Dan Linsalata approached me a few weeks ago now about publishing together something about the alumni constitution. The fruit is in this morning's edition of The Dartmouth.
"Co-authoring" (actually, I feel obligated to say that Dan did more than the lion's share of the writing and the thought) an op-ed with a Reviewer will probably surprise many and may even disappoint some of you. Let me offer a word first: as we say, Dan and I clearly are at odds on many issues, but there is really no two ways to see this draft. What Joe Malchow and The Review have said about it is true—the constitution draft has many serious flaws that will prevent a fair system from developing. Perhaps to some, even some of my readers, that is a good thing, but I don't think those who disagree with the 'Lone Pine Revolution' have anything to fear from fairness or democracy.
My only question is, why do we need all this business in the first place? I'd prefer less alumni governance, not more, for the reasons I sketched out in my DFP editorial. Unfortunately, I also had to realize that this constitution business will not just go away at my word, and that I needed to speak more specifically against the draft. I'm hoping that, at any rate, the plea in today's op-ed for greater student involvement in these matters is heard.
I feel strongly about this—college is different from commerce, from the religious realm, and from previous levels of education. If there is one type of institution on earth which the inmates actually could run well (with some help) and beneficially for everyone, it is a college (not a university, perhaps, but a college). That certainly doesn't mean that alums are obligated to give us a bigger say, but it does mean that if they did, things might actually go well. And if alums conduct their own affairs this poorly, well...