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In case you think that Dartmouth’s ongoing PR nightmare is the fault of Andrew Lohse, there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Here’s one more item, drawn from the eleventh season of The Simpsons, episode 14: Alone Again, Natura-diddily, first aired on February 13, 2000. The country and western song therein makes a reference that I expect escaped most C&W fans:

Simpsons Dartmouth.jpg

The screen lyric is wrong. The singer clearly states the name of the College on the Hill.

Addendum: A Simpsons-loving alumnus writes in:

As a long-time reader of Dartblog, I’m happy to say the day has finally come when my love of Dartmouth and The Simpsons have finally come to a meeting point.

Season 11 of The Simpsons really had it in for the College - in addition to the recent song lyrics you put up, another Dartmouth gag came just two episodes later in “Pygmoelian.” At a bartending competition put on by Duff beer, Duffman introduces one of the events like this:

“Okay, our first event qualifies for course credit at Dartmouth College - Trick Pouring!”

No video evidence has turned up yet, but I remember it distinctly and have found the script online to match.

Thanks for all that you do, and here’s to frivolity.

Addendum: A third reference to the College on the Simpsons has arisen: in the episode “Home Away from Homer,” fictional Dartmouth Professor Stefan Whitmore, a banjologist, notes “the dying art of Peruvian banjo music on the Public Radio show Verbal Tea.”

Price unknown. Live Free or Die in Orleans, NH:

Orleans NH.JPG

I cannot imagine that S&S would allow anyone to have a piece of field artillery on campus.

The September issue of Cosmopolitan magazine has a section on colleges, and Andrew Lohse ‘12 has popped up again with a piece in it. Once more, the College does not look good. Cosmo is now on the newsstands, but the issue is not yet available on-line.

Lohse Cosmo.jpg

Addendum: The piece is on-line now.

Daniela Pelaez ‘16, a Dartmouth student in the U. S. without immigration papers, has received permission to remain in the country for two years under a federal immigration law deferring deportation of undocumented immigrants who arrived as minors.

Daniela Pelaez Comp.jpg

Taylor Woolrich ‘16, who has been stalked by the same man for four years, has made a national issue of Safety & Security’s refusal to allow her to carry a gun while on campus.

Woolrich Comp.jpg

While S&S offered to transport Woolrich whenever she desired, she maintains that officers there quickly began to complain about that obligation. Woolrich spoke recently at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. during a Students for Concealed Carry conference:

In addition to the report on Fox, Woolwich has published a column on John Lott’s blog on the Daily Caller (John Lott is the father of Roger Lott ‘14), David Brooks ‘15 has written about her on Business Insider, and Woolrich’s situation has been reported on by Campus Reform.

What to say about a student’s desire to carry a concealed weapon on campus? The College Handbook is categorical on the issue: “All weapons are prohibited on the Dartmouth campus.” Vermont has perhaps the most liberal guns laws in the nation: carrying a weapon openly or in a concealed manner is allowed without any kind of permit. New Hampshire’s laws are only slightly less permissive:

159:6 License to Carry. -
I. (a) The selectmen of a town, the mayor or chief of police of a city or a full-time police officer designated by them respectively, the county sheriff for a resident of an unincorporated place, or the county sheriff if designated by the selectmen of a town that has no police chief, upon application of any resident of such town, city, or unincorporated place, or the director of state police, or some person designated by such director, upon application of a nonresident, shall issue a license to such applicant authorizing the applicant to carry a loaded pistol or revolver in this state for not less than 4 years from the date of issue, if it appears that the applicant has good reason to fear injury to the applicant’s person or property or has any proper purpose, and that the applicant is a suitable person to be licensed. Hunting, target shooting, or self-defense shall be considered a proper purpose. The license shall be valid for all allowable purposes regardless of the purpose for which it was originally issued.

In Israel, citizens routinely carry a pistol in a holster on one hip and a cellphone in a carrier on another.

I wouldn’t know how to weigh Woolrich’s desire to carry a gun for self-defense against the danger of having a loaded weapon in a classroom and out and about on campus. Given the level of alcohol abuse as the College, how safe would we all be if students carried weapons. That said, in the event that a shooter like Elliot Rodger appeared at Dartmouth, the ability of students to defend themselves could be important.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

I am not one for arming students with guns; but what would be the position of the College if there was an incident, and it appeared not to have taken the warning signs seriously enough?

Moreover, what is the position of women’s groups in a situation like the above?

And, isn’t carrying mace an option? Or are students not permitted to carry mace? (I can see the reasons for that, also; but the above might be a special exception.)

The College Handbook does not specifically mention Mace or pepper spray, and I know several women who do carry such devices — though when I have asked to see them, several minutes of harried rummaging preceded their appearance.

Addendum: A professor at the College sends in a thought:

Though I sympathize with this student’s distress, permitting the arming of students is no solution. I would not teach a class of 50 potentially armed students. The terror this woman experiences will be all our terror all the time.

As does an alumnus:

There are fewer “wackos” in Hanover than other parts of the country and the world, but the Dartmouth policy of being weapon-free is an outright invitation to anyone so inclined to come to campus and start firing. The risk of that happening would be significantly diminished by a policy - known on campus and to outsiders - that concealed carry is allowed. We can see the evidence but remain disinclined to learn from it. How sad and how risky.

And a young alumnus:

I saw your article on the wisdom of concealed carry on campus. I’m not against guns (my father and I go shooting regularly), but I can’t think of any situation during my time on campus where having a gun would have made things better. That said, I can think of plenty of situations where guns would have made things much worse.

In my fraternity there was at least one or two drunken scuffles/fights with non-brothers each quarter. 90% of the time these were resolved without police involvement or serious injury. I know concealed carry would not have helped these situations. Once at 3am on a Saturday night, I was with my then-girlfriend in my room when her ex boyfriend showed up, drunk and belligerent, and started pounding on the door, demanding we open it. I didn’t open the door and eventually he left. From what I learned later, it was an impulsive decision. If either of us had access to a gun that night, would I be writing this to you right now?

BTW Considering the high number of S&S officers and Hanover policemen on patrol at any one time, is there ever a time where a law enforcement officer is more than 30 seconds away at Dartmouth?

As the start of the Great War is recalled around the world, we would be remiss not to note Dartmouth’s brave and bloody role in the conflict:

Dartmouth WWI Record.jpg

During the War, troops trained on the Green. This picture was taken in October 1918. One can expect that these students never saw combat:

Dartmouth WWI RecordB.jpg

Addendum: The statistics and picture come from the contemporaneous book War Record of Dartmouth College 1917-1918, which is available in full on-line.

The Valley News had a serious interview yesterday with Athletics Director Harry Sheehy. An excerpt:

VN: How difficult is it to fire coaches?

HS: You have to really believe in your heart that you’re doing things for the right reasons. I work for Dartmouth College. I don’t work for any one of our programs, so my objective is to make the whole (athletic) program better, and sometimes you have to make really hard decisions.

We get the words “simple” and “easy” confused all the time in this country. When I look at some of the decisions I’ve made, they’ve been pretty simple, but they haven’t been easy. You’re impacting people’s lives, and it stinks sometimes. I go home and I agonize and I don’t sleep, but I know in my gut what I consider to be right.

VN: Do you agonize less now that you’ve been doing this job for so long?

HS: Yes, because I know if someone is ill-suited to a job, you aren’t doing them any favors by keeping them in it. As hard as it is to look at someone and tell them they’re losing their job … you honestly believe you’re doing the right thing for the institution.

Such rigorous thinking about personnel should apply to all other parts of the College, don’t you think? Of course, such a spirit of excellence already animates decisions regarding the reappointment and granting of tenure to young members of the faculty (at least we hope that it now does under Phil), but it should be extended to the administration, where most staffers seem to have jobs for life, no matter how poor their performance.

Sheehy also commented on the poor state of Dartmouth athletics at the end of the Wright administration:

I knew exactly what I was getting into here, and the first three years was just reworking stuff. It was really just last year that we started to think we should see results. I’m not criticizing anyone who came before me, but I don’t think there was much of a sense of where the department was going. It wasn’t always easy to get people on board, some of whom were collecting their paycheck and laying low.

The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, and that’s exactly where we were. There was a bit of a malaise, a sense of woe-is-me. Before I got here, dealing with admissions and financial aid and the whole environment was tougher. Jim Kim and (deputy director of athletics) Bob Ceplikas, during his year as interim athletic director, made my job tons easier because that stuff was taken care of.

Needless to say, the College’s press releases didn’t say so at the time, but clued-in alumni knew how bad things had gotten. That’s still true about other areas of Dartmouth today.

Addendum: Sheehy notes that his department’s annual budget is $22 million. That figure amounts to 2.6 % of the College’s $835 million in expenses in fiscal 2013. Money well spent, I’d say, especially when the Dean of the College’s budget is almost four times that amount.

Addendum: An alumnus from the 1960’s writes in with a comment:

I am surprised that in the entire interview Harry did not once mention the amazing successes of Dartmouth’s many club sport teams. And we are talking about national championships here: men’s rugby (two Sevens national champs in four years), sailing, women’s figure skating. These may not be teams under Harry’s direct oversight, but the kids wear the green just as proudly and they compete just as intensely as their DCAD compatriots. Harry’s omission, while seemingly inadvertent, may say something about his (unconscious) mindset when it comes to acknowledging the full range of athletic competition at the College. With all the mediocrity that has characterized so much of Dartmouth athletics in the past two decades, one would think he would jump at the chance to brag about the club sport successes at every opportunity.

Mugger Arrested.jpg

English Professor Barbara Will led a discussion yesterday at Bones Gate on sexual assault. The brothers chose the witty title, Respect Works, for an event that drew approximately 120 students, mostly men. That figure is about a quarter of the male sophomores on campus for the summer.

Will Bones Gate.JPG

Professor Will began her talk by reading the narrative of a college rape victim whose life had been irremediably altered for the worse by an assault at the hands of an experienced predator. Will then engaged the men in attendance in a thoughtful, respectful fashion, and the students who spoke responded in kind. (As an aside, the cogency and intelligence of her remarks illustrated to this viewer the wide intellectual chasm between members of the faculty and the College’s army of administrators.)

Will’s initial topic concerned the elusive nature of consent in sexual relations between students. She moderated a good discussion of Yale’s Sexual Misconduct Scenarios, inquiring whether the College should provide incoming students with similar descriptions of ambiguous sexual situations, and she asked her audience if, when and where such a document might be given to Dartmouth students. A half-dozen students answered her question, opining that such information would be useful if offered to students in small groups during freshman fall.

The consensus in the discussion was that safe sex — in the legal sense of the term — was only possible when a man received clearly expressed consent from his partner.

In response to her question as to how to “fix the Greek system,” only two responses were forthcoming: encourage upperclassmen to provide examples of good behavior; and require houses to elect an officer who would monitor and educate fellow members.

A lucuna in the discussion concerned the profile of students who engaged in sexual assault. While Will’s prefatory narrative clearly noted that the rapist’s skill was the result of past experience — a serial predator at work — the point was never built upon.

Will is the chair of a Presidential Steering Committee entitled Moving Dartmouth Forward, that includes Professor of Mathematics Craig Sutton; Professor of Physics and Astronomy Ryan Hickox; Senior Assistant Dean, Student Academic Support Services Deborah Tyson; Senior Associate Athletics Director for Peak Performance Drew Galbraith; Frank Cunningham III ‘16; John Damianos ‘16; Kayla Wade ‘16; Kelsey Weimer ‘16; Association of Alumni President Susan Finegan ‘85, and John Osborn ‘88. The Committee’s report on ending sexual assault and alcohol abuse, and improving inclusiveness, is expected in the fall.

Addendum: Barbara Will has been a Dartblog favorite ever since she came to Paris to promote her revelatory and controversial book on Gertrude Stein’s wartime years in Occupied France. That Phil has chosen a serious scholar to play a leading role in the reform of campus life says good things about him.

Daniels Purdue.jpgThe Wall Street Journal has reported on the cost-cutting efforts of President Mitch Daniels at Purdue University. In the coming year, tuition will be flat, and the cost of dining will drop by 10%. Daniels describes the problem:

… the former two-term Republican governor of Indiana is drawing a line in the sand against which U.S. higher education can be measured. And by freezing tuition, he is forcing his own school to modernize its 19th-century business model with a combination of systemic cuts, organizational realignments and cash incentives.

“This place was not built to be efficient,” Mr. Daniels said when asked about the structural changes he was making at Purdue. But “you’re not going to find many places where you just take a cleaver and hack off a big piece of fat. Just like a cow, it’s marbled through the whole enterprise.”

… At Purdue, there are now 75% more administrators and staff on the payroll than there were 13 years ago.

J. Paul Robinson, a former president of the faculty senate, said Mr. Daniels’s worth as a leader will be tied to his ability to prune that administrative bloat. “Let me put it this way,” Mr. Robinson said: “A blind man on a galloping horse at midnight with sunglasses on can see the problem. The question is, What can he do about it?”

Purdue is not the only school to begin trimming unnecessary expenses from its budget. The attached memo from the President of Mills College details the cuts being made there.

Will Dartmouth join other institutions in leading in this area? Although Phil Hanlon had announced that tuition would rise no more quickly than inflation, his first budget had costs for students and their families rising at twice the rate of inflation, even though the increase itself was the lowest in many years. That’s a timid step. As we have noted in the past, Dartmouth could reduce total expenses by $200 million each year (about 25%), and our cost of operations per student would still be higher than the cost per student at Brown.

Addendum: President Daniels’ phrase that excessive spending is “marbled through the whole enterprise” recalls the thrust of my column in The D dated February 10, 2009:

… if you examine the evolution of Dartmouth’s personnel directory from 1997 to 2007, you will find that every administrative office has increased its headcount dramatically. In 1997, the President’s Office numbered 6.5 full-time employees; 10 years later there were 10.

During that time period, the Dean of the Faculty Office went from 14 to 28 full-time employees. The Dean of the College Office went from 16 to 26; the Provost’s Office went from 6.5 to 11.5; and the combined headcount of the First-Year Office, the Office of Student Life and the Office of Residential Life went from 26.5 to 47.

Poor managment is a disease that invades an entire body.

Opining that, “We will never end poverty if we do not tackle climate change,” Jim Kim’s image graced Times Square for a week, along with images from Connect4Climate’s Action4Climate documentary competition.

Kim Times Square.jpg

I am sure that awareness of Jim Kim’s commitment to combating global warming rose dramatically due to this effort.

Addendum: Cost unknown.

Can anything be more harmonious than a waterside lunch at a small Italian port: a castle looms overhead, the wind is calm, the wine crisp, and the seafood excellent.

Porto Ercole.JPG

Only after we left Porto Ercole did I recall that the Baroque painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio died there while travelling back to Rome. His remains are interred in a local church.

The blog has decided that These Are The 10 Best College Towns In America, and it has picked Hanover as the best of the best: Hanover.jpg

Addendum: Boston’s WCVB has put together a video puff piece about Hanover, too. It begins as follows: “Hanover, New Hampshire is a very sophisticated place…”

Addendum: An alumnus, who has looked at Hanover from both sides now, writes in with a strong viewpoint:

Having lived in Hanover during my undergraduate years and having returned to the Upper Valley a decade later to settle for 13 years, I couldn’t help but guffaw at your news that a blog has pronounced Hanover the best college town in America. Most of their criteria have no relevance to college students, just as most of the businesses in Hanover have no relevance to college students.

I have really enjoyed living in the retirement community with a college in it that Hanover has evolved into, but its rules and amenities are far more aligned to the needs, pleasures, and judgments of “grown ups” than those of nineteen year olds. Only two days ago I witnessed a seemingly endless stream of elderly pour, to the extent they were able, out of yet another Osher (formerly Ilead) class that filled Spaulding far more robustly than most courses and events aimed at students. It is extremely common to go to Hopkins Center events and see many more community members than undergraduates in attendance.

It wasn’t until I lived in Boulder, Colorado, with its large commercial district organized around appealing to college students, that I truly understood what a joyless desert Hanover presents in comparison.

If the blog had said what they meant, that Hanover is the best college town in America for retirees, then I would agree completely. The advertisement for retirement communities that appears at the top of the blog gives away the game.

When members of the Class of 2016 return to Hanover for their 25th reunion, I have no doubt that concerned sophomores from the Class of 2041 will express sympathy for all that their elders had to endure: the rampant sexual assaults, the omnipresent racism, the oppressive hazing and homophobia. However, like people in my own Class of 1979 who talk to today’s students, the ‘16’s will explain in return that isolated news reports do not history make, and that student life was quite different, and quite a bit better, than a scaremongering media would have one believe. Exhibit A might be a letter written to me last week by a mother of a young alumnus:

Parent LetterA.jpg

Addendum: The alumnus in question informs me that in his co-ed fraternity the members, male and female, all refer to each other as brothers — harkening back to the period from 1972 until the late 1980’s when Dartmouth men and women lustily sang Men of Dartmouth without concern about gender issues. Interestingly enough, when the words of the alma mater were changed, the frequency with which the song was heard dropped precipitously, as I reported about five years ago.

Addendum: The young alumnus responds to my addendum:

While I recognize the comparison you draw to the alma mater, I don’t think this choice of words is an example of simply acting “without concern about gender issues.” Instead, I think it reflects a deliberate decision by the members of a community to select, by consensus, one particular meaning for the existing term that best upholds the community’s egalitarian values. I am less convinced, unfortunately, that members of the general student body during the early years of coeducation felt they were afforded a similar agency to (re)define the language of the alma mater as appropriate (including by changing its words, if necessary) in order to meet their values.

Actually, the decision to stick with the original words of Men of Dartmouth was the result of a well understood series of events, but that is a story for another day.

Mastanduno1.jpgHe’s a nice guy. He’s the wrong guy. Dean of the Faculty Mike Mastanduno was appointed by Jim Kim and Carol Folt on July 15, 2010 for a five-year term that began on August 1 of that year and will end in the summer of 2015. That’s too late.

Mastanduno’s term in office to date has been undistinguished. Of course, we can start with the presumption that anyone chosen by Kim/Folt is the fruit of the poisonous tree, though that might be overstating things somewhat. Mike is genial, friendly, but sadly enough, ineffective. The recent collapse of the student/faculty initiative to open course evaluations to scrutiny by undergrads is evidence enough of that proposition.

Phil should wish Mike well on the fourth anniversary of his term, and perhaps he can choose Mastanduno to head some lesser part of the College (Mastanduno was previously the head of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding). Then a new Dean can be chosen, a forceful innovator who can begin by arranging to allow voting on faculty issues to take place on-line rather than just by people in attendance at meetings. That move would be the first step in breaking the various logjams to change at Dartmouth.


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