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Dartmouth Won’t Appoint New Trustees Until February 2008

October 26, 2007

Joe’s Dartblog passes on a statement to that effect from the College in the middle of a press release on Dartmouth’s motion to dismiss the Association of Alumni’s lawsuit to enjoin the appointment of additional trustees. The press release states in relevant part "the Board has no plans to appoint Charter Trustees prior to February 2008, making the preliminary injunction requested by the Association unnecessary". Joe’s Dartblog has a copy of an affidavit filed by the College with the court as evidence of this proposition. 

In addition to those pointed out by Joe’s Dartblog, there are a couple of interesting things about this:

  • The presentation of the affidavit makes the press release’s use of the phrase "no plans to" a little disingenuous. That would not be sufficient to forestall an injunction were the court otherwise inclined to grant one. Instead, the affidavit states that the Board has authorized the College’s General Counsel to "represent to the Superior Court" that the "Board of Trustees will not fill any of the Charter Trustee positions authorized by the Board on September 8, 2007…" [italics added] This is a much more binding commitment on the part of the Board than a mere lack of plans.
  • Interestingly, the Board adopted this resolution on October 11, 2007, eight days after the lawsuit by the Association of Alumni was filed, yet this is the first anyone has heard of it.

To know how significant this commitment by the Board is, one would have to more than I about whether the Board had plans to appoint trustees sooner than February 2008.

There are pretty good arguments made by both the College and the Association of Alumni in their filings. As an alumnus, my heart is with the Association of Alumni, but as a practicing attorney who would like to know that a party is not being contractually bound before a variety of formalities my sympathies are with the Board of Trustees. 

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