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Faculty Commencement Boycott?

A few days before Commencement, I received an anonymous e-mail from a faculty member telling me that a good number of professors would be boycotting the ceremony. I enlisted several members of the Baker Tower Irregulars to take a count; they reported that only 80-110 profs were in attendance this year. Not a large number, given that the College has a total of 952 members of the faculty, 632 of whom are in the Arts and Sciences. There are no comparative numbers from past years, but the processional was certainly on the thin side.

The faculty is much loved by students, and once again the senior survey illustrates that the College’s professors are the basis for Dartmouth’s fine reputation. Though only 15% of the senior class cared to respond to The D’s survey, their views about both professors and administrators were categorical:

Senior Survey Favorability.jpg

These are the selfsame faculty members who are underpaid by the administration as compared to their Ivy peers, and who receive no preferential parking compared to custodians and cook helpers — and as a result, find themselves turning in circles looking for a parking spot, or worse, just staying home in order to avoid wasting time.

The administration needs to comprehend that students come to the College to interact with the faculty — and therefore the denizens of Parkhurst should do whatever possible to favor that interaction. Nobody ever enrolled at the College to deal with bureaucrats, who used to be called the support staff because their sole role is to facilitate interaction between professors and students. When did we all forget that fact?

Addendum: Faculty meetings are marked by sullen faces when Phil speaks — and no applause. In contrast, professors who offer reports elicit extended clapping.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Maybe more faculty wanted to attend Commencement but they couldn’t find a parking spot ….

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