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Dartblog founder Joe Malchow ‘08 had a column in the WSJ yesterday entitled, Those Nonsensical ‘Google Bus’ Attacks. Joe graduated from Stanford Law this past June, and among his many activities, he is currently running an innovative start-up, Publir LLC (fine website!), that manages ad placement for a large number of digital publications.
In his response to the grab bag of grasping demands from the usual radical suspects — the unsigned Freedom Budget was authored by a tiny group of fringy malcontents — Phil showed us what it means to be a cringing, guilt-ridden white man. Nowhere does he defend Dartmouth’s long-ongoing, extensive and costly efforts to accommodate the groups involved in drafting the document: preferential admissions quotas, expensive administrative support, special faculty and administrator recruitment efforts, etc.
Not only that, but the below campus-wide letter written by Student Assembly President Adrian Ferrari expresses the widespread student sentiment regarding the sly timing of the administration’s response (only after classes had ended and The D had ceased publishing for the term):
Phil’s share price is falling in the market. Dartmouth needs a lot more leadership these days than nibbling around the edges of reform and caving in to radical pressure groups who don’t even sign their names (but do threaten “physical action”). In this case the administration had a chance to engage in thoughtful debate about diversity, one of the College’s core values. That didn’t happen. Instead, Phil responded with a pathetic statement that can best be summarized as, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. We’ll do more. I promise.”
I look forward to Freedom Budget II next year. Maybe the administration can cancel classes again so that we can all wring our hands and gnash our teeth.
Addendum: An alum who follows the College closely writes in:
The goings-on at the College remind me of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”. Here is the Wikipedia summary:“Plato has Socrates describe a gathering of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, and begin to designate names to these shadows. The shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.”
Unless Hanlon is playing a winning game of three-dimensional chess with the various constituencies, it’s time to address reality as opposed to shadows on the wall.
When things appear to be out of control, they usually are. Hanlon’s first six months (really a year) aren’t providing much evidence of a sensible new approach. Instead, to all appearances, he’s doubled down on support for the very problems he was supposed to solve. Is he just another Freedman, Wright or Kim?
I’m from a class in the mid-‘60’s and, if you judge by payment of class dues and Alumni Fund giving, half of my class has basically given up. Those of my classmates with whom I stay in touch are somewhere between deep distress and “enough is enough”. Hanlon has been receiving a free ride because he’s an alum. I suspect that is about to end.
Today’s Quiz: Will newspaper pieces like the below national news story have an effect on applications next year?
a) Yes. People will ask what the heck is happening at Dartmouth such that these stories appear in the national press month after month;
b) No. Parents don’t care about sexual assault, especially regarding their daughters;
c) Yes and No. The College’s poor financial aid, bloated tuition, weak endowment growth, uniquely stingy AP policy, aimless leadership and lack of innovation are more important to people than any single issue like assault.
d) Who TF cares? I don’t want to hear about the damned place any more.
… investigation, sexual assault, drugs, alcohol, expulsion, harassment, penetration, force, threats… Quite a drumbeat of words to have associated with your alma mater.
Addendum: Inside Higher Education reports on the new policies at the College:
Dartmouth College and the University of California System have announced changes in policies for dealing with sexual assaults.
At Dartmouth, new penalties are being adopted to assure strict punishment. Under rules announced Saturday, expulsion will be mandatory in cases “involving penetration accomplished by force, threat, or purposeful incapacitation or where an assault involving penetration is motivated by bias,” and where a student has previously been found responsible for a sexual assault. In addition, the college said that in “other cases involving penetration, a strong presumption in favor of expulsion.”
The idealistic fliers of the Lafayette Escadrille and the Lafayette Flying Corps are right up there on our list of principled heroes. They nobly fought for France against the German invaders before the U.S. entered WWI, and there were plenty of Dartmouth alumni and students in the groups, including some who died in the effort. The men who fought in the two formations are memorialized in a suburb of Paris, as well as in the Place des Etats-Unis in the 16th arrondissement.
However the squadron’s history is not without its bittersweet moments, as Alex Blumrosen ‘82 pointed out to me. Alex, who works as an attorney in Paris, is the President of the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial Foundation, a private organization that maintains the Escadrille’s monument in the Paris suburb of Marnes-la-Coquette, near Versailles.
The Lafayette Flying Corps of the French Army had in its ranks a much-decorated African American pilot, Eugene Bullard, who came to France to escape racism in America, fell in love with the country, and enlisted to fight for his newfound home in the First World War. He first served as a machine gunner in the French Army’s 170th Infantry Regiment (“The Swallows of Death”), with whom he was wounded fighting at Verdun.
After his recovery, he trained as an air gunner and as a pilot with the French Air Service. In November 1916 he joined the Lafayette Flying Corps, the designation used by the French for the American pilots fighting in their various units. He flew twenty missions in 1917 (the motto on his plane was Tout le Sang qui coule est rouge! — All Blood Runs Red).
The United States entered the Great War on April 6, 1917, and during that summer a medical board reviewed the records of Americans flying for the French. A great many men switched from fighting for France; they joined the U.S. Army Air Service, but Bullard was not among them. At that time, only white pilots were allowed to serve. The racism that Bullard had sought to flee had followed him to France.
Eugene Bullard died in New York City in 1961 at the age of 66, and his body lies in the French War Veterans’ section of Flushing Cemetery in Queens, New York.
On August 23 1994, seventy-seven years after the American medical board should have allowed him to fly for the United States, Bullard posthumously received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.
Addendum: That Eugene Bullard is considered to have been America’s first black combat pilot is a reflection of our curious attitudes towards race. In fact, while his father was an African American by adoption (he was born in the French colony of Martinique in the Caribbean), his mother was a full-blooded Cherokee. As such, Bullard can equally be referred to in American history as the nation’s first American Indian flier. It is curious that he is never described in this way.
The College has announced changes to annual costs, disciplinary procedures, and distributions from the endowment — and Bill Helman ‘80 was named the new Chairman of the Board.
The 2.9% jump in tuition, room and board, and fees is just under double the 2013 increase in the consumer price index of 1.5%. Such a large increase stands in contrast to Phil’s stated goal at a faculty meeting on November 4, as The D reported at the time:
Hanlon also announced his intent to keep the College’s tuition rates flat with inflation. The cost of higher education has increased at a rate of 3 to 5 percent above the rate of inflation for the last 40 years, and Hanlon said the College must find a way to slow this trend.
“That funding model is unsustainable and very near a breaking point,” Hanlon said. “If we don’t get this under control, the next Affordable Care Act is going to be the ‘Affordable Education Act.’”
Here is the Office of Public Affairs press release:
and Fees for 2014-15
Increase in the cost of a Dartmouth education is
lowest in almost four decades
The Dartmouth Board of Trustees approved a 2.9 percent increase in undergraduate tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board for the 2014-15 academic year, representing the lowest percentage increase since 1977.
The decision, made at the Board’s March 8, 2014 meeting, is enabled by a budget process that includes robust investment in innovation and excellence through rigor, discipline, and the identification and support for Dartmouth’s most important academic priorities. This significant rollback from previous years’ increases is part of a strategy to slow the growth of the cost of a Dartmouth education.
“I applaud the Board for emphasizing the need to invest in our academic programs while at the same time keeping Dartmouth affordable for a diverse and talented student body,” said President Phil Hanlon ‘77. “To do this will require thoughtful and strategic deployment of our institutional resources, prioritizing the most compelling investments in excellence and innovation. Today, the Board has sent a powerful signal that they’re fully engaged in helping us achieve this.”
Trustees approved FY15 operating and capital budgets, expressed support for revision of Dartmouth’s disciplinary system for sexual assault, and elected a new Board Chair. They also heard about changes in student housing planned for the coming academic year, and longer-range improvements in the residential College experience that will promote continuity and choice for all students. In addition Interim Provost Martin Wybourne led a series of presentations by a number of faculty and staff members that focused on the intersection of the liberal arts and technology and how Dartmouth can use learning technologies to enhance its core mission of teaching and learning.
Revision of sexual assault disciplinary system
The Board voiced unanimous support for a proposal from President Hanlon and Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson to comprehensively revise Dartmouth’s disciplinary system for sexual assault by students. The proposal will be posted on the College website this week and members of the community will be invited to submit comments and suggestions by April 14, with a goal of implementing the new policy by the beginning of Summer Term.
Under the proposal, a single system would apply to undergraduates, graduate students, and student organizations. Key features of the proposal include use of a trained external investigator to investigate and determine responsibility for sexual assault, and strengthened sanctions including:
• Mandatory expulsion in cases involving penetration accomplished by force, threat, or purposeful incapacitation or where an assault involving penetration is motivated by bias;
• Mandatory expulsion where the charged student has previously been found responsible for sexual assault; and
• In other cases involving penetration, a strong presumption in favor of expulsion.
President Hanlon and Dean Johnson said they believe the new system would encourage reporting, expedite the process, increase consistency in sanctioning, and represent a stronger deterrent to sexual assault.
The Board heard presentations from the Dean of the College division on housing changes for the 2014-15 year including the introduction of three new “Living Learning Communities” that integrate opportunities for learning, leadership, and service. The pilots, launching in fall 2014, will center around entrepreneurship, global living, as well as several “design-your-own” theme communities for first-year and upper-class students. The board discussed a comprehensive “neighborhood approach” to housing that would direct students to separate areas of campus, or neighborhoods, after their first year where they could remain for the duration of their Dartmouth career.
“We are thrilled to have the Board’s support for these new concepts,” said Dean Johnson. “We are working closely with students and faculty to develop a range of housing options for the future.
Tuition rates and financial aid
Undergraduate tuition for the 2014-15 academic year will be $46,763, an increase of $1,319 over the current year’s tuition rate. Total tuition, room, board, and mandatory fees next year will increase to $61,947.
The tuition rates apply to all undergraduates and to students in the Dartmouth Graduate Studies programs and at Thayer School of Engineering, which offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. Tuition for the Geisel School of Medicine will increase 5 percent to $56,104, and tuition for the Tuck School of Business will increase 4.5 percent to $61,605.
Board members also reaffirmed their commitment to affordability through continuation of Dartmouth’s long-standing need-blind undergraduate admission and generous need-based financial aid program. For FY15, Dartmouth has budgeted $85 million in financial aid, a 5.9 percent increase over the $80 million in awards projected for the current fiscal year. Since 2007, Dartmouth has increased scholarship awards by more than 50 percent.
Other aspects of Dartmouth’s commitment to financial aid:
• Free tuition and no loans for all four years for undergraduates with annual family income up to $100,000.
• At less than $11,000 of total indebtedness per graduating student, Dartmouth has one of the lowest median levels of debt nationwide for families with incomes above $100,000.
• Current financial aid recipients receive, on average, a need-based grant that covers 69 percent of the cost of attending Dartmouth.
• The average scholarship is more than $41,000.
• Approximately 10 percent of current students are the first in their families to attend college
• About 13 percent are recipients of federal Pell Grants, which aid students from low-income families.
• In U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 college rankings, Dartmouth placed eighth among national universities for value, based on a school’s academic quality and net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid.
Board approves FY15 operating and capital budgets, endowment distribution
Trustees voted to approve Dartmouth’s fiscal year 2015 operating budget of $1 billion. In addition, the Board approved a FY15 capital budget of $54 million to fund a number of projects, including replacement of the West Stands at Memorial Field and renovation of Alumni Gym.
The Board also approved an estimated distribution from the endowment for FY15 of $192 million for operating and non-operating activities, a 3 percent increase over FY14. The budgeted distribution for FY15 represents approximately 4.8 percent of the endowment value as of December 31, 2013. In FY15, distributions from the endowment will fund approximately 19 percent of the operating budget.
Helman elected Board Chair
The Board voted to elect Bill Helman ‘80 as Chair for a three-year term, beginning after Commencement in June. He will succeed Chair Steve Mandel Jr. ‘78, who has led the board for four years. Board members extended their thanks and gratitude to Mandel.
“Steve has been an amazing leader and Board Chair in every way imaginable,” said Helman. “There is no way to replace him—his dedication to Dartmouth, his willingness to do anything to help, his energy and ideas around how to make Dartmouth better. He is truly inspirational.”
The Trustees also had the opportunity to attend Friday night’s Dartmouth Idol finals, which included a surprise video of President Hanlon and his wife, Gail Gentes.
Assistant Vice President for Media Relations
Office of Public Affairs, 7 Lebanon Street| Hanover, NH 03755
One of the goals of this space is to shine a light on the absurdity that passes for thinking on campus these days — especially concepts that have not yet insinuated themselves into the public debate. Foremost among them today is “white privilege”: the embarrassment and shame that white people should supposedly feel at their unspoken sense of superiority. Another evocative phrase for this idea is often used in Hanover and, I assume, in colleges all over the country: “white supremacy.”
For a combination of whiny guilt and downright self-hatred (not to mention a view of the world grounded in utterly unfounded assumptions rather than any measurable facts — listen for any plausible description for the repeated observation that life is easier for all white people), look no further that the below film, Whitewashed, Unmasking the World of Whiteness, which students viewed this term in the College’s Intergroup Dialogue Program under the direction of Assistant Director of the Academic Skills Center Leslie Schnyder and Adam Knowlton-Young of the Tucker Foundation. It was made by Mark Patrick George, whom the film’s website identifies only with the information in the picture above:
Are there no adults supervising the goings-on at Dartmouth College?
Addendum: A reader points me to a document drafted by George in which some biographical information appears:
Mark Patrick George teaches Applied Sociology at Valdosta State University. Mark has worked with valdosta [sic] Project Change both as an emloyee [sic] and as a volunteer.
In loco parentis floats uneasily upon the moat between the administration and the student body. This term refers to the legal principle of the College serving in place of a parent, being responsible to protect and empowered to regulate the lives of its students in their best interests. Historically, in loco parentis has focused upon improvements in safety and student culture.
To provide a historical example of in loco parentis at work, one might consider a case involving Berea College of Kentucky, a school remarkable for its good architectural sense and commitment to affordability. In 1913, the Kentucky Supreme Court upheld one of Berea’s rules that students were prohibited from “eating houses and places of amusement in Berea, not controlled by the College” — a restriction upon students’ freedoms justified by the college’s need to “pass rules tending to prevent students from wasting their time and money, and to keep them wholly occupied in study.” The legal history of in loco parentis in higher education is fascinating, particularly because in loco parentis as we knew it is dead.
Students today have never been more free. It was once common for private and public universities to enforce curfews, dress codes, and strict limits upon speech or political activities. Today these sorts of restrictions would be unthinkable at most American colleges and universities. Most have adopted a model of facilitation whereby administrators pursue a more nebulous approach of personal, professional, and academic development among students.
Freedom is now chief among our virtues, for both pragmatic and moral reasons. We cannot expect some hapless administrator to successfully control what students do on their own time in their own spaces across the College. And even if we could do so, this kind of paternalism seems incompatible with the autonomy and development of the modern student. How ironic is it that the sons and daughters of Dartmouth today are more free than they have ever been, yet the principal defect of the modern campus is the crippling of the individual?
Despite the solid heart that endures at Dartmouth, what ails us? In this age of personal liberation, students feel trapped by the dominance of some groups and the apparent self-segregation of others. Nihilism has embraced the modern Dartmouth man just as he has been released from the dead hand of tradition. Never before at Dartmouth have Greek houses been more progressive in their character — and simultaneously more corrosive for so many students. Never before at Dartmouth have student groups had more institutional support, recognition, and attention; never before have the members of those groups felt so alone. Where are the writers and the scholars among us? They are too busy to be anywhere in particular. Their D-Plans makes them transient, their college loans make them a mercenary, and the tired patterns of Dartmouth’s social culture make them miserable.
I do not wish to pile upon the old debates about student culture which have made all students so weary. I do not wish to overstate my case, either; the College is still a wonderful place for learning that most students love and cherish. Nor do I wish to cast fraternities and sororities in an unfair light; what ails them ails us all. The pathogen is far upstream of Greek rush weekend, the administration’s mismanagement, and even of matriculation.
I recently finished Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton and at one point he writes about social progress and to what form a good society might aspire:
“I could never conceive or tolerate any Utopia which did not leave to me the liberty for which I chiefly care, the liberty to bind myself. Complete anarchy would not merely make it impossible to have any discipline or fidelity; it would also make it impossible to have any fun…I should ask to be kept to my bargain, to have my oaths and engagements taken seriously; I should ask Utopia to avenge my honor on myself.”
I believe that what plagues the College and many of its peer institutions is unparalleled freedom paired with a vacuum of authority and shared purpose. The evil fringes of disrespect and sexual assault persist in this environment, while the creative energies of our students often wither. How do we move forward?
First, the attention of our administrative leadership and our faculty must be focused laser-like upon the undergraduate academic experience. Should President Hanlon ensure justice for the victims and perpetrators of sexual assault? Absolutely; but this is a realm that ideally would be ruled by a fiercely competent Dean of the College. Invigorating the College’s intellectual life, edifying the minds and pursuits of its students, is the surest way in my mind to improve campus climate and culture. I sense that President Hanlon gets this; yet still the administration sprawls haphazardly across the College. Focus on students’ writing, rhetoric, ethics, philosophy, and curriculum; behold the response in the ways that students commune, protest, love, write, and perform. Behind the scenes, pick the low-hanging fruit that this space has detailed for so long.
Second, students must understand their exclusive responsibility for campus culture. A thick set of social norms must be the responsibility of student leaders and handed down by the institutions that matter most: sports teams, Greek houses, campus publications, and all large student organizations. I wish I had understood this point better as an undergraduate. As early as 2011 we could see a model in Panhell’s boycott of fraternities that responded passively to violence or threats from among their members. A strengthened student culture might be far less libertine — in fact it would be profoundly conservative in its treatment of certain groups or traditions. This is a matter of respect, not political correctness. This sort of culture would suppress a great deal of harmful stupidity while facing the strong headwinds of laissez-faire within the College’s social scene.
There are good reasons for the death of in loco parentis in higher education. Yet the fundamental desire for authority, shared purpose, and deep community remains unmet for many at Dartmouth. Our great constellation of freedom dies without virtue; it is this void and wilderness into which Dartmouth must speak.
We are happy to announce that Dartblog alumna Jenn Bandy ‘09 will be clerking for SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas this fall. At the College Jenn majored in government and French, and she was President of the College Republicans. Before moving up to Dartblog, she wrote for The Dartmouth. Jenn graduated from Duke Law in 2012, where she was executive editor of the Duke Law Journal. This past year she clerked for Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge William H. Pryor Jr., and she is currently an associate with Kirkland & Ellis in Washington. Congratulations.
Following hard on Phil’s visit to the White House to discuss sexual harassment with other college presidents and the Vice-President, and this past weekend’s assault, Theater Professor Peter Hackett took Phil Hanlon to task for the kind of self-congratulatory hyperbole that I hoped had left town with Carol. Here is Hackett’s letter from yesterday’s Valley News:
To the Editor:
In a recent press release announcing the formation of the Center for Community Action and Prevention, Dartmouth’s Office of Public Affairs described the college as “a leader in developing cultural-changing strategies.” President Phil Hanlon, referencing his recent attendance at a White House session on sexual assault, was quoted as saying that “Dartmouth’s efforts to address sexual assault were recognized by the White House as exceptional.” Another announcement touts the college’s participation in a symposium on sexual assault recently convened at the University of Virginia.
It is precisely this sort of hyperbole that discourages victims of sexual violence to report, jeopardizes the college’s credibility, creates an atmosphere of deep cynicism on campus, and undermines the administration’s efforts to build support for their initiatives.
Far from being a leader on this issue, Dartmouth lags behind many of its peer institutions. Violence prevention centers are already present on many other campuses. While aspiring to be a welcoming and inclusive community, Dartmouth continues to support a fraternity system that dates back to the 18th century, discriminates by gender, and is arbitrarily exclusive. The college provides no hard data measuring the effectiveness of the new Bystander Initiative or any of its other prevention programs. Although information on other crimes is routinely shared with the campus community by Safety and Security, real-time information on campus sexual assaults is not. The college provides no mandatory sexual assault awareness education for its students, a recommendation of many national violence prevention experts.
The truth is that the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education, on its own initiative, recently opened an investigation of Dartmouth and its compliance with Title IX, the statute that guarantees women a campus environment free from the threat of sexual violence. The OCR targeted Dartmouth specifically because the college’s problems appear to be “particularly acute or national in scope.” The college has directed considerable resources to the prevention of campus sexual violence, assault and harassment. However, much more needs to be done effectively before Dartmouth can truthfully claim a place as a leader in the field.
Avalon Professor of the Humanities
Professor of Theater
Personally, I thought that they had stopped giving grades for effort back in kindergarten. In the real world, results are what matter.
The gang that can’t shoot straight is at it again, this time by ending the greatest coup de théatre that the College sees each year: the moment in the Dimensions show when freshmen who have been posing as prospies leap up in song and reveal themselves to be already matriculated students. I haven’t lived the moment, but two posters on Facebook give articulate descriptions of the gem that the College is losing in yet another stupid decision:
The top post is from a year ago. It is a nice example of unrehearsed praise. The bottom post, from yesterday, already has over 200 likes on Facebook.
To date, I have never heard a single complaint about this aspect of the Dimensions show. This pop-up surprise is a lovely, original touch — a rare thing in Hanover these days.
What will the administration do next? Turn the Green into a staff-only parking lot?
Addendum: A letter in today’s D makes the same arguments.
President Jim Wright transformed Dartmouth: he grew the bureaucracy by 40% in his first few years in office, though the number of students remained unchanged; salaries and benefits skyrocketed as he attempted to buy popularity; he lowered tenure standards so much that the College will be burdened by about one hundred sub-par professors for decades; a plethora of senior administrators fled to other schools (Lee Bollinger, Jamshed Barucha, Susan Prager, Mike Gazzaniga); his borrowing binge and overspending left Dartmouth with fewer financial resources on net at the end of his eleven-year reign than when he started in office; he did virtually nothing to improve the academic climate or the undergraduate program; and he engendered a toxic institutional culture of spinning, lying, and punishment for dissent.
Most importantly, Wright changed governance at Dartmouth from a 16-person Board of Trustees, half elected by alumni, to a 24-person Board dominated by an in-crowd of appointed MBA cronies with no knowledge of higher education.
For all his trouble, Wright was fired by the Board. Not that it was announced that way, of course. Shortly prior to his resignation, and also until just before a hearing on an alumni lawsuit where the College was clearly bested by insurgent alumni’s counsel, Wright had been giving interviews in his avuncular style: he felt younger than he looked, he guffawed, but he expected to be the College’s President for several more years, at least. And then, out of the blue and not long after the problematic hearing, boom, he announced that he was retiring. Needless to say, several College publications found themselves scrambling to reset their type.
Now we learn that Wright, an historian by trade, has made sure that his time in office won’t be comprehensively studied by scholars until all of the actors in his administration are playing golf on the big green in the sky. The Alumni Magazine is reporting that by decree in 2003 Wright bottled up for 50 years all of the documents relating to the Board of Trustees from his time in office. That’s a shame. The Trustee records of Wright’s Presidency would make interesting reading for historians of the College. And for anyone interested in the truth. But, then, history was never really Wright’s concern; it was always about Jim.
I wonder, can Wright’s self-interested decree be un-decreed by a future President?
Addendum: Worst President ever.
The only other major school to suffer a significant drop in total applications this year that has come to our attention is the University of Chicago (-9.5%). Alert readers have written in to ask why.
First of all, let’s compare the recent application figures for Dartmouth and Chicago:
Dartmouth’s 14% decline in applications this year dropped the College back to where it was in 2010 (Class of 2014); in contrast, Chicago’s 9.5% decline still had it 42% above the number of applications for the Class of 2014.
In addition, early decision applications at Dartmouth have varied only marginally over the past six years; whereas early action applications at Chicago continued their unbroken, six-year run of increases this year (almost tripling in this time period):
Explanation? The folks in Chicago talked about glitches in the Common App this past fall as having hurt their total application numbers. Like Dartmouth, they delayed closing the application period as a result. That rationale is nonsense, of course. There is no reason why the Common App’s problems affected Chicago to this extent, when they did not affect other schools, including Illinois schools like Northwestern.
The more likely reason is simply that the Chicago numbers saw a momentary pullback after a fantastic rise, which people in the Windy City attribute to the hiring in 2010 of superstar admissions director Jim Nondorf and to his energetic efforts to market the university. None of the articles in the Maroon cited scandals or policy changes in Hyde Park.
In contrast Dartmouth’s admissions charts look different: they point to a school that has been dead in the water for a while now, beset by problems that are particular to it.
Addendum: The evolution of the total number of applications received by Chicago and Dartmouth is striking. Chicago has 5,607 undergrads and Dartmouth has 4,276 — a difference of 31%. Chicago received 43% more applications last year than Dartmouth (27,499 vs. 19,235). More interestingly, looking at the above charts, it appears that Chicago and Dartmouth received about the same number of applications five years ago (even though Chicago had many more students then, too), but since that time Chicago has pulled ahead of the College. Like almost everything else in Hanover, our admissions department needs some shaking up.
One aspect of the recently published Dartmouth Freedom Budget was its call for a minimum quota of 30% of each incoming College class to be set aside in equal parts for members of each of three minority groups:
We’ll set aside the issue of whether the primary mission of Dartmouth College is social and economic redistribution (there’s a good argument that the College should be devoted to giving the finest possible education to the young men and women with the finest minds in the land). Let’s simply ask if there are enough members of the various minority groups in question to fill the proposed quotas.
One measure (and, yes, I know that it is not a perfect measure) of preparation for college-level studies is the College Board’s set of SAT exams. Dartmouth is proud of the high scores of its incoming students: the current median average (that’s the mid-point in the incoming class: half of students fall above it; half are below) for critical reading and for math is a score of 740, a figure that has been quite stable for many years:
The College Board breaks out by race and gender the SAT scores of each year’s students. It is striking how the number of students scoring over 700 (let alone 740) can vary by racial groups, and how few scorers over 700 there are in the three minority groups that the Freedom Budget recommends receive privileged access to the College:
To be clear: in 2013 a total of 2,012 African Americans/Blacks scored over 700 on the SAT (1.0% of all African Americans/Black test takers); 4,262 Latin@ students did so (4.7% of Latin@ test takers); and only 295 American Indian/Alaskan Natives did so (3.0% of American Indian/Alaskan Natives test takers). Among white students, 50,096 scored at this high level (6.0% of White test takers), and 29,405 Asians did so (15.0% of Asian test takers).
If Dartmouth allotted 30% of each freshman class to “Blacks, Latin@ and Native students,” and the Admissions department insisted that these students average at least 700 on their critical reading and math SAT tests, the College would have to enroll 4.8% of the nation’s high-scoring African Americans/Black students, 2.3% of high-scoring Latin@ students, and 33.9% of high-scoring Native students. Self-evidently that would be impossible, given the number of other colleges and universities who have diversity goals like the College’s.
If we allowed the admissions department to dip into populations of minority students who are less well prepared for high-level academics than the average Dartmouth student, we’d run squarely into the problems of mismatch, the injustice of admitting unprepared students into a demanding academic program, only to watch them fail to achieve their goals. Not that these students would not graduate, but, for example, a great many minority students, people who came to the College with the goal of majoring in the hard sciences, would find that they are unprepared for the amount and the complexity of the work in these courses (at present the administration provides little effective academic support to such students), and they would end up drifting over to the various “studies” disciplines and abandoning their dreams of becoming a doctor or a scientist.
Extensive studies (the first of which was done at Dartmouth by Professor Rogers Elliott) have shown that these same students, in schools whose academic programs are appropriate for their level of pre-college preparation, would become doctors, etc.
We might end by looking at the equity of allocating 30% of the freshman class to these three groups. The racial background of all students scoring over 700 on the SAT exams is divided up as follows:
(Puerto Ricans and American Indians/Alaskan Natives each score 1% on the above graph.)
Of high school students scoring over 700 on the SAT in 2013, 55.35% were white; 32.49% were Asian, Asian American or Pacific Islander; 4.81% were in the Other category (often Asians seeking to avoid categorization). In total, only 7.4% of all students scoring over 700 on the SAT were in the three groups that the Freedom Budget asks be allocated 30% of the freshman class (currently 18.4% of incoming freshmen are Black, Latin@, or Native). The Freedom Budget asks that the over-representation of minorities be increased from the current factor of 2.5X to 4X.
Addendum: Below are the U.S. Census’ figures for the breakdown of the American population by race in 2012. “Blacks, Latin@ and Native students” make up 31.2% of the population:
A number of readers have asked about the various positive references I have made in recent posts to natural winemakers (here and here). “Isn’t all wine natural?” is the inquiry. Well, no. Far from it — even in France and other Old World nations with a long tradition of viticulture. An article from the website of Tribeca’s Chambers Street Wines, a pioneeering vendor of wines made in a traditional manner, describes what you are too often drinking when you consume modern, industrially produced wines:
Grapes are mostly grown in sterile vineyards, where herbicides, pesticides and fungicides eliminate plant, insect and microbial populations. The vines themselves are modern clones, chosen for certain characteristics, such as disease resistance or high yields, which reduce the genetic variety of the vineyard and can radically change the nature of the wine. Commercial fertilizers are applied that feed the vines a chemical soup on the surface and then run off to pollute local waters. Machine-harvested grapes are then brought to the winery, often containing bunches that are unripe, rotten or dirty, which are hopefully sorted out before the crush. The grape must (juice) is then sulfited to prevent spoilage and to kill off unwanted wild yeasts. Then selected yeast strains are added to start the fermentation process. These yeasts are selected to create certain flavors or characteristics in the wine. “…the ICV D47 wines were fruity and floral, compared to the QA 23, which were predominated by tropical fruits and spices.” Nutrients and enzymes are added to increase viscosity, “mouthfeel”, and to assist the selected yeasts. Roto-fermenters and other mechanical manipulations are used to extract the maximum color and concentration, and sugars are added to increase alcohol production if necessary. The resulting product has the desired aromatics, a dark color with supple mouth-feel, an intense palate (with gobs of lush hedonistic fruit) and, well, not usually much of a finish… Wines made in this style tend to taste very much the same, no matter where they are made or with what grape.
The age-old French drinking toast is Santé — To your health. It is needed more in certain circumstances than in others.
Addendum: I am put in mind of a witty English pre-dinner prayer from the days, not that long ago, really, when it was hard to get a good meal in England:
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
August 23, 2009
Fare Thee Well, Tom Crady
And now Dean Tom Crady has precipitously announced his departure from the College after only 20 months on the job. How to read this? By way of background, prior to coming to Dartmouth, Crady had…
May 31, 2009
Kangaroo Court, Indeed
In an interview with The Dartmouth, alumni-elected trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70 explained his reasons for declining to participate in future evaluations of trustees up for “re-election,” namely the “kangaroo court” nature of such discussion in…