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.
After the unexpected result of Tuesday’s voting on Article 9, and yesterday’s informed speculation about why students voted as they did — particularly the students who voted “no” — Dartblog commissioned a poll from College Pulse, the student survey start-up that promises to bring rapidly conducted surveys to the educational and other markets at very competitive prices. College Pulse sent out a survey about Article 9 to 1,100 randomized students during the afternoon of May 10th; 334 students responded by 7pm on May 11, an excellent 30% response rate. Here are the results — with a credibility interval of 4.3%.
Of the 4,234 students on campus, College Pulse estimates that 44% voted: that’s 1,860 student voters:
The 44% figure can be broken down into 32% of all students voting for Article 9 (1,352 students) and a surprising 12% who voted against it (507 students):
Looking at the entire student body, while fraternity men strongly supported Article 9, a majority of sorority women somewhat or strongly opposed it:
As might have been expected, among student who voted, fraternity brothers supported Article 9 by a margin of over 10:1. However, 36.36% of sorority women and 29.27% of unaffiliated students (including freshmen) voted against it:
I’ll have the raw numbers of how the various groups voted soon.
But we can see how in a vote where the final tally was 1,993 to 1,471 in favor of the “no” side, 507 “no” votes by Dartmouth students made all the difference in the world. Had they stayed home, the result would have been too close to call; and had they voted for the “yes” side with most of the Greeks, the result would have been inverted (with ensuing litigation on the constitutionality of a Town statute that allows a private landowner to demand a super-majority).
Addendum: The folks at Campus Pulse sent out the same survey to a different 1,100 students using the Qualtrics service that the College employs (at great expense). The response rate was only 3%.
The following message was delivered, if you can believe it, by snail mail to my local business:
Please do some sleuthing into where Heather Lindkvist went. I’ve heard a few different versions 1) she’s on a month health related leave and 2) she’s been put on probation. Not sure which is true. If you look at “Shit Dartmouth Admin and Faculty say” on facebook, that might shed some light? Those are the only public things I’ve heard, minus hundreds of rumors from students. She’s been getting away with intimidating and threatening victims of sexual violence for a few years now. I hope now that she’s possibly gone people can start to come forward with their stories. Everyone is terrified to speak up. It reeks.
A particularly perspicacious student and observer of the Dartmouth scene writes in with commentary about Tuesday’s vote:
From reading your stories, I think it seems like you’re a bit surprised there was substantial student opposition to Article 9 (which I voted for). I’m sure somehow has reached out already, but I thought I’d offer an interpretation of the different sorts of student opposition.
• People who are opposed to the Greek system generally naturally opposed the article. That’s 10-15 percent of the student body, maybe a bit more.
• There are many people who think that helping “bad apples” makes the entire Greek system appear more suspect. I heard a comparison from a few people to sexual assault: in essence, they said that backing up SAE and AD was like a Greek house supporting its members even while knowing they were sexually assaulting women. People say that you can’t claim that “not everyone is like that” when you support the ones who are.
• Many sororities opposed it. Sororities (and Alpha Chi and Heorot) don’t own their own houses, so they fear that the College, if this passed, might derecognize more houses and if that came about, their houses would be lost. Article 9 only offers protection to those houses that own their own property — and that group becomes even smaller when you consider some houses have more complicated relationships with loans and other items with the College. There was a sense for many that this would antagonize the administration and offer no relief to about half of houses.
• There are also many, many people who believe that an off-campus Greek house will become a hotbed of sexual assault and hazing due to lack of supervision.
• Lastly, some people seemed very upset about the amount of money and effort put into campaigning for this. They felt that fraternities should be more vocal on issues like BLM or social justice than on keeping their houses. This gained a ton of social media traction.
Addendum: This missive was penned by a member of a co-ed house to the house’s members. (First they came for the…)
…Or we could just not get derecognized. Seriously, derecognition is a last resort for the college, and there absolutely need to be consequences in place for fraternities that fuck up badly enough to end up there.
Oli, I totally get where you’re coming from in that a) the student housing situation in Hanover is utter garbage and b) a viable or reasonable option to legally protect Pan would be lovely. But as I understand it, this article was drafted by alumni who don’t live in Hanover, don’t pay town taxes, and just want to preserve their fantasy of a boys’ club that’s allowed to literally brand their pledges or whatever. It’s fundamentally a move to allow SAE and AD to continue to exist, and like the dude in the Valley News said, the thought of how other frats might act were there no penalty for derecognition really makes me nervous. Imo, non-college-owned houses still need to be subject to college rules.
There would also be a significant financial impact on the Town of Hanover, which in the absence of college supervision would have to assume responsibility of all the health & safety inspections and most if not all of the policing these residences require. Aside from the few asshole landlords in town, I really don’t see a need for Hanover taxpayers to bear the financial burden of college debauchery — and eventually the town would likely levy a fine on these houses (including ours) to offset the extra costs. Plus, as annoying as S&S might be, I doubt we’d want to be in a situation where we’re dealing with HPo by default.
I don’t think the Greek system is going anywhere, at least not for a long time, and as long as we don’t majorly fuck up and get derecognized, we’ll be fine. But there’s obviously lots to think about. Full disclosure that I’m still looking into all of this myself, and I’ve never been a hausmyn so I don’t know the extent to which the college facilitates stuff like safety inspections, but I’d really encourage everyone to do their own research using resources OTHER than article9.org (and, once you’ve done so, show up to vote regardless of which way you decide to vote! yay democracy) [Emphasis added]
Addendum: Taking their eye off the ball, some students dispersed their efforts by complaining about past behavior:
Tonight’s quiz: do headlines like this help or hurt our admissions efforts among Jewish students; and help or hurt fundraising efforts for Phil’s capital campaign?
Click here for the full story.
Addendum: Shortly after I put up the above post, an alumnus wrote in to alert me to the same story:
Thanks for your continued coverage of the Duthu fiasco. Just when you think the administration can’t get worse …Dartmouth Announces Linda Sarsour Lecture, Days After College Refused to Co-Sponsor Event Featuring IDF Vet.
Do Hanlon and the trustees think their capital campaign will be even more successful without Jewish and Fraternity alumni?
In an historic result that can only be considered a plebiscite on the fraternity system, Article 9 went down to defeat yesterday by a significant margin: 1471 (42.5%) students and townspeople voted in favor of the article and 1993 (57.5%) voted against it. The tally was only finalized at 2:45am:
The total turnout of 3,464 was unprecedented (usual Town Meeting turnout is in the 1,000 voter range), and a fair analysis of the voting can only lead to the conclusion that a significant portion of student voters — perhaps a third or even more? — voted against the article. And the voters knew what they were doing: all of the other strongly contested articles were approved with between 2199-2625 “yes” votes; Article 9 was the only one where “no” votes predominated.
The vote was a surprise to almost everyone. Several Selectboard members, having witnessed waves of students disembarking from buses that brought them from Webster Avenue, expressed to me that they felt sure that the article would pass with a huge majority. Only one bystander of my acquaintance — a Harvard alumnus, no less — offered the opinion that AD and SAE were considered to be outliers in the fraternity system, and that they were looked down upon for their antics by many students.
Options open to AD and SAE now appear highly restricted. Use of their houses has been limited by town ordinance — supported also by court interpretation in the case of AD — to residence by no more than three unrelated people. Through rumors suggest that the two derecognized houses have continued to pledge new members, without a physical plant of their own, the attractiveness of the fraternities is diminished.
The question is now open as to whether the Town of Hanover will begin enforcing its residency ordinance against the various private properties around the town that have been taken over by students — of which there are a goodly number that hold loud parties.
Given that the Town ran out of machine-countable ballots around noon, and it seems that more than 2,000 paper ballots were subsequently used, counting continues on into the night at the Hanover High School gymnasium. Groups of four or so scrutineers review each ballot, which is only considered to have been counted when they have come to a consensus. Results aren’t expected until midnight, at which time they will be posted on the Town’s website:
Addendum: Still no results at 12:50am. I’m hitting the sack.
The student logistical effort today to get out the undergraduate vote was more than impressive. Multiple lunchtime barbecues were held on Webster Avenue, and a fleet of chartered buses shuttled students the eight tenths of a mile from Frat Row to Hanover High School. As the polls close as I write at 7pm — with the Town’s election officials running out of machine-readable ballots around midday (they didn’t know what hit them), and having to go for re-supply several times for paper ballots — it appears that turnout was several times higher than past years’ average figure of 1,000 voters or so:
Due to the large number of ballots that need to be hand-counted this evening, the Town’s moderator Steve Fowler tells me that the outcome of today’s voting will not be announced until well past 8pm.
Addendum: At this time there is no evidence of Russian interference in the election.
Dartmouth students who are residents of Hanover (and U.S. citizens) may register to vote today at the Hanover High School polling station. See the attached Voter Registration Form:
An editorial in the Review (Vote Yes on Article 9) and two opinion pieces in The D (Sher: For the Benefit of All: Article 9 would benefit students and residents alike? and Brown: A Pivotal Proposal: Article 9 is a wake-up call for Dartmouth. Students must act together) share the same position on the importance to students of a positive vote on Article 9.
Will Dartmouth’s tradition of Greek life end today, or will Article 9 pass and allow the Greek system to live on as a central part of students’ experience in Hanover? Student participation in the vote will decide that question.
If Article 9 does not gather enough yes votes, AD and SAE will feel enormous pressure to sell their houses to the College, and the administration will have earned a hunting license to go after the ten other fraternities that own their physical plants. Derecognition will lead to depopulation and more forced sales. Then the sororities will be in the crosshairs. And all the while the undergraduate dorms will molder, as the Hanlon administration focuses on graduate studies and research.
Let’s put it another way: In ten or twenty years, if Dartmouth is once again a flourishing research college that focuses on its undergraduates more than any other Ivy school, students will ask returning alumni where they were on May 9, 2017. Were they part of a wave of undergraduates that rose up against the incompetent and morally bankrupt Hanlon administration? Did they march together in their hundreds down to Hanover High to vote despite threats from the administration?
Or did they not have the nerve do so? Today many alumni wonder if students have the courage to fight for traditions — and fight against an administration that is hell-bent on turning the College into a plain-vanilla school like all the others. I sometimes wonder, too. The students that I know have guts and ambition, but individuals might have qualities that a large group of people lack.
I’ll bet on Dartmouth students. That they will make the alumni proud, and that one day, they, too, will be proud alumni.
Please get out and vote for Article 9 today. The future of the College is in your hands.
Addendum: Here’s an e-mail from Dartmouth lawyer Kevin O’Leary (now famous for threatening consultants who worked for a student) where he coyly says that the College, “my employer,” is taking a stand on Article 9. Of course, Kevin is only speaking as a private citizen, right? If you believe that, everyone understood his message except you:
Isn’t there something a little bit hypocritical about the College supporting democracy — except when voters disagree with the administration’s positions? Student voters might be welcome during presidential elections, but not when their votes for fraternity housing could unhinge the College’s ever-tightening grip on the Hanover real estate market.
Parkhurst is ramping up efforts to thwart turnout on tomorrow’s Town Meeting ballot. Letters and e-mails have gone out from College employees, and there has been talk of door-to-door canvassing. Most troubling are reports regarding aggressive meetings conducted by senior administrators with leaders of the Greek system. Several administrators have convened fraternity Presidents and told them, usually in carefully couched language, that the Hanlon administration will be very concerned if their members vote on Tuesday.
To their credit, the house Presidents have ignored these empty threats; they immediately reported the goings-on to their advisors and trustees. As a result, observers and videographers are apparently being contracted to document the local election and ensure that all voters, including students, may exercise their right to vote in a safe and free manner.
Below are a pair of reports that I have received concerning efforts to squelch student participation in Tuesday’s voting:
IFC officers met just a few days ago with a senior administrator. That person indicated the administration takes a very, very dim view of any student involvement in the vote, and said the College has enacted a measure [ironically, originally formulated by citizens of Hanover to protect themselves against encroachment by the College] whereby if an abutter feels threatened by a petition for change in zoning usage, that abutter can request and automatically receive protection of the vote to require not a simple majority but 2/3 vote to be carried. And so this vote next week will, in fact, require a 2/3 vote to be carried.
Although the administrator admitted the College cannot tell the students not to vote nor how to vote, this person told our guys to “beware of unintended consequences,” if this measure passes. This was taken as a veiled threat against the Greek system.
I heard yesterday that a Dartmouth administrator had confronted the President of [deleted] and threatened consequences/reprisals if the brothers showed up at the polls next week and voted for the zoning ordinance favoring independent fraternities. If that’s true, it’s outrageous. That kind of heavy handed attempt at intimidation needs a response, and the College needs to be called to account.
Addendum: Putting pressure on persons in a subordinate position not to vote is against the law in New Hampshire:
If the conduct described in the sworn affidavit of NCHERM President and CEO Brett Sokolow is true, did the College’s general counsel’s office violate the NH Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys? Let me count the ways:
How sad that the administration of a great institution is populated by people of an intellectual and moral quality far beneath its students and faculty.
That the Dartmouth bureaucracy is a snakepit should be a surprise to no one with some knowledge of organizational behavior, but seeing the snakes in action can still take a person’s breath away.
Over the past year the College has vigorously pursued a plagiarism charge against a student based on the flimsiest of evidence, but to the student’s credit, he has fought back against the COS kangaroo court in ways that the administration has not expected. One tactic was to hire the NCHERM Group to do a report on the fairness and competence of Dartmouth’s adjudicatory procedures (long a topic in this space). NCHERM is a serious outfit comprised of twenty-seven consultants; in fact, it has numbered the College itself among its past clients:
NCHERM’s President & CEO Brett A. Sokolow J.D. headed up the effort, and the study itself was conducted by Managing Partner Daniel C. Swinton J.D., Ed.D. We’ll look at the study itself at a later date, but for now let’s review the College’s underhanded efforts to pressure NCHERM to drop the Dartmouth student as its client.
Brett Sokolow dealt directly with two administrators from the College: Kevin O’Leary, Dartmouth’s Associate General Counsel; and John Steidl, Director of the College’s Project Management Office (and husband of Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin). According to Sokolow, both O’Leary and Steidl pressured him to have his firm withdraw from working with the Dartmouth student:
- They asserted that the College would cease any future work with NCHERM if it did not do so;
- They offered the carrot of future work if NCHERM were to cease its cooperation with the student; and,
- They threatened NCHERM with extensive (and expensive and time-consuming) document discovery and depositions.
Sokolow prepared a sworn affidavit dated April 12, 2017 about O’Leary and Steidl’s attempt to intimidate him:
Today it’s hard to be proud of the College, particularly of its administrators Kevin O’Leary and John Steidl.
When I lived in TriBeCa during the year after graduation, I walked past the World Trade Center each day on the way to work on Lower Broadway. The Twin Towers left a lot to be desired aesthetically, but over the year I grew to appreciate that they watched benevolently over our neighborhood of cast iron and brick warehouses. So it is, too, in Hanover: an elegant Baker Tower is a calm and inspiring presence day and night:
Addendum: Baker is not the only academic building to have copied Independence Hall. There are structures at Berea College and the Walter F. George School of Law of Mercer University, along with Brooklyn College and Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J.
Addendum: You can add to the above list Wait Chapel at Wake Forest University, designed by Jens Larson, who prior to working at Wake Forest had spent twenty-seven years in the Dartmouth building program.
And an elegant structure at Colby College in Maine.
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…
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- 2007 Trustee Election
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