Saturday, November 22, 2014

George W. Berry ‘66 R.I.P.

He once was a freshman in Hanover, as we all were, but though the hill-winds no longer carry his voice, his family name remains on the library, a dorm, the Berry Sports Center, and an endowed chair of Economics. George Berry ‘66, one of the College’s most generous donors, died of cardiac arrest on November 12, 2014.

George Berry Color Comp.jpg

The Globe published an excellent obituary, a full account of a Dartmouth life well lived. An excerpt:

In 1995, George and his wife Roberta started Berryfield Farm, which trains dressage horses and sponsors therapeutic riding programs, namely Friends for Tomorrow, for special needs children. He derived great joy from sharing his farm with others and loved watching the smiles that his horses brought to so many faces on a daily basis. A dedicated philanthropist, George channeled his many passions, especially classical music, education, and science into charitable work for several local and national organizations. Among his more notable roles, George proved a great supporter of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, serving as an Overseer for many years. At the BSO’s summer home in Lenox, Massachusetts, George and Roberta have sponsored a student musician every year as part of of Tanglewood’s summer student orchestra program. George and Roberta helped create and sponsor the celebrated Film Night concert at Tanglewood, which the Boston Pops has performed annually every August since its inception. George, an active alumnus of his alma mater, served on the board of the Hopkins Art Center and Dartmouth College’s Presidential Leadership Council.

George’s memorial service will take place today at 2 PM in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Regrettably President Hanlon and his spouse Gail Gentes are participating in a special alumni brunch Saturday morning prior to the Princeton game, and they will be unable to attend the service. That’s not the decision I would have made. Let’s hope that a good number of Trustees make the trip to join the many alumni who will celebrate George Berry’s life.

The invitation to the ceremony requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Friends for Tomorrow at Berryfield Farm, and the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge Boston.

Posted on November 22, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Friday, November 21, 2014

HLS Prof Slams Assault Adjudication

Janet Halley.jpgIn an extended memorandum, Janet Halley, the Royall Professor at Harvard Law School, excoriates the sexual assault enforcement procedures recently enacted at Harvard. The policies are similar to those at Dartmouth, having been guided by regulations and non-binding publications issued by the federal Departments of Justice and Education. Halley’s introductory paragraph:

Today colleges and universities around the country enjoy a moment of special opportunity: a chance to change slipshod, dismissive and actively malign handling of sexual harassment claims, and to offer genuine remedies for victims. But it is also a moment of danger: because one such remedy involves discipline for wrongdoers, the rules must define misconduct to include the conduct we want to sanction and deter (and not socially valuable or unharmful behavior), and to process complaints in a way that is fair to all parties. The new University Policy and Procedures realize these dangers: they provide an overly broad definition of sexual harassment, far beyond anything that federal courts recognize; they trench directly on academic freedom and freedom of speech; they threaten stigmatized minorities with unjustifiable findings of responsibility; they will rush low-income students who cannot afford counsel to unfair judgment; and they are defective on every known scale of equal procedural treatment of the parties and due process. [Emphasis added]

In addition to bringing to bear her legal scholarship on sexual harassment, Halley draws on her “own service as a sexual harassment enforcer in a university setting.” The memo is well written and easily accessible to non-lawyers.

The piece appears to be a detailed follow-up to an open letter to the Boston Globe in which twenty-eight members of the Harvard Law faculty denounced the myriad unfairnesses of Harvard’s new assault policies.

The fact that the procedures are entirely out of touch with traditional notions of legal and adjudicatory fairness illustrates a larger problem in the academy. How is it that Harvard administrators can draft such policies without consulting members of their university’s own Law School faculty? As we have noted in the past, educational administration has become a world of its own, entirely divorced from the learning and experience of scholars. Johns Hopkins Professor Benjamin Ginsberg has written a book on the subject: The Fall of the Faculty, The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why It Matters.

Addendum: Former Yale quarterback Partick Witt, now a student at Harvard Law and previously the object of sexual assault accusations while an undergraduate, has written a piece in the Boston Globe deriding the prosecution of assault charges.

Addendum: The New York Times published a lengthy report in the same vein last Sunday entitled: Mishandling Rape, and it followed up on Wednesday with another piece headlined: New Factor in Campus Sexual Assault Cases: Counsel for the Accused.

Posted on November 21, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Phil Klay ‘05 Makes NBA

Uh, that’s the National Book Award for fiction, which Klay won last night in NYC. NPR reports:

Former Marine Phil Klay took home the National Book Award for fiction, winning the prize for his debut short story collection Redeployment.

Klay, who had been deployed in Iraq, appeared taken aback by the honor on stage.

“I can’t think of a more important conversation to be having — war’s too strange to be processed alone,” he said in his acceptance speech. “I want to thank everyone who picked up the book, who read it and decided to join the conversation.”

Across a dozen stories told in first-person, Redeployment is at its heart a meditation on war — and the responsibility that everyone, especially the average citizen, bears for it. The book beat out a shortlist that included Marilynne Robinson, one of literature’s most celebrated living writers and the favorite coming into the night. Also on the shortlist were Emily St. John Mandel, Anthony Doerr and Rabih Alameddine.

We’ve written about Klay’s fine work twice now (here and here). The ‘05 who wrote to me with the news noted, “Some good news for a change.”

Addendum: The College’s press release also gives background on past Dartmouth winners of the National Book Award.

Posted on November 20, 2014 12:52 PM. Permalink

An Underlying Mental Health Crisis?

A persistent student complaint over the years has been the lack of availability of timely mental health counselling at Dick’s House. I’ve always wondered about the perceived need for this kind of support; I guess that the pressures of modern student life are intense enough that many more students need assistance than in my day. But just how bad is this situation? Are we in some kind of invisible crisis?

We’ve writen about the widespread abuse of cocaine at the College, and The D has reported extensively on student use of Adderall and othe stimulants. And while we are on the subject of excesses, there is no need to provide citations to confirm undergraduate overuse of alcohol. But a question needs to be asked: are we dealing with no more than youthful experimentation/exuberance with regard to such substance abuse, or can this behavior fairly be described as self-medication? In his book Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life, William Deresiewicz suggests the latter possibility:

Deresiewicz Mental Health.jpg

The extent of the mental health problem at Dartmouth became more apparent to me via a recent comment on the Improve Dartmouth website by Heather Earle, Director of the College’s Counseling and Human Development service:

As many of you may know, more and more students are feeling increased pressure in many areas of their lives. While many students work at trying to find solutions to these pressures through help from friends and other support systems on campus, increasingly large numbers are seeking counseling assistance. As one example of this increase: in October 2013, CHD had 976 student encounters; in October 2014, CHD had 1355 student encounters. [Emphasis added]

Come again? That’s 1,355 “encounters” last month alone — for a student body of 4,276 undergraduates, not all of whom are on campus for the term, and many of whom, freshmen I expect, have not learned to avail themselves of Dick’s House. So what do you figure? A quarter of our undergrads received mental health counseling in October?

All is not well in Hanover.

Addendum: A recent graduate of the College writes in:

Yes, it really is that bad. “Invisible crisis” is not an overstatement. Many of my friends sought counseling during my time at Dartmouth. And these are just the people who were willing to talk about it — needless to say, sadly there’s a significant stigma associated with mental health issues. Couple the high-achieving Dartmouth student with the general reluctance to ask for help (for fear of seeming weak) and you have a very real problem.

Even more absurd is when students fail classes due to mental health issues, the College politely asks them to take a leave term. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess. Sound like anything else the College deals with?

Addendum: A concerned ‘15 offers a comment:

I read your most recent Dartblog post and I felt compelled to write to you, particularly in light of the SA fleece snafu. While “jacketgate” has left many questioning SA’s role on campus, it is important to recognize that they are, in fact, working tirelessly to tackle some of the most pressing issues at Dartmouth — namely, the mental health crisis that you describe. The “I’m Here For You” initiative that Casey and Frank launched recently has been met with significant enthusiasm, in addition to the “It’s on Us” campaign to combat sexual violence on campus.

While SA misstepped seriously in their use of student funds, let’s not rush to peg them as incompetent and corrupt. This year is the first in my time at Dartmouth when SA engaged seriously with campus issues and made itself a legitimate presence in campus discourse.

Addendum: Look at the size of College’s Counseling and Human Development service: nine psychiatrists/psychologists, three counselors, two nutritionists, five psychiatry/psychology residents/interns, and two administrators.

Addendum: A reader sent in a link to a column in the Dartmouth Mirror by Annie Fagin ‘15 in which she recounts her struggles with depression:

I’m that girl you see in Collis, the one with the starry jeans and the big glasses. If you’ve ever spoken to me, you probably thought I had my act together.

But mental health problems can and do touch many of us here at Dartmouth. My story is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg that is our community’s silence on mental health issues. Our peers and classmates suffer from anxiety, learning disabilities, eating disorders, PTSD, addiction and more. And my perspective is only one of many.

In the November 7 issue of the Mirror, Abigail Hartley ‘16 shares five rules on “Maintaining Sanity” at Dartmouth. One of them is:

See a therapist. I’ve heard the counselors at Dick’s House are a mixed bag. I got lucky and found one I really got along with, but there are also multiple places in town where you can go to dump your problems on someone else for 45 minutes every week. Even if you just don’t feel “right,” talking to a trained professional — not your roommate/best friend/Tuesday night hookup — can totally help.

Posted on November 20, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Phil Aims: Tommy Gone

I guess this is about as official as it’s going to get. As we reported almost two weeks ago, Senior Vice-President for Public Affairs Tommy Bruce is no longer employed at Dartmouth. The College has issued no press release to this effect, thereby sparing us a recitation of how Tommy wants to spend more time with his family, but at least the Public Affairs webpage now notes that an interim SVPPA has been named: erstwhile spokesman Justin Anderson:

Tommy Bruce5 Comp.jpg

Congrats to Phil Hanlon for cutting bait here. No need to struggle forward when the wrong person has been picked for a post. Of course, the question remains as to whether Phil will show similar resolve with Senior Vice President for Advancement Bob Lasher ‘88.

Posted on November 20, 2014 3:59 AM. Permalink

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

We’re Mad As Hell

A great deal of commentary is being voiced about the Student Assembly’s misuse of student activity funds. Now there seems to be an organized way to give voice to your anger:

SA Petition.jpg

You can go to the petition here.

Posted on November 19, 2014 6:00 PM. Permalink

The SA’s $80 Fleece Fleece

SA Fleece.jpgIf the Trustees can dip into the College’s endowment to fund their own investment companies (and garner prestige among their own potential investors by doing so), and the staff can score way-above-market wages and benefits (twice the compensation of their neighbors working the same jobs in the private sector), why shouldn’t the students working on the Student Assembly take the opportunity to use the SA budget to buy $80 Patagonia fleeces for themselves (customized no less)?

The jackets came to a total of $1,876 out of an overall SA budget of $40,000 — that’s 4.69% of the annual budget. Add to that a lovely Panera-Bread-catered lunch for 55 people for $966.23 and the prospect of a SA+dates-only formal (later cancelled) at $2,500 or so, and you would have had more than an eighth of spending going to fleece, food and fun for the student body’s hard-working representatives. No wonder the College has cut the SA’s budget from $76,250 to $69,500 to $58,000 to $40,000 over four years. As a result, the Undergraduate Finance Committee will now review all SA expenditures over $500.

The leaders of the SA, President Casey A. Dennis ‘15 and Vice President​​ Frank. M. Cunningham III ‘16, have written to the student body to say mea culpa (Latin for “my bad”):

SA Letter.jpg

One has to wonder if the student body’s mandatory $83/quarter activities fee couldn’t be put to better use, or just chopped by two thirds.

Addendum: Meet the leadership of the SA.

Addendum: On November 13 The D ran an article on the SA that included the following note:

[SA] Treasurer Forrest Beck ‘15 said the reduced budget has not changed the Assembly’s policy goals, but necessitated certain concessions, such as not fully catering events.

Beck said that the Assembly wanted to bring a guest speaker to discuss mental health in Greek organizations, but could not afford the speaker’s $4,000 fee.

Priorities, priorities…

Addendum: Meanwhile, in other news, the College’s total expenses in the 2013-2014 fiscal year were higher than Brown’s by $78,532,000, even though Brown has a third more students and a third more faculty members than we do. The sum of the College’s wages and benefits spending was $83,487,000 more than Brown’s expenditures on compensation. However, as of publication today Dartblog could not determine whether student leaders at Brown had purchased fleece jackets for themselves with university money.

Addendum: The D’s report on this latest scandal was thorough and well written. Do I detect signs of life in Robo?

Addendum: An undergrad writes in:

I must say I’m pretty incensed at what the SA did. Even if they wanted to foster a sense of community, couldn’t they have bought 9$ printed customized cotton T-shirts like everyone else on campus?

As for me, I’m planning on paying my tuition fees less 83$ when the statements are sent out later this month. I might as well save the cost of the student activities fee and buy myself a Patagonia instead — and I’d encourage other students to do the same until every last cent (or sweater) is returned. This is ridiculous.

Posted on November 19, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Kadish Goes Into Politics

If you are ever looking for proof that politics is a dirty business, one of your top exhibits would be the recent appointment of ex-Dartmouth CFO Steven Kadish as Chief of Staff for Massachusetts’ newly elected governor, Charlie Baker. At Harvard the word on Kadish was that he spoke softly so you would not hear his lies, and as Jim Kim’s right-hand man in Hanover, he justly earned a reputation for sleazy financial manipulation. As we predicted, Kadish and his wife left the College hurriedly in his mentor’s wake, probably out of fear that he would be run out of town on a rail had he stayed any longer.

Kadish Mass Comp.jpg

Posted on November 18, 2014 12:03 PM. Permalink

How It’s Done: Compare and Contrast

Last week we looked at two campus-wide messages from President Phil Hanlon and Provost Carolyn Dever about civil interaction and academic honesty; we found them weak. Today you might take some time to compare our administrators’ notes with Middlebury President Ron Liebowitz’s reaction to the destruction by a group of Midd students of a 9/11 memorial display that had been created by other students. If I had to share a foxhole with a college president, I know whom I would choose.

Middlebury President Statement Comp.jpg

The campus debate at Dartmouth on free speech has been wan and wanting, to say the least. Free speech is not an absolute right. To offer but a few examples, as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. opined, you cannot falsely yell “Fire” in a crowded theater; safety trumps speech. And you can’t park a sound truck in front of someone’s house and blast political messages at them 24/7; the right of quiet enjoyment in one’s own home trumps speech rights, too. In an academic community, a person has a right to speak, and replies must be civil and respect the right of the speaker to be heard and the audience to listen. That imprecation certainly includes the right to be free from vulgarity — at least as a matter of manners if not the law — most certainly when other forms of expression are up to the task.

Posted on November 18, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Monday, November 17, 2014

Moving Dartmouth Forward Again

English Professor Barbara Will, the leader of the Moving Dartmouth Forward effort, has sent two e-mails to the campus. Students received an extended one, and community members found a shorter version in their e-mail in-box. The biggest difference was the following paragraph, which only undergraduates saw:

What has become very clear during the re-engagement phase is that there is no easy solution to the problems of high-risk drinking, sexual assault and lack of inclusivity. We know that virtually every college campus across the country suffers from the same issues and that no one has found the silver bullet. These problems exist at big universities and small colleges, institutions with Greek systems and those without, rural and urban campuses.

The campus saw a shorter version:

Moving Dartmouth Forward.jpg

It appears that people voicing a concern that Professor Charlie Wheelan ‘88 so artfully articulated — that proof is lacking regarding the cause and effect relationship of the Greek system and the College’s social ills — have made themselves heard. At least students have been told so.

Addendum: The links in the above screenshot are:

Full committee timeline:
Moving Dartmouth Forward website:

Addendum: You can find the full e-mail that students received in the extended:

Posted on November 17, 2014 4:25 PM. Permalink

Now’s Your Chance

You can stop complaining about the absence of speakers on campus regarding your favorite topic du jour. Send in a suggestion:

PEP Projects.jpg

Posted on November 17, 2014 4:07 PM. Permalink

False Clickers to Sit Out Games

The Athletics department seems to be acting on its own to punish varsity athletes who were caught sending in a clicker with a friend to the Religion 65 class. Offenders are being asked to sit out one game or more of the department’s choosing. This posture seems fair, so as not to punish the entire team in a single game for the infractions of a few teammates.

Valley News reporter Tris Wykes made the following observation regarding this past weekend’s football game against Brown:

[Running back Brian] Grove, linebacker Eric Wickham and receiver Victor Williams were not on the sidelines for the game. [Football Coach Buddy] Teevens would say only that the trio violated team rules last week.

It is unclear whether other non-starting players did not dress.

No members of the men’s soccer team appeared to be sitting out in the 3-0 victory over Brown.

We’ll see who is not present for the season-ending football game against Princeton this weekend. If Yale beats Harvard, and then we lose to Princeton due to the absence of players who violated the College’s honor code — and thereby not share in the Ivy football title with Harvard and Yale, potentially our first title since 1996 — you can bet that athletes will tell the story for decades, and be more than adverse to breaking the College’s core rules ever again.

Addendum: The Athletics department’s sit-down punishment for athletes is independent of whatever sanctions the College will mete out. If players on winter and spring teams have to take terms off due to College sanctions, they will sit out contests when they return

Addendum: Today’s D reports on the number of athletes taking Religion 65:

Varsity athletes comprise just under 70 percent of the 272-person class, including more than half of the football team, or 61 players, more than half of the men’s hockey team, or 16 players, and more than two-thirds of the men’s basketball team, or 12 players. The men’s soccer team has 10 players in the class, and the baseball, women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse teams each have nine. Athletes in the class represent 24 of Dartmouth’s 34 varsity teams, and about a quarter of Dartmouth students are varsity athletes.

Who’s gonna play Princeton?

Erratum: The above post contained several errors of fact that have now been corrected as we gather more information.

Posted on November 17, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Be Ashamed of Your School Now

There will come a point when the free association cue of “Dartmouth” will cause people to hold their nose. Perhaps in New Hampshire we are already there:

Union Leader.jpg

What a pleasure it would be if the College occasionally made the headlines for innovative programs, the arrival of exciting new professors, or the cutting of tuition.

Addendum: On and on and on:

CHE Cheating Comp.jpg

Posted on November 16, 2014 2:23 PM. Permalink

Munich Diary: Where’s the Battle?

Munich Column.JPGMunich was bombed repeatedly (71 raids from 1940-1945) and fought over once in WWII — not that you could tell that fact on a visit today. Just as I was struck by Mainz’s material progress between 1976, when I lived there in the fall on LSA, and on a return trip to see my host family in 2004, so does Munich show all the indicia of wealth that one could hope to see: lovely, restored buildings; elegant shops; and a cleanliness that only Swiss cities can rival. Yet, unlike Berlin, or even our neighborhood in Paris, the civic fathers have chosen to scrub away almost all traces of the war, save for a few. The columns of the Palais an der Oper (right) and the nearby Opera itself show signs of shrapnel blasts from aerial bombing.

Erasing memories strikes me as the wrong approach to history. When the wounds of war are visible, passers-by can’t but think of their good fortune to live in a time of peace. Munich has come a long way since 1945:

Munich bombed.jpg

Addendum: The Wall Street bombing of 1920, thought to have been perpetrated by Italian anarchists, killed 38 people when an explosive device carried in a horse-drawn wagon was detonated across the street from the headquarters of the J.P. Morgan Bank at 23 Wall Street. That event, too, left its mark on masonry, and to this day the Bank has respectfully chosen not to patch the pockmarks from the terrorist attack.

Wall Street Bombing 1920.jpg

Addendum: An alumnus in the military writes in to note that the Ford Island control tower at Pearl Harbor has been preserved in memory of the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941.

Oahu Control Tower.jpg

The Navy itself notes:

The tower is where a radioman issued the first radio broadcast of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor at 8:05 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941. Exploding bombs shattered lower-level windows during the assault.

“The tower is part of the Navy’s history and our country’s history, and it is important that we continue to preserve this historical site,” said Rear Adm. Dixon Smith, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. “As the history of Pearl Harbor continues with current and future generations to come, we need to have memorials and reminders of all the important history that happened here more than 65 years ago.”

Posted on November 16, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Three Dartmouth Governors

Rauner, Kitzhaber and Wolf, oh my. They may be politicians, but they are Dartmouth politicians: Bruce Rauner ‘78 (R-Illinois), John Kitzhaber ‘71 (D-Oregon) and Tom Wolf ‘71 (D-Pennsylvania) were elected to the governorships of their states on November 4.

Dartmouth Governors 2014.jpg

In his first run for elective office, Rauner received the votes of 50.8% of Illinois voters. He won every county in the state, except for Chicago’s populous Cook County, which he lost by a 2:1 ratio. Kitzhaber won an unprecedented fourth term as Oregon’s governor with 49.4% of the vote, and if he serves his full term, he will be the nation’s second longest-serving governor. Another newcomer to elective politics, Wolf won in Pennsylvania with a 54.9% majority; in contrast to Rauner, he easily won his state’s urban areas, including 88% of the voters in Philadelphia County, which accounted for almost his entire margin of victory.

Addendum: There are four sitting U.S. Senators who graduated from the College: Angus King ‘66 (I-Maine); Rob Portman ‘78 (R-Ohio); Kirsten Gillibrand ‘88 (D-New York); and John Hoeven ‘79 (R-North Dakota).

Posted on November 15, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Oh, Phil. You Could Do Much Better

One begins to get the feeling that Phil is going to be little more than a caretaker President, someone who nibbles at the edges of problems rather than taking the decisive moves that the College had needed for several decades. Reappointing Mike Mastanduno as Dean of the Faculty is a case in point. Like Phil, Mike spends little time with the faculty in their departments, and as a result, we see the kind of drift that marks the rest of the College. Sure, there is lots of talk about interdisciplinary this and that, but does Mike have anything substantive to show for his five years in office (or for his 28 years in Hanover?) — since he was predictably appointed by Jim Kim and Carol Folt? Can anyone recall field-leading professors moving to Hanover or exciting scholarly initiatives?

Beyond an overarching vision for the future (what George Bush called “the vision thing” — as evidence that he didn’t have one), a chief executive must have an eye for strong people. When Phil allows someone like Mastanduno to carry on, he tells us that he is comfortable with the mediocre status quo at the College. As I keep saying, Mike is a nice guy with a good sense of humor, but that isn’t enough.

Mastanduno Reappointment.jpg

The only questions remaining are whether the more accomplished members of the faculty will raise their voices against Mastanduno, and whether Phil will listen to them. Other than the usual set of sycophants, Mike has few supporters out in the trenches.

Posted on November 15, 2014 3:59 AM. Permalink

Friday, November 14, 2014

Provost Dever on Academic Honesty

Fire and brimstone it ain’t, but there is a tad more muscle in Provost Dever’s solo campus-wide e-mail than there was in Phil’s and her missive about civilty on Wednesday:

Dever Honor Code.jpg

I hope that I am not the only person hoping for more forceful prose and rigorous argumentation from our top administrators in the future — particularly regarding issues that go to the heart of our democracy and academic life. For example, we could take more than “a moment” to think about the ethics of cheating.

Addendum: Here are the links to which Provost Dever refers:

The Academic Honor Principle can be read here:

The Standards of Conduct are contained here:

Posted on November 14, 2014 1:00 PM. Permalink

43 Accused and Growing

The Athletics Department and the administration are pressuring students to come forward and admit that they clicked the clickers of absent students in the Religion 65 class. Students whose clickers were clicked, even though they themselves were not present in the classroom, numbered 43. But who was doing the clicking?

If the College were serious about enforcement here, the situation could develop into an interesting, if distant, variation on the Prisoner’s Dilemma: the students not present in the class (but whose clickers were clicked by accomplices) could be offered a choice of two punishments: say, a three-term suspension if they don’t give up their accomplice, and a one-term suspension if they do. And all potential accomplices could be told that they would receive a one-term suspension if they come forward, but a three-term suspension if they don’t (and are denounced by a friend).

Of course, the students could game this situation by having one student (presumably well compensated by all the others) step forward as the fall guy/gal and falsely admit to pressing all 43 clickers for students who were not present…

Don’t get me started.

Addendum: The D has another thorough piece of reporting on the growing scandal: Religion 65 students identify culture of cheating.

Posted on November 14, 2014 12:03 PM. Permalink

Yet Another Storm On Its Way?

John Barchilon ”60, M.D. could well become a name in the news in Hanover in the next few weeks. We wrote last week about how his Letter to the Editor of the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine had generated an on-line petition at (415 signatures as of this morning) that took the DAM to task for publishing his letter.

Also generating controversy at the College is a comment that Barchilon made on the website of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), which Wikipedia describes as “a politically conservative non-profit association founded in 1943 to ‘fight socialized medicine and to fight the government takeover of medicine.’” The AAPS site published what it described as a series of health care myths: “#11. There are 46 million or more Americans without “health care.”:

The 46 million are the “uninsured.” They lack “coverage,” not care…

In the U.S. 37% of people with below-average income reported that they were in fair or poor health, while only 9% of people with above-average income said the same. A similar disparity is seen in the UK, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia, despite their “universal coverage.”…

Insurance “coverage” is not the same thing as medical care. It is not necessarily the best way to pay for medical care—although it probably is the most expensive. And there is no actual evidence, only inference from uncontrolled observational studies, that increasing the level of insurance coverage improves health outcomes. If expanding coverage means restricting care, the opposite could occur.

In response, Barchilon wrote the following:

Barchilon AAPS Comment.jpg

How many speech/thought crimes has the good doctor committed with these words? He is attacking the poor. He is attacking immigrants. He is blaming people who are victims for their misery. In the politically correct litany of sins, these are clearly cardinal.

What remains to be seen is the upcoming reaction of the angry members of the campus radical fringe — the people who disrupted Dimensions, occupied Phil’s office, and insulted Rick Perry by asking intentionally vulgar questions. Given that Yale Medical School-educated Doctor Barchilon is not in town — he is based in Los Angeles — can we expect that the staff of the Alumni Magazine will be hearing from the College’s social justice warriors in some provocative fashion?

Addendum: Rianna Starheim ‘14, a longtime intern at the DAM, published in yesterday’s D an articulate defense of the magazine’s right to provide space for unpopular views.

Posted on November 14, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Phil Speaks Out, Kind of

Phil has written to the campus concerning the current free-speech scandals roiling Hanover, but he seems to be limited by an animating principle: first, do no harm to anyone’s feelings. Generalities are all well and good, but a leader takes a clear stand on the issues of the day, rather than adopting an attitude of platitudes:

Phil on Dialogue.jpg

If a student writing an essay for freshman English were asked to comment on the Rick Perry visit and other such controversies, I don’t think that this missive would pass muster. How about some examples? Some clear views on what is and is not acceptable on the Dartmouth campus? Elucidating principles is fine in an introduction, but after that, the College community would benefit from specific guidance. This ain’t it.

Posted on November 13, 2014 2:12 PM. Permalink

Kim and Folt Melt Down

Folt & Kim.jpgIf I were a headhunter, I would be wondering just who has been running Dartmouth College for the last couple of decades (many students, faculty, staff and alumni have been wondering the same thing). Last week The Economist ran a story about the World Bank staff’s open revolt against Jim Kim entitled Opprobrium from the Atrium, and the Carolina Tar Heel student newspaper’s editorial about Carol Folt had an equally acid headline: Folt’s Wainstein email says a whole lot of nothing.

Let’s look first at the editorial regarding Folt’s message to her community. It concerned an independent report that over the past two decades 3,100 students (about half of them athletes) had received grades for courses that did not meet: so-called “paper classes.” Folt’s usual chirpy whitewash, the kind that this space documented for years in Hanover, did not pass muster in Carolina:

Daily Tar Heel logo.jpgChancellor Carol Folt sent an email to the UNC community Thursday that did little to reassure the University that it has fully recovered from the impact of paper classes. In fact, the implied intention of the email was to lay a veneer on the rugged face of the scandal. Such a message indicates a lack of leadership.

The email contained little content of substance, instead featuring vague proclamations about “looking ahead” and “making our University better” that read as if they had been well-tested in focus groups.

Folt used the email to highlight examples of why students and employees should be proud to be at UNC — examples that had no relation to the Wainstein report whatsoever…

Yet now, Folt is avoiding the language of hard choices, clear action and decisive leadership.

The (Raleigh) News & Observer reported that UNC hired the world’s largest public relations firm — which has billed the University almost $800,000 — to deal with the aftermath of the scandal. While there is sometimes a legitimate place for public relations professionals at UNC, their job should not be to mask the stink of scandal by desperately listing the University’s many positive accomplishments to members of this community.

To do so reeks of condescension…

These Carolina kids don’t pull their punches, do they?

In the meanwhile, the Economist has picked up where the Financial Times left off in the spring: Jim Kim is making a dog’s breakfast of the World Bank Presidency.

Economist Logo narrow.jpgTHE fury would not have been much greater if anti-capitalist activists had taken over the vast atrium of the World Bank’s headquarters in Washington, DC. Yet the protesters who did so last month were the Bank’s own employees. The goodwill that first greeted the modernisation plans of Jim Yong Kim, the Bank’s president since 2012, has turned to rancour…

Whether or not these changes are the right ones, they have not been well executed. Staff in the countries where the Bank operates, who used to be charged with looking for new lending opportunities, complain that their budgets have disappeared while the new global practice leaders seem more focused on impressing Mr Kim than on assisting borrowers…

Among the Bank’s 16,000 strong staff, Mr Kim, a health-care expert and former president of Dartmouth College, is increasingly seen as an outsider who does not understand the institution he runs. He has appointed outsiders to many senior jobs and brought in consultants from McKinsey and Booz Allen Hamilton…

Mr Kim seems to take it for granted that things will settle down once the reforms are in place. He airily dismissed the complaints in an interview earlier this year, saying, “There’s grumbling about parking and there’s grumbling about breakfast.” His supporters claim, implausibly, that the unrest has largely been whipped up by one disgruntled mid-level officer, Fabrice Houdart. Yet even loyalists are increasingly frustrated by Mr Kim’s seeming inability to focus on his reforms. His current hyperactivity around the Ebola crisis, which has won him favourable comparisons in the media to Margaret Chan, the head of the World Health Organisation, is privately described as yet another distraction by one of his closest lieutenants: “Last year, he was Mr Climate Change, now he is Mr Ebola.”…

Mr Kim may think he has time on his side. After all, he is unlikely to lose his job, if only because America, which forced his appointment over objections from developing countries, has little appetite for another such row. Yet unless Mr Kim now moves decisively to fix the budget problems and win round the staff, his presidency risks becoming a costly failure.

If faculty members in Hanover had given public voice to their long-held view that both Kim and Folt are dishonest incompetents who consciously trade on appearance rather than substance, we could have saved two large institutions the trouble of finding these things out for themselves.

My prediction: despite The Economist’s reticence and Carolina courtesy, both Folt and Kim will be out of their jobs by the end of 2015. The kind of contemptuous anger that is being expressed in Chapel Hill and Washington does not die down. A line has been crossed.

Addendum: Although there will be no demonstration today in the atrium of the World Bank, last Thursday’s demonstration drew a large crowd. The angry consensus among the Bank’s staffers is that Kim has to go — but they are wondering just how to oblige the Bank’s Boards of Directors to give Jim Kim his walking papers.

Wolrd Bank Atrium.jpg

Posted on November 13, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Perry Tale Has Legs

The Daily News — the country’s fourth most widely circulated daily newspaper — has picked up the story of Rick Perry’s altercation at the College. The piece ran top left on the paper’s website. We don’t come out looking good.

Daily News Perry Comp.jpg

Addendum: Meanwhile, Daily D columnist Emily Sellers ‘15, who asked Governor Perry if he would have anal sex for $102 million, wrote a column in the newspaper today explaining her motivations. I’ll leave you to follow the link to her piece. In the last three paragraphs of her essay, Miss Sellers uses the word “power” ten times.

Posted on November 12, 2014 4:13 PM. Permalink

43 Students Cheat on Ethics Questions

The D has published a carefully written story on the second Dartmouth scandal this week: cheating on questions posed in a “Sports, Ethics and Religion” class by 43 students (and their currently unnamed, unindicted co-conspirators). Folks, it looks like the Rick Perry vulgar-questions incident will get knocked out of the newspapers by yet another ugly event at the College. The D’s Lily Xu has prepared an excellent graphic detailing the event (click on the image to enlarge it):

Ethics Class Cheating.jpg

In short, using electronic clickers assigned to others, certain students clicked answers to in-class question for their absent classmates. The 272-student course was specifically designed for athletes by Religion Professor Randall Balmer, and the staffers at The D have calculated on their own that “about 68 percent of students enrolled in the course are varsity athletes.” (Good legwork!)

The case is now in the hands of the the Committee on Standards. One wonders how fast the College’s disciplinary arm will act in light of the heavy sports schedule this weekend: the football team; the volleyball team; the men’s and women’s hockey, basketball and swimming/diving teams; and the men’s soccer team will all be competing.

Addendum: I have heard rumors of widespread cheating at the College for years, but no source has ever been able to pin down infractions.

Addendum: Of all the College’s courses in which to cheat, it had to be a class on ethics:


Erratum: An early version of this post referred to students cheating on an exam in the course, not simply answering in-class questions for absent classmates. The text above has been re-written in light of an e-mail from an eagle-eyed alumnus.

Addendum: The huge “Sports, Ethics and Religion” class has been the subject of no little discussion by members of the faculty. Many professors feel that a Humanities course of such a size goes against the spirit of that division, which prizes close cooperation between students and faculty members, with an emphasis on analysis and interpretation, good writing, and the formulation and expression of complex ideas. Is such a model of instruction worth in excess of $60k/year?

Addendum: The Valley News has a lengthy report on the cheating scandal.

Posted on November 12, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Miriam Kilimo ‘14 Named Rhodes Scholar

Miriam Kilimo.jpgAmidst yet another scandal, one can take solace that the work of the College goes on. Complementing Dartmouth’s two Canadian regional winners last year, Miriam Kilimo ‘14 is one of two Rhodes recipients this year from Kenya. The College’s press release reports:

An anthropology major, Kilimo plans to use the scholarship to pursue a master’s in women’s studies at Oxford…

As a Senior Fellow, Kilimo conducted research on “Inter-ethnic Friendship Among Youth in Urban Kenya.” A salutatorian of her class, she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, and was a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar, a Rufus Choate Scholar, and a recipient of the W.E.B. DuBois Award for Academic Excellence for all four years of her Dartmouth career. She received a Robert G. McGuire III 1958 Memorial Fund grant for academic research on ethnicity and nationalism in Kenya, and a William Jewett Tucker Foundation Fellowship grant for a project to combat the practice of female circumcision through education in Kenya. Kilimo was a member of the Dartmouth African Students Association, the Christian Union, and the Jabulani African Chorus; worked as an undergraduate adviser and as a student consultant with the Office of the Dean of the College; and wrote for the student creative nonfiction journal 40 Towns.


Posted on November 11, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Let’s Embarrass the College Again

One of Dartblog’s roving reporters files a story:

Rick Perry came and spoke yesterday to the College Republicans. All in all, a solid, thoughtful and respectful talk. Unfortunately, a group of students had the audacity to cheapen the experience for everyone, circulating fliers (attached) during his talk. The sheet was aimed at baiting students into asking Governor Perry insulting and degrading questions.

A few students did. Questions #1 and #7 from the sheet were asked during the Q&A portion:

“In 2002, you supported Texas’s anti-sodomy law. Do you dislike bootysex because the peeny goes in where the poopy comes out?”


“In your campaigns you have received hard money campaign contributions of $102 million, half of which came from 204 donors. Would you have anal sex for $102 million?”

The conduct these students displayed is the sort of trivial and immature behavior often represented on campus these days by a small group of students. This sort of behavior certainly doesn’t help Dartmouth’s PR problem, and goes against the respect and tolerance a majority of students embrace.

While I am no fan of Rick Perry, the least Dartmouth students can do is show him respect for taking the time to come and talk on campus.

Rick Perry Questions1.jpg

Not only is the College embarrassed — yet again — on the national stage, but anyone with a modicum of decorum will be embarrassed for Dartmouth. What kind of students do not understand the seriousness of the College’s and New Hampshire’s role as the first-in-the-nation primary? What kind of students don’t have the decency to ask only thoughtful questions of the governor of one of the largest states in the nation?

Let’s wait and see if other candidates strike Hanover from their itineraries.

Addendum: The D has a sanitized story about the event; the piece has received well over one hundred comments to date [209 comments as of Tuesday afternoon at 2pm]. The Daily Caller and Campus Reform describe the encounter more explicitly. New York Magazine has picked up the story, as has the Washington Examiner. The national press won’t be far behind.

Addendum: An alum writes in:

Next thing you know, they’ll be calling us Dirtmouth College.

Addendum: Well, well. It turns out that Dartmouth’s potty-mouthed students have a defender. A veteran professor writes in:

As a faculty member I applaud the students who confronted Rick Perry. I’m old enough to remember the Harvard students who in 1966 forced Robert McNamara to abandon his limousine during a visit to Harvard—a first harbinger of the protests over the Vietnam War []. I’m old enough to remember when Jerry Rubin and other members of SDS appeared before the House Unamerican Activities Committee and ridiculed that solemn committee’s proceedings, ending its 20-year reign of terror. [jerry rubin house unamerican activities committee]. My point? Theatrics and comedy are sometimes appropriate responses to smug iniquity.

Rick Perry thought that he could come to Dartmouth and strengthen his presidential bid. Up until now, he has confidently defended homophobic policies and many other destructive policies all over his Texas stamping ground. Now, Dartmouth students have shown him to be the defender of prejudice and violence that he is. Bravo, Dartmouth students!

My reaction? What is the principle elucidated by the College’s professor here? That any tactic is justified if you believe that your opponent is on the wrong side of an issue? Street theater may have its place — in the street — but if every politician can expect this type of behavior, or some variation on it, the future of civil discourse is dim.

Posted on November 11, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Monday, November 10, 2014

Watch Your Language, Provost Dever

English is a very precise language, particularly as regards tenses. You will have noted this point when listening to non-native speakers make simple mistakes (“Were you in Paris?” rather than “Have you been to Paris?”) that English-speaking people would not make. So there is no excuse when Provost Dever chooses an incorrect verb and tense, unless it was not an error at all?

From the College’s press release about this past weekend’s Trustee meeting:

Dever Magnet.jpg

If we are “becoming a magnet for incredibly talented faculty and students” [Emphasis added], the fair implication from the Provost’s choice of verb and tense is that she believes we are not yet a magnet, and we certainly have not been one in the past. Is that what Provost Dever meant to say? I hope not.

By the by, when our dear Provost was hired, the College’s announcement noted the following about her background:

Dever earned an AB in English and American literature from Boston College and her MA and PhD in English and American literature and language from Harvard University. She will be a faculty member of Dartmouth’s Department of English.

I hope that Provost Dever becomes exact in her choice of words, lest we acquire a mistaken impression about her opinion of the College’s present and past faculty and students.

Posted on November 10, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Tempest in a Teapot Time

First the Alumni Magazine published a piece, What’s Going on Here?, by Jennifer Wulff ‘96, with this excerpt:

Macias Dean.jpg

Then an alumnus sent in this Letter to the Editor to the magazine:

Good Manners letter.jpg

The letter was deemed so offensive by Kaili Lambe ‘09 that she put up a petition on the website. Strangely enough, her petition takes issue with the decision of the Alumni Magazine to publish the letter itself, not with the thoughts expressed by the writer of the letter (except to call them names).

MoveOn Dam Petition Comp.jpg

Such a reflex — attacking the publication, not the writer’s ideas — leaves me scratching my head. Does Ms. Lambe not have a passing respect for free speech and the free press? Did her Dartmouth education not instill in her an appreciation for the rights of others to express their ideas and the right of the press to publish contrary views? Perhaps she believes that in the future the Alumni Magazine should submit a draft of each issue to the various student pressure groups on campus so that they can vet it for controversial material? After all, at an institution of higher learning, we should prevent the clash of ideas whenever possible, don’t you think?

Addendum: As of this morning at 6am, the petition had gathered 252 signatures, most from Hanover.

Posted on November 10, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Sunday, November 9, 2014

El Hierro Diary: Swimming Pools

El Hierro Map.jpgHow do you swim on the rocky coast of a volcanic island when it is being lashed by mid-Atlantic waves? The people of El Hierro, the southern-most island in the Spanish archipelago of the Canary Islands that lie off the coast of Morocco, and the southern-most point in the European Union, have built out numerous open-sea swimming pools from the coastal rock. Waves wash over the pools’ edges on occasion, refreshing them with clear ocean water. The lovely spot pictured below is called Charco Azul, the Blue Pond.

El Hierro Frontera Coast.jpg

El Hierro Charcos Azul2.jpg

The island saw its last eruption in 1793, but its fresh-looking lava fields recall those of Vesuvius and the Big Island in Hawaii, both of which have seen active flows in the last 75 years. The landscape is twisted and violent, and the island’s population of approximately 10,000 people ekes out of a simple living from tourism, fishing, agriculture, and generous government subsidies.

Posted on November 9, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Meanwhile at Harvard

The Crimson has run a piece on Harvard’s hottest freshmen. How would the Dartmouth community react if The D ran a similar piece? Would the Deans allow it? Can you imagine the wailing, the handwringing and the gnashing of teeth?

Crimson Hot Freshmen Comp.jpg

Addendum: The HuffPost is reporting that as part of its Sex Week program, Harvard is offering a workshop on anal sex. Your humble servant knows of no course of instruction in Hanover today that is similar to the program in Cambridge. Once again, the College finds itself behind Harvard.

Addendum: While on the subject of college humor, in the Valley News today football Coach Buddy Teevens described still-flawless kicker Alex Gakenheimer’s reaction to being sent in for his first field goal attempt:

“The more he hits, the more comfortable and confident he gets,” said Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens, whose 5-2 team visits winless Cornell today. “I remind him of the first one he tried against Yale last year. I had to look down and watch where I stepped after I told him he was going in. That was a bad one, but he’s been better since.”

Posted on November 8, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Friday, November 7, 2014

Tommy Bruce Hits the Road

That was fast. Tommy Bruce, Phil’s Senior Vice President for Public Affairs, has been at the College for less than a year, and all of a sudden he is on indefinite leave:

Tommy Bruce4.jpg

Bruce came from Cornell, where it seems he had been passed over for the top communications job. The rumor in Hanover today is that he was fired, but I can’t find out why.

Posted on November 7, 2014 4:09 PM. Permalink