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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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Changing Horses in Midstream?
The biggest managerial mistake that I have made has been to refrain from dismissing people when their incompetence became manifest. I did so, or rather did not do so, because I felt that their accumulated knowledge made them more valuable in the short term than a competent replacement. I feared that a new player would take too much time to get up to speed.
That decision was wrong, always, whether it was related to employees, architects, lawyers or other vendors. The very definition of competent and serious people is that they get up to speed quickly, sometimes astoundingly so.
Nobody thinks about Carolyn Dever today, other than as a cipher who added nothing of use to the College. By the same token, the Trustees should not wait to replace Phil Hanlon. A new President chosen for piercing intelligence and emotional maturity will be able to get the College moving again in short order.
The argument is being made that even though Phil is not getting the job done, to replace him on the eve of the capital campaigns launch would be a blow to fundraising. People have even said that the controversy around Phil’s departure would set the College back a decade.
Quatsch! As my German grandmother used to say. Nonsense.
You can’t honestly believe that bloodless Phil Hanlon has fashioned deep friendships with donors, and that these people will back away from giving to Dartmouth without Juan Carlos at the helm. Given the sorry fundraising results over the past few years, not to mention Phil’s utter absence of charm and charisma, nobody but Phil’s wife could hold such a view, and I expect that Gail takes that position only on a good day.
Of course, it has been a long while since we had a real President in Hanover; perhaps people can’t even imagine one in Parkhurst anymore. But if you wander down to the end of Tuck Mall and see what Joe Helble at Thayer and Matt Slaughter at Tuck are doing with their small but endlessly dynamic schools, you will get a flavor. Hell, even football coach Buddy Teevens ‘79 is showing national leadership in a way that Phlailing Phil can only dream about.
The Trustees have to take a deep breath and make a change as soon as possible. Tomorrow would be good. If they think that asking for Phil’s resignation will cause turmoil, they are wrong. But if they wait, and the faculty discovers a spine, and boots Phil out by a near-unanimous vote of no confidence, then they will get the turmoil that they fear, and in a nationally reported dose.
Addendum: An alumnus writes in:
The selection of the next Provost is looming large. It’s not possible that the Trustees are blind to the failures and incompetence of this administration. How can they not see what casual observers can see? My speculation is that the Trustees will really be selecting the next President and will allow Phil to gracefully step down to “return to teaching” within a year after the appointment of a new Provost.
Addendum: And another:
You are right on target… Strike while the iron is hot. Keeping Phil at the expense of continuing to create more chaos and destruction at Dartmouth would be a major mistake. My sense is that giving, rather than declining in the wake of his early departure, would increase significantly as alums see their beloved ‘College on the Hill’ will have a promising future.
You are correct to sing the praises of Thayer and Tuck. They are shining examples of what great leadership can accomplish. Keep up the pressure. Continue to get the faculty to push for change but I agree it is the Trustees who must act now.
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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