Alumni cast votes for trustee vacancy

by Dax Tejera | 5/11/04 5:00am

Alumni voting to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Board of Trustees ended late Saturday evening after two months of online and paper balloting. The announcement of the trustee-elect, who will succeed Peter Fahey '68 after his ten years of service to the Board, is pending notification and formal approval by the Board.

The announcement is due sometime within the next two weeks, according to Vice President of Public Affairs Bill Walker.

Voting commenced in March, accompanied by a comprehensive website that contained personal statements, questions and answers and videos profiling the candidates.

The Alumni Council proposed a standard slate of three candidates for nomination by alumni. One candidate, T.J. Rodgers '70, gathered the required 500 petition signatures to be added to the official ballot provided to alumni.

In a three-day mock poll set up by the Student Assembly last week, Rodgers was the preferred candidate of the undergraduate student body, winning 54.9 percent of the student vote, or 311 votes. Laura Stein '83 followed second with 20.1 percent (114 votes) of the vote. Bruce Duthu '80 gathered 17.7 percent (100 votes) and Daniel Papp '69, 7.2 percent (41 votes). Duthu and Papp, preferred by less than one-quarter of respondents, were the two academic administrators on the ballot. Both Stein and Rodgers are senior-level corporate executives.

In an interview with The Dartmouth, Rodgers said he was not surprised that he won.

"If you look at what my message is, it's about freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and so forth. I think that free speech and the Bill of Rights have suffered greatly on the campus of Dartmouth College."

Rodgers, whose candidacy was described as "insurgent" by the Wall Street Journal, has run on a platform of criticism against the Wright administration and existing direction of the College. The reaction of favorable student response is the first Rodgers has been made known have.

"I can make a promise that if I am elected, I will regularly make myself available to students groups without the filter of the administration," Rodgers said.

Karan Danthi '07, who proposed the online poll, said he doesn't believe that actual candidate selected was important, but rather that precedent was established in "the first step towards greater student involvement in administrative affairs."

"When they choose their next slate of candidates," Danthi said, "maybe they'll take this into account."

The Board is comprised of 16 trustees, split evenly between alumni trustees, appointed after nomination by alumni, and charter trustees, nominated and appointed by the Board itself. The College president and governor of New Hampshire also serve on the Board. The recent decision by the trustees to expand the Board from 16 seats to 22 splits the six seats equally between charter and alumni trustees.