AoA petition candidates named
By Greg Berger, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, January 12, 2010
A slate of petition candidates filed by Monday’s deadline for inclusion on the Association of Alumni ballot, according to Diana Lawrence, director of communications for the Office of Alumni Relations. The petition slate submitted the 50 signatures required to be on the ballot, but the official certification of the candidates cannot be confirmed until Tuesday, Lawrence said.
J. Michael Murphy ’61, the candidate for Association president on the petition slate, told The Dartmouth he estimated that the slate submitted between 75 and 85 signed petitions to the Office of Alumni Relations on Monday.
Murphy — who ran as a petition candidate for Association president in 2008 — will oppose current Association President John Mathias ’69 in the election, which is scheduled to take place in March and April.
The Association petition slate includes Alpha Bond ’52 and Diane Ellis ’08 as first- and second-vice presidents, respectively, and Emily Esfahani-Smith ’09 as the candidate for secretary-treasurer. The executive committee members on the slate of candidates include Stuart Richards ’63, Bradford Borden ’54, Alan Orschel ’61, Richard Paris ’71, James Guth ’77, James Baehr ’05 and Noah Riner ’06.
Murphy said that the slate has not officially decided its position on key issues because it has not had an opportunity to hold a group discussion.
During the 2008 election, the opposing slates disagreed over the then-Association’s decision to sue the College, The Dartmouth previously reported. The lawsuit contended that the Board of Trustees’ 2007 decision to increase the number of Board-selected members from eight to 16 was a violation of an 1891 Board resolution, which required parity between the Board-selected and alumni-elected trustees. The petition slate argued that the 1891 resolution was legally binding. Mathias, leader of the “unity” slate for the Association, ended the lawsuit following his election to the executive board. A group of alumni subsequently filed a second lawsuit, which remains ongoing, following the dismissal of the Association lawsuit.
“I see this election frankly as a continuation or a conclusion to the election of two years ago, because I entered the race and the campaign for the officer position on the basis of discussion and a vote on parity on the Board of Trustees,” Murphy said.
Murphy explained that he did not organize a slate of petition candidates last year in order to give the current Association “the benefit of the doubt” that it would work to reestablish parity on the Board — efforts which he believes were not “sincere.”
The petition slate will work to negotiate Board parity if it is elected, Murphy said, adding that he believes that the slightly altered composition of the Board since 2008 will make the negotiations more feasible.
“[There are] several new trustees who were not part of that decision [to remove parity] and most excitingly we have a new [College] president,” Murphy said. “[Former College President James Wright] was very hostile to our initiatives and President [Jim Yong] Kim seems to be a far more open-minded person.”
William Helman ’80 and Denise Dupre ’80 were appointed as charter trustees in June 2009.
Murphy said that he hopes to be able to end the need for the ongoing lawsuit against the College.
“If our efforts are successful, there won’t be a need for a lawsuit from anybody,” Murphy said.
Murphy explained that his decision to organize a slate of petition candidates to the Association came after the Dec. 21 announcement of the Association-nominated slate for the upcoming election.
The Association-nominated slate was, “with the exception of one or two changes, the identical leadership, the same guys as last year and the year before,” Murphy said.
While composing the slate, Murphy explained that he contacted John MacGovern ’80, the founder of the Hanover Institute, for assistance in identifying potential candidates.
“I wouldn’t say [the petition slate] is backed by the Hanover Institute,” Murphy said. “I don’t have any connection to the Hanover Institute except having known John MacGovern for a few years, and he was the logical person to ask for some help in identifying potential candidates and things like that.”
In an e-mail obtained by The Dartmouth on Friday, MacGovern said he would support the slate of petition candidates and asked recipients to respond and add their signatures to the candidates’ petition.
The Hanover Institute is a nonprofit organization that has supported the campaigns of several petition candidates for the Association and for the Board of Trustees in past elections. The Institute is also helping to fund the current alumni lawsuit against the College, as previously reported by The Dartmouth.
Mathias, who said he supports parity, said that his slate of Association candidates opposes the lawsuit and that it will stand for “civility, collegiality and persuasion as the appropriate means for alumni to resolve their differences with each other.”
Under his presidency, Mathias said, the Association has been unable to resolve the parity issue because more pressing issues commanded their attention. In June 2008, the Association worked to end the original lawsuit against the College. In May 2009, it passed a constitutional amendment, which called for a one-person, one-vote system for trustee elections and allowed the Alumni Council to nominate as few as one or two candidates for open spots on the Board.
Since his election to the Association, Mathias said his slate has held several discussions with Ed Haldeman ’70, the chair of the Board of Trustees, about the issue of parity between alumni-elected and Board-selected members of the Board.
Although the e-mail obtained by The Dartmouth on Friday listed an eighth candidate for the executive committee — David Matthew Martosko ’91 — on the petition slate, Martosko was ultimately not included on the petition ballot.
“There were so many folks who [were willing to run by petition], and others had more time to give at the moment than I,” Martosko said, explaining why his name was removed from the ballot.
The slate decided not to select another person as an eighth candidate, Murphy said, explaining that they chose to nominate only the number of candidates that would directly represent spots on the committee.
Richards and Bond declined to comment for this article, deferring all questions to Murphy.