Recent articles

Last Saturday, we reported on UltraViolet’s campaign against what it called the College’s “rape culture.” The story has now made the national media. Here is Bloomberg’s story:

Ultraviolet Bloomberg Comp.jpg

Read the full story here. The College’s social media ads direct the viewer to this College webpage.

Meanwhile, the New York Times has noted the disparate evolution in the number of applications at the different Ivies:

NYT Admissions Graph 2014.jpg

In the piece, Dean Laskaris trots out the tired old explanations to deflect attention away from the significant drop, but the Times is not fooled:

“We are doing some work to understand why,” says Maria Laskaris, Dartmouth dean of admissions and financial aid. For one, there are fewer applicants from the Northeast and Midwest, mirroring declining pools of high school students in the regions. And with most attending college within 200 miles of home, she says, “there are fewer students in our own backyard.” Dartmouth’s reputation has also taken a hit over charges that it has failed to combat sexual violence on campus, spurring the president last month to propose a new sexual assault disciplinary policy.

Is anyone fooled?

Addendum: Numerous papers, including the Valley News, have picked up the Bloomberg report.

At Dartmouth there are bureaucrats who spend time teaching hardworking freshmen — kids who want to be doctors and scientists — that they are aggrieved minorities who need to express their new-found unhappiness disrespectfully:


Students don’t come up with protests like the Freedom Budget and the invasion of Phil’s office in Parkhurst on their own. OPAL is there to teach them.

Addendum: How about replacing these payroll radicals with tutors and other academic support professionals who can help students succeed despite their relative lack of preparedness to study STEM subjects in the Ivy League.

Addendum: No better example of the end result of OPAL’s teaching is to be found than in the case of Jennifer McGrew.

The book will be out on September 16.

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The consistent talk around Hanover is that the benefactor who gave $100 million to the College is outgoing Board of Trustees Chairman Steve Mandel ‘78. He’s #314 on the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America with a total net worth of $1.8 billion.

Among his many other gifts to Dartmouth, Mandel is also known to be the “anonymous donor” of $35 million to the Center for Health Care Delivery Science. Forbes profiled him as follows:

Steve Mandel.jpgDartmouth grad Steve Mandel worked at Mars & Co. and then Goldman Sachs before joining fellow billionaire Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management as a consumer analyst. Mandel departed in 1997 to launch Lone Pine, named for a mythical Dartmouth pine tree that survived an 1887 lightning strike at his alma mater. The firm currently manages approximately $21 billion across its funds, which were up between 10% and 16% through the first half of 2013 after a great 2012. Mandel contributed $134 million to his Zoom Foundation in tax year 2010, which now has more than half a billion dollars in assets. Past beneficiaries include the Children’s Aid Society of New York, Phillips Exeter Academy, and the Fairfield County Foundation. Mandel also serves on the board of Dartmouth College and Teach for America.

Mandel’s tenure as Chairman covered most of the Presidency of Jim Yong Kim, the Interim Presidency of Carol Yong Folt, and the selection and first year of Philip J. Hanlon ‘77 as Dartmouth’s current President. It is safe to say that, despite his extraordinary generosity to the College, Chairman Mandel left Dartmouth weaker than he found it.

Addendum: A couple of sources have written in to assert that Steve Mandel did not fund the troubled Center for Health Care Delivery Science.

Following the Financial Times’ story on Monday about the ongoing chaos at the World Bank, the paper followed up with an editorial yesterday. What Monday’s report did not say directly, the commentary says straight out: Jim Kim is not up to the job.

Restructuring hell at the World Bank

Jim Yong Kim should get a grip on the troubled institution

When Jim Yong Kim was appointed to head the World Bank he was hailed as an inspired choice who would help to renew its purpose. Two years later, the bank is in turmoil and there are growing doubts about Mr Kim’s grip. Far from restoring its relevance, he has unleashed a restructuring hell that has demoralised staff and entrenched doubts about its long-term role.

Mr Kim still has time to turn the bank round. But he will need to make it far clearer what he is trying to do. Too often, the instinct to reorganise is a substitute for strategy. With this week’s spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, it is the right moment for Mr Kim to spell out the method behind the apparent madness.

morale is at rock-bottom. Mr Kim has fired several senior managers and even reinstated ones that he has fired. The top 48 division heads have been asked to reapply for their jobs. Meanwhile, the bank is crawling with overlapping consultancies. It is one thing to have McKinsey advising you. It is quite another to have former UK prime minister Tony Blair’s business entering the equation. The latter’s inclusion demands explanation.

All of these developments come amid Mr Kim’s drive to cut costs by $400m in the next three years. Yet there is a feeling among staff that Mr Kim himself is exempt from the austerity. The FT has reported that Mr Kim has taken 13 trips on private jets. There may have been no commercial flights available, as Mr Kim says. But the perception is damaging.

Removing Mr Kim at this stage would only add to the confusion. He must now make the best of it. But his self-generated problems underline why such jobs ought to be filled on merit. It makes no sense in today’s world for the US to retain the stale bargain whereby it appoints the World Bank president and Europe has first right to choose the IMF’s managing director.

If there is a silver lining to the bank’s turmoil, it is this: the Bretton Woods institutions belong to the world. From now on, they must be headed by the best people available. [Emphasis added, happily]

To date criticisms of Kim voiced by various people have focused on his specific policy and managerial choices, but sources at the Bank tell me that underlying all of the unrest is the understanding that Kim is an arrogant, manipulative liar who has little real expertise in running an institution.

But then, we have known that at Dartmouth for close to five years now, n’est-ce pas?

Addendum: Monday’s FT piece contained a note that will elicit knowing looks from anyone who wonders why Dartmouth alone among the Ivies uses Microsoft software rather than market-leading Google Apps:

Another example is the technophile Mr Kim’s unhappiness, when he first arrived at the bank, with its Lotus Notes email system. At considerable expense, he alone was switched over to Microsoft Outlook. The bank says it was a trial for eventually switching all of its staff and declined to disclose the cost.

Jim Kim a technophile? Ha. But, give the guy credit. He’s still a persuasive salesman.

Addendum: English cartoonist Kipper Williams saw where things were heading when Kim was chosen to run the World Bank:

Kim Cartoon1.jpg

Addendum: In David Brooks’ column in the Times he talks about the power of curiosity and about people who dig deeper in understanding their subject. He refers to the contrasting type of person — a type that we all recognize:

If you are primarily motivated to make money, you just need to get as much information as you need to do your job. You don’t have time for deep dives into abstract matters. You certainly don’t want to let people know how confused you are by something, or how shallow your knowledge is in certain areas. You want to project an image of mastery and omniscience.

On Wall Street, as in some other areas of the modern economy that I could mention, this attitude leads to a culture of knowingness. People learn to bluff their way through, day to day.

Some folks get through all of life like this; for others, there is a day when the music stops.

Cost Reduction.jpgYesterday’s anonymous gift to the College of $100 million dollars should be put into financial context. The administration will not put this money into an account and use it as needed; rather, it will go into the endowment, be invested, and then funds will be drawn off of the endowment at the usual draw rate of about 5%.

As a result of the $100 million gift, the administration will be able to increase its annual operating budget in perpetuity by about $5 million.

Similarly, when a donor gives $5 million to endow a scholarly chair, that money is invested in the endowment and each year it throws off the sum of $250,000 — the same 5% as above — enough to perpetually fund the salary and other expenses of a senior professor.

The point of this post is to shed light on the virtue of cost reduction. If the administration reduces, say, the bloated cost of the College’s employee benefits package by $5 million — which should be easy to do given that the cost of benefits at Dartmouth is currently $30 million more than the cost at Brown, even through the College and Brown have the same number of fulltime employees — then each year into the future an extra $5 million will be available for our operating budget to use for other, more productive functions.

Such a saving would be the exact equivalent, at least in the short term, of receiving another gift of $100 million, though it would not make headlines.

Addendum: Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and your math is correct, too. If the administration could cut our benefits package by $30 million to make it the equivalent of Brown’s, that savings would be the equal of receiving an alumni donation of $600 million.

How nice to hear some good news for a change. I wonder who the generous donor is?

$100M Gift.jpg

And what does Phil mean by our “global footprint”? Will we be establishing an overseas campus, or more foreign programs?

Addendum: The D’s story on the gift adds the following information:

The gift, the largest single outright donation in College history, includes a matching mechanism that could double its amount to $200 million through the end of 2015, senior vice president of advancement Bob Lasher ‘88 said.

Here is the College’s press release.

Addendum: Progress like this for the College is a psychological relief from the unrelenting, negative news reports about Dartmouth. Phil should take note. The way to get us out of our funk is to do positive things.

Indubitably, it has not been a good PR year for Dartmouth. Andrew Longhi 14’s piece today in the U.K.’s Guardian does not depict the College in a good light:

Andrew Longhi.jpg

Click here for the full column.

Addendum: Longhi is sending tweets to everyone and his and her brother and sister about his column.

Three-legged_stool.jpgYes. But I think that things are going to have to get worse before they get better. You see, the College is like a corporation that has gotten flabby and lost direction. Think of Apple Computer after Steve Jobs got booted out, and before he came back. Poor leaders in Cupertino lost sight of what had made the company great: Apple’s newest products lacked excitement or even failed (remember the Newton?), and more importantly, the bureaucracy ballooned, and the quality of the people in it declined. Apple came close to bankruptcy, which finally focused the minds of the feckless Board of Directors.

In Hanover, the administration hasn’t presented a single initiative that one could call bold or successful in two decades. For all the talk about interdisciplinary studies, departments show little overlap (except when faculty members take steps themselves), and the College had not attracted any star professors in years, people who might invigorate moribund academic areas, and who might excite students to possibilities that were not there for them previously. As for the rest of the school within the purview of the administration, negative developments are everywhere: the rise in tuition and the plethora of fees, the growth in the headcount of the bureaucracy, the awful evolution of dining services — I could go on and on, but regular readers of this space know the sad story only too well.

But when we go beyond the financial/administrative side of thing, we can begin to build the idea of a Dartmouth renaissance. The faculty, for the most part, still takes teaching seriously. That’s an old tradition that hasn’t failed, even if professors themselves are hardly rewarded by the academic deanery for the efforts that are still our claim to fame in U.S. News. If the administration were to support fine teachers with more than lip service, the College could improve further in this critical area.

As for the students, even though we are losing out on head-to-head battles with other Ivies, and the Admissions department has been manipulating acceptances to keep our yield up, fine students come to Hanover every year. I’d like to see fewer mismatched students, the people accepted for their race despite their insufficient preparation; and Admissions should place a special emphasis on students who have the moral fiber to stand up to many of the negative aspects of the prevailing night-time culture, but, by and large, the student body is first rate.

We can hold hope for progress, maybe sooner than we think. Perhaps the cathartic moment will come when U.S. News drops our ranking by several places in September. Will that be the shot heard round the Board that signals to even the most obtuse Trustee that real change is needed? My sense is that Phil now only has a mandate to sort out our enduring social problems, but his Band-aid solutions aren’t going to do the trick. Doing no more than reacting to scandals will get us nowhere — for example, by giving the time of day to the ragtag band of pseudo-radicals who invaded his office, Phil only encouraged the whiners to keep on whining. Presidential hand-wringing (“I met with these students yesterday and again today, and I deeply empathize with them.”) is not what the world needs now. Dartmouth requires action.

Fortunately for the College, beyond the fundamental strengths of fine teachers and good students, we have the fourth-best endowment per student in the Ivies. While our wealth has been a mixed blessing — it has allowed us to waste money prodigiously — it should be easy, if the Trustees give Phil clear marching orders, to slash the bureaucracy to drop our cost per student down to Brown’s level. If we can cut the $200+ million excess that is the sum of the per capita difference between the College and Brown, then we can take some serious steps to improve the College. First off, drumroll please, cut tuition in half. That decision alone will get Dartmouth on newspaper front pages around the country for something other than hazing, alcohol, racism and rape.

Such savings will allow us to do a great deal more than cut the cost of attending the College. We can then enact fundamental changes to the daily life of the institution: hire a cadre of star professors; rebuild certain slum-like dorms; construct new local sororities to provide honest competition to the frats; revamp sophomore summer to make it a term that is unique in the nation; extend the number of Dartmouth-professor-supervised foreign study programs so that everyone can/must benefit from one of these unique experiences.

Of course, that’s only my personal wishlist. The faculty has plenty of other ideas, too, but creative professors’ voices have been bottled up for years. Rather than reaching out for new ideas, past administrations have communicated the message that any proposals for change will be treated as criticisms of the top dogs’ performance, and will be punished accordingly. That posture has to change.

Strong faculty and high-quality students are the two legs of a stool that are the toughest ones to create. We should feel great hope for Dartmouth that we already have them. But a stool that does not have three legs still falls down. Phil still needs to cut out a huge chunk of the cancerous bureaucracy; doing so is the only way to free resources for the projects that the College urgently needs. If he can do so, then in short order the College will be ready for progress into uncharted territories of academic quality. If Phil and the Trustees have the will, we can all see the way out of the current mess. Do they have the courage to take that road? In doing so, Dartmouth will revive — and even lead the reform of all of higher education?

The Financial Times has a certain authority, so when it runs a piece on the chaos that is engulfing Jim Kim’s World Bank, readers should take notice, and Dartmouth readers might allow themselves a brief “I told you so” smile:

Jim Kim5.jpg… According to interviews with about 20 current and former staff, however, the bank has descended into a kind of restructuring hell, as Mr Kim undertakes $400m in cost cuts, a complete financial rethink and a structural overhaul - all at the same time.

Mr Kim has brought in expensive consultants, forced 48 top managers to reapply for their own jobs - pushing out three of the most senior without explanation - and upset staff by travelling in private jets at a time when he is proposing deep cost cuts.

What is more, there are doubts about whether internal change should be Mr Kim’s top priority for the bank, which is increasingly battling for relevance. While it remains a pillar of the international financial system, it often finds itself in competition with countries that are its own biggest clients, such as China, when lending to developing countries.

“Does [the restructuring] really go to the heart of the bank’s problem?” said Uri Dadush, a former bank official, now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “I think it’s a step in the right direction but the bank’s strategic issue is the relevance it retains in middle income countries.”

At stake is not just the success of Mr Kim’s presidency but the world’s collective effort to help developing countries. If the World Bank fades, the alternative is a future of individual countries jockeying for influence via bilateral aid, with less regard for the needs of the poor.

A senior G20 official from one of the bank’s largest client countries questioned Mr Kim’s strategy and the manner in which he was carrying it out.

“We didn’t ask for these changes. We are willing to give them a chance, but we’re worried about the way they’re being done,” says the official. “Nobody wants to tell the emperor he has no clothes on.”

Expensive consultants, personnel chaos, smoke-and-mirrors cost reduction — all this from a man who has no experience at all in the business that he is leading. We can say with absolute certainty that Jim Kim will leave yet another institution weakened at the end of his tenure. Read the entire article here.

Addendum: Anyone offering odds that Kim, who is still less than two years into his five-year term, will make it to the end?

Heaven only knows how many meetings it took for the creative types in the administration to come up with the clunker capital campaign slogan, “All In For Dartmouth.” Maybe someone in the Development Office thought that it had pizzazz and was really groovy.

The emphasis appears to be on getting together in order to, uh, get together. No reason given. That said, the allusion to poker makes one wonder if alumni would really want to bet it all on today’s institution.

All In for D.jpg

Jim Wright’s $1.3 billion effort was called The Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience; at least it focused on specifics — though it had 91 different “priorities,” if I recall correctly. The campaign before that was called the Campaign for Excellence.

The remaining question is just how much money the administration is going to shoot for. Columbia announced in January that its 2006-2013 fundraising campaign had brought in $6.1 billion, and last year Stanford’s $6.2 billion campaign set a new record for universities. Not to be outdone, Harvard is in the midst of a $6.5 billion marathon.

The goal that Phil chooses — I’m figuring that anything less than $2.0 billion looks weak — will be a good test of the confidence that big-money alumni have in the current administration. Remember that in the last campaign 85% of the money raised came from only 1,111 alumni. That figure is just 1.7% of all donors.

Addendum: A loyal reader suggested that I Google “All in.” Up comes poker, an account of infidelity, and a management self-help book:

All in defs.jpg

See Bill O’Reilly’s commentary on the the Freedom Budgeters invasion of Phil Hanlon’s office at 3:55:

Nobody from the College was interviewed.

Addendum: Here’s the transcript of O’Reilly’s comments about the College:

… Example number two, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire has a radical group of students who believes that Dartmouth is a place that harms minorities. But rather than transfer to a more enlightened school. Some of these students divided to occupy the college president’s office — shades of 1968.

The school’s President Phil Hanlon handled the situation badly. Incredibly he allowed the defiant students to stay in his office for two full days. And when they finally left he told them hey, don’t worry about it, nothing much is going to happen to you except a few hearings.

Now, if I had been the President of Dartmouth I would have given the students 30 minutes to vacate my office or they would be expelled and charged with trespass by the cops. That what’s Hanlon should have done because the students are fringe people their grievances are largely absurd. Let’s quote from their press release.

“The burden should not lie with systematically oppressed students affected by racism, classism, imperialism, nativism, sexism, heterosexism, cis-sexism and ableism to ensure our own well being, safety and continued existence at Dartmouth College, yet, are lived, experienced at Dartmouth have been so violent that we were driven to write a plan for such an assurance, the freedom budget,” unquote.

For the record, cis-sexism has something to do with transgendered rights and ableism is discrimination against people with disabilities. Now, if I didn’t know better I would think that press release was written by the Harvard lampoon but it’s serious. Those loons believe Dartmouth is a gulag a place of oppression and bigotry for which you pay more than $65,000 a year to attend.

Of course those nutty students are part of the grievance industry — everything the establishment does offends them. And now they have been empowered by President Hanlon. Are we all getting this? Again, the grievance industry is being driven by elements of the Democratic Party very successfully as many Americans are now buying into the fact the allegation that the USA is unfair, insensitive and downright bad.

So expect to see more of this kind of madness in the future. If you are not a rich white guy, chances are, you are the victim of discrimination. Therefore, we must have gender equality, race equality, sex equality, income equality, everything equality or it’s just not fair, not fair.

The unintended consequences of a political deception like the inequality deal is a symbolic Frankenstein’s monster, the creation of a disaster. And you know what the worst part is? There is inequality in America because inequality exists in every country. And in order to deal with that intelligent discussion and smart policy changes should take place, but crazy people and hustlers are now controlling the debate. And because of that constructive, effective problem solving will be hard to come by. The grievance industry is unleashed.

The College is going to shine yet again on the national stage:

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Will yet another broadcast that makes Dartmouth look like an awful place help applications go up in number next fall? a/d/n?

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

My brother just called from Atlanta saying he was watching “The Five” show on Fox News and was surprised to hear them debating the Parkhurst confrontation in Hanover. Could be a tough year to be in the Admissions or Development Office.

and another alumnus reports:

I don’t know whether you are familiar with “The Five” — a nationally telecast news/opinion show on Fox News every day at 5:00pm. There was a segment on today’s show about the FB students, with video and a fairly lengthy audio portion by one of the students decrying the “power” disparity between herself and Hanlon(!!!). There are five, mostly regular panelists on the show, four conservatives and one liberal. The conservatives all opined that the students had absurd and preposterous demands; the liberal, Bob Beckel, was more tolerant, as you would expect.

My take was that the segment was damaging to Dartmouth. One of the conservatives, Eric Bolling, commented that the College is in the process of “caving” to the students. It will be interesting to see what transpires on O’Reilly tonight. I wouldn’t expect him to be too sympathetic to the students but his own narcissism sometimes confounds his thinking.

Addendum: Word on campus is that a reporter from Cosmopolitan magazine has been on campus doing a story. I don’t believe that her subject will be Phil’s experiential learning initiative.

I think I know who Charlotte Johnson’s special pet is: Dr. Tiffany Mosley, an Assistant Dean and member of the Office of Black Student Advising. The other day, we reported how Mosley (pictured immediately below) and another OPAL staff member had flown to Ghana to console the family of a Dartmouth undergrad whose brother had drowned in the Connecticut. Well, it seems that Mosley was on the road again recently in the service of the College, this time to travel to Hawaii for a conference put on by the American Counseling Association that took place from March 27-30 (it is not clear whether Mosley attended the Pre-Conference Learning Institutes on March 26 - March 27):

Mosley Hawaii1.jpg

Mosley gave up being in Hanover during the snow storms, and the College gave up many thousands of dollars. Way to go, Charlotte!

It seems that Mosley gets to go on all the fun trips, whether she is needed or not. Last November she went on a four-day-long visit to Spelman and Morehouse Colleges, traveling with Paul Buckley, assistant dean of undergraduate students, and a Fellow at Dartmouth’s cutting edge Gender Research Institute. The idea was to ensure a solid connection for the exchange program between the two historically black schools and the College (this program is not an FSP; no Dartmouth faculty are involved). While it makes sense for Buckley to go on the trip — he is one of the deans in charge of academic advising — why did Mosley go? Why send two administrators such a distance, especially when Mosley is not an academic dean?

Kermit1.jpgWhen the history of French winemaking is written, there will be more than a footnote dedicated to American importers, none of whom has been more important than Berkeley’s Kermit Lynch. Beginning in 1972 he has imported wine into the U.S. from France, but not just any wine: wine that he has tasted in situ, liked, shipped in refrigerated containers, and most importantly, insisted be made the traditional way — in old oak foudres without fining and filtration. He bucked a trend in which young winemakers, university-educated in what was then deemed modern and correct, insisted that age-old practices be thrown over in favor of new technological solutions. Insecure fathers listened to their school-taught sons, until Kermit arrived to set things right. At first, Lynch’s winemakers made a special cuvée Kermit, but when they saw that it was good, they reverted to the old ways for all of their production. Slowly, in a process that is still ongoing, the world’s vignerons began to follow.

Anyways, the distinguished looking fellow in the picture above was sitting at the lunchtime communal table across from us at high-end butcher Hugo Desnoyer, and when I overheard in his party’s conversation that he was in the wine import business, I asked him the name of his company. He said Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant. I inquired if he enjoyed working with Lynch, whose book I had read. He replied that he was Kermit Lynch. Much merriment.

Addendum: Hugo Desnoyer’s butchery is part of a return in France to more natural — and infinitely more tasty, and therefore satistying — food. Lunch at one of the three tables in his shop is an opportunity to taste beef the way it used to be, and might one day be again, and meet some interesting people at the table d’hôte:

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