Zywicki Noted in Article on Dartmouth Elections

Dartmouth College has reacted to the recent elections of independent candidates to its Board of Trustees by proposing a new constitution that would prevent the elections of outsiders. The move comes on the heels of elections in which several candidates, including Professor Todd Zywicki of Mason Law, bypassed the official nomination process and were able to place their names on the ballot through collection of alumni signatures, later winning seats on the Board of Trustees.   Fellow petition trustee Peter Robinson writes in the Wall Street Journal that Dartmouth alumni should reject the proposed new constitution to preserve democracy at the college and ensure that the institution reconnects with mainstream America by safeguarding alumni access to the Board of Trustees.

The Dartmouth Fracas, The Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2006. (subscription required)

"Ho-hum about the clash of civilizations? Blase about the struggle for Congress? Then turn your attention to Hanover, N.H., home of Dartmouth College, where the fighting is really intense.

"The story begins with T.J. Rodgers, the entrepreneur who founded and runs Cypress Semiconductor. In 2004 Mr. Rodgers, class of '70, decided his alma mater could use him on its board of trustees (half of whose members are elected by alumni). He circulated a letter in which he insisted on a reassertion of high academic standards, the importance of freedom of speech on campus, and the need for Dartmouth to strive to remain the best undergraduate institution in the country. Employing a seldom-used petition mechanism to get his name on the ballot, Mr. Rodgers required 500 signatures. He received thousands. Then he defeated the three official candidates in a walk.

"The following year Mr. Rodgers persuaded two more alumni to mount petition candidacies: Todd Zywicki, class of '88, who teaches law at George Mason, and me, class of '79. We addressed the same issues Mr. Rodgers had addressed, and, like Mr. Rodgers, we won.

"The response in Hanover? Remarkably uniform. Everyone became hysterical."