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“The Stupidest Single Policy Ever”

A nationally esteemed faculty member writes in with a comment and a picture about a new cost-cutting move by the College:

Trash.jpgA few days ago, my regular wastepaper basket was removed by some kind of “trash inspector.” I am left with the following (see picture). The plastic thing is about as big as a giant slurpy. Into this must go all odiferous trash, sandwich remnants. etc. The idea, purportedly, is recycling. However, the blue paper recycling baskets have also been removed, leaving us with this.

To keep one’s office clean requires a daily trip to a location way down the hall, where there are two (only) slightly larger bins: one marked “trash” the other “paper and plastics.” Figuring out what goes where takes more time than the trip to and fro.

This is the stupidest single policy I have ever seen at Dartmouth. It messes up offices; it takes faculty and staff time; and it defeats the goal of recycling. Linda Snyder and the Kadish-Kim team responsible for this should be made to go the rounds collecting this stuff.

There is an almost unanimous feeling that when this senior team is gone (may that happen sooner!!), the first thing to be reversed will be this ridiculous policy.

Our benighted cost cutters seem to have forgotten that 60% of Dartmouth’s budget is composed of wages and benefits. That is where to find savings. Asking the faculty to take out their trash makes as much sense as asking President Kim to paint his own office in order to save money (or having him spend much of his time dealing with student alcohol abuse). Our professors have better things to do.

Addendum: Eventually President Kim will figure out that one of the central functions of management is to make the working lives of the most productive people in an enterprise easier, not harder. For example, as this space has noted before (here and here), allowing only faculty members to park in central campus lots, and relegating staff to the satellite parking areas, would be a large net gain for education at the College. Anything that reduces the faculty’s non-pedagogical responsibilities and time-wasting activities is a benefit for Dartmouth; anything that increases them, like taking out the trash — well, you get the point.

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