A few years ago I ran a Saturday morning workshop for the Board of a large and successful boarding school. The configuration of the Board was such that there was an elected representative for the alumni, and another for the current parents who were the only "externally" (not by the Governance Committee) chosen members of the Board. I gave my pitch about the importance of "cabinet solidarity", that is to say, that no matter what viewpoints had been expressed around the Board table in the heat of any discussion, once the decision had been made, it became the official position of the Board and all of its members. The Board, in other words, had to speak with one voice. A couple of weeks later I got a call from the parent rep on the Board to ask my advice. She had been tasked by the parent group to argue at the Board against a proposed change in policy. The parent position was not supported by the Board and the policy was changed anyway. At the next parent meeting, she had spoken to the parents defending (as she should) the Board's decision and was subsequently decried as a "turncoat" and having not represented parental interests. She was so shaken by this, she was considering resigning from the Board. I offered to speak at the next parents' association meeting about the rock and hard place she was being put in and together we managed to diffuse the situation somewhat. This is the fundamental conflict that any trustee is put in if she or he is there as an ex-officio representative of a stakeholder group (alumni, parents, faculty, etc.). No matter what their external mandate, they must respect both the confidentiality of Board discussions, and the solidarity behind any decision. The same principle applies if you happen to be absent from a crucial meeting. No matter how contentious a decision might have been made in your absence, you must still publicly support it.
So as a governor, what should you do if you fundamentally disagree with a decision or direction taken by the Board? You have two basic choices, you can stay on and continue to put forward a counter position around the board table, or you can resign. You have to remember however, that if you do resign, you are still bound by both the tenets of confidentiality and solidarity for any decisions that were made while you were a member of the Board. You can't resign in protest, you can only quietly step down and let people draw their own conclusions about your reasons.