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For some reason the Alumni Magazine has never run a piece about Grant Tinker ‘47 (the Dartmouth name directory lists his class as 1947, but the Times obiturary states, “He graduated from Dartmouth in 1949”). Whatever the case, Tinker revolutionized television over a thirty-year period by producing a list of shows that form the backdrop of the early years of anyone my age: I Spy; Dr. Kildare; The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; It Takes a Thief; Marcus Welby, M.D.; The Mary Tyler Moore Show; Rhoda; Lou Grant; The Cosby Show; Cheers; Hill Street Blues; Family Ties; St. Elsewhere and Miami Vice. He did so by working with his stable of writers using a soft, protective touch, thereby bringing out the best in them (I bet he even ensured that they had no trouble parking at the studios where he worked). The Times reports:
To a generation whose tastes were shaped by the tube, Mr. Tinker was the unseen hand behind many of the most stylish, critically acclaimed sitcoms and dramas on television. He did it by giving his writers space to thrive, shielding them from those foolish studio and network executives who said they liked the story, all right, but wanted to change the boy to a dog — and usually got their way…
After decades of formula network programming that, with notable exceptions, had made a wasteland of television, Mr. Tinker changed the landscape, using ensemble casts and intertwined story lines, casting blacks and women in leading roles and examining serious topical issues: life and death in a hospital for the poor; conflicts in a family or an impoverished police precinct; a reporter’s look at civil rights, insanity or checkbook journalism…
Though relatively unknown to audiences, Mr. Tinker was a legend in television, especially to his writers. “Grant Tinker’s real unique gift is in creating an environment where people feel safe, nurtured, protected to do what they do best,” Steven Bochco, a creator of “Hill Street Blues,” told The New York Times in 1986.
Gary Goldberg, who created “Family Ties,” a sitcom about hippie parents from the ’60s and their children in the ’80s, including a conservative son, had no TV experience when he arrived at MTM.
“Grant let me know a writer was special,” he recalled in 1987. “He said I was not there to find out what the networks wanted. He said what had to come through in my shows was my personality, my view of the world. Grant makes everyone he comes into contact with better.”
What can I say. He was a wonderful creator and an even better manager.
Several alumni have written in with vignettes about General Mattis and General Westmoreland:
Thanks for posting the piece on General Mattis. Quite a man … and just right for the job.
It brings a “closing the loop” story to mind. When General Westmoreland came to campus (spring ‘78?), I volunteered to be his host. I think my request was granted quickly because I may have been the only person in the history department to raise his hand! I spent the day with him — a couple of classes, lunch at Thayer and the Spaulding lecture, late in the afternoon as I recall. It was a fascinating day. The biggest surprise for me was how receptive he was to critical discussion. At the time, I was a fair student of the war and had formed some views of Westmoreland’s conduct of it. In a paper or two, I had contrasted his approach — generally unfavorably — with that of his successor, Creighton Abrams. To his credit, General Westmoreland engaged me on the subject, didn’t utter a single criticism of General Abrams, and brought to light a number of perspectives worth further inquiry by me. He was gracious, professional and thoughtful … all of which made a lasting impression.
As luck would have it, my son, (a ‘15) had a similar opportunity when General Mattis was on campus the fall of ‘13. He, too, was a history major and, like his dad, reasonably versed on issues of modern military history … and not too shy about engaging in conversation about them. A nice sequence of connections flowed to Dartmouth through one my classmates, and thence through his son, a friend, classmate and fraternity brother of my son. The upshot is that my son got to know General Mattis, helped familiarize him with campus and he and my classmate’s son had General Mattis over to Beta for some very excellent fraternal activities. There were a number of veterans in the house at the time, a couple of whom had served — distantly — under the General’s command. Well, he just loved that and made a point of engaging the young Beta men over the course of his time in Hanover. Another set of lifetime impressions formed.
In any event, a couple of anecdotes I thought you might enjoy.
I look forward to seeing how the good general shakes up the Pentagon in the years ahead. The place deserves it.
A GENERAL MATTIS CHRISTMAS STORY
General Mattis is being considered to be the Secretary of Defense. What a great way to start rebuilding our military. His nickname is “Mad Dog” Mattis.
A couple of months ago, when I told General Krulak, the former Commandant of the Marine Corps, now the chair of the Naval Academy Board of Visitors, that we were having General Mattis speak this evening, he said, “Let me tell you a Jim Mattis story.”
General Krulak said that when he was Commandant of the Marine Corps every year, starting about a week before Christmas, he and his wife would bake hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of Christmas cookies. They would package them in small bundles.
Then on Christmas day, he would load his vehicle. At about 4 a.m., General Krulak would drive himself to every Marine guard post in the Washington-Annapolis-Baltimore area and deliver a small package of Christmas cookies to whichever Marines were pulling guard duty that day.
He said that one year he had gone down to Quantico as one of his stops to deliver Christmas cookies to the Marines on guard duty. He went to the command center and gave a package to the lance corporal who was on duty. He asked, “Who’s the officer of the day?”
The lance corporal Said, “Sir, it’s Brigadier General Mattis.”
And General Krulak said, “No, no, no. I know who General Mattis is. I mean, who’s the officer of the day today, Christmas day?”
The lance corporal, feeling a little anxious, said, “Sir, it is Brigadier General Mattis.”
General Krulak said that about that time he spotted in the back room a cot, or a daybed. He said, “No, Lance Corporal. Who slept in that bed last night?”
The lance corporal said, “Sir, it was Brigadier General Mattis.”
About that time, General Krulak said that General Mattis came in, in a duty uniform with a sword, and General Krulak said, “Jim, what are you doing here on Christmas day? Why do you have duty?”
General Mattis told him that the young officer who was scheduled to have duty on Christmas day had a family, and General Mattis decided it was better for the young officer to spend Christmas Day with his family, and so he chose to have duty on Christmas Day.
General Krulak said, “That’s the kind of officer that Jim Mattis is.”
The story above was told by Dr. Albert C. Pierce, the Director of the Center for the Study of Professional Military Ethics at The United States Naval Academy. He was introducing General James Mattis who gave a lecture on Ethical Challenges in Contemporary Conflict in the spring of 2006. This was taken from the transcript of that lecture.
Have we run this Dartmouth football recruiting video before? I have a vague recollection of having done so, but I can’t find the post. No worries. Watch it again to enjoy an example of fine filmmaking and also an effective tool that communicates the qualities that make Dartmouth special:
Then compare the emotional connection established by the short film with the amateur-hour nature of the College’s main Admissions website:
Should the people in Parkhurst and Alumni Gym trade places? We’d lose a lot of games, but the College would be better run.
In light of President-elect Trump’s choice, subject to congressional waiver, of General James Mattis as the nation’s next Secretary of Defense, we are reprinting a July 27, 2013 post concerning Mattis’ visit to the College:
When I was a student, General William Westmoreland came to the College to deliver a lecture. I don’t recall his subject, but Spaulding was filled, and with Vietnam fresh in everyone’s mind — Saigon had fallen in 1975 — the Dartmouth crowd was primed for protest and even revenge. “Westy” wore a plain gray suit, but he spoke with military rigor. That was the day I learned about the armed forces’ concept of “command presence.” The crowd did its worst, but Westmoreland had faced tougher. His resolve, cool, and steely belief in himself were impressive.
I expect that Dartmouth will be in for a taste of the same when General James Mattis, the retired commander of U.S. Central Command, visits the College from September 18 through October 7. Even if the idea of the U.S. military is abhorrent to you, take time out to listen to the General. You will see an individual of a character that rarely graces our campus.
Addendum: General Mattis — nom de guerre “Mad Dog” — has a quick wit. He is renowned in the Corps for pungent expression. My favorite line, which fits in well with some of this space’s recent themes:
“When Gen. Abrial arrived to relieve me as the supreme commander, only don’t ask, don’t tell kept me from hugging and kissing him.”
A few others:
“In this age, I don’t care how tactically or operationally brilliant you are, if you cannot create harmony—even vicious harmony—on the battlefield based on trust across service lines, across coalition and national lines, and across civilian/military lines, you need to go home, because your leadership is obsolete. We have got to have officers who can create harmony across all those lines.”
“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
Addendum: A contrary opinion about “Westy.”
Westmoreland may have had command presence, but he was not an example of excellence in most other regards. I have many West Point graduate ancestors going back literally to its founding who commanded troops (and sometimes armies) in every major conflict. Westmoreland is a punchline in my family. He was very low in his class ranking at WP. He was not a good leader or strategist. My father, who knew him, could go on and on about his limitations. That he got to the level of command he did is an indictment of promotion practices in the army.
State a moral case to a ploughman and a professor. The former will decide it as well, and often better than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules.
Thomas Jefferson’s letter to his nephew, Peter Carr, from Paris, August 10, 1787.
For a day or two last week, we had a spirited debate on Bored@Baker as to whether all center-of-the-campus parking spaces should be reserved for the faculty. An absolute priority for professors would seem to me to be a “no-brainer,” as we used to say at Bain, but other folks seem to have conflicting goals:
Wow. This way of thinking is utterly foreign to me. But it does recall Jon Haidt’s depiction of the “social justice versus truth” conflict in the modern univerity. Haidt wrote:
Aristotle often evaluated a thing with respect to its “telos” - its purpose, end, or goal. The telos of a knife is to cut. The telos of a physician is health or healing. What is the telos of university?
The most obvious answer is “truth” — the word appears on so many university crests. But increasingly, many of America’s top universities are embracing social justice as their telos, or as a second and equal telos. But can any institution or profession have two teloses (or teloi)? What happens if they conflict?
Original Poster (just like Phil Hanlon when I spoke to him about this topic several years ago) seems to prize the intrinsic equality of all souls, and woe to the person who makes distinctions based on utility.
Of course, that delicate sensibility is a formula for gaining the respect of administrative assistants and janitors, who will feel good at being valued as highly as our finest professors — but our central goal in imagining the best management possible for Dartmouth is to organize the school so it provides that the best education possible for students and the best possible environment in which faculty can teach and do research.
For example, as any reader knows, I am all for saving money by cutting out waste, but I’d be happy to fund more staff in each department so that our professors do not spend time compiling their own expense reports, doing routine correspondence that could be delegated, and taking out their own trash. Why possibly would you want a $200,000/year professor doing these things when they could be done by a $35,000/year administrative assistant (who parks in Dewey). Such a rational division of labor makes sense for the simple reason that freeing up professors’ time will make Dartmouth a better school.
That social justice warriors worry about the delicate feelings of 9-5 staffers when the College continues to slide due to sub-par salaries and endless decisions that favor the staff over the faculty is proof of Haidt’s assertion that an institution of higher learning can only have one telos — truth — if it wants to prosper in terms of education. Dartmouth long ago decided to serve another master — equity for the staff — hence our ongoing descent into mediocrity.
Addendum: Imagine a professor who would like to drive into the College one afternoon to meet with a student for 20 minutes. If parking is available in the center of campus, then the drive takes five minutes each way. If a ten-minute bus ride from and back to a satellite parking lot is tacked on to each end of the trip, then the professor, given other engagements, might not have time to come in for the meeting.
Addendum: One of my favorite Dartmouth vignettes concerns Economics Professor Doug Irwin coming to campus to meet a prospective applicant. The student had not yet applied to the College, but Doug, alone among the many professors at different schools to whom the student had written, came in to meet with him. They met on a Saturday — when on-campus parking is plentiful. One has to think that Doug might have made a different choice during the week if he had been relegated to a distant satellite lot. In any event, the student was impressed by Doug’s devotion, applied and was accepted to Dartmouth, and went on to win a Rhodes Scholarship. All because of parking.
Addendum: A faculty member writes in:
Putting aside the disrespectful and troubling tone of some of these students’ remarks, most of them miss the point. This is not about equality for all Dartmouth employees, but just the opposite.
Non-faculty staff, administrative assistants and building attendants all normally arrive at 8 AM. They are then “privileged” to take all the available spaces (which usually fill by 9). A professor trying to get to her 11 AM or 2 PM class must park offsite and take a shuttle. So it is faculty who are being rendered of lesser status in the current arrangement.
Nor is this about additional time for a professor’s research or whatever. If a student wants to meet with me at 1:00 PM (because “she can’t make my office hours”) and I would have to come in, take a shuttle, etc., I won’t do it. If I could drive directly to my office…
The result is that it’s the students who are losers. I can easily just stay home and pursue my reading, research, and class preparation.
Addendum: Senior members of the faculty have reported to me that twenty or thirty years ago, even under the present egalitarian parking rules, parking was freely available for everyone in the center of campus. However the huge growth of non-faculty staff has far outpaced the availability of parking — hence the need for satellite lots.
Addendum: A tipster writes in:
Parking prepared a detailed plan to give central spaces to faculty. The plan (complete with maps and actual usage consideration) was presented to several faculty and administrators this year. Dever killed it because she didn’t want to alienate the staff.
Addendum: Another alumnus writes in to describe the universality of the parking problem. Here’s an anecdote about Berkeley:
A funny story from a professor about another professor who has a handicapped sticker. He arrives on campus early in the morning and takes one parallel spot. He then comes back out later in the morning and moves his car forward into a handicapped parallel spot so his professor friend can take the spot he was saving. The professor who relayed this was not at all happy about this situation.
Yesterday’s remarks about Vice President for Advancement Bob Lasher ‘88 elicited a number of comments. Here’s one:
Thanks for today’s post. One other thought to add is that many people in Centerra believe/hope that Bob will depart soon. As you have noted, they cannot stand his routine temper tantrums and have observed from his resume that he normally departs positions after 5 years. If he does go it will be a very interesting twist on the proposed campaign and its timing…
Also — he is well know in development circles beyond Dartmouth to be very hard to be around/work for. So filling the senior level jobs listed will have that added challenge.
Just why did Phil hire Bob on May 10, 2013? Lasher had no experience in fundraising in higher education, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) had a fundraising team of only 32 members in 2008 — a long way from the Dartmouth Advancement office’s 217 employees (as of the end of 2015).
Clearly Bob was making a big jump when he rose from SFMOMA to the College. In 2012 in San Francisco he earned $315,944:
In his first full year, 2014, in Hanover he earned $487,325:
So what did Phil see in one of the critical hires in his administration. I guess that he was happy to score diversity points, and Bob is an alumnus. But, really, should our President be sacrificing the financial health of the College (not to mention creating an unhappy, even hostile, work environment) on the altar of political correctness and loyalty?
Phil really is a poor judge of character — a quality that is perhaps the most important one that managers can possess. Leaders can only do so much individually, but they can leverage their ideas and vision exponentially if they assemble a strong team around them. Do Bob Lasher ‘88, Provost Carolyn Dever, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Inge-Lise Ameer, and Dean of the Faculty Mike Mastanduno constitute anyone’s idea of an administrative Dream Team? Not by my definition of the term. The only competent member of Phil’s senior management group is Executive Vice President Rick Mills — the College’s top financial manager — and I am informed by a member of the search committee that Phil Hanlon played no role in his selection. Phil only met Mills after the search commitee had extended an offer to him.
Woe is us.
We’ve wondered in the past when the College’s oft-presaged, oft-delayed capital campaign is going to begin. The quiet phase has been going on for ages — in fact, as they used to say in cowboy movies, things have been “too quiet.” Last we heard from Phil, the public side of the campaign would kick off at the end of 2017 “or something like that.” That’s a long ways from Phil’s inauguration: four and a half years. Frankly, such a delay gives lie to Phil’s assertion that fundraising has been going well.
However, the College’s Advancement office really is starting to bulk up now. The administration is using pricey headhunter Isaacson Miller (John Isaacson ‘68’s firm, the folks who brought us Jim Kim) to round up a large number of new staffers. Look at the number of open positions advertised on the IM website. Wow. Twelve directors and vice-presidents (is everyone a senior staffer?):
Of course, this isn’t that first time that the College has sought to add to the fundraising ranks. Many ads went out in 2012 and in 2015, too, as the College rebuilt the staff after the Kim-era, cost-saving demobilization following the end of Jim Wright’s capital campaign in 2009:
At least, I think that the staff was/is being rebuilt then and now. An alternative hypothesis is that hot-headed Senior Vice President for Advancement Bob Lasher ‘88 is having trouble keeping people, and the latest hiring efforts serve only to fill gaps left by fleeing personnel. The word around Centerra is that staffers keep a low profile to avoid the wrath of Bob, who is just not much of a manager or a strategic planner. Nor can he articulate a vision for the College, though obviously that lacuna is not entirely his fault. A salesman needs goods to sell, and Phil is not doing much to help him out.
Addendum: Like any manager, Phil makes mistakes in hiring. Think of Provost Dever, for example. But his motto should be, “Hire slow and fire fast.” Once our President realized that Bob Lasher was in way over his head, Phil should have sent him packing. That’s what true leaders do.
Addendum: Speaking of firing, the real world’s rules live in the Athletics Department, even if it’s jobs-for-life in the rest of the College. After sharing an Ivy title in 2015, the football team had a dismal season this year. There’s a price to pay for poor performance, and Buddy has shaken things up, as Bruce Woods’ Big Green Alert blog reports on a Valley News story:
Ball players are learning life lessons here.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science has named 391 new Fellows, including four from the College:
Dartblog’s Guide to the Stars has already profiled Environmental Science Professor Ross Virginia (at left) and Anthropology Professor Nate Dominy (second from left). Congratulations also go to Geisel Professor of Biochemistry Surachai Supattapone (second from right) and Thayer Professor of Engineering Eugene Santos Jr. (at right).
Addendum: When I last did the numbers five years ago, Dartmouth’s faculty was underrepresented on the AAAS:
The College’s showing this year was strong: in addition to Dartmouth’s four new AAAS Fellows, the other Ivies added the following numbers to the ranks of the prestigious honors society: Harvard (3), Yale (2), Princeton (3), Penn (10), Cornell (3), Columbia (4) and Brown (0).
If you think that Ennio Morricone’s music is lowbrow or no more than derivative, you can stop reading right now. But if his compositions have made you pause or feel ecstasy or led you to rock rhythmically in your chair as if you were on a horse galloping across the High Plains, then you would have been moved at the Paris concert on October 2 that was part of the Maestro’s farewell tour. The sold-out crowd at the Palais des Congrès applauded Morricone for five minutes when he came on stage, and we stood and applauded at intermission and for four or five encores. The artists, too — a choir of over eighty singers and at least the same number of musicians — played with an intensity that seemed to come from a gratitude for all of the emotions that the Maestro has provoked in filmgoers over the years. At 87, Morricone moves with a little difficulty, and he sits in a chair when he conducts, but the pieces played and sung on the stage had all the verve that animated Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro, Philippe Noiret, Kevin Costner and many other actors on the big screen:
It has never taken me more than a few minutes in a movie to recognize that the music has been composed by Morricone, even if I have never heard it before. His compositions seem part of a drama rather than background to it. For good reason were Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns considered to have given real meaning to the Hollywood term horse opera.
If I ever were to meet the man, I’d want to ask him if he has been happy in his life. I like to believe that music of such joy comes from a deeply contented soul.
Addendum: Sure it’s over the top, but what other movie in any genre has a five-minute-long scene with no dialogue?
I first saw The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (Le Bon, La Brute et Le Truand in France; Il Buono, Il Brutto e Il Cattivo in Italy) at a midnight arthouse showing in Montreal. We sat in the first row, and the music was a little too loud. No matter. Though we had consumed no alcohol nor taken drugs of any kind, we were quite high from the sound and the color and the fury.
Carol Folt’s endless six-week Xmas break has now begun, a destructive exercise that serves to further compress each of the College’s already-short four quarters, and supposedly reduces some heating bills, while letting more students go home for Thanksgiving. Are those our highest priorities?
While we might think of the foreign students who are marooned in Hanover for a month and a half, or have our hearts go our to Town merchants whose sales drop during the extended hiatus, the folks who really suffer from the lengthy break are the College’s students. Are nine-and-a-half-week quarters long enough for good learning?
Think in terms of opportunity cost: what if we ended the fall term in mid-December, and then spread the extra three weeks throughout the academic year by adding a five-day reading period at the end of each term? Would the quality of a Dartmouth education improve enough to justify extra spending on energy and food, and a greater commitment by the faculty. For example, professors would have time for extra office hours — where Dartmouth really distinguishes itself from its peers, and where a great deal of learning occurs — and even assign an additional paper on occasion. The College would be better for this change.
Surely a lover of rigor like Phil Hanlon (though I must say that we have not heard that word in many a moon) would want to sign on to an idea like this. Were he sincere, of course.
Addendum: The College is desperate to save money in all possible areas — except, of course, where the bloated staff is concerned. Having short, rushed academic terms and thousands of bureaucrats — why not? Let’s cut bone to save fat.
Addendum: There are one hundred football players who would really like to avoid having finals while they are preparing for the last game of the season.
When is the last time that the Hood displayed a painting exalting heroism and duty? Such values can be held up high without the accusation of Socialist Realism. At least, I think so.
Norman Rockwell painted this work for the 1941 Boy Scout calendar. The scout is rescuing a little girl during the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 — a storm for the ages with winds up to 150mph. Wikipedia reports:
The 1938 New England Hurricane (also referred to as the Great New England Hurricane and Long Island Express) was one of the deadliest and most destructive tropical cyclones to impact New England. The storm formed near the coast of Africa on September 9, becoming a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale before making landfall as a Category 3 hurricane on Long Island on September 21. The hurricane was estimated to have killed 682 people, damaged or destroyed over 57,000 homes, and caused property losses estimated at US$306 million ($4.7 billion in 2016). Even as late as 1951, damaged trees and buildings were still seen in the affected areas. It remains the most powerful and deadliest hurricane in recent New England history, eclipsed in landfall intensity perhaps only by the Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635. It was only the third hurricane to strike New England since 1635.
Needless to say, the College was not spared:
The impact of the 1938 storm was so severe that even Convocation — an event critically important in the life of the College — was cancelled that year.
As has been detailed in this space already, Sebastian Lim ‘19 and Daniel Ro ‘19 have been expelled for their role in the October 1st fire that rendered Morton Hall uninhabitable. Lim and Ro, in an admirable and courageous display of penitence, published an online petition apologizing for their actions and requesting that the College reconsider their punishment in recognition of the fact that, although they did start the fire, it was an accident. As The Dartmouth reported on 11/15, the administration does not seem to have been swayed — the expulsion will stand.
I sincerely hope that Messrs. Ro and Lim will land on their feet somewhere after having been treated so unfairly by the College’s disciplinary process. Permanent separation from Dartmouth will be a black mark on their records, since such a penalty is reserved — at least in theory — for extremely serious misconduct. While we can’t be too sure about what specific Standards of Conduct the two were charged with violating, a review of the various options would point to a couple of candidates:
STANDARD I: Students and student organizations must not engage in behavior which causes or threatens physical harm to another person or which would reasonably be expected to cause physical harm to another person “consensual” or not. Examples of such behavior include but are not limited to: Conduct which places another in reasonable fear for safety or in danger of bodily harm; Use or threat of physical violence or injurious conduct (whether directed at another, at oneself, or at an object); Hazing. Dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
STANDARD II: Students and student organizations must not engage in behavior that threatens the safety, security or functioning of the College, the safety and security of its members, or the safety and security of others. Examples of such behavior include, but are not limited to: Disorderly conduct, coercion, harassment, or hazing, and stalking
Remember that the cause of the fire was an unattended charcoal grill that had been left on the roof of the Morton building. While this was the consequence of a certain carelessness that would make Smokey the Bear very unhappy, it is difficult to see how Lim’s and Ro’s mistake meets the standard of “serious misconduct” within the framework of the above provisions. The key word here is, after all, “mistake.”
You will have noticed that the examples given as potential breaches of the Standards of Conduct that the two may have violated all require intent; actions like hazing, dating violence, stalking, coercion, etc. do not occur by accident. The implication here is that a student subject to discipline under these standards meant to cause some sort of harm or was at the very least aware of the harm to which his or her actions could reasonably be expected to lead.
I would bet good money that the administration argued that leaving a hot grill unattended was always a threat to the safety of the inhabitants of the building, therefore triggering Standards I and II. This would be correct, especially with the benefit of hindsight. But reason and humanity should come into play when determining the degree of the threat and the corresponding level of misconduct that actually occurred. People leave grills burning all the time, and even though doing so is dumb because of what can happen as a result, it rarely has serious consequences.
The fact that there were, in fact, consequences in this case cannot be used to characterize the actual abandoning of the grill — which took place before the fire started — as the sort of “extremely serious misconduct” that would lead to expulsion. For example, the criminal law differentiates between murder and manslaughter for this reason — there is a difference between carrying out a harmful act with intent and unintentionally doing something that might lead to the same outcome. Sadly, the College failed to recognize this distinction.
In sum, the administration has severely overreacted. Ro and Lim were sacrificed so that the College, which has responded impotently to actual serious violations of the Standards of Conduct in the past, can claim to take discipline seriously. The right thing to do would have been to hand down a term-long suspension or a period of probation. Then again, when was the last time that anybody in Parkhurst did the right thing? Sebastian Lim and Daniel Ro will serve as unfortunate examples of, and witnesses to, this all-too-typical ineptitude, intellectual shallowness and moral bankruptcy.
Joe Asch’s Addendum: The best the administration might do here is advance some notion of negligence: that even though Lim and Ro didn’t intend to cause a fire, they should have known that their behavior could cause a conflagration. That theory fails on the facts: Dartmouth students have been barbecuing on rooftops since the beginning of time — including on top of the portico that fronts North Fayerweather, my old dorm. Has a fire ever resulted, and more importantly, has the administration ever sanctioned this activity or put students on notice of its danger?
The heavy penalties meted out here are yet another example of the capriciousness of administrative discipline at the College. Reaching back a little into the past, three and a half years ago Yesuto Shaw ‘15 described the welt-raising hazing that he endured as an Alpa Phi Alpha pledge. As Michael Beechert’s citation notes above, hazing is a named violation of Standard I of the College’s code of conduct. Dartmouth’s primarily African-American fraternity received no more than a slap on the wrist for its members’ repeated and serious infractions.
Every so often, a talented local investment manager shares with me his analysis of how well the College’s endowment has performed:
For the fiscal year ending 6/30/2016, Dartmouth’s endowment returned -1.9%. That wasn’t exactly stellar. But Ivy League endowments were all over the place, from Cornell at -3.3% to Yale at 3.4%. How well are these large endowments managed, and what makes it so hard for the College to hold onto a good Chief Investment Officer? With Pam Peedin announcing her departure on November 9 (she’ll stop work on June 30, 2017), Dartmouth’s endowment is looking for a new CIO for the third time in ten years.
Dartmouth’s endowment is one of the 25 largest in the country. And it plays a crucial role in the College’s financial picture. The endowment is worth about $4.5 billion and contributed over $200 million to College operations during fiscal year 2016 — about 4.5% of the portfolio’s value. Needless to say, the portfolio’s investment return matters a lot to Dartmouth’s financial health.
Our endowment’s performance can be compared with a plain vanilla 60/40 stock/bond index portfolio, as well as with its Ivy League peers. Everyone talks about performance, though, but hardly anyone mentions risk. But using the variability of returns as a proxy for risk, look at how Dartmouth’s 10-year return stacks up compared to with its classmates:
What we see here is a clear division: Dartmouth, Penn, and a 60/40 index have had middling performance, although the index got there with a lot less downside risk (the higher the % standard deviation, the higher the risk). Also, an index would cost a lot less to administer (it seems the College’s investment office cost about $14,263,000 in 2016, and we didn’t get much return on that money).
Columbia, Princeton, and Yale have the best performance, but Columbia had a lot less drawdown during the financial crisis, and so their risk numbers are lower. Columbia’s Nirmal “Narv” Narvekar just announced that he was leaving the university to go to Harvard after fourteen years in New York — he’ll be replaced by Peter Holland who has been at Columbia for thirteen years; Princeton’s CIO Andrew Golden has been in the Tiger investment office since 1995. Yale’s David Swensen — pioneer of “Endowment Model” investing — has been in New Haven since 1985.
The back-row kids are Brown, Cornell, and Harvard. Regrettably for them, Cornell and Harvard have both gone through four CIOs in the past 15 years. Their high-risk/low-return results — the worst of both worlds — have been a source of heartburn for everyone associated with their endowments.
It’s hard to evaluate Pam Peedin’s performance as Dartmouth’s CIO. She only spent six years overseeing the endowment. During her tenure, relative returns trended higher, but that could be due to any number of factors. Why can’t the College keep a CIO in place for very long?
Probably the most significant change Peedin instituted was to keep her office in Boston — convenient for her, and giving her close access to many external managers. But maybe that made it harder to oversee the other Office staff?
Addendum: This space reported back in the day that the endowment office was moving to Boston. One of the key motivations for the move was to give Jim Kim a place to work when he chose not to be up in Hanover — which was quite often.
Addendum: A more complete version of this post can be found here.
When Bill Helman ‘80 became Chair of the Board of Trustees in the summer of 2014, we wondered whether, given his many other responsibilities, he’d have enough free time to devote to the College. He did: Helman met far and wide with people on campus — even with your humble servant — and he attended faculty meetings and other College events. He certainly gave everyone the impression of understanding what a parlous state the College finds itself in, and faculty did not hold back in letting him know that Phil Hanlon had virtually no support among Dartmouth’s professors. However, having gathered all of this information, Helman did not draw the kind of conclusions from it that would lead to action. As he leaves the Chair’s position, Phil and the College continue to drift.
Can we expect better from the new Chair of the Board of Trustees, Laurel Richie ‘81? Her background is in marketing and advertising, having spent two years at Leo Burnett Worldwide immediately after graduation, and then twenty-four years with Ogilvy & Mather. Then, after a three-year stint as the Chief Marketing Officer of the Girl Scouts of America, she became head of the Women’s NBA on May 16, 2011, a job that she held until November 4, 2015. Although Richie said that the decision to leave the post last year was hers and she wasn’t forced out, she announced no subsequent position at the time, and her departure came a few weeks week after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver noted his disappointment at the progress made by the WNBA.
As a Dartmouth Trustee, Richie created the College’s first board-level committee for communications, though that group does not seem to have improved the Admissions department’s hopelessly amateurish website. Has much of anything changed in Dartmouth’s communications strategy over the past few years? Not that I have observed.
Let’s be optimistic about Laurel’s time as Chair, but as it becomes increasingly clear that the College is in need of a turnaround specialist, very little in her background indicates that she is someone who can do this kind of heavy lifting.
Addendum: Here is a video of Richie talking about the challenges facing women in business, the value of team sports, and the College’s “brand”:
Addendum: Richie will be the first African American to chair of the Board of Trustees.
An English major from New York City, Waltcher plans a career in education, and will teach sixth-grade science in Brooklyn next year. She completed a teaching fellowship with Breathrough New York, part of the Breakthrough Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that prepares students in underserved schools for college and helps prepare new educators. Through Breakthrough, she taught biology, literature, and speech and debate to seventh- and ninth-graders, served as a ninth-grade team leader, and received the 2015 Breakthrough Teaching Excellence Award. At Dartmouth, Waltcher was a teaching assistant for two community-based learning courses and for “Environmental Studies 80: Writing Our Way Home,” with Visiting Professor Terry Tempest Williams.
With the Student Enrichment at Dartmouth (SEAD), she served as a summer mentor in Hanover and as a winter intern at the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics. She was a student program assistant for the Dartmouth Leadership, Attitudes and Behaviors Program, a volunteer with Big Brother Big Sister/SIBS, an admissions tour guide, and a trip leader and Vox crew member for DOC first-year trips. In addition, she participated in the Office of Pluralism and Leadership’s intergroup dialogue program, and in Voices, an original production written by and for Dartmouth women—an experience she describes as “amazing in terms of what a community can do when it comes together and does work around a topic that means a lot to its members.”
Waltcher was vice president of standards for Kappa Kappa Gamma, a member of Palaeopitus and Phoenix senior societies, and traveled to Buenos Aires as part of a Spanish language study abroad program. Her presidential scholar project with Associate Professor of English Michael Chaney investigated the work of the slave artisan Dave the Potter. She has received five citations for academic excellence in her coursework.
Sarah was also a Rockefeller Center Student Assistant for the Dartmouth Leadership Attitudes and Behaviors Program. See her profile here.
Addendum: 32 Americans were named Rhodes Scholars. The Ivy League contributed ten students: Harvard (4), Yale (3), Princeton (1), Cornell (1), Dartmouth (1). In past years, students from the College from Canada and Kenya have also won Rhodes.
Addendum: A longtime reader writes in:
Couldn’t have gone to a better person. Sarah is an impressive young woman who wants to do great things for education!
Addendum: Dartmouth News has a good write up about Sarah and the Rhodes.
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
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