Dartmouth's Daily Blog
News, commentary, criticism and praise for the College on the Hill, enlivened with history, culture and travel when we feel so moved.
Dartblog has learned that today at about noon the College’s Bias Impact Response Team (BIRT) website received an anonymous report regarding the invasion of Baker/Berry Library by disruptive and abusive protestors. BIRT’s procedures allow for anonymous complaints by people not present at events of bias, violence, racism, etc.:
I know the identity of the person who submitted the report, but I have promised my wife that I would not tell anyone that it was me.
While various self-interested parties try to cast doubt on what went on in Berry Library on the evening of November 12, students know full well what happened. They also know that anyone stepping forward to complain of the harassment meted out by the BLM activists will receive more of the same for months to come.
I’ve asked a couple of eyewitnesses to describe their own experiences on November 12:
To date, it seems that Phil continues to hide behind the “nobody complained” excuse.
Erratum: It turns out that the College announcement was, shall we say, imprecise. Exams were never scheduled for today. The College Director of Communications, Justin Anderson, sent me this explanation:
The suspension on the Saturday during fall term exam period is not new. It’s been standard operating procedure since the calendar change several years ago. It is the result of an Ivy League rule that prohibits regular season games during reading periods or exams. When we adjusted our calendar it resulted in last football game of the season being played during exam period. To accommodate the change, the Ivy League gave us a waiver and allows us to play during the exam period. There are, however, no exams on this day to accommodate student athletes.
Addendum: A different College schedule does not include exams on November 21.
The Dartmouth Events website is noting “Final examinations suspended.”
No announcement has been forthcoming from the College. This year exams run from November 20-25, according to the Registrar’s website:
The College Republicans have sent the below open letter to Phil Hanlon and other senior members of the administration:
I wonder what will happen if the Republicans invade Cutter-Shabazz and chant “White Lives Matter” and yell racist insults at the inhabitants there.
Addendum: It’s hard to do satire these days. There is really no line at all between the serious and the absurd.
I’ve been late getting to the story of the students of color invasion of Berry Library. I guess that the macroaggressions in Paris (and the faculty meeting) have been of greater moment than the emotional outburst of many of the College’s minority students and their allies.
Two incidents seem to have incited an initially quiet protest on November 12: the tearing down by a single drunken student of two protest T-shirts from an NAACP Black Lives Matter wall display, and racially charged posts on Yik Yak — the anonymous commenting website that had superseded bored@baker. However what started as a respectful demonstration that included American Indian prayer circles quickly spun into an aggressive disruption of students who were studying in Novack Cafeteria and Berry Library. Take a look as at least a hundred students forcefully and noisily marched through the library:
The Dartmouth Review describes in some detail how the demonstration unfurled:
While less complete, eyewitness Charles Lundquist ‘17 gives a consistent description of the same event, as did an article in The D. In addition, I have spoken with several students who confirm the report of violent language used by many of the demonstrators.
Do you think that this behavior is in violation of Standard VIII of the College’s Standards of Conduct?
Or how about Title LXII of the New Hampshire Criminal Code?
TITLE LXII CRIMINAL CODE CHAPTER 644 BREACHES OF THE PEACE AND RELATED OFFENSES Section 644:2
644:2 Disorderly Conduct. - A person is guilty of disorderly conduct if:
III. He purposely causes a breach of the peace, public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creates a risk thereof, by:
(a) Making loud or unreasonable noises in a public place, or making loud or unreasonable noises in a private place which can be heard in a public place or other private places, which noises would disturb a person of average sensibilities; or
(b) Disrupting the orderly conduct of business in any public or governmental facility; or
(c) Disrupting any lawful assembly or meeting of persons without lawful authority…
VI. Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor if the offense continues after a request by any person to desist; otherwise, it is a violation.
I agree with you.
In response to the events, Phil Hanlon sent out the following letter to the campus:
And he has been sending the below form letter to alumni who have written in to ask about the library demonstration:
The College also has put up a statement on its Press Releases website:
Of course, the administration’s embarrassing formalism should be apparent to everyone. No Complaints! No Justice! Since when has a complaint been required for the College to enforce its rules and regulations? Has anyone ever complained about freshmen rushing the football field or trying to touch the bonfire. The College has had no problem prosecuting infractions of those rules.
And Phil Hanlon’s comment about a “political protest” is equally transparent. Nobody has the right to disrupt the peace for any reason. The College’s own rules and the NH statute above certainly don’t carve out exceptions for political or other activities. A disruption is a disruption. Even if you take Phil at his word, did the protest look like a political one to you? As Groucho Marx used to (almost) say (and as Richard Pryor often repeated), “Who you gonna believe, Phil or your lying eyes?”
Compounding the College’s ineptitude, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Inge-Lise Ameer attended a post-demonstration meeting on Monday at Cutter-Shabazz to discuss the situation with students. The entire meeting is here, but we have excerpted several salient sections in the below. Dean Ameer comments at length on the demonstration and race relations at the College, and responds to questions from Geovanni Cuevas ‘14, the student recently roughed up by the Brown campus police:
Below is a transcription of the first part of Dean Ameer’s comments:
Inge-Lise Ameer: I’m very sorry about all of this. I know it doesn’t help, but we’ve received a lot of terrible calls today, too, and we’ve told them that they were all, you know, ridiculous, and that the protest was a wonderful, beautiful thing.
Geovanni Cuevas ‘14: Can you elaborate on that?
Inge-Lise Ameer: You know, people, there’s a whole conservative world out there that’s not very nice.
Geovanni Cuevas ‘14: They’re fucking racists. Don’t say they’re not very nice. They’re fucking racists. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to blow up like that.
Inge-Lise Ameer: I’m not going to say that. But it was hard. We’re on Yik Yak all the time and we’re constantly contacting them: Please take this down. Please do this. Stop doing this.
We fought bored@baker. It’s finally down. It took five years to get that stupid thing down.
And all I can keep saying, as I’ve been saying with students all of the last few days, if you’re feeling unsafe, and you’re not feeling that you’re getting responded to, then you contact me directly. And will deal with it, because that is not right, and I don’t want you feeling this way, I don’t want any of you feeling this way.
And I think that the reaction to the protest in the library has been, I think that it just displays our society very clearly right now.
What to say about these pandering remarks? Ameer supports the students’ “wonderful, beautiful” protest, and she all but says that anyone who criticized the protest did so only as an expression of racism. Heaven help us, and heaven help the impressionable students who are being indoctrinated with such ill-thought-out nonsense.
Is there any teaching going on at Dartmouth? In the 1:13:01-long meeting, Ameer never asked exactly why someone might feel unsafe? She never inquired whether students understood that they were hurting their cause by disruptive behavior, nor did she suggest better methods of protest. She never defended other students right to study in peace. All she did was show support for students complaints and behavior no matter how baseless, disruptive and illegal.
This is higher education?
Addendum: A longtime reader writes in:
I have a reasonable awareness of the unfairness of “structural” racism, but this is ridiculous, especially in such a context. Premier academic institutions recruit under-privileged minorities, give them free tuition, and create academic departments and endless support bureaucracies organized around them. Is this a case of give someone an inch and they’ll take a mile?
It reminds me of the ideological purity power games from the early days of the Russian Revolution combined with Miller’s “The Crucible”.
Addendum: A professor writes in:
I just don’t understand what it means to feel unsafe in a place like Hanover, New Hampshire. This sort of thing has to be spelled out. What exactly is unsafe? Someone saying something offensive? Get used to the world. Students need to learn strategies of response. Not constant coddling. Protection is not the answer.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more:
AP notes that SAE’s national has ordered it to suspend all activities, and that “Hanover Police Chief Charlie Dennis said the criminal investigation began Oct. 20.”
The D’s report reprised much of the material reported on by AP, and listed the many people that the paper spoke to or tried to speak to, all of whom either did not respond or affirmed that they could not comment about an ongoing investigation.
No details of any kind were put forward regarding the hazing itself — certainly nothing of the shock value contained in Andrew Lohse ‘12’s original report in this space on January 24, 2012.
What do you bet that SAE is quickly derecognized by Dean Ameer if the Town of Hanover Police Department or the Grafton County Attorney find that hazing took place at the North College Street fraternity?
Addendum: Like AD, SAE owns its house and property, in addition to other land in Hanover.
Addendum: At the rate Phil is going, there will soon be so little of the College left that he’ll be able to re-name the place Dartmouth University, and nobody will care.
The Seuss family is coming to Winter Carnival this year, and as a result Seuss Enterprises has allowed the exceptional use of a Seussian Carnival theme this year: The Cat in the Hat Comes to Winter Carnival. However a number of students of color believe that as a matter of public safety — they feel they there are no safe spaces for students of color on the Dartmouth campus — the carnival theme should revolve around issues of social justice. They propose an alternative theme: Snow Justice, Snow Peace.
The following e-mail was circulated in advance of a meeting with the Carnival organizers:
Below is a video of students urging the the Snow Justice, Snow Peace theme for Winter Carnival at an open discussion with the organizers with this year’s Carnival:
The theme of the absence of personal safety was repeated endlessly by the students who are requesting the change. No decision was made at the meeting on the choice of a Carnival theme.
Cuevas was at Brown for the 2015 Latinx Ivy League Conference. Following the incident, the members of the conference produced a lengthy statement, which began with Cuevas’ account of the events that befell him:
There was a party at Machado house last night. I was waiting to pay the price of admission along with two other female Brown students. I was completely sober on all accounts. A drunk Brown student stumbled out of the party and was immediately confronted by the officers working security, and when I saw what I perceived to be inappropriate touching on the part of the officer, I spoke up and told the officer that I felt the way he was touching the other student was inappropriate.
The two officers at the scene then left the drunk student and instead focused on my ‘disrespect’ and stepped forward to physically intimidate me. They told me that if I did not shut up and listen to them, that I would be arrested. After it was clear that other students were uncomfortable with the altercation, I removed myself from the situation and left. However, the officers informed me that if I were to return to the house I would be charged with trespassing.
Unfortunately I was being hosted at Machado. I did return to my room, but ventured downstairs to the party to find my host. The security found me before I found my hosts. They found me in the laundry room next to the dance floor, slammed me against the wall and slammed me to the ground. Meanwhile they accused me of resisting when I wasn’t, and scraped my face and chin. I was then detained outside of Machado until Brown students could verify my identity and the security officers finally let me go.
In light of Cuevas’ experience, the Latinx conference formulated a list of demands for Brown University Security, the Brown Administration, and the Ivy League:
The document was signed by representatives from all of the Ivy schools, including the College:
One cannot help but think back to the Freedom Budget of March 2014 in reviewing the specificity of these demands.
Addendum: Shame about the “University” sobriquet above the Dartmouth students’ names.
Come again? Could a few extremists — remember that the majority of killings on Friday were effected by only three men at Le Bataclan — get weapons and go on a shooting spree in the United States? Is that a serious question?
Simon and Benjamin go on at length on how the risk is less in America than in Europe because of our smaller, better integrated Muslim population, and our superior security and intelligence infrastructure, as aided by our Atlantic and Pacific moats. They even cite the cooperation of Mexican and Canadian intelligence services “which prevents would-be terrorists from slipping across our land borders.”
That may be so (I’m glad to hear that the Mexican border is now secure), but given that every few years some high school kids or college students dip into America’s sea of weapons and go on a murderous rampage (Newton, CT: 26 dead, 2 wounded; Virginia Tech: 32 dead, 17 wounded; Columbine, CO: 13 dead, 21 wounded), or Muslims like Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood, TX (13 dead, 30 wounded) or the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston (3 dead, 264 wounded) do the same, Simon and Benjamin’s piece seems downright silly. If high schoolers, soldiers and students can wreak havoc, what is to prevent a few well trained jihadists from doing so as well?
Why would Simon and Benjamin write such things? Is the government trying to calm a population worried by an event that struck a little too close to home (“Every man has two countries - his own and France,” Thomas Jefferson supposedly said)? Or are they throwing a bouquet to their colleagues in Homeland Security? Or do they want to lay the groundwork for further intrusive security measures?
A more thoughtful response would simply say that a few suicidal fanatics with AK-47s will always get through, and we might as well become used to the idea. In the U.S.A. on average more than 30,000 people are killed each year in traffic accidents, and over 16,000 homicides are reported, and though many people fight for gun control, we don’t have people cancelling vacations and cowering in fear in the face of these huge figures.
Terrorism is global; we can fight against it, but we won’t win any time soon. The whole world is Israel now. Or Paris. And the sooner we accept that fact, the calmer we can be.
Addendum: The government of France is asking for a constitutional amendment in order to beef up the freedom of action accorded its security services. I won’t make any generalizations about hot-tempered Latins, but such talk so soon after the November 13 massacre does not give one confidence that cooler heads will prevail.
Addendum: The Breitbart report notes that eight Syrians were apprehended in the Laredo sector trying to cross from Mexico into the U.S. I wonder if any other Syrians successfully entered the country.
Despite a great deal of private talk among members of the Arts & Sciences faculty, there was little opposition to GRAD at the meeting of the General Faculty yesterday. The General Faculty itself cannot pass motions that speak for the individual faculties according to Charter of the General Faculty, which reads in part:
Resolutions passed by the General Faculty are advisory to but not binding on the four separate Faculties.
But in its advisory capacity, the following motion was passed by a vote of 174-9:
The General Faculty advises the individual faculties to recommend that the President ask the Board of Trustees to approve the establishment of a School of Graduate and Advanced Studies.
Give the administration credit for getting its ducks in a row. In a well choreographed sequence, President Hanlon, Provost Dever, deans or major players from each of the professional schools, Dean of the Faculty Mike Mastanduno and A&S faculty members who had worked on the issue of a grad school over the past decades all spoke forcefully in favor of GRAD. They hit their shared talking points with dutiful consistency: virtually every speaker used the term “signaling” and some language about the College being perceived as “serious” about graduate education.
Several remarks summed up the fait d’accompli that this vote represents. Phil said:
I do not see a large expansion of graduate studies on the campus… But we do need a mechanism to add programs when groups of faculty or departments bring forward compelling proposals…
We must always be aware of our heritage: Dartmouth will continue to be a place where tenured and tenure-track faculty have the primary role in delivering undergraduate education. [Emphasis added]
The first paragraph above tells the tale: Phil might not immediately foresee “a large expansion” in graduate programs, but he is all but inviting proposals for new efforts in that direction.
The word “primary” above is compelling, too. At present, close to half of all undergraduate courses are taught by adjunct professors. This percentage has been the case for at least a decade now. Phil’s word choice leaves open a lot of room for grad student teachers to join the adjunct army. After all, part of good doctoral training involves teaching. Watch what happens at the College over the next few years for the real meaning of the word “primary.”
Geisel Professor Chuck Wira asked Provost Dever:
Will this process allow those departments and individuals that don’t have graduate education now to more easily bring in graduate students?
Provost Dever responded:
I think so. But this is really a question for the deans of the schools that are responsible for the faculty.
And Joe Heble, Dean of Thayer, honestly described the true implication of today’s decision (which will quickly be ratified by the Trustees):
Having a Dean who leads it [GRAD) says to our peers in the external community, and to the faculty that we are trying to recruit, that Dartmouth is as serious about graduate education as it is about undergraduate education. We stand for and aspire to excellence in both, and I think that this makes an important statement to our peer community that we are headed in that direction.
His remark received some of the loudest applause of the day.
… just as good as MIT, Stanford, Caltech and Harvard in science education… We are going to put ourselves on the map like all the other schools have done.
The salient concept to be considered here is that an institution cannot do everything well. If we try to do science like Harvard, we will get an undergraduate program like Harvard’s. Of course, we will fail to match Harvard in the sciences because we are hopelessly outgunned in that area, and in doing so we will bleed undergraduate education white.
Once again, this is a management issue: Phil wants to follow the model that he believes has worked for enormous schools like the University of Michigan — his spiritual alma mater. He has neither the modesty nor the originality to realize that excellence can only be had when you choose your niche. Today Dartmouth decided with some finality to leave the special area where it has excelled for close to 250 years. It is no longer different at Dartmouth.
Addendum: The professional schools and the faculty of Arts & Sciences must still vote individually on the GRAD question, but after today’s ballot, it is hard to conceive of any outcome different from today’s vote.
The members of the faculty of Arts and Sciences have just now (8:18am) received the materials for today’s General Faculty meeting. Professors at the professional schools were sent them late last week.
Addendum: A faculty member writes in:
Faculty might be more interested in supporting the proposal before us this afternoon if the material had been sent to us in a timely fashion, and not at the last minute, which gives a bad impression.
Are we simply rubber stamps? After all, creating a graduate school is about teaching and research: faculty are essential to the success of this proposal and should be engaged by the administration in the planning process. The discussions of the proposal have taken place primarily within small faculty committees, without giving enough opportunity for all faculty to consider the implications for our own teaching and scholarship.
Support could have been fostered by greater transparency and by more opportunities for faculty to discuss this informally with Hanlon and Dever. They are remote figures for most faculty, which is too bad. Let them open many more channels of communication with faculty to foster support for their ideas, especially those that involve teaching.
Today the General Faculty and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences will vote on the creation of an independent School of Graduate and Advanced Studies at the College (GRAD). This step, if taken, would be part of the continued downgrading of both the role of the Dean of the Faculty and the primacy of Dartmouth’s undergraduate program.
This evolution began under Jim Kim when the Provost was elevated to a position above the Dean of the Faculty (prior to the change, both the Provost and the Dean has reported directly to the President, with the Provost overseeing the professional schools and the physical plant, and the Dean having responsibility for the entire liberal arts academic program). Here is the College’s organization chart once the change was made:
Note: there is a secondary line from the Dean of the President that bypasses the Provost, but you don’t have to take a course in Art History to recognize a fig leaf when you see it.
Yet even after that change, the Dean of the Faculty continued to have responsibility for the College’s graduate programs: the Dean of Graduate Studies was and still is a direct report:
If the faculty allows the creation of School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, then graduate studies will no longer be managed by the Dean in the context of liberal arts education at the College. Graduate programs will have their own advocate who can lobby the Provost directly.
One can be sure that the GRAD Dean will never, ever beseech the Provost to diminish the College’s graduate programs. It is the very nature of administrators to expand the scope of their responsibilities. If you don’t believe that statement, I submit to you as evidence the College’s burgeoning bureaucracy — the fruit of administrators who always need more resources and more people to accomplish their mission. The GRAD Dean will behave similarly.
Today’s faculty vote represents an inflection point for the College: Dartmouth’s distinctive focus on undergraduate teaching and scholarship by professors will only diminish further if professors vote to allow the Dean’s role to be circumscribed yet again. Don’t do it.
It turns out that the members of the College’s professional school faculty received late last week the materials associated with the meeting of the General Faculty that will be held on Monday at 3pm. Below is the page related to the proposed creation of the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies (GRAD):
Regrettably, no argumentation is provided concerning the underlying need for GRAD.
Addendum: The A&S faculty still has not received the above documents.
Eight days prior to the November 2 meeting of the faculty of Arts and Sciences — on October 26, 2015 at 4:31:55 PM to be exact — all members of the faculty were notified of the time and place of the meeting, and the agenda and supporting materials for it were distributed. However in preparation of the General Meeting of the faculty to take place on Monday, November 16, Phil Hanlon only wrote to announce the meeting at 3:53:15 PM on Friday afternoon, less than three days before it is to take place. His brief note arrived without any accompanying materials:
From: President Phil Hanlon (Provost@Dartmouth.edu)
Subject: General Faculty Meeting - November 16
Date: November 13, 2015 at 3:53:15 PM EST
To: All Faculty:;
Dear Members of the General Faculty:
A meeting of the General Faculty is scheduled for Monday, November 16, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. in Alumni Hall in the Hopkins Center. Coffee and tea will be served at 2:45 p.m.
The agenda is as follows. A separate email will follow from the Dean’s office of each School with the accompanying materials. Copies will also be available at the meeting.
1. Introduction by Provost Carolyn Dever
2. Report of the President
3. Revisions to the Organization of the Faculty of Dartmouth College (OFDC)
MOTION: That the proposed changes to the Organization of the Faculty of Dartmouth College (OFDC) be approved by the faculties of the Tuck School of Business, Thayer School of Engineering and Geisel School of Medicine, as recommended by the Committee on Organization and Policy on October 29, 2014. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences approved revisions on June 1, 2015.
4. School of Graduate and Advanced Studies
MOTION: The General Faculty of Dartmouth College recommends that the President ask the Board of Trustees to approve the establishment of a School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, and invite each of the respective faculties to offer input to the Board as well.
Curiously, though Phil’s name is present on the “From:” line of his memo, the e-mail address there belongs to Provost Carolyn Dever.
What to make of the late formal notification? Is Phil trying to downplay the importance of the meeting. Is he trying to reduce attendance while filling the meeting with allies who will vote for GRAD?
However way you cut it, such a late announcement makes the administration look weak and disorganized.
Update: As of Sunday morning at 5:00AM EST, no materials have been received by members of the faculty of Arts & Sciences. I am checking on the professional schools. For your information, here are the documents distributed in advance of the November 2 faculty meeting. They contain a lengthy description and rationale for GRAD.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
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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…
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When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
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October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
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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…
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