Alumni Council-nominated candidate John Replogle ’88 has won the election for one of two open seats on the Board of Trustees, defeating petition candidate Joe Asch ’79 and garnering 70.9 percent of votes in the election, Association of Alumni president John Mathias ’69 announced at the Association meeting Saturday. His nomination to the Board of Trustees was approved by the Board Saturday morning, along with the nomination of Council-nominated candidate Morton Kondracke ’60, who ran uncontested for the other seat.
Mathias’ “Unity” slate of candidates was also elected to the Association executive board.
Thirty-two percent of voting alumni 20,790 voters cast ballots in the election, which ran from March 10 through April 7, according to Vox the Vote. Replogle received 14,176 votes to Asch’s 5,823, while Kondracke received 17,762.
The election marks the first victory of Council-nominated candidates since the consecutive election of four petition candidates T.J. Rodgers ’70 in 2004, Peter Robinson ’79 and Todd Zywicki ’88 in 2005, and Stephen Smith ’88 in 2007.
“Alumni are ready for a change [from] the very vocal and very small minority of the alumni body that have really been driving the last several elections,” Replogle said. “The unspoken majority spoke out.”
Both Replogle and Kondracke credited the work of their shared steering committee for the election’s turnout.
“I know from our standpoint, we just had a phenomenal campaign organization and I don’t think there was any class that wasn’t represented,” Kondracke said. “Class captains clearly got the message out to everybody in their class that this was an important election.”
Kondracke also expressed hope that fewer elections will be contested in the future and that candidates will not be required to spend as much money.
“I think this result is so decisive that the wars of the past are over,” he said. “The alumni have spoken, and therefore unless there is some sort of enormous controversy that comes up, we’re not going to have as many furiously contested elections as we had in the past.”
Replogle said he feels the election turnout is indicative of support among College alumni for a “constructive vision” of the College, while Kondracke said that the results prove alumni do not support lawsuits or “nonstop criticism” of the College.
Both trustees-elect said the voting turnout suggests College alumni are willing to support College President Jim Yong Kim in the coming years. Kondracke noted that the election results represent a “decisive statement” from alumni that they support the direction of the College under Kim, who took office July 1, 2009.
“It’s not that [Kim] endorsed anyone, but the vote is a statement that they want to get on with the success of the College and that they have confidence in him as a leader,” he said.
As a trustee, Replogle said he will work to end lawsuits against the College, and that he will “have a conversation” about the Board’s governance model in order to ensure the “best” structure for the College.
Since 2007, the College has faced two lawsuits brought by alumni against the Board in response to the Board’s 2007 decision to end parity between alumni-elected and charter-selected trustees by adding eight additional seats filled by charter-selected trustees. Both argue that alumni are guaranteed parity by an agreement made in 1891, which they see as legally binding. The first lawsuit, brought by the Association’s executive board in September 2007, was dismissed with prejudice in June 2008 when alumni elected a new executive board that opposed the lawsuit. The second was brought by an independent group of alumni in November 2008, but was dismissed by res judicata in January 2010. The group is currently appealing this decision to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
Despite past criticism that Replogle does not have a decisive view on parity between Board-selected and alumni-elected trustees, Replogle said he holds a consistent opinion on the matter.
“I believe alumni representation on the Board is a positive thing,” he said. “[It should] continue to be expanded.”
Replogle added that he would like to explore introducing young alumni representation on the Board, similar to the model used by Princeton University.
“I think that may be a way to bridge the gap,” Replogle said. “I’m not dogmatic that we need to reach a 50-50 balance immediately, but I think that’s a good objective for us to have.”
One of Asch’s campaign platforms was to restore Board parity, although he said he did not support the second lawsuit against the College.
Kondracke expressed similar sentiment to Replogle.
“I did not say that I endorsed absolute parity but I think we should move in that direction,” Kondracke said.
Both Replogle and Kondracke outlined further objectives for themselves as trustees.
Kondracke said his role in the future will be to better communicate Dartmouth’s robustness to the general public, to improve the College’s image and to increase alumni involvement in College governance.
“I view my role in this new era to try to help Dartmouth communicate its message better so everyone knows how great we truly are,” he said.
He also said he hopes to ensure that Dartmouth becomes more competitive with other Ivy League institutions. When students currently are accepted to Dartmouth and other peer schools, Dartmouth “loses overwhelmingly” to Harvard, Princeton and Yale, he said.
Replogle said he hopes to address the problem through improved communication with prospective students, their parents and the general community.
As a trustee, Replogle will work to “put classrooms first,” as well as to manage the College’s assets, costs and revenues to reflect the College’s long-term needs.
Replogle said he intends to become involved with Board discussions on “education curriculum,” adding that he is also willing to serve the Board in whatever capacity he is needed.
“I also look forward to spending time when I’m in Hanover meeting with students and Student Assembly listening and being close with Dartmouth today,” Replogle said.
Although Asch and several of his supporters contended that Replogle and Kondracke engaged in negative campaign tactics throughout the election, the trustees-elect argued that their campaign efforts were not defamatory.
“I never attacked my opponent,” Replogle said. “I simply used my opponent’s words to make sure people understood his position on issues. He’s got a very clear track record, and I simply used his published words.”
Kondracke also denied accusations from the opposition that the campaign was “harshly negative.”
“There were major differences between Replogle and Asch that needed to be brought to the fore, but I don’t think this was a horrendously negative campaign,” he said. “In fact, it was an overwhelmingly positive campaign.”
Replogle said he was “delighted” and “absolutely honored” by his election to the Board, he said, adding that he wanted to thank all alumni who voted, as well as his opposing candidate Asch.
“I want to thank Joe Asch for his campaign and his hard work on behalf of Dartmouth,” Replogle said. “I think he made me a better candidate and I am thankful for all he had to offer in this election.”
Kondracke called the election a “fantastic victory all around.” Asch was not immediately available for comment.
The two vacant seats that Kondracke and Replogle will fill were previously held by trustee Michael Chu ’68 and Zywicki. Chu has served his second and final term, while Zywicki was not re-elected to a second term, a break from the precedent in which re-elections had previously been routine.
In a letter Asch sent to thousands of College alumni during the voting period, the three petition trustees Rodgers, Robinson and Smith endorsed Asch over Replogle. Smith also sent a separate mailing of his own in which he expressed his support for Asch and denigrated Replogle as a trustee candidate.
Despite the trustees’ endorsement of his opponent, Replogle said he “looks forward” to working “collaboratively” with all members of the Board.
“We only succeed if we all work together,” Replogle said. “I will listen to the differences in opinions and try to see if there’s a way for us to build amongst those differences options to better the College.”
Kondracke and Replogle will join the Board on June 13, according to a College press release.
In the Association race, Mathias defeated J. Michael Murphy ’61 for the Association presidency with 73.7 percent of the vote. Veree Brown 93, Mark Alperin ’80, Doug Keare ’56, Lynn Gaudet ’81, Mark Alperin ’80, Marian Baldouf ’84, John Engelman ’68, Ronald Harris ’71, Kaitlin Jaxheimer ’05, Otho Kerr ’79 and Ronald Shram ’64 were all elected to the Association executive committee.
Brown defeated Alpha Bond ’52, winning 72.4 percent of votes for the first vice presidency. Keare won the second vice presidency with 73.7 percent of the vote, beating out Diana Ellis ’08. Gaudet, director of alumni leadership in the College Office of Alumni Relations, received 74.5 percent of votes for the secretary-treasurer position, defeating opponent Emily Esfahani Smith ’09.