Dartmouth's Daily Blog
News, commentary, criticism and praise for the College on the Hill, enlivened with history, culture and travel when we feel so moved.
With the lowest percentage of Jewish students in the Ivy League and a years-long kosher dining débâcle, the College on the Hill has long had a reputation for being unfriendly toward Jews. Recent speakers on campus such as Jasbir Puar (top right), best known for her unsubstantiated claim that Israelis are harvesting Palestinian organs, and Linda Sarsour (second from top right), an apologist for Palestinian terrorism, have done Dartmouth no favors.
And now, hot on the heels of the appointment-withdrawal of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement supporter N. Bruce Duthu (third from top right) as Dean of the Faculty, comes yet another controversy.
Having been denied tenure, Assistant Professor of English Aimee Bahng (fourth from top right) delivered her swan song as the Class of 2017’s Class Day faculty speaker. With nothing to lose, she flamed out in a spectacular fashion.
She began her remarks by observing that her selection as Class Day speaker was most unusual, considering her junior and outgoing status. The rest of her speech was just as far outside what one would expect from a Class Days oration. With more than a hint of bitterness in her voice, Bahng mused about her tenure denial and other extraneous subjects before outlining her vision of a future Dartmouth.
Her pointed remarks included an attack on President Hanlon, particularly for his alleged inability to define “white supremacy.” She insinuated that the Economics and Government Departments were discriminatory in faculty hiring, using “fit” as an excuse for their “shenanigans.” (Immediately after the speech, Dean of the College Rebecca Biron (fifth from top right) announced the class valedictorians, all four of whom were economics or government majors.)
The time, manner, and place of her address were clearly inappropriate, but of particular concern was Bahng’s remark that, “[I imagine a Dartmouth that] refuses to invite speakers and support Israeli institutions that teach and practice anti-Palestinian sentiment.” Rather than use her speech to share wisdom with the graduating class, as is traditionally done, Professor Bahng used the bully pulpit of Class Day to endorse the exclusionary aims of the BDS movement.
Naturally, audience reactions were polarized. Some students gave Professor Bahng a loud ovation. Others remained seated and refused to even clap. Overall, the audience seemed less than thrilled with the speech.
Sandor Farkas ‘17 approached Dean Biron after Class Day and attempted to engage Professor Bahng, who refused to speak to him. Here is his recollection of the event:
I initially walked out of Aimee Bahng’s speech. I then approached a college staffer and told her I needed to speak to someone. In a conversation with Dean Biron, I was informed that Professor Bahng had refused to speak with me, but that I was welcome to use my free speech to voice my opinion.
After the conclusion of the program, I calmly and respectfully approached Professor Bahng, who was standing and talking to a group of people. I stood around seven feet away from her, so as to prevent the appearance of a confrontation. I did not “scream” at Professor Banhg, I spoke in a conversational tone and without exclamation.
The conversation went as follows:
Me: “Professor Bahng?
Me: “You’re a coward.”
I then walked away, since she had previously declined to talk to me. I heard a female voice that sounded like hers shout (I do mean shout): “Well, you’re an asshole!
I cannot state without a doubt that the voice was hers, but it was my overwhelming impression that she was the one who uttered the response.
I stand by my assertion that Professor Bahng is a coward. She refused to accept my offer of a moderated discussion, and I can only deduce that this was the result of intellectual or social cowardice.
[Joe Asch note: there is substantial dispute as to who exactly uttered this insult. According to several other people who were present and whose words were relayed to me, a graduate of the College spoke the offending word, not Profesor Bahng]
Farkas later wrote in to Dean Biron about Professor Bahng’s remarks on BDS. Biron confirmed Bahng’s exact quotation; she added these patronizing words:
I’m sorry you felt that this sentence was insulting.
I encourage you to see the difference between speech that criticizes actions and speech that negatively characterizes groups of people by their identity.
And the difference between one speaker’s views and Dartmouth as an institution.
BDS is not merely about criticizing the actions of Israel. I encourage Dean Biron to see the anti-Semitism inherent in repeatedly singling out the State of Israel for special condemnation, while other countries garner nary a criticism from folks like Duthu and Bahng. (For example, every other nation in the Middle East has a deeply flawed human rights record according to Amnesty International — and anti-Israel teaching is front and center in the schools of Israel’s Arab neighbors)
As usual, President Hanlon was AWOL. Do not to look to him for a robust response to Professor Bahng nor any moral leadership. When Hanlon casually uses an anti-Semitic dog whistle and the Class Day speaker endorses the goals of BDS, what message is Dartmouth sending to the rest of the world?
Addendum: The College is refusing to release footage of the event, consistent with Class Day practice in previous years.
Addendum: In happier news, by a 2:1 margin members of the Modern Language Association have voted to “refrain from endorsing the boycott” of Israeli universities. Inside Higher Education reports:
This year, the MLA announced Wednesday, there were 18,279 eligible voters, so 1,828 votes were required to ratify the resolution. The measure for the association to refrain from boycotting Israeli universities was passed by a vote of 1,954 to 885.
The move to boycott Israeli universities has for years had strong support in British academe, but had been less evident in the United States. That changed in 2013, and about half a dozen U.S.-based scholarly associations, including the American Studies Association and the National Women’s Studies Association, have backed the boycott. Those votes led many college and university presidents to issue statements opposing the boycott. The boycott movement attracted little support in the physical and biological sciences and technology fields, where ties between American and Israeli institutions have been growing.
But starting last year, the boycott movement lost significant momentum — even in academic groups that have many members who are critical of Israel’s policies. The American Anthropological Association last year narrowly voted down a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions. And now the MLA has adopted as official policy an anti-boycott stance.
Russell Berman, the Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities, as well as a professor of comparative literature and German studies at Stanford University, has been among the leaders of those opposing the Israel boycott.
This is a good outcome for the MLA and for higher education,” Berman said via email. “It affirms the principle that scholars should not boycott scholars.”
Addendum: A Dartmouth professor writes in:
I am writing in response to Brian Chen’s highly inaccurate account of Professor Aimee Bahng’s engagement with a student following her speech at Class Day. While Chen was not present during the exchange, I was seated very close to Professor Bahng. There were also many other people who witnessed the entire encounter, so it is disappointing that Chen chose to publish an account that is misleading and full of errors.
In his account, Chen claims that a “concerned student…attempted to engage Professor Bahng” and that she “refused to speak to him and called him an ‘asshole’.” In truth, the concerned student—after being informed by Dean Biron that Professor Bahng would not meet with him to discuss her speech—angrily approached her and screamed: “Professor Bahng, you’re a coward!” Then, the student stormed off before Professor Bahng could utter a single word. In response to the student’s actions, an alum who witnessed the student’s shocking behavior yelled: “You’re an asshole.” To be clear, at no point did Professor Bahng use profanity toward the student or respond in any manner whatsoever to his embarrassing outburst. Instead, she immediately turned her attention to the long line of students and parents who wanted to thank her for her speech. For Brian Chen to omit the student’s outburst—and to wrongfully accuse Professor Bahng of shouting back with profanity—is intentionally misleading and potentially libelous.
The D conducted a Senior Survey again this year. Here’s the statistical info:
From Sunday, May 28 to Saturday, June 3, The Dartmouth fielded an online survey of Dartmouth senior students on their opinions and experiences at the school. The survey was sent out to 1,084 seniors through their school email addresses. 261 responses were recorded, making for a 24.1 percent response rate. Using administrative data from the College’s Office of Institutional Research, responses were weighted by gender, Greek affiliation, race/ethnicity and international student status. Iterative post-stratification (raking) was the method used for weighting. Survey results have a margin of error +/- 5.29.
Let’s look at the seniors’ sense of Dartmouth:
Just in case you are wondering about the much loved faculty to which the survey refers, it’s the one that is underpaid relative to its peers, has no parking advantages vis à vis janitors and administrative assistants, and believes that President Phil Hanlon thinks that the College’s professors are a bunch of second-raters.
A more interesting question is, “What do the members of the faculty think of Phil?”
If Phil thinks that alumni who were once brothers of Dartmouth’s fraternities will be supporting his capital campaign, he has another thing coming:
From: Dartmouth Beta
Subject: Beta - 2017 Reunions
Date: 12 June 2017 at 17:07:41 BST
Dear Beta Brothers attending Reunions this year,
While we’re greatly looking forward to having you back in Hanover for Reunions, we are unfortunately obligated to update you on the sad state of affairs at Dartmouth.
The executive summary is we will NOT be able to host any parties or drinking of any kind at Beta over Reunions. The house is still on probation and the College has jumped the shark regarding rules, restrictions and (death) penalties for Greek organizations. Unfortunately, the future of the house is at risk if there is any alcohol at the house.
If you would like to visit the house, please text, call or email Sam Siegel ‘19 at (201) 753-0727 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I ask you to please read the statement below from our tireless warrior and House Advisor, Dimitri Gerakaris ‘69.
With thanks for your understanding,
Scott Sipple ‘84
We all very much look forward to those of you returning for a reunion in Hanover! I hope you get to meet some of the handful of today’s Betas who may be around between terms as I am sure you guys will hit it off. Membership in Beta is highly prized and the most recent rush (last winter) produced 35 new Brothers! With D Plan, we try to keep it to about 30 per year, but these were all quality guys who could simply not be denied.
That said, I have to warn you this is not the same Dartmouth you left. The students, and especially the Greek houses, are under incredible social scrutiny and pressure, some would say “assault”. As you may have heard, SAE and AD are gone and the College is making it clear they mean “FOREVER”. They go so far as to say that under the new plan, “Beta would not have been re-recognized”.
Our guys, although long held as a model house, recently suffered a two term suspension, no fall rush, and are now completing the ensuing two terms of probation until the beginning of Summer Term. I will not go into particulars, but almost all agree the penalty was amazingly excessive.
Long story short: although you will be most welcomed to have a look inside the house with some of the undergraduates, there can be no drinking of any alcohol on any Beta property, inside or out, or the future of the house can be put into a tailspin.
It grieves us to have to tell you this. We all feel some cleaning up of Greek life was long overdue, but we are also all hoping for a change in the future that will bring a more reasonable and balanced attitude towards the Greek system and the return of visiting alums. I have secured permission for the 50th reunion class of ‘67 to swing by for a beer or wine and meet the seniors and their parents for an afternoon reception, but that is it as far as alcohol at reunions go for the time being.
We owe it to our guys to not torpedo the house and to keep it going for generations of future Betas. Many thanks for your understanding!
All the dorms and houses are now equipped with combination locks on the doors, so if a knock on the door does not rouse a student, please feel free to contact Sam Siegel ‘19 at (201) 753-0727 or email@example.com - and the more advance you give him, the better chance he will be able to let you in.
Yours in -kai-
Dimitri Gerakaris ‘69
Beta House Advisor
People react badly to policies with which they disagree, but unfairness elicits a much stronger reaction.
Addendum: A young alumnus writes in:
One nuance to your point this morning regarding Phil’s upcoming capital campaign - I feel that Phil will only slightly realize the negative effects of his own presidency. The reality is that those Alumni whom Phil presumably cares most about in regards to his capital campaign only remember Dartmouth fondly — the Dartmouth which they attended (and which was not ruled by Tyrant Hanlon and his minions, Ameer et al).
One need only look at the senior class gift participation rates in recent years to understand that Phil is dooming the college for the long haul by creating a disengaged alumni base for whoever may be the President of the College 20 or 30 years from now (God help us with who that may be with our current trajectory).
As someone who falls in the category of “not wealthy enough yet to make the College notice or care” and yet forever unwilling to give to the current Administration and with the current state of affairs, I can assure you that I am not alone and there are not few of us. While Phil feels the need to legislate behavior on those he feels are too young, irresponsible and naive to make their own decisions, he forgets that the College will need those same people to pay the bills down the line. Unfortunately, it is not Phil who will feel the effects of the problem, which he and he alone has created.
Addendum: A senior member of the faculty writes in:
The letter you printed from Beta today unknowingly reveals the deepest flaw in the Greek system. Speaking of the newest brothers, it says, “but these were all quality guys who could simply not be denied.” How can anyone at Dartmouth make such a statement? I was under the impression that all Dartmouth admittees are “quality guys.” What kind of “quality” are they looking for? Quality at the beer pong table? Quality in attracting and bedding hot chicks? Academic or intellectual quality doesn’t seem to be involved or fraternities like Beta wouldn’t be in trouble. Again, this is the heart of the problem: a system that permits immature students to derail their education at the start by means of such superficial and damaging judgments about with whom they’ll spend most of their time.
Addendum: A quick reply arrived to the previous faculty post:
I hate to pile on again, but I am utterly stunned at the latest faculty member addendum. It defies all logic and reason — how can someone, in the same paragraph, admit they know not the qualities that Greek houses select on, and simultaneously argue that such qualities they select on have led to the downfall of the Greek system?! Surely, this cannot be a member of the Dartmouth faculty.
Said member of the faculty also clearly did not read your post a few days ago regarding AD’s member-base (non-arguably, the most in-trouble group on campus), so I will repost the academic accomplishments of the group, and I will challenge the professor to find any organized group of ~30 students on campus that can claim similar credentials (by his logic, these students were even able to accomplish as much in spite of themselves!):
“In addition, three ADs graduated Phi Beta Kappa - Chris Brown, Jordan Gershman, and Drew Field. Nine others graduated either Magna Cum Laude or Cum Laude. Fully one third of the AD Class of 2017 graduated with honors.
Brendan Barth was the class marshal at the commencement ceremony and the recipient of the Timothy Wright Ellis Award. Chris Brown was the recipient of the Economics Department Outstanding Achievement Award, and Malachi Price won the Alexander Solzhenitsyn Prize.
Nearly every ‘17 has a job waiting for him, or has been accepted to graduate school (2 med school, one law school).
Not bad for a group that the College would rather just disappear.”
Addendum: An alumnus has a comment:
Dartblog has reported that the GPAs of affiliated and unaffiliated students are not significantly different: female affiliated 3.53; male affiliated 3.42; all unaffiliated 3.47. Where then is the basis for the professor’s claim that affiliated students are academically inferior?
Addendum: An alumnus writes in about a comment above from a senior member of the faculty:
“Again, this is the heart of the problem: a system that permits immature students to derail their education at the start by means of such superficial and damaging judgments about with whom they’ll spend most of their time.”
Did I misread this? God forbid that 18-year old students be allowed to choose their own friends without the College’s approval…
The President of Middlebury, Laurie Patton, has taken to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to explain and defend the Middlebury administration’s handling of Charles Murray’s calamitous visit to its campus and to reinforce the college’s commitment to free speech. Her piece is entitled: The Right Way to Protect Free Speech on Campus: Communities of higher learning should work to make all of their members feel included, but not at the cost of free speech and robust debate. Patton has been President at Midd for just under two years now; previously she had been a professor at Emory before becoming the Dean of Dean of Arts and Sciences at Duke.
Congratulations to Patton for addressing head on the conflict between the values of free speech and what is often called inclusiveness — but which is too often just a code word for certain groups seeking to censor visiting speakers whose views they dislike. Such feelings, according to Patton, must take a back seat to the academy’s belief in the free and open exchange of ideas:
Patton’s argument echoes the thoughts of John Haidt’s assertion in his piece: Why Universities Must Choose One Telos: Truth or Social Justice:
Aristotle often evaluated a thing with respect to its “telos” - its purpose, end, or goal. The telos of a knife is to cut. The telos of a physician is health or healing. What is the telos of university?
The most obvious answer is “truth” — the word appears on so many university crests. But increasingly, many of America’s top universities are embracing social justice as their telos, or as a second and equal telos. But can any institution or profession have two teloses (or teloi)? What happens if they conflict?
Let’s hope that Patton’s and Haidt’s view wins the day.
Addendum: Given Charles Murray’s notoriety, it is worth listening briefly to him talk about the Middlebury experience and his vision for pedagogy at a successful institution of higher learning. Click here to hear to his twenty-seven minute discourse:
A firebrand he is not.
Addendum: A close observer of the Dartmouth scene writes in:
Murray has posted his reply to Middlebury’s president Patton’s WSJ op-ed.
The salient paragraph:
Last Saturday, Laurie Patton, the president of Middlebury College, published her reflections on the episode in the Wall Street Journal. She included a fine statement of principles about freedom of speech on campus. I applaud those principles. But I differ with her assessment of how the administration handled the situation. To me, the aftermath of the Middlebury affair is a case study in a sickness of American higher education: Hand-wringing in the face of a toxic threat to the university.
Here is the tell that strips away President Patton’s post-hoc PR campaign in her WSJ op-ed (emphasis added):
To begin with, Dr. Patton’s introductory remarks at the lecture — which you can see here, seven minutes into the video — could have been improved upon. In effect, she said that principles of free speech required that this person [Dr. Charles Murray] who represents everything Middlebury abhors be allowed to speak. It was not a message calculated to make students think she would come down on them like a ton of bricks if they strayed out of line. In fact, a reasonable person could conclude that she was just going through the motions… .
As it turned out (thanks to Dr. Patton’s “leadership and resolve”), Dr. Murray was NOT allowed to speak.
For his physical safety and in order to proceed at all, he had to be shuttled by campus security personnel to a secure, alternate venue where Middlebury videoed him speaking to an empty room.
BTW, Charles Murray’s daughter (one of his four grown children) graduated from Middlebury in 2007.
Addendum: As I have noted previously, Murray spoke at the College last year without incident. However the organizers took care not to announce the visit until the day on which it was held. People in attendance report that Murray’s talk and the Q&A that followed it were among the most intellectually stimulating evenings that they have encountered at the College.
Addendum: Another alumnus writes in:
Patton’s failure to properly handle discipline of the rioters vitiates all her fine words about the importance of free speech.
I read her actions as a cynical ploy to mollify alumni, donors, and potential applicants, while maintaining a cowering pose that she hopes will keep the campus left off her case. What normally happens is that the campus left creates disorder focused on the president until eventually the board of trustees replaces him (or her).
Patton with the support of her board could stop all this in nothing flat, but as we have seen for decades, the academic/administrative left is happy with the situation, and the useless trustees fail to insist on standards.
So Patton’s words given her actions can’t be taken seriously — they are just an attempted dishonest manipulation of public opinion.
The College is sharpening up its marketing message, according to an e-mail after the recent Alumni Council meeting:
Curiously absent is anything related to Phil’s major initiatives: cluster hires of outside faculty, the pursuit of prestige research projects, a massive energy institute, a large increase in the size of the student body, and so on. They are selling the old Dartmouth while diluting today’s product. Will people fall for it?
Addendum: Another Alumni Councillor reported to his classmates:
“President Hanlon made it clear that Dartmouth is “hot”: The Class of 2021 will be among the most selective and accomplished class in Dartmouth’s history, faculty are being recognized for their scholarship, and rankings are on the rise.”
One of my correspondents responded to Phil’s unjustified preening with one word only, “Ick.”
Word around campus is that both SAE and AD are alive and kicking. They have new pledge classes and off-campus houses. No news yet, however, on the fate of their dark physical plants.
Addendum: A well informed AD alumnus writes in:
A correction on your post regarding Alpha Delta.
With the graduation of the ‘17 Class, AD does not have any current undergraduate members. We were told in our discussions with the College that if we recruited new members from the classes of ‘18 or ‘19, then the issue of recognition would be off the table.
Since our goal was to regain recognition, we refrained from recruiting new members. We trusted that the College was dealing with us in good faith, but given the decisions of the Board of Trustees in March, and Phil Hanlon in May, our trust was clearly misplaced.
We were particularly disappointed with President Hanlon’s decision not to offer recognition to the proposed “new organization” that met, and in fact exceeded, all the criteria set down by the Board of Trustees. Requiring the new organization to be coed was, in my opinion, a bridge too far. Coed houses are fine; the serve the needs of their members, as they should. But the history of coed houses a Dartmouth is one of struggling for viability, and failure in at least two cases. The students vote with their feet and they overwhelmingly prefer single sex fraternities and sororities.
One final note regarding Alpha Delta. Below is an email sent to the AD Alumni Board regarding the AD Class of 2017:
Attached is a copy of the ad that appeared in the Commencement edition of the D.
In addition, three ADs graduated Phi Beta Kappa - Chris Brown, Jordan Gershman, and Drew Field. Nine others graduated either Magna Cum Laude or Cum Laude. Fully one third of the AD Class of 2017 graduated with honors.
Brendan Barth was the class marshal at the commencement ceremony and the recipient of the Timothy Wright Ellis Award. Chris Brown was the recipient of the Economics Department Outstanding Achievement Award, and Malachi Price won the Alexander Solzhenitsyn Prize.
Nearly every ‘17 has a job waiting for him, or has been accepted to graduate school (2 med school, one law school).
Not bad for a group that the College would rather just disappear.
AD ad in The D:
“The alumni of Alpha Delta Fraternity congratulate the AD Brothers, Class of 2017, for leading all other teams in fund-raising for the 2017 Relay for Life, benefiting the American Cancer Society. This was the third consecutive year that Alpha Delta has been the top team in the Relay for Life.
We are extremely proud of your dedication and accomplishments. Congratulations on your upcoming graduation, and best wishes in all your future endeavors.”
I guess that our administrators just don’t like the College’s history. Carol Folt’s strategic plan proposed changing our name to Dartmouth University — Daniel Webster and the pivotal Dartmouth College Case be damned — and now the school seal no longer makes an appearance at Commencement. Seems to have been gone for two years now. Why erase yet another old tradition? Was it the presence of unclothed American Indians on the crest, or is a more modern prejudice at work: looking askance at those Hebrew letters? In any event, the seal is gone; it’s gone away:
The photograph on the left was taken today about twenty minutes after Commencement ended; the one on the right was snapped a couple of years ago.
Addendum: Another reader writes in:
Your post today reminded me of the wallpaper that was removed from Dick’s House about two years ago:
Addendum: A Dartblog stringer reports that the seal did make it onto the Commencement ceremonies program:
The Valley News ran a four-year profile of Phil Hanlon today. The first half of the piece gives you the party line, and the second focuses gently on Phil’s shortcomings, particularly in the eyes of the faculty. Most notable is Phil’s unvarnished self-regard. Even if nobody else thinks so, he’s quite sure that he’s a great Dartmouth President:
“Like Kemeny,” he exhorted the wider community in another 2015 speech, this one announcing Moving Dartmouth Forward, a slate of student-life reforms intended to curb risky behavior, “we must recognize a moment in time when change is necessary to reach our potential.”
“It was a time of amazing change and forward motion here,” Hanlon said of Kemeny’s era during an interview last week. “I think we’re at a similar time. We’re at a similar moment right now when the campus is really aspiring to great things.”
Sitting in his Parkhurst Hall office, the 62-year-old Hanlon ticked off a list of achievements from a sheet of paper on the conference table in front of him. After four years as president — his official anniversary is July 1 — there was a lot to talk about.
There was his faculty cluster hiring initiative, which is fully funded, he said, and for which recruitment is underway. There was the society of fellows, a group of early- and mid-career academics who are adding “incredible energy” to campus, he said in his quiet, earnest voice, still looking at the paper. There was the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network, a campus incubator that is “generating a lot of energy and excitement”; the establishment of an independent graduate school; a “very ambitious” sustainability plan; a new, $160 million energy studies institute….
“I think our reputation’s turned a corner,” he said. “I think the word’s out that great things are going on at Dartmouth.”
Note that the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network was entirely a Kim-era project, and none of the other achievements cited by Hanlon relate to undergraduate academic life.
A pause at a café near our apartment in Paris reveals yet another example of pernicious American cultural hegemony:
Today’s headline was a background chorus to my youth, and current undergrads, I observe, don’t even know what it means to tuck in a shirt; but to see a Parisian man in wool pants and leather shoes and a fine dress shirt completely untucked, well, it shocks the conscience of this fashion court.
Addendum: When JFK chose not to wear a hat to his inauguration, headwear sales in America plunged, and they have never recovered. I wonder how belts are selling these days.
Let’s hear it for another national championship, this one for the College’s D-1 women’s ultimate frisbee team — Princess Layout. An alumnus from the ‘80’s follows the team closely and sent in a report:
After your posts on our rugby teams’ success, I thought you should alert your readers to Dartmouth’s most successful team this year, Dartmouth Princess Layout. They were utterly dominant all year, and then won the D1 national championship over Memorial Day weekend, destroying Notre Dame, Florida, Michigan, Stanford, and then obliterating Texas in the final. The final was televised live on ESPN; we were able to watch it live while on holiday in Zurich. Here is the full report:
Not only that, but playmaker Angela Zhu ‘17 won the Callahan Award (given to the Most Valuable Player in Women’s’ D1 by the vote of her peers) and teammate Jaclyn Verzuh ‘19 won Ultiworld’s Player of the Year Award. Verzuh is actually already one of the top ultimate players in the world. In addition, Caitlyn Lee ‘19 was voted Breakout Player of the Year as a rising star in the making.
Dartmouth Ultimate began in the mid-70s. There are now more than 700 college teams at both the D1 and D3 levels. Both the men and the women have had deep runs at the D1 national tournament against schools ten times Dartmouth’s size, but never before have they achieved this level of success!
Addendum: Ultiworld had a special mention for a great play: Jaclyn Verzuh’s Absurd Layout Catch In The National Final.
Addendum: Here is the College’s account of the victory.
I guess that I first observed the phenomenon at Dartmouth in the early 1990’s: young women pretending that they were Marines, at least in their spoken expression. The word that starts and ends with the same letters as firetruck was the least of it, but until now, such invective has not made it into the public sphere. If you wish to hear Senator Kirsten Gillibrand ‘88 (D-NY) expand the nation’s political vocabulary, click here; otherwise, read a summary:
Now let’s recall that a politician of Kirsten Gillibrand’s caliber does not say or do anything spontaneously. Somewhere somehow someone on her staff came up with the idea that vulgarity would be of some benefit to her. With whom? The female demographic, age 18-48? My experience is with Ivy girls; do southern magnolias or wholesome Midwesterners talk like that, too? And won’t older women with some vestige of propriety be turned off?
Kirsten seems to have her eyes on the prize in 2020. We’ll have to wait to see how her foray into colorful language plays out.
Addendum: Hillary Clinton swears a blue streak according to Secret Service folks who had the unpleasant assignment of working with her, but she never lets rip in public.
Addendum: A close observer of Dartmouth writes in:
Excellent post. Glad to see you cover this, along with insightful analysis of the political calculations that are likely driving this unseemly spectacle.
Personally, I continue to operate by the maxim that small minds reach for epithets to compensate for their anemic vocabularies. But an ‘88 Dartmouth alumna has no such excuse. How far our elite political class has fallen.
Addendum: A reader writes in to point out that Kirsten Gillibrand may have a role model:
After yesterday’s dispassionate review of the Hanlon Presidency, let’s look at some of the happier results that come from a Dartmouth education — where undergrads spend a great deal of time with faculty members who care very much about them. From the looks of it, we punch well above our weight in putting alumni into public office.
We outperform, too, with four sitting Senators (Rob Portman ‘78 R-Ohio, Angus King ‘66 I-Maine; John Hoeven ‘79 R-North Dakota, and Kirsten Gillibrand ‘88 D-NY). Only Harvard does better:
In the House of Representatives we are only in the middle of the pack with three members (Mike Capuano ‘73 D-MA, Ann McLane Kuster ‘78 D-NH, Alex Mooney R-WV), but, as usual, we surpass Penn, Cornell and Brown:
From the looks of things, the top schools in the Ivies should be referred to in shorthand as HYPD. And, funny enough, those are the schools with the highest endowment per student. But that is not an explanation that holds water for me. I’ll go with the College’s faculty, who do so many things for students that go uncompensated and unrecognized, but that create undergraduates who leave Hanover with something extra.
Enjoy Commencement. And on Sunday, all future Senators, Governors and Congressional Representatives should say a special, anticipatory thank you to their favorite faculty members.
Addendum: I happened to attend the graduation ceremonies at HBS last year, where alumni were also over-represented among the very top students receiving diplomas.
Today is the fourth anniversary of Phil’s arrival in Hanover. And how’s the Age of Hanlon going? Well, we have no Dean of the Faculty, a soon-to-be-gone Provost, a dead-as-a-doornail capital campaign, and a house system that was expensive and is of little value. Although in some ways Phil is an out-of-touch-with-reality, Homer Simpson-like figure, there is an arrogance there, too, one that keeps him aloof from the people who might help him deal with his many weaknesses. To distort Churchill on Clement Atlee: Phil is not a modest man, even though he has much to be modest about. How long will everyone put up with the guy? If the Trustees ran the College with the rigor they impose in the real world in their own endeavors, Phil and Carolyn would have been given the boot ages ago.
Let’s take a look at a few specific parameters in measuring Phil’s productiveness, or lack thereof, as our President:
Hiring: A leader of a large organization must have a nose for talent. You can’t do it all by yourself. But look at Phil’s picks: Carolyn Dever, Bob Lasher, Bruce Duthu, James Tengatenga, Rebecca Biron, Inge-lise Ameer, Denise Anthony, and on and on. The only non-disasters are EVP of Finance Rick Mills, who was chosen independently by a search committee (Phil was not interested in that choice — a sign of his lack of organizational understanding), and Admissions Dean Lee Coffin, who is too new in town to merit review.
Fundraising: Four years in and the capital campaign limps along. No formal announcement is in the offing, and the quiet phase is, as they used to say in Western movies, too quiet. But then Phil doesn’t set a room alight with his presence (attendance at dinners for big donors is often well below expectations), and the news about twenty years of mismanagement at the College has made it to the donor class. There was hope a few years ago that Phil might turn things around, but people now see that it’s more of the same. Beyond that point, Phil’s ongoing infatuation with Bob Lasher runs counter to everyone else’s attitude towards a manager who is well beyond his level of incompetence.
Problem Solving: Moldering dorms and academic buildings, underpaid faculty, silly parking policies, a compressed calendar due the huge winter break, and other similar problems are issues that Phil has not tackled, even though they could be solved by Presidential fiat. Not only would solutions make Dartmouth a better place, they’d earn him political capital with the faculty that could be spent later when tough calls are required. But then Phil just doesn’t understand people.
Cost-Cutting: It now seems that there are $15-20 million of cuts on the horizon, i.e. over the next few years. But in the background is the continuous growth of the bureaucracy under Phil: +63 new non-Geisel staffers in 2016 alone — 172 new non-faculty staffers since he arrived. Of course, such profligacy has meant that tuition has risen each year by twice or more the rate of inflation, despite Phil’s early assertions that superinflationary increases are unsustainable.
The Bully Pulpit: Phil has been wan at best in taking a stand on the moral issues of the day. There have been occasional thin e-mails following embarrassing campus events, but our leader chose to cancel Convocation, formerly a serious moment where students were encouraged in the presence of the robed faculty to reflect on their education and the upcoming academic year. Given the various issues (free speech, BLM, diversity, the nature of truth in the news) roiling campuses and the nation, Phil could set a theme for the College, as predecessor Presidents have done. Is he bereft of ideas? Listen to him talk and then you can answer that question yourself.
The Faculty: Phil and his Provost both started off on the wrong foot vis à vis the faculty. Neither made the rounds of department meetings to introduce themselves and listen to faculty concerns, nor do they meet with any regularity with faculty members high and low. In fact, Phil and Carolyn have succeeded in giving the College’s professors the sense that they believe that most people in Hanover are rubes and second-raters. Dartblog’s Guide to the Stars was created after several professors asked for our help in educating Phil and Carolyn about the faculty’s many and varied achievements.
Work Product: From forgetting or mistaking the names of donors, and leaving correspondence unanswered, to being unprepared for meetings, it is clear that Phil does not do his homework. At an Ivy school where preparation and precision are admired, our President comes across as sloppy and uncaring.
The Human Touch: Great leaders must connect on an emotional level with the people that they hope to manage and direct. And Phil? Geez. Abbey D’Agostino ‘14 was the inspiration of the Rio Olympics and Kyle Hendricks ‘12 pitched in the World Series (he started the seventh game!), and yet Phil could not tell us how proud he was of these young alumni — thereby indicating how proud he is of all the College’s students. As E. M. Forster wrote, “Only connect!” Does anyone feel a connection with Phil Hanlon?
Originality: An energy institute, diversity and inclusiveness, cluster hires, a house system, growing the size of the student body, diversity and inclusiveness, kowtowing to every underrepresented minority demand no matter how petty, prestige research, diversity and inclusiveness — is it too much to ask that Phil do something that had not been done a hundred times at other schools. Analysts can only pick from things that have already been done elsewhere. For an annual salary of $1.2 million, might we expect something original from our President.
Tenure Evaluations: The only positive evaluation that I hear of Phil is his rigor in determining who merits tenure (a critical issue, given that Jim Wright handed out tenure like bonbons to a whole generation of professors who are stuck at the Associate Professor level, and who are also stuck in Hanover for the duration because no other school will have them). Demanding the best of faculty, and turning down professors who don’t rate tenure at the College can be politically difficult — but Phil has stayed the course. Good for him.
Conclusion: As we enter Year 5 of Phil’s time in Hanover, let’s hope that it will be his last. The College is floundering and morale is low — the evident outcome when an institution has no leadership. If the Trustees took their responsibilities seriously, they would make a change. Call it a health issue or something, but get us a President who will work with dispatch to make Dartmouth a better school.
Addendum: A senior member of the faculty writes in:
Good assessment of Phil Hanlon’s four years. The unflattering Homer Simpson analogy is spot on. Thanks, Joe! It is a sorry state of affairs, and your piece is a perceptive reading of the facts.
You paraphrased Churchill. If you permit me to paraphrase Trump about Jeb Bush: Phil is low energy.
I also wonder to what extent his bad appointments are less a reflection of incompetence than an obsession with hiring other than white men. Wherever one perceives the needle to point between incompetence and reverse discrimination, it is not presidential.
Addendum: An alumnus shared a missive that he wrote to a Dartmouth College Fund fundraiser in response to a College solicitation:
Last year was the 50th anniversary of my graduation from Tuck school, one year after my A.B. from Dartmouth. I had an extended conversation with the Tuck classmate responsible for promoting attendance at the reunion. Like me, he was an alumnus of the College; he was contacting that half (roughly) of our Tuck class who had attended both schools.
He made a comment in connection with charitable giving (I paraphrase): “All of my money goes to Tuck; the College has gone so far off the rails over the years that no donation can be merited or justified.”
In our day (uh, oh—trigger warning), Dartmouth and her alumni prided themselves on the nation-leading percentage of graduates (66%) who participated in the annual alumni fund. halcyon days! I understand that the number is now less than 50%. Do you, or anyone in the Hanover fundraising leviathan, ever wonder why? This is not a function of declining loyalty, only of sadness at our beloved school’s decline.
Note: Alumni giving at Tuck is still in the 70% range, leading all business schools.
Addendum: Another alum, a close observer of the College, writes in:
Thanks for your honest assessment of Phil today. I couldn’t agree more. At best, it’s been an uninspiring four years. The Trustees can no longer turn a blind eye to his deficiencies. If Carolyn is on her way out as Provost, maybe they can find the next president to fill that spot on a temporary basis while allowing Phil to exit gracefully. I had always assumed that we were stuck with Phil for a minimum of 7 years to save face, but I don’t think the College can endure another few years of such lackluster leadership and misdirection.
The D’s Presidential puff piece on May 19 — an interview with and profile of President Hanlon that contained nary a criticism — did have one nugget of information:
Although most things are in early stages, Hanlon expressed optimism about the future and ongoing conversations.
“You may have noticed … that not all our [housing] is in great shape,” he said in half-sarcasm.
In addition to renovating the Choates, the River Cluster and the Lodge in the next few years, he said the administration hopes to develop a kind of “village” in College Park near BEMA. Whether that development would be to accommodate a 10 to 25 percent increase in the student body, or simply add options, is still an ongoing conversation. [Emphasis added]
In addition, at the faculty meeting on Monday, May 22, departing Dean of the Faculty Mastanduno also mentioned the possibility of a significant increase in the size of the undergraduate student body.
College Park is a surprisingly large section of undeveloped land in the heart of the campus. It chief current use is by students trying to complete the Dartmouth Seven:
What is Phil’s (and Mike’s) goal in adding a few hundred students to each class? It’s not hard to discern: they want to make more cluster hires: groups of outside researchers focussed on solving the world’s big problems in order to up the College’s prestige (undergraduate students be damned). Of course, the problem is — and this is always a problem for an administration that chooses not to cut an ounce of bureaucratic fat (and that has a dead-in-the-water capital campaign) — how to pay for these new folks?
For Phil the answer is easy: extra students means extra tuition income. That’s the strategy he adopted at Michigan in the face of the fallout from 2008-2009 financial crisis. He told me so himself when I met with him a few months after he had arrived in Hanover. I commented that in the press he had been depicted as a determined cost-cutter; “No, no,” he said, “I balanced the budget by increasing the size of the student body.”
Oh, great. More students in Hanover — but no additional athletes — means a great deal more tuition income (remember that over half of our students pay full boat) at little extra cost, especially if you shoehorn students into bigger classes and you don’t increase the size of other facilities like the HOP or the gym or the dorms. (Remember how those 51 Fahey doubles became triples, and how additional people will be jammed into the re-built Morton Hall. Expect a lot more of the same.) That’s more money for researchers and research, even though students receive a diluted experience.
Is this the direction we all want for the College?
Addendum: The College’s current master plan shows no new buildings scheduled for construction in College Park:
If the administration is now planning dorms for this area of campus, they should not be used for additional students, but rather to accommodate people displaced when the River Cluster dorms are demolished forever (with their footprints used by Thayer and Tuck) and the Choates are entirely replaced by handsome dorms worthy of Dartmouth.
Addendum: A reader writes in:
Note that the master plan removes nearly all parking from the center of campus. More students, more faculty and less parking. A winning Hanlon formula.
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