proposed a bill (LSR #2285) that would strip Dartmouth of autonomy to revise its charter—a right enjoyed by most other private nonprofit organizations in the state. If the bill is passed, the College would need to seek approval from the legislature for any changes to the College's charter. Dartmouth opposes this legislation, which appears to be a direct response to the announced changes in the size and composition of its Board of Trustees, because it would allow legislative intervention in a dispute among Dartmouth alumni and interfere with private nonprofit governance.  Mooney is not a Dartmouth graduate.

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Last Updated: 5/30/08