Turnabout

by John D. Sharer | 6/29/01 5:00am

To the Editor:

I was one of a number of alumni who, in the late 1980's, were in the vanguard of contested elections for Alumni Trustees. At that time, our overriding concern was that the Board of Trustees had been too deferential to administration initiatives, and, as frequently expressed by the late S. Avery Raube '30, had not discharged its role as the "supreme authority" in the oversight and management of the College. With the Student Life Initiative, the Board of Trustees has shown forceful and decisive leadership. The Board has been actively engaged in the governance of the College, and, through its directives, has charted out the path that the College is to follow in the long overlooked area of residential life. Thus, it is at best ironic that the plaintiffs in the Initiative lawsuit -- many of whom were also integrally involved in the contested Alumni Trustee elections of the 1980s -- would now fault the Board of Trustees for its leadership in the areas covered by the Initiative. Reasonable minds may, and do, differ about many facets of the Initiative. Personally, I take exception to several aspects of the Initiative that, in my opinion, amount to inappropriate social engineering. However, those disagreements do not warrant a divisive lawsuit by alumni against the College. Stripped to its essence, the litigation is little more than a wasteful effort to second-guess business judgments made in good faith by the Board of Trustees.