Saturday, December 3, 2016



Grant Tinker ‘47 (1926 - 2016) R.I.P.

Grant Tinker1.JPGFor some reason the Alumni Magazine has never run a piece about Grant Tinker ‘47 (the Dartmouth name directory lists his class as 1947, but the Times obiturary states, “He graduated from Dartmouth in 1949”). Whatever the case, Tinker revolutionized television over a thirty-year period by producing a list of shows that form the backdrop of the early years of anyone my age: I Spy; Dr. Kildare; The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; It Takes a Thief; Marcus Welby, M.D.; The Mary Tyler Moore Show; Rhoda; Lou Grant; The Cosby Show; Cheers; Hill Street Blues; Family Ties; St. Elsewhere and Miami Vice. He did so by working with his stable of writers using a soft, protective touch, thereby bringing out the best in them (I bet he even ensured that they had no trouble parking at the studios where he worked). The Times reports:

To a generation whose tastes were shaped by the tube, Mr. Tinker was the unseen hand behind many of the most stylish, critically acclaimed sitcoms and dramas on television. He did it by giving his writers space to thrive, shielding them from those foolish studio and network executives who said they liked the story, all right, but wanted to change the boy to a dog — and usually got their way…

After decades of formula network programming that, with notable exceptions, had made a wasteland of television, Mr. Tinker changed the landscape, using ensemble casts and intertwined story lines, casting blacks and women in leading roles and examining serious topical issues: life and death in a hospital for the poor; conflicts in a family or an impoverished police precinct; a reporter’s look at civil rights, insanity or checkbook journalism…

Though relatively unknown to audiences, Mr. Tinker was a legend in television, especially to his writers. “Grant Tinker’s real unique gift is in creating an environment where people feel safe, nurtured, protected to do what they do best,” Steven Bochco, a creator of “Hill Street Blues,” told The New York Times in 1986.

Gary Goldberg, who created “Family Ties,” a sitcom about hippie parents from the ’60s and their children in the ’80s, including a conservative son, had no TV experience when he arrived at MTM.

“Grant let me know a writer was special,” he recalled in 1987. “He said I was not there to find out what the networks wanted. He said what had to come through in my shows was my personality, my view of the world. Grant makes everyone he comes into contact with better.”

What can I say. He was a wonderful creator and an even better manager.


Posted on December 3, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Friday, December 2, 2016



General Mattis Stories

Several alumni have written in with vignettes about General Mattis and General Westmoreland:

Thanks for posting the piece on General Mattis. Quite a man … and just right for the job.

It brings a “closing the loop” story to mind. When General Westmoreland came to campus (spring ‘78?), I volunteered to be his host. I think my request was granted quickly because I may have been the only person in the history department to raise his hand! I spent the day with him — a couple of classes, lunch at Thayer and the Spaulding lecture, late in the afternoon as I recall. It was a fascinating day. The biggest surprise for me was how receptive he was to critical discussion. At the time, I was a fair student of the war and had formed some views of Westmoreland’s conduct of it. In a paper or two, I had contrasted his approach — generally unfavorably — with that of his successor, Creighton Abrams. To his credit, General Westmoreland engaged me on the subject, didn’t utter a single criticism of General Abrams, and brought to light a number of perspectives worth further inquiry by me. He was gracious, professional and thoughtful … all of which made a lasting impression.

As luck would have it, my son, (a ‘15) had a similar opportunity when General Mattis was on campus the fall of ‘13. He, too, was a history major and, like his dad, reasonably versed on issues of modern military history … and not too shy about engaging in conversation about them. A nice sequence of connections flowed to Dartmouth through one my classmates, and thence through his son, a friend, classmate and fraternity brother of my son. The upshot is that my son got to know General Mattis, helped familiarize him with campus and he and my classmate’s son had General Mattis over to Beta for some very excellent fraternal activities. There were a number of veterans in the house at the time, a couple of whom had served — distantly — under the General’s command. Well, he just loved that and made a point of engaging the young Beta men over the course of his time in Hanover. Another set of lifetime impressions formed.

In any event, a couple of anecdotes I thought you might enjoy.

I look forward to seeing how the good general shakes up the Pentagon in the years ahead. The place deserves it.

And:

A GENERAL MATTIS CHRISTMAS STORY


General Mattis is being considered to be the Secretary of Defense. What a great way to start rebuilding our military. His nickname is “Mad Dog” Mattis.

A couple of months ago, when I told General Krulak, the former Commandant of the Marine Corps, now the chair of the Naval Academy Board of Visitors, that we were having General Mattis speak this evening, he said, “Let me tell you a Jim Mattis story.”

General Krulak said that when he was Commandant of the Marine Corps every year, starting about a week before Christmas, he and his wife would bake hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of Christmas cookies. They would package them in small bundles.

Then on Christmas day, he would load his vehicle. At about 4 a.m., General Krulak would drive himself to every Marine guard post in the Washington-Annapolis-Baltimore area and deliver a small package of Christmas cookies to whichever Marines were pulling guard duty that day.

He said that one year he had gone down to Quantico as one of his stops to deliver Christmas cookies to the Marines on guard duty. He went to the command center and gave a package to the lance corporal who was on duty. He asked, “Who’s the officer of the day?”

The lance corporal Said, “Sir, it’s Brigadier General Mattis.”

And General Krulak said, “No, no, no. I know who General Mattis is. I mean, who’s the officer of the day today, Christmas day?”

The lance corporal, feeling a little anxious, said, “Sir, it is Brigadier General Mattis.”
General Krulak said that about that time he spotted in the back room a cot, or a daybed. He said, “No, Lance Corporal. Who slept in that bed last night?”

The lance corporal said, “Sir, it was Brigadier General Mattis.”

About that time, General Krulak said that General Mattis came in, in a duty uniform with a sword, and General Krulak said, “Jim, what are you doing here on Christmas day? Why do you have duty?”

General Mattis told him that the young officer who was scheduled to have duty on Christmas day had a family, and General Mattis decided it was better for the young officer to spend Christmas Day with his family, and so he chose to have duty on Christmas Day.

General Krulak said, “That’s the kind of officer that Jim Mattis is.”

The story above was told by Dr. Albert C. Pierce, the Director of the Center for the Study of Professional Military Ethics at The United States Naval Academy. He was introducing General James Mattis who gave a lecture on Ethical Challenges in Contemporary Conflict in the spring of 2006. This was taken from the transcript of that lecture.


Posted on December 2, 2016 7:00 PM. Permalink



Football Recruiting vs. Admissions

Have we run this Dartmouth football recruiting video before? I have a vague recollection of having done so, but I can’t find the post. No worries. Watch it again to enjoy an example of fine filmmaking and also an effective tool that communicates the qualities that make Dartmouth special:

Then compare the emotional connection established by the short film with the amateur-hour nature of the College’s main Admissions website:

Admissions websiteA.jpg

Should the people in Parkhurst and Alumni Gym trade places? We’d lose a lot of games, but the College would be better run.


Posted on December 2, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink



Our New Secretary of Defense

In light of President-elect Trump’s choice, subject to congressional waiver, of General James Mattis as the nation’s next Secretary of Defense, we are reprinting a July 27, 2013 post concerning Mattis’ visit to the College:

Mattis.jpgWhen I was a student, General William Westmoreland came to the College to deliver a lecture. I don’t recall his subject, but Spaulding was filled, and with Vietnam fresh in everyone’s mind — Saigon had fallen in 1975 — the Dartmouth crowd was primed for protest and even revenge. “Westy” wore a plain gray suit, but he spoke with military rigor. That was the day I learned about the armed forces’ concept of “command presence.” The crowd did its worst, but Westmoreland had faced tougher. His resolve, cool, and steely belief in himself were impressive.

I expect that Dartmouth will be in for a taste of the same when General James Mattis, the retired commander of U.S. Central Command, visits the College from September 18 through October 7. Even if the idea of the U.S. military is abhorrent to you, take time out to listen to the General. You will see an individual of a character that rarely graces our campus.

Dartmouth’s ties to Mattis are direct. Trustee Nathaniel Fick ‘99, formerly a Marine Recon officer, mentioned him repeatedly in his book about combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, “One Bullet Away”:

Mattis3.jpg

and:

Mattis4.jpg

Addendum: General Mattis — nom de guerre “Mad Dog” — has a quick wit. He is renowned in the Corps for pungent expression. My favorite line, which fits in well with some of this space’s recent themes:

When Gen. Abrial arrived to relieve me as the supreme commander, only don’t ask, don’t tell kept me from hugging and kissing him.

A few others:

“In this age, I don’t care how tactically or operationally brilliant you are, if you cannot create harmony—even vicious harmony—on the battlefield based on trust across service lines, across coalition and national lines, and across civilian/military lines, you need to go home, because your leadership is obsolete. We have got to have officers who can create harmony across all those lines.”

“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”

You can read other Mattisisms here and here.

Addendum: A contrary opinion about “Westy.”

Westmoreland may have had command presence, but he was not an example of excellence in most other regards. I have many West Point graduate ancestors going back literally to its founding who commanded troops (and sometimes armies) in every major conflict. Westmoreland is a punchline in my family. He was very low in his class ranking at WP. He was not a good leader or strategist. My father, who knew him, could go on and on about his limitations. That he got to the level of command he did is an indictment of promotion practices in the army.


Posted on December 2, 2016 12:27 AM. Permalink

Thursday, December 1, 2016



Do Professors “Deserve” Better Parking?

State a moral case to a ploughman and a professor. The former will decide it as well, and often better than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules.
Thomas Jefferson’s letter to his nephew, Peter Carr, from Paris, August 10, 1787.

For a day or two last week, we had a spirited debate on Bored@Baker as to whether all center-of-the-campus parking spaces should be reserved for the faculty. An absolute priority for professors would seem to me to be a “no-brainer,” as we used to say at Bain, but other folks seem to have conflicting goals:

B@B Parking.jpg

Wow. This way of thinking is utterly foreign to me. But it does recall Jon Haidt’s depiction of the “social justice versus truth” conflict in the modern univerity. Haidt wrote:

Aristotle often evaluated a thing with respect to its “telos” - its purpose, end, or goal. The telos of a knife is to cut. The telos of a physician is health or healing. What is the telos of university?

The most obvious answer is “truth” — the word appears on so many university crests. But increasingly, many of America’s top universities are embracing social justice as their telos, or as a second and equal telos. But can any institution or profession have two teloses (or teloi)? What happens if they conflict?

Original Poster (just like Phil Hanlon when I spoke to him about this topic several years ago) seems to prize the intrinsic equality of all souls, and woe to the person who makes distinctions based on utility.

Of course, that delicate sensibility is a formula for gaining the respect of administrative assistants and janitors, who will feel good at being valued as highly as our finest professors — but our central goal in imagining the best management possible for Dartmouth is to organize the school so it provides that the best education possible for students and the best possible environment in which faculty can teach and do research.

For example, as any reader knows, I am all for saving money by cutting out waste, but I’d be happy to fund more staff in each department so that our professors do not spend time compiling their own expense reports, doing routine correspondence that could be delegated, and taking out their own trash. Why possibly would you want a $200,000/year professor doing these things when they could be done by a $35,000/year administrative assistant (who parks in Dewey). Such a rational division of labor makes sense for the simple reason that freeing up professors’ time will make Dartmouth a better school.

That social justice warriors worry about the delicate feelings of 9-5 staffers when the College continues to slide due to sub-par salaries and endless decisions that favor the staff over the faculty is proof of Haidt’s assertion that an institution of higher learning can only have one telos — truth — if it wants to prosper in terms of education. Dartmouth long ago decided to serve another master — equity for the staff — hence our ongoing descent into mediocrity.

Addendum: Imagine a professor who would like to drive into the College one afternoon to meet with a student for 20 minutes. If parking is available in the center of campus, then the drive takes five minutes each way. If a ten-minute bus ride from and back to a satellite parking lot is tacked on to each end of the trip, then the professor, given other engagements, might not have time to come in for the meeting.

Addendum: One of my favorite Dartmouth vignettes concerns Economics Professor Doug Irwin coming to campus to meet a prospective applicant. The student had not yet applied to the College, but Doug, alone among the many professors at different schools to whom the student had written, came in to meet with him. They met on a Saturday — when on-campus parking is plentiful. One has to think that Doug might have made a different choice during the week if he had been relegated to a distant satellite lot. In any event, the student was impressed by Doug’s devotion, applied and was accepted to Dartmouth, and went on to win a Rhodes Scholarship. All because of parking.

Addendum: A faculty member writes in:

Putting aside the disrespectful and troubling tone of some of these students’ remarks, most of them miss the point. This is not about equality for all Dartmouth employees, but just the opposite.

Non-faculty staff, administrative assistants and building attendants all normally arrive at 8 AM. They are then “privileged” to take all the available spaces (which usually fill by 9). A professor trying to get to her 11 AM or 2 PM class must park offsite and take a shuttle. So it is faculty who are being rendered of lesser status in the current arrangement.

Nor is this about additional time for a professor’s research or whatever. If a student wants to meet with me at 1:00 PM (because “she can’t make my office hours”) and I would have to come in, take a shuttle, etc., I won’t do it. If I could drive directly to my office…

The result is that it’s the students who are losers. I can easily just stay home and pursue my reading, research, and class preparation.

Addendum: Senior members of the faculty have reported to me that twenty or thirty years ago, even under the present egalitarian parking rules, parking was freely available for everyone in the center of campus. However the huge growth of non-faculty staff has far outpaced the availability of parking — hence the need for satellite lots.

Addendum: A tipster writes in:

Parking prepared a detailed plan to give central spaces to faculty. The plan (complete with maps and actual usage consideration) was presented to several faculty and administrators this year. Dever killed it because she didn’t want to alienate the staff.

Addendum: Another alumnus writes in to describe the universality of the parking problem. Here’s an anecdote about Berkeley:

A funny story from a professor about another professor who has a handicapped sticker. He arrives on campus early in the morning and takes one parallel spot. He then comes back out later in the morning and moves his car forward into a handicapped parallel spot so his professor friend can take the spot he was saving. The professor who relayed this was not at all happy about this situation.


Posted on December 1, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Wednesday, November 30, 2016



Lashing Back at Bob Lasher ‘88

Yesterday’s remarks about Vice President for Advancement Bob Lasher ‘88 elicited a number of comments. Here’s one:

Thanks for today’s post. One other thought to add is that many people in Centerra believe/hope that Bob will depart soon. As you have noted, they cannot stand his routine temper tantrums and have observed from his resume that he normally departs positions after 5 years. If he does go it will be a very interesting twist on the proposed campaign and its timing…

Also — he is well know in development circles beyond Dartmouth to be very hard to be around/work for. So filling the senior level jobs listed will have that added challenge.

Just why did Phil hire Bob on May 10, 2013? Lasher had no experience in fundraising in higher education, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) had a fundraising team of only 32 members in 2008 — a long way from the Dartmouth Advancement office’s 217 employees (as of the end of 2015).

Clearly Bob was making a big jump when he rose from SFMOMA to the College. In 2012 in San Francisco he earned $315,944:

SFMOMA Salaries.jpg

In his first full year, 2014, in Hanover he earned $487,325:

Dartmouth Top Salaries 2014A.jpg

So what did Phil see in one of the critical hires in his administration. I guess that he was happy to score diversity points, and Bob is an alumnus. But, really, should our President be sacrificing the financial health of the College (not to mention creating an unhappy, even hostile, work environment) on the altar of political correctness and loyalty?

Phil really is a poor judge of character — a quality that is perhaps the most important one that managers can possess. Leaders can only do so much individually, but they can leverage their ideas and vision exponentially if they assemble a strong team around them. Do Bob Lasher ‘88, Provost Carolyn Dever, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Inge-Lise Ameer, and Dean of the Faculty Mike Mastanduno constitute anyone’s idea of an administrative Dream Team? Not by my definition of the term. The only competent member of Phil’s senior management group is Executive Vice President Rick Mills — the College’s top financial manager — and I am informed by a member of the search committee that Phil Hanlon played no role in his selection. Phil only met Mills after the search commitee had extended an offer to him.

Woe is us.


Posted on November 30, 2016 4:00 AM. Permalink

Tuesday, November 29, 2016



Capital Campaign Might Really Happen

We’ve wondered in the past when the College’s oft-presaged, oft-delayed capital campaign is going to begin. The quiet phase has been going on for ages — in fact, as they used to say in cowboy movies, things have been “too quiet.” Last we heard from Phil, the public side of the campaign would kick off at the end of 2017 “or something like that.” That’s a long ways from Phil’s inauguration: four and a half years. Frankly, such a delay gives lie to Phil’s assertion that fundraising has been going well.

However, the College’s Advancement office really is starting to bulk up now. The administration is using pricey headhunter Isaacson Miller (John Isaacson ‘68’s firm, the folks who brought us Jim Kim) to round up a large number of new staffers. Look at the number of open positions advertised on the IM website. Wow. Twelve directors and vice-presidents (is everyone a senior staffer?):

Isaacson Miller Positions Comp.jpg

Of course, this isn’t that first time that the College has sought to add to the fundraising ranks. Many ads went out in 2012 and in 2015, too, as the College rebuilt the staff after the Kim-era, cost-saving demobilization following the end of Jim Wright’s capital campaign in 2009:

Dartmouth Advancement Staffing 2004-2015.jpg

Bob Lasher1.JPGAt least, I think that the staff was/is being rebuilt then and now. An alternative hypothesis is that hot-headed Senior Vice President for Advancement Bob Lasher ‘88 is having trouble keeping people, and the latest hiring efforts serve only to fill gaps left by fleeing personnel. The word around Centerra is that staffers keep a low profile to avoid the wrath of Bob, who is just not much of a manager or a strategic planner. Nor can he articulate a vision for the College, though obviously that lacuna is not entirely his fault. A salesman needs goods to sell, and Phil is not doing much to help him out.

Addendum: Like any manager, Phil makes mistakes in hiring. Think of Provost Dever, for example. But his motto should be, “Hire slow and fire fast.” Once our President realized that Bob Lasher was in way over his head, Phil should have sent him packing. That’s what true leaders do.

Addendum: Speaking of firing, the real world’s rules live in the Athletics Department, even if it’s jobs-for-life in the rest of the College. After sharing an Ivy title in 2015, the football team had a dismal season this year. There’s a price to pay for poor performance, and Buddy has shaken things up, as Bruce Woods’ Big Green Alert blog reports on a Valley News story:

Football Firings 2016.jpg

Ball players are learning life lessons here.


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

Monday, November 28, 2016



Four AAAS Fellows From the College

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has named 391 new Fellows, including four from the College:

AAAS Fellows 2016.jpg

Dartblog’s Guide to the Stars has already profiled Environmental Science Professor Ross Virginia (at left) and Anthropology Professor Nate Dominy (second from left). Congratulations also go to Geisel Professor of Biochemistry Surachai Supattapone (second from right) and Thayer Professor of Engineering Eugene Santos Jr. (at right).

Addendum: When I last did the numbers five years ago, Dartmouth’s faculty was underrepresented on the AAAS:

Thumbnail image for AmAssAdvSc2011b.jpg

The College’s showing this year was strong: in addition to Dartmouth’s four new AAAS Fellows, the other Ivies added the following numbers to the ranks of the prestigious honors society: Harvard (3), Yale (2), Princeton (3), Penn (10), Cornell (3), Columbia (4) and Brown (0).


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

Sunday, November 27, 2016



Grazie Maestro Morricone

Ennio Morricone.JPGIf you think that Ennio Morricone’s music is lowbrow or no more than derivative, you can stop reading right now. But if his compositions have made you pause or feel ecstasy or led you to rock rhythmically in your chair as if you were on a horse galloping across the High Plains, then you would have been moved at the Paris concert on October 2 that was part of the Maestro’s farewell tour. The sold-out crowd at the Palais des Congrès applauded Morricone for five minutes when he came on stage, and we stood and applauded at intermission and for four or five encores. The artists, too — a choir of over eighty singers and at least the same number of musicians — played with an intensity that seemed to come from a gratitude for all of the emotions that the Maestro has provoked in filmgoers over the years. At 87, Morricone moves with a little difficulty, and he sits in a chair when he conducts, but the pieces played and sung on the stage had all the verve that animated Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro, Philippe Noiret, Kevin Costner and many other actors on the big screen:

Morricone Concert.jpg

It has never taken me more than a few minutes in a movie to recognize that the music has been composed by Morricone, even if I have never heard it before. His compositions seem part of a drama rather than background to it. For good reason were Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns considered to have given real meaning to the Hollywood term horse opera.

If I ever were to meet the man, I’d want to ask him if he has been happy in his life. I like to believe that music of such joy comes from a deeply contented soul.

Addendum: Sure it’s over the top, but what other movie in any genre has a five-minute-long scene with no dialogue?

I first saw The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (Le Bon, La Brute et Le Truand in France; Il Buono, Il Brutto e Il Cattivo in Italy) at a midnight arthouse showing in Montreal. We sat in the first row, and the music was a little too loud. No matter. Though we had consumed no alcohol nor taken drugs of any kind, we were quite high from the sound and the color and the fury.


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

Friday, November 25, 2016



The Winter Break of Our Discontent

Carol Folt’s endless six-week Xmas break has now begun, a destructive exercise that serves to further compress each of the College’s already-short four quarters, and supposedly reduces some heating bills, while letting more students go home for Thanksgiving. Are those our highest priorities?

While we might think of the foreign students who are marooned in Hanover for a month and a half, or have our hearts go our to Town merchants whose sales drop during the extended hiatus, the folks who really suffer from the lengthy break are the College’s students. Are nine-and-a-half-week quarters long enough for good learning?

Think in terms of opportunity cost: what if we ended the fall term in mid-December, and then spread the extra three weeks throughout the academic year by adding a five-day reading period at the end of each term? Would the quality of a Dartmouth education improve enough to justify extra spending on energy and food, and a greater commitment by the faculty. For example, professors would have time for extra office hours — where Dartmouth really distinguishes itself from its peers, and where a great deal of learning occurs — and even assign an additional paper on occasion. The College would be better for this change.

Surely a lover of rigor like Phil Hanlon (though I must say that we have not heard that word in many a moon) would want to sign on to an idea like this. Were he sincere, of course.

Addendum: The College is desperate to save money in all possible areas — except, of course, where the bloated staff is concerned. Having short, rushed academic terms and thousands of bureaucrats — why not? Let’s cut bone to save fat.

Addendum: There are one hundred football players who would really like to avoid having finals while they are preparing for the last game of the season.


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

Thursday, November 24, 2016



Happy Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving Norman Rockwell A Scout is Helpful 2016.jpg

When is the last time that the Hood displayed a painting exalting heroism and duty? Such values can be held up high without the accusation of Socialist Realism. At least, I think so.

Norman Rockwell painted this work for the 1941 Boy Scout calendar. The scout is rescuing a little girl during the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 — a storm for the ages with winds up to 150mph. Wikipedia reports:

The 1938 New England Hurricane (also referred to as the Great New England Hurricane and Long Island Express) was one of the deadliest and most destructive tropical cyclones to impact New England. The storm formed near the coast of Africa on September 9, becoming a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale before making landfall as a Category 3 hurricane on Long Island on September 21. The hurricane was estimated to have killed 682 people, damaged or destroyed over 57,000 homes, and caused property losses estimated at US$306 million ($4.7 billion in 2016). Even as late as 1951, damaged trees and buildings were still seen in the affected areas. It remains the most powerful and deadliest hurricane in recent New England history, eclipsed in landfall intensity perhaps only by the Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635. It was only the third hurricane to strike New England since 1635.

Needless to say, the College was not spared:

1938 Hurricane College Hall.jpg

1938 Hurricane Robinson Hall.jpg

The impact of the 1938 storm was so severe that even Convocation — an event critically important in the life of the College — was cancelled that year.


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

Wednesday, November 23, 2016



Heavy-Handed and Shortsighted

As has been detailed in this space already, Sebastian Lim ‘19 and Daniel Ro ‘19 have been expelled for their role in the October 1st fire that rendered Morton Hall uninhabitable. Lim and Ro, in an admirable and courageous display of penitence, published an online petition apologizing for their actions and requesting that the College reconsider their punishment in recognition of the fact that, although they did start the fire, it was an accident. As The Dartmouth reported on 11/15, the administration does not seem to have been swayed — the expulsion will stand.

I sincerely hope that Messrs. Ro and Lim will land on their feet somewhere after having been treated so unfairly by the College’s disciplinary process. Permanent separation from Dartmouth will be a black mark on their records, since such a penalty is reserved — at least in theory — for extremely serious misconduct. While we can’t be too sure about what specific Standards of Conduct the two were charged with violating, a review of the various options would point to a couple of candidates:

STANDARD I: Students and student organizations must not engage in behavior which causes or threatens physical harm to another person or which would reasonably be expected to cause physical harm to another person “consensual” or not. Examples of such behavior include but are not limited to: Conduct which places another in reasonable fear for safety or in danger of bodily harm; Use or threat of physical violence or injurious conduct (whether directed at another, at oneself, or at an object); Hazing. Dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.


STANDARD II: Students and student organizations must not engage in behavior that threatens the safety, security or functioning of the College, the safety and security of its members, or the safety and security of others. Examples of such behavior include, but are not limited to: Disorderly conduct, coercion, harassment, or hazing, and stalking

Remember that the cause of the fire was an unattended charcoal grill that had been left on the roof of the Morton building. While this was the consequence of a certain carelessness that would make Smokey the Bear very unhappy, it is difficult to see how Lim’s and Ro’s mistake meets the standard of “serious misconduct” within the framework of the above provisions. The key word here is, after all, “mistake.”

You will have noticed that the examples given as potential breaches of the Standards of Conduct that the two may have violated all require intent; actions like hazing, dating violence, stalking, coercion, etc. do not occur by accident. The implication here is that a student subject to discipline under these standards meant to cause some sort of harm or was at the very least aware of the harm to which his or her actions could reasonably be expected to lead.

I would bet good money that the administration argued that leaving a hot grill unattended was always a threat to the safety of the inhabitants of the building, therefore triggering Standards I and II. This would be correct, especially with the benefit of hindsight. But reason and humanity should come into play when determining the degree of the threat and the corresponding level of misconduct that actually occurred. People leave grills burning all the time, and even though doing so is dumb because of what can happen as a result, it rarely has serious consequences.

The fact that there were, in fact, consequences in this case cannot be used to characterize the actual abandoning of the grill — which took place before the fire started — as the sort of “extremely serious misconduct” that would lead to expulsion. For example, the criminal law differentiates between murder and manslaughter for this reason — there is a difference between carrying out a harmful act with intent and unintentionally doing something that might lead to the same outcome. Sadly, the College failed to recognize this distinction.

In sum, the administration has severely overreacted. Ro and Lim were sacrificed so that the College, which has responded impotently to actual serious violations of the Standards of Conduct in the past, can claim to take discipline seriously. The right thing to do would have been to hand down a term-long suspension or a period of probation. Then again, when was the last time that anybody in Parkhurst did the right thing? Sebastian Lim and Daniel Ro will serve as unfortunate examples of, and witnesses to, this all-too-typical ineptitude, intellectual shallowness and moral bankruptcy.

Joe Asch’s Addendum: The best the administration might do here is advance some notion of negligence: that even though Lim and Ro didn’t intend to cause a fire, they should have known that their behavior could cause a conflagration. That theory fails on the facts: Dartmouth students have been barbecuing on rooftops since the beginning of time — including on top of the portico that fronts North Fayerweather, my old dorm. Has a fire ever resulted, and more importantly, has the administration ever sanctioned this activity or put students on notice of its danger?

The heavy penalties meted out here are yet another example of the capriciousness of administrative discipline at the College. Reaching back a little into the past, three and a half years ago Yesuto Shaw ‘15 described the welt-raising hazing that he endured as an Alpa Phi Alpha pledge. As Michael Beechert’s citation notes above, hazing is a named violation of Standard I of the College’s code of conduct. Dartmouth’s primarily African-American fraternity received no more than a slap on the wrist for its members’ repeated and serious infractions.


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

Tuesday, November 22, 2016



Endowment Report 2016

Every so often, a talented local investment manager shares with me his analysis of how well the College’s endowment has performed:

For the fiscal year ending 6/30/2016, Dartmouth’s endowment returned -1.9%. That wasn’t exactly stellar. But Ivy League endowments were all over the place, from Cornell at -3.3% to Yale at 3.4%. How well are these large endowments managed, and what makes it so hard for the College to hold onto a good Chief Investment Officer? With Pam Peedin announcing her departure on November 9 (she’ll stop work on June 30, 2017), Dartmouth’s endowment is looking for a new CIO for the third time in ten years.

Dartmouth’s endowment is one of the 25 largest in the country. And it plays a crucial role in the College’s financial picture. The endowment is worth about $4.5 billion and contributed over $200 million to College operations during fiscal year 2016 — about 4.5% of the portfolio’s value. Needless to say, the portfolio’s investment return matters a lot to Dartmouth’s financial health.

Our endowment’s performance can be compared with a plain vanilla 60/40 stock/bond index portfolio, as well as with its Ivy League peers. Everyone talks about performance, though, but hardly anyone mentions risk. But using the variability of returns as a proxy for risk, look at how Dartmouth’s 10-year return stacks up compared to with its classmates:

Risk Return 2016.jpg

What we see here is a clear division: Dartmouth, Penn, and a 60/40 index have had middling performance, although the index got there with a lot less downside risk (the higher the % standard deviation, the higher the risk). Also, an index would cost a lot less to administer (it seems the College’s investment office cost about $14,263,000 in 2016, and we didn’t get much return on that money).

Columbia, Princeton, and Yale have the best performance, but Columbia had a lot less drawdown during the financial crisis, and so their risk numbers are lower. Columbia’s Nirmal “Narv” Narvekar just announced that he was leaving the university to go to Harvard after fourteen years in New York — he’ll be replaced by Peter Holland who has been at Columbia for thirteen years; Princeton’s CIO Andrew Golden has been in the Tiger investment office since 1995. Yale’s David Swensen — pioneer of “Endowment Model” investing — has been in New Haven since 1985.

The back-row kids are Brown, Cornell, and Harvard. Regrettably for them, Cornell and Harvard have both gone through four CIOs in the past 15 years. Their high-risk/low-return results — the worst of both worlds — have been a source of heartburn for everyone associated with their endowments.

It’s hard to evaluate Pam Peedin’s performance as Dartmouth’s CIO. She only spent six years overseeing the endowment. During her tenure, relative returns trended higher, but that could be due to any number of factors. Why can’t the College keep a CIO in place for very long?

Probably the most significant change Peedin instituted was to keep her office in Boston — convenient for her, and giving her close access to many external managers. But maybe that made it harder to oversee the other Office staff?

Addendum: This space reported back in the day that the endowment office was moving to Boston. One of the key motivations for the move was to give Jim Kim a place to work when he chose not to be up in Hanover — which was quite often.

Addendum: A more complete version of this post can be found here.


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

Monday, November 21, 2016



New Trustee Chair: Laurel Richie ‘81

Laurel Richie.JPGWhen Bill Helman ‘80 became Chair of the Board of Trustees in the summer of 2014, we wondered whether, given his many other responsibilities, he’d have enough free time to devote to the College. He did: Helman met far and wide with people on campus — even with your humble servant — and he attended faculty meetings and other College events. He certainly gave everyone the impression of understanding what a parlous state the College finds itself in, and faculty did not hold back in letting him know that Phil Hanlon had virtually no support among Dartmouth’s professors. However, having gathered all of this information, Helman did not draw the kind of conclusions from it that would lead to action. As he leaves the Chair’s position, Phil and the College continue to drift.

Can we expect better from the new Chair of the Board of Trustees, Laurel Richie ‘81? Her background is in marketing and advertising, having spent two years at Leo Burnett Worldwide immediately after graduation, and then twenty-four years with Ogilvy & Mather. Then, after a three-year stint as the Chief Marketing Officer of the Girl Scouts of America, she became head of the Women’s NBA on May 16, 2011, a job that she held until November 4, 2015. Although Richie said that the decision to leave the post last year was hers and she wasn’t forced out, she announced no subsequent position at the time, and her departure came a few weeks week after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver noted his disappointment at the progress made by the WNBA.

As a Dartmouth Trustee, Richie created the College’s first board-level committee for communications, though that group does not seem to have improved the Admissions department’s hopelessly amateurish website. Has much of anything changed in Dartmouth’s communications strategy over the past few years? Not that I have observed.

Let’s be optimistic about Laurel’s time as Chair, but as it becomes increasingly clear that the College is in need of a turnaround specialist, very little in her background indicates that she is someone who can do this kind of heavy lifting.

Addendum: Here is a video of Richie talking about the challenges facing women in business, the value of team sports, and the College’s “brand”:

Addendum: Richie will be the first African American to chair of the Board of Trustees.


Posted on November 21, 2016 3:59 AM. Permalink

Sunday, November 20, 2016



Rhodes Scholar Sarah Waltcher ‘16

Sarah Waltcher1.jpgSarah Waltcher ‘16 of New York has won a Rhodes Scholarship. Her Dartmouth valedictory citation read as follows:

An English major from New York City, Waltcher plans a career in education, and will teach sixth-grade science in Brooklyn next year. She completed a teaching fellowship with Breathrough New York, part of the Breakthrough Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that prepares students in underserved schools for college and helps prepare new educators. Through Breakthrough, she taught biology, literature, and speech and debate to seventh- and ninth-graders, served as a ninth-grade team leader, and received the 2015 Breakthrough Teaching Excellence Award. At Dartmouth, Waltcher was a teaching assistant for two community-based learning courses and for “Environmental Studies 80: Writing Our Way Home,” with Visiting Professor Terry Tempest Williams.

With the Student Enrichment at Dartmouth (SEAD), she served as a summer mentor in Hanover and as a winter intern at the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics. She was a student program assistant for the Dartmouth Leadership, Attitudes and Behaviors Program, a volunteer with Big Brother Big Sister/SIBS, an admissions tour guide, and a trip leader and Vox crew member for DOC first-year trips. In addition, she participated in the Office of Pluralism and Leadership’s intergroup dialogue program, and in Voices, an original production written by and for Dartmouth women—an experience she describes as “amazing in terms of what a community can do when it comes together and does work around a topic that means a lot to its members.”

Waltcher was vice president of standards for Kappa Kappa Gamma, a member of Palaeopitus and Phoenix senior societies, and traveled to Buenos Aires as part of a Spanish language study abroad program. Her presidential scholar project with Associate Professor of English Michael Chaney investigated the work of the slave artisan Dave the Potter. She has received five citations for academic excellence in her coursework.

Sarah was also a Rockefeller Center Student Assistant for the Dartmouth Leadership Attitudes and Behaviors Program. See her profile here.

Addendum: 32 Americans were named Rhodes Scholars. The Ivy League contributed ten students: Harvard (4), Yale (3), Princeton (1), Cornell (1), Dartmouth (1). In past years, students from the College from Canada and Kenya have also won Rhodes.

Addendum: A longtime reader writes in:

Couldn’t have gone to a better person. Sarah is an impressive young woman who wants to do great things for education!

Addendum: Dartmouth News has a good write up about Sarah and the Rhodes.


Posted on November 20, 2016 9:00 AM. Permalink



Paris, Je T’aime

A movie already exists by that name, but it’s tough not to repeat the phrase. There is so much beauty here:

Pont Alexandre IIIC.jpg

The Pont Alexandre III from the Right Bank.


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

Saturday, November 19, 2016



Tuck at #5 in Bloomberg Businessweek

An alert reader writes in to note Tuck’s strong showing in the new Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranking of MBA programs. Here’s what B/BW had to say:

Tuck Has Best Showing Since Businessweek’s First Ranking In 1988

In all, 21 of the Top 25 schools experienced changes in their year-over-year ranks. Stanford’s Graduate School of Business climbed five places to rank second behind Harvard. Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, which was Businessweek’s top winner in 2014, rose five spots to claim third place. Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, was up nine places to rank fifth, its best showing since 1988 when its MBA program was ranked third best.

Businesssweek Rankings 2016.jpg

My correspondent then added some pertinent thoughts of his own:

Tuck’s high ranking in the BW and other MBA program rankings is a great accomplishment. Tuck accomplishes its high ranking in spite of lacking certain characteristics that most other high ranking business schools have, for example:

— Most top business schools have a business PhD program, but Tuck does not. Faculty value a PhD program because it provides research assistants who do a lot of the grunt work of business research such as data gathering and analysis from high-level business databases. A PhD program is also a source of prestige to a b-school because its graduates will go on to teach in other schools. Some faculty at other schools believe that “you can’t can be a top business school without a PhD program.”

— Most top business schools are located in or near large metro areas. Such a location puts students closer to sources of internships and jobs. Dartmouth’s remote location is unusual for a top U.S. school. An urban location is also helpful to student spouses who want/need to continue their careers.

— Many top business schools either own or have easy access to elaborate facilities for executive education. Such facilities might include a hotel/dining facility and dedicated classrooms. Executive Education programs generate a lot of extra cash for business schools and many of their faculty. Those programs also provide contacts in the corporate world and add prestige to the school. Of course the most important attribute of a good exec ed program is great teachers. Though Tuck does not have a dedicated facility for exec ed, it does have great teachers and so it has a successful exec ed program.

— Many of the top business schools, because they also have undergraduate students and/or more MBA students, are larger than Tuck with more faculty. Tuck’s faculty is relatively small.

As we’ve noted before, there are lessons to be learned by the College from Tuck if only College leaders were paying attention. Tuck makes a virtue of of its seeming disadvantages, much as the College used to do.

Amen.

Addendum: The article was divided into eight pages; the third page, where the full ranking appeared, included a Tuck picture:

Bloomberg Tuck Image.jpg

No students were harmed in the making of this photograph.

Addendum: Tuck’s alumni loyalty is second to none among B-schools.


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

Friday, November 18, 2016



Brian Solomon’s Guide To The Stars: Economics Professor Bruce Sacerdote ‘90

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:

Bruce Sacerdote.jpgBruce Sacerdote ‘90 is the Richard S. Braddock 1963 Professor in Economics at the College. An alumnus and now professor for nearly 20 years, he has explored the economic and personal impact of education, crime, and social interaction.

Sacerdote fell in love with the College after a winter visit as a high school junior. Econ hooked him from his first Intro to Macroeconomics course, and by the time he graduated in 1990, he was a star with High Honors in Economics and Salutatorian status. After some time as a management consultant, he went to Harvard, where he earned his Ph.D. in economics.

At Harvard, Sacerdote analyzed data on human behavior changes in response to events or policy changes. One paper he co-authored, Crime and Social Interactions, examined massive data files on crime and arrests product by the FBI and police departments to learn how crime propagates within a city or area due to social peer effects from one person to the next. It remains his most cited paper, and he has continued to research the topic. Sacerdote’s dissertation, funded by the National Science Foundation, involved a survey of hundreds of people who had played and won the Massachusetts State Lottery. His results showed how the extra income from lottery winnings influenced everything from savings and large purchases to labor supply.

Sacerdote has continued to work with data sets that allow him to examine clear before-and-after test cases on behavior. Another of his most-cited papers (overall, Sacerdote has more than 11,000 individual citations and an h-index of 33, according to Google Scholar) concerns the random assignment of roommates at the College. Peer Effects with Random Assignment proved what many people may know intuitively: it matters who is assigned to be your roommate. Sacerdote found that roommates affect both academic effort and social interaction. There is an observable difference in GPA that occurs at the individual room level, and both room- and dorm-mates influence the decision to join a fraternity. That research has been discussed in The New York Times and elsewhere (here and here).

In other papers, Sacerdote has looked at Korean-American adoptees who were randomly assigned to families in the U.S., and what impact their families and environments had on their lives. Today he’s looking at the effect random personnel assignment to Army bases has on children moving with their parents.

Sacerdote returned to Hanover in 1998, was tenured in 2003, and he became a full professor in 2005. In the spring, he’ll teach three sections of Econ 46 Topics in Money and Finance — a seminar that covers topics including financial institutions, capital markets, monetary policy, and debt and deficits. In the course students design and execute their own data-intensive research project. Watch Sacerdote discuss the recent financial crisis here:

Meanwhile, Sacerdote has shifted his research focus to burrow in on education. One recent paper looked at what factors induce high school seniors to apply to college. He showed that in-person coaching had the biggest impact on students. National education non-profits are currently looking to implement policy based on those findings. Right now he’s researching the effect on a student of winning a major college scholarship, and he is running a randomized control trial to text community college students to remind them to file financial aid forms.


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

Thursday, November 17, 2016



Parking Up the Wrong Tree (3/3)

The first two parts of our parking exposé dealt with the increased costs of parking at Dartmouth for students and the reduced availability of spots for everyone who needs to leave a car at the College. But A-Lot and the other spaces scattered around campus are not the only two parking possibilities for vehicle owners — fraternity lots offer a significant number of spots every year. As it turns out, this fact has not escaped the College in its attempt to crack down on a problem that does not need to be cracked down on. Administrators want to know exactly who is keeping a car on fraternity property. The only problem is that the big bad frats aren’t playing nice:

Haskell Memo2 Comp.jpg

A member of the Interfraternity Council has a theory:

IFC Parking Memo.jpg

The fact that the College wants to be able to identify drivers who break the rules — unnecessarily restrictive as they may be — seems fair at first. However, there are multiple fraternities on campus which own their own houses, including the attached parking lots. Anyone who’s paid any attention at all to College news in the past few years is aware that the administration seemingly has it out for the Greek system, so the infringement detailed above isn’t too surprising, but it does cross a line nonetheless.

What fraternities do with their own property is their own business, assuming that nobody is being put into any sort of danger. Obviously nobody is getting hurt because Dartmouth is unable to levy fines on certain students who put their cars in the wrong places from time to time. The foregone revenue may annoy administrators, but that alone does not pass muster when it comes to violating private property rights.

I would encourage the fraternities withholding information to stick to their guns — someone needs to remind the administration that Dartmouth students are, in fact, adults to be trusted, not children to rule over. If doing so means that the new parking department’s coffers are a bit less full at the end of the day, even better.

Perhaps we’ll get lucky and the College will come up short on the funding for its sorely needed reinforcements. Do you think that S&S alone will be able to stop the tide of chaos that would surely result from the absence of a dedicated parking Gestapo? I do.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3


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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016



He Wuz Robbed!

CBS News reports that Kyle Hendricks ‘12 did not win the Cy Young. As Michael Beechert ‘16 predicted in this space, the award went to Max Scherzer of the Nats:

On Wednesday, the Baseball Writers Association of America named Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer the winner of the 2016 National League Cy Young award. Cubs lefty Jon Lester finished second in the voting and Cubs righty Kyle Hendricks was third.

Somewhat surprisingly, Scherzer won the Cy Young in a landslide. He received 25 of the 30 first place votes and accumulated 192 total voting points. Lester received one first-place vote and had 102 points. Hendricks received two first-place votes and had 85 points. Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw received the other two first place votes…

As a reminder, the Cy Young is a regular season award only. Votes are cast following the final regular season game and before the first postseason game.

Addendum: The full vote is here — “30 individual ballots, submitted by two writers representing each city in the National League.” Only Jack Magruder of FanRagSports.com in Arizona and Matt Snyder of CBS Sports in Cincinnati voted for Kyle to win the award.

Addendum: CSN Chicago has a nice profile of the CY Young finalists and their reaction to Max Scherzer’s win.


Posted on November 16, 2016 6:56 PM. Permalink



Parking Up the Wrong Tree (2/3)

Yesterday, the first part of our parking exposé covered how the College has raised permit fees for student drivers, presumably to finance the addition of four positions to its parking enforcement staff. Today, thanks to some investigative photojournalism done by a loyal Dartblog reader, we see why Dartmouth saw — or, more perhaps accurately, how it invented — the need to do so.

Anyone who has ever experienced the struggle of having to find a parking spot at the College during peak hours can attest to the dearth of convenient options on campus. While this is merely an annoyance for students who have to bring their cars over from A-Lot for whatever reason, it’s faculty members who really get the short end of the stick. Dartmouth has, as Joe Asch ‘79 has covered on multiple occasions in the past, a first-come, first-serve system that oftentimes relegates professors to distant satellite lots since everything more central is snapped up by maintenance people and other staff members who arrive at work early in the morning. I have had professors admit to me that they sometimes pay for street parking in order to save time. This should be a source of embarrassment to a college that already neglects its faculty.

So, what’s a school to do if its screwed-up parking situation causes feelings of frustration and resentment among employees? Apparently, eliminate a number of the few options that do exist! Take a look:

Parking Spots Lost.jpg

What you see are the remnants of several spaces that have been half-ripped out of the ground and replaced with gravel. For good measure, the College put up a no parking sign in case the change in surface wasn’t clear enough.

Parking Sports Lost1a.jpgThe picture to the right, meanwhile, was taken from the side of the Gold Coast cluster which previously held a number of spots that could be used by faculty and staff. Not anymore. And, once again, there’s a helpful sign to avoid any ambiguity.

One more example of precious parking spots gone to die, as reflected in the image that you see below, also provides us with a demonstration of poor aesthetic sense on the part of whoever was in charge of the transformation. Do we really need such a chaotic, ugly maze of green, black, and white? And are the giant concrete planters on top — or whatever they are — really necessary? What an eyesore:

Parking Sports Lost2.jpg

It is unclear, at least to me, what the rationale behind the elimination of so many spots would be. Many of the former spaces seen in the above photos would not seem to block vehicle traffic or give rise to any sort of dangerous situation on the road. I can anecdotally confirm that, in my four years in Hanover, I was never inconvenienced by anyone making use of an existing parking space. Could the College simply be attempting to drum up revenue from fines by restricting the areas in which parking is actually allowed on campus? I hope not, but then again, would anyone really be surprised if that were the case?

Tomorrow, the third and final installment of the parking series will focus on how fraternity lots fit into the College’s plans.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3


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

Tuesday, November 15, 2016



Parking Up the Wrong Tree (1/3)

I was recently asked by friend not affiliated with Dartmouth to explain the purpose of this website. Although Dartblog is, of course, home to world-class cultural commentary and superbly-done analysis of current events on campus, my response was something along the lines of, “we try to expose how unfairly the College tends to treat its students and faculty.” Sad, but true. With that, I am happy (not really) to present further evidence that Dartmouth views its charges as little more than piggy banks to be smashed open at the first sniff of money to be made.

As someone who had a car in Hanover for the majority of my time as a student, the price of parking every term was just something to be tacked on to the already-exorbitant cost of attendance. In contrast to most Dartmouth-associated expenditures, however, I never felt that I was being gouged for the privilege of depositing my vehicle in the distant, poorly-maintained A-Lot. The cost of a term permit hovered around $40 for the entirety of my tenure; when I graduated this past spring, the price was $42. This, I believed, was reasonable.

But since reason tends to have a short lifespan up in Hanover, I was not surprised to find out that a permit now costs $75 per term. What, you might ask, are drivers receiving for an extra $99 a year? Did the College hire a valet service to ferry cars back and forth between A-Lot and civilization? Did anyone promise to actually clear snow from the lot in the winter instead of plowing it up against parked vehicles? Is Phil going to personally give every sedan and SUV a fresh wax come springtime?

The actual answer, found in a June 2016 email from Assistant Director of Residential Operations Bernard Haskell, may be a tad less satisfying:

Haskell Memo.jpg

The mental image of some bureaucrat salivating over punishing students for having the gall to leave their cars outside of the dining hall during lunch would be funny if it weren’t so representative of how the administration actually behaves. Apparently, the total breakdown of law and order caused by improper parking habits justifies the addition of even more fat to the College’s already-bloated staffing structure. Congrats, kids! You get to pay an additional $33 a term for the increased chance of receiving a $50 fine if you accidentally park in the wrong place or can’t get a permit on time due to start-of-term chaos. But at least you’ll have three new parking officers (with their own department!) to shield you from the madness of traffic conditions in rural New Hampshire. That has to be worth something, right?

Part II will look at how Dartmouth has managed available spaces on campus, and Part III will examine how the College has gone about dealing with fraternity parking lots.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3


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



The Times Can Be Cruel

When NYT cartoonist JR Zuckerberg had to draw a caricature of a feckless, pandering college administrator terrified of offending ever-so-sensitive students at Halloween, she chose the image of a balding man with a bushy mustache and wire rim glasses:

Halloween3.jpg

Look familiar?

Hanlon Zuckerberg.jpg

Coincidence, you say? I don’t think so. Julia Zuckerberg spent two months during the summer of 2014 in White River Junction at the Center for Cartoon Studies. She knows of what she draws.


Posted on November 15, 2016 3:59 AM. Permalink

Monday, November 14, 2016



Cornell President Martha Pollack ‘79

Is an undergraduate education at Dartmouth followed by postings that include sixteen years at the University of Michigan a good preparation for the presidency of an Ivy League school. Cornell seems to think so. Michigan’s Provost Martha Pollack ‘79 was just appointed president there:

Martha Pollack3.jpg

Phil Hanlon ‘77 was at Michigan for 27 years, and look what that got him (and us).


Posted on November 14, 2016 6:00 PM. Permalink



Oh, Those Busy Schedules

Self-congratulation is hard to take, especially in an institution as bloated and inefficient as Dartmouth. Here is an example: an announcement that the various Vice Provosts and Deans in charge of student life have deigned to, get this, meet with students. How kind of them to pull away from the meetings to plan meetings that they meet to plan:

Deans Meetings.jpg

I can just see students rushing to chat with these folks in the last week of the term — at some point between finishing a 20-page paper and studying for finals.

Addendum: Are we laughing or crying?


Posted on November 14, 2016 6:00 PM. Permalink



Dean “Draco” Ameer

There’s arson and then there’s accident. It turns out that Sebastian Lim ‘19 and Daniel Ro ‘19, the students whose hibachi caused the Morton Hall fire, have been expelled after being deemed “a danger to the community.” Is that a fair punishment for an act that was not intentional by any definition of the term. In fact, rooftop barbecuing has been done over the years by a great many students all over campus, albeit not with the same fiery consequences.

In any event, the two students are justifiably concerned about the harshness of their punishment, and they have put up an on-line petition:

Morton Fire Petition.jpg

What are Dean Ameer and her minions seeking to achieve in meting out such a dracoian punishment for an unintended event?

Needless to say, not everyone is a fan of the good Dean:

Ameer Must Go.jpg

My god, but the people who run the College are incompetent.

Addendum: The D briefly notes Lim’s and Ro’s petition.

Addendum: A Dartmouth parent writes in:

One reason for such harsh punishment may be to distract attention from the fact that the administration was not enforcing its own rules. I have heard vague reports from several sources that roof-top barbecuing was not unusual, but no concrete information. Who is responsible for fire safety?

Addendum: One of our feistiest readers comments:

Morton Hall fiasco is heartbreaking. Did anyone in the administration ever stop to consider the impact of expulsion on the lives of these two young men? Or are they concerned only with potential legal liabilities in future? Disgusting. Students at the College should never be collateral damage - why not “sentence” them to some sort of community service instead? Is not as though they were cooking meth on the roof for heaven’s sake.


Posted on November 14, 2016 3:59 AM. Permalink

Sunday, November 13, 2016



Tell Laura I Love Her

The Hill is reporting that sassy talk radio star Laura Ingraham ‘85 (her show is heard on 306 stations) is under consideration for the position of Press Secretary in the Trump administration. She was an early and vociferous Donald supporter both on her show and when appearing on Fox:

Laura Ingraham_.jpg

Laura was the Dartmouth Review’s first female editor-in-chief, and she went on to study law at UVA. She then clerked for former Yale Law professor and Second Circuit Judge Ralph Winter and, as have several other alumni, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Subsequently she worked at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, one of New York City’s top firms.

Addendum: I don’t really love her.


Posted on November 13, 2016 6:00 PM. Permalink



Beechert: A Cy Young for Young Kyle?

In the coming week the winners of the Cy Young Award will be announced. Every year the Baseball Writers Association of America votes to determine the best regular-season pitcher in the American and National Leagues. While always a fun moment for baseball fans, this year’s big reveal should be of particular interest to the Dartmouth community, seeing as Kyle Hendricks ‘12 of the World Series champion Chicago Cubs is one of the three NL finalists. The race is tight, and although it’s difficult to identify a presumptive winner, I’ve put together a table as a means of estimating Kyle’s chances against his fellow finalists, teammate Jon Lester and Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals:

CY Young Table.jpg

The statistic most obviously in Kyle’s favor is his ERA, a category in which he led the major leagues. While ERA is by no means a perfect statistic — it doesn’t adjust for the quality of the defense playing behind a pitcher (the Cubs’ defense was phenomenal this year) or ballpark peculiarities — it is almost certainly a better measure of performance than a win-loss record, where Kyle falls somewhat behind Lester and Scherzer.

That being said, Scherzer had a significantly higher workload than both Hendricks and Lester, and he was simply more dominant on the mound, as evidenced by his superior strikeout total and batting average against. The sabermetric statistic WAR (wins above replacement), which estimates how many team wins a given player was worth in comparison to an average player at the same position, seems to back this up.

Scherzer, I believe, will deservedly win the vote. Kyle will come in second place, by virtue of his ERA crown, to be followed by Lester. It should be noted that this discussion is artificially limited because Dodger Clayton Kershaw was not able to play for almost two and a half months this season due to a back injury; the Los Angeles ace was by far the best pitcher in the major leagues when he was actually on the mound.

In any case, Kyle should be proud of a phenomenal season. I imagine that any sting that results from finishing as the Cy Young runner-up will be more than made up by the World Series crown that he helped bring to Chicago.

Addendum: Here is MLB’s summary description of the NL Cy Young finalists:

Kyle Hendricks, Cubs: The first Cubs pitcher to lead the league in ERA since Bill Lee in 1938, Hendricks put together an outstanding second full season in the Majors with a 2.13 ERA and a .581 opponents’ OPS. He had a nine-game winning streak en route to his 16 wins and allowed three or fewer earned runs in 22 consecutive starts. It was a study in pitch command, soft contact and consistency that lasted all year long.

Jon Lester, Cubs: Performing at the level anticipated when he was signed to a lucrative contract prior to the 2015 season, Lester had a career year with bests in ERA (2.44) and wins (19). He allowed one or zero runs in a franchise-record eight straight starts and helped lead the Cubs to an NL Central title and a ticket to the postseason party.

Max Scherzer, Nationals: In his second year after signing as a free agent with the Nationals, Scherzer led the Majors with a franchise-record and career-high 284 strikeouts and recorded his second 20-win season. He picked up 20 of those strikeouts in a meeting with his former team, the Tigers, in May.

Joe Asch Addendum: Beyond his status as a Dartmouth alum, I’m hoping that Kyle wins the award because he makes up in brainpower what he lacks in heat. His combination of pinpoint control, a range of four effective pitches (a sinker, a fourseam fastball, a curve, and the league’s best changeup), and superb preparation for opposing batters draw comparisons with Gregg Maddux — winner of four Cy Youngs. Fingers crossed for “The Professor,” who pitched better in the postseason than did his teammate Jon Lester.


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

Saturday, November 12, 2016



Professors on Students Part 2

In this series we ask professors to write a report anonymously on their opinion concerning the strengths and weaknesses of Dartmouth students. There are no more parameters than that; we’ll leave the faculty free to choose how to fully define their subject. The second post, by a Humanities professor, is entitled What Would It Take?:

What Would It Take.jpg

Joe Asch Addendum: In auditing 45 or so classes at the College since graduation, I have heard only in recent years the phrase, “You don’t need to know that; it won’t be on the exam.” In my day, those words would have elicited a cringe and disapproval. All knowledge was considered to have value, even if it was not to be part of an examination.


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



Buddy’s MVP Rolls On

Football Coach Buddy Teevens ‘79 and Thayer Research Engineer John Currier ‘79 continue to make strides with their Mobile Virtual Player (MVP), as this Steelers’ video shows:

Addendum: The Steelers produced two other promo videos about the MVP (here and here).

Addendum: 1979 was a pretty good class.


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