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“That’s What We Hired Him For”

The occupation of Parkhurst continues, and a remarkable video has come out of Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s discussions with the protestors. Listen to her tell the students (at 2:30) that Phil won’t be involved in the upcoming negotiation to meet their demands (videos may require an account; if so, click here):

“A lot of you know this, too. The President’s top, sort of, chief responsibility, is chief fundraiser, right? So Phil’s out a lot. He’s raising money for the institution. He’s out cultivating donors. That’s what we hired him for. That’s what Presidents do. They raise money because resources are the life’s blood of the institution.”

That’s quite a comment, don’t you think? It reminds me of one of Jim Kim’s memorable remarks:

“This is not a monarchy,” Kim said. “I barely have any power — I’m a convener, and I’m a convener of people with very different views of where we should go.

Let’s step back for a second. Who are these protesters that the institution responds to their pressure? Do they presume to speak for all or even a significant part of the student body? Or even for a meaningful portion of the people of color on campus? One would at least expect a thousand or two names on a petition so that the group could claim some kind of mandate.

What if another small group of students aggressively insisted on a Great Books curriculum, or including more conservative professors in the faculty, or decreasing tuition, or ending class oversubscriptions? Should any tiny group of students at the College who has a gripe presume to occupy the President’s office, in the understanding that the administration will take them seriously?

Actually, yes. That is the message that the College is now sending out.

In the below video, Phil comes across as bureaucrat-in-chief (first six minutes):

At one point Phil tells the students that he can’t speak as the President, he can only “speak as a faculty member”:

How astounding that the President of a great institution would negotiate directly with people who invade his office. And yet at the same time refuse to take a position on any issue. That ain’t leadership.

Addendum: Dean Johnson and President Hanlon agreed in negotiations with the protesters to have the College conduct a “campus climate survey.” Phil has refused to do this in the past, as we have reported:

Given the various RealTalk protests and the enduring, entirely valid concerns about sexual assault on campus, the predictable suggestion came that the College conduct a campus climate survey. However, such an exercise is not a Gallup Poll-like function performed according to rigorous social science standards. Rather, when done by the usual highly paid diversity kleptocrats, it ends up being an expensive exercise in collecting vocal complaints about the atmosphere at a school from a small group of students and their staff/faculty supporters. Loud, angry voices win out.

Fortunately for Dartmouth, cooler heads have prevailed — in this case, Phil’s. He wants calm to return to the campus, and then he will rationally review the options available to his administration. I expect that he reasoned that there is no need right now for more headlines about Mother Dartmouth that highlight her woes. Self-flagellation à  la Folt, like we have seen over the past year, helps no one.

Let’s hope that this decision is a sign that there is finally a grown-up manager in Parkhurst. Rather than putting on a show in the short term for the perennially aggrieved, Phil understands that he needs to come up with some serious solutions to the College’s problems.

I plead guilty to touching optimism. It won’t happen again.

Addendum: The Freedom Budget has now been rewritten as a survey.


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