Saturday, July 30, 2016

Lax Alumnae Letters for Patton

Dartmouth women lacrosse players from the Class of 1986 through the Class of 2016 — a total of 118 women including former AD Josie Harper — have signed a letter of support for longtime coach Amy Patton. The letter appeared in the July 29 edition of Lacrosse Magazine (and a similar letter with 116 signatories was published in today’s Valley News):

An Open Letter from Dartmouth Women’s Lacrosse Alumnae
The Dartmouth Women’s Lacrosse alumnae would like to provide our perspective on the recent resignation of coach Amy Patton. More important than our disappointment at the tone of the press release and our questions about the way in which the inquiry was handled, is our concern for the reputation of a longtime coach and mentor.

Amy Patton served Dartmouth College and the student-athletes she recruited for 26 years, 24 of those years as head coach. Her accomplishments are noteworthy as are those of her former players. But all of these accolades don’t begin to illustrate the mentor she has been and the role she has played in shaping confident leaders.

In response to the press release regarding her resignation, the support for Amy Patton - her coaching, her teaching, and her mentorship - has been overwhelming. There are hundreds of women who have played for Amy over the years, who love and admire her, and who remain grateful for the lessons of hard work and community she has shared in her Dartmouth tenure and beyond. She has been a role model through her own work ethic and dedication to the program and to the individuals who have worn the Dartmouth uniform.

Posted on July 30, 2016 3:59 AM. Permalink

Tom Wolf ‘71 at the DNC

Parker Richards ‘18 at The D did a wrap-up of Dartmouth speakers at the political conventions, and he noted one speaker from the College that we missed: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf ‘71:

Posted on July 30, 2016 3:59 AM. Permalink

Friday, July 29, 2016

Brian Solomon’s Guide To The Stars: Anthropology Professor Nate Dominy

Dartmouth has a wealth of experienced professors who lead their respective research fields, while also working closely with students — inspiring them in the classroom and leading them in laboratory environments. And while at Dartblog we talk frequently about problems that need to be fixed at the College, there are still many bright spots. Our professors deserve more recognition for their achievements. As such, this is one of a series of posts that shines a spotlight on the best professors in Hanover:

Nate DominyA.jpgNate Dominy is a professor in the Department of Anthropology and an adjunct professor in the Department of Biology at the College. His anatomical research primarily concerns how humans and other primates have evolved to acquire food — a key force that has shaped who we are as a species.

Dominy’s journey to academia began as an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins, where he would complete a double major in Anthropology and English Literature. He took advantage of a program that allowed students to do research at the medical school, teaming up with an Anatomy professor and joining a trip to Costa Rica at age 18 to study monkeys (his job was mostly to catch the tranquilized animals with a net as they fell out of a tree). His love of that work has never left him.

As a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Hong Kong, Dominy continued to study primate evolution and the impact that food collection and eating has on human biology. His major work during that time contrasted four species of primates in Uganda which have trichromatic color vision, just like humans, with monkeys with only bichromatic vision (red-green color-blind). The research showed that the primates who see like humans sought out leaves and fruit that were distinguishable by the ability to see those colors — likely an evolutionary advantage we developed for this reason.

Dominy earned his Ph.D. in 2001, then did a postdoc at the University of Chicago before spending six years teaching at UC Santa Cruz. He came to Dartmouth in 2010 as an associate professor, and he earned full professor status in 2015. As a relatively young faculty member, Dominy already has an impressive h-index of 32, according to Google Scholar. He has also won the John M. Manley Huntington Award for Newly Promoted Faculty.

Dominy’s focus on primates gathering food resources has taken him all sort of places, including up into trees. The research consensus on human evolution holds that once our feet and legs changed to accommodate bipedal standing and walking, our species had to give up climbing trees. That turns out not to be entirely true. While there has been an anatomical trade-off for humans, Dominy researched communities in Africa that hunt and gather in the rainforest. The people of those communities climb trees constantly to collect honey — proving that early humans likely didn’t have to give up all tree mobility when they shifted to standing on two feet. You can learn more about this idea from Dominy here:

The most cited paper (800 citations in the works of other researchers) that Dominy has co-authored examines when and how early humans began to eat starchy foods like tubers, roots, and bulbs. To solve the question, he looked at the enzyme amalyse as a clue. To break down starchy foods, humans today have as many as sixteen copies of an amalyse-producing gene, while other primates have just two. Evidence suggests those copies began to multiply in the last 100,000 years, which shows how we likely have forced an evolution on ourselves by eating more starch over time. More here:

Dominy typically teaches a range of introductory and intermediate courses like Anthro 6, Anthro 20 and Anthro 40. This fall he’ll be adding a brand new course, Anthro 70: Experiencing Human Origins and Evolution, where students will learn about human evolution in southern Africa and then participate in a three-week trip to South Africa after the term ends. The course will be funded by President Hanlon this year, and if successful, Dominy hopes alumni will pick up the bill thereafter.

Meanwhile, Dominy is going full circle in encouraging his undergraduates to do research. Just last week, Samuel Gochman ‘18 published a study overseen by Dominy that looked at the preferences for alcohol consumption of aye-aye primates in a controlled experiment.

Dominy’s wife, Erin Butler, is a Neukom Fellow at the Thayer School.

Addendum for the kids: Dominy has also penned an academic style paper on why Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer would benefit from his glowing nose. He wrote that the article was “inspired by my daughter Eleanor, who likes to ask why.”

Addendum: An alumnus write in:

Nice article on Nate. I believe he was recruited by Buddy Teevens ‘79 to be the academic advisor to the football team. He is also leading a Dartmouth Alumni Travel trip to Borneo (to see the orangutans and other primates), Bali, and Komodo Island (dragons, of course) in the fall of 2017. Come join us!

Posted on July 29, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Hanover WiFi Blues

UCLA WiFI.jpgThere was a time not too long ago — about 30-40 years in the past — when Dartmouth’s information infrastructure was the envy of academe: John Kemeny had written BASIC with eager undergrads; other schools logged onto the Dartmouth Time Sharing System (DTSS) over phone lines at a blinding 300 baud; and the College earned Wired Magazine’s Most Wired Campus award more often than not. As late as 1998 we won Yahoo! Magazine’s award for best campus technology, and in 2002 Wired profiled us for a ground-breaking roll-out of an all-campus WiFi network. No more.

This past weekend on a visit to UCLA I could connect in one click to the campus UCLA-Roam WiFi network and download Jane Got Her Gun from iTunes in 2:30. Look at the download/upload rates to the right. Meanwhile at the College this week, each time I connected to the Dartmouth Public network (even if I did so at ten-minute intervals), I had deal with an annoying splash screen (below) and click on a “Continue” button in order to connect to a slow-as-digital-molasses network where I might even now still be downloading Natalie Portman’s latest movie. How the data rates (and the mighty) have fallen:

Dartmouth WiFi comp.jpg

When prospective students visit the College, they leave with a poor impression for any number of reasons.

Posted on July 28, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Go Maddie!

This summer’s Olympics will be fun to watch, especially the rugby. Maddie Hughes ‘15 could well lead the U.S. to victory in the 7’s:

Posted on July 28, 2016 3:59 AM. Permalink

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Dalyn A Packer?

QB Dalyn Williams ‘16’s pro dreams looked slight when he was waived by the Bears a week ago, but it seems that he has now been picked up by the Packers — the current home of Jacob Flores ‘16.

Addendum: Turns out that this is not happening after all. Dalyn had a good workout yesterday with the Pack, but after that effort the team chose to not offer him a contract.

Posted on July 27, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Dartmouth at the DNC Convention

Jake Tapper ‘91 continues to do good work for CNN:

And Senator Kirstin Gillibrand ‘88(D-NY) addressed the entire convention:

Have I missed anyone?

Addendum: Elle Magazine has a nice portrait and interview with Reverend Leah D. Daughtry ‘84, whom the piece describes as the Democratic convention CEO — “lead strategist, event manager, and problem-solver.” Daughtry performed the same function in 2008:

Leah Daughtry.jpg

Posted on July 27, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Josie Harper on Amy Patton

Josie Harper, Dartmouth’s Director of Athletics and Recreation from July 2002 until her retirement in June 2009, was on the College’s staff for close to 27 years. She was the first female AD at an Ivy League school. Harper joined the athletics department in 1981 as the women’s lacrosse head coach, a position that she held for 11 seasons. Last Tuesday in the Valley News she weighed in on l’affaire Patton:

VN Josie Haper Comp.jpg

I wonder where all of this is going to go.

Addendum: One observation in Harper’s letter bears analysis:

The day Amy Patton was forced to resign from Dartmouth College as the head coach of the women’s lacrosse program was truly a sad day for the vast majority who have played and coached in this program. [Emphasis added]

We can all agree that Patton was a fine coach in many respects, but the precise phrasing in Harper’s letter leaves room for us to also understand that a small number of players (and coaches?) had legitimate grievances concerning her treatment of them — hence Patton’s justified dismissal.

Addendum: Six members — Blake Hamblett ‘17, Kristen Hinckley ‘17, Lauren Maiorano ‘17, Taryn Deck ‘17, Courtney Weisse ‘17 and Kelly Dolan ‘17 — of the women’s lacrosse team wrote a letter to the Valley News on July 26 about their experiences with Coach Patton:

The Legacy of an Incredible Coach

In response to recent reports in the press about our former head coach, Amy Patton, we members of the Dartmouth women’s lacrosse team would like to share our perspective regarding her departure from the program. Our story is quite different from what has been publicized.

To Amy, being a member of the team meant more than simply being a lacrosse player. Amy prioritized recruiting girls who would embrace our traditions and culture rather than simply recruiting talent. We chose Dartmouth because, as aspiring and ambitious women, we knew that being a part of a program led by Amy Patton would develop us not only into great student-athletes, but also into great individuals. Amy promoted this by maintaining an unwavering faith in the potential of her players; she saw more in us than we saw in ourselves, and nothing is more empowering.

While winning games is important to our program, Amy always believed that character-building came first. Amy helped us recognize that success is never defined by awards or stats, but by growth in who we are as women.

Upholding personal values of integrity, respect, high standards and pride is paramount in Amy’s life, and she expected the same from us. Led by her example, we learned how to hold ourselves and others accountable to the highest standard and how to put the team before individual goals.

By challenging us daily, Amy taught us that nothing comes easily. She rewarded hard work, integrity and discipline, and would never compromise to accommodate those who did not share these convictions. She taught us that there are no rewards without effort. And, in the same vein, she showed us the importance of a growth mindset, that mistakes and criticism should be regarded as learning opportunities, and constructive feedback as a sign of support. These life lessons have made us better teammates, classmates, co-workers, and, ultimately, better versions of ourselves. They are qualities that we will rely on years after we leave Hanover.

Amy built a culture of excellence, pride and growth around the program. It is no coincidence that more Dartmouth parents and alumni appear at away games than the home teams’ fans. Amy created a lacrosse family that transcends the game itself. Being a Dartmouth women’s lacrosse player is not easy, but if you persevere, you will graduate with a lifetime support system of hundreds of amazing women all connected by Amy.

It is possible that Amy may have been misunderstood by those who never had the opportunity of putting on a jersey for her. So it is imperative that we define Amy Patton’s legacy for what it is — an incredible coach, mentor and someone who upheld the Dartmouth way — on the field and off.

Blake Hamblett, Kristen Hinckley, Lauren Maiorano, Taryn Deck, Courtney Weisse,
Kelly Dolan

Members of the Dartmouth women’s lacrosse team

Posted on July 26, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Monday, July 25, 2016

Patton Dismissal Contested

In the most recent issue of Lacrosse Magazine, a letter signed by “The Current Dartmouth Women’s Lacrosse Team” was published:

Lacrosse Women's Letter.jpg

Given that there is at least one whistleblower on the team who took issue with Coach Patton’s behavior, the reader must question whether all of the members of the team signed the letter.

The article accompanying the letter included the following quote:

“We feel that the report released by Dartmouth was not representative of our voices as players regarding our experiences with and respect for Amy,” Blake Hamblett [‘17], a senior defender for the Big Green, wrote in an email to Lacrosse Magazine.

I wrote to Blake to see if she has obtained the “report” on Coach Patton that led to her dismissal. Nothing has been circulated by the Athletics department; to do so would be a violation of Patton’s legal right to privacy. Blake responded promptly that she had not seen the College’s investigatory report; she was referring only to the press release issued by the Athletics department.

Sources indicate that the department’s investigation into Amy Patton’s behavior was the first of its kind in memory. The fact that the investigation took place at all, and that the conclusion was so decisive — dismissing Patton virtually on the spot — leads one to believe that its findings were corroborated by multiple team members and its implications were clear cut.

Athletics Director Harry Sheehy is not a political guy, but in this instance he had the option of discretely offering Patton one last season before she “moved on to a new opportunity” or fêting her “retirement” from Dartmouth — actions that might have been possible had the investigation not uncovered serious misbehavior. Apparently easing the 26-year-veteran College coach out the door with a graceful, final-lap exit was not an option.

In addition, the Athletics department’s announcement of Patton’s departure was unusually direct, as if to communicate to observers in the lacrosse world that she is not a coach that another school would want to hire.

The “Current Dartmouth Women’s Lacrosse Team” letter published in Lacrosse Magazine defending Patton and the fact that some of the players are being investigated by the Town of Hanover Police may indicate something of the atmosphere inside the program (Psych 1 students will recognize the idea of identification with the oppressor). No doubt such an environment makes it difficult for the whistleblower to remain active with the team. We can only applaud her courage.

There has been no indication that Patton is contemplating litigation.

Posted on July 25, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hark! An Artist Lurks

We can agree that it must be tough to stencil bicycle-lane symbols onto the pavement all the livelong day. So what’s a civil servant with the soul of an artist to do when there’s a little spare paint on hand to add to the stencils that must be placed every few yards? Here’s what: Image #1 displays the standard bike lane stencil as ordained by the Town of Hanover Public Works Department: unisex, schematic and humorless; Image #2, au contraire, appears to depict a cyclist sporting an English bowler; Image #3 shows a visiting Mexican in a sombrero; and Image #4 has the rider in a headdress, possibly Native American?

Bike Lane Comp.jpg

Bravo. I rarely fail to smile as I pedal by.

Addendum: Needless to say, I could not possibly divulge the location in Hanover of this burst of creativity for fear that the forces of orderliness might intervene.

Posted on July 24, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Diversity in Action: Harmeet Dhillon ‘89

Harmeet Dhillon1.jpgFor some reason the College Communications Office’s new organ, the Dartmouth News, did not report on the fact that Harmeet Dhillon ‘89 delivered the invocation on the second day of the Republican convention. She sang her prayer in Punjabi and then translated it into English. Among her thoughts:

Please give us the courage to make the right choices, to make common cause with those with whom we disagree, for the greater good of our nation.

At the College, where she majored in Classics, Dhillon was Editor-in-Chief of the Review, and after graduation she went to law school at UVA. She has been active in Republican politics (she was head of the nation’s largest Federalist Society chapter) and, perhaps uniquely, she was a board member of the ACLU for three years (the ACLU represented several Review staffers during the Bill Cole affair). She runs a small company, Sea Ranch Woolworks, that makes knitted goods from the wool produced on her 300-acre farm, and she also runs a law firm, Dhillon & Smith LLP, that she co-founded in 2006.

In 2013, Dhillon ran for vice chairwoman of the California state GOP, won by a landslide, and since then she has become the public face of the state GOP. Dhillon has the support of Charlie Munger Jr. — who is an important GOP contributor, a Stanford physicist, and the son of Warren Buffett’s renowned partner of the same name at Berkshire Hathaway. When she was elected, Munger said, “As she’s proven, she’s a rising star in the party and she’s also a sharp cookie and highly able. One has to distinguish, she was elected on her merits,” he added. “She got there in spite of being a woman, in spite of being Sikh. She’s the first woman vice chair in party history. There was no royal road paved for her.”

Addendum: In fairness to the College’s media, the estimable Alumni Magazine ran a thorough profile of Harmeet in its May/June 2013 issue.

Posted on July 23, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Laura Ingraham Speech at Convention

Laura Ingraham ‘85, an alumna of the Dartmouth Review, spoke at the Republican Convention, too:

Addendum: Not a word on the College’s website about Laura’s speech either.

Posted on July 23, 2016 3:59 AM. Permalink

Friday, July 22, 2016

Brian Solomon’s Guide To The Stars: Government Professor John Carey

Dartmouth has a wealth of experienced professors who lead their respective research fields, while also working closely with students — inspiring them in the classroom and leading them in laboratory environments. And while at Dartblog we talk frequently about problems that need to be fixed at the College, there are still many bright spots. Our professors deserve more recognition for their achievements. As such, this is one of a series of posts that shines a spotlight on the best professors in Hanover:

John Carey.jpgJohn Carey is the John Wentworth Professor in the Social Sciences in the Government department. His research on the success or failure of democracies based on their political and electoral structure is of particular relevance to American observers after this crazy week at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Carey’s eventual path to Dartmouth took an early detour on a salmon fishing boat in Kasilof, Alaska. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard in 1986 with a certificate in Latin American Studies, Carey went with some buddies up to Alaska to make a good paycheck working the summer fishing season. He loved working and living as a crew member of one boat, and he returned for the next four summers as well. As salmon prices peaked, Carey even considered buying a permit to start his own operation — but both he and Dartmouth are thankful that he decided against it.

Instead, Carey served for a year as a legislative assistant in Washington, D.C. for then-Senator John Kerry before earning his Ph.D. in political science from UCSD. After teaching stints at the Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, the University of Rochester, Washington University in St. Louis, and Harvard, Carey came to Hanover in 2003. Since then, he’s been an active teacher, researcher, and leader. After serving as chair of the government department from 2009 to 2015, Carey is now on both the Committee Advisory to the President (CAP) and the Institutional Review Board for Arts & Sciences.

At UCSD Carey began to analyze Latin American democracies and dictatorships — often a fine line. There he coauthored Presidents and Assemblies: Constitutional Design and Electoral Dynamics with Matthew Shugart, one of his professors. The book, which has since been translated into six languages, critiqued the popular notion that democracy could have survived in some countries if only they had had a parliamentary system with less power wielded by a single president. Carey’s two pieces of scholarship with Shugart (the other is: Incentives to cultivate a personal vote: A rank ordering of electoral formulas) have been cited 3,499 and 1,858 times respectively in the works of other researchers).

Carey noted in the first work above that not all presidential-based democracies are created equal, an argument he’s still making. Earlier this year in The Washington Post, he described how the United States was designed specifically to have a relatively weak presidency compared to other countries, even accounting for the creeping gain in power under the last two administrations. As Carey says, Ecuadorians or Colombians would have much more to be worried about from electing President Donald Trump than we do — a comforting thought during this election season.

Carey has also researched the effects term limits have had both in Latin America and state legislatures here at home. Unfortunately, none of his findings indicate that term limits encourage a more citizen-influenced (rather than career-politician) legislature or make the elected bodies more effective institutions. Rather, term-limited politicians simply look for the elected or appointed office that they can jump to next, and they tend to work to gain favor with the gatekeepers to those jobs rather than with the people who elected them.

While the themes of democratic rules and structure continue to form the core of Carey’s work, he has branched out into some new areas. He and his fellow Dartmouth government professor Yusaku Horiuchi waded into the radioactive topic of campus diversity recently. Instead of a poll, their study used fully randomized conjoint analysis, which presented respondents with a pair of hypothetical candidates for student admission or faculty hiring and asked which one he or she would select. Each candidate was assigned a random “bundle of attributes” that includes race and gender, as well as academic resumes and other factors. Their results showed remarkable consistency in valuing diversity on campus, with slight differences among various groups.

Carey is also teaming up with colleagues Brendan Nyhan, Benjamin Valentino and Mingnan Liu on a unique study of “Deflategate” — the NFL scandal surrounding New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s alleged deflation of footballs to give an edge to his team. The forthcoming paper, using conversations Carey had with other Patriots fans, will show “how preferences and predispositions shape conspiracy beliefs” about the scandal.

Meanwhile, Carey has a full load of courses, usually teaching GOV 4: Politics of the World, GOV 26: Elections and Reform, and GOV 49: Latin American Politics. This fall, however, he’ll be leading the government foreign study program to the London School of Economics. There he’ll be teaching a new course on the ethical and policy considerations of foreign aid.

Addendum: In this video, Carey interviews Hendrik Hertzberg, a Senior Editor and Staff Writer at The New Yorker:

Addendum: Carey consults widely on the structure of electoral systems. In the last decade his clients have included: the United States State Department, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, L-3 Communications, Freedom House, the Kadima Party of Israel, and the Government of Bolivia.

Addendum: Carey communicated his love of the College to his sons: Joe Carey graduated from Dartmouth in 2015, and he is now learning to fly in the Marines; Sam, a math major, is an ‘18.

Addendum: An admiring alumnus writes in:

A former JV hockey player at Harvard, John is also the academic advisor to the hockey team, and he has been involved in Hanover youth hockey for many years.

Posted on July 22, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Tenure/Teaching: The Pendulum Swings

A member of the faculty writes in:

Faculty hired 5-7 years ago were told explicitly that a couple of peer-reviewed articles and a book contract with a well-respected academic press was sufficient for tenure. I often used the word “humane” to describe the requirements for tenure, in that they rewarded both scholarship of a high caliber and teaching prowess. Dartmouth had a reputation as a place where work-life balance was valued, and the inconveniences associated with its rural location were offset by the benefits of raising children within a close-knit community.

Professors hired at that time are now coming up for tenure, having been mentored by department members whose curriculum vitae were far less impressive when they initially made associate. Some of my peers were pressured into service commitments that would have no bearing on tenure, and encouraged to take on projects (writing for anthologies and organizing conferences, for example) that would be time-consuming yet not lead to professional advancement. Recent tenure decisions have many members of my cohort scrambling for the exits—going on the market and taking on visiting appointments elsewhere—now that they understand that they were given a false impression of how different aspects of their trajectories would be evaluated.

I hate to say this, but many younger colleagues express regret at having agonized over their lesson plans and expended so much effort on honing their skills as classroom instructors, when a talent for teaching simply does not factor into tenure decisions. Phil Hanlon’s recent remarks on education only confirm what we already know, that Dartmouth is moving toward a corporate state university model wherein professors are retained for their “productivity”—quantity of publication over quality—and ability to bring in large grants, while underpaid adjuncts teach undergraduates.

The standalone graduate school announced in October cements Dartmouth’s movement in this direction, since teaching experience is mandatory for professionalization, and what are graduate students but an easily exploitable workforce?

I hope readers appreciate this carefully thought through and well expressed opinion. That Phil has tightened up tenure standards is a good thing — we have noted in the past that Jim Wright and his gang often granted tenure for political loyalty and social ties (to people who will be in Hanover for 30+ years stuck at the associate professor level) — but Phil’s search for prestige has gone too far: the word is out there now among tenure-track faculty members that Phil and Carolyn are looking only for prestige and publications, and teaching and mentoring students count for little or nothing.

Beyond that point, when the call goes out for faculty members to become involved in the new house system and in advising students, how do you expect junior faculty to respond? Phil is sending mixed signals here: get involved in the houses, but at tenure time don’t expect any credit for the time that you spend.

What’s a young professor to do?

Addendum: A professor of some wit and no little achievement writes in:

“…a couple of peer-reviewed articles and a book contract with a well-respected academic press was sufficient for tenure.” Seriously? And what do they do in the second year?

Posted on July 21, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Student Crime Spree Continues

Melanie Vangel.jpegAbout a month ago we ran a can-you-believe-this post about a student from Camden, Maine, a graduate of Loomis Chaffee, Melanie Vangel ‘18, who stole a dog named Fred from the Rutland dog pound. Melanie had been a starter for the soccer team over two seasons before being booted (haha, the best puns are unintentional) off the squad. In a recent disturbing turn for the worse, it seems that she has ramped up her life of crime to a new level, as the Portland Press Herald reported two days ago:

The State Fire Marshal’s Office has charged a Lincolnville woman with setting a vehicle on fire in Cape Elizabeth over the weekend.

Melanie Vangel, 20, was arrested and charged with two counts of arson and one count of unauthorized use of property in the incident on Saturday, in which investigators say she stole a van from Rockport, drove to New Hampshire, parked the van next to a garage at 2 Lights Terrace in Cape Elizabeth and set it on fire.

The 2014 Chrysler Town and Country was destroyed and the garage sustained several thousand dollars in damage. Vangel was arrested late Saturday night in Cape Elizabeth.

Investigators say the van was stolen either late Friday night or early Saturday morning from a location in Rockport. No one was injured in the incident.

Cape Elizabeth and Rockport police departments also were involved in the investigation.

To go from a varsity soccer player at the College to a thief and destroyer of property is sad. We can only hope that Melanie gets her act together.

Addendum: Melanie went to school in Cape Elizabeth before going to Loomis Chaffee. In the Fall of 2011 she was Cape Elizabeth’s Female Athlete of the Year.

Addendum: The D now has the full story.

Posted on July 20, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hanover’s Misguided Souls

BLM Hanover.jpg

They are out there every Monday — the Black Lives Matter crowd — united in their caring, and in their woeful incomprehension of how the world works. They want to end police violence against black bodies, and I hope against any bodies, but they say not a word about allowing police chiefs to fire the three of four cops on any force that chiefs know are loaded pistols — both literally and figuratively. Police unions are tough as nails, and to have a cop dismissed is well nigh impossible.

I expect that the BLM folks are opposed to the mass incarceration of black bodies, too. But do they have anything to say about the prison guards’ unions, who can be counted on to contribute massively to political candidates who do not want to reduce the prison population in America? The guards can see no further than their jobs and benefits. Black lives don’t matter to them.

Of course the root of the problem lies in the nation’s primary and secondary schools, particularly in inner city areas where so many black bodies are educated. How to fire sub-standard teachers, ones who will stunt the learning of their charges pretty much forever. Could it be that school principals don’t have the will to improve the quality of teaching, or is it almost impossible to fire teachers due the power of the teachers’ labor…. oh, you get my drift.

But do the BLM protesters?

I could go on, but suffice it to say that no coaches in the land would accept to run a team where they could not trade, bench or cut low-performing players. And no managers would attempt to direct an organization without the power to terminate sub-par employees. That observation, more than anything else, explains the parlous state of many of our institutions, and why they don’t serve our citizens very well, particularly African Americans.

Posted on July 19, 2016 3:59 AM. Permalink

Monday, July 18, 2016

BREAKING: Hanover Police Investigate Lacrosse Players for Privacy Violation

Amy Patton1.jpgThe forced resignation of 26-year-veteran women’s lacrosse coach Amy Patton (known widely as “the General” — and not just for her name) continues to generate controversy. Players, alumni, friends of the team and players’ parents have been writing letters in support of Patton and objecting to her termination.

Now Dartblog has learned that several team members (but no coaches or other adults) are under investigation for a privacy violation. Responding to my inquiry, Town of Hanover Chief of Police Charlie Dennis wrote:

We currently have an active investigation looking into a Violation of Privacy, NH RSA 644:9. We received this information in June. This case involves some members (students) of the women’s La Crosse [sic] team. Violation of Privacy is a Class A misdemeanor. That is about all I can release now.

The New Hampshire law in question reads as follows:

NH 644 - 9 Privacy.jpg

Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,000.

The atmosphere on Patton’s teams has been commented on for some time, and as we quoted the other day, the Valley News noted in an article about Patton’s departure that the women’s lacrosse team’s assistant coaching ranks have seen high turnover during the past several years:

Patton experienced steady turnover among her assistant coaches during recent seasons. The program has had 10 changes to the assistant coach lineup since 2010, generally employing two at a time, plus a volunteer coach.

In contrast, while the men’s team has seen the departure of head coach Andrew Towers in favor of Brendan Callahan three seasons ago, assistant coach turnover was about half what it was at the women’s team. Some turnover on the men’s team would not be unexpected, given the arrival of a new head coach.

Patton resigned, according to the College’s press release, after the conclusion of an investigation into her conduct:

This decision followed an inquiry that led college officials to conclude that Patton engaged in conduct inconsistent with the standards of Dartmouth Athletics and that change is in the best interest of the program.

The inquiry, which began in April in response to a grievance and expanded based on information that was received, included interviews with Patton, current and former team members, assistant women’s lacrosse coaches, and other athletic department and college staff.

Of course, the College is bound, as are all employers, by rules limiting what it may say about employees. Should it violate disclosure rules, the NH Department of Labor would descend on the Athletics Department in a heartbeat (as I like to say: believe me, I know). However, a dismissed employee, though at theoretical risk of a lawsuit for slander, is free to comment at will.

Sources indicate that the ongoing police investigation relates to some form of harassment of the whistleblowing player whose complaint led to the investigation that culminated in Patton’s departure.

Addendum: Members of the Friends of Dartmouth Lacrosse Women’s Advisory Board (Josie Harper ‘47a, Jane Kirrstetter Ingram ‘78, Roseanne Byron McSween ‘84, Mary Page Michel ‘87, Martha Boss Bennett ‘89, Marianne Bocock Doyle ‘92, Jenny Edwards Wood ‘95, Suzanne Gibbons Owen ‘01, Kate Killen Haffenreffer ‘04, Margo Duke Simpson ‘07, Elizabeth Bennett Heritage ‘10, Shannon MacKenzie ‘11, Elizabeth Calby ‘14) have written a three-page letter to President Hanlon, Trustee Chair Bill Helman, and the Dartmouth Athletics Advisory Board detailing what they see as a deeply flawed investigation leading to Coach Patton’s departure. They describe the inquiry and its methods as “grossly unfair,” “intimidating and unprofessional,” and “unethical.” Among many other concerns, they charge that students were threatened with being prevented from graduating if they did not cooperate with investigators. AD Harry Sheehy is not a listed recipient of the letter.

Addendum: A former Dartmouth lax player comments:

Along with other Alums of the Dartmouth WLAX program, I am deeply upset by this news. I wonder if this investigation or even this press release would have been handled the same way if this were a male coach of women athletes? Likely not. In addition, over-involved sports parents and their offspring who blame others (including coaches) as a way to ease their own insecurities and disappointment has sadly become the new normal nowadays.

The lessons I learned from Amy P. (not all of them easy) have stayed with my today and informed my leadership at work, the way I live, and the way I parent my own kids. I am saddened to hear she is leaving Dartmouth and worried/wondering whether female coaches of women athletes today are fully allowed to do their jobs in ways that push and grow student-athletes for their greater good and for the team’s greater good?

Addendum: A male athlete from a recent class writes in:

I wanted to comment on the Amy Patton resignation and the article suggesting it was a brave move by Harry Sheehy. I can assure you that the Women’s Lacrosse alumni base are furious with this outcome. There were three specific players that led the campaign against Amy, all of whom were known to be weak contributors on and off the field. The player that filed the initial complaint has never passed her annual conditioning test, and she also filed a bullying suit against a teammate in high school.

Players, alumni, and their parents have sent (literally) hundreds of e-mails to Phil Hanlon and the board this weekend writing that they are withdrawing all support for Dartmouth (read: financially).

The team and recent alums were never contacted by Sheehy (the majority were not) and feel the investigation was totally one-sided. Amy Patton was an iconic lacrosse coach for over 26 years at Dartmouth and she deserves far better than a one-sided investigation because of a disgruntled player. This is a gross example of a spoiled athlete who didn’t deserve the privilege of playing for Dartmouth. I think your readers should know the full story.

Posted on July 18, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Impression Soleil Levant

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

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

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

Posted on July 17, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Descending Into Chaos?

Embassy Alert.jpg

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

Posted on July 17, 2016 3:59 AM. Permalink

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Just Another Dartmouth Pretty Face

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

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

Natalie Ludwig1.jpg

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

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

Posted on July 16, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

A Powerful Truth

Posted on July 16, 2016 3:59 AM. Permalink

Friday, July 15, 2016

Like Faculty, Dislike Phil

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

D Survey Class of 2018.jpeg

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

Posted on July 15, 2016 5:36 AM. Permalink

We Have Lost Our Way

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

Harpers Dartmouth Comp1.jpg

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

Harpers Dartmouth Comp2.jpg

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

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

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

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

Posted on July 15, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Thursday, July 14, 2016

You’re So Lame

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

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

Dartmouth Facebook Ad.jpg

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

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

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

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

Addendum: As does a ‘68:

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

Posted on July 14, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Dartmouth and Princeton?

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

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

Forbes Grateful Grads Index 2016 Comp.jpg

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

US News Teaching 2016 Comp.jpg

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

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

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

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

Posted on July 13, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

BLM: Total BS? (response)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Addendum: A faithful reader writes in:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Addendum: A recent alumnus comments:

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

Posted on July 12, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Abbey’s Going to Rio, Too

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

Abbey D'agostino.jpg

Muito bom, Abbey!

Posted on July 12, 2016 3:59 AM. Permalink

Monday, July 11, 2016

Professor Marty Favor Gets 66 Months

Martin Favor Sentencing.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Addendum: A reader writes in:

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

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

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

Edmund Burke and all that, Prof. Farid.

Posted on July 11, 2016 8:51 PM. Permalink

BLM: Total BS? (comments)

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

The first one:

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

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

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

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

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

And the second:

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

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

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

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

I would encourage you to heed Mark Twain:

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

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

A response tomorrow.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

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

Posted on July 11, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Embedded Double Window Shades

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

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

Posted on July 10, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink