Archived post

This is an archived post. Please click here to see the latest entries.

« What Will Be Jim Kim’s “Larry Summers Moment”? | Home | DHMC Report: A Nurse’s View »

Our Passive Faculty. Why?

If many members of the faculty are unhappy with President Kim, why don’t they speak up? After all, most have tenure. Good question! To answer it, you need to understand the workings of the Dartmouth administration.

When TJ Rogers was elected to the Board in 2004 on a platform of independent thinking and dissatifaction with the direction of the College, he was invited to a meeting with 40-50 faculty members. To a person they stated that the biggest problem facing Dartmouth was its woefully ineffective President: Jim Wright. TJ did not disagree with them, but he turned around and asked who would publicly support this position if he made an effort to bring in a new leader? The assembled professors’ answer: no one.

Why? Well, even though faculty members may have tenure, the senior administration, particularly the Provost and Dean of the Faculty, has power over them in myriad little ways: end-of-year raises can be padded or denied; a request for extra money for a speaker or for research can be refused; a department seeking a supplemental budget allocation for special projects or an extra tenure slot can be held to account.

In these instances, individuals’ narrow self-interest can be played off against their concern for the entire institution. And when faculty members calculate the potential success of any kind of dissent, drawing the conclusion to stay quiet is almost inevitable.

Want proof that dissent is punished? When future Nobel laureate and Dean of the Faculty Mike Gazzaniga ‘61 was the subject of a vote of no-confidence by the Committee of Chairs, there was a response by a group of 40 leading faculty members, among them many of the College’s best regarded scholars. They wrote to President Wright in protest against what they called “a truly divisive and underhanded ploy.” Their letter was in vain, but several among them have assured me that the subsequent Dean of the Faculty made certain that all of the signatories paid a real price for their outspokenness.

The Dean of the Faculty succeeding Mike Gazzaniga was Carol Folt.

Note: Gazzaniga, in addition to his groundbreaking research in cognitive neuroscience — he is often called the father of the field — was something of a legend as an undergrad. He merited several mentions in Chris Miller’s book, The Real Animal House: The Awesomely Depraved Saga of the Fraternity That Inspired the Movie. His AD nickname was Giraffe.


Featured posts

  • 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…

Dartblog Specials

Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address:

Help, Pecuniarily

Please note

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 should be presumed copyright 2004-2018 its respective bylined author unless otherwise noted or unless linked to original source.




March 2018
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31