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College lecturer Mark Bray, a visiting scholar at the Gender Research Institute at Dartmouth (GRID), has put the College into the national spotlight once again — and not in a good way. In an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, August 20, while promoting his forthcoming book, Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, he endorsed radical leftist movement Antifa’s violent tactics:

Mark Bray1.jpg

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has classified previous actions taken by Antifa as domestic terrorism.

Bray’s remarks included this exchange with Chuck Todd, the show’s host:

Todd: You seem to be a very small minority here who is defending the idea of violence considering that somebody died in Charlottesville. Why do you defend confronting in a violent way?

Bray: Well, first I would contest the notion that I’m not that small of a minority. I think that a lot of people recognize that, when pushed, self-defense is a legitimate response to white supremacy and neo-Nazi violence … And the way to stop that is what people did in Boston, what people did in Charlottesville. Pull the emergency break and say you can’t make this normal.

Bray later doubled down:

If you get fascist to be powerful enough in government, they’re simply not gonna listen to the kind of public opinion that non-violence can generate. That’s the argument for resistance to Nazis, and the other point that I’ll make is that a lot of people don’t have the choice whether they can defend themselves or not.

His other controversial statements, of which there are many, include the claim that “fascism cannot be defeated through speech.”

Bray’s position is so extreme that NBC brought on Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) President Richard Cohen as a counterpoint — the SPLC is a strongly left-leaning organization. Here’s what Cohen had to say, in part:

I think it’s a spectacularly bad idea to give one group of people the right to silence another group of people. It’s contrary to our values embodied in the First Amendment. It’s likely to drive the people who are trying to censor underground where they may resort to illegal means to express themselves, like bombs. And lastly, it’s likely to lead to a terrible spiral. We saw that in Berkeley. The Antifa came and shut down a speech. The next time the white nationalists brought their own private army and so, you know, where does something like that stop. Yesterday in Boston, you know, when we saw thousands and thousands of people peacefully protest, that seemed like a much stronger answer to white supremacy then, then clubs and guns.

Take a look at the corresponding footage here:

Ironically, Bray’s views are protected by the ideals of academic freedom and free speech that he opposes. So long as he does not directly incite violence, the First Amendment safeguards his right to make these statements. But by endorsing violent acts against people holding positions that are detestable to many of us, he has only ceded the moral high ground to a constellation of racist and bigoted groups. Unfortunately, more bloodshed may soon follow.

Addendum: A full transcript of Bray’s appearance can be found here.

: GRID is the same College organization that hosted anti-Semite Jasbir Puar, a scholar notorious for her claim that Israel is harvesting Palestinian organs for its own medical use.

Addendum: Bray had a lengthy piece on the Antifa movement in the Washington Post on August 15.

Addendum: A reader writes in:

I was so glad to read your post on Mark Bray.

Color me highly-startled when I looked up from my laptop to my TV, and saw that Dartmouth backdrop as the accompaniment to the “expert opinion” of young Mr. Bray there. You’ve slightly relieved me in emphasizing that he’s on campus due to the kind invitation of GRID and not, say, by the considered judgment of other departments I’d tend to hold in higher esteem.

I saw him again, on cable, last evening, again counterbalanced by Richard Cohen of SPLC (whose Mark Potok I’ve always seen as equally wild-eyed to Mr. Bray), and by golly Mr. Bray has the look about him of the young Khmer Rouge.

When will our children learn the force of economic choices wielded as a club? I know that’s a touchy subject for you, and Dartblog—BDS has been a major topic for your ire. But boycotts do work, when used and not just bruited about fashionably (see Birmingham bus boycott for notable example); they’re not fun because they require discipline.

Please do continue calling out lunacy wherever and whenever you see it. (We can judge for ourselves if we think you’re right…)

Let’s celebrate once again that life will imitate a great Pink Floyd song from the Dark Side of the Moon album. Dartmouth Professor of Physics and Astronomy John Thorstensen describes tomorrow’s solar eclipse (which should result in the coverage of about 60% of the sun in the Hanover area):

Look for the skies to be at their darkest at some point between 2:30 and 3:00pm on Monday.

Addendum: One of great hopeful signs of our era is that Pink Floyd’s music still receives generous radio airplay.

Addendum: Come to the Green:

Solar Eclipse Viewing.jpg

An alumnus writes in:

The new “Shanghai” World Ranking of Universities is out. As usual Dartmouth does not do very well in this type of ranking (we rank only in the top 201-300), but that does not matter to people who understand and appreciate the unique character and strengths of the College. Unfortunately Phil Hanlon, despite being an alumnus, does not appear to be one of those people.

Phil seems to think that if Dartmouth expands the undergraduate enrollment, sells the golf course, expands the number of graduate programs and students, and opens a new research institute (and then probably changes its name from Dartmouth College to Dartmouth University), Dartmouth might make a big jump in this ranking.

Once Hanlon’s strategy is fully implemented, Dartmouth stands a good chance of joining in the ranking Top 100-200 schools such as the University of Nebraska, the University of Delaware, the University of Calgary, Oregon State and Sichuan University. Who knows, we might even make the Top 100 along with Moscow State, the University of Florida, Boston University and Peking University. Anything is possible for Phil Hanlon’s New and Improved Dartmouth (PHNID)!

Six of the Ivies make the top twenty schools of the Shanghai index, which places great weight on research.

Shanghai Index 2017.jpg

Brown falls in the 101-150 range.

I prefer the College’s MVP robotic tackling dummy’s star turn on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show.

Athletics Director Harry Sheehy has written to alumni, parents, friends of Dartmouth Golf, members of the Hanover Country Club, and anyone else he can think of, to explain the possible sale of the HCC and its golf course. We should take care to note that the proposal to sell the Club comes from the President’s Office, and it will be Phil’s decision if it takes place; the idea did not originate in Athletics:

HCC Sheehy Letter.jpg

The HCC operating loss that is mentioned in the letter — an average of $595,000/year over the past four years — should be viewed against a backdrop of a) Dartmouth’s total spending in 2016 of $918,111,000 ($595,000 of that figure is a whopping 0.065% of spending; i.e. less than one tenth of one percent of expenses) and b) the College’s endowment of $4,474,404,000 (using generally accepted accounting terms, the HCC loss is a teeny weeny itsy bitsy percentage of the endowment).

All levity aside, despite the smokescreen, the administration is not thinking about operating losses here: Phil’s focus is the cash boost of $15,000,000-$25,000,000 that he can take in by selling the property. If an alumnus were to propose to cover HCC’s losses in the future, the administration would want to refuse the offer — though given the storm around the issue right now, a bailout will probably be the outcome of the current controversy.

Addendum: Who knows, but maybe my comment that the College has done little or no marketing for the Hanover Country Club in past years led women’s golf coach Alex Kirk to send out the following e-mail:

HCC Alex Kirk.jpg

Addendum: Alumni are sharing their letters to President Hanlon. An example:

Dear President Hanlon,

I saw the recent Valley News story on the closing and the sale of the Hanover Country Club.

I strongly oppose this idea.

Compared to the overall operating budget of Dartmouth, the operating loss of the Hanover Country Club is very, very small percentage.

Hanover Country Club is a great resource for the College. When I was at Dartmouth, I played golf with faculty members and formed lasting friendships on the golf course. I know the same was true for my son. Especially during the summer term, it is a great positive diversion for students away from sitting on beaches drinking.

Hanover Country Club provides the facility for the Dartmouth golf teams and the cross country teams. It is an area for students to stroll and jog. It is a facility that should be able to be used in faculty, staff, and student recruiting.

Through the Hanover Country Club, Dartmouth provided an important resource to the Town of Hanover. Its role in fund raising for Dartmouth could also be enhanced.

On long term basis, the Hanover Country Club is a great expanse of open land which is irreplaceable in a developed community. It is is a much more integral facility in the life of Dartmouth community and the Town of Hanover than the Skiway or the Ravine Lodge.

I sincerely hope that you can reconsider this very short sighted decision.

Thank you,

Addendum: A close observer of the College writes in:

I assumed having a Dartmouth alum as president of the institution would prevent these kinds of fiascos. That if someone who knew the College (as a student and alumnus) was at the helm, he or she would understand and appreciate the many intangibles that set a place like Dartmouth apart from other schools. We are running that experiment now, and I was wrong.

We were all wrong. How sad for the College.

Lest anyone think that Phil Hanlon’s writing is uniquely awful, please peruse, if you can, Carol Folt’s recent letter to the members of the Carolina community about the violent events in Charlottesville:

Folt on Charlottesville.jpg

How many errors of syntax and grammar can you find in the first paragraph alone?

Addendum: I wonder how Carol did on the verbal portion of the SAT.

Addendum: Meanwhile Chancellor Folt continues to make an utter hash of UNC’s endless scandal regarding no-show classes for athletes. Rather than admitting to the decades-long institutional wrongdoing that took place before she arrived in Chapel Hill, and putting the scandal behind her administration, Folt has employed every legal trick that she can think of in order to delay Carolina’s day of reckoning, as the News & Observer reports:

N&O Folt NCAA Comp.jpg

Someday a B-school professor will write up a case on how not to manage a crisis, and Carol will be the star exhibit for poor practice.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

There is a bigger problem with Folt’s message, which is that it did not address an important issue that emerged from the violent confrontation in Charlottesville, i.e. what to do about the hundreds of remaining Confederate statues in the South? In particular, what to do about UNC’s Silent Sam statue?

As poorly written as Folt’s message was, few people would disagree with her sentiments that violence and hate are bad, that we must all get along and all that. But where does she stand on the question of Confederate statues, especially Silent Sam? That might not seem like a vital issue to Northerners, but in the South it arouses intense emotions on both sides of the issue.

So far she has ignored the question, seemingly hoping that it would just go away. However, as I pointed out four years ago, Silent Sam has been a time bomb waiting to go off. Now the fuse has been lit. What will Folt say and do about it?

For the record, my feelings about the issue of the statues are mixed. I can understand why people would rather not see Confederate leaders honored with statues that sit on public property. On the other hand, a statue like Silent Sam that honors ordinary soldiers (specifically alumni) who died honorably in battle might be different and worthy of preserving. Though those who oppose Confederate statues as symbols of the evil of slavery now make no such distinctions — according to them, all the statues must be torn down now.

These are circumstances under which a real leader must take a stand one way or another and either do something or not. Unfortunately for UNC, Folt is not a real leader.

A half dozen members of the College community have shared with me their letters to Phil Hanlon concerning the contemplated sale of the Hanover Country Club and its golf course. Here are some typical ones:

HCC Parent.jpg

HCC Alumnus1.jpg

Phil has a reputation in Hanover as a terrible listener. Let’s hope his skills improve soon.

A Valley News front page article by Rob Wolfe ‘12 picked up on Tuesday’s post about the possible closure of the golf course:

VN HCC Closing Comp.jpg

Take note of College spokeswoman Diana Lawrence’s mention of declining Hanover Country Club memberships. As the owner of the largest health and fitness club in the Upper Valley, you can rest assured that I monitor the marketing efforts of all recreational businesses in the area. I can’t recall any HCC marketing (mailings, advertising, promotions, special offers to local alumni, etc.) for the course in the last several years. The HCC slouches along, and the College then finds to its surprise that memberships are down. How typical of so much that goes on at Dartmouth these days.

Addendum: The VN article emphasizes that the decision to close the course lies only with Phil Hanlon — not with the Board of Trustees nor AD Harry Sheehy. Drop Phil an e-mail if you want to comment on this issue:

Addendum: The piece quotes Sheehy on the local reaction over the past few days to the news that the HCC might close:

Sheehy, who said he had seen “panic” among some community members since news of the closing consideration broke, emphasized that nothing was final.

“I say that without a clue about what will happen,” he said.

Time to get old members to sign up again.

Addendum: Nothing in The D yet about the golf course.

Addendum: An alum writes in:

The golf course is a quintessential part of the College experience, even for us non-golfers. Why would the College, which tries to distinguish itself from the other Ivies based on its intimate rural setting, eliminate one of its most prominent outdoor assets? Just another reason for applicants to decide not to come to Hanover. It amazes me that Phil continues to fail to understand the psyche of the College. Wittingly or not, he is dismantling everything that makes the College special and unique among its peers. It is unfathomable and irresponsible that the trustees are sitting by idly and not taking action to find a suitable replacement for the mistake that is Phil Hanlon.

An alumnus writes in:

I was a not a golfer at Dartmouth, yet the golf course was an essential part of my time at Dartmouth. When you live in the decrepit Choates, there aren’t many perks. However, proximity to Occom Pond and the golf course was a bonus. It was so easy to escape the noise of campus and enjoy the serenity of this beautiful place. I took weekly walks with friends around Occom, through the golf course, and to Pine Park.

In the Winter, we would regularly go sledding on the golf course and many of the good (and few) remaining traditions from Winter Carnival took place there. Heck, I even had my first kiss at Dartmouth while taking in a starry night from the second fairway.

This isn’t just a golf course. Its openness, proximity to campus, and pastoral nature are (as the administration would want me to say) Distinctly Dartmouth. The complete lack of understanding from the College’s senior leadership is beyond baffling. No vision, no leadership, no respect. Time to clean house.

In the name of the Class of 2021 and in light of the violent events at Charlottesville, a group of students led by Carlos Polanco ‘21 and Luiza Odhiambo ‘21 have written a public letter to support the incoming freshman class at UVA:

Dartmouth 2021s to UVA.jpg

Students at a number of other schools (Columbia, Yale, Williams, Pomona, and Vassar) have followed the ‘21’s lead. The Washington Post has the story.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Note that the message of the Class of 2021 is quite vague; it refers to “what was happening on your campus.” The only reference to human agency appears to be the mention of the need to “change the minds of white supremacists and those who ascribe to their beliefs.” The obvious innuendo is that the violence was exclusively attributable to that ill-defined group. No mention is made to the well documented violence also perpetrated by the Antifa group and those who ascribe to their beliefs, which quite openly call for violent assault.

The reality is that a number of people showed up to protest for their beliefs opposing or favoring removal of the Lee statue. Some of them were actively seeking violence, others wore protective gear in case they were attacked (a not unreasonable expectation given what has happened elsewhere), and others probably expected a peaceful event with normal police intervention should the need arise. Unfortunately, the police made no attempt to separate the factions and the thug element got violent.

The simple message of the 2021s makes no attempt to sort out what was a complex situation and seems a shallow exercise in virtue signaling.

Addendum: A younger alumnus responds to his elder:

A reaction to the tired, incomplete, and morally pathetic argument made by an alumnus in reaction to the statement on Charlottesville by the Class of 2021.

Let’s break down the ranking of worst things happening at the Charlottesville riot:

• In third place, violence committed by Antifa counter protesters

• In second place by a strong margin, violence committed by Neo-Nazi’s and white supremacists, who literally killed a person

• But in an absolute landslide for 1st place worst thing about the whole event: people who believe in and preach Nazism and white supremacy!

It’s so galling to hear argument after argument amounting to there was violence on both sides. Of course there was! That’s indisputable. But when the president is criticized for pointing out the presence of violence on both sides, it’s not because its inaccurate. It’s because it’s barely relevant. The main story here is a rising tide of supremacist ideologies. You know, the ones that lead to slavery and genocide.

So I ask of this person: Why be so eager to blind yourself to only the small picture? Why not just admit for once that the side bearing swastikas is worse? The ones chanting “Jews will not replace us” are worse? Worse in mind, thought, deed and effect on the world. Why be so animated by a desire to paint the “left” as some flavor of bad, dumb, “shallow”, or violent, that they can’t put aside their smartypants arguments and make condemning nazism the primary focus of their words? The most terrifying question: why are there so many people doing the same, and why is the president among them?”

Addendum: A Dartmouth researcher writes in:

I’m not going to analyze the quality of writing, its substance or utter lack of meaning encountered more often than not (e.g. ‘we have unified as an incoming class’? ‘allow our response […] and our ability to effectively collaborate […] fuel the need for togetherness’?). And what is this In Power signature?

Rather, for all its pomposity, grandiosity and a standard set of yawn-inducing set of PC clichés, the letter never once mentions or alludes to importance of freedom of expression and freedom of speech. Instead, it says pretty much the same thing 3 times: ‘sexual orientation […] gender and sexuality.’ Don’t see how this is relevant at all to what happened in Charlottesville.

This letter is so Dartmouth these days. So if you’re a biological Steve who one day decides to be called, celebrated and treated as Eve you deserve recognition and protection and then some. But if you happen to think that there are (some) biological and psychological differences between men and women which (at least to some extent) explain different career choices and variable composition of workforce depending on the occupation, you get fired from Google and will probably get in big trouble at Dartmouth.

Thought Police using doublethink and newspeak to tell Proles what is and isn’t a thoughtcrime…George Orwell must be turning in his grave. All hail Ingsoc! I mean Incdiv (inclusion and diversity).

The Dartblog in-box saw a surge of mail about yesterday’s post concerning the proposed sale of the Hanover Country Club golf course by the administration:

An alumnus:

The proposal to sell the Golf Course, if true, would be yet another evidence of broken governance at the College — presidents who call the shots for their own short term ends, and a rubber stamp Board of Trustees. Hopes for some restraining alumni influence were dashed some years ago when the College threw all its resources into defeating efforts to gain independent alumni representation on the Board.

The amazing thing to me is that alumni support hasn’t fallen even further than it has. Many of my classmates see the College only through a lens that filters out all reality in favor of sentimental reminiscence of their long departed youth. They prefer to recline in a warm and comforting bath of nostalgia rather than oppose anything harmful to the College’s best traditions.

A close observer of the campus:

The administration’s thinking about the future of Hanover Country Club — important though that is — is simply a metaphor of larger issues: questions of stewardship of what we have been entrusted by those who came before us, philosophy of education, and the long-term direction of Dartmouth.

For example: Are the outdoors and Dartmouth’s long history of encouraging active, rugged, physical experiences and camaraderie beyond the classroom, still vital to the College’s identity? Will this remain a distinctive of Dartmouth as it competes against its elite but relatively effete, urban peers?

A professor:

I realize that the 15th of August is a day of celebration throughout much of Europe, but did not know that there was an April 1, Fools Day, activity associated with it. Or at least I hope this is a joke….

An alumnus:

wtf? really true? i can’t even begin to say how much all of these people suck. i really hate them. and it makes me sad.

A loyal reader:

Selling the crown jewels to balance the books is never a good idea. Bad governance. Should a community golf course be a profit center or is it a public/student “good”?
[I am not a golfer, but I sure appreciate the trails and green space.]

An alumnus:

According to the Board’s website:

“…the Board of Trustees has ultimate responsibility for the financial, administrative and academic affairs of the College.”

Hanlon is a Trustee and, notwithstanding whatever his contract recites, serves at the pleasure of the Board. The Board needs to step up, exercise its responsibilities, install proper management and fix this mess.

An alumnus:

They should start to cut employees starting at the top. Obviously, Phil has never realized that when the First Republic decided to get rid of the man at the top, they just chopped off his head. No need to pay severance or a pension to Louis XVI.

Getting a chance to be trapped with Phil for 4.5 hours on a golf course has to be the definition of a “bad day.”

A reader:

Golf Course sale …

1. Please confirm that Pine Park wouldn’t be included.

2. How can selling land be reconciled with the recently-suggested enlargement of the College? (You can always hope to raise more money; you can never hope to create more land.)

3. Didn’t you just say there’s a big endowment? But there’s a tiny campus! If you need to spend assets, then do so, but what’s the *logic* of getting rid of land?

A reader:

C’mon, Joe. Sell the golf course?? Someone must be feeding you “fake news” in order to embarrass you for printing it.

An alumnus:

Honestly, how can we get this clown out of office?

A friend of the College:

Your post this morning is distressing, to say the least. Though in times like these I suppose I must add: as distressing as news about a golf course could be.

Having such a beautiful golf course walking distance from the center of campus has to be one of the more unique assets in all of higher education. It would definitely be folly to part with it. Among the Ivies, only Princeton and Cornell appear to also have home courses fairly close by, though I think HCC is the most convenient of all. I have been to Yale’s course, which a 15 minute drive from the campus.

Part of HCC’s charm is that one can simply walk on to it and play. The fact that the course is not fenced speaks to the kind of community Hanover and Dartmouth are, and particularly the rural and small town character that helps to provide Dartmouth with its distinctiveness. One of my favorite traditions when the days were at their longest was to go to the course at 5:30 a.m., play 9 holes, and then pay up at the pro shop and head to work. It was an unbeatable way to start a day.

I hope that nothing comes of this.

An alumnus:

The golf course is where the cross country teams host their meets… obviously, practice isn’t as much of an issue, but I would think that if the Country Club was sold, the cross country team would not be able to host meets, so that would be more travel for them as well.

A professor:

The sale of the HCC would be even more stupid than Jim Kim’s sale of the Minary Center back in 2010 to finance his overpriced Inn renovation. For peanuts ($6.75 million) the College lost control of one of the most beautiful retreat centers in New England. This rash of recent bad presidents will reduce the College to a series of bleak buildings on asphalt.

An alumnus:

Your post today is disturbing—particularly for those of us who live in the HCC neighborhood! Is there any evidence that the College is considering asset sales, including the golf course, or is it more a case of asset sales being a logical result if the Hanlon administration doesn’t start to turn things around? I’m hoping neither scenario is the case!

Phil Hanlon, who likes to refer to himself as a thought leader, has issued a statement to the Dartmouth community about this past weekend’s event in Charlottesville:

Hanlon on Charlottesville Comp.jpg

How would you grade this piece if you were an English 5 (now Writing 5) teacher looking for tight reasoning and forceful prose? Maybe I am being overly critical, but all I see here are a string of buzzwords and little rigor and precision. If Phil meant his statement to incite reflection on campus, he has not succeeded.

I’m told that Phil writes these pieces himself. It shows. Just how do the events in Charlottesville affirm our need for “a sense of responsibility for each other and for the broader world.” What do those words even mean?

Addendum: Horror and profound dismay? Enhancing the depth of our learning? Unnecessary and senseless?

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

President Hanlon’s statement conforms to the leftist take that the violence was exclusively the work of those protesting the removal of the Lee statue. In fact, many on both sides came “prepared to rumble,” or in some cases, just to defend themselves from expected violence. And some were no doubt there merely to peacefully express their views.

Hanlon’s ugly innuendo is that this event was akin to a National Socialist rally in 1930s Germany, which completely misrepresents what was going on. This from the President of what is supposed to be an educational institution. Sad!

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

I note Phil is quick to respond to the tragedy in Charlottesville, but his silence re: the untimely passing of Joe Rago has been deafening. Is there a policy re: alumni passings that I’m not aware of? Did the family request that there be no official statement? How else can one explain this?

Additionally, if you haven’t done so already, please check out the Dartmouth Review’s Rago festschrift - I have not read some of his articles since they were published and I was a mere freshman and sophomore (sorry, first year and second year cis student) but having reread them since they more than stand the test of time. Not since Lord’s history has such inspired prose been dedicated to the history of the College. They should be required reading for all students.

Hanover Country Club.jpgWith fundraising in serious trouble, the Hanlon administration is considering selling assets to fill the looming shortfalls in the College’s finances. Up first is the Hanover Country Club (HCC) and its 18-hole golf course, five-hole practice area and driving range.

The property lies on either side of the Lyme Road just to the north of the campus. The new Biology building and the Dewey parking lot (lower left in the photo at right) are its closest neighbor. Why sell?

At first glance, like the Skiway, the HCC loses money every year, but at the same time, it provides a home and a practice area for the men’s and women’s golf teams and men’s and women’s cross-country teams — not to mention being an amenity much loved by Hanover residents, faculty members, and students (it is used for many undergraduate Physical Education classes).

If the course is sold — and some estimates see it being worth in the area of $15-25 million in the hands of a real estate developer or perhaps the Kendal retirement community — the golf teams would practice at The Quechee Club or the Montcalm Golf Club, both a 20-minute drive from the Hanover.

The extra cost of the teams’ travel and course fees — not to mention the wasted time for students — would wipe out most of the annual budgetary savings. But the administration’s focus is not on annual operating costs. Its real aim is to take in a big, one-time chunk of money in order to plug the onrushing budget gap.

HCC 1899.jpgAs a matter of background, a number of different departments throughout the College have been asked to significantly tighten their belts in the coming year. With the endowment growing only slowly due to Phil’s ineffective fundraising, spending has to be reduced somewhere, and, of course, no serious thought is being given to deep cuts in the bloated bureaucracy. Something else has to give.

Funny enough, Phil Hanlon is a golfer, but he prefers the Baker Hill Golf Club that overlooks Lake Sunapee. Baker Hill is a 40-minute drive from Hanover; it is close to Phil’s Sunapee vacation home. That said, at least until budget time, our President has not been immune to the HCC course’s charms, as he stated in a 2014 Alumni Magazine profile of the Hanover Country Club:

“The HCC is a treasure, even for those of us who don’t get to play as much as we’d like,” says Hanlon. “It’s about community and fellowship. It was that way when I was a student and it’s the same today. You don’t have to nail a 250-yard drive down the middle to feel like your day was a success. You might watch a doe and her fawns amble through your shot or share a laugh with colleagues and friends back at the clubhouse. That’s a good day in my book.”

Needless to say, selling the largest open piece of Hanover real estate is an immensely short-sighted idea for many reasons. Not only would the loss of the College’s golf course be a huge blow to our teams and student body, but Dartmouth would lose a signature feature. However, beyond those arguments, the loss of the only prime open property close to campus (other than the threatened College Park, which has the Bema at its center) forecloses a great many future options to the College.

Who knows what our real estate needs will be fifty or one hundred years from now? What we certainly do know is that if the golf course is filled with condos, the area won’t be open for labs and classrooms and other academic projects. I can see a future Dartmouth President cursing Phil Hanlon’s name at the thought that way back in 2017 Phil decided to sell 160+ acres of prime College land for a mess of pottage in order to finance long-forgotten operating expenses.

Just how many wrongheaded strategies can the Trustees put up with from Phil? It is one thing to hire a lousy Provost or to waste money on silly bureaucrats, but decisions like selling valuable assets that will negatively affect the College for generations — or forever — should give the Board real pause concerning our President’s managerial sense (or lack thereof).

Addendum: One can expect that the proposed sale of the golf course will incite a firestorm similar to the one that resulted from the Wright administration’s attempt in 2003 to eliminate the swim teams. Wright, like Phil Hanlon, would not trim the bureaucracy enough to avoid serious cuts that would directly impact students — so the swim teams almost bought it. As I like to say, recent Dartmouth administrations seem happy to cut bone in order to save fat. And to think that people like this are running an Ivy League school.

By the way, once the news is out about the golf course sale, do you think that the many hundreds of men and women alumni who played golf for the College over the years will be more or less likely to contribute to the capital campaign and the Dartmouth College Fund?

At the rate he is going, it won’t be long before Phil has alienated everyone.

Addendum: Varsity golfer John Lazor ‘19 talked to Dartmouth Sports this year about the role of the Hanover Country Club in his life:

This Westwood, Massachusetts, native was the Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2015-16 in his first season with the Big Green. This past year, Lazor posted three top-20 finishes, topping out in a tie for 10th at the Manor Intercollegiate hosted by Longwood. He also boasted a 74.0 stroke average for the season with a low round of 69 at Furman with some of the top teams in the country participating. At the Ivy League Championship, he carded a 227 (+11) to finish in a tie for 18th. What have you been doing during your sophomore summer?
John Lazor: The summer has been a blast so far. These first few weeks I’ve been playing a lot of golf with friends out at Hanover CC, been hanging down at the river and around campus just trying to enjoy the nice weather. Of course, I’ve also been doing some studying!

DS: What is your favorite place on campus?
JL: Hanover Country Club is the place I spend most of my time, so it has definitely become my favorite place. It’s my favorite place not because it’s a golf course, but because it’s relaxing, has some amazing views and can be used as a nice “getaway” from the busy college life. It’s a tough place to beat.

Addendum: There is no truth to the rumor that the Green is to be sold to a commercial parking lot operator. Yet.

Addendum: To readers who are wondering about the seriousness of this post, other than the final addendum, I ain’t funnin’ you. I wish that I were.

Here’s one of those Wall street Journal charts that leave me scratching my head. First of all, the ranking is curious: the Harvard kids are earning $96k/year a decade after graduation, and it’s downhill from there for other schools. Penn is next at $80k, and graduates of the College are only earning a median average of $65k per year. What about all those kids in private equity and consulting who started at >$100k right after Commencement, or the B-school grads and lawyers who should be making well over $200k by now? Shouldn’t they bring the median up?

WSJ Student Debt1.jpg

Also, note the tight grouping of median average total student debt: Harvard is the low man at $7k; Columbia kids owe $27k; and alumni of the College are in hock for $12k. None of those numbers seem outrageous when you divide them over four years of education.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

It took me forever to find Dartmouth on the WSJ chart. I think they used a small version of the logo generally used by the athletic department (which is not aesthetically appealing). If someone in PR wants to burnish Dartmouth’s image, they should start with a more prominent logo. How about using the College seal like many of our peers?

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

I saw the note today about the $65K figure ten years out. It’s worth mentioning that Dartmouth actually used to be at the top of that same statistic ($135K at least according to Forbes in 2008).

Here’s something that you can do tomorrow:

From: “Laura L. Sgrecci”
To: All Students, All Faculty, All Staff
Subject: ‘Dartmouth Football 101’ Set for Tuesday, August 15

Join the Big Green football team, coaching staff and their families for a night of food, football and fun on Tuesday, August 15 from 5:30-8 p.m. at Memorial Field. ‘Dartmouth Football 101’ is free and open to fans of all ages. Enjoy a tailgate party, free T-shirts for the first 200 registrants and on-field skill stations run by the Dartmouth Football staff. To register, visit

Memorial Field Game.jpg



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