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About once in a decade a Dartmouth athlete makes it in the pros (way to go, Kyle!), but the rest of our varsity athletes had better leave Hanover with a degree and some old-fashioned learning. And happily enough, they do. The below NCAA figures show that virtually all Dartmouth athletes graduate in four years (99+%, at least — the figures below are like batting averages where the denominator is 1,000):

NCAA Graduation Rate Comp 2016.jpg

That’s quite a remarkable result, given that the four-year-graduation rate among all undergraduates is somewhere in the 86-88% range according to the most excellent Dartmouth FactBook:

Dartmouth Graduation Rates.jpg

U.S. News lists our four-year graduation rate as 86%.

The faculty can take some credit for student-athletes’ results, but more should go to the coaches themselves. Some teams, like football, ride their players almost as hard off the field as they do on it, and the Athletics Department’s various initiatives drill into everyone that success is not just about points on the board. Bravo, Dartmouth.

Addendum: If Phil wants to improve the College’s graduation rates, he needs to bring in more athletes.

Elizabeth Smith1.jpgAfter making the rounds of several faculty members, the consensus seems to be that Elizabeth Smith (not “Liz,” please) is the real deal. While not everyone is convinced that she won’t be kissing up to Parkhurst (though other professors pointedly note her spirited independence), and in my cynical moments I wonder if Phil Hanlon is capable of making a good appointment (think fruit of the poisonous tree and all that), my contacts seem to admire her tough-mindedness, seriousness and thoughtfulness. As one faculty member in a position to know said, she will fight for the Arts & Sciences.

The Biology department is one of the College’s best, and Smith’s scholarly record, while far from extraordinary, seems to show accomplishment — though don’t look to me to understand her most cited paper: The radial spokes and central apparatus: Mechano-chemical transducers that regulate flagellar motility (187 citations in the works of other researchers). Check out her lab’s website.

As well, Smith has a background and interests in dance and the arts, which might translate into good relations with the Humanities faculty — many of whose members are skeptical of science faculty members’ respect for their division.

Most importantly, Smith will be filling a role in which she will receive little guidance. Phil is puttering about doing whatever it is that he does (though the somnolence of the capital campaign makes one wonder), and Provost Dever is interviewing furiously at other schools, so we can expect that Dever’s engagement in the life of the College will be only sporadic until some other institution of higher learning makes the same mistake that we did. The door is open for Smith to innovate — and maybe do a little cost reduction, too, among the 309 non-faculty staffers in the Dean of the A&S Faculty area (who are those people?).

So let’s welcome Elizabeth Smith with mild hopefulness. We might call her the Duthu Dividend.

Addendum: Read the College’s press release here, the Valley News article on Smith’s appointment here.

Biology Professor Elizabeth Smith has been named Dean of the Faculty. She had been passed over in favor of Bruce Duthu, but she got the nod on Phil’s do-over:

Elizabeth Smith.jpgSent to all faculty and students:

Elizabeth Smith, the Paul M. Dauten Jr. Professor of Biological Sciences, has been appointed dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, President Phil Hanlon ‘77 and Provost Carolyn Dever announced today.

Smith, who has served as associate dean of the sciences in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences for the past two years, and before that served as chair of the Department of Biological Sciences for three years, will succeed Dean Michael Mastanduno on July 1. Mastanduno, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Professor of Government, has spent seven years as dean.

President Hanlon says that Smith’s track record shows her to be eminently suited to lead the arts and sciences.

“Elizabeth Smith is an outstanding professor and researcher whose wealth of experience in training students at all levels goes hand in hand with her inspiring vision for arts and sciences along with her commitment to support faculty as they achieve new heights. I am delighted that she will be the next dean of faculty, and will look forward to working with her on strengthening academic excellence at Dartmouth,” he says.

Smith, who will serve a five-year term and oversee 41 departments and programs and about 450 faculty members, says she’s looking forward to leading arts and sciences.

“The dean of the faculty plays an essential role in shaping and communicating the mission of the faculty, as well as securing the necessary resources to carry out that mission. I am deeply honored to serve the faculty as their dean and look forward to working with faculty members in all divisions to realize their highest aspirations,” Smith says.

“With the increasing pressure to justify the value of a liberal arts education and, at the same time, to compete for the best students and faculty within that space, the current climate in higher ed may seem unstable, even volatile,” she says. “But I see this time as dynamic and energized. From my perspective, the conditions are ripe for transformative action, and Dartmouth has all of the right ingredients to be a leader in that transformation. Collectively, we must ensure that actions result in progress that supports our collective mission and core values.”

Provost Carolyn Dever says Smith will be a strong advocate for the highest standards in teaching and research.

“Elizabeth’s creative and inclusive approach to leadership makes her a truly exciting choice for this important role. Her knowledge and experience will be invaluable in working with the faculty in their distinctive scholar-teacher mission,” says Dever.

A scientist whose research focuses on the assembly and motility of cilia and flagella—structures on the surface of cells—Smith has trained undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral associates in her lab, which has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since her arrival at Dartmouth in 1998. She has also received funding from the National Science Foundation and the March of Dimes Foundation for her research.

In addition to her research and teaching, Smith has had an active interest in connections between the arts and the sciences. As biological sciences chair, she worked with the Hood Museum of Art to commission a sculpture by artist and alumnus Gar Waterman ‘78 for the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center. With support from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation, she worked with the Hopkins Center for the Arts to connect science faculty with emerging composer Fay Wang to commission a musical interpretation of microbiology.

“The arts and sciences are more similar than you might think,” says Smith. “The output of both disciplines requires enormous creativity and a high level of technical proficiency. Both result in new ways of thinking about the world around us. And where the two intersect, the results can be incredibly powerful.”

“Dartmouth should be a place where the greatest minds come together to ask difficult questions and engage in creative and critical thinking to generate new knowledge and solve important problems. I feel very strongly that the institution also has a moral obligation to set an example to the world for how to engage in deep, honest, inclusive, and respectful discourse about the most controversial issues of our time,” she says.

Smith came to Dartmouth in 1998 as an assistant professor. She was named a full professor in 2010 and served as chair of biological sciences for three years, beginning in 2012. She has served on a number of committees and has worked across schools. She was a member of the Graduate and Advanced Studies Task Force for the development of the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, and co-chaired the Science Strategy Working Group, tasked by Dever to develop a strategy to guide future investment in the STEM fields across campus.

In her professional service, Smith has served as chair of a Gordon Research Conference, an international forum for the presentation and discussion of frontier research in biological, chemical, and physical sciences. She is currently serving on a National Institutes of Health Study Section, a panel that performs peer reviews of grant applications. In 2014, she received the Dauten endowed professorship at Dartmouth. A year earlier, she was inducted into Dartmouth’s Phi Beta Kappa Society chapter as an honorary member. She has received a number of external honors and fellowships, including being chosen as a K.R. Porter Fellow by the Porter Endowment for Cell Biology in 2008. The endowment, named for the researcher considered to have established the field of cell biology, honors mid-career scientists who have the potential for an outstanding career in cell biology.

Smith received her bachelor’s degree in biology with honors from Agnes Scott College and her PhD in cell and developmental biology from Emory University. Before coming to Dartmouth, Smith spent six years at the University of Minnesota, where she received a prestigious American Cancer Society fellowship for her post-doctoral work in genetics and cell biology.

Mastanduno, an expert in the field of international relations, served a five-year term as dean and then, at Hanlon’s request, agreed in 2015 to serve another two years. After a yearlong sabbatical beginning July 1, Mastanduno will return to teaching and research at the College.

Smith’s appointment follows the appointment in March of N. Bruce Duthu ‘80 to the dean’s post. Duthu, the Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth, declined the appointment last month, citing controversy over his support four years ago, as a member of the Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, which he said had become a distraction with the potential to undermine his ability to serve effectively as dean.

Kathryn Cottingham, professor and chair of biological sciences, and Mona Domosh, professor of geography, co-chaired the search committee that recommended finalists for the dean’s job to Hanlon. The other members of the committee were Robert Bonner, a professor and chair of history; Graziella Parati, a professor of Italian literature and of women’s and gender studies; Steve Swayne, a professor of music; and Peter Winkler, a professor of mathematics and computer science.

Dever and Hanlon thanked the search committee members for their work on this important search. Cottingham and Domosh, speaking on behalf of the committee, say they are very pleased with the selection of Smith as the next dean.

“Elizabeth is an outstanding scholar with an international reputation in cell biology. As associate dean for sciences, she has worked tirelessly to champion Dartmouth’s teacher-scholar model, attract the very best new faculty, and build bridges not only across the arts and sciences, but to the Geisel School of Medicine and Thayer School of Engineering. We look forward to working with her to champion the liberal arts at Dartmouth,” the co-chairs said in an email.

A search for the next associate dean of the sciences will begin soon.

Everyone knows that back in the 1970’s Phil Hanlon’s Alpha Delta nickname was Juan Carlos:

Hanlon Juan Carlos.jpg

But did you know that Phil was a serious pong player? So much so that he took to the pages of The D on October 16, 1976 to provide a scholarly exegesis on the biblical origins of the College’s signature sport:

Hanlon Beer PongComp1.jpg

At what point did Phil become a PC scold?

Addendum: Trivia buffs will note that the ad for the Lina Wertmuller movie Seven Beauties playing at the Nugget refers to the Nugget 1&2. The theater only had two screen in my day, up from one in years prior.

In a word: money. In this NYT-derived chart, we have listed the Ivies by their generosity in financially aiding lower income students. As far as Dartmouth goes, not so good, right? We are sixth in the rankings, not only after HYP, but also lagging behind Columbia and Brown:

NYT Endowment Per Student2.jpg

But let’s reshuffle the deck and order the Ivies by endowment per student. Now we are a solid fourth after HYP, and far richer than the lower four Ivies: Penn, Columbia, Brown and Cornell:

NYT Endowment Per Student1a.jpg

Your first conclusion should be how tight-fisted we are in sharing the bounty of our huge endowment with needy families. The second one is how much wealthier we are than the non-HYP schools. How can, say, Columbia do big science (and admit more kids from poor families) and we supposedly can’t, when we have well over double the endowment per student of the Manhattan-dwelling school.

One day the College will have a real President, one who will focus on education rather than social welfare. What a glorious school we will become when that person trims all the fat and applies the huge savings to the faculty and students.

Addendum: As I have written repeatedly, if we could educate our students for the same per student cost as Brown, we’d free up approximately $250 million/year from the budget — about a quarter of all spending. That’s the equivalent of adding $5.0 billion to the endowment. You could pay for a great many laboratories with that kind of money — let alone refurbished dorms, competitive salaries for professors, and a raft of innovative programs that would interest the whole world in a Dartmouth education.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Your financial analysis is spot on. I can never understand how these idiots who claim to know how to run a non-profit institution of higher learning don’t have a clue about financial mgmt. I personally think someone other than the higher-ups in the administration, those overeducated and self appointed experts in all things, should never be allowed to handle the money. That’s what the Board should be doing…OOPS…I forgot they have packed the Board with like-minded souls.

The first rule in management should always be accountability. Why is there none at Dartmouth? As I’ve said before… IT TAKES GREAT TEACHERS AND GREAT STUDENTS TO MAKE A GREAT SCHOOL. EVERYONE ELSE IS AN EMPLOYEE.

Somebody has to tell it like it is.

Thanks for all you do. It’s a labor of love.

The College’s official photographer, Eli Burakian ‘00, is an artist, so I feel compelled to imagine that either Phil Hanlon himself or another staffer — someone without a hint of feeling for beauty — chose the below site for this year’s group Commencement photo of the Trustees and honorary degree recipients:

Trustees Construction Fence.jpg

I mean, really? A construction fence, a cement mix hopper and a slice of Wilson Hall as a backdrop for the muckymucks who are the legal owners of the College? All that’s missing is a Porta-Potty.

When students down the road view this group portrait, will they feel the same awe as when we look at paintings of past Dartmouth leaders in Baker?

Addendum: A Parent writes in:

Perhaps the photographer was illustrating the administration’s current atmosphere of comprehensive shabbiness — and the zombie plague of Stockholm-syndrome compliance that seems to have fatally infected the Trustees…

The second important Dartmouth pitcher in the Chicago Cubs’ organization, Duncan Robinson ‘16, is tearing a swath at Class-A South Bend. He was just named the Cubbies’ Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May. The Chicago Tribune reports:

Robinson, 23, went 2-1 with a 1.00 ERA in five games. Robinson has struck out 24 while walking two in 27 innings. His 0.70 WHIP led the Midwest League in May.

The 6-foot-6, 230-pound Robinson ranks fourth in the Midwest League with a 1.34 ERA, and he has struck out 43 while walking seven in 53 2/3 innings.

Robinson was a ninth-round pick out of Dartmouth in the 2016 draft.

Duncan Robinson1.jpg

Addendum: One has to think that coach Whalen’s pool of potential recruits improves each time an alum does well in the majors.

Addendum: At this point in the season Kyle Hendricks is 4-3 with a 4.09 ERA. His slow start mirrors the Cubs’ early season struggles. He been on the disabled list for the last week due to tendinitis in his pitching hand.

Addendum: And in case you missed it (I did), Beau Sulser ‘16 was named 2017 Ivy League Pitcher of the Year about a month ago. He was taken this week in the 10th round of the MLB Draft by the Pirates. Big Green Alert reports that he was the first Ivy player drafted.

Also, Pitcher Michael Danielak ‘17 was picked in the 19th round by the Athletics.

Way back when we called it stupidity when a person could not see the forest for the trees. Today anecdotes, particularly when cited by the President, seem to trump hard data adduced by scholars. Needless to say, rational people need to push back, as Tuck Dean Matt Slaughter did on Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal:

Slaughter WSJ June 14, 2017A.jpg

Slaughter WSJ June 14, 2017B.jpg

Read the entire article here

Hard on the heels of Matt Heineman ‘05’s Oscar-nominated documentary Cartel Land (2015), he’s back with another work that is garnering a lot of attention: City of Ghosts. From its trailer blurb:

City of Ghosts follows the journey of “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently” - a handful of anonymous activists who banded together after their homeland was taken over by ISIS in 2014… This is the story of a brave group of citizen journalists as they face the realities of life undercover, on the run, and in exile, risking their lives to stand up against one of the greatest evils in the world today.

Matt clearly does not flinch when the bullets fly:

Here’s what we wrote about Matt in February 2016:

At the College, Matt was a history major and a recruited lacrosse player. He appeared in 47 games over four seasons,. He had wanted to teach, but Teach For America did not want him, so he and three friends embarked on a 90-day cross country trip. Matt had never picked up a video camera nor taken a film class until that point in his life, but the group visited 48 states and interviewed dozens of millennials in an effort that resulted in his first film Our Time, which he finished while working as an assistant editor for NBC Sports. Matt then offered the film to HBO, which didn’t like it enough to buy it, but admired it sufficiently to offer Matt a job. He worked for two years under director Susan Froemke and producer John Hoffman on The Alzheimer’s Project, learning his craft in the process. His next project was Escape Fire, The Fight To Rescue American Healthcare (2012), an Emmy-nominated documentary about America’s broken, costly healthcare system. He followed up with Cartel Land…

What a fine example Matt is of a liberally educated person: he graduated with no film-making skills, but he obviously knew how to learn, and when his time in Hanover ended, his education in the cinema began. Of course, the knowledge that he needs to make documentaries is a great deal broader than manipulating a camera: it includes thoroughly studying a situation, earning the trust of subjects, developing and telling a story in words and images, and organizing the entire project as a business enterprise. Such abilities come from a deeper and broader education than can be obtained in film school.

Quite a guy.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Nice piece on Matt Heineman. You might also want to add that he belongs to one of the Hanlon-despised fraternities, Theta Delta Chi.

Bloomberg commentators report from centers of international finance all around the world:

Blanchflower Bloomberg June 16, 2017.jpg

Economics Professor Danny Blanchflower is almost a household name in the UK.

Brian Chen ‘17 reports on one aspect of this year’s Class Day event:

Dartmouth Anti-Semitic.jpgWith the lowest percentage of Jewish students in the Ivy League and a years-long kosher dining débâcle, the College on the Hill has long had a reputation for being unfriendly toward Jews. Recent speakers on campus such as Jasbir Puar (top right), best known for her unsubstantiated claim that Israelis are harvesting Palestinian organs, and Linda Sarsour (second from top right), an apologist for Palestinian terrorism, have done Dartmouth no favors.

And now, hot on the heels of the appointment-withdrawal of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement supporter N. Bruce Duthu (third from top right) as Dean of the Faculty, comes yet another controversy.

Having been denied tenure, Assistant Professor of English Aimee Bahng (fourth from top right) delivered her swan song as the Class of 2017’s Class Day faculty speaker. With nothing to lose, she flamed out in a spectacular fashion.

She began her remarks by observing that her selection as Class Day speaker was most unusual, considering her junior and outgoing status. The rest of her speech was just as far outside what one would expect from a Class Days oration. With more than a hint of bitterness in her voice, Bahng mused about her tenure denial and other extraneous subjects before outlining her vision of a future Dartmouth.

Her pointed remarks included an attack on President Hanlon, particularly for his alleged inability to define “white supremacy.” She insinuated that the Economics and Government Departments were discriminatory in faculty hiring, using “fit” as an excuse for their “shenanigans.” (Immediately after the speech, Dean of the College Rebecca Biron (fifth from top right) announced the class valedictorians, all four of whom were economics or government majors.)

The time, manner, and place of her address were clearly inappropriate, but of particular concern was Bahng’s remark that, “[I imagine a Dartmouth that] refuses to invite speakers and support Israeli institutions that teach and practice anti-Palestinian sentiment.” Rather than use her speech to share wisdom with the graduating class, as is traditionally done, Professor Bahng used the bully pulpit of Class Day to endorse the exclusionary aims of the BDS movement.

Naturally, audience reactions were polarized. Some students gave Professor Bahng a loud ovation. Others remained seated and refused to even clap. Overall, the audience seemed less than thrilled with the speech.

Sandor Farkas ‘17 approached Dean Biron after Class Day and attempted to engage Professor Bahng, who refused to speak to him. Here is his recollection of the event:

I initially walked out of Aimee Bahng’s speech. I then approached a college staffer and told her I needed to speak to someone. In a conversation with Dean Biron, I was informed that Professor Bahng had refused to speak with me, but that I was welcome to use my free speech to voice my opinion.

After the conclusion of the program, I calmly and respectfully approached Professor Bahng, who was standing and talking to a group of people. I stood around seven feet away from her, so as to prevent the appearance of a confrontation. I did not “scream” at Professor Banhg, I spoke in a conversational tone and without exclamation.

The conversation went as follows:

Me: “Professor Bahng?

Bahng: “Yes?”

Me: “You’re a coward.”

I then walked away, since she had previously declined to talk to me. I heard a female voice that sounded like hers shout (I do mean shout): “Well, you’re an asshole!

I cannot state without a doubt that the voice was hers, but it was my overwhelming impression that she was the one who uttered the response.

I stand by my assertion that Professor Bahng is a coward. She refused to accept my offer of a moderated discussion, and I can only deduce that this was the result of intellectual or social cowardice.

[Joe Asch note: there is substantial dispute as to who exactly uttered this insult. According to several other people who were present and whose words were relayed to me, a graduate of the College spoke the offending word, not Profesor Bahng]

Farkas later wrote in to Dean Biron about Professor Bahng’s remarks on BDS. Biron confirmed Bahng’s exact quotation; she added these patronizing words:

I’m sorry you felt that this sentence was insulting.

I encourage you to see the difference between speech that criticizes actions and speech that negatively characterizes groups of people by their identity.

And the difference between one speaker’s views and Dartmouth as an institution.

BDS is not merely about criticizing the actions of Israel. I encourage Dean Biron to see the anti-Semitism inherent in repeatedly singling out the State of Israel for special condemnation, while other countries garner nary a criticism from folks like Duthu and Bahng. (For example, every other nation in the Middle East has a deeply flawed human rights record according to Amnesty International — and anti-Israel teaching is front and center in the schools of Israel’s Arab neighbors)

As usual, President Hanlon was AWOL. Do not to look to him for a robust response to Professor Bahng nor any moral leadership. When Hanlon casually uses an anti-Semitic dog whistle and the Class Day speaker endorses the goals of BDS, what message is Dartmouth sending to the rest of the world?

Addendum: The College is refusing to release footage of the event, consistent with Class Day practice in previous years.

Addendum: In happier news, by a 2:1 margin members of the Modern Language Association have voted to “refrain from endorsing the boycott” of Israeli universities. Inside Higher Education reports:

This year, the MLA announced Wednesday, there were 18,279 eligible voters, so 1,828 votes were required to ratify the resolution. The measure for the association to refrain from boycotting Israeli universities was passed by a vote of 1,954 to 885.

The move to boycott Israeli universities has for years had strong support in British academe, but had been less evident in the United States. That changed in 2013, and about half a dozen U.S.-based scholarly associations, including the American Studies Association and the National Women’s Studies Association, have backed the boycott. Those votes led many college and university presidents to issue statements opposing the boycott. The boycott movement attracted little support in the physical and biological sciences and technology fields, where ties between American and Israeli institutions have been growing.

But starting last year, the boycott movement lost significant momentum — even in academic groups that have many members who are critical of Israel’s policies. The American Anthropological Association last year narrowly voted down a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions. And now the MLA has adopted as official policy an anti-boycott stance.

Russell Berman, the Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities, as well as a professor of comparative literature and German studies at Stanford University, has been among the leaders of those opposing the Israel boycott.

This is a good outcome for the MLA and for higher education,” Berman said via email. “It affirms the principle that scholars should not boycott scholars.”

Addendum: A Dartmouth professor writes in:

I am writing in response to Brian Chen’s highly inaccurate account of Professor Aimee Bahng’s engagement with a student following her speech at Class Day. While Chen was not present during the exchange, I was seated very close to Professor Bahng. There were also many other people who witnessed the entire encounter, so it is disappointing that Chen chose to publish an account that is misleading and full of errors.

In his account, Chen claims that a “concerned student…attempted to engage Professor Bahng” and that she “refused to speak to him and called him an ‘asshole’.” In truth, the concerned student—after being informed by Dean Biron that Professor Bahng would not meet with him to discuss her speech—angrily approached her and screamed: “Professor Bahng, you’re a coward!” Then, the student stormed off before Professor Bahng could utter a single word. In response to the student’s actions, an alum who witnessed the student’s shocking behavior yelled: “You’re an asshole.” To be clear, at no point did Professor Bahng use profanity toward the student or respond in any manner whatsoever to his embarrassing outburst. Instead, she immediately turned her attention to the long line of students and parents who wanted to thank her for her speech. For Brian Chen to omit the student’s outburst—and to wrongfully accuse Professor Bahng of shouting back with profanity—is intentionally misleading and potentially libelous.

The D conducted a Senior Survey again this year. Here’s the statistical info:

From Sunday, May 28 to Saturday, June 3, The Dartmouth fielded an online survey of Dartmouth senior students on their opinions and experiences at the school. The survey was sent out to 1,084 seniors through their school email addresses. 261 responses were recorded, making for a 24.1 percent response rate. Using administrative data from the College’s Office of Institutional Research, responses were weighted by gender, Greek affiliation, race/ethnicity and international student status. Iterative post-stratification (raking) was the method used for weighting. Survey results have a margin of error +/- 5.29.

Let’s look at the seniors’ sense of Dartmouth:

Senior Survey 2017.jpg

Just in case you are wondering about the much loved faculty to which the survey refers, it’s the one that is underpaid relative to its peers, has no parking advantages vis à vis janitors and administrative assistants, and believes that President Phil Hanlon thinks that the College’s professors are a bunch of second-raters.

A more interesting question is, “What do the members of the faculty think of Phil?”

If Phil thinks that alumni who were once brothers of Dartmouth’s fraternities will be supporting his capital campaign, he has another thing coming:

From: Dartmouth Beta

Subject: Beta - 2017 Reunions
Date: 12 June 2017 at 17:07:41 BST

Dear Beta Brothers attending Reunions this year,

While we’re greatly looking forward to having you back in Hanover for Reunions, we are unfortunately obligated to update you on the sad state of affairs at Dartmouth.

The executive summary is we will NOT be able to host any parties or drinking of any kind at Beta over Reunions. The house is still on probation and the College has jumped the shark regarding rules, restrictions and (death) penalties for Greek organizations. Unfortunately, the future of the house is at risk if there is any alcohol at the house.

If you would like to visit the house, please text, call or email Sam Siegel ‘19 at (201) 753-0727 or

I ask you to please read the statement below from our tireless warrior and House Advisor, Dimitri Gerakaris ‘69.

With thanks for your understanding,

Scott Sipple ‘84
Beta Trustees

Dimitri Gerakaris ‘69 Statement

We all very much look forward to those of you returning for a reunion in Hanover! I hope you get to meet some of the handful of today’s Betas who may be around between terms as I am sure you guys will hit it off. Membership in Beta is highly prized and the most recent rush (last winter) produced 35 new Brothers! With D Plan, we try to keep it to about 30 per year, but these were all quality guys who could simply not be denied.

That said, I have to warn you this is not the same Dartmouth you left. The students, and especially the Greek houses, are under incredible social scrutiny and pressure, some would say “assault”. As you may have heard, SAE and AD are gone and the College is making it clear they mean “FOREVER”. They go so far as to say that under the new plan, “Beta would not have been re-recognized”.

Our guys, although long held as a model house, recently suffered a two term suspension, no fall rush, and are now completing the ensuing two terms of probation until the beginning of Summer Term. I will not go into particulars, but almost all agree the penalty was amazingly excessive.

Long story short: although you will be most welcomed to have a look inside the house with some of the undergraduates, there can be no drinking of any alcohol on any Beta property, inside or out, or the future of the house can be put into a tailspin.

It grieves us to have to tell you this. We all feel some cleaning up of Greek life was long overdue, but we are also all hoping for a change in the future that will bring a more reasonable and balanced attitude towards the Greek system and the return of visiting alums. I have secured permission for the 50th reunion class of ‘67 to swing by for a beer or wine and meet the seniors and their parents for an afternoon reception, but that is it as far as alcohol at reunions go for the time being.

We owe it to our guys to not torpedo the house and to keep it going for generations of future Betas. Many thanks for your understanding!

All the dorms and houses are now equipped with combination locks on the doors, so if a knock on the door does not rouse a student, please feel free to contact Sam Siegel ‘19 at (201) 753-0727 or - and the more advance you give him, the better chance he will be able to let you in.

Yours in -kai-

Dimitri Gerakaris ‘69
Beta House Advisor

People react badly to policies with which they disagree, but unfairness elicits a much stronger reaction.

Addendum: A young alumnus writes in:

One nuance to your point this morning regarding Phil’s upcoming capital campaign - I feel that Phil will only slightly realize the negative effects of his own presidency. The reality is that those Alumni whom Phil presumably cares most about in regards to his capital campaign only remember Dartmouth fondly — the Dartmouth which they attended (and which was not ruled by Tyrant Hanlon and his minions, Ameer et al).

One need only look at the senior class gift participation rates in recent years to understand that Phil is dooming the college for the long haul by creating a disengaged alumni base for whoever may be the President of the College 20 or 30 years from now (God help us with who that may be with our current trajectory).

As someone who falls in the category of “not wealthy enough yet to make the College notice or care” and yet forever unwilling to give to the current Administration and with the current state of affairs, I can assure you that I am not alone and there are not few of us. While Phil feels the need to legislate behavior on those he feels are too young, irresponsible and naive to make their own decisions, he forgets that the College will need those same people to pay the bills down the line. Unfortunately, it is not Phil who will feel the effects of the problem, which he and he alone has created.

Addendum: A senior member of the faculty writes in:

The letter you printed from Beta today unknowingly reveals the deepest flaw in the Greek system. Speaking of the newest brothers, it says, “but these were all quality guys who could simply not be denied.” How can anyone at Dartmouth make such a statement? I was under the impression that all Dartmouth admittees are “quality guys.” What kind of “quality” are they looking for? Quality at the beer pong table? Quality in attracting and bedding hot chicks? Academic or intellectual quality doesn’t seem to be involved or fraternities like Beta wouldn’t be in trouble. Again, this is the heart of the problem: a system that permits immature students to derail their education at the start by means of such superficial and damaging judgments about with whom they’ll spend most of their time.

Addendum: A quick reply arrived to the previous faculty post:

I hate to pile on again, but I am utterly stunned at the latest faculty member addendum. It defies all logic and reason — how can someone, in the same paragraph, admit they know not the qualities that Greek houses select on, and simultaneously argue that such qualities they select on have led to the downfall of the Greek system?! Surely, this cannot be a member of the Dartmouth faculty.

Said member of the faculty also clearly did not read your post a few days ago regarding AD’s member-base (non-arguably, the most in-trouble group on campus), so I will repost the academic accomplishments of the group, and I will challenge the professor to find any organized group of ~30 students on campus that can claim similar credentials (by his logic, these students were even able to accomplish as much in spite of themselves!):

“In addition, three ADs graduated Phi Beta Kappa - Chris Brown, Jordan Gershman, and Drew Field. Nine others graduated either Magna Cum Laude or Cum Laude. Fully one third of the AD Class of 2017 graduated with honors.

Brendan Barth was the class marshal at the commencement ceremony and the recipient of the Timothy Wright Ellis Award. Chris Brown was the recipient of the Economics Department Outstanding Achievement Award, and Malachi Price won the Alexander Solzhenitsyn Prize.

Nearly every ‘17 has a job waiting for him, or has been accepted to graduate school (2 med school, one law school).

Not bad for a group that the College would rather just disappear.”

Addendum: An alumnus has a comment:

Dartblog has reported that the GPAs of affiliated and unaffiliated students are not significantly different: female affiliated 3.53; male affiliated 3.42; all unaffiliated 3.47. Where then is the basis for the professor’s claim that affiliated students are academically inferior?

Addendum: An alumnus writes in about a comment above from a senior member of the faculty:

“Again, this is the heart of the problem: a system that permits immature students to derail their education at the start by means of such superficial and damaging judgments about with whom they’ll spend most of their time.”

Did I misread this? God forbid that 18-year old students be allowed to choose their own friends without the College’s approval…

Laurie Patton.jpgThe President of Middlebury, Laurie Patton, has taken to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to explain and defend the Middlebury administration’s handling of Charles Murray’s calamitous visit to its campus and to reinforce the college’s commitment to free speech. Her piece is entitled: The Right Way to Protect Free Speech on Campus: Communities of higher learning should work to make all of their members feel included, but not at the cost of free speech and robust debate. Patton has been President at Midd for just under two years now; previously she had been a professor at Emory before becoming the Dean of Dean of Arts and Sciences at Duke.

Congratulations to Patton for addressing head on the conflict between the values of free speech and what is often called inclusiveness — but which is too often just a code word for certain groups seeking to censor visiting speakers whose views they dislike. Such feelings, according to Patton, must take a back seat to the academy’s belief in the free and open exchange of ideas:

Laurie Patton WSJ.jpg

Patton’s argument echoes the thoughts of John Haidt’s assertion in his piece: Why Universities Must Choose One Telos: Truth or Social Justice:

Aristotle often evaluated a thing with respect to its “telos” - its purpose, end, or goal. The telos of a knife is to cut. The telos of a physician is health or healing. What is the telos of university?

The most obvious answer is “truth” — the word appears on so many university crests. But increasingly, many of America’s top universities are embracing social justice as their telos, or as a second and equal telos. But can any institution or profession have two teloses (or teloi)? What happens if they conflict?

Let’s hope that Patton’s and Haidt’s view wins the day.

Addendum: Given Charles Murray’s notoriety, it is worth listening briefly to him talk about the Middlebury experience and his vision for pedagogy at a successful institution of higher learning. Click here to hear to his twenty-seven minute discourse:

Charles Murray YouTube.jpg

A firebrand he is not.

Addendum: A close observer of the Dartmouth scene writes in:

Murray has posted his reply to Middlebury’s president Patton’s WSJ op-ed.

The salient paragraph:

Last Saturday, Laurie Patton, the president of Middlebury College, published her reflections on the episode in the Wall Street Journal. She included a fine statement of principles about freedom of speech on campus. I applaud those principles. But I differ with her assessment of how the administration handled the situation. To me, the aftermath of the Middlebury affair is a case study in a sickness of American higher education: Hand-wringing in the face of a toxic threat to the university.

Here is the tell that strips away President Patton’s post-hoc PR campaign in her WSJ op-ed (emphasis added):

To begin with, Dr. Patton’s introductory remarks at the lecture — which you can see here, seven minutes into the video — could have been improved upon. In effect, she said that principles of free speech required that this person [Dr. Charles Murray] who represents everything Middlebury abhors be allowed to speak. It was not a message calculated to make students think she would come down on them like a ton of bricks if they strayed out of line. In fact, a reasonable person could conclude that she was just going through the motions… .

As it turned out (thanks to Dr. Patton’s “leadership and resolve”), Dr. Murray was NOT allowed to speak.

For his physical safety and in order to proceed at all, he had to be shuttled by campus security personnel to a secure, alternate venue where Middlebury videoed him speaking to an empty room.

BTW, Charles Murray’s daughter (one of his four grown children) graduated from Middlebury in 2007.

Addendum: As I have noted previously, Murray spoke at the College last year without incident. However the organizers took care not to announce the visit until the day on which it was held. People in attendance report that Murray’s talk and the Q&A that followed it were among the most intellectually stimulating evenings that they have encountered at the College.

Addendum: Another alumnus writes in:

Patton’s failure to properly handle discipline of the rioters vitiates all her fine words about the importance of free speech.

I read her actions as a cynical ploy to mollify alumni, donors, and potential applicants, while maintaining a cowering pose that she hopes will keep the campus left off her case. What normally happens is that the campus left creates disorder focused on the president until eventually the board of trustees replaces him (or her).

Patton with the support of her board could stop all this in nothing flat, but as we have seen for decades, the academic/administrative left is happy with the situation, and the useless trustees fail to insist on standards.

So Patton’s words given her actions can’t be taken seriously — they are just an attempted dishonest manipulation of public opinion.

The College is sharpening up its marketing message, according to an e-mail after the recent Alumni Council meeting:

How Do You See Dartmouth.jpg

Curiously absent is anything related to Phil’s major initiatives: cluster hires of outside faculty, the pursuit of prestige research projects, a massive energy institute, a large increase in the size of the student body, and so on. They are selling the old Dartmouth while diluting today’s product. Will people fall for it?

Addendum: Another Alumni Councillor reported to his classmates:

“President Hanlon made it clear that Dartmouth is “hot”: The Class of 2021 will be among the most selective and accomplished class in Dartmouth’s history, faculty are being recognized for their scholarship, and rankings are on the rise.”

One of my correspondents responded to Phil’s unjustified preening with one word only, “Ick.”



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