Thursday, April 17, 2014

What School Are You Talking About?

The other day we noted that OPAL was actively training students to see themselves as endlessly victimized by racial prejudice and to respond aggressively to anything that they might perceive as the slightest slight. The people involved in that effort are coming into focus now. However, two of Dartmouth’s most notorious social justice warriors are no longer with the College.

Ashlee Consulting Comp.jpgI’m talking about Kyle and Aeriel Ashlee, she an Assistant Dean and OPAL Adviser to Pan-Asian Students, and he the acting Director for the Center for Gender and Student Engagement. It seems that while he had been working “fulltime” for the College, and she had been on “medical leave,” they had been working hard setting up their private consulting business. Both recently resigned.

This space has commented on Aeriel Ashlee before, when she was Aeriel Anderson. Her blog gives one an inkling of her approach to the world:

I have written before about microaggressions and stereotypes targeting Asian Americans. I have written about my frustration of traveling far away from the streets of a racialized America and yet still being accosted by the ignorant. I have shared stories of racial prejudice towards Asian Americans and thoughts on triumphs of breaking boundaries of racial typecasting. I have rambled and reflected, and yet here I am again making issue of Asian American identity. What’s my beef? Why can’t I just “let it go”? Because this shit is in my face everyday.

However Kyle Ashlee has not heretofore come to our attention. That’s a shame. Judging from a piece that he wrote on Monday in The Good Men Project entitled Bravery in the Ivy League, his views are provocative, to say the least. Read his take on daily student life in Hanover:

It’s late on a Friday night and a rowdy group of drunken co-eds stumble through the entryway of the student center at Dartmouth College. Shouting obnoxiously, one of the inebriated students kicks over a wet floor sign while another angrily tears down a flyer advertising a gathering for student protest on campus. The student worker behind the food counter sighs deeply and prepares for the impending exchange. Sadly, it’s one that she is all too familiar with.

As the hostile group approaches the counter, the alpha male of the group barks his order at the young Black woman without apology. Despite having received a scholarship for tuition, this First-Generation college student took on the serving job as a way to survive the high cost of college without financial support from her family back home. She rang up the order and moved on to dealing with the other demands and slurred food orders. A few minutes later, one of the students stumbles back to the counter:

“You’re all out of forks. Where the hell can I find a God damn fork around here?”

Having dealt with his type many times, she responded with dignity:

“There are more forks on the other side of the dining hall. And do you mind treating me with a little respect, please?”

A puzzled look of disbelief fell over his face. Without thinking, he gathered all of the alcohol soaked saliva in his mouth and spit a violent wad of phlegm directly in her face: “Respect? A n***** like you doesn’t even belong at this school. You should feel lucky to be serving me food.”

Disgusted and appalled, she immediately phoned Campus Safety to report the egregious offense. Later, a security officer arrived to the student center in response. The drunken aggressors were long gone at that point, having left behind their half-eaten slices of pizza and chicken tenders for someone else to clean up.

While this may sound like an extreme incident of disrespect and racism, it is a scene not wildly uncommon at the prestigious institution of Dartmouth College. As a former administrator at the college, I heard from many students who had been treated similarly at some point in their academic career…

During my two years at Dartmouth, many students came into my office with heartbreaking accounts like the one shared here. These are the stories that the outside world never thinks about when Ivy League schools like Dartmouth College come up in conversation.

Come again? Does Kyle Ashlee seriously assert that it’s “not wildly uncommon” for a male Dartmouth student to spit in the face of a female undergrad working at Collis and call her a “n*****” in front of several other students. Frankly, I don’t believe for a minute that the incident occurred. How could such an event (or many events?) go unreported and unpunished on a campus where only last year Safety & Security conducted a manhunt for a student who spoke faux-Chinese to two Asian students?

Of course, the slanderous story is out there now. I bet that in eight months year applications to Dartmouth will probably drop by another few percentage points due to the fervid imagination of a now-former employee of the College.

Addendum: OPAL is an ongoing soap opera. A couple of years ago, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Advisor to Black Students Quantrell Willis resigned his position after only five months on the job. His stated reason was “in order to have additional time to focus on his family.” Uh, right. Certainly his extremely close advisory role with an undergraduate had nothing to do with his departure.

Addendum: Kyle Ashlee’s piece has already been picked up by Business Insider.

Addendum: Some quick answers from students about the supposed incident at Collis:

Quite easy to prove that article false in multiple ways: the biggest being that we use our student ids to buy food. Go back to the time the guy paid for his meal, find out who paid at that time, match face, boom, kid expelled. This article is a huge lie.


Ashlee’s story reeks of lies - small ones, like saying Collis serves pizza or that the woman was both a food handler and a cashier at the same time, and big ones like claiming these men could not have been caught. Post-renovation Collis is rigged with *many* security cameras and if she was a hybrid food handler/cashier (which doesn’t actually exist), the incident would have occurred somewhere near a cash register. These men would have been identified, the incident would have been in safety and security logs, and it would have been reported by the daily Dartmouth.

It’s getting harder and harder to separate the lies from the truth. Whatever, as long as it makes good story…

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

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Student Life Initiative, Part 2?

Phil is beating the tomtom for change at the College. But will anything more come of this effort than a rehashed Year 2000 Student Life Initiative — the one that pleaded for dorm continuity, etc.?

Call to Action.jpg

Posted on April 16, 2014 4:43 PM. Permalink

The Summit of All Fears

So Phil is taking a break from fundraising to convene an invitation-only Summit to Address Extreme Behavior tonight in 105 Dartmouth. I wonder what the carefully chosen people in attendance will discuss, and why the event is not open to the campus.

Methinks back to Carol Folt’s select little group that voted to shut the College for a day last year. Is Charlotte’s web growing tighter?


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

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Let’s Play Free Association

Dartmouth Social Media.jpgThe College is fighting back on the social media front: UltraViolet’s campaign will not be left unanswered. If you see the image at right on a webpage and you click on it, you will be directed to Dartmouth’s Sexual Assault Prevention, Education, and Response page. UV says we have a sexual assault problem, and the administration’s campaign says that we are taking serious steps to fight the problem. Oh, joy. What will high school seniors, parents and college counselors think of first when the words Dartmouth College are mentioned?

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

Students Should Follow the Rules

Now there’s a crazy thought? The Improve Dartmouth website is a forum for commonsensical ideas. Here’s one of them:

Standard of Conduct CompA.jpg

We’re not talking about victimless crime here — like a 20-year-old drinking a beer — but students aggressively invading Dartmouth events and spaces where the work of the College is being done. We’ve discussed the same idea in the past in relation to the RealTalk disruption of Dimensions last year:

…the principles of non-violent protest include an acceptance of punishment. In being sanctioned, the demonstrators show commitment to their cause, and if their cause is just, their plight elicits further community support.

This space likes to refer to the value of precedent. If the RealTalkers are not punished, how can the College contemplate punishing any future group that disrupts College events such as films, concerts, speeches, lectures, or other gatherings of members of the Dartmouth community?

Of course, the possibility exists that last year’s RealTalkers and this year’s Freedom Budgeters had and have little or no support in the community.

Addeundum: Don’t hesitate to vote for this proposal.

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

Dan Fagin ‘85 Wins Pulitzer

Dan Fagin Comp.jpg

He won for his book, Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation.

Fagin was the Editor-in-Chief of The D when he was at the College.

Posted on April 15, 2014 12:06 AM. Permalink

Monday, April 14, 2014

BREAKING: Distubance at Parkhurst

David Vincelette1.jpg

The D is reporting that Vincelette is a member of the Class of 1984. That fact would mean that the man was about 27 years old when he graduated from the College.

Last year at the Town of Hanover annual meeting on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, Vincelette, who is listed by the Better Business Bureau as a general contractor, made a series of extended statements (as recorded by the minute taker of the meeting). The following is an excerpt:

David Vincelette stated that he has lived in Hanover for 32 years. He stated that he is concerned about the conservation group because he is facing foreclosure on his home. The Upper Valley Land Trust and conservation groups have called him to ask about purchasing his land and force him off the land next to it. He stated that the Town has already forced him off other land that he owned and removed all of his papers and effects and he noted that there hasn’t been a word from any member of the community. He stated that he is not running for anything and he’s not running from anything. He stated that he came here (to Hanover) with a golden invitation from a College on a hill after he served 3 years in the military. He stated that he’s not sure why he has been treated this way by the Town. He stated that he lives simply and has very little money. He stated that he owes a debt of appreciation to Kate Connolly who helped him with his purchase of a run- down camp near the Tanzi Brook. He stated that he was badly injured in the Army and served his family, God and his country. Mr. Vincelette went on to state that he’s a flawed man but that they are all citizens and deserve the rights to citizenship.

A person in attendance at the meeting referred to Vincelette’s comments as “the rantings of a crazy man.”

Posted on April 14, 2014 4:19 PM. Permalink

Improve Dick’s House? Who Cares?

If you are a Dartmouth undergraduate and you want first-class medical care, there is an easy solution to your woes: withdraw as a student (your folks will be happy; tuition is costing them a fortune) and get a job at the College. As an employee, you will have advisers and counselors begging to provide you with health-related services.

Student have been complaining about Dick’s House for years, and the complaints just keep on coming at the Improve Dartmouth website:

Dick's House Improve.jpg

However, if you become a staffer you can join the College’s concièrge medical service. It’s for employees only, of course. At Dartmouth Health Connect, you will have a dedicated wellness coach and an entire team of healthcare providers eager to look after you:

Dartmouth Health Connect Comp1.jpg

Also, for mental health care, there is the Faculty/Employee Assistance Program, which will regularly solicit you to come in for one of the eight free chats that you are offered by the College’s healthcare plan each year:

FEAP Site Visit.jpg

As well, you can get advice on your various medications. Note that you will be assisted by a full-bird psychiatrist:

FEAP Medication.jpg

And if a tragedy takes place, say in Boston, by all means come in for a consultation:

FEAP Marathon.jpg

And how much do these luxurious benefits cost the College? That’s hard to tell, but in 2013, the total cost of benefits for all Dartmouth employees came to $124,583,000. Meanwhile, at Brown, which has approximately the same number of full time employees as the College, employee benefits cost $94,185,000. That’s a difference of $30,398,000.

Addendum: After deducting financial aid, the College took in $119,186,100 in undergraduate tuition and fees. Wouldn’t it be nice to cut employee benefits to Brown’s level and pass the $30,398,000 in savings on to Dartmouth students and their families? That money would be enough to effect a 25% cut in tuition.

By way of background, tuition, room, board and fees at the College will be $61,947 during the 2014-15 academic year; at Brown comparable costs will be $59,428 — a difference of $2,519 (-4.2%). We all know where that extra money goes.

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

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Gentle Burst of Spring

I have always loved spring’s earliest days for the color of tree leaves. The pale green mixed with yellow possesses a freshness that makes one want to breathe deeply and exult (though riding a Vélib through Paris at high speed has the same effect):


The 17th Century Italianate Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption church in the rue St. Honoré in the 8th arrondissment is the religious center of Paris’ Polish community.

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

The Resonance of Duke Lacrosse

David Shribman ‘76, a Trustee from 1993-2003, has written a fine review for the Wall Street Journal of William D. Cohan’s book, “The Price of Silence: The Duke Lacrosse Scandal, the Power of the Elite, and the Corruption of Our Great Universities.” His observation below holds an echo for anyone who follows the current life of Dartmouth College:

But this book is also about the power of narrative. The narrative in Durham and across the country growing out of this episode was simply too delicious for its own good: Snotty, privileged boys at an elite school playing an elite sport hold a private party where their worst impulses were played out in a drama involving a woman who was a member of both a racial minority and the economic underclass. The story satisfied every politically correct assumption. The only obstacle was that, while the snotty/privileged/elite part was true, and also the loutish behavior, the boys didn’t rape the woman. The rush to judgment on the part of the campus community—well ahead of due process—was a travesty of its own.

Mr. Cohan captures brilliantly the theater of the absurd that is played out on campuses every year over one controversy or another: the predictable groups behaving predictably, the loudest advocates for social justice often too impatient to let legal justice take its course, the voices of reason drowned out by the clatter of cliché…

That said, it is clear in these pages that, while the members of the Duke lacrosse team were not guilty of the crimes for which they were arraigned, they also were not innocents.

Shribman is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Press.

Addendum: An alumnus points us towards some of the aspects of the Duke situation that did not come up in Shribman’s book review:

Interesting WSJ review from Shribman. However, he passes lightly over some of the most egregious misconduct from the prosecutor, and the Duke administration and faculty. The prosecutor didn’t just “have a taste for hype and hyperbole,” he had political ambitions that he thought would be served by inflaming black voters’ paranoia, and was willing to wreck people’s lives to further them.

Shribman does not mention the faculty statement signed by over 80 members condemning the defendants, at least not directly. The fact that the faculty had no knowledge of what had in fact happened did not slow them down in the least.

The authority on what happened at Duke and the aftermath is K.C. Johnson, who has followed this nearly from the inception on his Durham-In-Wonderland blog. Johnson demolishes author Cohan here:

Shribman’s review appears in a very different light after one reads Johnson.

Posted on April 13, 2014 12:41 AM. Permalink

Saturday, April 12, 2014

UltraViolet Story Goes National

Last Saturday, we reported on UltraViolet’s campaign against what it called the College’s “rape culture.” The story has now made the national media. Here is Bloomberg’s story:

Ultraviolet Bloomberg Comp.jpg

Read the full story here. The College’s social media ads direct the viewer to this College webpage.

Meanwhile, the New York Times has noted the disparate evolution in the number of applications at the different Ivies:

NYT Admissions Graph 2014.jpg

In the piece, Dean Laskaris trots out the tired old explanations to deflect attention away from the significant drop, but the Times is not fooled:

“We are doing some work to understand why,” says Maria Laskaris, Dartmouth dean of admissions and financial aid. For one, there are fewer applicants from the Northeast and Midwest, mirroring declining pools of high school students in the regions. And with most attending college within 200 miles of home, she says, “there are fewer students in our own backyard.” Dartmouth’s reputation has also taken a hit over charges that it has failed to combat sexual violence on campus, spurring the president last month to propose a new sexual assault disciplinary policy.

Is anyone fooled?

Addendum: Numerous papers, including the Valley News, have picked up the Bloomberg report.

Posted on April 12, 2014 3:20 PM. Permalink

Learn to Invade Phil’s Office

At Dartmouth there are bureaucrats who spend time teaching hardworking freshmen — kids who want to be doctors and scientists — that they are aggrieved minorities who need to express their new-found unhappiness disrespectfully:


Students don’t come up with protests like the Freedom Budget and the invasion of Phil’s office in Parkhurst on their own. OPAL is there to teach them.

Addendum: How about replacing these payroll radicals with tutors and other academic support professionals who can help students succeed despite their relative lack of preparedness to study STEM subjects in the Ivy League.

Addendum: No better example of the end result of OPAL’s teaching is to be found than in the case of Jennifer McGrew.

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

Just in Time for Admissions Season

The book will be out on September 16.

Lohse Amazon.jpg

Posted on April 12, 2014 3:59 AM. Permalink

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Hundred Million Dollar Man(del)

The consistent talk around Hanover is that the benefactor who gave $100 million to the College is outgoing Board of Trustees Chairman Steve Mandel ‘78. He’s #314 on the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America with a total net worth of $1.8 billion.

Among his many other gifts to Dartmouth, Mandel is also known to be the “anonymous donor” of $35 million to the Center for Health Care Delivery Science. Forbes profiled him as follows:

Steve Mandel.jpgDartmouth grad Steve Mandel worked at Mars & Co. and then Goldman Sachs before joining fellow billionaire Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management as a consumer analyst. Mandel departed in 1997 to launch Lone Pine, named for a mythical Dartmouth pine tree that survived an 1887 lightning strike at his alma mater. The firm currently manages approximately $21 billion across its funds, which were up between 10% and 16% through the first half of 2013 after a great 2012. Mandel contributed $134 million to his Zoom Foundation in tax year 2010, which now has more than half a billion dollars in assets. Past beneficiaries include the Children’s Aid Society of New York, Phillips Exeter Academy, and the Fairfield County Foundation. Mandel also serves on the board of Dartmouth College and Teach for America.

Mandel’s tenure as Chairman covered most of the Presidency of Jim Yong Kim, the Interim Presidency of Carol Yong Folt, and the selection and first year of Philip J. Hanlon ‘77 as Dartmouth’s current President. It is safe to say that, despite his extraordinary generosity to the College, Chairman Mandel left Dartmouth weaker than he found it.

Addendum: A couple of sources have written in to assert that Steve Mandel did not fund the troubled Center for Health Care Delivery Science.

Posted on April 10, 2014 6:00 PM. Permalink

Kim Watch: The Knives Flash

Following the Financial Times’ story on Monday about the ongoing chaos at the World Bank, the paper followed up with an editorial yesterday. What Monday’s report did not say directly, the commentary says straight out: Jim Kim is not up to the job.

Restructuring hell at the World Bank

Jim Yong Kim should get a grip on the troubled institution

When Jim Yong Kim was appointed to head the World Bank he was hailed as an inspired choice who would help to renew its purpose. Two years later, the bank is in turmoil and there are growing doubts about Mr Kim’s grip. Far from restoring its relevance, he has unleashed a restructuring hell that has demoralised staff and entrenched doubts about its long-term role.

Mr Kim still has time to turn the bank round. But he will need to make it far clearer what he is trying to do. Too often, the instinct to reorganise is a substitute for strategy. With this week’s spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, it is the right moment for Mr Kim to spell out the method behind the apparent madness.

morale is at rock-bottom. Mr Kim has fired several senior managers and even reinstated ones that he has fired. The top 48 division heads have been asked to reapply for their jobs. Meanwhile, the bank is crawling with overlapping consultancies. It is one thing to have McKinsey advising you. It is quite another to have former UK prime minister Tony Blair’s business entering the equation. The latter’s inclusion demands explanation.

All of these developments come amid Mr Kim’s drive to cut costs by $400m in the next three years. Yet there is a feeling among staff that Mr Kim himself is exempt from the austerity. The FT has reported that Mr Kim has taken 13 trips on private jets. There may have been no commercial flights available, as Mr Kim says. But the perception is damaging.

Removing Mr Kim at this stage would only add to the confusion. He must now make the best of it. But his self-generated problems underline why such jobs ought to be filled on merit. It makes no sense in today’s world for the US to retain the stale bargain whereby it appoints the World Bank president and Europe has first right to choose the IMF’s managing director.

If there is a silver lining to the bank’s turmoil, it is this: the Bretton Woods institutions belong to the world. From now on, they must be headed by the best people available. [Emphasis added, happily]

To date criticisms of Kim voiced by various people have focused on his specific policy and managerial choices, but sources at the Bank tell me that underlying all of the unrest is the understanding that Kim is an arrogant, manipulative liar who has little real expertise in running an institution.

But then, we have known that at Dartmouth for close to five years now, n’est-ce pas?

Addendum: Monday’s FT piece contained a note that will elicit knowing looks from anyone who wonders why Dartmouth alone among the Ivies uses Microsoft software rather than market-leading Google Apps:

Another example is the technophile Mr Kim’s unhappiness, when he first arrived at the bank, with its Lotus Notes email system. At considerable expense, he alone was switched over to Microsoft Outlook. The bank says it was a trial for eventually switching all of its staff and declined to disclose the cost.

Jim Kim a technophile? Ha. But, give the guy credit. He’s still a persuasive salesman.

Addendum: English cartoonist Kipper Williams saw where things were heading when Kim was chosen to run the World Bank:

Kim Cartoon1.jpg

Addendum: In David Brooks’ column in the Times he talks about the power of curiosity and about people who dig deeper in understanding their subject. He refers to the contrasting type of person — a type that we all recognize:

If you are primarily motivated to make money, you just need to get as much information as you need to do your job. You don’t have time for deep dives into abstract matters. You certainly don’t want to let people know how confused you are by something, or how shallow your knowledge is in certain areas. You want to project an image of mastery and omniscience.

On Wall Street, as in some other areas of the modern economy that I could mention, this attitude leads to a culture of knowingness. People learn to bluff their way through, day to day.

Some folks get through all of life like this; for others, there is a day when the music stops.

Posted on April 10, 2014 2:00 PM. Permalink

Understanding $100 Million

Cost Reduction.jpgYesterday’s anonymous gift to the College of $100 million dollars should be put into financial context. The administration will not put this money into an account and use it as needed; rather, it will go into the endowment, be invested, and then funds will be drawn off of the endowment at the usual draw rate of about 5%.

As a result of the $100 million gift, the administration will be able to increase its annual operating budget in perpetuity by about $5 million.

Similarly, when a donor gives $5 million to endow a scholarly chair, that money is invested in the endowment and each year it throws off the sum of $250,000 — the same 5% as above — enough to perpetually fund the salary and other expenses of a senior professor.

The point of this post is to shed light on the virtue of cost reduction. If the administration reduces, say, the bloated cost of the College’s employee benefits package by $5 million — which should be easy to do given that the cost of benefits at Dartmouth is currently $30 million more than the cost at Brown, even through the College and Brown have the same number of fulltime employees — then each year into the future an extra $5 million will be available for our operating budget to use for other, more productive functions.

Such a saving would be the exact equivalent, at least in the short term, of receiving another gift of $100 million, though it would not make headlines.

Addendum: Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and your math is correct, too. If the administration could cut our benefits package by $30 million to make it the equivalent of Brown’s, that savings would be the equal of receiving an alumni donation of $600 million.

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

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

$100 Million and Counting

How nice to hear some good news for a change. I wonder who the generous donor is?

$100M Gift.jpg

And what does Phil mean by our “global footprint”? Will we be establishing an overseas campus, or more foreign programs?

Addendum: The D’s story on the gift adds the following information:

The gift, the largest single outright donation in College history, includes a matching mechanism that could double its amount to $200 million through the end of 2015, senior vice president of advancement Bob Lasher ‘88 said.

Here is the College’s press release.

Addendum: Progress like this for the College is a psychological relief from the unrelenting, negative news reports about Dartmouth. Phil should take note. The way to get us out of our funk is to do positive things.

Posted on April 9, 2014 9:18 PM. Permalink

More Bad Press for the College

Indubitably, it has not been a good PR year for Dartmouth. Andrew Longhi 14’s piece today in the U.K.’s Guardian does not depict the College in a good light:

Andrew Longhi.jpg

Click here for the full column.

Addendum: Longhi is sending tweets to everyone and his and her brother and sister about his column.

Posted on April 9, 2014 6:00 PM. Permalink

Is There Hope for Dartmouth?

Three-legged_stool.jpgYes. But I think that things are going to have to get worse before they get better. You see, the College is like a corporation that has gotten flabby and lost direction. Think of Apple Computer after Steve Jobs got booted out, and before he came back. Poor leaders in Cupertino lost sight of what had made the company great: Apple’s newest products lacked excitement or even failed (remember the Newton?), and more importantly, the bureaucracy ballooned, and the quality of the people in it declined. Apple came close to bankruptcy, which finally focused the minds of the feckless Board of Directors.

In Hanover, the administration hasn’t presented a single initiative that one could call bold or successful in two decades. For all the talk about interdisciplinary studies, departments show little overlap (except when faculty members take steps themselves), and the College had not attracted any star professors in years, people who might invigorate moribund academic areas, and who might excite students to possibilities that were not there for them previously. As for the rest of the school within the purview of the administration, negative developments are everywhere: the rise in tuition and the plethora of fees, the growth in the headcount of the bureaucracy, the awful evolution of dining services — I could go on and on, but regular readers of this space know the sad story only too well.

But when we go beyond the financial/administrative side of thing, we can begin to build the idea of a Dartmouth renaissance. The faculty, for the most part, still takes teaching seriously. That’s an old tradition that hasn’t failed, even if professors themselves are hardly rewarded by the academic deanery for the efforts that are still our claim to fame in U.S. News. If the administration were to support fine teachers with more than lip service, the College could improve further in this critical area.

As for the students, even though we are losing out on head-to-head battles with other Ivies, and the Admissions department has been manipulating acceptances to keep our yield up, fine students come to Hanover every year. I’d like to see fewer mismatched students, the people accepted for their race despite their insufficient preparation; and Admissions should place a special emphasis on students who have the moral fiber to stand up to many of the negative aspects of the prevailing night-time culture, but, by and large, the student body is first rate.

We can hold hope for progress, maybe sooner than we think. Perhaps the cathartic moment will come when U.S. News drops our ranking by several places in September. Will that be the shot heard round the Board that signals to even the most obtuse Trustee that real change is needed? My sense is that Phil now only has a mandate to sort out our enduring social problems, but his Band-aid solutions aren’t going to do the trick. Doing no more than reacting to scandals will get us nowhere — for example, by giving the time of day to the ragtag band of pseudo-radicals who invaded his office, Phil only encouraged the whiners to keep on whining. Presidential hand-wringing (“I met with these students yesterday and again today, and I deeply empathize with them.”) is not what the world needs now. Dartmouth requires action.

Fortunately for the College, beyond the fundamental strengths of fine teachers and good students, we have the fourth-best endowment per student in the Ivies. While our wealth has been a mixed blessing — it has allowed us to waste money prodigiously — it should be easy, if the Trustees give Phil clear marching orders, to slash the bureaucracy to drop our cost per student down to Brown’s level. If we can cut the $200+ million excess that is the sum of the per capita difference between the College and Brown, then we can take some serious steps to improve the College. First off, drumroll please, cut tuition in half. That decision alone will get Dartmouth on newspaper front pages around the country for something other than hazing, alcohol, racism and rape.

Such savings will allow us to do a great deal more than cut the cost of attending the College. We can then enact fundamental changes to the daily life of the institution: hire a cadre of star professors; rebuild certain slum-like dorms; construct new local sororities to provide honest competition to the frats; revamp sophomore summer to make it a term that is unique in the nation; extend the number of Dartmouth-professor-supervised foreign study programs so that everyone can/must benefit from one of these unique experiences.

Of course, that’s only my personal wishlist. The faculty has plenty of other ideas, too, but creative professors’ voices have been bottled up for years. Rather than reaching out for new ideas, past administrations have communicated the message that any proposals for change will be treated as criticisms of the top dogs’ performance, and will be punished accordingly. That posture has to change.

Strong faculty and high-quality students are the two legs of a stool that are the toughest ones to create. We should feel great hope for Dartmouth that we already have them. But a stool that does not have three legs still falls down. Phil still needs to cut out a huge chunk of the cancerous bureaucracy; doing so is the only way to free resources for the projects that the College urgently needs. If he can do so, then in short order the College will be ready for progress into uncharted territories of academic quality. If Phil and the Trustees have the will, we can all see the way out of the current mess. Do they have the courage to take that road? In doing so, Dartmouth will revive — and even lead the reform of all of higher education?

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

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Kim Watch: “a kind of restructuring hell”

The Financial Times has a certain authority, so when it runs a piece on the chaos that is engulfing Jim Kim’s World Bank, readers should take notice, and Dartmouth readers might allow themselves a brief “I told you so” smile:

Jim Kim5.jpg… According to interviews with about 20 current and former staff, however, the bank has descended into a kind of restructuring hell, as Mr Kim undertakes $400m in cost cuts, a complete financial rethink and a structural overhaul - all at the same time.

Mr Kim has brought in expensive consultants, forced 48 top managers to reapply for their own jobs - pushing out three of the most senior without explanation - and upset staff by travelling in private jets at a time when he is proposing deep cost cuts.

What is more, there are doubts about whether internal change should be Mr Kim’s top priority for the bank, which is increasingly battling for relevance. While it remains a pillar of the international financial system, it often finds itself in competition with countries that are its own biggest clients, such as China, when lending to developing countries.

“Does [the restructuring] really go to the heart of the bank’s problem?” said Uri Dadush, a former bank official, now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “I think it’s a step in the right direction but the bank’s strategic issue is the relevance it retains in middle income countries.”

At stake is not just the success of Mr Kim’s presidency but the world’s collective effort to help developing countries. If the World Bank fades, the alternative is a future of individual countries jockeying for influence via bilateral aid, with less regard for the needs of the poor.

A senior G20 official from one of the bank’s largest client countries questioned Mr Kim’s strategy and the manner in which he was carrying it out.

“We didn’t ask for these changes. We are willing to give them a chance, but we’re worried about the way they’re being done,” says the official. “Nobody wants to tell the emperor he has no clothes on.”

Expensive consultants, personnel chaos, smoke-and-mirrors cost reduction — all this from a man who has no experience at all in the business that he is leading. We can say with absolute certainty that Jim Kim will leave yet another institution weakened at the end of his tenure. Read the entire article here.

Addendum: Anyone offering odds that Kim, who is still less than two years into his five-year term, will make it to the end?

Posted on April 8, 2014 2:13 PM. Permalink

All In for Money?

Heaven only knows how many meetings it took for the creative types in the administration to come up with the clunker capital campaign slogan, “All In For Dartmouth.” Maybe someone in the Development Office thought that it had pizzazz and was really groovy.

The emphasis appears to be on getting together in order to, uh, get together. No reason given. That said, the allusion to poker makes one wonder if alumni would really want to bet it all on today’s institution.

All In for D.jpg

Jim Wright’s $1.3 billion effort was called The Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience; at least it focused on specifics — though it had 91 different “priorities,” if I recall correctly. The campaign before that was called the Campaign for Excellence.

The remaining question is just how much money the administration is going to shoot for. Columbia announced in January that its 2006-2013 fundraising campaign had brought in $6.1 billion, and last year Stanford’s $6.2 billion campaign set a new record for universities. Not to be outdone, Harvard is in the midst of a $6.5 billion marathon.

The goal that Phil chooses — I’m figuring that anything less than $2.0 billion looks weak — will be a good test of the confidence that big-money alumni have in the current administration. Remember that in the last campaign 85% of the money raised came from only 1,111 alumni. That figure is just 1.7% of all donors.

Addendum: A loyal reader suggested that I Google “All in.” Up comes poker, an account of infidelity, and a management self-help book:

All in defs.jpg

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

Monday, April 7, 2014

O’Reilly Factor Reports on Dartmouth

See Bill O’Reilly’s commentary on the the Freedom Budgeters invasion of Phil Hanlon’s office at 3:55:

Nobody from the College was interviewed.

Addendum: Here’s the transcript of O’Reilly’s comments about the College:

… Example number two, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire has a radical group of students who believes that Dartmouth is a place that harms minorities. But rather than transfer to a more enlightened school. Some of these students divided to occupy the college president’s office — shades of 1968.

The school’s President Phil Hanlon handled the situation badly. Incredibly he allowed the defiant students to stay in his office for two full days. And when they finally left he told them hey, don’t worry about it, nothing much is going to happen to you except a few hearings.

Now, if I had been the President of Dartmouth I would have given the students 30 minutes to vacate my office or they would be expelled and charged with trespass by the cops. That what’s Hanlon should have done because the students are fringe people their grievances are largely absurd. Let’s quote from their press release.

“The burden should not lie with systematically oppressed students affected by racism, classism, imperialism, nativism, sexism, heterosexism, cis-sexism and ableism to ensure our own well being, safety and continued existence at Dartmouth College, yet, are lived, experienced at Dartmouth have been so violent that we were driven to write a plan for such an assurance, the freedom budget,” unquote.

For the record, cis-sexism has something to do with transgendered rights and ableism is discrimination against people with disabilities. Now, if I didn’t know better I would think that press release was written by the Harvard lampoon but it’s serious. Those loons believe Dartmouth is a gulag a place of oppression and bigotry for which you pay more than $65,000 a year to attend.

Of course those nutty students are part of the grievance industry — everything the establishment does offends them. And now they have been empowered by President Hanlon. Are we all getting this? Again, the grievance industry is being driven by elements of the Democratic Party very successfully as many Americans are now buying into the fact the allegation that the USA is unfair, insensitive and downright bad.

So expect to see more of this kind of madness in the future. If you are not a rich white guy, chances are, you are the victim of discrimination. Therefore, we must have gender equality, race equality, sex equality, income equality, everything equality or it’s just not fair, not fair.

The unintended consequences of a political deception like the inequality deal is a symbolic Frankenstein’s monster, the creation of a disaster. And you know what the worst part is? There is inequality in America because inequality exists in every country. And in order to deal with that intelligent discussion and smart policy changes should take place, but crazy people and hustlers are now controlling the debate. And because of that constructive, effective problem solving will be hard to come by. The grievance industry is unleashed.

Posted on April 7, 2014 10:24 PM. Permalink

Another PR Triumph

The College is going to shine yet again on the national stage:

O'Reilly Factor1.jpg

Will yet another broadcast that makes Dartmouth look like an awful place help applications go up in number next fall? a/d/n?

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

My brother just called from Atlanta saying he was watching “The Five” show on Fox News and was surprised to hear them debating the Parkhurst confrontation in Hanover. Could be a tough year to be in the Admissions or Development Office.

and another alumnus reports:

I don’t know whether you are familiar with “The Five” — a nationally telecast news/opinion show on Fox News every day at 5:00pm. There was a segment on today’s show about the FB students, with video and a fairly lengthy audio portion by one of the students decrying the “power” disparity between herself and Hanlon(!!!). There are five, mostly regular panelists on the show, four conservatives and one liberal. The conservatives all opined that the students had absurd and preposterous demands; the liberal, Bob Beckel, was more tolerant, as you would expect.

My take was that the segment was damaging to Dartmouth. One of the conservatives, Eric Bolling, commented that the College is in the process of “caving” to the students. It will be interesting to see what transpires on O’Reilly tonight. I wouldn’t expect him to be too sympathetic to the students but his own narcissism sometimes confounds his thinking.

Addendum: Word on campus is that a reporter from Cosmopolitan magazine has been on campus doing a story. I don’t believe that her subject will be Phil’s experiential learning initiative.

Posted on April 7, 2014 3:45 PM. Permalink

Mosley Goes Hawaii

I think I know who Charlotte Johnson’s special pet is: Dr. Tiffany Mosley, an Assistant Dean and member of the Office of Black Student Advising. The other day, we reported how Mosley (pictured immediately below) and another OPAL staff member had flown to Ghana to console the family of a Dartmouth undergrad whose brother had drowned in the Connecticut. Well, it seems that Mosley was on the road again recently in the service of the College, this time to travel to Hawaii for a conference put on by the American Counseling Association that took place from March 27-30 (it is not clear whether Mosley attended the Pre-Conference Learning Institutes on March 26 - March 27):

Mosley Hawaii1.jpg

Mosley gave up being in Hanover during the snow storms, and the College gave up many thousands of dollars. Way to go, Charlotte!

It seems that Mosley gets to go on all the fun trips, whether she is needed or not. Last November she went on a four-day-long visit to Spelman and Morehouse Colleges, traveling with Paul Buckley, assistant dean of undergraduate students, and a Fellow at Dartmouth’s cutting edge Gender Research Institute. The idea was to ensure a solid connection for the exchange program between the two historically black schools and the College (this program is not an FSP; no Dartmouth faculty are involved). While it makes sense for Buckley to go on the trip — he is one of the deans in charge of academic advising — why did Mosley go? Why send two administrators such a distance, especially when Mosley is not an academic dean?

Posted on April 7, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Paris Diary: Kermit Lynch at Lunch

Kermit1.jpgWhen the history of French winemaking is written, there will be more than a footnote dedicated to American importers, none of whom has been more important than Berkeley’s Kermit Lynch. Beginning in 1972 he has imported wine into the U.S. from France, but not just any wine: wine that he has tasted in situ, liked, shipped in refrigerated containers, and most importantly, insisted be made the traditional way — in old oak foudres without fining and filtration. He bucked a trend in which young winemakers, university-educated in what was then deemed modern and correct, insisted that age-old practices be thrown over in favor of new technological solutions. Insecure fathers listened to their school-taught sons, until Kermit arrived to set things right. At first, Lynch’s winemakers made a special cuvée Kermit, but when they saw that it was good, they reverted to the old ways for all of their production. Slowly, in a process that is still ongoing, the world’s vignerons began to follow.

Anyways, the distinguished looking fellow in the picture above was sitting at the lunchtime communal table across from us at high-end butcher Hugo Desnoyer, and when I overheard in his party’s conversation that he was in the wine import business, I asked him the name of his company. He said Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant. I inquired if he enjoyed working with Lynch, whose book I had read. He replied that he was Kermit Lynch. Much merriment.

Addendum: Hugo Desnoyer’s butchery is part of a return in France to more natural — and infinitely more tasty, and therefore satistying — food. Lunch at one of the three tables in his shop is an opportunity to taste beef the way it used to be, and might one day be again, and meet some interesting people at the table d’hôte:

Posted on April 6, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Someone Is Paying For These Ads, and Dartmouth College Is, Too


UV2.jpgSo you are looking for a word on heavily trafficked, and up pop ads like the ones above, at right and below. Que pasa? Someone is paying real money to run these advertisements. And we’re not talking about a fringe web page here; has more than 52 million monthly users.

Think of the impact that such ads will have on a high school student or a college counselor whom Google has identified as doing searches about Dartmouth and/or Ivy League schools. The College-related scandals are already starting to add up in the popular consciousness, and now readers learn on a neutral website that Dartmouth has a problem, a rape problem. This kind of relentless media hammering has got to hurt us.

The group behind these ads is called UltraViolet. It has put together an on-line petition that reads as follows:

Tell the Dartmouth administration: The crisis of sexual assaults on campus must be stopped. Take student recommendations seriously and expel rapists, list rape as a punishable offense and expulsion as the preferred punishment in the student handbook, and block access to the ‘rape guide’ on campus.”

In mid-March, the group announced that the petition had received over 50,000 signatures.

UltraViolet receives substantial funding from the Citizens Engagement Laboratory, an activist organization that gives online support to a range of leftwing pressure groups. CEL’s board of directors includes alumni from Harvard, Penn, and Yale.


Addendum: An alert reader reports that UltraViolet has been diffusing the below sponsored post on Facebook:

UV FB1.jpg

If you click on it, you are taken to UltraViolet’s petition page about the College.

Addendum: An earlier Facebook post by UltraViolet had some grammar problems:

UltraViolet Facebook.jpg

Or perhaps UV thinks that alums speak like Neanderthals?

Posted on April 5, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Friday, April 4, 2014

WSJ: Dartmouth S.N.A.F.U.*

I’ll bet that this WSJ article alone causes 1,000 high school seniors to decide not to apply to Dartmouth next fall. Phil, you missed a chance at a victory; by your lack of nerve when challenged by the Freedom Budget trespassers, you have made the College look stupid in the national press — not that such a situation is anything new these days:

WSJ FB Comp.jpg

… Thus it is understandable that nominal authority figures like Mr. Hanlon seem helpless to defend their reputations or maintain discipline and public order. But it is still unacceptable. An institution more confident in its character and mission would defend itself. A college that purports to support free inquiry ought to be able to muster the courage to speak up for its own rules and for debate that respects the rights of others.

Mr. Hanlon might have told the kids occupying his office that most of mankind—forgive the micro-aggression—would love to be as oppressed as they are. Few young men and women in the world are more “privileged” than those admitted to the Ivy League. The takeover’s benefit to Dartmouth is that it might inspire the small minority of like-minded high schoolers to find another college to terrorize. Most elite U.S. students are well adjusted and grateful for their opportunity.

Dartmouth and any other school in this position should tell the students they have an hour to leave the premises, and if they don’t they will be arrested for trespassing and expelled. Since Mr. Hanlon missed that chance, he and the school’s trustees should now tell the students that if they are so unhappy they should transfer. Surely the occupiers would be welcomed by at least one of the other 4,431 universities or colleges in the U.S. But they may discover the problem is their own sense of privilege, not Dartmouth’s.

* Situation Normal All F***ed Up (though F.U.B.A.R. would work, too: F***ed Up Beyond All Recognition)

Posted on April 4, 2014 10:20 PM. Permalink

Faculty Eyes Roll

Members of the faculty are wondering if Phil Hanlon has a spine. He has not risen in the esteem of the College’s professors during the invasion of his office. A typical comment:

The Freedom Budget protesters don’t seem to understand that Dartmouth is above all other things a place of first-class research and learning, and everything else is secondary. Diversity is only one of many lesser goals, including having adequate parking, nice healthy trees on the Green, successful sports teams, happy alums and a well kept golf course, etc.

The best advice Phil could have given to these kids would be to get a solid Dartmouth education, go to grad school, write a great thesis and several papers, and in nine years or so apply to be a professor here.


Posted on April 4, 2014 4:57 PM. Permalink

Admissions Numbers Analysis

Admits Profile 2014 Comp1.jpgThe Admissions department has released some details regarding the profile of this year’s accepted students, and in analyzing the numbers, we can come to some conclusions regarding the College’s standing in the world:

● 2,220 students were accepted this year with the expectation that they will fill out a class of 1,110 incoming freshmen. However, don’t jump to the conclusion that half of the people accepted to the College choose to attend. 469 students were accepted in the Early Decision round in November, and if past trends hold true, about 97% of them will show up in September: 455 students. As well, 184 legacies were admitted; if the current quota of 14% legacies continues, the class will include about 155 legacies, meaning that 85% of accepted legacies choose to attend the College. Of course, there will be some overlap between these two groups — some legacies applied early, but let’s conservatively assume that 550 members of the incoming class come from these high-yielding groups. The remaining 560 members of the incoming class will come from the 1,659 admitted students who were neither early admits nor legacies: a yield among regular admits of only 33%. The phrase safety school is starting to rear its ugly head.

● The average acceptance rate (students admitted divided by students who applied) in the Ivy League is 8.9%. Here is the breakdown by school: Harvard: 5.9%; Yale: 6.3%; Columbia: 6.9%; Princeton: 7.3%; Brown: 8.6%; Penn: 9.9%; Dartmouth: 11.5%; Cornell 14%. The new motto at the Admissions office in McNutt Hall is, “Thank Heavens for Cornell.” This result is particularly discouraging given that the other Ivies improve year over year with minor variations; however the College’s yield figure in 2013 was 10.4%, and 9.8% in 2012. Results would have been worse had the College not significantly ramped up the number of early decision and legacy admits four years ago. We are moving in the wrong direction, and fast.

● As we noted the other day, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Steve Mandel ‘78 tried to distract us from the precipitous 14% drop in applications by pointing to the fact that “This year’s applicant pool is the highest quality ever (as measured by standardized test scores)…” Let’s look at the details that the Admissions department subsequently released: mean SAT scores in critical reasoning among admitted students were 737 — down from 738 last year; and SAT Math scores were 739, down from 741 last year. This year’s mean ACT score was 32.6, but the Dartmouth Fact Book does not release the mean ACT result year by year. Chairman Steve should focus on the students that the College admits, not the ones who apply. Quality is not improving.

● In trumpeting diversity, the Admissions department revealed some interesting statistics:

Students of Color: 47.9%
International Students: 7.7%
First Generation to College Students: 12.4%
Legacies: 8.3%

S/Total: 76.3%

And inside sources tell Dartblog that recruited athletes make up about 10.0% of admitted students

Total: 86.3%

Of course, there is some overlap in these categories, but one had to surmise that white American high school seniors, whose parents went to college, but not to Dartmouth, and who are not athletes, have a tough time getting into the College. Yet people of this profile comprise over half of all students scoring over 2100 on the SAT. There just isn’t much room left for them in the the freshman class. You may think that there are valid reasons for distributing slots to incoming students in this manner, but if you do, don’t be surprised if the number of applications drops again next year.

Posted on April 4, 2014 4:00 AM. Permalink

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Quality FB Bluffing

You have got to admire the Freedom Budgeters chutzpah. They are trying to negotiate with Dean Johnson a peaceful exit from Parkhurst, and they are still making demands:

FB Negotiation.jpg

A counter-proposal from the Dean might include an offer to have the Hanover Police use rubber truncheons rather than nightsticks.

The Facebook page that displays this document notes that it has been signed by Dean Johnson.

Again and again I ask: who are these people and what is their mandate? If the College wishes to prepare its students for the world, perhaps it should show them a little of the world. To negotiate with these trespassing students sends only wrong messages.

Addendum: The Parkhurst 28 take the stand:

FB Protesters.jpg

Update: The D is reporting that the Freedom Budgeters left Phil Hanlon’s office yesterday at 4pm:

Just after 4 p.m. on Thursday, the 16 students who remained in College President Phil Hanlon’s office after a two-day sit-in left Parkhurst Hall, following a meeting with Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson. At the meeting, students presented Johnson with their terms of departure, stipulating that they would not face disciplinary action because of the protest, would have access to protection around campus and asking for College representatives to stop referring to them as “threatening.”…

College spokesperson Justin Anderson confirmed that Johnson signed an agreement with the students. The College remains committed to conducting a campus climate survey, he said, and there are plans for the students to discuss “Freedom Budget” items with the appropriate administrators.

Posted on April 3, 2014 10:11 PM. Permalink