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The quality of the College’s Admissions marketing leaves a lot to be desired from an aesthetic and syntactical point of view, but heretofore, I hadn’t noticed its curious manipulation of statistics:

Admissions Stats Class of 2020.jpg

Look above at the % figure for the “Overall Admit Rate”: the numerator is the number of “Total Admitted” students divided by the denominator of “Total Applied” students.

For the Class of 2017 the math works out just fine: 2,337 divided by 22,428 does give you 10.4%. As does the calculation for the Class of 2018: 2,220 divided 1,926 equals 11.5%.

However for the Class of 2019, 2,250 divided by 20,507 gets you 11.0%, not 10.9% (actually it gets you 10.97%, which rounds up to 11.0%, right?).

But the whopper comes with the Class of 2020: 2,190 students were admitted out of a pool of 20,675 applicants. Run the math and you get 10.59%, which fairly rounds to 10.6%, or 11% — not 10%, thank you — if you want to get rid of the decimal place.

Did they think that nobody would notice?

Addendum: As we have noted in the past, the Admissions office pushes hard on early decision admits, legacies and donor kids and the waitlist in order to limit the number of students it needs to admit to fill the class. The number of students admitted from all of these categories have risen markedly in the last few years.

Sometimes you just have to laugh. If i told a venture capitalist that I was going to put together a project as follows, I’d be shown the door in short order:

1. Raise a ton of money for an innovative energy project
2. Appoint of committee to determine the project’s goals
3. Hire a director to execute the institute’s mission
4. Build a large research center

Does the Irving Institute exist for any other reason than that the head of a large oil company and a me-too President, who is hungry for visible achievement, want it built? Look at the project’s timeline. Where is the singular competence? The competitive advantage? The special human qualities that lead to a great enterprise? Are we to believe that the committee mentioned below is going to find the hole in the research market that was missed by numerous energy institutes in universities all over America?

Irving Timeline.jpg

Equally troubling is that the donors (other than Arthur Irving and his $80 million donation) who have contributed $33 million to the project are all loyal Trustees and alumni who well could have given money to fund other pressing needs at the College. Clearly they answered Phil’s call:

Several other donors have contributed to the institute. During the ceremony, trustee Chair Bill Helman ‘80 thanked the donors—Judith M. and Russell L. Carson ‘65 and Cecily M. Carson ‘95; Kathryn and Richard Kimball ‘78; Kristin and John Replogle ‘88; and Lori Weinstein and Martin J. Weinstein ‘81. Along with an anonymous donor, they have contributed $33 million, bringing the total raised to $113 million. The College plans to raise a total of $160 million to fund the project, which will connect, mobilize and empower Dartmouth’s base of talented faculty across arts and sciences, and at the Tuck School of Business and Thayer School of Engineering, who are already deeply engaged in work on energy.

At the very least, let’s hope that Phil will have roped in the full $160 million needed for the project before building starts in June, 2018. Otherwise our energy institute will be yet another drain on the College’s coffers.

Addendum: The right way to inspire innovation is to start with great people. The College missed such an opportunity with John Rassias.

What’s the appropriate analogy for the picture below: a Tiger tank and a Sherman? A sixteen-wheeler and a Miata? To compare a Boeing 747 and a Piper Cub would be going a little far, but let’s just say that the difference between a ten-pound big boy and a one-pound chicken lobster is substantial.

We’ve been buying these large guys from the Co-op ever since the demise of Mike Blood’s lobster business down in Lebanon. If you place an order a few days in advance, the fish department will bring a lobster of the size that you specify up from Boston on the day that you request. VoilĂ . Guaranteed liveliness, snow-white meat, and a lot more meat/pound than in the chicken lobsters that people too often eat in New England:


With lobster it’s the freshness that counts, not size. Big ones have tender, flavorful meat just like chickens, as long as they have not been sitting in a tank for several days.

My Japanese distributor’s wife showed me how much meat there is in a lobster’s thorax. The leg sockets and other hard-to-reach places repay cracking and winkling.

Addendum: The Guinness Book of World Records lists the largest lobster ever taken as 44 lb. 6 oz.

After losing seventeen starters from last year’s Ivy co-champion, including the best QB seen in Hanover in a couple of decades, the football folks tried to manage expectations regarding the team’s prospects this season. Well, following a strong comeback victory over UNH last week, the team comfortably handled Holy Cross today both on offence and defense in a 35-10 victory in Worcester. And they did it in green and white uniforms, too (according to Bruce Wood at Big Green Alert):

Football Uniform Holy Cross.jpg

Could be quite a season.

Addendum: The Valley News has a full report on the game, noting that Holy Cross’ first and second string quarterbacks left the game with injuries in the second quarter. No story in The D as of Sunday morning.

Bruce Duthu1.jpgProfessor of Native American Studies Bruce Duthu ‘80 has been nominated by President Obama to be a member of the National Council on the Humanities. This space noted in 2013 that Duthu had supported the American Studies Association resolution calling for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Duthu’s profile appeared on the White House homepage:

N. Bruce Duthu is the Frank J. Guarini Associate Dean of the Faculty for International Studies and Interdisciplinary Programs and the Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth College, positions he has held since 2016 and 2009, respectively. Mr. Duthu served as Chair of Native American Studies at Dartmouth College from 2009 to 2015. He worked at Vermont Law School from 1991 to 2008, where he was Professor of Law, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, and Director of the Sun Yat-sen University Partnership in Environmental Law. He was a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, and has taught at the University of Sydney, the University of Trento, and the University of Wollongong. Mr. Duthu received a B.A. from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans.

Addendum: The Council’s role is defined on its website: “NEH’s chairman is advised by the National Council on the Humanities, a board of twenty-six distinguished private citizens appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The National Council members serve staggered six-year terms.”

Bloomberg is reporting that the endowment has dropped in value during the 2016 fiscal year (ending June 30):

Dartmouth posted a decline of 1.9 percent for fiscal 2016 and the value of its fund dropped about 4 percent to $4.5 billion, according to a statement Friday…

The decrease at the Hanover, New Hampshire-based school reflected net investment losses of $100 million and distributions of $209 million to support Dartmouth programs. That was offset by new gifts and transfers of $119 million.

The endowment said it had annualized gains of 8.7 percent for three years; 8.8 percent for five years and 7.2 percent for 10 years through June 30.

Just to lay this calculation out more clearly: on July 1, 2015 the endowment was worth just under $4.7 billion. During the year the College used approximately $208 million of this money to fund operations. And the remainder of the endowment money that was invested in myriad different ways by the College during the year lost about 1.9% of its value. However gifts from alumni and other donors in the amount of $119 million came in to offset the use of funds and the investment losses. As as result, by June 30, 2016 the endowment had declined about 4% from $4.7 billion to about $4.5 billion.

The College aims to draw out about 5% from the endowment’s value each year to fund its operations. It uses a smoothing formula based on the endowment’s three previous years’ results to determine how much money it will use. If cooler heads prevail in Parkhurst, the current slight drop should have little effect on the College’s operations. After all, the decline in 2016 only drops the endowment back to where it was at the end of fiscal 2014.

Addendum: In an article about the troubles facing the Harvard endowment, the WSJ lays out the ten-year performance of the Ivy endowments. We look pretty good:

Ivy Ten Year Endowment Perfromance.jpg

Addendum: Harvard and Penn have also reported declines in their endowments this year. Harvard’s investments lost 2% of their value, leading to a drop of 5% in its endowment. Penn had an investment loss of 1.4%, but its overall endowment grew by 6% due to strong giving and a one-time asset transfer. Running better than the pack, as it often does, Yale’s endowment investments posted a positive return of 3.4%, but due to high spending, the net value of the endowment was virtually unchanged. The rest of the Ivies have yet to report on their results.

Dartmouth has a wealth of experienced professors who lead their respective research fields, while also working closely with students — inspiring them in the classroom and leading them in laboratory environments. And while at Dartblog we talk frequently about problems that need to be fixed at the College, there are still many bright spots. Our professors deserve more recognition for their achievements. As such, this is one of a series of posts that shines a spotlight on the best professors in Hanover:

John Campbell1.jpgJohn L. Campbell is the Class of 1925 Professor and Professor of Sociology, as well as Chair of the Sociology department at the College. He also serves as Professor of Political Economy at the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. Campbell’s curiosity has made him one of the most productive interdisciplinary researchers at Dartmouth, where his work stretches from a base in sociology to government, economics, and public policy. Yet his overriding focus is on institutions: where they come from, how they change, and how they affect nations, politics, and the economy.

Growing up in the turbulent 1960s, Campbell was always keenly interested in the world at large. In college at St. Lawrence University, he veered into sociology as an outlet for that interest after acing an introductory course in his first semester. Campbell’s first job after graduating was as a bartender, and he read sociology books all day before work. He eventually earned his M.A. from Michigan State University and then his Ph.D. in 1984 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Campbell’s research has never been static. While earning his Ph.D., he examined U.S. nuclear energy policy and why the country that created nuclear power generation could essentially abandon it as an option just a few decades later. The differences between the United States and nuclear-happy countries such as France were largely institutional: licensing and regulating nuclear was politically contentious here in ways that it wasn’t abroad. By 1988, Campbell was teaching at Harvard and researching everything from the evolution of American tax policy to major governmental and economic changes in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Campbell joined the Dartmouth faculty as a professor in 1996, and his current stint as chair of the sociology department is his second (the first was from 1997 to 2003). Since arriving in Hanover, he has continued his eclectic choice of institutional and public policy-oriented research topics. In 2007, he published his most cited work to date, a paper titled “Why Would Corporations Behave In Socially Responsible Ways?” Overall, Campbell has more than 10,000 individual citations and a h-index of 32, according to Google Scholar.

He has been prolific in writing books, too. “The Paradox of Vulnerability: Small Nation-States and the Financial Crisis” is Campbell’s latest, scheduled to be published at the end of this year. The book evolved out of a course he still teaches, SOCY 66: Markets and Management; it focuses on how three smaller countries — Denmark, Switzerland, and Ireland — dealt with the recent financial crisis. Last year he published “The World Of States,” and in 2014, “The National Origins of Policy Ideas.” Recently he has been considering a book on the Donald Trump phenomenon, and an analysis of the conditions that led to Trump’s emergence, especially in comparison to European countries that have seen similar right wing, anti-immigrant, xenophobic movements.

Meanwhile, Campbell has cultivated a special relationship with the Copenhagen Business School, where he works every Spring as a professor in the political economy research department. He also started and directs an exchange program that sends 6-12 Dartmouth students to Copenhagen University for the fall term each year.

Considering that it was his hook into the subject over 40 years ago, it’s no surprise that Campbell’s favorite course to teach is SOCY 1: Introduction to Sociology, a lecture course he leads once a year for 80-100 students. Half of the class is made up of freshman, and he likes waking them up with rock music at 9am on a Monday. Given Campbell’s wide-ranging intellectual curiosity, it also makes sense that he enjoys the course because it forces him to keep up with the wide spectrum of sociology research which he hasn’t personally had time to take on (at least so far).

A fair number of people on campus will have their panties in a twist, but Hanover should witness a rollicking intellectual time when flamboyant conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos comes to town on November 1 with his Dangerous Faggot Tour:

Milo Bus.jpg

If you are not familiar with Milo’s brand of performance art, the below video will give you a flavor of the man: Why black lives don’t matter to Black Lives Matter:

At his best, Milo has the same kind of made-by-a-British-classical-education sparkle and wit that I always enjoyed in Christopher Hitchens, enlivened with more than a dash of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno character.

Addendum: Yiannopoulos’ is visiting the College at the invitation of the Dartmouth Libertarians and the Dartmouth Review.

Addendum: An alumnus pointed me to a magic Milo moment:

When we think of Milo parallels, Liberace comes to mind — a personage so endearing to straight folks that he makes them get over whatever homophobia they might hold.

(I’m re-running this post for the freshman class so that they can see where their tuition dollars are going)

As we wait for the fiscal 2016 numbers to come out in a couple of months, let’s do a quick by-the-numbers comparison of Brown’s and Dartmouth’s 2015 financial results:

— Brown has 42% more students (9,073) than we do (6,350) and 32% more full-time professors (all of whom are paid more than ours, except for Full Professors)

You can logically expect that Brown will have to spend much more money than Dartmouth to run its entire operation, right? More students means more dorms, office space, classrooms, dining halls, campus facilities of all types, administrators, professors, etc. And if Brown pays most members of its faculty more than we pay our people, that will ramp up the difference even more.

— Brown’s total 2015 expenses: $810,957,000; Dartmouth’s: $891,428,000:
— Brown paid out $80,471,000 less than Dartmouth

But, no. It costs Brown about $80 million less than Dartmouth to run the university each year. That makes no sense. Dartmouth has to be overspending wildly, especially given that land and the cost of living and construction in rural Hanover, New Hampshire is less than in urban Providence, Rhode Island (with its top state income tax rate of 5.99% and its 7% state sales tax; both are zero in flinty New Hampshire). And Brown has to deal with other urban concerns: for example, it has 80 sworn, armed municipal police officers on its payroll vs. our 40 private security guards, etc.

— Brown’s Salary/Wages ($322,533,000) and Benefits ($93,351,000) total: $416,484,000; Dartmouth’s Salary/Wages ($382,433,000) and Benefits: ($135,622,000) total: $518,055,000
— Brown paid out $101,571,000 less in employee compensation than Dartmouth

So that’s where that money goes. How can our payroll be over $101 million more each year than Brown’s? There’s an easy answer for that: too many people doing too little work for too much money. Recall, as I mentioned above, that Brown has 42% more students than we have; you’d expect that payroll at Brown would be higher by approximately that amount — not lower by almost 20%.

— Brown’s 2015 Endowment Draw: $142,725,000; Dartmouth’s: $212,493,000;
— Brown drew out $69,768,000 less from its endowment than Dartmouth

We are by far the richer school. Our endowment stands at $4.66 billion; Brown has only $3.07 billion. But more importantly, we have double the endowment per student that Brown has. We have it, so we spend it, though I don’t think that anyone who deals with the Dartmouth administration would argue that this spending translates into a responsive operation that caters to students’ and faculty members’ every need.

— Brown’s Sponsored Research: $151,458,000; Dartmouth’s: $182,118,000;
— Brown paid out $30,660,000 less than Dartmouth

Here is the only area where the cost of operating Dartmouth should be somewhat more expensive than Brown. We do slightly more sponsored research than Brown, which hikes up our overall cost of operations. But $30 million in a budget that runs at $891.4 million doesn’t have much impact.

— Brown’s tuition, room and board and fees in 2016/2017: $64,566; Dartmouth’s: $66,174
— Brown will cost $1,608 less than Dartmouth in the coming year

Go figure. Despite all of our wealth and cost advantage, we still charge our students more than Brown (both schools give financial aid to about 44% of students; the remainder pay full boat). You’d think that Dartmouth students would get to share in the spoils of our huge endowment. Nope.

Summary: Brown’s expenses run to $89,381/student each year; we pay out $140,382/student. We spend $51,001/year/student more than Brown. However, part of that difference lies in our extra research spending — just under $12,000/year per student). After deducting research, we still spend approximately $39,000/student/year more than Brown. That difference adds up. 

If we could reduce our spending/student to Brown’s level, we could take $247,650,000 of waste each year out of our budget, which we could then put towards more productive uses. Oh, the places we’d go if the administration ran the College with the goal of providing students with the best education possible, rather than allowing a cushy, overpaid bureaucracy to grow every year.

Addendum: A Dartmouth parent writes in:

Great. Can we poach the Brown top ten administrators and pay them each $2,000,000 per year? We would be way ahead if we did so. If a side by side comparison like this was done for all eight Ivy schools, it would be even more eye-opening. Maybe the board members or top administrators would have some explaining to do before anyone makes more donations. How’s that capital campaign coming along?

Let’s look at the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society from an entrepreneurial perspective. Is this the kind of business that we want Dartmouth to get into? What special advantages do we have in this area? Who would be our competitors? Is an energy center the best use for our money?

To start, we’d have to compete against, um, the Energy Institute at the University of Michigan, which, as you can see below, has 130 faculty members and one mission:

Michigan Energy.jpg

Then there’s the Energy Initiative at MIT with seven senior executives and 72 staffers:

MIT Energy Comp.jpg

Of course, we should not slight the Energy Institute at the University of Texas, which attracts almost as much each year in grants as the entire Irving Institute might one day have in its endowment:

UT Austin Energy Institute.jpg

Not to mention the energy institutes at Penn State, Colorado State, Berkeley, the University of Wisconsin, Texas A&M, Texas Christian University, The City University of New York, Rutgers, University of Washington, Yale, and on and on (and that was just the first two pages of a Google search for “energy institute”).

The Valley News reported on Phil’s presentation of the new institute in which he described the kind of work that might be done in the new $60 million at the end of Tuck Mall:

Using the example of power grids, Hansen noted that current research is fragmented, with electronic engineers working on improved smart grid systems that can shuffle loads around more efficiently, economists trying to figure out how they fit into the marketplace, and computer scientists working to protect them from increasingly sophisticated attacks from computer hackers.

“Bringing these people together, and giving them more resources will make them blossom,” Hansen said.

Great, Phil. Now try to convince us that a dozen other energy institutes don’t already have large teams of experienced researchers working on this and other problems. You’ll need to present a better justification for us jumping into an area where big guys have been fighting hard for decades. Does the College’s new enterprise have any competitive advantage at all? If so, spell it out.

As for fundraising, it’s pretty clear that a project that has been in the works for three years is not setting the Dartmouth donor community on fire. More from the Valley News

The institute was started with an $80 million lead gift from Irving Oil, the Arthur L. Irving Family Foundation, and members of the Irving family…

The institute also has attracted an additional $33 million in funding from a handful of other alumni; college officials hope to raise a total of $160 million to fund the institute.

Hansen said roughly $60 million would be used in startup costs, including the construction of the building, and that an endowment of the remaining $100 million would provide annual revenues of about $5 million.

So, we have the Irving $80 million lined up, and after all this time, our President, the supposed fundraiser extraordinaire, has scrambled to come up with another $33 million. That leaves $47 million to be gathered from Dartmouth donors who could well be persuaded to contribute to the betterment of undergraduate education — but, obviously, the staffers in Development aren’t going to be pushing hard in that direction, not when Phil’s pet project needs money.

And just who is going to lead research at the new institute? Phil did not stand up the other day and present to us a team of the nation’s top energy scientists who will power (sorry) the new endeavor. There is nobody at Thayer now who can claim to have the special talent to lead the new entity. If there were, Phil would have named a director. (If you are thinking of Professor Lee Lynd, note that after receiving investments and grants totaling $108.3 million, his Mascoma Corporation sold its struggling yeast business to Canada-based Lallemand Inc. at the end of 2014).

There an old saying in the venture capital world: you need five elements for a successful enterprise: the product, the market, the people, the people, the people. We don’t yet have them. In fact, the way a project like this should be created is to identify an extraordinary member of the faculty or group of faculty members and then build an institute around them. Phil has gone about this process back-asswards.

Other than a big grant that gets us half-way to financing this project, and another partial bit of funding, what does Phil have to show for all of this efforts?

Not anything that I would put money into, not if I was hoping for a strong educational return on my investment.

Addendum: And what does the future hold? Can we expect $60 million buildings dotted around Hanover for new Hanlon institutes in microprocessor design, automobile development, battery research, pollution control, and other areas where we have little expertise and no possibility of doing work on the scale of numerous other competitors?

You don’t have to be a venture capitalist like Chairman of the Board of Trustees Bill Helman ‘80 to understand that Phil’s energy project is doomed to mediocrity at best. But then, as we have always said, the Trustees just rubber-stamp the President’s ideas, even when they should have the good sense to see that the inevitable result is failure and waste.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

The Energy Institute reminds me of the long-gone but once famous and prestigious Dartmouth Eye Institute, which President Hopkins closed down despite its fame because he feared it distracted from the central mission of the College.

Crosby Hall Arrow.jpgThe Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society is a capstone on the College’s long association with the oil industry. While Hanover native George Bissel ‘45 (that’s 1845) has been termed the father of the American oil industry, the development of petroleum exploration and the commercial exploitation of oil have their origins in a group effort by Dartmouth faculty and alumni starting in Hanover. Bissel was a lawyer, but in a liberal arts moment, he put two and two together and realized that the derricks used to drill salt wells might also be used to drill for what was then termed “rock oil.” His effort in conjunction with members of the faculty and other men of Dartmouth is memorialized even today on a plaque on the wall of Crosby Hall (now attached to Blunt Alumni Center):

Crosby Hall Plaque2.jpg


The first scientific examination of crude oil which led to the beginning of the world’s petroleum industry was conducted in this building then the home of Dr. Dixi Crosby lifelong teacher in the Dartmouth Medical School.

In 1853 Francis B. Brewer Class of 1843 brought a sample of Pennsylvania rock oil to Dartmouth for analysis by Dr. Crosby and Oliver P. Hubbard professor of chemistry.

Their report of its useful and potentially valuable properties led to the purchase by George H. Bissell Class of 1845 and Jonathan G. Eveleth, aided by Albert H Crosby Class of 1848, of oil producing land in western Pennsylvania, the incorporation in 1854 of the first petroleum company in the world, and drilling of the Drake Well at Titusville in 1859.

This memorial erected June 26, 1953 on the one hundredth anniversary of the pioneering of this Dartmouth alumni and faculty group.

Addendum: Lest undergraduates think that old-time students and faculty spent all of their time being homophobic and racist, note that great events have taken place at the College throughout its history.

Addendum: A faculty member writes in:

If those [Irving] revenues has been dedicated to a program of research and development to replace the College’s (and DHMC’s) dependence on oil, that would have benefited everyone in perpetuity. We are a walking — burning — example of carbon emissions. How about using the money to pioneer a sustainable program of northern New England wood utilization, with chips produced on and delivered from the College Grant? Or solar on every building on campus? Or geothermal? All these options could be investigated and implemented where practicable with the results shared regionally, perhaps creating new businesses in the process. Dartmouth helped discover oil. Why not lead the way out of it?

The women of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority voted tonight by a margin of 84%-16% to go local. The ballot required a super-majority of 75% in order to pass. This change will allow KKG to (officially) serve alcohol at social events and to hold rush in a more creative manner. It will also allow the house to freely use scholarship money. The change has been under discussion at KKG for several years.

KKG House.jpg

Additionally, in light of the College’s unprincipled derecognition of AD and SAE, KKG will not longer be at the mercy of its national for its existence; when SAE hammered its Dartmouth local for supposed hazing, Dean Ameer was all too eager to pile on.

Addendum: No word yet on a new name for the house.

My own days as a student occurred at the end of the era when a Dartmouth home football game brought fans, alumni, and opposing team supporters from all over New England. Needless to say, virtually the entire student body went to the game, but the 3,300 of so of us (with the remaining 700-800 undergraduates off-campus for one reason or another) were less than a fifth of an attendance that was routinely announced to be in the area of 18,000. The streets of Hanover were jammed, as were the now-demolished visitors stands on the far side of Memorial Field (where you’ll now find Buddy Teevens ‘79’s pride and joy, Floren Varsity House). This vintage postcard shows it as it was:

Dartmouth Football Weekend.jpg

Of course, having a winning team helps attendance a great deal. Memorial Field’s capacity is now 11,000, and if we keep playing as the team did last night — beating UNH 22-21 in the Granite Bowl after being down 21-7 in the second half — we might once again see a sold-out football game (8,296 fans showed up last night):

Football v. UNH.jpg

The victory was the College’s first against powerhouse UNH since 1976 — a period of time in which we were 0-18-2 against the Wildcats, according to the Valley News

Addendum: Last night Dartmouth sported black and gray uniforms: Go Big Black!

Addendum: The erstwhile height of the visiting-team stands shown in the postcard above gave real meaning to the term “running stadiums.” The view over Hanover was pretty good from up there, too.

I have attended two dinner presentations put on by students in the Thought Project affinity house. They invite College professors to Wheeler Hall each week to discuss ideas of moment. As my Dean of the College Ralph Manual ‘58 might have said, “Long live the life of the mind.” Here is the group’s schedule for September and October:

Thought Project Dinners.jpg

Meanwhile, the Office of Pluralism and Leadership invites student to join together from the git go based on other criteria: their shared affinity of race, gender and orientation:

OPAL events.jpg

Why would students want to group with people like themselves, when they can join others who share a mutual interest in ideas?



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