Who Wants to Be a S&E Professor?
Where do all of the STEM jocks go to school, the ones who end up getting doctoral degrees in a science or engineering discipline? Here’s where:
Interestingly enough, small liberal arts schools like Reed, Swarthmore, Carleton and Grinnell rank ahead of the highest ranked Ivy: Princeton. At these small schools, your chance of going on to a STEM doctorate is more than twice what it is at Dartmouth. The College is #40 on the list, and Columbia and Penn don’t even make the Top 50 schools.
Meanwhile, more than one in three CalTech alums from the 1997-2006 period has earned a Ph.D.
Addendum: A member of the faculty writes in:
I’m trying to make sense of your interesting statistics today about S&E. Three questions.
First, what are the reasons Dartmouth scores so relatively low on this list? My hunch is that a preponderance of our good students are going into finance or consulting, as well, perhaps, as law and (clinical) medicine.
Second, should we try to remedy this shortfall of good students going for S&E doctorates? I think so. We need a better Dartmouth presence in this area both to enrich our alumni body and the nation.
Third, how do we do so? Not, I think, by spending vast new sums on science departments, graduate programs, and post docs. We somehow need to enhance the attractiveness of those departments. Reducing the sway of premed thinking and presence in some of those departments is one step. The guaranteed enrollment of premed students reduces the incentive to reach out to other students and the presence of so many competitive premeds renders the courses themselves less attractive to non-premeds. Above all, however, we need to hire and promote for teaching excellence in these areas. The S&E departments have some great professors, but teaching quality should be a consistent and high priority. Note that Reed, Carleton, Swarthmore and Oberlin have no grad students, but nevertheless score high on this list.
Addendum: A management consultant from a recent class has a comment:
Given the strength of post-collegiate job opportunities available at the Ivy League schools, it is hardly surprising that fewer graduates pursue PhD degrees. Most sophisticated students realize that the market for STEM PhD students is highly saturated, with few professorial positions available. Many of my colleagues in management consulting were PhDs from highly prestigious universities (MIT, Cornell, Harvard) who decided the academic rat race wasn’t worth it given reduced funding from the NIH, comparably low salaries, and extremely low probability of achieving tenure. These are the same sorts of trends that are pushing medical students into specialties over primary care. Until compensation is addressed, encouraging students to pursue economically unsound career choices (even if they have a passion for the field) will likely be futile. This is especially true when tuition is 60K/year.
Posted on December 9, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
Paris Diary: Our Building
The ecosystem that makes up a classic Haussmannian edifice in Paris — in this case our 1899-1900 building in the 16ème arrondissement — is more complicated than that of a pre-war building on the Upper East Side. As in New York, the apartments are spacious, with large windows and high ceilings, and shops fill the ground floor, but beyond these similarities, the social profile is quite different.
Paris buildings usually have a concièrge family in the entryway flat. These folks have not been French for many generations: Italians were replaced in the 1950’s by Spaniards and Portuguese, who, in their turn, have seen the role most often taken over by Arab immigrants from North Africa — in our case, a friendly Tunisian couple, whose kids attend the local schools.
Zoning is more flexible than in New York, too. Half of our building is taken up with professional offices: small firms of lawyers and accountants, along with doctors exercising various specialities. Some flats are owned by their inhabitants and others are rented, often for decades by the same people.
The very top floor (see the small half-moon windows near the chimneys) is not accessible by the building’s elevator; it has its own back stairway. When the building was built, each apartment had two top-floor chambre de bonnes — maids rooms — for servant girls from Brittany. The small rooms have a sink and perhaps a shower, with access to communal bathrooms in the hallway.
Servants being a thing of the past, the rooms are now used by students, young workers and, oftentimes, immigrants just starting life in France. Seven flight of stairs is an ordeal just to fetch a baguette, but that inconvenience guarantees an ample stock of low-cost housing in all of the City of Light’s neighborhoods.
Posted on December 8, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
The Dartmouth Squadron?
On Pearl Harbor Day, let’s celebrate alumni who flew in the Second World War under the College’s colors — in addition to the Stars and Stripes. We have previously noted the existence in the Pacific of a Navy fighter squadron named the Dartmouth Indian Unit. The outfit was mentioned in the Alumni Magazine obituary of one of its members, William H. McElnea Jr. ‘44, but no one seems to know anything about it. In the more recent NYT death notice of 90-year-old Robert L. Steiner ‘45, another Dartmouth formation is noted, a bomber squadron flying in the European Theater of Operations:
Robert L. Steiner, independent economist, former President of Kenner Products Company and Senior Staff Economist at the Federal Trade Commission, died on Saturday, October 26th in Washington, D.C. Raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Steiner graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College. A member of the “Dartmouth Squadron”, Steiner flew 35 missions over Germany, serving as Navigator and First Lieutenant on a B-17 bomber in the 8th Army Air Force during World War II. He was awarded the Air Medal and five clusters After receiving his MA in Economics from Columbia University in 1948, Steiner joined various family-owned manufacturing businesses in Cincinnati, the most successful of which was Kenner Products, Co., the toy manufacturer of which he became president… Steiner’s business experience was the impetus for developing a “dual stage” theory of economics, in which manufacturers and retailers competed both horizontally and vertically and the margins at the two stages were often inversely related. After a lecture at Harvard Business School, Steiner was appointed Senior Staff Economist at the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. in 1978. Steiner authored over 40 articles in scholarly journals in antitrust, economics, marketing and advertising. His books include Visions of Cable Vision, 1972. Steiner’s last article, Management, Market and Antitrust will be published in the Antitrust Journal later this year.
A life well lived.
Addendum: It is still the fashion on campus, as it was in my time, to mock the Old Dartmouth as provincial and out-of-touch. But today’s know-it-alls might ask how many present-day students will live a life as extraordinary as the one enjoyed by Robert Steiner ‘45.
Posted on December 7, 2013 3:59 AM. Permalink
Our Luminous Undergrads
Lumosity, the website that styles itself as the “web’s most popular brain training program,” has delved into its database of users to rank colleges and universities:
At Lumosity, we have the largest database of human cognitive performance, with over 30 million users from around the world who have played our diverse set of engaging cognitive training games over 450 million times. Given the large number of college-age users in the United States on our site, we were interested in whether we could harness our database in order to assess universities based on a new and different measure than the one used in any of the existing rankings - the cognitive performance of their students.
For our analysis, we looked at a user’s scores the first game he or she played a game in each of the five Lumosity Brain Areas: Speed, Attention, Flexibility, Memory and Problem Solving. Only users who had played at least one game in each area, and who had provided their date of birth and gender were included.
These users were assigned to universities based on self-reported email addresses and/or the web domain associated with his or her IP address… This resulted in a candidate sample of 89,699 users…The resulting partialed scores were then added together and renormalized to create our Grand Index score… We ranked institutions based on their median Grand Index score…
The College scores pretty well:
Lumosity also reports that its findings on student aptitude are strongly correlated (r=.79) with median SAT scores and U.S. News rankings. In the test’s specific areas, Dartmouth students scored well, too:
Problem Solving: #14
Speed: not in top 25
Maybe we can replace our Admissions Office with a test center that has people do Lumosity’s brain games?
Posted on December 6, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
Maurice Johnson ‘13 Charged
Back in May we reported that Maurice Johnson ‘13 had been arrested after entering a room in Phi Delt and stealing various items. We noted also that some type of assault took place as well. Well, justice is now being done, and Johnson has been charged with several misdemeanors, as you can see from the below composite document. Insiders expect that he will do some time.
Addendum: The prosecution of Parker Gilbert ‘16 on the charge of rape is moving ahead slowly. Gilbert has chosen another attorney, Robert Cary ‘86 of the Washington law firm of Williams & Connolly, to lead what appears to be a high-powered legal defense team.
Posted on December 6, 2013 3:59 AM. Permalink
Endowment: Is It Worth the Effort?
So how is the endowment doing against everyone else? We’ve noted that the College sank a lot of money moving the endowment managers’ offices down to Boston, though I could never figure out why this was a priority. And we, and the State of New Hamsphire, have observed that a good chunk of the endowment is in the hands of Trustees’ investment funds. Has this strategy been worth the effort, and the controversy?
Last year, our $3.7BN endowment returned 12.1%, which places us fourth in the big schools league table compiled by The Skorina Letter, a communication of Charles Skorina & Co., a search firm that recruits chief investment officers and senior financial professionals. The endowment’s return beat the classic 60/40 equities/bond allocation by a healthy 1.7%:
However, over a five-year span, despite active management by Trustees and the College’s investment staff, we underperformed a 60/40 equities/bond allocation by 1.8% annually. The only major endowment to beat the 60/40 allocation was Columbia, and its performance was only 0.6% annually above that of a plain vanilla strategy.
One should wonder in general, and as regards the College specifically, if the time, effort and investment in professional money managers is really worthwhile. Is Pam Peedin really worth $825,429/year, when we cannot match the market?
Inside Higher Ed questions whether the era of high market returns is over, suggesting that, as a result, schools had better watch their pennies. And this extended piece in Institutional Investor makes the case against active management: Beating the Market Has Become Nearly Impossible.
Addendum: In a recent report on October’s Alumni Council meeting, Russell E. Wolff ‘89 T ‘94 summarized Pam Peedin’s comments on the endowment as follows:
The primary long-term investment return goal for the endowment is 8 to 9 percent per year, which allows the endowment to maintain purchasing power after providing for the annual distribution to operations and adjusting for inflation. Dartmouth’s endowment has succeeded in meeting that goal, generating an annualized return of 9.4 percent for the 15 years ending June 30, 2013, and outperforming the 4.2-percent average annualized return for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index during the same period. Dartmouth’s endowment rate of return also compares favorably with the broad universe of peer colleges and universities, ranking in the top-quartile of the Cambridge Associates Universe of Colleges and Universities.
Note that Peedin did not let on that our endowment growth has been the worst in the Ivies since 2000, after having been the best between 1990-2000, nor that returns over the past half-decade have not come close to meeting her goals.
Posted on December 5, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
Spending Per Student
Yesterday we saw how Dartmouth spends $105,491,000 more each year than Brown University, even though Brown has 36% more students than the College. Brown cost only $729,182,000 to run in 2013 vs. $835,273,000 for Dartmouth.
Let’s work that out on a per-student basis. Of course, to do so, we’ll need to take out sponsored research, which can skew these expense numbers. And while we are at it, let’s compare Dartmouth and Brown with several other predominantly undergraduate schools in New England:
Yikes! The cost per student at Dartmouth is 35.38% higher than at plushy Williams, and it is 56.73% higher than at Brown. After that, the comparison gets really ugly: 76.82% higher than at Tufts; 139.01% higher than at Boston College; and $142.15% higher than at Brandeis.
Here’s a suggestion for Phil’s management team: get down to these schools, or better yet, hire some rigorous consultants, and obtain the following information:
● How many people each school has working in its various functional areas;
● What they are paid for their various bureaucratic jobs; and,
● The value of the benefits that they receive in addition to their wages.
Then, as my first-grade English teacher used to say: compare and contrast with the Dartmouth bureaucracy.
After that, act. Forcefully. If we could just get our per-student cost down to Brown’s level (but keep our current level of sponsored research), we would cut $236,623,634 from the current budget. Not an unachievable target, especially given that the cost of doing business and living in Providence is higher than it is in Hanover.
But that level of cost reduction is not the real goal. The $236,623,634 figure is just a preliminary indication of how much fat there is in the College’s budget. Rather than cutting all this money, Phil could re-allocate about half of that amount to reducing the draw on the endowment, and use the other half to dramatically trim the cost of tuition, room and board, and fees; re-build embarrassingly decrepit dorms like the Choates; and hire more faculty members in order to make a Dartmouth education the finest in the land. My word, you could almost say that this was the core of a strategic plan.
Addendum: The above is textbook Bain & Company analysis, the kind we provided to huge, bloated companies that were fighting for their lives. Phil should start getting our expenses into line before we get to that point.
Posted on December 4, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
A Brownian Cost Commotion
The answer to today’s quiz will be easy for longtime readers, but play along anyways, please. How expensive is it to run Brown University as compared to Dartmouth?
Brown now has 36% more students than Dartmouth (8,619 vs. 6,342), but in many ways it is similar to the College. Both schools have far more undergrads than grad students, and Brown and Dartmouth do a similar amount of sponsored research: $162,286,000 at Brown; $181,517,000 at Dartmouth. Neither institution has a law school; both have relatively small medical schools.
However, Brown has the misfortune of being in a city where doing business can be costly. Providence has a much higher crime rate than rural New Hampshire, and therefore Brown has 80 campus police on staff, a portion of whom are trained officers of the law carrying guns and with arrest powers; all these employees are better paid than Dartmouth’s 35 Campus Po security guards. Rhode Island has a 7% sales tax; there is none in New Hampshire. And Rhode Island has a 7% state income tax; New Hampshire has none. Real estate is more costly in Providence, as are services and labor.
Brown has a larger faculty than Dartmouth (736 tenured and tenure track professors vs. 589 at Dartmouth) and the faculty there has more members of the prestigious national academies in its ranks.
According to its 2013 audited financial accounts, Dartmouth’s total annual expenses came to $835,273,000. And Brown’s? What’s your guess? Pick one of the below:
□ $1,136,000. Good guess. With 36% more students, you might think that Brown costs 36% more to run than Dartmouth.
□ $1,236,000. A prudent guess, too. You’ve taken the 36% figure, and you’ve added a big-city cost premium because of Brown’s location in Providence.
□ $1,064,000. Clever, as well. You’ve assumed that there are economies of scale in running a school, so even though Brown has 36% more students, it only needs one President, one Provost, one Dean of the Faculty, etc., just like the College, so it is less costly to operate than Dartmouth on a per-student basis.
Fooled ya! You are wrong on all three counts, for you haven’t taken account of the elephant in the room: the bloated, overpaid Dartmouth staff. Despite Dartmouth’s smaller size, the College has 2,995 full-time and 333 partime non-faculty staff members on its payroll; Brown only has 2,574 fulltime and 653 partime non-faculty employees. And if the SEIU wage scale is typical of overall employee compensation, Dartmouth’s staff is much better paid than Brown’s, and its members have more costly benefits, even though taxes and the cost of living are much lower in New Hampshire.
So what’s the answer to the question? As a result of the College’s huge staff payroll, the cost of running Brown each year is, wait for it, not higher than running Dartmouth; in fact, it is lower by $105,491,000. Brown only costs $729,182,000 to run each year, vs. $835,273,000 for the College:
You’ll need to add depreciation to total expenses at Brown to get the sum cost of the institution in 2013: $729,182,000. In its financials, Dartmouth includes depreciation in its total expense figure of $835,273,000:
How the heck does Dartmouth cost $105,491,000 more to run than Brown? It is obvious that the College should cost substantially less, don’t you think? In fact, almost all of the difference comes from the total cost of wages and benefits, which at the College is $475,574,000 and at Brown is $388,859,000 — a difference of $86,715,000.
If you feel outrage at this figure, welcome to the club. You don’t have to be a management consultant to understand that expenses at Dartmouth are still wildly out of control. The cost of running the College should probably be $105,491,000 less than running Brown, not more. By my lights, Dartmouth’s total budget is at the very least over $200 million higher than it should be.
Addendum: There is no reason to think that Brown is a well run institution. Its managers are undoubtedly motivated by the same Rawlsian ideologies that have led to Dartmouth’s near insolvency. But if Brown can be somewhat efficient, then Dartmouth can be, too. After the College reaches Brown’s level of cost management, then we can talk about how lean it really could be.
Posted on December 3, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
Two Canadian Rhodes Scholars
Last week The Daily Pennsylvanian lamented that Penn had yet again been shut out of the Rhodes Scholar race:
For the fourth year in a row, no Penn students have been selected as recipients of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.
The results of the annual fellowship competition, which sends winners to the University of Oxford for a graduate course of study, were released Saturday. Harvard, Yale and Princeton universities are all well represented among the winners, sending six, three and two respectively.
In total, 857 students applied from more than 300 universities, and 32 were selected as winners…
This year, no students from Cornell, Columbia universities and Dartmouth College won scholarships.
Wrong they were. The College’s students may not have been awarded a Rhodes by the U.S. arm of the Rhodes Trust, but Joseph Singh ‘14 of Toronto, Ontario and Jonathan Pedde ‘14 of Regina, Saskatchewan have been named as Scholars from Canada. Congratulations, gentlemen!
Let’s hope that these two awards are a sign that the College’s arm that helps students apply for scholarships is upping its game. HYP has an impressive administrative machine that assists students in preparing their applications for the most prestigious fellowships starting in sophomore year. The results are obvious.
Read the College’s press release here.
Addendum: While Pedde went to Luther College High School in Regina, Saskatchewan, he actually hails from Indian Head, Saskatchewan.
Posted on December 2, 2013 12:30 PM. Permalink
Cost Explosion Details
Who should we blame for the College’s out-of-control spending? If the administration published its complete budget, we could better discern responsibility. How about it, Phil? Looking at the 2013 annual accounts (figures are in 000’s), you can see that spending increased in all categories (except for the “other expenses” area) by between 5.17% and 10.31% — even though the consumer price index rose by only 1.72% over the past year. Who was at the helm to set priorities and make decisions?
Of course, in talking to members of the Arts & Sciences faculty, one learns that most requests about funding for new ideas are met with a standard refrain: “We have no money.” Quite a response from administrators who increased their overall spending by $59,875,000 from the previous year. To put that amount in perspective, net income from undergraduate tuition totaled only $119,186,000 in fiscal 2013. How easy it would be, if the administration exercised a little price discipline, to cease being the second-most-expensive Ivy, the one with the least generous financial aid.
So where did the money go? Obviously, with a 153-person jump in the number of non-faculty staff members, and a fat contract given to the laughing-at-the-bleeding-hearts SEIU union, a good chunk of the cash went to the staff. Increases in wages and benefits made up 60% of the budget jump. No surprise there. But beyond that, we can expect that grad programs, included Kim’s Science of Healthcare Delivery program, ate up a lot of dough.
We’re on a road to nowhere.
Posted on December 2, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
Venice Diary: Water Taxi
Approaching Venice by water taxi across the lagoon from Marco Polo airport offers up the laboring side of the city: construction depots, boat repair shops, the island of Murano and the Greek Orthodox Cemetery. While not as elegant as the Grand Canal on a clear November day (seen below from the Accademia Bridge), the backside of La Serenissima is no less interesting for its view of a town that works with and against the water.
Venice is always worth the visit for herself alone, but the show of 52 Leonardo drawings at the Accademia was a special moment.
Posted on December 1, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
Twas Not Always So
In the Valley News the other day, sports writer Tris Wykes lamented the half-time show put on by the Princeton band:
… what causes me to grind my molars are the inane announcements that accompany the band’s “marching”, which is really a bunch of running around aimlessly before assuming a basic formation. This is in the tradition of Ivy League “scramble bands”, as opposed to the more regimented and uniformly-attired musical groups you more often see throughout Division I college football. ..
Frankly, I could care less if Ivy League scramble bands attempt to form the outline of a keg, a bear or Lady Gaga in the nude. They all tend to look the same, anyways. But must there be a student spokesman blathering sophomoric, inside jokes over the public-address system by way of introduction?
The bands try to insult each other and offend opposing alumni without going over an edge loosely defined by administrators. Scripts for this idiocy are supposedly previewed by the home school, but I sometimes wonder if that’s really happened…
I haven’t been to a game for a while, and perhaps with good reason the bands’ shenanigans are not broadcast by WFRD, but back in the day the halftime show included real wit, particularly on the part of the DCMB. Will Sogg ‘56 passed away not too long ago, and his contributions to halftime were noted in his obituary:
When Wilton S. Sogg was an undergraduate at Dartmouth College in the 1950s, he wrote halftime shows for the school’s band. When he attended Harvard Law School a few years later, the university asked him to do the same for its band - though he maintained his show-writing duties for Dartmouth.
One year when the two schools’ football teams played each other, Sogg jokingly considered writing the same halftime show for both bands, but in the end “thought better of it,” said Rabbi Richard Block of The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood.
“Will had this wonderful twinkle in his eye that communicated mischievous pleasure, mental alertness and a sense of fun,” said Block of his longtime friend Sogg, a past president of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company Board of Trustees.
Addendum: A longstanding objection to the dumb idea of rebranding the College as Dartmouth University revolves around the resulting acronym for the Dartmouth College Marching Band.
Posted on November 30, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
The What School of What?
There seems to be a design tiff going on over at the Med School. One can imagine endless meetings involving innumerable administrators over just how much emphasis logographers should put on the name “Geisel” and the extent of attention to be accorded the name of the College on the Hill. An alert reader has discerned that in recent months the Dartmouth name has become preeminent, part of the Geisel administration’s ongoing sensitivity to the issue of nomenclature.
The first logo below appears all over the med school website and in most current marketing materials; however, the lower one features in the paper version of the most recent Dartmouth Medicine magazine and on the prominent sign in front of the under-construction Williamson Translational Research building at DHMC. Might we detect the discrete hand of Phil Hanlon ‘77 replacing the wishes of a biologist and an image-conscious MD?
I bet Ted would have had a different take on naming. How about this?
The Dartmouth School of Geisel Medicine
Posted on November 29, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
From back in the day when meat was delivered without refrigeration:
You could look it up in your Funk & Wagnalls.
Addendum: Tomorrow night we’ll enjoy a turkey prepared and roasted by our local butcher here in Paris — a bird light years removed from a Butterball.
Posted on November 28, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
A “Solid Cohort” of Postdocs?
I can make peace with postdocs in the sciences, but is the below where Phil really wants us to go? Tenured professors should be teaching seminars as the highlight of an undergraduate’s academic life, not researchers who were unable to hire on to a tenure-track job, and whose teaching experience is limited. What is Phil’s goal here?
Posted on November 27, 2013 3:59 AM. Permalink
BREAKING: Kim’s $100M Fraud. His Spending Grew Each Year
Jim Kim talks endlessly about his efforts to rein in spending at the College. The administation’s PR arm cites his budget work as Kim’s signature achievement in Hanover, and students repeat the party line, as in this D summary of the Kim Presidency:
In October, Kim expressed concern about the College’s endowment, which dropped 23 percent during the 2009 fiscal year. To manage the College’s budget, the Board of Trustees announced cuts of $100 million. The College laid off 38 employees and added loans to some students’ financial aid awards.
But were there really any “cuts” at all? In fact, at this point, now that the final numbers are in, we might better ask ourselves whether there was even a Kim-era budget crisis, or was the entire exercise a charade to let Kim solve a non-existent problem before moving up to the next rung on his career ladder.
Let’s examine the budget process: an institution like Dartmouth prepares a detailed budget each year for the following fiscal year. Priorities are set, estimates of income and spending are made, decisions are taken in order to balance the two, and then the Trustees formally vote to approve the budget. In the subsequent year each area of the College is duty bound to respect its budget allocation. As such, Kim’s first year as President — July 1, 2009-June 30, 2010 — took place under the financial strictures of Jim Wright’s Fiscal 2010 budget. A few months ago — on June 30, 2013 — we ended Jim Kim’s third and final budget year: Fiscal 2013.
How do things look? Jim Wright’s last budget actually included cuts in spending and manpower. Spending in Fiscal 2010 was down $17,985,000 from the previous year (from $735, 048,000 to $717,063,000) — the first absolute cut in memory — and approximately 40 people were laid off.
From a new spending base of $717,063,000, Kim took over, and his widely publicized budget process established Dartmouth’s level of spending in each of the next three years. With the publication last week of the College’s audited accounts for 2013, we can see the results of Kim’s work:
In all of Kim’s three budgets, expenditures increased, and they did so at an accelerating rate. Only in the first Kim budget was spending growth even with inflation.
Such out-of-control expenditures were entirely consistent with Jim Wright’s overall record of flagrant spending. By 2013, in absolute terms, Jim Kim’s budgets were back on the regression line of Wright’s spending:
Kim’s spending growth did not reach the heights of Jim Wright’s 2001-2003 binge, but Kim-era growth showed every bit of the indiscipline shown by Jim Wright:
Between 1999 and 2013, Dartmouth’s budget grew by 126.4%; the consumer price index rose by 40.2%. And some people still wonder why we are the second most expensive school in the Ivy League.
That said, Kim and his team did make cuts: the number of student courses was reduced, SEIU union members went without a raise for two years (Don’t worry. For the work that they do, they still make about double what people earn in equivalent positions in private companies in the Upper Valley), and the faculty learned to take out its own garbage.
Given the reality of these cost savings and the fact that spending grew nonetheless, it is clear that under Jim Kim cash continued to be wasted at a prodigious rate. Where did the money go? Haiti? The Science of Healthcare Delivery Science Center? The Hanover Inn and other Pentagon-quality building projects? No doubt. But most importantly, as always, spending was directed to the ever-growing non-faculty staff: overpaid and underworked. In 2012, the number of non-faculty employees grew by 4.8% — an additional 153 people.
There are only two things that we can say for certain: all that extra spending did not go toward improving the quality of undergraduate education at Dartmouth — last year the faculty grew by only seven professors; and Jim Kim is now sitting pretty at the World Bank, having conjured up a reputation as a hard-headed cost-cutter.
Addendum: This space has often noted the Kim administration’s tendency to use accounting tricks to achieve its aims. The faculty’s multiple rejections of Kim/Folt’s budget explanations were based largely on a recognition of this kind of accounting legerdemain. Such habits lead one to think that Kim pushed a good number of expenditures from his second to his third fiscal year, secure in the knowledge that he’d have skipped town by the time the audited 2013 figures were made public.
Posted on November 26, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
News From Phil and the Council
Loye Miller ‘51 has sent out a mailing summarizing Phil Hanlon’s remarks and other news from the Alumni Council meeting held on the weekend of October 24-26. The highlights:
— He [Hanlon] twice spoke of requiring academic departments and administration entities to eliminate 1.5% of what they are now spending to free up funds for “other, more appropriate areas”.
Cutting spending across the board seems unsophisticated to me. Given that salaries, wages and employee benefits constitute over 60% of Dartmouth’s cost structure, and over 15% of expenses are in non-compressible line items such as taxes, depreciation, and interest payments, the task that Phil has really set for people is to cut 6% of the areas of the budget that can be cut: cost items like materials, purchased services and travel.
In fact, there are administrative areas that could be cut in half (like the bloated staff in many administrative areas), and others that cannot be cut at all (faculty departments with one beleaguered secretary).
— President Hanlon, Dean Charlotte Johnson and other speakers made it clear dealing with alcohol problems and sexual abuse is a driving force in the Student Life arena. Among student athletes, the number of non-drinkers has risen from 17% to 35% in the past three years.
It’s always fun to have the College describe the results of student surveys as if they represented reality. Dartmouth students are very good at giving the right answers to questions. Perhaps 35% of athletes do not drink in season (under their coaches’ orders for many teams), but I have a great deal of trouble crediting this statistic with any overarching validity. Perhaps that is the percentage of students who do not binge drink?
— Vice President for Alumni Affairs Martha Beattie pronounced that it’s time to check into what alumni - and the parents of undergraduates - think of the College. A professional survey will be taken “in the near future” - first sampling since 2002.
The results of this survey should be interesting. Parents who have dealt with the ponderous administration will have a word or two to add.
— Also, it was announced that the requirement that when there is only a single candidate for an open elective seat on the Dartmouth Board of Trustees, an alumni-wide election nevertheless must be held, at an average cost of about $70,000 to the College, will be put to referendum. An amendment eliminating the requirement of alumni-wide balloting for uncontested candidates to the board will be voted on by alumni in an election early in 2014.
One has to admire the chutzpah of people who pack the Board so that Alumni Trustees have no say, then they make elections all but unwinnable for petition candidates by cooperating only with the Council’s candidates in sharing mailing lists, etc., and then they announce that they would like to avoid the expense of holding elections when there are no petition candidates running for a seat on the Board of Trustees.
Given the present structure of the Board, there will never be another petition candidate. The College’s alumni have been forevermore disenfranchised, and the Board is destined to remain in the hands of financiers without a thimbleful of knowledge about higher education among them.
Posted on November 25, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
Paris Diary: The Military
Attending the Marine Ball in Paris last weekend — commemorating the creation of the United States Marine Corps on November 10, 1775 — put me in mind of one of the College’s many soldier/scholars. Several speakers recalled the fighting on “Bloody Tarawa” from November 20-23, 1943, where William C. Chamberlin ‘38, the College’s valedictorian and an economics professor at Northwestern, distinguished himself, winning the Navy Cross. (He later won a Silver Star on Saipan and another one on Tinian.)
From One Square Mile of Hell: The Battle for Tarawa:
Born February 9, 1916, in Chicago, Chamberlin enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in 1936 during his student years at Dartmouth. He took summer officer training classes at Quantico, Virginia, in 1936 and 1937, then received his commission upon graduation in 1938…
Chamberlin stood upright, fully exposing himself to the fire from the shore, in an effort to encourage his men. The tactic worked on most, but whenever he saw a Marine drop low to the water and refuse to budge, Chamberlin, certain that they would be cut to ribbons by the hundreds of bullets that flew out from Betio, took out his .45 pistol, waded over to the man, and threatened to shoot him if he did not move. Every Marine thus confronted, most likely wondering what had become of the nit-picking officer from the transport, stood and advanced through the fire…
While Crowe headed in, Major Chamberlin took over onshore. He freely moved among the bullets and eruptions as if they did not exist. Once he shepherded the men toward the seawall, Chamberlin began organizing an advance. He regretted one thing — he had placed his pack containing a box of his favorite cigars in the amtrac, which a Japanese shell demolished when it struck the boat. He would have to lead without a cigar protruding from his mouth, at least until he could bum one off Crowe…
The economics professor walked up and down the left side of the beach telling men to “get the hell over that seawall!” Pharmacist’s Mate Bowen, more accustomed to the stolid officer he had seen aboard the transport, said of Chamberlin, “When he got ashore, he was like a wild man! He was not afraid to jump up and lead his men.”…
Chamberlin’s successful attack removed the last of the three Japanese positions that had confined Crowe to the beach area. His forces now rushed to the airfield, where Crowe halted them to avoid being shot at by Jones’s battalion advancing along the south shore…
Bonnyman, whose body had been so badly mauled by Japanese grenades that only the dog tag identified the corpse, received the Medal of Honor for his bravery. Many Marines believe Chamberlin should have been so honored as well, not only for his deeds on the third morning but for the leadership he exuded throughout the battle. Staff Seargeant Hatch contended that Chamberlin has never received the proper acclaim for what he accomplished at Betio, probably because the quiet college professor declined to engage in self-promotion. “He’s the guy that took the thing,” said Hatch, “yet he doesn’t get much credit.”
The College today enjoys the presence of a disproportionate number of veterans in the undergraduate student body — disproportionate, at least, compared to the other Ivies. However, the exact number of veterans at Top 20 schools is a tough figure to pin down. Suffice it to say that having military veterans in Hanover is my kind of diversity. I have gotten to know some of the vets over the years. They bring a level of forthright confidence that is often lacking in other students. It seems that if you have been in a firefight or faced a clench-jawed drill sergeant in bootcamp, the College’s myriad deanlets do not fill you with fear for your precious future. Semper fidelis.
Addendum: Eight to fifteen Dartmouth students participate each year in the College’s Marshall Islands Teaching Program. However, a recent participant in the program informs me that she was taught nothing of the WWII feats of arms accomplished in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands by American fighting men and Dartmouth alumni, though the program’s website does note in detail the American nuclear testing done in the area after WWII.
Addendum: The remains of over half of the Marines who died on Tarawa have never been recovered. The Times has a story today on the ongoing effort to find them and bring them home.
Posted on November 24, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
The Star Next Door
As students finish a meeting in the office of a professor, how many are aware that in the outside world the person who just gave them an hour of individual help is a redoubtable figure? Not by a longshot are all Dartmouth profs leaders in their fields, as is too often asserted, but a number are. The next time you are in the Economics department chatting with a member of the faculty, keep in mind that serious people pay real dough to hear what you are hearing for tuition money.
Economics Professor Danny Blanchflower was the keynote speaker at a three-day conference held this week at the Westin Hotel in Paris. The cost to attend the SuperInvestors program was £2,599/person (about $4,200).
Danny’s categorical view, one that the audience listened to with care, is that the Fed won’t taper off on its quantitative easing program (i.e. printing money) until wage pressure incontrovertibly returns — which it won’t any time soon, according to Danny, due to the downward push on wages exerted by the unemployed; the underemployed; and the people who have given up looking for work, but who would take a job if they could find one. In short, Marx’s reserve army is playing its role. We can expect low interest rates to continue for a good many years to come, at least until 2016, and possibly until 2020. Equities will outperform and bonds are losers.
You can’t say that you have not been warned by the Silsby Sage, a financial markets prognosticator hors pair.
Posted on November 23, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
Plodding Prose and Cloying Clichés
The other day we ran a post about inaccuracies on a page of the Admissions department’s website. Seems we struck a nerve. The offending page has been replaced by the below missive and a pair of videos.
Geez. Can’t anyone write around here? Read the large paragraph, and pay extra attention to the lengthy sentence at its end. Will such sparkling text attract anyone to the College? Methinks the opposite will be the case.
Alert readers will note the slavish incorporation of several phrases from Phil’s recent speech to the faculty, as noted by Dartmouth Now:
The initiatives are designed to make Dartmouth a “magnet for human talent,” at the forefront of intellectual innovation and risk-taking, and a “place of big ideas and bold efforts,” said Hanlon. [Emphasis added]
Let’s applaud Maria’s recycling efforts.
Posted on November 22, 2013 3:56 PM. Permalink
Phil’s Cash Managment Degree
The type of 4+1 Masters in Management degree that Phil announced in his speech to the faculty two weeks ago was the subject of a recent article in the Financial Times. One-year management programs seem all the rage among business schools and the College is jumping — a little late — onto the bandwagon:
A degree in Hispanic linguistics does not spring to mind as an obvious passport to that all-important first job after college. So when Michelle McCarthy graduated with just such a qualification, she decided she needed a top-up business degree as well.
“I knew I wanted to go into business,” she says, “possibly in Latin-American business relations.” In May, she enrolled on the University of Notre Dame’s inaugural Master of Science in Business degree at the Mendoza school in Indiana…
The Kellogg school at Northwestern University in Chicago also starts a pre-experience degree this year, while Michigan Ross will launch a similar programme in 2014.
The Fuqua school at Duke University in North Carolina has taught its Master of Management Studies for several years…
Canadian schools such as Queen’s in Ontario, the Sauder school at the University of British Columbia and the Ivey school at the University of Western Ontario all now teach these pre-experience masters degrees.
The increase in numbers is borne out by statistics from the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), which administers the GMAT entry test for business schools. According to GMAC, the number of GMAT test-takers who were under 24 years old - typical masters in management candidates - rose from about 70,000 in 2007-08 to more than 100,000 in 2011-12, rapidly closing on the number of GMAT test-takers aged between 24 and 30, which is the age of a typical MBA student.
Fairness dictates the statement that much of students’ current emphasis on business derives from the enormously high cost of a college education. Dropping a quarter of a million dollars on four years in Hanover doesn’t allow students much leeway in choosing a career. How sad. If Phil could get costs under control — if we could simply educate Dartmouth’s 6,144 students for the same total cost that Brown does for its 8,454 students (right now running Dartmouth costs about 10% more than running Brown, even though Brown has 38% more students), we could use the huge savings to cut the College’s annual tuition cost in half. Over to you, Phil.
Addendum: The FT ranks the top 70 Masters in Management programs for 2013 here. None are based in the U.S.
Posted on November 22, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
World Bank as Favor Bank
Hardly a day goes by without my newsfeed for Jim Kim announcing that he’s off to another country in a private jet. He’s expressing sympathy for typhoon victims or refugees or sufferers of famine, and he endlessly trumpets his resolve to make all of the world’s problems his very highest priority. When he meets with national leaders, a cheap loan or a funded project is invariably left in his wake.
Such largesse does not fall within the WB’s tradition of financing carefully planned, enduring infrastructure projects. But then my read is that Jim Kim, as during his time at Dartmouth, has a different agenda from his predecessors. He’s not thinking of his institution; he’s focused on himself. As Wills Begor ‘12 noted in his valedictory address in front of Kim:
[During Begor’s four years at Dartmouth] Dr. Jim Yong Kim became the 17th president of Dartmouth College, Jim Yong Kim became the president of the World Bank, and word on the street is he’s already looking for the next big job.
And what job would that be? My bet is that Kim is already lining up support to become the Secretary General of the United Nations. After the leadership of the World Bank, what job has less accountability and even more scope for slick talk to virgin audiences? Perfect for Kim. Let’s just hope that his goal is no more than his own shallow ambition. I would hate to see him the subject of a movie that refers obliquely to his brief time as Dartmouth’s President: The Hampshurian Candidate.
Addendum: For some vintage Kim, watch him flit from platitude to generality and then back again in this Wall Street Journal interview. He discusses the policies and initiatives necessary for global economic growth; disaster relief and climate change; economic prospects for women; and how billions of people need to be brought into modern financial systems — all in three minutes and twenty-four seconds. He sounds great, unless you know something about these subjects. Needless to say, inside the World Bank, staffers’ eyes are rolling.
Addendum: The parlor game du jour in Hanover is betting on who will flame out first: Jim Kim or Carol Folt. I am sorely afraid that neither of them will. If I am right, heaven help us. How many more of our leaders with glossy reputations are equally shallow and dishonest?
Addendum: Here is yesterday’s Google Alert for Kim:
World Bank President: Disaster Costs Ballooning…
Wall Street Journal
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim sits down with WSJ’s Sara Murray to discuss global growth, how climate change worsens natural disasters and economic …
The World Bank vs. Israeli settlements…
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim (L). Photo: REUTERS. A newly-released report issued by the World Bank’s office for the “occupied Palestinian territories” …
World Bank report: Damages from extreme weather mount as …
Afrique en Ligue
Jim Kim, World Bank Group President, said the Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful typhoon ever to hit the Philippines, had brought into sharp focus how climate …
World Bank’s Kim Urges Gradual Fed Tapering as Nations Prepare …
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said he hopes the Federal Reserve will exit its monetary stimulus bit by bit as he urged emerging markets to prepare for a …
World Bank’s Kim: Invest in Disaster Prevention …
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim talks about disaster aid, risk management and prevention. Kim, speaking with Betty Liu on Bloomberg …
No word yet on whether the World Bank will work to create a Great Issues course for the sophomore class at Dartmouth — an idea that Kim spoke about endlessly, but which he was unable to implement in two years and nine months in Hanover.
Posted on November 21, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
Phil: Ho Hum and Some Progress
If you were quivering in anticipation before Phil’s big faculty meeting devoted to social life at the College, well, quiver no more. As we’ve observed before, Phil’s modus operandi seems to be to softly introduce new policies well prior to any official announcement. In this case, last Thursday’s release of the Committee on Student Safety and Accountability report told you all that you would learn at Monday’s faculty meeting. The D reported on it here.
The significant missing piece at the faculty meeting was some comment on the ongoing “find any pretext” enforcement program against certain frats. Using slight excuses, the College has effectively shut down Beta and TDX for offences that would have not made anyone blink last year. A boxing club? Water in the basement? Loud music out the windows? And so on. Phil had nothing to say on Monday about Kate Burke’s harm offensive.
Otherwise, with one wonderful exception, we heard at some length about policies that have been discussed many times before about ways to protect vulnerable students and offer social alternatives to the frats: bystander intervention, survivor counseling, Collis After Dark, the “arts district,” the entrepreneurship center, affinity houses, the Intergroup Dialogue Method (a sort of encounter group for students), and the BASICS alcohol management program. Not much new there.
However, to the delight of many Dartblog readers, Phil did come out strongly in support of dorm continuity:
The fundamental challenge to building community in our residence halls is continuity. Students do not have the option to return to their current residence halls after a leave term. Why can’t they? The reason we can’t offer that right now is that there is no slack in our housing during the fall and spring terms. Without that slack in housing, we can’t assure that there is room in individual residence halls to accommodate everyone who might want the right to return. I’m persuaded that Dartmouth would benefit from a more balanced enrollment over the four terms, so that we can, amongst other things, allow students greater opportunity to remain in a particular residence hall from term to term, to build identity with a residence hall and a circle of friends in a community.
Decisions have yet to be made regarding the composition of dorms: mixed class, as in my day, or freshmen-only dorms and upperclass dorms. As regards balancing/reducing the number of students on campus during fall and spring terms, no specific strategies were proposed. In the past, I have suggested moving fraternity rush to winter term (as was the case for many years) and increasing off-campus programs so that all students have a foreign experience.
Phil did mention increasing the number of students on campus for the summer term, and even revamping the summer program itself. He described the term as an “underutilized opportunity” — as Jim Wright, Jim Kim and Carol Folt have also done in past years.
In addition, Phil recommended that professors get involved in social issues:
Charlotte’s team is working to develop training for faculty and staff on how to be a first responder to a sexual assault, in other words, how to advise a student, a survivor, how to direct them, when you are the first person that they confide in. So consider volunteering for that training. Become more involved in student organizations, particularly those that provide experiential learning for students in an area of your scholarly interest and expertise. Help develop programming for the new theme-based residence halls as we begin to put those on line. And help us with the instructional implications of bringing greater balance to enrollments, including rethinking the time that you are offering courses. You can help with that.
There was substantial, if polite, pushback to this idea among faculty members at the meeting. One questioner opined, “Faculty at Harvard are not being asked to take courses about motivational interviewing.” Phil will have a tough row to hoe in eliciting much involvement in this area, especially after he urged the faculty only two weeks ago to up their research efforts in cooperation with his Society of Fellows postdoctoral program.
All in all, many of these ideas have been around the track more than once. Phil Hanlon has taken a scattershot approach to the College’s socials woes. Will he have the resolve to bring any of these proposals home?
Addendum: For readers who have been around Hanover for a while, Phil’s remarks might lead them to recall these words:
We identified five principles that should characterize the out-of-classroom experience for our students. These included offering greater choice and continuity in residential living, as well as improved residential space; providing additional and improved social space controlled by students; creating a substantially coeducational and inclusive system; reducing the number of students living off campus; and reducing the abuse and unsafe use of alcohol.
The committee recommends a further change that may minimize the extent of the building program required to achieve continuity and the amount of time needed to carry it out. This would involve the College developing programs to attract more enrollment to winter and summer terms, and shift some enrollment away from fall term.
Stumped? Jim Wright’s Student Life Initiative of 1999.
Addendum: The Valley News and The D have reported on Phil’s remarks to the faculty.
Posted on November 20, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
Truth In Advertising
There was a time not too long ago when the College had confidence in itself, when the word college was put forth as evidence that we were proudly different from all the Ivy universities: Dartmouth College was the only college in the Ivy League. By that we meant that the institution’s focus was unrelentingly on the undergraduate program; our undergrads (who outnumbered grad students by 4:1, not 2:1 like today) would not be slighted by a disproportionate focus on graduate schools. What a great message!
Today most of the Admissions Department’s webpages don’t even employ the word college. The folks in Admissions eagerly want everyone to know that we are “an Ivy League university,” too. We really are!!!
On the same webpage above, Admissions puts forward the figure that Dartmouth does “over $200 million in funded research.” Where does that figure come? Not from the annual financials. The 2012 annual report notes that we did $173,554,000 of sponsored research in 2012 and $179,811,00 in 2011:
According to the 2010 annual report, funded research amounted to $168,130,000 in 2009 and $172,638,000 in 2008:
None of these figures comes even close to $200 million.
Finally, as we saw in a recent post, the College’s foreign study programs just ain’t what they used to be. For the Class of 2013, programs led by members of the Dartmouth faculty involved only 48% of the student body, and even if you add the extra 10% of students who participated in often cut-rate, non-Dartmouth programs, you only get to 58% of undergrads:
Lots of sloppiness all around the Admissions department’s webpage.
Addendum: Despite the declining LSA/FSP numbers, Dartmouth Now ran a big story last week vaunting the College’s overseas programs. No word, however, on the declining overall numbers and the trend among undergrads to attend programs run by schools like Portland State:
Dartmouth Leads the Ivies in Study Abroad
Dartmouth is the top-ranked Ivy League institution and sixth overall among doctorate-granting institutions for percentage of undergraduates studying abroad, according to a report released by the Institute of International Education’s 2013 this week.
More than 64 percent of Dartmouth’s Class of 2011 studied abroad…
The Class of 2011? How about some updated figures? Like the ones above?
Posted on November 19, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
Once Again With Feeling
From the plus ça change, plus ça reste le même department, a faithful reader shares a copy of an article from Esquire Magazine that excoriates the College for the usual sins. Date: June 19, 1979. Title: Hanging On (By a Jockstrap) To Tradition at Dartmouth. The tradition, that is, of the male chauvinist pig.
It’s all in there, folks. The frats are racist, misogynist, anti-intellectual, destructive of young minds and property, socially monopolistic, soaked in beer, etc. SAE is held up to ridicule for events in a film about Hell Night and other rituals that Andrew Lohse or Rolling Stone would recognize:
Diligent followers of this space will have noted that the flooded basement referred to in this excerpt harkens forward to one of TDX’s cardinal sins. What was Kate Burke concerned about? Germs? They didn’t seem to harm the brothers in 1979.
The Esquire article is like déjà vu all over again. Classes were even shut down for a day of reflection in 1979, and student protesters got hatemail (via the post office, not Bored@Baker). The only significant difference from today’s controversies is that back then, as the article notes, only 53% of upperclassmen were members of fraternities and sororities, as opposed to 70% today.
Posted on November 18, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
Brussels Diary: Champagnothèque
The small tasting room in Brussels at 11 rue de la Madeleine is the home of the Champagnothèque, a space devoted to the ongoing revolution in the Champagne region. Unlike other wine-growing regions of France, where the signature taste and soul of each terroir expresses itself individually under the appellation controlée system, the majority of Champagne is sold by the Grandes Marques, the great houses like Moët, Roederer, and Pommery, that blend grapes from different parcels of land and different vintages. However, a new generation of young vignerons and vigneronnes has decided not to sell grapes from the family vineyards to the large houses; they are making wine themselves. Using grapes from small parcels, usually around a single village, these récoltant-manipulants (harvesters/winemakers) are producing wines of individual character that leave the industrial product of the big producers by the wayside.
Most Champagnes are a combination of three grapes — chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier — and you do the nobility of these wines a disservice if you only drink them as an apéritif. Enjoy Champagne throughout a meal; it marries with almost any food, save red meat, and it is particularly lovely and versatile with modern, creative cuisine.
Posted on November 17, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
Is It Something in the Water?
Despite all of Dean Johnson’s efforts, the College still pulls the state of New Hampshire along (or is it the other way around?) in an unrelenting quest to be the top beer-consuming state in the Union, at least on a per capita basis. To date, NH is only #2.
According to the Beer Institute’s authoritative figures, North Dakota is #1. My classmate John Hoeven ‘79 is the senior Senator there, having previously been the governor. I have not discovered any sort of legislation out of Bismarck that mandates extra beer consumption by North Dakotans in order to beat NH — but I’ll keep looking.
Addendum: If North Dakota and New Hampshire were independent nations, they would have the highest rate of beer consumption/capita in the world. The top countries today are the Czech Republic (34.9 gallons), Germany (28.6 gallons), and Austria (28.0 gallons). The United States as a whole ranks #12 at 20.6 gallons.
Addendum: An informed reader writes in:
My hunch, as someone who grew up in southern NH and whose parents still live there, is that much of the beer “consumed” in NH is purchased by Massachusetts residents who drive north to avoid sales tax and the bottle deposit.
Posted on November 16, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
What’s Going on With Beta?
A numbers of readers have wondered how Burke & Co. could suspend Beta based solely on documents purporting to describe pledge initiation rights (including spraying champagne at pledges!). Well, as it turns out, the documents themselves are not at issue. Rather, the house’s Beta Boxing event is the gravamen of Burke’s charge — she purportedly wants to keep the house safe.
What nonsense. At an academic institution, one would expect at least a bow to honesty and intellectual consistency. Beta Boxing was a fun event that never led to injuries, was never complained about, and was more in the spirit of parody than anything else. It has been going on for thirty years. But, then, with Burke, a pretext is as good as a reason.
Of course, we might also ask if Beta Boxing is more dangerous than most of the sports practiced by the College’s varsity and intramural teams
Rumors are flying around that, along with TDX, AD and Heorot have been targeted by Burquemada. Clearly there is something afoot in the administration. I hope that the Greek Presidents are sharing their experiences with each other. It is possible that the fraternity/sorority system is being attacked across a broad front, and we don’t even know it yet.
Addendum: After generations of having parties open to anyone on campus, a number of houses are now looking at having fixed guest lists. Can snooty, Princeton-like exclusivity be far off — instead of Dartmouth’s traditional openness — due to pressure from the administration?
Addendum: I have been unable to confirm rumors that several Greek houses have been charged with having members jaywalk in Hanover, having messy rooms, failure to do laundry, and also bringing back library books after the return deadline when they were in grade school. Kate Burke sees such moral delinquency as infecting entire Greek houses.
Posted on November 15, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
TDX: The Bill of Particulars
So Kate Burke is out of control. What’s new? The bigger question that we should ask is what the persecution — not prosecution, thank you — of TDX (and Beta) portend for Phil Hanlon’s announcement to the faculty on Monday afternoon regarding his new student life policy. The Greek system could be in for more frontier justice than we’ve seen in the past, and that is saying something.
Just what crimes was TDX accused of committing? Let’s review each of the five charges, and look at TDX’s response to them. These accusations were the core of a 63-page quasi-indictment prepared by the Undergraduate Judicial Affairs Office. TDX was given eight days to respond to the charges.
The excerpts below were written by TDX’s President and sent to Alexandra Waltemeyer, the UJAO Hearing Officer (though Kate Burke was running the show).
Charge 1. Playing loud music, being told to turn down the music, and then having to be told a second time.
Commentary: TDX was found guilt of this charge. Given that the Hanover police returned to the house a second time, the house was issued a notice of violation, and it paid a small fine. Come again? Loud music on Green Key weekend coming from a Dartmouth frat is part of a set of charges leading to the effective shutdown of the house?
Charge 2. Putting in a Good Sam call for an intoxicated student.
Commentary: The College’s Good Sam policy is clear:
Students and/or organizations that seek assistance from these sources, the individual assisted, and others involved will not be subject to College disciplinary action with respect to the alcohol policy. [Emphasis added]
This charge against TDX was thrown out.
Charge 3. Having water on the basement floor, and making a second Good Sam all.
Commentary: Water (and not beer) on the basement floor? Heaven forfend. The house had been punished for holding a water party — a longstanding TDX tradition — in the summer of 2011, before any of the current members were in the house. And wherein lies the harm in a water party?
The second Good Sam charge was also thrown out.
Charge 4. Setting off a fire alarm, ostensibly due to marijuana smoke in a third floor bedroom, and holding an unregistered party.
Commentary: Smoking in a boy’s room? Now there’s a shocker. Holding an unregistered party is also an infraction on College rules, but does the penalty match the crime?
Charge 5. Serving alcohol to a 20-year-old brother in TDX. State law deems a 20-year-old a minor for the purpose of serving alcohol.
Commentary: This one is a little more complicated. There was an initial accusation of a DUI. Though the Town alleged that the the offending brother had consumed alcohol at the house, TDX denied it. A vodka bottle and receipt were found in the back seat of his car. After discussion with the house and a review of the evidence, the Town reduced the charge to reckless driving, and it offered to settle the case against TDX in exchange for having the house pay a small fine and perform community service. The house accepted this settlement.
— - —
What should our conclusion be here? Witch Hunt? Star Chamber? Kafka’s Trial
? Clearly the punishment
meted out for de minimis
infractions that regularly occur in virtually every house on campus, and in most dorms, too, is utterly disproportionate to the violations. One only has to compare this situation to the sanctions imposed on Alpha Phi Alpha
for physically violent hazing. In TDX’s case, the infractions were of far less import, and the punishment infinitely greater. It’s not hard to see that the College is acting unjustly here. Shame on the administration.
Kate Burke is undoubtedly executing the kind of harsh enforcement for which Charlotte Johnson was known at Colgate. But are they both doing Phil’s bidding? We’ll find out on Monday.
Addendum: David Brooks ‘15 summarized the charges against his fraternity in a piece in The D.
Posted on November 14, 2013 4:00 AM. Permalink
The Hammering of TDX
The D reported today on the College’s sanctions against TDX. Here is the UJAO sanctions letter:
In The D’s piece, College spokesman Justin Anderson was described as making several assertions about TDX:
Theta Delt will be placed on social probation until June 2015 and will then face a year of College probation, during which the fraternity will be able to host social events with alcohol, College spokesperson Justin Anderson said.
Anderson suggested that underage drinking was a possible reason for the sanctions.
This latter comment is not correct. The charges against TDX were a grab-bag of flimsy violations. I’ll have more details on Burke’s accusations tomorrow, but it is worth noting immediately that with only a little effort, Dean Burke could attack every Greek organization on campus in the same way that she has railroaded TDX. Is that where Dartmouth is going under Phil Hanlon?
Addendum: Many alums have written in about the goring of TDX. Here’s one comment:
“Two roads diverged in a wood …” (Frost was a Lodge-boy, at least for a little while.)
Theta Delta Chi should cut to the chase and de-recognize the College. Seriously. Cut the cord — lawyer-up, contemplate life without the College’s administrative goodies (billing system, insurance policy, etc.) and pursue a dignified, independent existence. Failing that, put the house property itself into a “deep freeze” — say, as a Section 8 rental, to cover upkeep and taxes — and wait for a better day. And if that day never comes, at least the brotherhood will not have been complicit in its own degradation. Better oblivion than to kowtow, in futility, to bad faith commissars who will never let up.
Posted on November 13, 2013 5:16 PM. Permalink