In response to your recent request for input from members of the Class of 2009, I wish to address a concern about alumni elections.
Before, during and after the elections, many members of the Alumni Council and its nominated candidates decried the negativity of the petition candidates, including Joe Asch ’79 and the Dartmouth United slate. These claims seemed particularly unusual to me considering the negative tone that many Council-nominated candidates used over the course of the election.
As I recently posted on The Little Green Blog, Mr. Replogle and Mr. Kondracke – both of whom you supported – mentioned and attacked Mr. Asch several times on their websites and in their official communications. Mr. Asch, by contrast, never mentioned his opponent -- by name or otherwise -- on his website.
The Alumni Council did not rebuke the attacks leveled against Mr. Asch. Councilors also did not refute claims that Mr. Asch opposed funding for needy students or that he is a racist. Such base attacks are unbecoming members of the Dartmouth fellowship and deserved the unwavering disapproval of the Alumni Council and its nominated candidates.
The Alumni Council was also silent on the scurrilous attacks published on the website “Joe VS Dartmouth.” Typically I would dismiss such an attack site as an inevitable evil of campaigns. This site, however, was directly tied to Mr. Replogle’s campaign. The site was published by Chris Allen, who also designed Mr. Replogle’s and Mr. Kondracke’s websites, and was publicly advertised by Mr. Kondracke at alumni events.
I hope that these issues will be honestly discussed at this weekend’s Council meeting. A fair evaluation of the campaign tactics used in the 2010 alumni elections will reveal, as I posted on The Little Green Blog, that most negativity was directed at the petition candidates, not by them.
In considering rules to curb the negativity of future campaigns, the Council should adopt measures that ensure that the nomination process is open and transparent, that all candidates have fair access to mailing lists, and that all alumni are given a fair chance to assess the Council’s nominees and petition for office if they so desire.
Further, I hope that you will encourage Council members to discourage negative campaigning from all sides. Using this meeting as a chance to weaken the hand of future petition candidates while ignoring the considerable negativity expressed by the Council’s nominees would be a regrettable result.
Please remember that, while we may disagree on how best to govern the College on the Hill, we are – as President Wright said in our commencement ceremony – “ever a part of Dartmouth undying as Dartmouth is forever a part of [us].” Let us be worthy of that distinction and design future rules for alumni elections accordingly.
I hope this finds you well,
Brice D. L. Acree ‘09
Webmaster, Class of 2009