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Professor Jon Appleton On Provost Folt
As we saw in yesterday’s post, the administration missed an exceptional opportunity to hold fast to rigorous grading standards when then-Dean of the Faculty (and now Provost) Carol Folt caved in to student demands to modify their low grades in Music 3. As a result of this breach of academic freedom, renowned Professor Jon Appleton left Dartmouth. I wrote to Prof. Appleton the other day for an update on the events the led to his departure from Hanover and his view of the state of the College today.
March 6, 2011
When Folt changed all the grades to “pass” without ever having looked at the work or having spoken to me, I went to Jim Wright to complain. Wright and I had known each other as he came to Dartmouth a year after I did (1968). He said I shouldn’t make so much of the violation of my academic freedom as I was part of the “Dartmouth family.” He recalled our early days when we used to drink scotch in the faculty lounge. He was at his paternalistic best. But then I did write to the faculty and this was picked up by the state and national press.
When this article and others appeared Folt, college attorney Donin and former Provost Scherr called a meeting and threatened me with disciplinary action if I did not cease my public campaign to reveal their violation of my academic freedom.
At my own expense I hired attorney Bill Clauson to come to the meeting to represent me. The meeting ended abruptly and Folt, Dolan and Scherr left the room. They had hoped to intimidate me but they realized that they had no grounds and that their inquisition would only fan the fires of controversy. Neither Clauson nor I ever heard from them again. Clauson neotiated the terms of my “early retirement.”
Joe, I taught at Dartmouth forty-three years. The first forty were a gift and the last three a nightmare. I had the pleasure of working with honorable people: Presidents Dickey, Kemeny, McLaughlin and Freedman. I had the respect and I respected many deans: Reiser, Penner, Lahr and others. I served as chair of my department four different times.
I consider the current administration morally bankrupt. They neglect the undergraduate experience because the money (private, government and foundations) can be found in the medical establishment. The hospital, clinic, research (including Folt’s biological sciences graduate programs) are the dog wagging the tail of the college.
What is so objectionable to me is the dishonesty of their representation of the fiscal reality of higher education. The current administration is protected by layers of bureaucrats and attorneys.
Perhaps you and I are stuck with ideals and standards no longer relevant. So be it.
By the way, I don’t think Kim cares one whit about the education of undergraduates… nor does Folt. Students are an inconvenient necessity in their quest for higher positions. Want to bet how long Kim stays at Dartmouth?
If you have more questions please feel free to ask.
With best wishes,
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)
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 interviews, a review of…
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…