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Chavez Comp.jpg

Chavez goes on to note that the banning of fraternities at Bowdoin had little effect on the kind of excesses that Phil is decrying. Read the entire column here.

She might have also noted Williams’ experience in the same vein.

Addendum: A close observer of the College notes:

I think I speak for many when I say that, at this point, we would just like a brief respite from the unrelenting negative publicity — much of it self-inflicted. Coming as it did on the heels of the obnoxious Freedom Budget sit-in, dishonest articles like Kyle Ashlee’s, the constant talk of sexual assault and the (improper) closed-door Summit, the timing of Phil’s speech could hardly have been worse.

At the very least, the College should not have released advance copies of the speech to the media. To what possible purpose? There is a time to defend — or at least be quiet. Instead, Phil chose to embrace, and thus legitimize, every wildly exaggerated stereotype out there re: Dartmouth students.

Today alone, the heavily-trafficked aggregator RealClearPolitics linked to two (more!) articles [the above piece and a column in the Washington Post] concerning problems at Dartmouth and Hanlon’s speech. While I have nowhere near the number of contacts that you have, I can tell you that the ones I do have are thoroughly fed up.[Emphasis added]

Not long ago we ran the below post about a Kickstarter campaign to help the Fairlee Drive-In equip itself with a new digital projector. The effort did not quite get there, but Cooper Trapp and his family are giving it another shot. Here is their new Kickstarter page.

Drive-ins all over the country are facing the same problem, and Honda is helping out. Check out this short video that the car company has produced:

Assisting the Fairlee is a good cause. There is something right and good about being outside on a summer night in front of a movie screen. Give generously.

— *** —

Save the Fairlee Drive-In

Thumbnail image for Fairlee Drive-In.jpgIf you spend four years at Dartmouth and don’t see at least one movie at the Fairlee Drive-In, you can’t honestly say that you went to school in New Hampshire. Sitting in the warm grass watching a flick makes for a summer memory that one day will cause your children to look up from their iPhones in wonder. But only if the place survives.

The Fairlee is run on a shoestring by the Trapp family, and it seems that they don’t have enough shoestrings to afford a $77,208 digital projector. The movie studios are phasing out 35mm film in order to save money, and theaters are converting to the new technology. The Fairlee has scared up $22,100 in donations so far; they still need another $55,108. Want to help? The drive-in has a campaign going on Kickstarter, which they are running for another week. Hurry.

Note: there are only two drive-ins in the country that have an adjacent motel. At the Fairlee you can watch movies from the comfort of your own room. What will they think of next?

Fairlee Drive-InA.jpg

For more information, you can reach Peter & Erika Trapp at 603-272-5008. Their e-mail address is:, and they have a Facebook page.

Inside Higher Education has a good summary today of the endless fruitless iterations in Dartmouth’s war against demon rum and bad behavior.

Hanlon CHE.jpg

It’s worth reading the whole article here.

IHE’s reporter, Ry Rivard, a proud 2008 graduate of West Virginia University, where he was the editor of the student newspaper, doesn’t make a single mistake of fact in the piece, and he taught me a few things about the College, too. Bravo. That all young journalists were so thorough.

Let’s grasp at positive news when we can. According to a story in The D today, it seems that the College will soon open official student course evaluations — the ones done by everyone at the very end of term — to perusal by students. Heretofore their contents have been limited to faculty members. If approved by a vote of the faculty in May, professors will have to opt into the system; otherwise their reviews will not be visible. I predict that almost everyone will do so. Would you take a course from a prof who hid from the opinions of students?

Phil has pushed for this change behind the scenes — as we reported in August. Good for him. It will move Dartmouth forward.


So what is Phil up to? At this point, having listened to the various Improve Dartmouth sessions, it’s pretty clear that these exercises are no more than eyewash. Wednesday night’s meeting in 105 Dartmouth was just more of the same: infogathering-crowdsourcing-brainstorming about issues, even though the College’s upcoming policies have long since been devised. However, for PR reasons, students and everyone else are invited to voice their opinions. Then, later, when the official announcement comes down from on high, an obligatory bow to consultation can be made.

What will the College’s new social life policies be? Phil seemed to go out of his way in his opening remarks at the grandiloquently named Summit on Extreme Behavior to sound tough — as quoted in the Washington Post:

…Dartmouth’s promise is being hijacked by extreme behavior, masked by its perpetrators as acceptable fun.

The list of offenses is familiar. From sexual assaults on campus…to a culture where dangerous drinking has become the rule and not the exception…to a general disregard for human dignity as exemplified by hazing, parties with racist and sexist undertones, disgusting and sometimes threatening insults hurled on the internet…to a social scene that is too often at odds with the practices of inclusion that students are right to expect on a college campus in 2014.

The actions I have detailed are antithetical to everything that we stand for and hope for our students to be. There is a grave disconnect between our culture in the classroom and the behaviors outside of it—behaviors which too often seek not to elevate the human spirit, but debase it.

IT IS TIME FOR DARTMOUTH TO CHANGE. And as your President, I will lead that change…

Phil even admitted that the 14% drop in applications was tied to the various campus scandals of the past few years:

On campus, extreme behaviors are harming too many Dartmouth students, dividing our community and distracting us from our important work of teaching and learning and advancing the frontiers of knowledge.

And they are doing serious damage to Dartmouth’s reputation:

In the last year, applications have declined by 14%.

A Title IX investigation is under way.

External scrutiny of our campus life has never been higher. [Emphasis added]

He concluded:

We can no longer allow this College to be held back by the few who wrongly hide harmful behaviors behind the illusion of youthful exuberance. Routinized excessive drinking, sexual misconduct, and blatant disregard of social norms have no place at Dartmouth. Enough is enough.

I am calling on us to create fundamental change in every place on campus where social activities take place—residence halls, Greek Houses, Affinity Houses, Senior Societies, [“sports teams” were also added in Phil’s spoken remarks], and other campus organizations.
[Emphasis added]

Hmm. As background to these remarks, recall that every administration for the past 40 years has called for students to clean things up. Jim Wright put hundreds of students on campus discipline each year for underage drinking, before giving up on that effort. The Hanover Police used to arrest more Dartmouth students in a single year than all the other Ivies combined, to no effect.

So what’s next? Hire a hundred more S&S officers to make sure that nobody drinks too much, everyone gives consent, and we are all fully inclusive?

Or maybe, just maybe, the Trustees and Phil are going to take a serious run at the Greek system — that awful, awful group of fraternity and sororities in which 67% of eligible students are members, a figure which has increased in absolute terms by 27% over the last decade.

Recall that in 2000, when Jim Wright announced the end of the Greek system “as we know it,” there was a huge demonstration in front of his mansion on Webster Avenue, and Winter Carnival was cancelled by the Interfraternity Council.

Dartmouth could be in the newspapers for another long while.

Addendum: Phil also released a brief video statement about his concerns:

Addendum: I listened in to one small group at the Summit as participants described the animal and color that best represented them; then everyone offered ideas (“the crazier the better!”) in an oh-so-non-judgmental way. It’s safe to say that no breakthroughs were made.

The College is making sure that everyone on its Facebook page is aware of the battering that we are taking in the national media.

Hanlon PR Comp.jpg

From the Post’s story:

Asked whether he also worries about shining a spotlight on Dartmouth’s troubles, Hanlon said students and parents should take heart that the college is mobilizing to address its problems.

“These are issues everywhere,” Hanlon said. “A prospective student or parent should be concerned if a campus is not talking about them.”

I sure hope so.

Addendum: Here are the links cited above: The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg News, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Moving Dartmouth Forward.

The other day we noted that OPAL was actively training students to see themselves as endlessly victimized by racial prejudice and to respond aggressively to anything that they might perceive as the slightest slight. The people involved in that effort are coming into focus now. However, two of Dartmouth’s most notorious social justice warriors are no longer with the College.

Ashlee Consulting Comp.jpgI’m talking about Kyle and Aeriel Ashlee, she an Assistant Dean and OPAL Adviser to Pan-Asian Students, and he the acting Director for the Center for Gender and Student Engagement. It seems that while he had been working “fulltime” for the College, and she had been on “medical leave,” they had been working hard setting up their private consulting business. Both recently resigned.

This space has commented on Aeriel Ashlee before, when she was Aeriel Anderson. Her blog gives one an inkling of her approach to the world:

I have written before about microaggressions and stereotypes targeting Asian Americans. I have written about my frustration of traveling far away from the streets of a racialized America and yet still being accosted by the ignorant. I have shared stories of racial prejudice towards Asian Americans and thoughts on triumphs of breaking boundaries of racial typecasting. I have rambled and reflected, and yet here I am again making issue of Asian American identity. What’s my beef? Why can’t I just “let it go”? Because this shit is in my face everyday.

However Kyle Ashlee has not heretofore come to our attention. That’s a shame. Judging from a piece that he wrote on Monday in The Good Men Project entitled Bravery in the Ivy League, his views are provocative, to say the least. Read his take on daily student life in Hanover:

It’s late on a Friday night and a rowdy group of drunken co-eds stumble through the entryway of the student center at Dartmouth College. Shouting obnoxiously, one of the inebriated students kicks over a wet floor sign while another angrily tears down a flyer advertising a gathering for student protest on campus. The student worker behind the food counter sighs deeply and prepares for the impending exchange. Sadly, it’s one that she is all too familiar with.

As the hostile group approaches the counter, the alpha male of the group barks his order at the young Black woman without apology. Despite having received a scholarship for tuition, this First-Generation college student took on the serving job as a way to survive the high cost of college without financial support from her family back home. She rang up the order and moved on to dealing with the other demands and slurred food orders. A few minutes later, one of the students stumbles back to the counter:

“You’re all out of forks. Where the hell can I find a God damn fork around here?”

Having dealt with his type many times, she responded with dignity:

“There are more forks on the other side of the dining hall. And do you mind treating me with a little respect, please?”

A puzzled look of disbelief fell over his face. Without thinking, he gathered all of the alcohol soaked saliva in his mouth and spit a violent wad of phlegm directly in her face: “Respect? A n***** like you doesn’t even belong at this school. You should feel lucky to be serving me food.”

Disgusted and appalled, she immediately phoned Campus Safety to report the egregious offense. Later, a security officer arrived to the student center in response. The drunken aggressors were long gone at that point, having left behind their half-eaten slices of pizza and chicken tenders for someone else to clean up.

While this may sound like an extreme incident of disrespect and racism, it is a scene not wildly uncommon at the prestigious institution of Dartmouth College. As a former administrator at the college, I heard from many students who had been treated similarly at some point in their academic career…

During my two years at Dartmouth, many students came into my office with heartbreaking accounts like the one shared here. These are the stories that the outside world never thinks about when Ivy League schools like Dartmouth College come up in conversation.

Come again? Does Kyle Ashlee seriously assert that it’s “not wildly uncommon” for a male Dartmouth student to spit in the face of a female undergrad working at Collis and call her a “n*****” in front of several other students. Frankly, I don’t believe for a minute that the incident occurred. How could such an event (or many events?) go unreported and unpunished on a campus where only last year Safety & Security conducted a manhunt for a student who spoke faux-Chinese to two Asian students?

Of course, the slanderous story is out there now. I bet that in eight months year applications to Dartmouth will probably drop by another few percentage points due to the fervid imagination of a now-former employee of the College.

Addendum: OPAL is an ongoing soap opera. A couple of years ago, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Advisor to Black Students Quantrell Willis resigned his position after only five months on the job. His stated reason was “in order to have additional time to focus on his family.” Uh, right. Certainly his extremely close advisory role with an undergraduate had nothing to do with his departure.

Addendum: Kyle Ashlee’s piece has already been picked up by Business Insider.

Addendum: Some quick answers from students about the supposed incident at Collis:

Quite easy to prove that article false in multiple ways: the biggest being that we use our student ids to buy food. Go back to the time the guy paid for his meal, find out who paid at that time, match face, boom, kid expelled. This article is a huge lie.


Ashlee’s story reeks of lies - small ones, like saying Collis serves pizza or that the woman was both a food handler and a cashier at the same time, and big ones like claiming these men could not have been caught. Post-renovation Collis is rigged with *many* security cameras and if she was a hybrid food handler/cashier (which doesn’t actually exist), the incident would have occurred somewhere near a cash register. These men would have been identified, the incident would have been in safety and security logs, and it would have been reported by the daily Dartmouth.

It’s getting harder and harder to separate the lies from the truth. Whatever, as long as it makes good story…


I also hated the Ashlee piece because it’s such a transparent fabrication. I would add that, standing at the Collis register, I think you can’t see someone entering the building and you definitely can’t see them tear down a flyer on the bulletin board, which is on the opposite side of the wall and facing the opposite direction. Furthermore, the same student couldn’t both “ring up” and “take” an order. At Collis, you ask for food from people inside the area, and you pay at the register. There is no “counter.” And, yeah, the first thing that jumped out at me as a total lie is the pizza and chicken tenders thing. Collis doesn’t have both of those things! I wish though!

Phil is beating the tomtom for change at the College. But will anything more come of this effort than a rehashed Year 2000 Student Life Initiative — the one that pleaded for dorm continuity, etc.?

Call to Action.jpg

So Phil is taking a break from fundraising to convene an invitation-only Summit to Address Extreme Behavior tonight in 105 Dartmouth. I wonder what the carefully chosen people in attendance will discuss, and why the event is not open to the campus.

Methinks back to Carol Folt’s select little group that voted to shut the College for a day last year. Is Charlotte’s web growing tighter?


Dartmouth Social Media.jpgThe College is fighting back on the social media front: UltraViolet’s campaign will not be left unanswered. If you see the image at right on a webpage and you click on it, you will be directed to Dartmouth’s Sexual Assault Prevention, Education, and Response page. UV says we have a sexual assault problem, and the administration’s campaign says that we are taking serious steps to fight the problem. Oh, joy. What will high school seniors, parents and college counselors think of first when the words Dartmouth College are mentioned?

Now there’s a crazy thought? The Improve Dartmouth website is a forum for commonsensical ideas. Here’s one of them:

Standard of Conduct CompA.jpg

We’re not talking about victimless crime here — like a 20-year-old drinking a beer — but students aggressively invading Dartmouth events and spaces where the work of the College is being done. We’ve discussed the same idea in the past in relation to the RealTalk disruption of Dimensions last year:

…the principles of non-violent protest include an acceptance of punishment. In being sanctioned, the demonstrators show commitment to their cause, and if their cause is just, their plight elicits further community support.

This space likes to refer to the value of precedent. If the RealTalkers are not punished, how can the College contemplate punishing any future group that disrupts College events such as films, concerts, speeches, lectures, or other gatherings of members of the Dartmouth community?

Of course, the possibility exists that last year’s RealTalkers and this year’s Freedom Budgeters had and have little or no support in the community.

Addeundum: Don’t hesitate to vote for this proposal.

Dan Fagin Comp.jpg

He won for his book, Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation.

Fagin was the Editor-in-Chief of The D when he was at the College.

David Vincelette1.jpg

The D is reporting that Vincelette is a member of the Class of 1984. That fact would mean that the man was about 27 years old when he graduated from the College.

Last year at the Town of Hanover annual meeting on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, Vincelette, who is listed by the Better Business Bureau as a general contractor, made a series of extended statements (as recorded by the minute taker of the meeting). The following is an excerpt:

David Vincelette stated that he has lived in Hanover for 32 years. He stated that he is concerned about the conservation group because he is facing foreclosure on his home. The Upper Valley Land Trust and conservation groups have called him to ask about purchasing his land and force him off the land next to it. He stated that the Town has already forced him off other land that he owned and removed all of his papers and effects and he noted that there hasn’t been a word from any member of the community. He stated that he is not running for anything and he’s not running from anything. He stated that he came here (to Hanover) with a golden invitation from a College on a hill after he served 3 years in the military. He stated that he’s not sure why he has been treated this way by the Town. He stated that he lives simply and has very little money. He stated that he owes a debt of appreciation to Kate Connolly who helped him with his purchase of a run- down camp near the Tanzi Brook. He stated that he was badly injured in the Army and served his family, God and his country. Mr. Vincelette went on to state that he’s a flawed man but that they are all citizens and deserve the rights to citizenship.

A person in attendance at the meeting referred to Vincelette’s comments as “the rantings of a crazy man.”

If you are a Dartmouth undergraduate and you want first-class medical care, there is an easy solution to your woes: withdraw as a student (your folks will be happy; tuition is costing them a fortune) and get a job at the College. As an employee, you will have advisers and counselors begging to provide you with health-related services.

Student have been complaining about Dick’s House for years, and the complaints just keep on coming at the Improve Dartmouth website:

Dick's House Improve.jpg

However, if you become a staffer you can join the College’s concièrge medical service. It’s for employees only, of course. At Dartmouth Health Connect, you will have a dedicated wellness coach and an entire team of healthcare providers eager to look after you:

Dartmouth Health Connect Comp1.jpg

Also, for mental health care, there is the Faculty/Employee Assistance Program, which will regularly solicit you to come in for one of the eight free chats that you are offered by the College’s healthcare plan each year:

FEAP Site Visit.jpg

As well, you can get advice on your various medications. Note that you will be assisted by a full-bird psychiatrist:

FEAP Medication.jpg

And if a tragedy takes place, say in Boston, by all means come in for a consultation:

FEAP Marathon.jpg

And how much do these luxurious benefits cost the College? That’s hard to tell, but in 2013, the total cost of benefits for all Dartmouth employees came to $124,583,000. Meanwhile, at Brown, which has approximately the same number of full time employees as the College, employee benefits cost $94,185,000. That’s a difference of $30,398,000.

Addendum: After deducting financial aid, the College took in $119,186,100 in undergraduate tuition and fees. Wouldn’t it be nice to cut employee benefits to Brown’s level and pass the $30,398,000 in savings on to Dartmouth students and their families? That money would be enough to effect a 25% cut in tuition.

By way of background, tuition, room, board and fees at the College will be $61,947 during the 2014-15 academic year; at Brown comparable costs will be $59,428 — a difference of $2,519 (-4.2%). We all know where that extra money goes.

I have always loved spring’s earliest days for the color of tree leaves. The pale green mixed with yellow possesses a freshness that makes one want to breathe deeply and exult (though riding a Vélib through Paris at high speed has the same effect):


The 17th Century Italianate Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption church in the rue St. Honoré in the 8th arrondissment is the religious center of Paris’ Polish community.


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