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The College is spending $1.1M to replace the Hop’s windows, and there is still work going on at the Inn: it turns out that the structure’s porte-cochere needs to be renovated in order to be in compliance with building and transportation codes, and the outdoor dining area is being reconfigured. One would think that Jim Kim would have dealt with these things while spending over $50M on the Inn’s recent renovation.

In addition, the Town and the College, with the help of Federal money, are turning the area in front of the Hop and the Inn into a “Mobility Hub.” How did we get along all these years with just a plain old bus stop.

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Let’s hope that the College’s new building czar, Lisa Hogarty, will soon be done cleaning up past messes.

Addendum: Here is the College’s press release on the various projects.

Mosley1.jpgThe exodus from OPAL continues, perhaps as a result of Charlotte Johnson hitting the road. As we mentioned the other day, Alysson Satterlund is leaving town, and Kyle and Aeriel Ashlee have departed, too, after a memorable parting shot.

Now Assistant Dean and Advisor to Black Students Dr. T.M. Mosley has told colleagues that she is exiting Hanover for points unstated. Mosley is well known to Dartblog readers: Charlotte Johnson sent her to Ghana in 2013 with another Dartmouth staffer to console the family of Ernest Amoh, a rising sophomore at Trinity University in Hartford, Connecticut, who drowned in a swimming accident at the Chieftan Inn. Ernest was the brother of Justice Amoh ‘13.

Mosley also journeyed to Hawaii this spring on the College’s dime to attend an American Counseling Association conference. Given that she’ll be leaving town soon, I can’t see how the College earned much return on that investment.

In my own business, when people don’t stay with us for at least a year after they attend a conference, they get to pay for half the cost of attending the event. Not so at the College, I guess.

We’ve commented before on how the College’s bureaucracy seems to have formal procedures for resolving even de minimis incidents. Nothing just gets sorted out any more; everything must be adjudicated. As a result, there is pushback, with the upshot that we are burdened with endless, expensive processes. Students, lawyer up:

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On the subject of sexual assault — about which a national conference is currently being held at the College — we’ve noted in the past the depredations of notorious College administrators. I am not aware of any local litigious responses to frontier justice, but on a national level, an ever-growing number of institutions are being sued for sloppy, arbitrary procedures. Not that this situation is always the schools’ fault: the Departments of Justice and Education are micromanaging the anti-assault effort on an increasingly granular level according to the Chronicle of Higher Education (here and here).

Helman Mandel.jpgAs part of the search that led to Phil Hanlon ‘77’s appointment as President, Trustees Steve Mandel Jr. ‘78 and Bill Helman IV ‘80 met with several members of the Faculty Coordinating Committee a little more than two years ago. The event was memorable as an illustration of how out of touch with faculty sentiment these muckymucks are.

About a half dozen professors were present at a meeting that was the culmination of an extended formal process to gather faculty sentiment about the characteristics that professors wanted to see in the College’s next President. Helman explained at some length that the search committee was casting a wide net and that he had interviewed many candidates. Then he jocularly remarked, “But I imagine that you would all be happy with Carol Folt.”

The response of the professors in attendance could fairly be described as a deafening silence. To a man, they looked blankly downward at the conference room table.

Mandel reacted with his usual pokerface, but Helman was more expressive. My source, who heard an account of the meeting from one of the participants, says that the Committee members were surprised that the Trustees had so little insight into faculty sentiment. She can’t recall whether Helman exclaimed, “Oh shit!” out loud, or whether he only communicated that message via his facial expression. The effect was the same. For a brief moment, the two Trustees shifted uncomfortably in their chairs, and then they moved on to other matters.

How could these top Trustees not know that Carol was held in contempt/disdain by not only the members of Faculty Coordinating Committee, but also by almost everyone on the faculty itself, even women science professors? To whom were the Trustees turning at that time in order to understand the day-to-day working of the College? I only know one person who thought that the IP was doing a good job — Carol herself. There’s your answer to the latter question.

As I have repeatedly written, the Trustees need to get out more.

Addendum: Of course, Carol has been the subject of special attention in this space for many years. It seems that the Trustees read Dartblog; sadly they don’t take it to heart. Experience shows that they should.

My boy is at Babson College’s five-week summer entrepreneurship program. Seems a rigorous affair. In contrast to the decrepit, steamy dorms reserved for summer students by a certain Ivy League college, the dormitories at Babson are all air conditioned with, get this, individual units that the denizens can adjust themselves. The 72 high school students in the program will leave Babson thinking that the school is a cool place.

Babson also offers all campus visitors an easy-to-use Internet connection. Access to the speedy network is unsecured, and once you are recognized, your are accorded instant access forevermore. Turn on your iPhone and you are in. In contrast, Dartmouth Public doesn’t remember you at all: if you turn off your phone, even for a few minutes, and then turn it back on, you will need to go to Settings/WiFi/Dartmouth Public and then tap on the network; after 5-10 seconds you are connected to the College’s slow public server. A poor show. Check out the comparative download speeds at Babson and Dartmouth — over an order of magnitude of difference from one to the other:

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Slow speeds make a difference when you try to download even something basic like e-mail. But the multi-step connection process is the real burden. The College should do better here, but I bet that some department somewhere is saving a few bucks by cutting bone to save fat. Visitors to Hanover will not go away impressed. This sad performance comes from a school that used to win awards as the nation’s most wired campus.

Addendum: A reader provides some background:

College and university amenities are an interesting consideration. They do seem to attract potential students (and perhaps more importantly, their parents). One of my friends currently attends High Point University, which is definitely on the extreme end of amenity spending. Though its endowment is only $37M, the current president has directed roughly $700M toward renovations and new amenities over the years. HPU has a beautifully landscaped campus, outdoor swimming pools & hot tubs, movie theater showing new releases (with free snacks), free arcade, putting green, sports bar, ice cream truck, personalized visitor parking spots, and an on-campus steakhouse that students can eat at with their meal plan. Obviously, Dartmouth doesn’t need most of these somewhat cheesy amenities; we have an excellent academic reputation to stand on.

While we don’t need to model ourselves on HPU, we do need to make investments in things that have a profound impact on students and academic life. The Choates dorms are decrepit, DDS continues to limit competition and burdens students with high prices, and our technological innovation has come to a near stand-still. According to a somewhat recent article on the D, our network capacity is 4 gigabits of data per second. To put this into perspective, Google Fiber offers gigabit connections for $70/month, admittedly in a few select markets. Thus, four homes with Google Fiber have the same network capacity as a college with over 6000 total students. Dartmouth used to be associated with innovation—BASIC, campuswide wireless Internet, even VoIP in dorms—but it seems non-academic staff members take precedence in our budget today.

The administration never misses an opportunity to shoot itself in the foot. Each year hundreds of eager high school kids come to Dartmouth for summer camps. My son attended the debate camp a couple of years ago, and this year he enjoyed rugby in Hanover. Where does the College lodge these potential applicants — kids who will go back to their schools and tell the world about the wonderful College on the Hill? Not the elegant Gold Coast dorms, nor solid Mass Row, nor even the functional Fayers. Nope. The powers that be put the soon-to-be PR emissaries in the moldy, decrepit Choates. Oh, the stories they will tell back home.

Is anyone thinking in Parkhurst and McNutt? Or are the folks there just spending time calculating their pension benefits and how to spend their five weeks of annual vacation? Sloppiness is the rule almost everywhere in the administration. How sad.

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Back in the late 1970’s we considered the Choates to be a cross between a cheapo municipal hospital and a federal housing project. Since then they have not aged with grace.

Addendum: At least the girls’ summer soccer camp puts its kids in Ripwood Smith.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

The Choate Road dormitories may have been degraded into a “hole” by the late 1970s, as you write, but when I resided in them in 1960-1962, along with Ron Schram and others, they were comfortable and, dare I say, well-designed.

The cluster opened in 1958. Our only complaint was perceived distance from the rest of campus. The Choates were divided into suites, each composed of three doubles, two singles, a common room for socializing and late-night study, and showers/toilets. In addition, there was a faculty apartment connected to the cluster, and the faculty member annually invited all of us to dinner and conversation in small groups, and many of us informally sought advice from him throughout the year.

In 1995, a student invited me to revisit the Choates, which I had not seen for over three decades. The common rooms and faculty residence had disappeared, subdivided into additional sleeping rooms. Perhaps worse, institutional memory of a the Choates as a pioneering student residential cluster with a contiguous faculty apartment appears to have evaporated as the College in the 1990s introduced various top-down initiatives to “redesign” student life.

Just when you thought that the barrage of articles associating the College with sexual assault had abated, the administration is ramping up its efforts to have Dartmouth be known as the rape school. The Dartmouth Summit on Sexual Assault starts on Sunday evening. We’ll be in the news this week, that’s for sure:

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Have you heard anything about this subject from the other Ivy Presidents. As I’ve mentioned, I wonder why they are being so discreet on this subject.

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.

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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:

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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:

Boloco.jpg

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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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.

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Have a Happy 4th.

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