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The Hardworking Folks at OPAL

In case you were wondering why the folks at OPAL rarely get into the office before 10am, reassure yourself that the people there are hard at work. One of their ongoing projects: making certain that the College’s African American students have adequate hair care. The administration arranges six-times-per-year visits by Master Barber Christopher “Bigz” Barton and Ms. Willette Caynon, who arrive in Hanover a day early from North Adams, MA (a two-hour drive away) — undoubtedly spending the night somewhere in Hanover at the College’s expense.

We’ve written about this subject before, but it is worth raising the point again. With over 400 African Americans in the Dartmouth community, does this type of activity need to be undertaken by the administration? Clearly most African Americans in Hanover already have other options for getting their hair done (unless “Bigz” Barton and Willette Caynon cut 400 heads of hair in a busy day?). Why is budget money and administrative time being allocated to such a service ? Why can’t students organize this effort themselves?

Black Hair Care2.jpg

Black Hair Care1.jpg

Harvard’s Harry Lewis hypothesizes about the origins of student helplessness in his book Excellence Without a Soul: Does Liberal Education Have a Future?:

Harry Lewis daycare1.jpg

I’d go further: not only do students not solve their problems, but many Dartmouth administrators see their role as constantly helping out their dear charges (on whose problems their well paid jobs depend). That’s bad educational policy. As the old proverb has it: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

The administration should focus on improving education at the College. When is the last time there was any kind of innovation in the curriculum?


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