Recent articles

I never believed that a sunrise could be blood-red until I saw one in the southern Baja on the way to a winter-1978 exchange term at UCSD. One look, as we awoke and emerged from our beach-side tent, confirmed that there was but a single appropriate adjective.

Tim Dreisbach ‘71 took the below short video at 4:30am in late June from the Dolphin Marina docks at Potts Harbor in Harpswell, Maine. He was on his Grand Banks trawler and had stopped for dinner and an overnight. The locals cater to overnighting boats: everyone enjoys a complimentary on-board breakfast of blueberry muffins and coffee — and a great sunrise:

Tim recorded the light show with an ordinary Samsung Droid smartphone camera using no special lenses or filters. As one of the characters said in the movie Out of Africa: “God is coming.”

Embassy Alert.jpg

Addendum: I am happy to report that a good friend, who is a ‘78, and his wife will be coming to Paris for a visit at the end of September — terrorists or not. “We won’t give them what they want,” they said.

Natalie Ludwig Field Hockey.jpgThough Vancouverite Natalie Ludwig is a ‘17, according to her present schedule she’ll graduate from the College in 2021 because she is modelling for most of the top names in European fashion. At present she is taking classes during only one term each year and majoring in sociology and human geography, “[My focus is] primarily the study of cultural movements, gender inequality, political corruption, and health disparities,” she says.

Natalie’s breakthrough came in September last year with Givenchy, when she was signed as an exclusive model for the French fashion house’s New York show. Since then she has appeared on the catwalk for Dolce & Gabbana, Emilio Pucci, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Valentino and Burberry; after her appearance at the latter event she received on-line praise from her mentor, Naomi Campbell. More recently she appeared in shows in New York, Milan, and London, and she is currently in Paris for Fashion Week, where she will undoubtedly appeared in many more:

Natalie Ludwig1.jpg

In the above photo Natalie is walking for Ralph Lauren in his Fall 2016 ready-to-wear show at New York Fashion Week. She does clean up rather well, don’t you think?

Addendum: An accomplished high school field hockey player, Natalie appeared in one game for the College, and she has worked as a Student Assistant Coach for the varsity team.

The D’s data wizard, Alexander Agadjanian ‘18, has pulled together the responses to a student survey in a concise chart:

D Survey Class of 2018.jpeg

The sample size is admittedly low (20% of the members of the Class of 2018; people who chose to answer the survey), but the overall results strike me as on the money. Students like the faculty and dislike the administration. Will the Trustees ever get the message?

Oh, how Dartmouth has moved away from its flinty New Hampshire character since the below piece profiling the College appeared in Harper’s Weekly sometime after 1893 and before Harper’s ceased publishing in 1916. The Trustees long ago abandoned all thought of behaving anything less than slavishly towards the President, and Phil Hanlon and his GRAD school have been ever-so-clear in signaling their research university ambitions:

Harpers Dartmouth Comp1.jpg

And I’d hazard to say that Dartmouth is no longer a “poor man’s college:

Harpers Dartmouth Comp2.jpg

$1,000 for four years, and never feel “the pinch of want.” Not too bad. But back then the smothering army of deanlets had yet to invade Hanover, and there was no campus po (we have 40 or so S&S officers and staffers now). “A rich kid’s college” would be a more exact description these days: 56% of incoming students in the Class of 2020 have no need for any financial aid at all in paying for an education that will run their parents close to $300,000 for four years in Hanover — the second highest cost in the Ivies after Columbia.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

I looked up what $250 in 1913 is in 2016 dollars. It is $6,000. So Dartmouth is now ten times more expensive in real $ than it was in the era you referring to, and likely more than that if $250 covered everything and then some.

The College’s financial aid offices estimates that the complete cost of attending Dartmouth in the coming year will be $69,474. That’s eleven and a half times the 1913 cost alluded to by my correspondent.

I don’t know if the Office of Admissions or the Communications Office or some other department deep in the bowels of the bureaucracy (an excrescence of which even I am unaware) should be blamed for this Facebook ad, but whoever is responsible for it should be educated in the College’s once-vaunted tradition of excellence in all that is done in Hanover.

On the assumption that you are reading this space because you are of sufficiently high caliber to attend the College, would you have been intrigued by an ad like the one below back when you were in high school? Actually, this wan effort sounds more like something that Northeastern University would post in order to have you know about its co-op program. My sense is that students interested in Dartmouth are thinking more along the lines of challenge, brilliance, creativity, and the breadth and depth of liberal arts learning. Maybe the people in Admissions tested this ad and determined that it will attract the kind of student who wants to come to Hanover these days. Who knows?

Dartmouth Facebook Ad.jpg

I’ve noted the Admissions Department’s appalling website in the past.

Addendum: The Best College in New Hampshire? Better even than UNH, Granite State College, Keene State College, Plymouth State University, Antioch University New England, Colby Sawyer, Daniel Webster College, Franklin Pierce University, Hellenic American University, New England College, New Hampshire Institute of Art, Northeast Catholic College, Warner College (formerly The College of Saint Mary Magdalen), Saint Anselm, Saint Joseph School of Nursing, Southern New Hampshire University, Springfield College, The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, and the Upper Valley Educators Institute?

Addendum: A member of the Class of 2010 writes in:

That ad is just the sort of thing I can imagine myself at 17 finding compelling. I’d never heard of Dartmouth before finding it as the result of a quiz(!) I took at The college’s reputation does not necessarily precede itself, especially once you get away from the coasts (I’m from Michigan)…I’m sure this ad wasn’t compelling at Choate and Deerfield, but this sort of thing is necessary in Des Moines and Kansas City.

Addendum: As does a ‘68:

I understand that the College’s next campaign will be themed: “Dartmouth: the Harvard of the Upper Valley!”

What do Dartmouth and Princeton have in common — beyond the beauty of two extraordinary campuses? Here’s a couple of suggestions:

The two schools have the nation’s most loyal and generous alumni:

Forbes Grateful Grads Index 2016 Comp.jpg

And top college administrators view the pair as having the best undergraduate teaching in the land:

US News Teaching 2016 Comp.jpg

Now, do you think that those two features have anything to do with each other? I do. When alumni recall undergraduate experiences that have had meaning for them over the years, and thusly feel the urge to pay it back, I would suggest that they often think of faculty members who taught them enduring lessons, the kind of insights that shape an approach to life that sets people apart from the folks around them.

The message that Phil should take way from the above measures is not that we should improve teaching in order to rake in big bucks, but rather that good teaching has impact: our alumni are successful in the world because of lessons imparted to them in the classroom, and they know it, and return the favor. If Phil wants to solve the world’s problems, why doesn’t he start by emphasizing excellent teaching (and let’s recall that most often our best teachers are also our best researchers), thereby equipping our students to go out and do so.

Addendum: Forbes describes its methodology in deriving the Grateful Grads Index as follows:

Our Grateful Graduates Index ranks private not for profit colleges with more than 1,000 students by analyzing two important variables : private donations and gifts per student over 10 years, as reported to the Department of Education and the alumni participation rate, or what percentage of its graduates give back in the form of donations to their colleges. The first measure is our show-me-the-money measure, weighted at 75%. It tends to favor elite research universities like Stanford, Caltech and Harvard, whose super successful alumni stuff its coffers with billions in donations. The second metric, the Alumni Participation Rate is measured by the Council for Aid to Education and is weighted at 25%. For the purposes of Forbes ranking we average the alumni participation rate over the 3 most recent years.

How to respond to my correspondents, who disagree with my sense that the BLM folks are not really receiving threats? First off, let’s establish a factual record regarding the violence perpetrated against unarmed people of color in America by the police. The Washington Post published a well researched piece on December 26, 2015 entitled: A year of reckoning: Police fatally shoot nearly 1,000. As I was summarizing its contents, I noticed that John Hinderaker ‘71 at Powerline had already done so:

What was the racial breakdown of those who were shot by police in 2015? The largest number, 494, almost exactly half, were white. 258 were black, 172 were Hispanic, and the remaining 66 were either “other” or unknown. (Interestingly, Asians are rarely shot by police officers.)

The 258 blacks represent 26% of the total. That is about double the percentage of blacks in the American population. Is that prima facie evidence of racism on the part of law enforcement? Of course not. It is common knowledge that blacks have an unusually high rate of contact with the police, both as victims and as perpetrators. In 2012-2013, the Department of Justice found that blacks were the perpetrators of 24% of all violent crimes where the race of the perpetrator was known (in 7.8% of violent crimes, it was unknown).

So the percentage of blacks fatally shot by police officers (26%) is almost exactly equal to the percentage of blacks committing violent crimes (24%). Indeed, given that the black homicide rate is around eight times the white rate, it is surprising that the portion of blacks fatally shot by policemen is not higher.

In addition, the New York Times ran a story yesterday on a study by Professor Roland Fryer Jr., “the youngest African-American to receive tenure at Harvard and the first one to receive a John Bates Clark medal, a prize given to the most promising American economist under 40.” Professor Mr. Fryer found “no racial bias” “when it comes to the most lethal form of force — police shootings,” though the police did use more force of non-lethal types in dealing with African Americans.

Let’s assume nonetheless, as my first correspondent alleged yesterday, that students of color at the College are so scarred by the violence inherent police/black community relations that they are unable to bring themselves to lodge complaints with the Town of Hanover’s men/women in blue (or the College’s men/women in green) about the “death threats and rape threats” that they supposedly receive. Now that is something of a stretch. Though the people of color at Dartmouth have broad diversity of backgrounds, a good number are the children of professionals and have attended the nations finest high schools and prep schools. They are well versed in manipulating the levers of power.

But even so, if speaking to the police is just too traumatizing for the people who had supposedly received threats, why did they not bring their concerns to one of the army of Dartmouth administrators and supportive faculty members who would be more than willing to assist them in their hour of need. Students can obviously do so in confidence, and Lord knows that our administrators would be more than happy to swing into action. That’s what the RealTalk Dartmouth kids did after threats appeared on Bored@Baker. Their complaints led to the College being shut down by Interim President Folt. Why can’t aggrieved BLMers do so today?

Yesterday’s first correspondent would have us assume that all people of color are straight outta Compton and unable to advocate for themselves. That assumption is beyond wrong, given how powerfully members of the BLM group have used public protest to advance their positions. In watching them harangue Phil Hanlon and Carolyn Dever on May 23, one can hardly believe that courage is lacking among these forceful activists. In fact, their vociferousness in advancing their cause renders the proposition that they are too timid to bring forward evidence of “death threats and rape threats” quite unbelievable. At this point in time, the real unbelievability lies in the existence of these threats at all.

My second correspondent asks me to lay off the activists as being only kids. I am implored to forgive them for they know not what they do. Hmm. The issue of responsibility on campus often cuts both ways: student ask to be allowed to drink like the adults that they are, but on other occasions, we are told that we should not take them too seriously.

Of course the latter attitude seems to infect the administration and certain members of the faculty, who love to rush in and protect their innocent charges from, heaven forfend, written criticism. When Jennifer McGrew ‘13 asserted in the pages of The D that she could not wait to turn her back on racist Dartmouth forever, and then later took at job in the administration, I pointed out this incongruous position and forthwith received outraged communications from Assistant Professor of African and African American Studies Reena Goldthree, Professor of History Annelise Orleck, and erstwhile administrator Adrienne Clay.

Were these employees of the College unable to work with Miss McGrew to help her reply all by herself to my concerns? Or do they see students of color, as my second correspondent seemingly does, as unable to speak up and therefore in need of the protection of grownups. Recall that McGrew was a senior less than five months away from graduation when she wrote her piece, and she was four months beyond graduation when I took her to task for her hypocrisy. I chose not to condescend to her — unlike others. Is that wrong?

Beyond that, the notion that I should not take these “college kids” seriously at a “time where they explore and interpret the world around them in the presumed safety of the vestiges of higher education” is a proposition that fails if only because the administration takes them ever so seriously — to the tune of tens of millions of dollars to be spent on various new diversity programs over the next decade. That money could go to any number of other good causes at the College. Given the stakes, for faculty and students, one can hardly shy away from addressing the harsh charges of BLM students, and pointing out that many of them defy belief.

Addendum: A faithful reader writes in:

It might be helpful to remind everyone — including you, Joe — that young people — even very smart ones — tend to be immature, self-absorbed and terrifyingly sure of their superior wisdom and judgment in the face of the clueless elders who keep getting in their way.

So while half my brain feels exceedingly scornful indeed towards the BLM crowd and its excesses, the other half of my brain feels it’s just a wee bit unseemly to keep calling out kids — yes kids as neuroscience keeps demonstrating — by name, sometimes — when blame for recent excesses on campus lie almost entirely with the College’s administration — where grownups seem to be alarmingly absent.

Anyone who has managed — and it’s hard, we all agree — to raise children well knows that indulging temper tantrums does not produce good results. Sometimes the parent must endure being told how much his/her small child hates him/her, knowing that the fury flying from the tongue is not the essential emotion animating the offspring’s heart.

It’s easy for those of us now of mature years to look at young people of color who have chosen to attend a venerable College nestled in one of the whitest parts of this country, and wonder what exactly they expected to find here if not a majority campus population of white kids, many from generations of Dartmouth alums and often quite, quite wealthy. Why didn’t they choose to go elsewhere? What world, exactly, do they live in?

Well, they live in the world of clueless youth. But the administration and faculty are who we count on to provide the counterweight to dazzling self-absorption and the age-related inability to see anyone else’s viewpoint but one’s own.

You’ve been right, in previous columns, to excoriate those members of the administration who have grievously failed their duty to the young people in their charge and the College whose continued success depends on their judgment and courage.

You should continue to do so. But, although perhaps you may have been one of those rare people wise at eighteen and wiser in mid-life — for most of us, it has been a long and painful struggle to self-awareness, maturity, common sense and the flowering of patience towards those at the beginning of the journey. I survived the idiocies of my youth, mainly by the grace of God. Let us apportion blame here with the wisdom of experience and not with the contempt of, well—clueless youth.

Addendum: A recent alumnus comments:

It’s about time someone juxtaposed comprehensive factual studies on police violence with the anecdotal evidence and emotion that has driven recent “debates” on the topic. Not sure what the problem is with calling out children, even if children are necessarily a bit immature and short-sighted. Children who aren’t subjected to (even harsh) constructive criticism grow up to be similarly petulant and irresponsible adults; it’s not as if age alone is responsible for maturity. I think our current political landscape demonstrates that.

Abbey D’Agostino ‘14 qualified to go to the Rio Olympics after two runners who had bested her in the 5,000 meters Olympic Trials decided not to run in that event in favor of the 10,000 meters:

Abbey D'agostino.jpg

Muito bom, Abbey!

Martin Favor Sentencing.jpg

Yesterday the Valley News ran the AP story on Favor’s upcoming sentencing:

J. Martin Favor, on paid leave since his September arrest, pleaded guilty in March and resigned last week. He will be sentenced Monday and could receive up to 10 years in jail, although a prosecutor recommended 6½ years; his attorney requested three years. He faces being a registered sex offender for life.

Favor’s lawyer, George Ostler, said it’s certain the English professor’s two-decade career is over. But he says Favor recognizes he suffers from an addiction and has committed himself to mental health treatment…

Favor, 49, was arrested last year at his Plainfield home after authorities said he uploaded four suspected images of child porn through his account on Tumblr, a cross between a social networking site and a blog. Authorities say the images were uploaded to an account associated with his IP address and were traced back to him.

Tumblr has a process to detect whether a known file of child pornography is being stored on an account. It made a report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which, in turn, provided a cyber tipline report to the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

The case partly relied on technology called PhotoDNA refined by a Dartmouth computer science professor, Hany Farid. It identifies a signature in an image that can then be matched with one in a vast database of child pornography.

“On the one hand, this is exactly what this technology was built to do,” Farid said. “On the other hand, this is a colleague of mine and you know he is in for a world of hurt. I’m not particularly pleased that I’m part of that. It’s a complicated situation, of course.”

Addendum: The D has a brief report on Favor’s sentencing, as does the Valley News.

Addendum: A reader writes in:

“On the one hand, this is exactly what this technology was built to do,” Farid said. “On the other hand, this is a colleague of mine and you know he is in for a world of hurt. I’m not particularly pleased that I’m part of that. It’s a complicated situation, of course.”

This is a terrifying statement. I hope Prof. Farid learns to recognize the simplicity of the situation—the monster familiar to us is still every bit a monster.

Our region has been riven—as have many others—by the reporting—often decades later—of sexual crimes against students in some of the most elite private schools in the world. The “old-boy network”—and doesn’t that have unsavory layers of meaning!—protected perpetrators often because their colleagues couldn’t bear to ruin their lives. So satisfactory references were given and people quietly resumed their predations in new locations.

Edmund Burke and all that, Prof. Farid.

I received two interesting letters in response to my post last week: BLM: Total BS?

The first one:

Even though I’m obviously a person of color, I normally don’t like to participate in identity-based politic related issues, but the juxtaposition of your article and the recent death of Philando Castile are not good, and they prove a point in that it is easy to dismiss valid concerns that these communities face on a day-to-day basis that we probably can’t or just don’t really experience or understand in the same way.

I think whether students of color report feeling unsafe or not does not mean that these students don’t have valid fears and concerns. Do you not think that students of color would be leery (and rightfully so) of going to authority figures like SNS and the police in light of terrible incidents like that of Philando Castile or Alton Sterling? Furthermore, a Gallup poll found that blacks in the US “have a significantly lower level of confidence in the police as an institution compared to whites” among other things:

These poll results make complete sense in light of the recent events, and it makes sense why students of color wouldn’t feel comfortable coming forward to any police officer (notice the Gallup poll didn’t mention that blacks distrust white police officers at a greater level; rather that the institution as a whole was more distrusted). If you don’t believe me that college students of color could have legitimate reasons why they wouldn’t feel comfortable engaging with campus police, here are some recent examples of police brutality toward college students no less:

I can understand why someone would disagree with the tactics or arguments of groups like BLM, but certainly some core components of their message are entirely valid, and they should be given attention, and the negative actions of some should not be used to dismiss valid concerns of many.

This isn’t to say that other communities on campus don’t have their own valid concerns: anti-semitism against Jewish students, for example, can also be prevalent on college campuses; but groups like BLM aren’t trying to say that these other issues aren’t important, they are just trying to raise awareness of the issues that affect their communities. Of course, I don’t agree with a lot of the tactics that BLM uses at Dartmouth, and sometimes it is difficult to separate some important messages from tactics employed by these groups, but I think your article sort of missed the point.

And the second:

I stumbled across your blog entry and was left a little disturbed. I wanted to get a better understanding of the issue/topic so I re-read it several times trying to view it from multiple perspectives. But like a Hanover winter, I was still left a little cold.

What I hear you saying is that there is little if no tangible evidence, by your research, that these threats occurred. Further that the burden of proof is on the “potentially” threatened. I also get the sense that if there were something you deemed meritus, you would pursue the perpetrator vigorously. However, until something meets that criteria the BLM “crowd” doesn’t deserve a voice that should be listened to. The tone of the blog entry left me with the sense that there is a very real disdain for the BLM movement. I did not have to read between the lines to come to that conclusion.

I’m left feeling that an actual crime has to take place to legitimize the allegations. I don’t know the extent any micro-aggressions, or to your point that they even happened, but what I do know is that these thing can happen and go unreported. Fear of speaking up or fear of retribution are merely two reasons that kids may not report incidents. But having read the post, another reason rises to the forefront; maybe students have no confidence that action will take place until a regrettable incident happens.

Could these kids amplify the events they see in the world, most certainly. I do use the term kids. These are college kids. This is the time where they explore and interpret the world around them in the presumed safety of the vestiges of higher education. Humble servants such as yourself should be the stewards to provide that safety. Sometimes that means you take the brunt of the kids outbursts and don’t echo it back. Sometimes turning the other cheek is the appropriate response. In this instance, not doing so risks sending a message that the kids concerns, no matter how tangible, they are are meaningless. It is a very proletariat position.

I would encourage you to heed Mark Twain:

“Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”

When it’s an adult arguing with kids the adult comes off looking worse.

A response tomorrow.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

As for the very last sentence in the second response, I guess it means that “every time a parent argues with his/her kid, the parent looks bad.” I would offer that “the failure of a parent to argue with his child can many times be absentee parenting” … or, in other words, many times it’s the adult who looks bad when he/she doesn’t argue with an out-of-order kid (his/hers, or someone else’s).

OK. I admit that this video is a little geeky, or maybe the altitude got to me, but raising and lowering these embedded double window shades on a recent Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Boston made me smile:

Also, watch how hard my iPhone 6 camera has to work in order to remain in focus as the light intensity and the depth of field change when the shades open and close.

Amy Patton.jpgWomen’s lacrosse coach Amy Patton has resigned after an internal investigation uncovered numerous improprieties. The College’s press release was thorough, fair-minded and forthright:

Women’s lacrosse head coach Amy Patton has resigned from her position, effective immediately. This decision followed an inquiry that led college officials to conclude that Patton engaged in conduct inconsistent with the standards of Dartmouth Athletics and that change is in the best interest of the program.

The inquiry, which began in April in response to a grievance and expanded based on information that was received, included interviews with Patton, current and former team members, assistant women’s lacrosse coaches, and other athletic department and college staff. The inquiry was conducted by Megan Sobel, Senior Associate Director of Athletics for varsity sports and the division’s Senior Woman Administrator, and Catherine Lark, Director of College Risk and Internal Control Services.

Patton stated, “I adamantly disagree with the inquiry’s conclusion, as well as how the process was conducted. The assistant coaches and I care deeply about our players. We believe our coaching style has promoted personal growth among the players and produced women who can lead. I would like to thank my staff, the parents and players for their loyalty and support. Unfortunately, and sadly, I do not think it is possible for me to continue to work at Dartmouth.”

Patton, who served as head coach for 24 years and two years as an assistant, said, “Dartmouth women’s lacrosse has been a huge part of my life and I will treasure my time in Hanover. The players, coaches and my colleagues have taught me so much about life, and I want to thank everyone who has been a part of this journey with me.”

During her career at Dartmouth, Patton posted an overall record of 248-138 (.642) and an Ivy League record of 119-44 (.730). Highlights under her leadership include nine Ivy League championships, 13 NCAA Tournament appearances, four trips to the Final Four and one NCAA Championship game appearance. During this time, Dartmouth women’s lacrosse was consistently ranked in the top 20 nationally, reaching the top 10 in 18 of those years. Patton has coached and developed 47 All-American players and 62 First-Team All-Ivy players during her career.

The college will begin a national search immediately for a new head coach for women’s lacrosse.

Background inquiries lead me to conclude that the Athletics Department made the right decision here — rather than take the easy road. Congratulations to Harry Sheehy and his staff for upholding the larger goals of Dartmouth varsity sports.

Addendum: The Valley News has a story on Patton’s departure, though it adds little new information, other than to note, “Patton experienced steady turnover among her assistant coaches during recent seasons. The program has had 10 changes to the assistant coach lineup since 2010, generally employing two at a time, plus a volunteer coach.”

Once again the College is the poster child for a story about scandal and the effect of calamitous events on the health of an institution. Inside Higher Ed reports:

Lohse Effect Comp.jpg

Scandals on college campuses — whether related to sexual assault, hazing or other crimes — have made headlines in recent years. A new working paper suggests that such scandals with extensive media coverage can hurt colleges by causing a significant drop in applications.

The paper, which was authored by two researchers at the Harvard University Business School and one researcher at the College Board, looked at scandals at the top 100 universities in the U.S. News & World Report rankings from 2001 to 2013. The 124 total scandals were related to four types of incidents: sexual assault, murder, cheating and hazing. (While many would consider campus murders a tragedy, the paper includes them in the category of scandal.)

The paper found that a scandal mentioned once in The New York Times led to a 5 percent dip in applications the following year. Meanwhile, a scandal mentioned in more than five New York Times articles led to a 9 percent dip.

Most dramatically, a scandal covered in a long-form article — which the paper defined as an article longer than two pages in a publication with national circulation — led to a 10 percent drop. That’s roughly the same impact on applications as falling 10 spots in the U.S. News and World Report college rankings, according to a previous study by two of the same researchers…

As an illustrative example, Smith cited 2012 coverage of hazing at Dartmouth College by Rolling Stone and The New York Times. The 8,000-word Rolling Stone piece, entitled “Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy: Inside Dartmouth’s Hazing Abuses,” told the story of a freshman who was abused while pledging a fraternity. The freshman wrote in an op-ed for the campus newspaper that he was forced to “swim in a kiddie pool of vomit, urine, fecal matter, semen and rotten food products; eat omelets made of vomit; chug cups of vinegar, which in one case caused a pledge to vomit blood … among other abuses.”

In 2014, Dartmouth saw a 14 percent decline in applications, Inside Higher Ed reported at the time. Philip Hanlon, president of Dartmouth, blamed the decline on the college’s reputation for rowdiness and sexual assault.

I so enjoy reporting on great professors and positive news from the College, but until we get our house in order, the pain will continue.

Addendum: Andrew Lohse ‘12 graduated from the College a month ago.

Addendum: A thoughtful alumnus writes in with a rebuttal:

I read your blog on the “Andrew Lohse Effect” regarding the effect of scandals on college admissions, but the research does not seem to ring true as it relates to our Ivy peers. Brown has had a number of scandals over the past few years, including highly publicized accusations of rape on campus, yet Brown had a record number of applicants this past year. Same with Cornell that had a very public rape case in one of the fraternities, not to mention the recent rape trials at Stanford and Vanderbilt (all of which had record numbers of applicants and record low admit rates this past year). At Columbia, a female student carried a mattress around campus for 4 years in protest of the administration’s response (or lack thereof) to her rape accusations, yet their applications have doubled over the past decade and they are now third behind Harvard and Yale in admit rate. And Penn has had a rash of suicides over the past few years, including the heart wrenching story of Madison Holleran, a freshman athlete who jumped to her death from the top of a parking garage (see NY Times link below). Yet Penn has become overwhelmingly popular among high school students (and their parents), again with record applications this past year.

The problem at Dartmouth seems much more profound and chronic. While today’s high school students seek a more “serious” academic environment in college, Dartmouth continues to be viewed as “Animal House” by the media and applicants, an image that has saddled the College since the release of the movie in 1978. The media loves to portray Dartmouth as the “bad Ivy,” where depraved student behavior runs amok. Internet advocacy groups like UltraViolet have piled on, with pop-up ads that admonish parents not to send their daughters to Dartmouth. The questions on College Confidential are the same year after year: “Is Dartmouth a drunk party school?” The reality is that many colleges share the same issues as Dartmouth, they just don’t have the persistent spotlight of the media. And Dartmouth is an easy target because all of the negative behavior occurs right on campus, while the social scene at the more urban schools is frequently off campus—which allows those schools to avoid reporting some of those statistics.

While there has undoubtedly been some bad behavior on campus, I believe that the tarnished reputation of the College is the result of years of incessant battering by the media without an effective response by the administration. Until that stops and our image is repaired, the College will continue to lag behind the other Ivies in popularity and applicants.


Featured posts

  • August 14, 2013
    Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
    History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
  • June 25, 2013
    Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
    Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
  • October 18, 2009
    When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
    We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
  • October 9, 2009
    D Afraid of a Little Competish
    So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
  • September 4, 2009
    How Regents Should Reign
    As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
  • August 29, 2009
    Election Reform Study Committee
    If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…

Dartblog Specials

Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address:

Help, Pecuniarily

Please note

This website reflects the personal opinions of its authors. Any e-mails received may be published along with the full name of the sender. If you wish otherwise, please say so.

All content appearing at should be presumed copyright 2004-2016 its respective bylined author unless otherwise noted or unless linked to original source.




July 2016
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30