Lawsuit Update: September 2009
As you all know, on November 18, 2008, faced
with the specter of a Dartmouth Board of Trustees that continues to reject
parity and an Association of Alumni executive committee that has sought to
extinguish the 117 year right of parity by giving up its own lawsuit “with
prejudice”, a representative group of individual Dartmouth alumni
in the Grafton County Superior Court to enforce the
to restore parity, and to ensure the preservation of the unique governance
model that has placed the College in the forefront of American educational
On February 2, 2009, the Trustees
to the alumni plaintiffs' petition.
On July 18, 2009 the Trustees filed a “
Motion for Summary
seeking to short-circuit judicial review of the validity of the 1891
Agreement. The Trustees motion claims that individual alumni have no
standing to enforce the
and, in any case, that the Association's withdrawal of
the earlier suit "with prejudice" bars any new suit.
Last Friday, September 2, 2009, the group of seven alumni plaintiffs
Objection to the Trustees' Motion for Summary Judgment.
The alumni group’s request that the judge deny the Trustees’ motion counters
the contention that the matter has been laid to rest by the court. In their
court filing, the alumni argue that the June, 2008, dismissal by the
Association of the previous lawsuit “with prejudice” was “a product of
collusion and bad faith.”
The plaintiffs claim that the "with prejudice" filing was done in secret and
without the authority of the body of alumni. Outlining the “collusion and
bad faith” involved in ending the earlier lawsuit, the alumni argue that the
College “virtually commandeered the entire process. For it was the College
that selected the Association’s new counsel; it was the College that managed
the process; and it was the College that even dictated the terms of the
This court filing is the latest salvo in a two-year battle between Dartmouth
alumni and their Alma Mater. In September 2007, Dartmouth Trustees
unilaterally decided to “pack” the college’s board and guarantee that
alumni-selected Trustees would permanently be in the minority.
On Friday, September 4, 2009, the plaintiffs were joined in their efforts to
1891 agreement and to secure a restoration of
parity by Professor Todd Zywicki. Through counsel, Professor Zywicki filed a
motion to permit the filing of an
brief, supporting the alumni plaintiffs. Professor
Zywicki had previously served on the Board of Trustees as an Alumni
Trustee,. However, earlier this year in what his fellow Alumni Trustee T.J.
Rodgers has described as a "kangaroo court proceeding", Professor Zywicki
was denied a second term on the Board.
amicus brief describes the contributions that
Alumni Trustees have made to Dartmouth and the importance of having them
serve on the Board. It also recites in detail the College's efforts to
silence the Alumni Trustees' voice, including but not limited to its breach
1891 Agreement. Harvey Silverglate, author of
several books on academic freedom, is the lead lawyer on the team which
Monday September 07, 2009
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