Dartmouth's Daily Blog
News, commentary, criticism and praise for the College on the Hill, enlivened with history, culture and travel when we feel so moved.
This is an archived post. Please click here to see the latest entries.
Claims of Censorship and Intimidation at Dartmouth
This morning’s edition of The Dartmouth carries a worrisome story by reporter Rebekah Rombom. Here is a significant portion of it, but please click here to read the whole thing.
As the Association of Alumni prepares to vote on a new proposed constitution this fall, heated debate has persisted throughout many sectors of the Dartmouth community. Factions on both sides participate, with weblogs becoming an important media for political dialogue.
The website voxclamantisindeserto.org vocally criticizes the proposed constitution and other administrative affairs. A recent alumnus heavily involved with the website is alleging that he was intimidated in private meetings with members of the Alumni Relations administration because of his views on the proposed alumni constitution.
Nick Stork ‘06 issued a public statement on the website accusing Vice President for Alumni Relations David Spalding ‘76 of intimidating him and criticizing his views during a June 7 meeting in Blunt Alumni Center.
According to Stork, he went to Blunt for a morning meeting with Spalding and Assistant Director of Young Alumni and Student Programs Rex Morey ‘99 to make up a missed lunch for Greek leaders days before.
When he entered the room, he noticed a BlitzMail message concerning the constitution he had sent to members of his fraternity, Gamma Delta Chi, lying on top of a stack of papers in the conference room.
Later in the interview, Spalding neither confirmed nor denied that he had a copy of a Stork’s BlitzMail message that was not sent specifically to him.For reference, Nick’s entire statement is posted on this website—the one referenced in the article above. Scott Johnson at Power Line also quotes Nick Stork’s statement in full, and raises some important questions. But Nick is not the only Dartmouth student who has come forward. Rebekah Rombom also spoke to Andrew Eastman ‘07. His situation is slightly different: Andrew had a job in the Dartmouth department which raises money from alumni. He also has written articles in opposition to the proposed constitution. (Of course, many students have—consider the presidents of the Dartmouth College Republicans and Democrats, who joined together for a rare joint essay opposing the proposal.) The Dartmouth reports:
“I don’t recall having a private e-mail that he sent to his Gamma Delt brothers,” Spalding said.
Stork alleges that in the meeting, Spalding advocated for the newly proposed alumni constitution, a reversal of his constant dedication to neutrality on the subject.
“I think effectively what he did during the meeting was to say: your political views are wrong, here are the right ones,” Stork said, referring to anti-constitution posts on voxclamantisindeserto.org.
“I think when someone tries to let you know that they know what you’re up to, there is a serious intimidation there.”
Spalding said that the constitution did come up during the meeting, but that he and the administration continue to remain neutral on the issue.
Eastman, who works for Greencorps, a Dartmouth-affiliated organization that solicits donations from alumni, was called into a meeting last spring with Executive Director of the Dartmouth College Fund Sylvia Racca.I can say that the indecent tactics detailed in Nick’s and Andrew’s stories do not involve me. Although I’ve been asked not to publish certain things, the right of my blog to exist has not been challenged, and no one to my knowledge has attempted to intimidate me. That doesn’t change one whit the import of Nick’s public statement.
Racca, who does not handle hiring for Greencorps, said she called Eastman in to “make sure that he understood the role of the gifts from the Dartmouth College Fund in the Campaign [for the Dartmouth Experience].”
According to Racca, Eastman’s statements on voxclamantisindeserto.org led her to believe that he thought only large donations contributed to the Campaign, when in fact this is not the case.
“I don’t have any other position on any of the other things that he talked about in his editorial,” she said referring to posts on the website.
Eastman said that he found her concerns invalid because everything on the site is checked for accuracy.
“I felt that I was being attacked for what I had written and that they were questioning my ability to do my job because of my expressed political opinions,” Eastman said.
These allegations are not the first of their kind that I’ve heard, but Nick Stork, who has found quick success in the business world after graduating this past June, was the first to summon the steel to come forward. I’m glad he did, because these allegations are extremely serious.
It seems to me that there are two important things to consider: David Spalding and Rex Morey, the two College employees who challenged Nick’s political writings, do not deny having the meeting. Their purport to neutrality on the matter of the constitution has been disproved. This means that when David Spalding was quoted by The Dartmouth on August 3 as claiming that he and his office are neutral on the constitution, he was not being honest. The incongruity between his earlier repeated statements and what is now known for certain is striking—he called an undergraduate into his division’s conference room, called in another one of his employees to back him up, and challenged that student’s political writings on the constitution, yet continued to claim neutrality. The proposed new constitution overhauls in a very controversial way the election process for trustees. The College has now violated its solemn duty not to interfere with 66,500 Dartmouth alumni’s established right to elect trustees.
There are myriad questions which I think deserve to be answered. How did David Spalding obtain Nick’s e-mails? How did he know “who his friends were” and which groups he was in? Why did he warn Nick that he knew these things? What is Rex Morrey ‘s role? Does the Vice President of Alumni Relations have the right to discipline and interrogate students? Does any administrator? How often does this happen? Which Dartmouth administrators have the right to hold two-on-one meetings with students for the purpose of challenging their views on College governance? Which views are considered unacceptable, and requiring of correction? Who makes that decision? Do dossiers exist on students besides Nick Stork? On whom?
I am not in a position to demand answers to these questions, but this blog reaches people who are.
UPDATE: Click onto the home page to see further updates on this issue.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
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…
- The Dartmouth College Case
- 2007 Trustee Election
- Dartmouth Constitution
- Sunday Morning Sinatra
- The Indian Wars
Subscribe by Email
This website reflects the personal opinions of its authors. Any e-mails received may be published along with the full name of the sender. If you wish otherwise, please say so.
All content appearing at Dartblog.com should be presumed copyright 2004-2018 its respective bylined author unless otherwise noted or unless linked to original source.