February 27, 2006

Simple Question:

Why can no one explain the ins and outs of all this alumni politics shtick in a way that a) makes clear what effects it will have on students and b) is not absolutely impenetrable?

I'm an English major. I just read Henry James's "Daisy Miller" last night. I read poststructuralist theory for fun. I have a long attention span and well-honed analytical skills.

But I tried, I really tried to get through Joe Malchow's meter-long post on the current situation of alumni affairs at Dartmouth. I can't do it. I can't finish it. I can't read for more than four lines without my mind wandering lonely as a cloud. And it's not, I feel, just Joe's writing, which I promised not to make fun of any more. I can't read the recent blurb in the D about it or any of the alumni blogs (Association of Alumni or AGTF—did I forget any?). And I have to work way too hard reading the Review already, just making sure they're not making fun of gays or women to tell what is actually going on in any of their reporting.

The problem, I think, is overuse of bromides. This is a fundamental tenet of Joe's writing style, but the D editorial is a mausoleum of meaninglessness. Can someone just tell me, straightforwardly, what will happen to students if x changes are accepted, and what will happen if y changes are rejected? Will anything happen?

I think it does need to be remarked upon that Dartblog, The Review, and The D depend to a fairly large extent upon alumni readership, and some of their writing seems to be targeted directly to alumni without any attempt to make it relevant to the student body. Is this such a case? Kissinger said that campus politics is the most vicious because the stakes are so small. Well, how about alumni politics?


  1. Ok, here goes...

    The goal is to unify the association and council into one governing body with a more democratically elected leadership.

    Why does that matter? The Association is a one trick pony right now, all it does it send out ballots for trustee elections. That's it. The Council aspires to do more but is not built for it. They also don't really have popular support or a mandate because they are separated from the Association which all alumni belong to.

    So the College has no organized alumni partners who can have influence on the direction of the college. Donating money and voting for trustees is nice of course but as we saw with the swim team debacle, the SLI, etc. this is not really a partnership and the College has suffered for it.

    Combing them again offers the opportunity to have an organization that can actually serve in a true advisory role to the administration and help them do better for the students on a daily basis. A lot of things have to happen to make that work but having a united alumni body on paper is a good start.

  2. That helps a lot. I get so confused when people start arguing over ceremonial shit.