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Governance Update

Dartmouth's motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by members of the Association of Alumni Executive Committee that seeks to prevent the College from expanding its Board of Trustees was denied by the New Hampshire Superior Court in February. Robert Donin, the College's general counsel, says that while Dartmouth was disappointed in the ruling, he remains confident that "when the case moves beyond allegations to evidence, the suit will be shown without merit." In a related development, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted against passage of a bill (HB 1292) that would have repealed the 2003 law authorizing the College to amend its charter without special legislative act.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Maureen Mooney of Merrimack, would have stripped Dartmouth of autonomy to revise its charter-a right enjoyed by most other private nonprofit organizations in the state. Had the bill been enacted, the College would have been required to seek approval from the legislature for any changes to its charter. "This bill would have set a dangerous precedent," says Donin, "threatening not only Dartmouth's academic freedom, but the autonomy of every private, nonprofit organization in New Hampshire. The legislature's rejection of the bill reaffirms the principle argued by Daniel Webster nearly 200 years ago: that private colleges should be allowed to pursue their missions free of political interference."

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Last Updated: 5/30/08