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Who Is the Bloodsucker?
We’ll avoid comment on the artistic merits of Louise Bourgeois’ spider sculpture (seemingly an example of the black widow family — Latrodectus foltius), but it is worth noting that the construction of the new Black Arts building was only partially funded by the generosity of Leon Black. When the College cut the cost of the structure, Black cut his contribution. A good portion of the remaining capital cost is unfunded; it is coming out of Dartmouth’s ever-growing debt. As for the annual running expense of the building, no money has been set aside; operations and maintenance will be paid for by tuition payments and the draw on the endowment — a burden on our finances for decades.
As we have noted before, a healthy institution fundraises not only to support the entire cost of construction, but also to endow the ongoing expenses of a structure. Otherwise, expensive buildings can suck the lifeblood out of a school.
We should call the sculpture The Trustee Spider, in honor of the supposedly competent people who have allowed the College’s non-faculty staffing level to soar 40% in the last 12 years; who have quadrupled Dartmouth’s debt load in the same time period; and who burdened us with labor contracts and benefit levels that are the most expensive in the Ivies.
Addendum: I expect that the window stenciling on the Black Arts building will be the first thing to go. At first glance, it makes one think that the windows are badly in need of a wash.
Addendum: The administration seems to be trying to get everyone to call the new building the BVAC — the Black Visual Arts Center. BVAC sounds a lot like VBAC , an acronym familiar to anyone wanting to have a baby the usual way after having had a C-section. Black Arts has a lot more irony in it than some combination of letters. Students will probably cut that down to “Black” anyways. Or perhaps the Trustees will rename the whole structure after President Folt?
Addendum: An early riser notes that the initials HVAC (spoken as H-Vac) are commonly used in industry to denote Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, as in the sentence, “The cost of the BVAC’s HVAC will come out of the College’s operating budget each year.”
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…
August 23, 2009
Fare Thee Well, Tom Crady
And now Dean Tom Crady has precipitously announced his departure from the College after only 20 months on the job. How to read this? By way of background, prior to coming to Dartmouth, Crady had…
May 31, 2009
Kangaroo Court, Indeed
In an interview with The Dartmouth, alumni-elected trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70 explained his reasons for declining to participate in future evaluations of trustees up for “re-election,” namely the “kangaroo court” nature of such discussion in…