Phi Beta Cons

Dartmouth’s “Spectator Sport”

Joe Malchow and Anne Neal make appearances in the NYT today, in a story about Dartmouth:

Now those passions for the Ivy League institution have it embroiled in a new and bitter battle over its board, this time pitting alumni critical of the college against loyalists who have risen through the ranks of the Alumni Association.
The fracas has drawn the attention of conservative bloggers and publications all over the country.
It began when candidates for the governing board of trustees endorsed by the Alumni Association were unexpectedly defeated two years in a row by outsiders who got on the ballot by petition. The outsiders accused the college administration of sacrificing free speech to political correctness and of abandoning Dartmouth’s historical focus on undergraduates to turn it into a “junior varsity Harvard.”
Now the officers of the Dartmouth Alumni Association have canceled a coming vote for new executive officers and are proposing a constitution with new rules for how candidates get on the ballot. Critics say the effort is intended to block outsiders from gaining yet more seats.
Conservative publications and blogs that accuse academia of a liberal bias have lionized the three insurgents at Dartmouth and are tearing into the proposed constitution. The blog of one student, Joseph Malchow, describes the process of drafting the constitution in a “Timeline of Dirty Tricks.” …
“What we’re seeing at Dartmouth, Colgate and Hamilton are alumni who are profoundly troubled by the direction of those institutions,” said Anne D. Neal, president of the American Council for Trustees and Alumni, a group whose founders in 1995 included Lynne Cheney and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut. “It’s time for those looking in from the outside to provide some input.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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