Disturbances on the periphery can betoken trouble at the center. Bucolic Hanover, New Hampshire, may seem like a remote outpost. But what just happened at Dartmouth College has serious implications for efforts to reform institutions of higher education nationwide. It is not an encouraging development.

Last month, we reported on the unfolding power play by the Dartmouth administration. A brief racap: Dartmouth is—or rather, Dartmouth was—unusual in its governance. From 1891 until early September, nearly half its eighteen trustees were elected from a slate of alumni candidates. The other half, apart from a couple of ex officio slots, were appointed by the board itself. In practice, since the administration vetted elected as well as appointed candidates, the board of trustees controlled all the seats In 2004, however, something unexpected happened. T. J. Rodgers, someone not sanctioned by the Dart ...