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We Wonder WTF Is Going On

A pair of readers who care deeply about the College write in from points near and far:

I think that the MSNBC article is depressing. Since last summer I have been trying to get someone… anyone at the College to try and begin to change the conversation about Dartmouth. You can’t say “enough is enough” and then let the remark sit. The College has to draw a line under this — BUT and this is a big BUT — the most disgraceful part of this whole thing is the vacuum left by the silence from the Board of Trustees. They should be cheerleading right now. Fighting for the College. I appreciate the $100M gift is some loud talking, but it is the small things - the contact with faculty and students to steady the ship that seems to be missing. Maybe I misunderstand what the relationship between the Board and the College should be, but when Dartmouth is burning down you’d think they might at least try and carry buckets of water.

I sent the Happy Dartmouth video that you posted to a bunch of Alumni here after I ran into the parent of a current student. I know the family. The parent was devastated that Dartmouth’s reputation was being so badly damaged. She pointed out to me that “Dartmouth didn’t have a huge reputation in this country before and now the only reputation it has is bad.” By the way, her daughter loves the College and doesn’t think it has a rape culture.

Our yield here was only 25% of the regular decision candidates who were accepted. ONE QUARTER. Arghhh. (I was told this stat in a conversation and haven’t double-checked it.) We had many Early Decision candidates, so our overall result was good, but the totals hide the truth of our damaged reputation.

I suspect that at the core of a lot of this stuff is the fracturing of the community of the dormitories that you have pointed out repeatedly. My circle of friends from mid-Mass and latterly South Mass and North Mass gave me membership in a mixed-sex community that demanded a level of common decency in one’s interactions — balancing my friendships at Beta — but most importantly, I brought my friends, male and female, from the Hop to Beta all the time. They were always welcome and were embraced by the fraternity. Was our generation just more accepting of others? Hard to believe but possible.

I think if we tracked back all the bad decisions that have been made over the years that have led us to this damaged place, much of the mess would emanate from Jim Wright. What the fuck - let’d give him another half a million.


If only Phil had the presence of mind to stop making it so clear that the administration’s primary focus is on the total culpability of the students, combined with the heroic efforts of… the administration. It would appear that he is an amateur of the first order when it comes to PR. Would it kill him to publicly acknowledge that many Dartmouth students are among the brightest in the nation? That the social issues facing campuses nationwide, while important, have been completely overblown in the media and by the Obama Justice Department? Instead, it seems that the College is all-too-willing to throw its current students under the bus — Dartmouth’s administrators are all busy cowering under the threat of being labeled a (fill in the PC blank here) “apologist.”

I can tell you that plenty of current students (and potential future donors) are thoroughly fed up by the College’s media response. These kids realize that the vast majority of their fellow students do no deserve the nasty labels being hurled at them in the media. They wonder when the College they love will stand up for them. I might add that their families are unhappier still.


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