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Dartmouth and the Jews

No need to squint hard to see how Dartmouth ranks among the nation’s top 60 private institutions of higher learning in terms of percentage of Jewish undergraduates. We don’t make the list. Six of the eight Ivies do, and in a fairly tight numerical grouping — Yale (27%), Penn (26%), Harvard (25%), Cornell (21%) and Columbia (20%) enroll a considerable number of Jewish students — but not Dartmouth or Princeton. The cutoff point for a Top 60 ranking is 13%. According to the 2016 edition of the Hillel Magazine College Guide, we and the Tigers clock in at only 10%:

Hillel Jewish Students 2016 PercentA.jpg

Viewed from afar, one has to wonder about Dartmouth’s commitment to Jewish students. The Roth Center for Jewish Life functions well, and the Jewish Studies program packs ‘em in (last summer a quarter of the students on campus were taking a Jewish Studies course), but until this past fall, the College was the only Ivy school without a glatt kosher dining option (even UVM has long had true kosher dining). Today Dartmouth’s Orthodox kosher students can, um, enjoy pre-packaged kosher food.

Given our drastically declining application numbers, and the intellectual potential of many Jewish applicants, one would think that Phil Hanlon would seek the same diversity as other Ivies — rather than pick a Dean of the Faculty whom many people in the Jewish community see as little more than an anti-Semite.

Addendum: Unless I am wrong, isn’t Bruce Duthu the first Ivy faculty dean who has signed a BDS petition and who does not have a doctoral degree (he holds a JD from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law)? Anyone? Anyone?

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

As the story goes, back in about 1929 (or so) the Director (Dean) of Admissions in Ernest Hopkins’ administration was to leave on sabbatical. Reportedly his parting words to the acting director were “admit only the brightest,” which is exactly what the acting director did for the Class of 1935. It is my understanding that that class had the highest percentage of Jews ever before or since, with associated academic achievements. The list of Jewish names and awards go on and on, and the percentage was never to be repeated. It was my father’s class, and the class of Bob Reich’s dad. It is a very long list of high achievers.

It is interesting to note that President Hopkins seemed unaware of what was happening in the admissions office.

Addendum: A member of the faculty writes in:

Browsing my files, I have a 1998 message from Hillel rabbi, Danny Siegel, about Jewish enrolments:

Class of 98: 108.
Class of 99: a drop. [exact figure lacking]
Class of 00: 120.
Class of 01: 104

Those figures are virtually the same as today’s 10% figure.


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