Dartmouth's Daily Blog
News, commentary, criticism and praise for the College on the Hill, enlivened with history, culture and travel when we feel so moved.
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The Old Traditions
There was talk a number of years ago of doing away with the holiday tree at the center of the Green — something about a too-direct relation with one religion or another of Middle Eastern origin. Fortunately for us, wiser counsel was brought to bear:
The College’s haunting beauty endures.
Addendum: Gosh, a guy puts up a photo of a Christmas tree, and it turns out that there was a long-ago controversy even about Dartmouth’s tree on the Green. An alum writes in:
As I recall, the question of this originally-pagan symbol’s suitability in this sensitive age was studied for perhaps months by a blue-ribbon committee or task force, some few years ago. Its ultimate solution was to keep the tree, but not at the very center of the campus; it was moved a short distance to the north of the hub of the Green’s radiating walks, and so it stands now. The precise dates and details of this accommodation are no doubt well documented.
He’s right! There was a committee (what else?) convened in 1997 to discuss the appropriateness of a tree placed in the center of the Green at Xmas time. The “Committee on the Tree,” as it was formally known, was convened by Scott Brown ‘78, then-Dean of the Tucker Foundation, and it was “chaired by Daniel Siegel (only at Dartmouth could a rabbi chair such a committee!) and included three students, three chaplains and a representative from the Office of Public Programs.” The committee’s final recommendation:
We believe that the full name of the tree is the “Christmas Tree.” We do believe that the Christmas Tree should remain on the green, representing as it does a holiday celebration observed by the very large majority of both the Dartmouth and local communities. At the same time, we think that its placement at the very center of the green, the symbolic center of our lives in Hanover, implies that everyone celebrates Christmas. Our suggestion is that, in coming years, the Christmas Tree be moved some distance off the center, symbolically announcing that this is a holiday for the majority of the community, but not its totality.
And that’s where the tree is to this very day: slightly off the center of the Green, sitting about 15-20 feet towards Baker Library. I checked just a few minutes ago.
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)
Part 1, Part 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…
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…
- The Dartmouth College Case
- 2007 Trustee Election
- Dartmouth Constitution
- Sunday Morning Sinatra
- The Indian Wars
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