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Not an Invitation But a Summons: Tell Phil Hanlon What You Really Think

Hanlon7.jpgThe College stands at a significant turning point in its history. Beyond the quotidian incompetence of the Hanlon administration — the poor fundraising, the lack of initiative, the weak hiring, the ever-growing staff, the focus on research and graduate students at the expense of the undergraduate program — Phil Hanlon’s plans to grow the student body by up to 1,000 new undergrads, to build massive new dorms, and to populate the faculty with researchers working on prestige projects, will alter the College and Hanover for the worse forever.

Gone will be the tight community of teacher/scholars and students that mark the College’s distinctive and even unique strength in higher education; gone will be a manageable, close-knit campus where random interactions lead to lifelong friendships and fruitful collaboration.

What can you do? The College has invited concerned people to write to two addresses to express their views on the expansion:

Enrollment.Taskforce@dartmouth.edu

Note: The College asks that you indicate your affiliation — faculty, staff, student, alumni, community member — in the subject line of your e-mail to aid the committee in sorting responses.

Alumni.liaison.committee@dartmouth.edu

Note: The ALC requests that you put “Alumni Feedback on Enrollment” in the subject line.

Today — right now — is your chance to save the College from plodding, me-too ideas. You can help ensure that the spirit that led to the title of Jean Kemeny’s book — It’s Different at Dartmouth — continues to live.

Write to both these addresses and tell Phil Hanlon what you think. Do not falter. Your communication could be the one that tips the balance in support of the Dartmouth that we all love.

Addendum: Comments should be sent by Dec. 4.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

I have been opposed to the announced plans for a “modest” 10%-25% growth in undergraduates mainly due to the likely possibility that such an increase would cause the erosion of faculty/student relationships both inside and outside the classroom.

But then, of course, there is the huge question of infrastructure requirements not only within the campus confines but also involving the town of Hanover as well. Think of traffic issues, parking requirements and just plain sprawl. Almost by definition, the character and ambience of the entire community will likely change dramatically. Other Ivy locations, including Ithaca and Princeton, are all much, much larger than Hanover and, as a consequence, are able to absorb increases in the student body without difficulty.

I’m not aware of much discussion about how expansion would impact Hanover itself (and not for the better in my opinion). It might be interesting to promote a discussion on this topic on your site.

Addendum: A friend of the College writes in:

I do hope that Dartmouth decides not to expand its undergraduate student body. It seems ludicrous to me that one of the arguments for increasing the size of the student body is that every other Ivy League school has done that. If anything, that should be a reason NOT to increase the size of the College.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Joe, here’s our chance to weigh in on the expansion. I personally hate the idea of expanding the undergraduate student body. The College already has more of a “university” feel than in our day, and the dorms and other facilities are bursting at the seams. If Dartmouth wants to preserve its unique identity as the smallest of the Ivies with a strong sense of place and community, then it would be foolhardy and counterproductive to dissipate that advantage for the sake of expansion.

Dartmouth is already struggling to keep pace with the other Ivies in attracting prospective students. Why concede our biggest selling point — the intimate size and feel of the College — to our peers? It will only make Dartmouth less distinctive and less attractive to applicants — and less selective in the process.

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