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In celebration of his Chairmanship of the Board of Trustees (2010-2014), Stephen F. Mandel Jr. ‘78 produced dozens of personalized neckties as commemorative pieces. During his reign Mandel set several new records: Most Presidents — and IPs — While a Trustee (four); Most Scandals While Chairman (innumerable); Greatest Disjunction Between Self-Perception and Reality (What, Me Worry?); and Least Progress by the College (priceless). To his credit, the man has made more than $2.0 billion picking stocks.

Mandel Tie Comp.jpg

I wonder if Steve sent a tie to his buddy Jim Kim.

The federal government’s involvement in higher education is moving along smartly: the Department of Education now has a website that ranks colleges by affordability. Needless to say, the College doesn’t come out well. Columbia is the most expensive Ivy; it stands in second place among all private schools. That said, New York City is a very expensive place in which to do business. Embarrassingly, Dartmouth is #14 — in Live Free of Taxes, low-cost New Hampshire:

Tuition Rankings Comp.jpg

The next-highest-ranking Ivy is #50 Brown: tuition and fees in Providence are $43,758. Penn is #51 at $43,478, and Cornell is #60 at $43,413.

Interestingly enough, Harvard, Yale and Princeton don’t make the list. Perhaps they feel that there is no honor in being among the most expensive colleges in the land. Their reputations are intact, nonetheless.

Addendum: As we noted the other day, in the Ivies only HYP have more endowment/student than the College. Why are we so expensive?

Gulliver.jpgPerhaps the most dispiriting moment in recent memory — a point at which something positive could have easily been done for the life of the College — was the tabling at May 5th’s faculty meeting of the motion to open up student course evaluations to review by students. The Student Assembly Academic Affairs Committee and the Committee on Instruction had unanimously supported the idea for a change to College procedures that had ample successful precedent at other Ivy schools, but at the meeting itself, the faculty nitpicking started. Small points were made about aspects of the course evaluation itself, about how students might misinterpret it, how certain professors might unjustly be slighted by the process itself, and so on.

All the comments were narrowly valid as far as they went, but as in any decision in life (where to go to college, where to work, whom to marry, etc.), it is easy to find negatives, if that is what you are seeking.

One professor, to his credit, opined that, despite the Lilliputian drawbacks, opening the evaluations to student review would improve course selection immeasurably over the present state of affairs at the College. Regrettably that point, a commonsense one, did not carry the day.

Let’s step back a moment and look at the process. There were perhaps 60-70 faculty members in the room — a fraction of the College 396 voting members of the Arts and Sciences faculty. And observers noted that professors from the hard sciences and leading departments like Economics were scarcely represented. Furthermore, the usual voices from the same departments and programs dominated the proceedings (you know who you are).

This state of affairs is just plain wrong. It’s high time that the procedures for faculty governance be reformed, chiefly the requirement that faculty members be present at meetings in order to vote. Perhaps there was some rationale for this many years ago when people traveled less and communications were more expensive and slow. But today the effect of such a restriction is the disenfranchisement of the majority of the faculty.

Certainly there is precedent for faculty on-line voting in other areas. For example, professors routinely vote over secure links for the faculty members who will staff the College’s key committees. That system has been in place for many years. And committee members themselves communicate their wishes by e-mail in terms when many members are travelling.

I like to think that the great majority of faculty members would have supported open use by students of the College’s course evaluations, if they had had the chance to vote. It’s high time that the faculty made this change.

Addendum: The College records all faculty meetings with an impressive array of audiovisual equipment. Transmission of the proceedings to professors who wish to view them prior to casting votes would be a simple matter.

The D and the Valley News have reported on King Arthur Flour Café’s year-end departure from Baker. Jim Kim’s only positive legacy is on the chopping block. For what reason? All sides agree that the extent of the Café’s menu is the issue. The College won’t allow KAF to serve sandwiches; KAF must limit its menu to coffee and pastries. KAF says that it can’t make a go of things with a limited menu, so it is leaving.

KAF.JPGWhy the restrictions? Is nutrition the issue? Or litter? Self-evidently not. The obvious impetus is that KAF is a far more attractive option for students than the Novack Café, and undergrads have voted with their feet, wallets and (Dart)mouths. The end result is that Novack is losing gobs of money.

Well, we can’t have that now, can we. Of course, if Novack would up its game and serve more attractive food at better prices, then it might compete better for students’ patronage. But if it did so, it would lose even more money. As this space reported three years ago, wages and benefits for DDS workers at Novack are close to double what the friendly KAF workers take home. In order to make ends meet, DDS is forced to charge high prices and make sandwiches and other items with cheap ingredients. In contrast, KAF pays a market wage to its people, actually a little better than that paid to most food service workers in the Upper Valley. The resulting saving allows it to offer tastier, more nutritious products.

Novack1.jpgThe College’s effort to protect DDS’s monopoly from competition is entirely the wrong choice. The better move in the short term would be to keep KAF in Baker, and see if another food service company wants to take over Novack. More competition rather than less is what we need.

Then the next step would be to have DDS’ entire slipshod operation in ‘53 Commons replaced by an independent company that has experience in servicing a large population like the College’s undergrads. Let’s end the SEIU sinecure and ask DDS workers to go find jobs elsewhere. If they want to work for the new company that runs the Class of ‘53 Commons, they can do so at the same level of wages and benefits that all of their friends and neighbors earn in the Upper Valley.

By passing the ensuing savings on to students, we could lower the cost of board at the College. In making that change, we would no longer be the second most expensive Ivy, even though we do business in the second cheapest locale (after Ithaca). Phil, you’ve said that you want to control the cost of education. If you are serious about that goal, then start by running DDS for the benefit of students, not the staff.

Addendum: Seattle was recently in the news when it boldly raised the local minimum wage to $15/hour (benefits are not included, and vacation days can be as low as ten days/year). The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25/hour. In unhappy contrast, DDS’s starting wage for SEIU workers is $16.78/hour. In addition, DDS workers over 40 years of age receive a 9% of wages pension contribution. All DDS workers start with just under five weeks of vacation each year; things get better as time of service goes on. I won’t even start on the Cadillac medical plan. Whatever your politics, the College can’t afford such unnecessary largesse when market wages are so much lower in Hanover and its surrounding communities.

Addendum: Meanwhile the New York Times reports:


In perusing the College’s financial aid figures, there is proof to be found for an assertion that we have repeatedly made:

…over the past three years the Admissions department has bent over backwards to protect the College’s yield figures by admitting more students early decision, and also by accepting far more legacies. These two moves, beyond helping the yield, also have had a positive financial impact: students accepted early cannot play off one school against another in negotiating financial aid; for them it’s take it or leave it. And legacies, by and large, have a far greater capacity to pay full freight.

The above table shows that the Trustees have made a similar financial calculation as regards our mix between public and private school admits; students from the latter group are self-evidently wealthier. For the classes between 2007 and 2013, admitted private school students ranged between 32-36% of the freshman class; the last three years have seen a jump to a rock-solid 40%. That consistency sure looks like a quota to me. Of course, you might believe that kids from private schools suddenly got a lot smarter starting in 2010. If so, may I interest you in a bridge?

Once again, the Kim administration chose to play fast and loose with the quality of the College’s incoming students — our lifeblood — for financial gain, rather that dealing with the big bear in the room: our bloated, over-compensated staff.

The Dartmouth Factbook describes how the number of students receiving need-based financial aid has dropped since the Class of 2014, the class year for which the Kim administration made significant, financially motivated decisions regarding the College’s admissions policies (here and here). From a high of 51% in the 2009-2010 academic year, the number of students receiving aid has consistently fallen:

Financial Aid Comp.jpg

Dartmouth Now reported in March that “Forty-six percent [of accepted students in the Class of 2018] have qualified for need-based financial aid,” and Dean of Admissions Maria Laskaris has informed me directly that it now appears only 45% of incoming students will receive aid.

The difference between 51% and 45% of students is significant: approximately 260 students over four classes. If this many students no longer receive financial aid — of which the average award is now over $44,000 — the College will take in an extra $11.4 million each year.

Soak the students to feed the staff.

Addendum: I don’t share President Obama’s worries about “the rich,” but if 55% of the College’s incoming students come from families that are able to drop more than a quarter of a million dollars on the education of each of their children, Dartmouth can’t help but have a social atmosphere somewhat divorced from the real world.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in with questions and observations:

As a follow-up to your observation: “…Dartmouth can’t help but have a social atmosphere somewhat divorced from the real world. ” ….

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only alum who has wondered whether the discord and angst that seem to permeate the social atmosphere on campus over the last few years are, at least in part, products of a stark economic divide that separates “the 55%” from the 45% receiving a financial aid package which on average is somewhere north of $42,600 per year.

In my DED role, I have observed that many of the admitted students in our district who come from middle income families, rather than matriculating at the College which offers them only modest need-based financial aid, are choosing to go to schools such as Duke, Wash U, Emory and Vanderbilt which, in many cases, offer them very generous merit scholarships. Others, choose to attend less expensive state schools to preserve financial resources for grad school.

If the data is available, it would be interesting to know how many currently-enrolled students are from what would be considered “middle income” families. (Admittedly, there must be some who account for the average financial aid package not being closer to the actual total cost of one year at Dartmouth.) The absence of a significant number middle income students in the College student body, who might serve as a “buffer,” of sorts, between “the 55%” and those receiving substantial amounts of financial aid, may partially explain the toxic social atmosphere that, of late, seems to be so prevalent.

If my hypothesis has any validity, perhaps Admissions should make some effort to achieve a better economic continuum across the student population…admittedly, a challenge given the demands to maintain revenue while providing meaningful financial aid to a large number of applicants; or (here’s a novel thought) maybe the College could cut administrative costs to make the College more affordable for all.

Good to see that Phil Hanlon is out and about in Hanover. We spotted him this week standing in line at Morano Gelato waiting to order ice cream. His wife Gail Gentes is standing behind him wearing a pink blouse.

Phil at Morano.JPG

In contrast to Phil, Jim Kim was notable for his utter invisibility around here. I guess that one has to choose between pressing the flesh in Hanover and jobhunting in DC.

Addendum: Although Morgan Morano has sold her business to local owners, the quality of the store’s gelato is still exceptionally high, and the lines continue to be long. Many Italian towns have nothing as good.

Charlie Dennis4.jpgCharlie Dennis has begun his time as Chief of the Hanover Police department following the retirement of Nick Giaccone. I spent an interesting hour with Dennis this week, though I have little to report. Chief Dennis is a friendly, confident, polished guy, and in his first month in Hanover he is meeting with any and all comers; however, he is a ways from making any changes to policies now in place.

We talked about the varying levels of enforcement of the alcohol laws in the different Ivy towns and cities (Dartmouth has often had more alcohol-related arrests than all of the other Ivies combined), the staffing levels of police forces in similarly sized towns in New Hampshire (Hanover has a high number of officers relative to many comparable cities in the state), and some of the things that the Hanover Po could do preemptively in the fight against sexual assault at the College.

Yesterday, a couple of days after our chat, I ran into Chief Dennis on Main Street in Hanover. He was enjoying the 4th of July parade and festivities with his son:

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Trunbull July 4.jpg

John Trumbull’s 1819 Declaration of Independence depicts the presentation of a draft of the document to Congress on June 28, 1776. The painting is 12’x18’; it hangs in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol. Trunbull’s work, and the document to which it refers, have had more success than the U.S. currency note which uses a modified version of Trumbull’s image on its obverse. I haven’t seen a $2 bill in ages.

Two Dollar Bill.jpg

Have a Happy 4th.

The other day we referred to soon-to-be-departed OPAL DIrector Alysson Satterlund’s curt e-mail cancelling the “Phiesta” fundraiser after a single Latina student complained about the complexion of the event. At my request, Taylor Cathcart ‘15, the President of Phi Delt, provided us with the note itself. Satterlund, who describes herself as Senior Assistant Dean for Student Academic Support Services (SADSASS) made the decision to cancel Phiesta, which she communicated to Wes Schaub, the Director of Greek Letter Organizations and Societies (DGLOS). Schaub forwarded Satterlund’s memo — without comment — to Cathcart and Courtney Wong ‘15, the President of Alpa Phi:

Satterlund Memo.jpg

It certainly doesn’t appear as if there was a lot of teaching going on in this situation, nor debate, nor did anyone in OPAL show any desire to work with students. Imperious would be the term that I’d pick, coupled with dimwitted.

Satterlund’s decision made the national news. Now she is leaving town for points unknown. I wonder why?

Addendum: A droll correspondent chimes in:

When the Phiesta story first broke, I wondered aloud if Phi Delt and Alpha Phi Alpha might have been able to have their “Phiesta” had they served paella and flan instead of burritos and guacamole. After all, the Spanish word for party could just as easily apply to Spain as Latin America. I quickly realized, however, that even if they could find a place to get such things catered in the Upper Valley, Phi Delt and Alpha Phi would most likely run afoul of Daniela Hernandez for tacitly endorsing the Spaniards’ subjugation of native peoples.

Perhaps Dean Satterlund would share a motto with Dean Wormer: “No fun of any kind.”

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As we’ve mentioned before, the College has the fourth highest endowment/student in the Ivies, coming after Princeton, Harvard and Yale. But rather that looking at HYP, let’s continue our comparison of Dartmouth and Brown. I keep referring to Brown because the structure of that school (ratio of undergrads to grads, number of professional schools, etc.) is closest to the College among the Ivies.

On June 30, 2013 our endowment was $3,733,596,000 and Brown’s was $2,669,948,000. Our position is a strong one, given that Brown has over a third more students and faculty than we do.

Last year we drew $183,816,000 from the endowment to fund the College’s ongoing operations:

Dartmouth Endowment Draw 2013.jpg

Given that there are a total of 6,342 students at the College, that works out to be a draw of $29,984/student.

Brown was able to draw only $125,858,000 from its endowment in the same time period.

Brown Endowment Draw 2013a.jpg

Given that there are a total of 8,619 students at Brown, the draw was $14,602/student.

Putting things another way, Dartmouth drew more from its endowment than Brown did in absolute terms: $57,958,000, and the difference on a per student basis was $15,382/student.

Where did all this money go? Certainly not to the College’s students. Tuition, room and board, and fees at the College in the fall of 2014 will be $61,947. Brown will only charge its students $59,428. That’s a difference of $2,519/year. Dartmouth students will pay 4.2% more for their education than the kids at Brown — a total of $10,076 over four years.

The faculty did not get its hands on the $15,382/student surplus either. According to the federal government’s authoritative Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) data for 2011, not only does Brown have 35% more full-time professors than Dartmouth — as you would expect, given that Brown has 36% more students than Dartmouth — but Brown also pays its professors more than faculty in Hanover, by about 10% or so, depending on the level that the faculty member has achieved:

Dartmouth Brown Faculty Salaries2.jpg

Certainly some Dartmouth professors out-earn their equivalents in Providence, but the overall figures are clear.

If the students and the faculty don’t enjoy the benefits of the endowment’s big payout, then who the heck does? I’ll leave that answer up to you.

Sure seems young to me.

Moran Retirement.jpg

Addendum: Several of Dartblog’s energetic sources have written to fill me in on Captain Moran’s retirement. Having served as acting Chief, and given that his pension is based on his final three years of earning, in all likelihood the good Captain’s Hanover Po pension payout will never be higher than it is now. The talk is that he will sign on with the force in Thetford. After 20 years there, he’ll have a second pension to fall back on — in addition to his highest-bracket Social Security payments, which will kick in at the age of 68. Moran’s status at that point in time is called triple dipping; he’ll make more money as a retiree than as a working man.

And you thought Dartmouth’s benefits were generous.

Correction: Officer Michael Evans of the Hanover Police department writes in to clarify the benefits to which police officers like Frank Moran can earn:

On your musings about Frank Moran’s retirement income, members of a mandatory public retirement system (in this state, effectively all full time police officers and firefighters) do not pay social security taxes and do not earn SS credits for those years of employment. So a young guy getting into this work probably hasn’t worked enough time to”>qualify for a social security benefit.

Then, if we make it to a full retirement, and do something else for long enough to earn enough credits to qualify for a SS benefit (I’ve not explored what this actually entails) we are penalized and our SS benefit reduced through the Windfall Elimination provision or a surviving spouse’s benefits are reduced by the Spousal Offset.

This stuff makes my head hurt, but it’s not as easy to triple-dip as you suggest.

Thanks for the props, again, on the good work of our staff.

Alysson Satterlund.jpgAt some point people are going to realize that many of the College’s administrators are more than a waste money; their presence is a net negative to the institution. So it is with Office of Pluralism and Leadership Director Alysson Satterlund, word of whose imminent departure has already reached a goodly number of students.

A proud alumna of California State University, Chico, Satterlund came to Dartmouth after stints as an administrator at CSU Sacramento; San Francisco State; City College of San Francisco; and Duke. She has a Ph.D. from UNC in, well, Interpersonal and Organizational Communication. In Hanover, beyond her current role at OPAL, she holds titles as Senior Assistant Dean of Student Academic Support Services and Co-Director of the Student Academic Support Center. (What do you bet that she is paid as much as a senior member of the faculty?)

Most recently she distinguished herself — and made the College the subject of national ridicule — by having sent a terse message to the presidents of Alpha Phi sorority and Phi Delta Alpha fraternity ordering them to cancel the Greek houses’ “Phiesta” fundraiser for cardiac research after a single Latina student complained about the event. As The D reported at the time:

OPAL director Alysson Satterlund said these kinds of events do not represent Dartmouth’s values.

“Events that mock and marginalize others certainly do not reflect our Principle of Community and do not reflect values of inclusion, respect and a care for others,” she said in an email to The Dartmouth.

Thursday night at the Tabard coed fraternity, 15 Phi Delt, A Phi and Tabard members gathered informally to discuss the event once concerns were raised that “Phiesta” was “not necessarily the most politically correct event,” Tabard president Connie Gong ‘15 said.

The meeting aimed to encourage inter-campus dialogue and talk to both Greek and non-Greek community leaders as equals, Gong said. The meeting, Gong said, was exclusively for members of A Phi, Phi Delt and Tabard.

“We essentially wanted to open channels of communication more to Greek leaders to make sure the concerns of members both inside and outside of the Greek community could be addressed and taken seriously by the relevant people in positions of authority,” she said.

Moving forward, Wong said the houses hope to organize a philanthropic event that people feel they can participate in without being offended. The houses will take precautions when organizing future events, she said, including talking to different campus groups to ensure that these concerns are not raised again.

Satterlund suggested discussing ideas with administrators and faculty members before moving forward with an event.

The latter comment is really something. Had Allyson stayed with us, she would probably have vetoed any party with a theme other than those involving white Europeans. How dare students celebrate the culture of any oppressed people! Of course, that posture would have remained in place right up until someone complained that the themes of these parties were insufficiently diverse and inclusive. And so it goes.

Addendum: A few months ago we excoriated departing bureaucrats Kyle and Aeriel Ashlee for starting a business when supposedly on medical leave, and penning a narrative about the College that was obviously fabricated. Amusingly, the dynamic duo have excerpted one line from my piece and included it in the website of their new business. Of course, no link is provided. And to think that these people once had power over Dartmouth undergrads.

A thoughtful alumna from a class in the early 80’s writes in to bemoan the seeming absence of historical memory among the College’s administrators:

You were on campus at the same time I was — I certainly participated in a “hook-up culture” THIRTY YEARS AGO! and there was “slut shaming” and “male-whore” shaming (applause from their friends, for sure, but women disparaged them among ourselves). I marched with other women to “take back the night” from women’s fear of assault. Fraternities were under attack for “high risk” behavior — including binge drinking. Some things never change — maybe because young, twenty-somethings have limited judgment, and take dangerous risks with their bodies. I remember that a classmate of yours ripped a woman’s blouse off in the basement of a frat and was disciplined and expelled his senior year. (She lived in my dorm). Handled. No solicitation of alumni for “feedback”, no Press Releases about the terrible rape culture and Dartmouth’s effort to reform.

Institutions and the professionals that harbor this age group should be well aware of the risks students will take and the challenges of keeping them safe when there is a critical mass of them living together. Nothing new here! A solution would be to close all the dorms and have them live with older adults as commuter students (that’s how we kept them alive through High School up until we shipped them off to college!)

Also — this is a time in life when you are looking for causes. No war to protest? Some in our classes protested investment in South Africa and women’s rights…… Now — what do the kids have to protest? “Feeling left out?” Having “love” relationships v. sex? I read with amusement, like the old lady that I am, the description of a culture that “our parents” don’t understand. My teenagers have had sensitivity training way beyond anything I was ever exposed to — they drink LESS than we did in the 70s in HS. All this earnest solicitation of feedback, roundtables, committee meetings and our President’s “leadership” in the national media just looks foolish. Are these administrators new at this? If they just spoke to the parents or the High School administrators where they recruit, they would know the “hook-up” culture starts way before Dartmouth.

When students march to take over the administration buildings (sigh, AGAIN! — not original, kids, you should have asked your parents how it was done!), shouldn’t the administration know that they need to listen and nod with concern, then get on with the business of getting them back to the classroom? I would think that since the 60s, every school of education would have a class on how to handle protesters taking over the President’s office! Inspect the existing policies of reporting and punishment for prohibited/illegal behavior, make sure they are communicated, then move on! Too many administrators today are making a career out of social engineering and labeling as new, problems that will always exist when this age group lives together.

All of the outrage and astonishment at student behavior is a very amateur response from a college founded in 1769.

Addendum: The most common refrain that I hear from alumni these days is, “What the heck is going on in Hanover?” Phil Hanlon’s vision for Dartmouth is a phrase that comes trippingly off the lips of the College’s PR people, but in his first year, there has been chaos aplenty.

Where? Look out in our neighborhood in Hanover. We receive regular visits from a big male and two females: one with three cubs and one with two. No bird feeder is safe.


In Henry David Thoreau’s day only about 30-40% of New England was forested, and Massachusetts was open farmland save for 28% wooded countryside. Today the region is back to 80% forest cover; deer abound. A great victory for reforestation. In fact, a few years ago New Hampshire hunting licences ceased to protect breeding does; now hunters leave bucks alone and go after Bambi’s mom to control the population. Bears are on the increase, too, and I expect that after a hard winter they are coming into town in search of food.

Addendum: Yesterday morning at 6:15am, two white-tailed deer strolled down the middle of our street. By the time I could retrieve my iPhone, they were passing by German Professor Bruce Duncan’s house.


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