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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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Even in a Berlin filled with post-modern architecture and carefully restored older structures, the former Wall is never far away, and the city’s planners have made sure that it is rarely out of mind:
These parallel tiles illustrate where East met West for almost thirty years, with unhappy consequences for everyone.
Addendum: Peter Robinson ‘79 penned the speech in which Ronald Reagan implored, “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
And less than two and a half years later, the Wall was part of history past.
Addendum: The Brandenberg Gate does double duty as Berlin’s civic center: here as a viewing area for the ongoing World Cup:
On Sunday when Mexico scored its game-winning goal against Germany in a 1-0 upset victory, the crowd’s roar of surprise and disappointment could be heard all over the city.
A member of the faculty writes in:
As an early supporter, I regularly receive the DGALA [Dartmouth Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Alumni/ae Association] newsletter. Here is a page from the recent issue.
How reflective of the current state of College priorities that a student space is being requisitioned for an administrative office.
The OPAL bureaucrats are invading Robinson Hall — once a precinct reserved exclusively for use by student groups:
Of course, um, students will be allowed to use the Rainbow room between 10pm and 8am, and by prior reservation during the day. But, more importantly, OPAL needs more space for its staff, which currently numbers ten people. Who knows how that number will change in the coming year? (I do. It will not go down.)
Oh, how the College’s staff grows. Mark Perry, a Professor of Economics at the University of Michigan-Flint, recently published a piece for the American Enterprise Institute that has incited some controversy: he details that the University of Michigan employs over 100 bureaucrats devoted to diversity. Michigan has 44,718 students.
That’s one diversicrat for every 447 students.
At the College — 6,509 students — the situation is worse. In addition to the ten folks in OPAL above, the Office of Institutional Diversity & Equity has five staff members, and Geisel’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement (DICE) also has five. Interesting, it seems that in the two best run areas of the College — Tuck and Thayer — no staffer has a position focusing exclusively on diversity.
If we conservatively say that the College has twenty employees devoted to diversity, our ratio beats Michigan hands down: one diversicrat for every 325 students.
The bear saga in Hanover is inciting more press. On Friday in the Valley News, writer Matt Hongoltz-Hetling provides color for the story: Area Bears Are Becoming Bolder; Trackers Say Some Residents Still Aren’t Eliminating Food Sources.
Bryson cites a book about bear attacks: Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance, by Stephen Herrero:
Herrero is at pains to stress that black bear attacks are infrequent, relative to their numbers. For 1900 to 1980, he found just twenty-three confirmed black bear killings of humans (about half the number of killings by grizzlies), and most of these were out West or in Canada. In New Hampshire there has not been an unprovoked fatal attack on a human by a bear since 1784. In Vermont, there has never been one…
After noting that just 500 people were attacked and hurt by black bears between 1960 and 1980-twenty-five attacks a year from a resident population of at least half a million bears—Herrero adds that most of these injuries were not severe. “The typical black bear-inflicted injury,” he writes blandly, “is minor and usually involves only a few scratches or light bites.”…
Herrero’s book was written in 1985. Since that time, according to an article in the New York Times, bear attacks in North America have increased by 25 percent. The Times article also noted that bears are far more likely to attack humans in the spring following a bad berry year.
Bryson’s piece illustrates people’s unfounded fear of black bears, though he cites with his usual wit a variety of conflicting facts.
Addendum: As I said in a recent post, in Hanover we should treat the bear that people are now calling “Mink” in the same way Floridians treat their alligators. With tolerance and caution. Who knows? Maybe in a decade or two bears will wander around town in the same way that sacred cows meander in Indian cities. The animals might even become the symbol of the College: Go Dartmouth Black Bears!
What can an observer say? Five years into his Presidency, Phil Hanlon still hasn’t put together a cohesive, competent management team. Here’s the new kid on the block:
Kathryn Lively, a professor of sociology and the inaugural house professor of the South House residential community, will serve a one-year appointment as interim dean of the College starting July 1, Interim Provost David Kotz announced today.
Addendum: When Carol Folt made the decision to shut down the College for a weekday several years ago, she did so with the support of a group of carefully selected faculty members:
Let’s detail the core group of people at these meetings, the ones who made the decision to shut down the College for the day: Interim President Carol Folt, Dean of the Faculty Michael Mastanduno, Sociology Chair Kathryn Lively, Associate Dean of Student Academic Support Services Inge-Lise Ameer, Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson, Women’s and Gender Studies Professor Michael Bronski, Women’s and Gender Studies Chair Ivy Schweitzer, the members of the RealTalk group, and a number of other faculty and staff members of a like-minded political bent. [Emphasis added]
Do we need to know more?
PBS Professor Todd Heatherton sent me the below statement yesterday following Phil Hanlon’s announcement:
Today Dartmouth’s President Phil Hanlon announced my retirement. I retired because I thought it best for my family, the institution, and the graduate students involved. I acknowledge that I acted unprofessionally in public at conferences while intoxicated. I offer a humble and sincere apology to anyone affected by my actions.
At 4:00am yesterday, I posted a lament at how slowly the Hanlon administration was making good on an announcement about the fate of the three PBS professors? I had created the piece on June 6. Lo and behold, look what hit my mailbox at 11:06am:
Note: Some members of the Dartmouth community received the same communication as early as 8:00am.
From a public policy perspective, the process that has led to the ending of Todd Heatherton’s career is more than troubling. Just what were the accusations against him? There was talk of a criminal investigation, yet the College community is no wiser as to suppoosed actions that led to his suspension and retirement.
Phil ginned up fair bit of suspense on February 19 (almost four months ago) when he announced that the investigation into the conduct of three Psychology and Brain Science professors would shortly be concluded:
And where do things stand now? Who the heck knows? We’re still waiting.
But I reiterate the question that I posed at the time the above communication issued forth from Parkhurst: just why did the gang that can’t shoot straight make this announcement? Most people do things for reasons. If we generously attribute that capacity to the administration, what was going on in the heads of our senior administrators in February. Anything beyond virtue signalling?
Addendum: Shall we have an office pool as to when the investigation will actually end? The winner will get a free lifetime subscription to Dartblog.
Professor Emeritus of Psychological and Brain Sciences Rogers Elliott took to the pages of the Valley News on Sunday to respond to the VN’s reprinting of an editorial from the Los Angeles times supporting the free speech right of players to kneel during the national anthem. He asked a pertinent question: how come a player has the right to kneel under the protection of free expression, and yet an academic like Ned Lebow can be sanctioned for referring to women’s underclothing in a public place?
Elliot has a point, don’t you think?
Actually the good professor is too gentle to make his real argument: in many contexts our society has replaced moral reasoning with an attenuated version of liberal guilt — the kind that John Rawls would recognize as his own handiwork. Today we look at any conflict and decide which side can claim oppressed status and which is part of a historical oppressor class. NFL owners and Ned Lebow are privileged white men — very bad. Colin Kaepernick and Simona Sharoni, as an African-American and woman respectively, deserve our support, no matter how disruptive or silly their claim of grievance. As a matter of post-truth, Washington has nothing on the academy. The application of fair-minded moral principles is no longer much of a priority.
Addendum: Rogers Elliott, who was one of the professors teaching Education 1 when I took the course lo so many years ago, has a distinguished scholarly record. He stands out in my mind for his paper, Choosing and leaving science in highly selective institutions, the first research work to focus on the mismatched preparation of certain favored groups of undergraduates to the academic workload set before them by élite institutions.
Addendum: A loyal reader writes in:
Simona Sharoni “is a feminist scholar and activist” who supports the BDS movement: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simona_Sharoni
I choose Ned Lebow, humor and sanity, thank you very much.
Addendum: An alumnus writes in:
Lebow’s elevator remarks and the NFL players’ protest are entirely different. In an elevator, one’s comments are one’s own. All passengers are on equal and individual footing, free to respond, or to ignore, or to take offense as they may choose. (And any perceived indignity will be over very shortly in any event.)
But an NFL game is commercial property. It is organized, staged and paid for by the owners. For players to unilaterally co-opt the owners’ property for their own political ends is staggeringly brazen, and wrong. The League has every right to reclaim their property.
By the way, does anyone here remember the word “unmentionables”? This whole mess could have been avoided–or at least, achieved a deeper level of irony–if Professor Lebow had offered a version such as “3rd floor, ladies unmentionables.”
Government Professor Emeritus Ned Lebow wrote into the Valley News on June 8 to summarize his view of the “ladies lingerie” affair:
For my part, I am re-reading Kafka’s The Trial in preparation for any future ISA adjudication of the matter.
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:
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 ….
In Paris, eras of significant history can fall over themselves. This small plaque commemorates a death during the August 1944 rebellion against the German invader. At multiple points in the city, people, led by the municipal police, rose up and expelled the enemy from entire districts. In this way, and after the tip-of-the-spear entry into the city by General Philippe Leclerc’s 2nd French Armored Division, the French claim to have liberated Paris from the Nazis.
The plaque reads:
Here, René Revel, a keeper of the peace from the 15th arrondissement, winner of the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, was killed by the Germans, August 19th, 1944.
Revel, a police officer, was guarding the Pont Neuf, an approach to the Île de la Cité, the site of the Paris Police prefecture and the center of the revolt. In a skirmish with German soldiers, he was hit in the neck by two bullets. He died shortly thereafter.
The Pont Neuf, despite its name, is the oldest bridge in Paris (built between 1578 and 1607). It links the Île de la Cité to both the Left and Right Banks of the Seine. It also leads to the Square du Vert-Galant (1884), one of Paris’ loveliest parks. In the distance one sees the Louvre, whose construction as a fortress began in the 12th century; it is ongoing.
Addendum: The reference to the people who killed officer Revel ranks high on the anger scale among French monuments. Plaques commemorating wartime events exist throughout the Hexagone (as the mainland is often called) with varying words referring to “l’ennemi” (the enemy), “l’envahisseur” (the invader), “les Nazis,” and “les Allemands” (the Germans). My experience is that ever more bitterness is displayed as the categorization rises from a description of activity, to ideology, to national origin.
Addendum: The conquest of Paris took place without significant destruction primarily due to the courageous independence of mind of German General Dietrich von Choltitz, who surrendered the city despite orders given him directly by Adolf Hitler to turn the city into “another Stalingrad.” Von Choltitz believed that the destruction of Paris would end all possibility of Franco-German reconciliation for generations.
People who have the ability to separate themselves from the pack by their originality and courage to innovate will always find admiration in this space. After yesterday’s equipment review, this recent Atheltics department press release gives you an additional sense of what Coach Buddy Teevens ‘79 has accomplished on the academic side of Dartmouth football:
Dartmouth had 18 teams that earned Public Recognition Awards, tying for third with Villanova, trailing only fellow Ivy League member Brown (20) and Holy Cross (19) of the Patriot League…
The 1,284 teams publicly recognized for high achievement include 827 women’s teams and 457 men’s or co-ed squads. The award is given to teams that have an APR [Academic Progress Rate] among the top 10 percent in their respective sport…
The Big Green is also tied for first in the nation with seven teams who have appeared on this list each year since it first began 13 years ago, matching Yale for the top honor. Those seven Dartmouth teams are: women’s basketball, football, men’s golf, women’s lacrosse, women’s rowing, women’s swimming and diving, and women’s tennis. No other school has more than four.[Emphasis added]
No offence to the other sports on the list at the end of the quotation, but you would not expect to find the football team winning an academic achievement award along with these private school sports (all save women’s basketball). But there the team indeed is, to the benefit of all the players. Let’s hear it for Buddy Teevens’ deep coaching.
Addendum: Dartmouth football is one of the teams that equipment maker Riddell is working with to test a new helmet equipped with communicating sensors that measure the force of hits in real time:
If the sport of football is to continue, it needs people like Coach T.
At first I thought that some very athletic women were participating in a football team conditioning drill. Who else would be wearing a sports bra on Memorial Field? But, no, it turns out that the form-fitting halter tops on these Dartmouth varsity players hold a highly accurate GPS tracking unit in a small pouch just below the neck. The device, made by Catapult, an Australian company, can measure a thousand points of data per second: everything from acceleration, impact, speed, yards logged and so on. As one Team Canada hockey coach put it, “Catapult eliminates an athlete’s or coach’s personal perception of workload. The data is a true objective measure of the effort put forth.”
In other words, a coach can both assure in real time that athletes are getting a sufficiently vigorous workout, and that they are not surpassing their maximum workload. The information is allowing coaches to precisely tailor practices to keep athletes fresh. The software has even been adapted to position players like football linemen and soccer goalies, whose mobility profile is different from that of most other athletes.
Catapult has 1500 pro teams using its device, everyone from Australian rugby squads to the Cowboys and Packers, the Bruins and Canadiens, the Celtics and Golden State Warriors, and European soccer clubs like Chelsea and Bayern Munich.
The next frontier: selling live data to broadcasters, who might track players whose work rate is higher than others, or whose hits are the hardest, or who are showing tension as measured by an accelerated heart rate.
Whatever you do, don’t laugh at these guys:
This University of Alabama video describes how the Crimson Tide uses Catapult’s technology:
Addendum: As always, Buddy Teevens ‘79’s football team is on the cutting edge of technology, either because it’s buying in new innovations or developing them itself in the case of the Mobile VIrtual Player (MVP).
Addendum: An alumnus writes in to note that the football team is not the only College squad to wear, er, um, the latest in sports tracking technology. The ruggers do, too, though their equipment is made by VX Sport:
Forgive me, but in this instance I just can’t help but recall the Lumberjack Song.
Addendum: Another alumnus writes in:
Not to take anything away from our innovative Buddy, the DRFC has been using GPS load monitoring devices since 2012, thanks to a gift in memory of Paul Darling ‘66 USMC by his teammates.
Credit where credit is due.
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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