Tuesday, December 27, 2005

NR on Hart

The good folks at National Review, including alumni Trustee Peter Robinson '79, weigh in on Prof. Hart's article, discussing in particular his views of utopians and purists within the conservative movement. Keep scrolling down.

Hart in the WSJ

An edited version of the last chapter of Prof. Jeffrey Hart's new book, The Making of the American Conservative Mind: National Review and Its Times appears on the editorial page of today's Wall Street Journal.

For those interested, the full version of the chapter appeared in the Nov. 22 issue of The Dartmouth Review.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Early Decision

CNN has a story about the increased popularity of college early decision programs. It mentions Dartmouth's increase in early applications, and also has a brief blurb from Frances Dales, who apparently will be a member of the class of 2010.

The Secret Problem

In 1999 the New Hampshire House of Representatives created the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Men, which the State Senate promptly stripped of funding. The funding was finally given in 2002 and the Commission was established.

The commission's unique purpose is to examine issues facing boys and men in New Hampshire. Issues covered range from an institutional bias in divorce law and domestic violence cases to an educational bias that has resulted in women representing sixty-percent of the college population, and girls greatly out performing boys in reading and writing. The commission examines myths about domestic violence and how government programs have a gender-bias that perpetuate the problem and create greater societal problems.

This November, the commission published its first report on these issues after holding meetings with men and women from New Hampshire, hearing reports and testimony from experts, and analyzing prior research on the topics they discuss. The report furnishes both the findings of the commission and the recommendations they make to alleviate current problems.

This report is worth taking a look at and flies in the face of much of the feminist rhetoric that those of my generation have grown up listening to. There is clearly an underlying problem with the treatment of men in our legal system, which derives from a presumed bias that is inherent in our patriarchal Western civilization. While steps have been taken to correct what were injustices, those steps have been extrapolated over time into an overreach that disenfranchised many men in an attempt to help women. The commission's report should be dismissed as it very well be; it should be looked at and begin a discussion in our society about the gender roles that does not discriminate against either men or women.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Happy Birthday Dartmouth

Today marks the 236th anniversary of the signing of Dartmouth's charter. The charter was signed by John Wentworth, royal governor of New Hampshire, on Dec. 13, 1769.

Posting on Dartlog will continue to be light until classes resume on Jan. 4.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Baker Missing, Presumed Dead

George F. Baker III, an adopted member of the class 1949, disappeared last Thursday afternoon when his twin-engine plane fell off radar about 3 miles from Nantucket airport. Baker was the pilot of the plane and the only person aboard. The Coast Guard called off a rescure effort last Friday after 18 hours of searching yielded only a first-aid kit and tube of aircraft grease.

Baker, whose great-grandfather founded the First National Bank of New York and donated $2 million in 1926 for the construction of Baker Library, gave an additional $3 million to Dartmouth in 1996 for the expansion of the library.

In addition to giving to Dartmouth, Baker's family helped establish the business school at Harvard, the athletic complex at Columbia, and scholarships at Georgetown.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Where's the Hannukah Bush?

Today at 5:15 PM, Alex and William Ussler will light Dartmouth's newly-christened 40-foot tall Christmas tree, with all of the necessary tra-la-la-ing provided by the Glee Club.

If you will note, though, last year Dartmouth had a "holiday tree" on the Green.

What's the difference? Jonah Goldberg's excellent column in yesterday's LA Times explains.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

AGTF Defends Set-Asides

The Alumni Governance Task Force, the group charged with re-writing the Alumni Association constitution from scratch, is scrambling to defend itself.

A few weeks ago, Joe Malchow '08 noticed that the new constitution includes set-asides for minority groups, and he complained that this amounts to built-in discrimination. He also said this could allow an alumnus to elect two members to the Alumni Council (which under the new scheme would be re-branded as the Association Assembly and replace the directly elected Association government).

To defend these set-asides against Malchow and others, the AGTF posted several different and rather nonsensical explanations for this new discrimination. Naturally, none of these address alumni concerns that discrimination is inherently bad.

  1. Affirmative action
    They openly admit that they are setting aside seats for "those groups of alumni who have been 'historically marginalized.'" This sounds very much like affirmative action, which nominally has the twin goals of correcting for latent racism and ensuring that individuals aren't punished for disparities earlier in life. But presumably, an election doesn't meet even these dubious requirements, since it is open to all alumni regardless of their race or their past or current station in life. And wouldn't minority alumni, having graduated from Dartmouth, be on a "level playing field" with non-minorities, thus making affirmative action pointless? This is an excuse for set-asides, not a reason.
  2. Fear of offending minorities
    The AGTF says they retained these set-asides because they "did not want to take something away" from the minority groups (emphasis theirs). But didn't they go about the constitution-making exercise precisely to re-work things and "create a more unified alumni body?" And this defense doesn't ring true, since one of their main purposes is to replace the directly-elected Association leadership with a corporatist body that represents special interests more than it does the alumni as a whole.
  3. Minority participation
    Then there's this: "As Dartmouth becomes increasingly diverse, we think it is important that we also encourage similar diversity of participation in our alumni governance organizations." But if their goal is to encourage all alumni to participate, then engineering an alumni government that automatically includes certain groups—whether they vote or not—doesn't serve their goal very well, does it? The problem they identify here is participation, not representation—so this is a poor defense of set-aside representation.
  4. Fundraising
    Finally, they say that division into identity groups is a good governance model because it works well for targeted fundraising. If the goal is to appeal to the most alumni possible and raise the most money possible, this is the way to go. But the point of the Association leadership is not to be popular with alumni or to raise money for the College. It is to oversee the College on behalf of those alumni who vote.

It does seem like the AGTF threw out several reasons in the hopes that one of them would serve as a good defense of their poor decisions. None of them work.

More importantly, none of these addresses what is perhaps the most heinous aspect of this arrangement: that these set-asides are for the College's "officially recognized Affiliated Groups." This means that the College, not alumni, determine representation on the new Association Assembly. Since the very purpose of establishing alumni governance in the first place was to allow alumni to oversee the College, letting the College pick its own overseers is a poor way to accomplish this goal.

Update: Andrew Seal '07 has a reply.

One of Seal's commenters notes that the Council now has minority set-asides. This is true. But that's not especially relevant to a discussion of the revised constitution. First, there is no reason to continue such practices when re-working the entire system, as the AGTF has set out to do. Second, the current set-asides, regardless of their merit, have little impact today on the Association's elected leadership, since they exist only in the Alumni Council, an advisory body. But under the new constitution, the Council (renamed the Assembly) would itself become the Association's leadership, replacing the elected body.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

East Wheelock Contretemps

Date: 30 Nov 2005 09:09:12 EST
From: Cluster-East Wheelock
Subject: Destroyed microwave
To: (Recipient list suppressed)

Last night, someone put the drain stopper from the sink in the microwave and turned it on. Because of this, the microwave is broken/destroyed.

If you have any information about this even, please do not hesitate to contact me. If you used the microwave last night before it was broken, please let me know, as we can narrow down the time of the event.

Also, there is a wooden bench missing from the outside back (North) door of Brace Commons. If you know anything about its whereabouts, please let me know.

Thank you,

Michael Lord
Community Director
East Wheelock

East Wheelock Cluster
Dartmouth College

Michael Lord-Community Director
Judy MacNeil-Administrative Assistant
John Pfister-Cluster Dean

Monday, November 28, 2005

Only One Week Until...

If you're in a somnolent mood next Monday, don't forget to tune in to Dean Carol Folt's "webcast" about the state of undergraduate education at Dartmouth at 8pm.

The webcast also promises appearances by Trustee Al Mulley '70 and Alumni Council President Rick Routhier '73.

Kang in the Washington Post

Prof. David Kang recommends in Monday's Washington Post that the Bush administration push for Korean unification instead of confronting the Communists in Pyongyang with brute force.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bork on Griswold

An excerpt from Judge Bork's confirmation hearings taken from Judge Ray Randolph's brilliant and moving speech on Griswold, Roe, Lawrence, and judicial lawmaking that he delivered to the Federalist Society just a few weeks ago:

[Judge Bork:] Nobody ever tried to enforce that statute, but the police simply could not get into the bedroom without a warrant, and what magistrate is going to give the police a warrant to go in to search for signs of the use of contraceptives? I mean it. is a wholly bizarre and imaginary case.

Now let me say this—

The CHAIRMAN: Would the Senator yield at that point just for clarification?

Senator SIMPSON: Yes, certainly, Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN: If they had evidence that a crime was being committed--

Judge BORK: How are they going to get evidence that a couple is using contraceptives?

The CHAIRMAN: Wiretap.

Judge BORK: Wiretapping?

The CHAIRMAN: Wiretap.

Judge BORK: You mean to say that a magistrate is going to authorize a wiretap to find out if a couple is using contraceptives?

The CHAIRMAN: They could, could they not, under the law?

Judge BORK: Unbelievable, unbelievable.

The full transcript of the Bork hearing is available here.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

New Issue Online

While the print edition went out to campus on Monday evening, you can now read the latest issue of The Dartmouth Review online as well.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Monday, November 21, 2005

In defense of the Indian mascot

Jon Wisniewski '07 defends the Indian mascot in the Daily D:
Opponents would have us believe that Dartmouth Reviewers and others who sport
the villainized Indian head are complacent with and supportive of the actions of
our national predecessors who engaged in what amounts to genocide and theft on
an epic scale. The truth, however, is that those of us who wear or support such
a mascot do so with absolutely no connection to those unfortunate and repugnant
actions. We do so as individual actors, entirely separate from all of history
and modern society, because we have made a choice that on some level, aesthetic
or otherwise, the mascot is pleasing to us. This is not because it looks down on
Native American culture, a culture as deserving of respect and admiration as
any, but rather for the exact same reasons that we support a fighting Irishman
mascot or a minuteman mascot. No amount of blame-placing or waxing eloquent will
ever change this fact.
Update: This is notable only because it is a defense of the Indian mascot in the Daily D. It is not a particularly good defense of the traditional symbol, though.

Taking a lesson from the French

Daily Dartmouth headline: "College to collaborate with Sun Microsystems."

Seriously, though, it's good to see that Dartmouth is trying to stay on the cutting edge.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hart: Bush Isn't a Conservative

Professor of English emeritus Jeffery Hart has just published an opinion piece that begins simply, "George W. Bush is not a conservative..." Hart then goes on to compare Bush's foreign policy with that of Woodrow Wilson, who Hart rightly claims is hardly an example of conservatism.

This criticism should not be taken lightly as Professor Hart has served as an arbiter of modern American conservative thought and has many accolades to support that claim. Even Buckley has seemed luke warm on the War on Iraq and with Hart's latest piece it is becoming clear that this war is supported and defended by neo-conservatives.

To once more quote Professor Hart, "George W. Bush is conservative, but he is not a conservative."

Alison Crocker: Rhodes Scholar

Congratulations are in order for Dartmouth '06 Ali Crocker, who was just named a Rhodes Scholar.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Save the Date

From the Alumni Association website:

The newly-elected executive committee of the Association of Alumni has called a meeting for Sunday, February 12, 2006, in Hanover. The meeting will allow alumni to vote on an amendment to the existing alumni constitution that would open that amendment process to all-media voting.


Anyone else see flyers posted around campus with the following written on them? Or know who S.W. is?

The following is an excerpt from The Spirit of Dartmouth by Richard Hovey, a member of the class of 1885 and the author of Men of Dartmouth, now called the Alma Mater. The poem below is a reminder that, even as we look towards the College's future, we must remember its past.

While we recognize that many things have changed since Hovey's time—many for the better—the Spirit of Dartmouth remains.

This is the lesson she teaches,
Our Dartmouth we love so well,
To begin the strife with the dawn of life
And to strive to its latest knell;
To have part in the deeds that are doing,
To bear the heaviest brunt,
And if we are o'erwhelmed, there are others,
But we die with our eyes to the front.

And wheresoever we struggle,
In factory, mine or mart,
In the grip of the learned professions,
Each pledged to his separate part
There still shall rise to our nostrils
The scent of those pine tree days,
And we hear the tones of the college bell
Come drifting through the haze.

They may cover the campus with buildings,
They may gather the rich man's gold,
They may try to abolish all hazing,
They may preach till the world is old,
They may chop and change and alter
Our ways for newer ones,
But the spirit of Dartmouth will last for aye
In the bosom of us, her sons.

– S. W.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Dartmouth Review: the book

Wah-hoo-Wah, friends! A collection of the best writing from twenty-five years of The Dartmouth Review, edited by Stefan Beck '04 and myself '98, will be published by ISI Books in April 2006.

I've written more about the project on my weblog, Armavirumque.

Any Connection?

In today's Daily D:

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Monday, November 14, 2005

Dartmouth Last in Presidential Pay

The Chronicle of Higher Education has released its annual survey of academic executive compensation (searchable here). Dartmouth's James Wright ranks last in the Ivy League, with a total compensation of $460,238

Penn: $934,922
Yale: $715,212
Cornell: $675,027
Columbia: $638,250
Brown: $575,859
Princeton: $564,619
Harvard: $554,098
Dartmouth: $460,238

Note, though, the lack of correlation between executive pay and academic presige (Cornell vs. Harvard). Perhaps this is one issue where the Wright administration is on the right track.

Next Stop: Israel

So, how long now until a "Palestine Action Group" starts a campus campaign to divest from Israel? My guess is six months, tops.

Oh, No! Capitalism!

Capitalism is the root of all evil and all that is wrong with the world, Benjamin Borbely '06 tells us in today's Daily Dartmouth. It causes everything from polar ice melting to Chinese pollution to riots in France, he declares. Borbely even tells us that individualism and growing wealthy is immoral--even though increased personal wealth and economic growth through capitalism, not collectivism and redistribution, is the proven cure to so many social ills.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Rago and Buckley

In today's Wall Street Journal, Dartmouth Review Editor Emeritus Joe Rago '05 talks to former National Review editor William F. Buckley about current events and the state of conservatism.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Nate Fick

is awesome. Go see him today, most particularly if you opposed the war or have significant doubts about it. You'll find his thoughtfulness incredibly refreshing.

4:30 PM
Filene Auditorium


While perusing National Review's archives, I came across the following in the classified section, in the April 8, 1961 issue:
WANTED. An intellectual, who will write 750 word defense of House Committee on Un-American Activities for The Dartmouth, student newspaper of Dartmouth College. Have not been able to find anyone in Dartmouth area disposed to write same.

Fick on 'Jarhead'

Nate Fick '99, who is signing copies of his new book, One Bullet Away today at the Dartmouth Bookstore, has an excellent column on Slate about the new film "Jarhead."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

If It Ain't Broke...

Michael Belinksy '08 closes his convoluted pro-theft op-ed in today's Daily Dartmouth by conflating two notions: cheap online access to information, through Apple’s iTunes and the like, and intellectual property rights. He's somehow arguing that the existence of the former necessarily means the latter is outdated and in need of revision. However, that Apple is selling material online—and making a killing at it—in fact means that intellectual property laws are working just fine.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Rago on New England

Today's Journal features a Joseph Rago '05's review of The Encyclopedia of New England, a new compendium of articles detailing the unique history and identity of Rago's beloved homeland. Rago has also taken a full time position with the Journal as an editorial features editor.

Dartmouth Dashboard Disabled

The Hypsometry website now reports that the "Dartmouth Viewpoints" website (see my post on 11/1) is "under consideration" by Dartmouth College and has been taken down in the meantime.

SA Spending Reform

Habiba Musah '08 writes in today's Daily Dartmouth that the Student Assembly should fund such organizations as KatrinaHelp because the governing body already wastes money on pet projects like foosball tables. But is this really an argument in favor of more spending, as Musah suggests? It sounds to me like an excellent argument in favor of spending restraint. Perhaps if the Assembly had a more limited budget—$90,000 is rather a lot—it would choose its priorities better.

Monday, November 07, 2005

New Issue Online

The latest issue of The Dartmouth Review is now online for your reading pleasure.


Buzzflood impresario Kabir Sehgal '05 has been named a Rhodes Scholarship finalist. Congratulations are also in order for Alison Crocker '06, who was recently named a Marshall Scholarship finalist, and Daniel Preysman '04 and former TDR Editor in Chief Alston Ramsay '04, who are Mitchell Scholarship Semi-Finalists.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Who Knew?

Believe it or not, Judge Samuel Alito, President Bush's nominee to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court, is not a radical leftist. So says Danielle Strollo '07 in an op-ed in the Daily D. In fact, according to Strollo, Alito actually holds some fairly common-sense positions:
  • Married couples should discuss "family planning" issues
  • Court claims require evidence and not simple assertions
  • The First Amendment allows individuals to tease one another
  • The Second Amendment includes a right to bear arms
  • Congress does not have unlimited power to impose environmental rules
  • Laws Congress passes should not discriminate based on sex
Of course, Strollo hysterically says these views amount to a "death sentence" for women.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Pres. Wright speaks to faculty

President Wright's remarks to yesterday's general faculty meeting may be found here. Definitely worth reading.

Dartmouth Dashboard

Chris Boone of Hypsometry has unveiled a new "Dartmouth-focused dashboard," featuring a news aggregator, Dartmouth photos, weather, maps, and blogs, in cooperation with the College's Web Publishing Services group. It looks pretty neat, if a little Google-heavy.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Cindy Sheehan on Campus

Rumors have been swirling that a group of Dartmouth students is angling to bring Cindy Sheehan and her egomaniacal bus tour to Hanover. I've done my best to drown her out over the past few months, so can anybody add any information about this?

Choosing the Trustees

Alumni Council Trustee Nominating and Search Committee Chairman Julie Amstein Cillo '92 defends the alumni Trustee selection process in today's Daily Dartmouth. The process, she insists, is "independent" and uses no "litmus tests" to determine a candidate's acceptability. "At no time is a member of the College administration present" as the committee chooses the official Trustee candidates, she says.

But two-thirds of the Alumni Council's members are themselves part of the pro-College alumni establishment, being chosen by Dartmouth clubs, "official" minority organizations and by the Council itself. So representatives of the College need not be present to hold sway, as the Council is already solidly in the College's camp.

Meanwhile, Paul Heintz '06 says the problem with the alumni Trustee elections is that it forces alumni to make a decision and that it gives outsiders a fighting chance. He proposes instead that the process be made "more democratic," as if that is an end in itself, to ensure the alumni cannot get uppity again and choose candidates he disagrees with.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Crying Wolf: False Rape Claims

In Friday's issue of the New Hampshire, the University of New Hampshire's student newspaper, Patrick McClary, decries a spate of falsified rape accusations in the UNH system, which he sees as nothing more than a regrettable means to an end, namely to "instill fear on college campuses." While McClary admittedly makes few original or insightful points, he does bring light to an issue which one could only imagine to be rather taboo, and calls for action to be taken.

Assaults and campus violence is a serious and very real issue at colleges and universities across the country. These instances shed an unfair light on the real victims. These people are truly brave and should be applauded. But those who fake such a thing should suffer the consequences, which are simply far too light. Faking an assault to instill fear on a college campus should be a felony, not a misdemeanor. Maybe this is the only way to stop this nonsense.

The cases addressed are strangely reminiscent of that reported in the Dartmouth Free Press nearly two year's ago, in a piece entitled Jane's Story. Jane's story, however, was debunked shortly thereafter thanks to some investigation by The Dartmouth Review.

While nobody denies the existence of sexual assault on college campuses, the messages of McClary's piece and The Review's are strikingly similar: false rape accusations can be disastrous for both the 'victim' and the accusee, but more importantly, decrease the merit of real claims, and detract from the central problem. What a shame that this has become a recurring issue.

More Useless Rankings

Dartmouth does not appear at all in this Ranking of the Top 100 Worldwide Universities. I would like to believe that this is because Dartmouth, for the purposes of this ranking, is still a College. Which is fine by me. Otherwise, what happened?

Friday, October 28, 2005

We're clearly better than the #4 Ivy road trip

Maggie Haskins, CNNSI, thinks otherwise.

Dr. Seuss, a top "moneymaker beyond the grave"

Behind only Elvis, Charles Schulz, John Lennon and Andy Warhol

Folt's Response

A commenter on my original post added this e-mail from Dean of the Faculty Carol Folt in response to Prof. Appleton's allegations. Here it is in its entirety for those of you who don't read comments:

>>Subject: Message from Dean Folt
>>To: Sergei A. Kan, Kathleen A. Corrigan, Edward M. Berger, John S. Winn, Jeremy B. Rutter, Prasad Jayanti, Dennis Washburn, Xiahong Feng, Jonathan S. Skinner, Laura-Ann Petitto, Eric W. Hansen, Peter W. Travis, Amy L. Lawrence, Mark J. Williams, Katharine Conley, Francis J. Magilligan, Bruce Duncan, M. Anne Saadah, P. David Lagomarsino, trs@gauss.dartmouth.edu (Thomas R. Shemanske), Theodore C. Levin, James H. Moor, thorsten@partita.dartmouth.edu (John R. Thorstensen), George L. Wolford II, Susan Ackerman, Lev L. Loseff, Misagh Parsa, Lenore A. Grenoble, Colleen M. Randall, Timothy P. Hackett, J. Martin Favor, Steven J. Ericson, Graziella Parati, Andrew J. Friedland, Annelise Orleck, Israel Reyes, Lindsay J. Whaley, Donald E. Pease Jr, Colin G. Calloway, Judith A. Byfield
>Dear Colleagues,
>I understand that a mass email titled, "The Decline of Academic Freedom at Dartmouth College" was sent to many members of the faculty last Thursday. While I do not know who received the email, I have heard about it from faculty in many departments. I am writing to you in your role as Chair to provide you with the correct information which you can discuss with your faculty if questions arise. The "Decline of Academic Freedom" email is filled with errors and unpleasant personal allusions, but rather than address all of them, I am going to focus on the errors that touch on fundamental issues for the faculty.
>The email concerned grading issues in Music 3 taught during the fall 2004 to 76 students (final enrollment). At the conclusion of the course, the Dean's Office received 42 student complaints -- an unprecedented number – from students who received grades from A- to D. As is standard procedure, the Associate Dean for the responsible division (in this case for Humanities) was in charge of the inquiry into complaints. The review was very thorough and took four months to complete. It included: interviews by the Assistant Dean with 28 complaining students who were on campus, review by the Associate Dean of grades on all assignments, review of course information distributed to students (including information about grading criteria) and a discussion between the Associate Dean and the Professor about grading practices. Our investigation concluded that unspecified extra credit had been given to students who came to speak with the instructor about the course and their compositions, regardless of whether they improved their work based on his feedback, and that students had never been told that they could raise their grades simply by meeting with the instructor.
>Under the circumstances, the Associate Dean and I both felt that some accommodation was necessary to ensure the student's right to understandable and fair grading. It was impractical to re-grade the musical compositions; it was weeks after the end of the term, students had dispersed and there were no faculty on campus available to undertake such a task. Instead, the students were given the option of receiving credit instead of a grade for the course. Please note that not a single student grade was raised and thus no GPA's were "inflated." However, because all students had passed the course, all students were given the option to receive credit for the course (this is like using Dartmouth's NRO option).
>I want to make it clear that an alleged concern that the grades were either too high or too low was never a consideration. Many other courses have mean and median grades similar to that of Music 3 in the fall of 2004.
>I also wish to emphasize that student complaints about grades are very rare at Dartmouth and only lead to administrative action in the most exceptional cases where there is clear evidence – after review by assistant and associate deans – of unfairness in the assignation of grades. I am aware of fewer than 5 grading complaints coming to the Dean's office about the more than 6000 courses taught by Arts & Science faculty in the last 4 years. However, if you or any of your faculty have questions about faculty independence in grading, please contact the Dean of Faculty or any of the Associate Deans.
>Finally, in the context of this case, a broad assertion has been made that Dartmouth has a lack of standards and is uninterested or even complicit in the perpetuation of grade inflation. This is simply not true. Dartmouth was one of the first institutions to address grade inflation when it began reporting the median grade on the transcripts. Last year, the Committee on Instruction began discussions about grading practices once again and they plan to examine this issue more closely in the coming year. I look forward to working with the faculty on this and trust we will explore this complex question with the careful reflection and consideration it deserves.
>Thank you.

What is acceptable speech?

In a letter to the editor of the Daily Dartmouth, Prof. Ronald Edsforth, who started a campus debate on free speech with his protest outside a forum on prisoner interrogations, makes the valid point that the College needs to decide which events it should sponsor.

...Dartmouth should not foot the bill for such discussions. That there should be some minimal moral standards governing what kinds of public advocacy Dartmouth College supports with its programming funds does not seem to me to be a radical suggestion.
Actually, stifling a debate about American foreign and defense policies because a handful of notorious campus pacifists object does seem to be a very radical suggestion. Even if the College is under no legal obligation to uphold the right to free speech, it smacks of the worst sort of politically-correct censorship not to fund discussions about current events, especially controversial ones such as this. Besides, entirely silencing legitimate voices because some are upset with the very existence of the debate is no way to educate members of a free society.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Appleton Leaves Dartmouth

Jon Appleton, Dartmouth's Arthur Virgin Professor of Music and a pioneer in the field of electro-acoustic music, recently announced that he was leaving the College to take a position at Stanford. The Dartmouth Review has recently obtained an e-mail Appleton circulated around the faculty, giving a more in-depth explanation for his departure:

Date: 20 Oct 2005 16:52:33 EDT
From: Jon H. Appleton
Subject: The Decline of Academic Freedom at Dartmouth College
To: (Recipient list suppressed)

Dear Colleagues:

The Supreme Court declared in Regents of the University of Michigan v. Ewing , 474 U.S. 214, 225 (1985): When judges are asked to review the substance of a genuinely academic decision. . . they should show great respect for the faculty's professional judgment. Plainly, they may not override it unless it is such a substantial departure from accepted academic norms as to demonstrate that the person or committee responsible did not actually exercise professional judgment.

I came to teach music and musical composition at Dartmouth College nearly forty years ago. It had recently emerged from the tradition of a gentlemen's finishing school to an institution of intellectual strength, brought about in part by the mathematician John G. Kemeny. My own work as a composer dealt mostly with electro-acoustic music, a very new field at the time. Research with colleagues in engineering and computer science led to the creation of a user-friendly system where students without previous musical experience could try their hand at composing.

In 1972, together with my colleague Christian Wolff, we initiated an undergraduate course called Music and Technology. Over the years students used increasingly sophisticated computer programs to compose short electronic music compositions. This became the most popular feature of the course and it counted as half of the final grade. Thirty-three years ago the course enrolled 35 students but during the last several years I saw my enrollment in the course grow to 85.

Nowadays, all students have access to and indeed most own computers and are comfortable with the software used to compose music. There are probably too many musical options for them now and the trick is to limit the number of musical ideas so as to develop structure and continuity in their work. It is amazing to me that I have given this creative experience to more than 3000 non-music undergraduates over the last thirty-three years. Many alumni return to tell me how important this experience was in broadening their musical taste. Obviously it is very time consuming to listen to, criticize and grade 85 compositions even if they are less than three minutes each. Dartmouth College does not employ teaching assistants in the arts. Sometimes students are intimidated by the composition assignment and drop the course because they fear they will not
get an A in the course. Dartmouth has done nothing to curb grade inflation unlike Princeton, for example. The pressure to give A grades is intense. It comes from the students and increasingly from their parents as well.

When teaching the Music and Technology course, I set aside class periods for students to present their first compositional attempts (their first drafts). Those that work through the term almost always improve. Two weeks before the composition assignments are due, I schedule individual appointments with all the students. Perhaps a quarter of the class never takes the chance to show me their work and this is because, sadly, they put off everything until the last minute. It is nearly impossible for a beginning composer to create anything significant the night before the assignment is due.

During all my years on the faculty of Dartmouth College, I graded as follows: A meant excellent, B was good, C was average, D was poor and if you didn't show up, you failed the course.

Somehow it escaped me that the average grade at Dartmouth last year was a B+. Thus when I taught Music and Technology in the Fall term of 2004, I gave 30 As, 25 Bs, 15 Cs and 4 Ds (eleven students dropped the course for various reasons during the term). The students who earned less than an A were very upset. They wrote me angry notes such as "you nuked my GPA" and "how could I get a B in a music course?" and "my mother loved my composition."

The students complained to the chair of my department and to the Dean of Faculty Carol Folt. Their parents called to express outrage. I never saw these complaints but I got a message from the Dean of Faculty who asked what "metric" I used to grade these compositions? I asked what metric she thought Haydn used to grade Beethoven's compositions; or for that matter the "metric" used by Arnold Schoenberg when he taught John Cage. I explained to the Dean that r had been teaching this course successfully for thirty-three years and I was employed at Dartmouth because of my reputation as a composer. I offered to show the papers and compositions to the Dean but she never wanted to see them. I thought if something had gone terribly wrong with my teaching that perhaps an outside committee of composers might tender a second opinion. Alas, no administrator ever attended the class nor reviewed any of the student work.

A week later the Dean of Faculty informed the students that anyone unhappy with their grade could have it erased and be given a "credit" for the course. According to President James Wright, this was done without his knowledge and I want to note here that the president and I have been on the faculty for the same years and as dean, provost and president he has always been supportive of my work.

Until last year I thought that I would continue to teach at Dartmouth until I no longer felt useful to my students. However, because of this situation I am retiring from Dartmouth and will teach elsewhere for the next several years. There is nothing more I can do but to explain this to you, my colleagues. Perhaps you, through meetings of the faculty, your committees, etc. will be able to prevent the current Dean of Faculty from continuing to erode our academic freedom. If you think this was an isolated incident, let me paraphrase Pastor Martin Niemoller, "First they came for the music faculty and I did not speak out because I was not a musician. Then they came for the psychologists and I did not speak out because I was not a psychologist. Then they came for the biologists and I did not speak out because I was not a biologist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me."

Jon H. Appleton

Arthur R. Virgin Professor of Music
HB 6242
Dartmouth College
Hanover, New Hampshire 03755 USA
Tel: +1-603-646-3960 http://eamusic.dartmouth.edu/~appleton/

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A new vision for higher education?

A Swarthmore prof weighs in with some intriguing ideas on the (possible) future of higher education.

'Conflicting Rights'

Campust lefist Andrew Seal '07 writes in today's Daily Dartmouth that rights should be governed by reason and cannot stand on their own.

Using Prof. Ronald Edsforth's recent protest against discussions of terrorist interrogation practices as an example, Seal says it is undeniable "that some rights claims conflict." Someone's claim of a right not to be offended does not play nicely with a claim of a right to free speech, he insists. "Edsforth's freedom to express his opinion conflicts with the rights of others to dispute the merits of torture."

This argument makes little sense. First, while Edsforth's protest may have been dumb, it was well within his rights to speech and assembly, and it hardly conflicts with the rights of others to assemble and speak about the interrogation of terrorists. There is a conflict, but it is within the framework of existing rights--not between competing claims to new rights.

Second, Seal presumes that because one merely claims a right, that right is valid. This is an absurd premise. Generally speaking, our rights are defined as what government cannot take away (in this case the rights to speech and assembly) because to do so could undermine the system of government. Most interpersonal relationships are governed entirely by private contract and civil law--not rights.

As Seal hints in his opening paragraph, there do exist circumstances in which rights like freedom of speech do not apply--the classic example is shouting "fire" in a crowded theater--but these are not cases of conflicting rights.

Seal concludes: "Appealing only to rights instead of logic and reason is a circuitous argument, and it gets us nowhere. That should not be the goal of a free and open society."

Unless Seal is dismissing the "inalienable rights" upon which this "free and open society" is based, there is no reason why appeals to rights are improper. In our system, rights are considered absolute goods. "Logic and reason," on the other hand, have been used time and time again to restrict these basic and fundamental rights in order to satisfy claims to invented and arbitrary "rights" and to serve some vague and authoritarian "public good."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Granik '69 to Retire

Russ Granik '69 to retire after 30 years with the NBA, where he started as a staff attorney and ends Deputy Commissioner. Some speculation of him as a successer to Selig or Tagliabue as MLB or NFL Commissioner, respectively.

MLK Keynote Speaker Chosen

The College has chosen Dr. James Forbes, Senior Minister of the Riverside Church, NY, as the keynote speaker for Martin Luther King Day this January. Dr. Forbes is widely recognized and was recently listed by Newsweek as one of the 12 "most effective preachers." He is also a well-known supporter of the Democratic Party and an activist for "social action."

Many will remember last year's keynote speaker, Dorothy Allison, whose speech caused a controversy, because she chose to speak about her homosexuality as opposed to matters of race. It was felt that the comments were inappropriate for a day celebrating America's most prominent black civil rights leader.

Freshman's Brother Killed in Afghanistan

Today's Valley News profiles Ashley Hines '09, whose brother 1st Lt. Steven Hines was shot and killed in Afghanistan on September 1.

Ashley, a member of the field hockey team, missed her first two games in mourning for her brother, but has played in every game since. As the article notes,

Ashley's tears at the playing of the national anthem are her only outward tribute to Derek's memory. Playing against the University of Massachusetts last week in her home state, she thought about him quite a bit. Fittingly, she played one of her best games.

Maybe Ashley realizes that, in sacrificing his own life, Derek was helping total strangers get ahead of themselves.

Maybe getting ahead of ourselves isn't such a bad idea after all.

Attacking Education

In a letter to the editor of the Daily Dartmouth, James Redfield '06 accuses TDR Executive Editor Scott Glabe '06 of taking a principled stand in favor of a well-rounded education. After rambling about how much muddle-headed academics and liberals have in common, Redfield concludes his attack on learning by insisting that Dartmouth should not teach "a highly subjective Western canon" but some more "objective" curriculum like "searching for ideas." Whatever.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Petition Slate Defeated

The Alumni Association's nominated slate, led by Allen Collins '53, defeated the petition slate led by Dean Spatz '66 Th'67 yesterday, by a vote of 248 to 140. Those present at the election note that most of the alumni voted along straight party lines: either casting all their votes for the nominated slate or all for the petition slate.

More details to follow in a forthcoming issue of The Dartmouth Review.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Field Rushed - Glory Ensues

Photos: Michael R. Audet

Field Rushed

7 kids (I think) did it, just before halftime ended.

Live Blogging the Football Game

Ellis and I are firmly planted in the alumni section. We brought a stack of the Homecoming Issue and started handing them out when we were stopped by S&S and athletic department personnel. The problem, however, was that couldn't stop handing them out; walking down the stairs, alums kept taking them, exasperating the powers that be. Finally, we just put the bundle in the crowd to be passed around, samizdat-style.

:35 left in the second quarter; Dartmouth up 7-3 with Columbia driving. We'll keep you updated on halftime festivities.

The Election and Alumni Involvement

Regardless of the result, this weekend's elections for the Alumni Association leadership will probably be a very good thing for the College. It seems alumni (and student) involvement in these elections is higher than in previous years, a change sparked in no small part by the fact that this year's election is actually contested for a change.

Even the Student Assembly has jumped on the participation bandwagon. The organization just sent an e-mail to recent alumni encouraging them to vote tomorrow at 11am in Alumni Hall.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Alumni Election in NY Sun

Today's New York Sun has an article profiling this weekend's crucial Alumni Association elections.

Hello Team, Good-Bye Tradition

In a half-hearted attempt by the college to subdue alumni and student disapproval over banning of field-rushing at Dartmouth's homecoming game, they have created "the gauntlet." This ingenious idea would have Dartmouth's freshman stand at the edge of the field to greet the players at half-time.

I for one still hope to see a few daring pea-greens take the field and not let the administration put to rest another great Dartmouth tradition.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

NH Senator Gregg: Jackpot

New Hampshire's own Senator Judd Gregg won the Powerball lottery in D.C. this week for a jackpot of $853,492. Out of spontaneity he purchased $20 of tickets, and the winning ticket matched every number but the powerball, allowing him a power-play for the cash-out:

He said he doesn't buy lottery tickets often but was intrigued by the publicity of the jackpot rising to about $350 million.

"Every American believes in good fortune and good luck and I'm no different than anyone else," he said.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A Call to Inaction

Daniel Belkin '08 writes in today's Daily D that a recent spate of bad weather in Louisiana and New Hampshire means "we are feeling today the meteorological effects of an occasionally abusive relationship between man and nature."

I'm also feeling these effects: it's been quite pleasant in Washington, DC, for most of the fall and I'm perfectly content to let that stand.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Alumni Constitution Authors Defend Themselves

The weblog of the Alumni Governance Task Force has answered two alumni questions about their proposed new Alumni Association constitution, to be discussed this weekend in Hanover.

In one of the posts, John Daukas '84 attempts to dispell rumors that the task force is in cahoots with the administration:
The AGTF really has been operating independently of the College. We have had logistical support from the College, e.g. arranging our conference calls and meetings, but we have not been influenced by the trustees or administration. We really are an alumni committee that is pretty much willing to meet with, and has met with, alumni who have an interest in our efforts.
I'm sure that's true. But that's not exactly the complaint.

The charge most often made is that the task force is in cahoots with the Alumni Association and Council esablishment--and that they seek to maintain or even expand College influence over the alumni by diluting the leadership with administration allies. As Scott Glabe '06 explained in the last TDR, the popularly-elected Alumni Association leadership would be replaced by an expanded and renamed Alumni Council--only half of whose membership would be elected.

Even if they're not collaborating, the AGTF proposal as explained so far has at least the potential to be far more undemocratic than the current scheme. But the constitution's defenders have yet to explain themselves, so this weekend's discussions will be vitally important.

Is Edsforth Still Employed?

The Daily Dartmouth reports today that the illustrious Ronald Edsforth, who was at some point in the not-to-distant past teaching a class titled "War and Peace" (and maybe in charge of the War/Peace program, which I believe was recently eliminated), organized a protest at a debate on torture and extra-judicial killings. "Torture and extra-judicial killing are not legitimate policy options," a flier he was distributing read. "They should be condemned by all as barbaric, illegal and immoral."

This is obviously a much more complex issue than Edsforth would have anyone believe. I wonder what his thoughts are on the ticking-bomb scenario, whereby the U.S. has a in custody a terrorist who knows the details of an imminent attack that will kill thousands of American civilians? He won't talk, so what does the U.S. do? Is torture in that situation a viable option? The answer may not be clear, but it is certainly open for debate--and, indeed, it is a debate that should be encouraged. Can anyone in good conscience deny that?

Regarding extra-judicial killings: How does Edsforth feel about the targeted killing of high-ranking al-Qaeda officers (or even low-level grunts)? If a U.S. sniper has al-Zarqawi in his cross-hair, and he'll escape unless the soldier pulls the trigger, what should the soldier do? Again, some people may not think we should kill terrorists in that fashion, but to discourage people from attending a debate aiming to illuminate the complexities and nuances of these questions is galling.

I thought Edsforth was canned my senior year, but I recall that there was some student grumbling about it (and I think Edsforth himself shamelessly tried to organize a petition, which I guess if he's still around was successful). Anyway, if there were any question about whether he should remain at Dartmouth, this protest should settle it. To say that these issues are simply beyond debate, are "not legitimate policy options," shows a casual disregard for the premise of free inquiry and open debate, a core value all professors should respect.

(Also, that Edsforth was "delighted" by the protest turnout--a whopping ten people--is just another sign that he's disconnected from reality.)

Monday, October 17, 2005

A Proud Moment for Buzzflood

Dartmouth is in the news again, this time credited in the New York Times with inventing beer pong.

Johnson '73 on the Alumni Election

Scott Johnson '73 has a column up on the Daily Standard this morning on the upcoming Alumni Association election. For those that need a reminder, the election will be held Oct. 23rd at 11am in Alumni Hall, and you have to both hold a degree from Dartmouth and be there to vote.

If you've been living under a rock, more information about the petition slate of candidates can be found here, and the new constitution under discussion can be found here.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

On English

I noticed something interesting in this week's (London) Spectator. Brendan O'Neill, in his article on the decline of Britpop (non-suscribers—shame on you—may find it here), refers to Oxford and University College London as 'Ivy League universities.' Previously I've never seen the term applied to any university apart from the Ancient Eight, so to speak. I thought Britain had it's own set of collegiate nicknames, Oxbridge, red brick, and so forth. Perhaps the term 'Ivy League' is migrating to the UK, and coming to designate any high-caliber university.

Has anyone else noted similar usage?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Post-Yom Kippur News Wrap-Up

The Daily Dartmouth had a write-up of Wednesday night's Review-sponsored Mansfield / Travis debate on manliness. The article ignores a lot of the substantive points in favor of the more "controversial" segments, but at least the D covered it, unlike last year's Victor Davis Hanson / Ronald Edsforth debate.

We'll be posting some sort of record of the debate on Dartlog -- video, audio, transcript, what have you as soon as it is available for those of you who weren't able to make it to 105 Dartmouth on Wednesday.

In other, less relevant news, Intel has ranked Dartmouth #4 on its list of "Most Unwired College Campuses."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Reminder -- Vote

If you have a Dartmouth degree, you're eligible to vote in the Alumni Association elections this Homecoming. The elections, as well as a discussion of the proposed new constitution, will be held Sunday October 23, at 11am in Alumni Hall. You must be present at the meeting to be able to vote.

As we've previously noted, a petition slate of candidates headed up by Dean Spatz '66 and Joe Asch '79 will be running for positions on the executive committee of the Alumni Association. Check out their website and Scott Glabe's recent article for more information on the importance of the election.

Monday, October 10, 2005

NADs vs. Columbus

Apparently upset with events 513 years ago, members of Native Americans at Dartmouth are protesting the celebration of Columbus Day on the Green with their annual midnight drum circle.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

New TDR Online

The newest issue of The Dartmouth Review is now available online. In this issue:

--Noah Riner's Convocation Speech and the Controversy Surrounding it.
--William F. Buckley on Church and State
--Scott L. Glabe interview Bill Kristol
--Freshman Emily Ghods reviews Ken Levin's "The Oslo Syndrome."
--Plus, Week in Review, The Last Word, and Barrett's Mixology.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Zywicki to Speak on Trustee Race

Alumni Trustee Todd Zywicki '88 will be speaking to the American Council of Trustees and Alumni on his "adventures with the Dartmouth Trustee election."

Our very own Laura Ingraham > Miers

So says Richard Miniter over at NRO! Nice Review shout-out.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Stevenson Defends Constitution Proposals

Josiah Stevenson '57, Chairman of the Alumni Governance Task Force, defends his group's proposals for a new Alumni Association constitution in today's Daily Dartmouth.
In its twenty months of analysis and deliberation, the AGTF has not been influenced by the College Administration or by the Board of Trustees in any way.

Discussions about how alumni nominate trustees have been going on for years, ever since the multi-candidate balloting system was instituted in 1990.
He goes on to explain that, in AGTF's view, the current alumni Trustee election system actually favors petition candidates:
The current system allows petition candidates to collect signatures two months ahead of the balloting, while restricting communications from the Alumni Council-nominated candidates, effectively allowing petitioners to campaign while nominated candidates must remain silent. Is it fair to allow some candidates to promote themselves before others can do so? This is not an issue of politics, but of equity.
Stevenson suggests that the proposals should not be hammered through at the next Association meeting, as was unsuccessfully attempted in 2003 with the last "reform" attempt. Instead, he says a vote should be held next spring—though it could still come up for a vote this time around.

Monday, October 03, 2005

JBHE rankings

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education recently released several studies on the presence of African-Americans in America's elite universities, including the College.

Here, JBHE notes that Dartmouth has seen a 9.3% decline in the number of black freshmen in the entering class from 1994 to 2004, the largest negative shift in the Ivy League (though Yale showed a bigger absolute decline). The journal does, however, note the major flaws inherent in their ranking method.

JBHE also adds that Dartmouth has the second-highest percentage of African-American faculty in the Ivy League, at 4.1% (the College only trails Columbia, with 6.4%; Princeton is last of the Ancient Eight at 3.0%).


Alumni are expressing growing concern about the proposed changes to the Alumni Association's constitution which would place additional burdens on alumni Trustee petition candidates.

Andrew Getraer '86 wrote to the Daily D to express his discontent:
I did not vote for the petition candidate in recent Trustee elections; I did not vote at all. But if the leadership of the College chooses to act in such a patently disingenuous, manipulative and anti-democratic manner to rig trustee elections I will be sure to vote from now on -- and to vote solely for any petition candidates who manages to get themselves on the ballot.

Friday, September 30, 2005

More Riner Reactions

Noah Riner's Convocation speech continues to spark reactions from columnists wide and far. Inside Higher Ed has an objective write-up of the imbroglio, while the Washington Times reprints the entirety of the speech alongside a short summary of the events.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Changing the Rules—Again

Joe Asch '79, writing in the Daily Dartmouth, argues that the current plans to change the Alumni Association's constitution are a cynical ploy to prevent alumni from electing outsiders to the Board of Trustees.
At Dartmouth, when the Administration is unhappy with election results, it tries to change the electoral rules.

Having lost the last three trustee elections to anti-Administration candidates, the Wright Administration has now responded to these rebukes.

However, rather than addressing the fundamental reasons why the petition candidates won their elections, a process has been set in motion to change the way the alumni vote for trustees.
It should be noted that the College (or, to be precise, Alumni Association insiders with very close ties to the College administration) has successfully accomplished similar rule changes in the past. In 1990, the election rules were revised in an attempt to prevent future petition candidates from gaining traction. This followed the successful 1980 petition campaign to elect John Steel '54 and a similar but less successful effort eight years later by Wid Washburn '48.

The timing of this effort, though conceived before T.J. Rodgers '70 successfully ran for Trustee in 2004, does appear suspicious.

Rodgers in Reason

Dartmouth Trustee and Cypress Semiconductors CEO T.J. Rodgers '70 participates in a debate with Milton Freidman and John Mackey on corporate social responsibility in this month's issue of Reason. The article is available online here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Alumni Constitution Text

The text of the new Alumni Association constitution is available on the alumni relations website in Microsoft Word format.

Other documents from the Alumni Governance Task Force's September 23 announcement--including a talking points "summary" using words like "strengthen" and "innovative"--are also on the alumni relations page.

Alumni Meeting Approaches

Dartmouth's Alumni Association will be holding its annual meeting over this coming Homecoming weekend (Oct. 23) to consider, among other matters, a new constitution that has been developed by the Alumni Governance Task Force.

Look for full coverage of the new constitution in the next issue of The Dartmouth Review, but the new constitution, if approved by three-quarters of those present at the October meeting, would, among other things, transform the current Alumni Council (an un-elected body) into an Alumni "Assembly," mandate that only alumni in the "Assembly" could be elected president of the Alumni Association, and make it more difficult for petition candidates to mount outsider campaigns for alumni Trustee elections.

Any alumni who can make it up to Hanover for Homecoming should plan on attending the meeting and making their opinion known on the new constitution.

Great Moments in Private Charity

Brian Wilson (yes, that Brian Wilson) will match your donation and give you a phone call if you donate to Hurricane Katrina relief through his website. Minimum donation (for the call): $100.

I'm sure many have already given, but doesn't this make it tempting to sacrifice a bit more?

Wilson promises that, on the phone call, he will "answer a question you just have, or just say hello." So is the rate then $100/question? Not a bad deal at all.

Who's Really Old Fashioned Here?

The D spins the replacement of Kaelin Goulet '07 with Elisa Donnelly '07 as a matter of sectarian controversy:

"Riner began the meeting with a 30-minute, closed-door session during which the Assembly confirmed his choice of Elisa Donnelly '07 to lead the Assembly's student life committee. Donnelly, who is also a member of the Navigators Christian Fellowship, assumes the post Kaelin Goulet '07 resigned last week as she called Riner's invocation of Jesus an embarrassment to the Assembly.

"Goulet said that, by appointing Donnelly to fill her position, Riner wasted a chance to reach out to students who may have been offended by his speech.

"'I think it's unfortunate that at a moment of opportunity to send a message, he [Riner] perpetuated a state of homogeny amongst the body,' Goulet said."

Putting aside the fact that Donelly is the ONLY '07 with experience on SA execs (which the article neglects to mention), is Goulet really suggesting that positions should screened a priori based upon religion affiliation? Riner has been accused of trying to take Dartmouth back to the days the Eleazar Wheelock, but it looks like Goulet would rather us return to the 17th century.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Dartmouth in The Onion

The Onion uses Dartmouth's campus as the setting for an article in its latest issue. The article, standard Onion fare, includes a few details that don't ring true for those that know the school: the subjects of the article attend "Dartmouth University" and take "Philosophy 101" in a building that doesn't at all resemble Thornton Hall.

William F. Buckley Jr. on Riner

Read it here.

NRO on Riner

Over at NRO, Stefan Beck '04 weighs in on SA President Noah Riner's Convocation speech.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Job Market

Previously, I have been somewhat critical of the Dartmouth education, but it now appears as though the school may have been setting its grads up for employment after all.

Gazzaniga to Leave Dartmouth

Michael Gazzaniga, the David McLaughlin Professor of Distinction, Director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, member of the President's Council on Bioethics, and former Dean of the Faculty, is leaving Dartmouth to take a new position at the University of California-Santa Barbara. Curiously, Gazzaniga already appears on the UCSB psychology department's faculty list.

Gazzaniga had resigned from his post as Dean of the Faculty in June 2004 after losing a vote of no-confidence among departmental heads.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Hockey Musings

Some random hockey notes with the opening faceoff less than a month away:

This year marks the 100th season of hockey at Dartmouth.

Both the men and the women were picked second by the coaches and third by the media in the preseason ECACHL polls.

Thompson Arena will be on national television at least three times this year. CSTV will broadcast two men's games as part of its Friday Night Hockey line-up. The first is the home matchup against arch-rival Harvard on December 16th, the second coming when Clarkson visits on February 24th. In addition, the women will get some airtime on CSTV for a rare Monday night clash with Harvard on January 30th.

In the pros, Hugh Jessiman will likely start the season with the Wolfpack in the AHL after being sent to Hartford from the NY Rangers training camp. Trevor Byrne was likewise sent to Peoria from the Blues, while Lee Stempniak remains in St. Louis as preseason games get underway. Last year's captain had an assist on the Blues' first goal tonight against the Predators. Dartmouth hasn't been represented in the NHL since Scott Fraser '94 played for the Rangers in the 1998-99 season.

Tuck ranked highly

Less than a week after being named to the #1 slot in The Wall Street Journal's ranking of business schools, the Tuck School placed third in The Economist's annual international rankings.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The College's Purpose

The College's charter, granted by King George in 1769, calls "for the education and instruction of Youth of the Indian Tribes in this Land ... and also of English Youth and any others."

And, as Michael noted below, Wheelock originally envisioned Dartmouth as "an Academy for all parts of useful Learning, part of it a College for the Education of Missonaries, School Masters, Interpreters &c., and part of it a School for reading and writing &c."

The D's Editorial

The Daily Dartmouth's editorial this morning claims that Dartmouth has given up on its original mission of education Indians and "while Riner has the same freedoms as all students, his speech gave the misleading impression that Dartmouth today is closer to Wheelock's vision than to its current ideals."

The D's claim, however, is misinformed -- Dartmouth today isn't substanially different than Wheelock's vision. Eleazer Wheelock originally founded both a school for the education of Indians and a Latin school for English youth, and his 1763 proposal for founding Dartmouth College described it as "an Academy for all parts of useful Learning, part of it a College for the Education of Missonaries, School Masters, Interpreters &c., and part of it a School for reading and writing &c." While Dartmouth has obviously changed over the years, few would argue that its mission today is substanially different than Wheelock's proposal more than 200 years ago.

Even despite the efforts of administrators who might try to transform Dartmouth into a research university, it still remains at its core the same liberal arts college that first graduated students in 1771.

Thought on All This

As Stern points out, Heintz comic was far more offensive than Riner's speech by almost any metric. Now remember, if not for instant running voting, Heintz would be SA president instead of Riner. One can only imagine what he would have said in his convocation address...and what the response to any protests would have been.

Controversy Surrounds Riner Convocation Speech

A summary of the fallout, as reported in The Dartmouth.

A news article refers to the speech as "resembl[ing] a sermon" and quotes only freshmen who disliked it.

A comic by Paul Heintz '06 (the runner up in last spring's Student Assembly race) featuring Riner and Jesus portrays the former as a crusader who wants "to vanquish all those infidel looters and rioters" and Jesus at pot-smoking pottymouth who tells Riner to "Take a hit off this s--- and chill the f--- out."

An op-ed by Brian Martin '06, who finished third to Riner in the race for student body President, contends that "It is fine to believe whatever you want, but Convocation is neither the time nor the place to proselytize."

In a news article about his priorities for Student Assembly, Riner defends his speech: "I realize that I have a very specific perspective on the issue of character. And by adding my perspective, I hope that it'll give other people the opportunity to examine their own perspectives and to add those to the Dartmouth dialogue."

A news article reports the resignation of Student Assembly Vice President for Student Life Kaelin Goulet '07. "I consider his choice of topic for the Convocation speech reprehensible and an abuse of power. You embarrass the organization; you embarrass yourself," she reportedly wrote to Riner.

A letter from John Stern '05 points out the hypocrisy of publishing Heintz's comic: " I dare say it was equally offensive to Christians, if not more so, than Riner's speech was to non-Christians."

The paper's editorial board condemns the speech: "The problem with Riner's speech was his insinuation that turning to Jesus is the only way to find character...Riner had every right, as a member of a community that values the freedom of speech, to speak freely about what matters to him. The forum he chose, however, was inappropriate."

An op-ed from Hillel president Libby Sherman '06 denounces the speech and "invite[s] Noah Riner to the Multi-Faith Council to learn to work with the diversity that makes Dartmouth such a wonderful place to be, rather than divide and offend." Sherman writes: "Invoking imagery of the cross, using the word "us," but not me -- these are inappropriate for a speech opening the new school year and welcoming all students...Presumably, the Student Body President is elected to represent the entire Dartmouth community. Alienating and offending a few students is, unto itself, something that a campus leader should avoid at all costs." Sherman doesn't explain how it's possible to please all students, and her piece also contains this incredibly contradictory sentence: "Part of the value of the Dartmouth experience is learning about and embracing diversity and this disrespectful action is the complete antithesis of the values that Dartmouth espouses."

An op-ed from David Glovsky '08, a Jewish student, notes that he was not offended by Riner's speech, despite his disagreement: "Many of us in the Dartmouth community proudly disagree with that and other aspects of Riner's religious beliefs, but our disagreements do not give us the right to limit his speech."

Tuck Prof to Join CEA

President Bush has named Tuck professor Matthew Slaughter to the President's Council of Economic Advisers.

The President intends to nominate Matthew Slaughter, of New Hampshire, to be a
Member of the Council of Economic Advisers. Dr. Slaughter is an Associate
Professor of Business Administration for the Tuck School of Business at
Dartmouth College. In addition, he serves as a Research Associate at the
National Bureau of Economic Research and as a Visiting Fellow at the Institute
for International Economics. Prior to this, Mr. Slaughter was a Visiting Scholar
at the Federal Reserve Board and the International Monetary Fund and served as a
Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations. Earlier in his career, he
served as a Consultant at the World Bank and the Department of Labor. Dr.
Slaughter received his bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame and
his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dartmouth economics professor Andrew Samwick served on the council as its chief economist until 2004.

UPDATE: As Prof. Samwick notes in the comments, he was a staff economist, not on the council itself.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Freshman Issue Online

The first TDR of the fall term, the freshman issue, has now been posted online for your reading pleasure.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Oversubscribed Courses

As of this morning, the first day of classes, only one government class (a seminar from a visiting professor) had ANY openings. I discovered this to my chagrin when I tried to switch classes. I don't think it would be an understatement to say that class sizes in certain departments are nearing a crisis.

Scott Glabe Call-Out

Scott Johnson '73 on the Powerline Blog calls out Scott Glabe for pointing him towards Noah Riner's Convocation speech, and also notes Scott's column in this morning's Daily Standard decrying the pork barrel spending in the recent highway bill.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Pres. Wright at Convocation

Riner's speech today should, of course, be contrasted directly with President Wright's Convocation speech, now also available online .

Key lines from the speeches:

Riner, in reference to the violence in the aftermath of Katrina:

"We have the same flaws as the individuals who pillaged New Orleans. Ours haven’t been given such free range, but they exist and are part of us all the same."

Wright, in reference to the violence in the aftermath of Katrina:

"The world is in good hands - and if terrorists and the venal, the cynical and the selfish, get the headlines, they do not represent us, so long as we insist that we will not allow them to do so. They surely are not the majority of humankind."


Noah Riner '06's speech to the class of '09 is available online. And in case you missed it, Sandeep Ramesh's valedictory speech to the class of '05 is also.

Mark Your Calendars

Harvard government professor Harvey Mansfield and Dartmouth English department chair Peter Travis will debate the question "Is manliness a virtue in a free society?" at Dartmouth (room TBD) at 7:00 pm on October 12.

The event is sponsored by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation, and The Dartmouth Review.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Zywicki on Hurricane Response

Alumni Trustee Todd Zywicki '88 has posted to his blog several interesting pieces about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Football opens with a win.

Dartmouth opened the Buddy Teevens '79 era with a 26-21 win over Colgate this afternoon at Memorial Field.

After a slow start, Dartmouth's defense got the team going, forcing several turnovers. A fumble and an interception led to two touchdowns, giving Dartmouth the lead, which they never relinquished.

EDIT: Here is the game summary.

New Aquinas House Director

Fr. William Garrott, O.P., has been named the new director of Aquinas House, Dartmouth's Catholic Student Center, by the Bishop of Manchester.

Fr. Garrott formerly was the vocations director for the Order of Preachers' (Dominicans') Province of St. Joseph; he has also served as an itinerant preacher. Fr. Garrott succeeds Fr. Brendan Buckley, O.F.M. Cap., who resigned last spring with health issues. Garrott is the fourth director in the center's history.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Kelley '81 featured

Steve Kelley '81, a former cartoonist for the Review, was recently featured in an Editor and Publisher article. Kelley, now an editorial cartoonist for New Orleans' Times-Picayune, was displaced by Hurricane Katrina and is currently drawing out of California.

Monday, September 12, 2005

No Editors

That’s the only way I can explain how there are so many factual and even spelling errors in two paragraphs of this Daily Dartmouth article on the past four years in Hanover. The errors in the freshman issue just keep coming:
As the New Hampshrie [sic] Democratic primary neared in January 2003, the Dartmouth campus became occupied with national politics, with student leaders rallying support for several candidates. Democratic presidential candidates -- including Sen. John Kerry, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean and Sen. John Edwaards [sic] -- came to campus to rally support in the weeks leading up to the nation's first and most-watched primary.

As the New Hampshire primary drew closer, four major Democratic candidates visited campus during spring of 2004. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, the front-runner for much of the race, unveiled his national higher education plan in a November speech. Dartmouth also saw visits from Gen. Wesley Clark, Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., and eventual victor Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
The chronology is all wrong. The New Hampshire primary was in January 2004, which was before the “spring of 2004.” Dean’s November, 2003 speech was neither in 2004, nor in spring, as the previous sentence would suggest. The second paragraph introduces Dean, Edwards and Kerry for a second time, including the areas they represent as if it were a first reference.

The rest of the article is also rather poorly researched. For example, staff writer Mark Henle '07 writes that two members of the Board of Trustees retired this past year, when in fact only one member retired. Another spot was open because of the expansion noted earlier in the article. The article does get around to mentioning petition candidates Peter Robinson ’79 and Todd Zywicki ’88, who were the second and third anti-establishment candidates elected to the Board in just two years. The article did not mention the 2004 election of the first such candidate, T.J. Rodgers ’70.

The Daily Dartmouth is to be congratulated on this supreme effort.

Re: Errata Redux

The web editor has still neglected to fix the counting error on the Daily D's front page.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Daily D errata redux

After my original post on the many errors in the Daily D's article on the history of the College, some web editor went back and made (unacknowledged and unnoted) edits to the original piece.

Yet s/he still didn't get them all correct. Animal House still has the wrong release date (it should be 1978), Samson Occom is still misidentified as Samuel Occum, and the Dartmouth College Case is still given the incorrect date of 1816.


EDIT: Here is the cached, unedited version of the article.

Also, another error, Edward Tuck was a member of the class of 1862, not the class of 1835.

Interestingly, the Daily D seems to have a long-standing problem with College history. This article from 2000, contains much of the same information as the present version, and also contains many of the same errors. A cursory scan reveals at least seven--see if you can spot them.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

More Daily D errata

Though Nat has already noted one error, more interesting is their article here, which contains a stunning number of incorrect dates and other facts.

  • Eleazar Wheelock died in 1779, not 1789.

  • Dartmouth Hall, though technically constructed between 1784 and 1791, is listed as constructed in 1791. (Not necessarily inaccurate, but assuredly incomplete.)

  • The Tuck School was founded in 1900, not 1902 as stated.

  • The Thayer School was founded in 1867, not 1851.

  • The movie Animal House was released in 1978, according to IMDB, not 1973 as stated in the article.

  • The Dartmouth College Case (Dartmouth College v. Woodward) was decided by the Supreme Court in 1819, not 1816. (For the record, it reached the SCOTUS in 1818.)

  • Nathan Lord became president of the College in 1828, not 1826.

  • The Mohegan Indian who went abroad to raise the funds for the College was Samson Occom (or, in a less common variation, Samson Occum), not Samuel Occum.

There may be more errors, these are just a few easily caught.

The Daily D: Off by 50 Percent

The Daily Dartmouth is off to a spectacular start. At the very top of the paper's website is a publicity photo of smiling newspaper staffers. The photo's caption, which has been online for ten days now and presumably also graced the print edition mailed to over 1,000 incoming freshmen, lists twelve members of the publication's summer staff:
Mark Henle '07, Jennifer Wang '07, Linzi Sheldon '07, Caroline McKenzie '07, Kevin Garland '07, Ben Taylor '07, Jessica Chen '07, Ben Zimmerman '07; Frances Cha '07, Charlie Kettering '07, Alex Lentz '07 and Dax Tejera '07.
Only eight staffers are pictured.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Ellner '92 Releases Campaign Ad

Brian Ellner '92, who is running for Manhattan Borough President, recently released a new ad that not only pictures George W. Bush's head superimposed on a naked torso, but also featured Ellner, who is gay, embracing his partner, Simon Holloway, on screen. WNYW, Fox's New York affiliate has refused to air the ad, reportedly on the grounds that it is "disrespectful to the office of the president."

While a student at Dartmouth, Ellner led the fight to end the College's relationship with ROTC, the current cause celebre of campus leftists, on the grounds that the program was discriminatory towards gays.

Robinson on Judge Roberts

For a profile of Supreme Court Chief Justice nominee John Roberts, Bloomberg news interviewed alumni Trustee Peter Robinson '79, who served in the office next to Roberts' in the Reagan White House.

Robinson said Roberts carries on President Reagan's judicial philosophy:
"We were all young enough to take Reagan's imprint...[Reagan] was for limited government, for a strict reading of the constitution, and he had a profound respect for the people. Yes, the people may make a mistake now and then but over time you could trust their wisdom. Those ideas fit exactly what we know about Roberts's judicial philosophy."
Robinson added that Roberts also shares with Reagan "a genuine friendliness and lightness of touch, combined with absolute determination and commitment to principle."

Robinson will be in Hanover this weekend for his first Board meeting since he was elected this spring.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Dartmouth to Admit Hurricane Victims

The College announced Friday it would accept students displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Several universities along the Gulf Coast, and in New Orleans in particular, have been shuttered for the fall semester.

President Wright offers some further details on the plan:

The students will be admitted under a temporary expansion of our Special Community Student Program, and we will not impose a limit on the number. We will review the program on a term-by-term basis, and will expect students to return to their home institutions once that is possible.

We will waive the tuition for these students, but they will be admitted with the provision that they pay the regular tuition at their home institutions. We envision that the home institutions will use the tuition funds to help rehabilitate their campuses and to help offset some of the impact on their local employees.

We are not in a position to offer housing on campus, but we will reach out to the community to organize a volunteer effort to help any students admitted under this program to find housing within a reasonable distance of the College.

Meanwhile, the alumni office has established a blog to help affected alumni connect with one another.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

On Washington Monthly's Ratings

Joe Malchow '08 says Washington Monthly's college rankings, in which Dartmouth places 37th, are bogus. At the same time, he says the rankings can be used as a model for "a positive goal for the future." The former view is correct; the latter is mistaken.

Malchow says the criteria the magazine used to rank students were the following:
percent of student with Pell grants, graduation rate, change in graduation rates, size of research grants, number of Ph. D.s awarded, (ranked) percentage of students in Peace Corps or ROTC, and the percentage of federal grants spent on community service.
Presumably, to reach this "positive goal," Malchow recommends that Dartmouth improve some or all of these categories.

Raising the graduation rate is a noble cause, so long as educational standards are not relaxed. Increasing the number of students with Pell grants is charitable and raising the proportion in the ROTC is a good patriotic goal. None of these at all undermine Dartmouth's mission as an educational institution, and could improve the school. The others could well do more harm than good.

Increasing the number of Ph.D.s Dartmouth grants and increasing the size of research grants would further divert the College's attention from its undergraduates. Abandoning 236 years of educational tradition for the sake of an arbitrary college ranking by an obscure magazine is a poor idea. The College should perhaps improve on the basics (specifically its undergraduate education) before it seeks to be "a research university in all but name."

The community service ideas likewise seem bogus. Shouldn't Dartmouth's mission be to educate students about the importance of service to the community instead of to usher students into the Peace Corps or to funnel federal monies to the Tucker Foundation? Support of such programs for their own sake is hardly a public good. In fact, an over-funded community service progam without students who care could do considerable harm.

Washington Monthly says such reforms could create "a wealthier, freer, more vibrant, and democratic country." This would hardly be the case if the changes facilitate the continued decline of undergraduate education and the evolution of community service from genuine concern into a sort of do-goodery program.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Zywicki on Academia's Intellectual Disparity

Alumni Trustee Todd Zywicki '88 has posted a lengthy rebuttal to those who seek to explain away the lack of conservatives in academia as a natural consequence of conservatives' alleged greed, closed-mindedness, stupidity and other characteristics.

From the article:
Even if this is self-selection, this is not necessarily responsive--when the elite academy is confronted with other examples of "underrepresented" interests, they do not simply throw up their hands and complain of a shallow talent pool. Instead, at Columbia for instance, the diversity committee is "tasked with finding ways to strengthen the pipeline bringing women and minority students into the University's undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral programs" and not merely take what the pipeline produces. . . .

[I]t seems utterly absurd that people are still making uninformed armchair speculation about the causes of the prevailing ideological imbalance in the academy. Is it self-selection? Conservatives are greedier? Conservatives are dumber? When it comes to addressing the issue of other "underrepresented minorities" on college campuses, the record overflows with high profile blue ribbon panels of leading scholars and administrators. No stone is left unturned and no penny left unspent to try to determine why women are "underrepresented" in teaching math and science, or the underrepresentation of minorities. I think maybe it is time to take even a small percentage of those tens of millions being spent at places like Harvard and Columbia and perhaps do a study of the causes of the ideological disparity in the academy, rather than simply speculate and pontificate. At the very least, such a study would eliminate some of the more preposterous hypotheses (such as the idea that conservatives generically like money more than liberals or that conservatives lack the intellecutal frame of mind to succeed in academia).