Thursday, March 31, 2005

Zywicki on Academic Diversity

Alumni Trustee petition candidate Todd Zywicki '88 has written a short article about the need for a diversity of opinions on college campuses.
Intellectual diversity, therefore, is crucial in that exposes students to a variety of ideas and perspectives, and through that developes critical thinking skills and an understanding of different ways of seeing the world which is necessary for living in a free and democratic society. I think the failure to have a serious representation of libertarian and conservative professors on campus, and the resultant tendency of the left to trivialize that world view (which is, after all, held by roughly 50% of students!), breeds a cynicism in students about the whole intellectual enterprise in which we are engaged. If the university itself doesn't take ideas seriously and doesn't care about free, open, and informed discussion of ideas, why would we possibly think that students would be any more interested in it? And if we aren't going to teach them critical reasoning skills and to search for truth, they may as well major in Computer Science or Business Administration.
By way of example, he says that as a Dartmouth undergraduate he was assigned Marxist readings "in almost every class." Not all that much has changed.

There's Something in the Water

Repeating a claim he made several years ago, government professor Roger Masters yesterday told the Arkansas Senate Public Heath, Welfare and Labor Committee that fluoride in drinking water causes high crime rates.

Dartmouth Politicos

Writing about alumni Trustee petition candidates Peter Robinson '79 and Todd Zywicki '88, Scott Johnson '73 explains that "the administration has responded in a manner more befitting politicians than academics."

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Alcohol Regulations to Face Student Scrutiny

The Social Event Managament Procedures Committee, which is working to revise Dartmouth's inane alcohol restrictions, will seek student input on its recommendations tomorrow evening at 7pm in Filene Auditorium. The committee's final report will be submitted to Dean of the College James Larimore later this term.

The Debate Continues

Joseph Asch '79 once again takes the administration to task on issues such as course oversubscription and the College's housing crisis.

Gingrich in Hanover April 19th

Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives and leader of the 1994 Republican Revolution, will be signing books at the Dartmouth Bookstore on April 19th.

Update: Scrappleface has an amusing satire about Gingrich's relationship with the current Speaker: "'I worked hard to establish myself as liberal-enemy number one,' said Mr. Gingrich."

College Campaigns Against Bush

Students who receive Perkins loans as a part of their financial aid packages received the below email this afternoon from the College urging them to contact Congress and pressure them to vote against the President's budget proposal.

The proposed budget would expand the Stafford loan and Pell grant programs and cut the largely redundant Perkins loan program. Students would be eligible for up to $4,550 a year in federal grants which need not be repaid; the College-administered Perkins program requires students to repay the funds. What's more, the College earns a five percent return on the Perkins loans, so there's no wonder the College opposes Bush's plan to cut them out of the loop.

Included with the email were form letters to be sent to Senators and Representatives in Washington.
Date: 30 Mar 2005 16:06:29 EST
From: Financial Aid
Subject: **URGENT** All Perkins Loan Borrowers **PLEASE READ IMMEDIATELY**

Because you receive a Federal Perkins Loan as part of your financial aid package, I am writing to you to alert you to a proposal by President Bush that would prevent your receiving this loan in the future and to ask you to get involved in our efforts to protect the Perkins Loan program from elimination. Perkins loans are an important part of financial aid packages here at Dartmouth, including your own.

President Bush's budget not only proposes no new funds for the Perkins program but also calls for the total elimination of the program by requiring that institutions return to the Federal treasury the Federal capital that has gone into the fund (some of which started when the program was initiated in 1958) along with interest earned on the federal capital over that long period of time. In Dartmouth's case, the amount of funding that would have to be returned to the Federal government is more than $17 million. Last year alone, Dartmouth students received over $5 million in Perkins loans.

What can you do? I would recommend that you call, e-mail, fax or write your members of Congress and the New Hampshire Congressional delegation right away, letting them know that Perkins loans are important to your education and that you do not want to see the program eliminated. You might point out that the proposed $100 increase in the maximum Pell Grant will not make up the amount you will lose in Perkins funds. [If the Perkins Loan program is eliminated, Dartmouth will assist you with other loan funds. However, those funds will almost certainly have a higher interest rate than that associated with the Perkins program.]

You can reach any Representative's office by calling 202-225-3121 and asking to be connected to the particular member's office. Likewise, all Senate offices can be reached by calling 202-224-3121 and asking for the particular Senator's office. To check on fax numbers or e-mail addresses, each member's office has his/her own website with such information. You can go to the or and find your members' and New Hampshire members' web pages. New Hampshire's Senator Judd Gregg is an especially important contact since he chairs the Senate Budget Committee. His address is 393 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510. His phone number is 202-224-3324. His e-mail address is: I am enclosing two sample letters that you are free to use. While it is not necessary, if you personalize the letters further, their impact will be greater.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. The Senate Budget Committee reports its resolution this Friday (April 1) and the House on April 15. Please join our effort to preserve the Perkins Loan program.

Virginia Hazen
Director of Financial Aid

Pollys Bestowed

A report on the most glamorous awards in the delightfully standpat world of campus conservatism.

From Joseph Pylman:
Press Release
Contact: Sarah Longwell

Orwellian Mind Control at LeMoyne and UNLV. Free Speech a Myth at Harvard and Occidental. Anti-Semitism at Carnegie Mellon. Outrageous*or Just Another Day on Campus?

WILMINGTON, DEL. April 1, 2005 - Carnegie Mellon offers a platform to an Islamic radical who openly threatens the lives of Jews and Zionists, while a graduate student at LeMoyne College is expelled for writing that light spanking has a legitimate role in classroom discipline. A UNLV professor is engulfed in a whirlwind of controversy after making a remark about the financial planning habits of homosexuals, while a student at Occidental College is convicted of sexually harassing the whole school over the radio. Ward Churchill is defended by the academic community for declaring that victims of the World Trade Center bombing deserved their fate, while at Harvard, Larry Summers is demonized for daring to suggest that there may be innate differences between men and women.

Outrageous politicization and double standards continue to abound in higher education, and the Collegiate Network has once again chronicled the worst of those abuses in its 8th Annual Campus Outrage Awards.

The 2005 winners are:

1st At LeMoyne College, graduate student Scott McConnell was expelled after writing a paper rejecting multiculturalism and advocating light spanking in elementary school classrooms. Despite his exemplary grades, McConnell received a letter from the Director of his program stating: "I have grave concerns regarding the mismatch between your personal beliefs regarding teaching and learning and the LeMoyne College program goals*. You will not be allowed to register for any additional courses. Your registration for Spring 2005 courses has been withdrawn."

2nd At the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Economics Professor Hans Hoppe received disciplinary sanctions for making an economically verifiable argument that homosexuals engage less in long-term financial planning than heterosexuals because they typically do not have children. One of Hoppe's students, Michael Knight, filed a complaint leading to a yearlong battle between Hoppe and the University (which Hoppe eventually won). Knight accused Hoppe of "stereotyping homosexuals.* When the door closes and the lecture began [sic], he needs to make sure he is remaining as politically correct as possible." Knight would have fit right in at LeMoyne College.

3rd At Carnegie Mellon University, $2,000 in student fees paid the honorarium of "New Black Panther Party" chief Malik Zulu Shabazz. Shabazz, a noted anti-Semite, publicly advocates killing Zionists and claims that whites are genetically disposed towards racism. Bodyguards armed with riot batons-a violation of CMU weapons policy-escorted Shabazz around campus, and black students and attendees were given preferential admission to the speech. During the speech, Shabazz asked all Jews to raise their hands and then warned those who did, "I'm watching you."

4th In an astonishing abuse of administrative power at Occidental College, campus shock-jock Jason Antebi was fired from his radio program and found guilty by the school's Title IX Officer of "sexual and gender hostile environment harassment," against his entire audience after three students were offended by sophomoric comments he made on the air. Moreover, when members of the student government came to Antebi's defense, the University disbanded it, leaving $441,000 in student fees that will not be administered by the students' elected representatives. For those of us who believe in free speech, this situation is positively Kafkaesque. All anyone had to do to avoid this "harassment" was turn off his or her radio.

5th Harvard University President Lawrence Summers drew the ire of the politically correct crowd, and recently received a faculty vote of no-confidence, after suggesting that innate differences between the sexes could be one reason women are less likely than men to excel in the sciences. Nancy Hopkins, an MIT professor, walked out during the talk, saying that if she had listened to Summers any longer, "I would've either blacked out or thrown up." Interesting that academicians rush to the aid of Ward Churchill, who stated that civilians killed on 9/11 were "little Eichmanns," (referring to Hitler's henchman, Adolf Eichmann) but Larry Summers putting forth a theory makes them sick.

Popularly known as the "Pollys," these awards for the worst campus outrages are given each year to universities to remind the public that political correctness, curricular decay, and violations of academic freedom and free speech remain an unfortunate reality throughout much of higher education. For more information, visit

Anti-ASD Backlash

An alumnus has created a website called "Alumni Asking WTF," which challenges the legitimacy of the alumni Trustee election rules and Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth. The site, registered to Marion Bates '00, provides links to information about petition candidates Peter Robinson '79 and Todd Zywicki '88, who have been repeatedly attacked by College-linked ASD.

From the site:
We don't necessarily support or oppose these two candidates.

We DO support their right to be perceived and treated as equals to the other four candidates, and we DO oppose the hypocrisy of declaring -- and then violating -- campaign rules.
Again, it seems ASD's anti-petition candidate campaign may be backfiring.

Cheston's Campaign Email

Alumni Council-nominated alumni Trustee candidate Sheila Cheston '80 has sent her first campaign email. It's far less controversial than many of those we've seen so far from other candidates (emphasis added):
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2005 13:01:04 -0600
From: Association of Alumni
Subject: First Candidate email - Sheila Cheston '80
According to procedures set forth by the Balloting Committee, each candidate for alumni trustee may choose to send up to two emails to the alumni body during the balloting period. This email is the first such communication from Sheila Cheston '80. This email is being distributed to all alumni, regardless whether or not they have voted.

Comments made by the candidates in these e-mail communications represent their individual perspectives on different issues pertaining to the trustee elections. They have not been edited by the College or the Balloting Committee of the Association of Alumni. While the Committee may contact candidates to discuss any concerns it may have about the accuracy of the text of the email, the candidates have the final decision as to the content of their messages.

Dear Fellow Alums,

My name is Sheila Cheston, and I am one of the nominees for the Dartmouth Board of Trustees. Since we are now about half way through the voting period, I thought I'd write you all a brief note to encourage you to participate in the election and, of course, consider voting for me in the process. I would be honored to serve on the Board and will work hard to ensure you become ever more proud to be a graduate of Dartmouth College.

The campaign this year is particularly lively, and the outcome could be particularly significant. The two winners will be involved in a number of very important choices, not the least of which is the possible selection of President Wright's successor.

In every such choice, it will be crucial that the new trustees be mindful of the greater context. For most of us, Dartmouth College is a place towards which we feel great gratitude and loyalty. It helped us to become who we are today and is a continuing source of pride and support. To this end, I envision my tenure on the Board to be focused, in broad terms, on preserving, sustaining and expanding the cherished qualities of our College - the love of teaching and learning both inside and outside the classroom, the quality of the academic discourse and the growth of the individual - while taking the fullest possible advantage of new opportunities and ideas. My views are more fully set out in the candidate statement and responses to queries on the College website, but, in brief, my goals as a Board member would be:

College & Community

I want to preserve and build on Dartmouth's unique experience, in which the feel and attributes of a small college - with an emphasis on the development of the individual - are married to an array of stellar academic opportunities in a beautiful physical environment. This is a delicate yet powerful combination, and it produces graduates who are ready to make a genuine difference in this world. In the coming years that balance will require careful stewardship, both to meet emerging competitive pressures, and to profit from an ever more global environment. As a member of the class of 1980, I attended the College at a time of - how to put it? -- significant transition (for those of you too young to remember, this was shortly after women were first admitted). As a result, I have a special appreciation for how the College can preserve and build on its traditions while integrating new voices and adapting to new challenges.

Discourse & Diversity

In an evolving and an increasingly polarized world, it is absolutely essential that the College defend itself as a diverse campus where every voice is welcomed and given the opportunity to be heard. Otherwise, how will thought processes expand and new ideas emerge? Surely not from a blind acceptance of conventional thinking and prevailing wisdoms. Much has been made of this issue in the last few months. In my view, the Administration must promote rigorous but civil debate. The College must remain a place where young minds are challenged to explore new ideas with the confidence that if and when they are debated, it will be with the tools of reason and knowledge, not demeaning personal attack.

Alumni & Assets

The College must work even harder to improve its connection with alumni; both to keep them engaged and, if it is not the same thing, at least to keep them informed. The benefit is plain. Dartmouth alums are a distinguished group, that's for certain. And beyond their generous financial contributions, they have a great deal of experience and expertise to offer. The Board, and its alumni members in particular, can and should work harder to tap into this tremendous resource.

Like most alums, I had four wonderful years as an undergraduate at Dartmouth. I competed in varsity sports and studied in the rain forests of Costa Rica and the art galleries of Florence. I had close relationships with professors and other students from whom I learned an enormous amount. And I developed friendships that have lasted 25 years. In my career I have held senior positions in government and industry. I have served on various boards, helped to manage complex organizations, returned to the classroom as a teacher, and spent much time focused on issues of strategy, ethics and integrity. Throughout, Dartmouth's lessons have been close at hand.

I would be honored to help ensure the next generation can benefit equally from the College we love.

Some College History

An interesting article on George Ticknor and Sylvanus Thayer (of Thayer Engineering School fame), both graduates of the class of 1807, and "two of America's leading figures."

The Daily D Notices ASD

Over a month after Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth formed to launch negative attacks against the alumni Trustee petition candidates, the Daily Dartmouth has bothered to publish an article about the group.

Reporter Kate Lyon '05 spoke only with Alumni Association President John Walters '62, who repeated his earlier statements that ASD has not violated the campaign rules. Lyon apparently could not reach any of the group's many vocal detractors for comment, nor any of its vast, College-linked membership:
The man who organized A.S.D. and designed its website is a Geoff Berlin, member of the class of 1984 and founder of Alums Online, a company specializing in alumni outreach. ... Several Dartmouth College employees, including Elizabeth Meyer '96, the director of the Parents and Grandparents Fund in the College's Development Office, and Prof. Susan Ackerman '80, chairwoman of the religion department, are also affiliated with the A.S.D. ... While no members of the Alumni Relations Office are directly connected to the group, Stan Colla '66, the vice president of alumni relations has a slightly more indirect link. His son, Geoffrey Colla '04, is a member of A.S.D. A complete coincidence, I'm sure. Two members of the Alumni Magazine's editorial board, Julie Koeninger '81 and Patricia Berry '81, are affiliated with A.S.D. So are eight former Trustees of the College: I. Michael Heyman '51, Henry Nachman, Jr. '51 T '55, Robert P. Henderson '53, Joe Mathewson '55, Robert Danzinger '56 T '57, Ronald Schram '64, Kate Stith '73, and Ann Fritz Hackett '76. ... But it isn't just the College's administration that has ties to A.S.D.: members of the Alumni Council and Alumni Association, the very bodies that nominate the candidates for Trustee and run the elections, are tied to A.S.D. as well. Noel Fidel '66, Chas Carner '71, and Missy Attridge '77, former presidents of the Alumni Council (which nominates the official Trustee candidates) are all members of A.S.D., so too are J. Michael Houlahan '61, Robert Conn '61, Patricia Berry '81, and Karen Brown Letarte '84, all former or current members of the Alumni Council. Perhaps most troubling is Jeanhee Kim '90, a member of the Alumni Association's Executive Committee who is also a member of A.S.D.
Lyons suggested that the only public attack on ASD was in yesterday's letter to the editor of the Daily D. She neglected to mention that The Dartmouth Review has covered ASD, and its critics, almost daily for the past month.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Dartmouth Still in the Red

Dartmouth Trustee (and Unofficial Patron Saint of Dartlog) T.J. Rodgers '70 recently asked FIRE to reevaluate Dartmouth's poor free speech ranking, as it is listed on FIRE's ancillary website, (Full disclosure/bragging rights: is my baby from when I worked at FIRE, and I love her dearly.) Of course, Rodgers' very presence on the Board is cause for optimism -- as is the fact that Peter Robinson '79 and Todd Zywicki '88 may join him there soon (assuming our alums vote for 'em).

But, as FIRE President David French notes, a speech code is a speech code is a speech code, and Dartmouth has a lot of disavowing to do before it can earn a better rating. Rodgers himself does not disagree.

Don't get me wrong: things are looking up. The administration seems to have learned, at least, to make the right noises. Gone are the days when the president -- the president! -- can openly question the value of free speech. Indeed, this very letter -- in which President Wright said "it is hard to understand why some want still to insist that their 'right' to do what they want trumps the rights, feelings, and considerations of others," and "we need to recognize that speech has consequences for which we must account" -- has been removed from Dartmouth's website.

A second example: the campaign statement by "College-approved" trustee candidate Greg Engles '79. Engles' denunciations of orthodoxy and free speech are welcome, but of course he mentions no specific abuses and proposes no specific remedies. It's all vague and safe banalities that will seem uncontroversial to most (with the possible exception of my favorite liberal, Tim Waligore '01). Indeed, they would be utterly unremarkable if they didn't come from a Board-certified candidate.

For example, Engles says:
As a Trustee I would work hard to convince the faculty, the administration, the institution as a whole that it should be restored.
"Work hard"? "To convince"? Egad, man, you're running for trustee! You don't have to "convince" -- you can lead, you can do! I'm certainly of the opinion that the College needs to use its soft power to foster an atmosphere of respect for free expression, but it's going to take more than "pretty please" to turn Dartmouth around.

Engles' tepid me-tooism is in stark contrast to the emphatic and principled positions adopted by Rodgers, Robinson, and Zywicki. They recognize that hostility to free expression has been a problem at Dartmouth, is a problem at Dartmouth, and will remain a problem at Dartmouth -- unless, of course, we alums do something about it.

It has made a start, but Dartmouth is still far from the finish line.

Trustee Ballot Snafu?

Several alumni have written The Review noting that they have only now recieved their paper ballots for the Trustee election, some three weeks after balloting began. While a preference for electronic voting may be convenient for the alumni office, it seems as if old fashioned paper ballots are being neglected--perhaps excluding many older, less tech-savvy alumni.

Scott Johnson '73 also notes some apparent confusion regarding the ballots themselves: many alumni have been told voting ends April 11th, even though Alumni Association President John Walters has said that the deadline is the 22nd. Still another alumnus has written us voicing concern that information about the annual Alumni Association meeting was not included with the balloting materials, even though it has been included in the packet for the past four years.

Amidst all this confusion, Voices in the Wilderness senses something sneaky is afoot and has called for independent verification of the election results. Has this election simply been especially prone to oversights and printing errors, or is something more sinister in the works?

Update: Johnson has added a correction to his post: the Association is apparently considering extending the deadline past April 22nd; the April 11th date was incorrect.

Construction Cuts Off Webster Ave.

Over spring break, the area enclosed by the Tuck Mall dormitory construction site has expanded northward along Tuck Drive to Webster Avenue, blocking any direct access from the main campus to the most of Webster Avenue. Now, the only direct way to get to the fraternities and sororities along Webster (where some 250 students live) is by the Rockefeller Center, a rather long detour for many. In addition, Zeta Psi fraternity's front door, which opens onto Tuck Drive, is now inaccessible except by a temporary gravel pathway.

While probably not deliberately targeting fraternities and sororities, the construction will probably only aggravate Greek-affiliated students who feel under siege from the College.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Former Dartmouth provost under Summers-esque fire?


Columbia President Lee Bollinger was Dartmouth Provost from 1994-96.

One Liberal on Engles: '$%^##@'

As he explains on the Free Press' blog, Timothy Waligore '01 did not like the surprisingly anti-administration campaign email from Trustee candidate Gregg Engles '79. Waligore takes issue mainly with Engles' desire for more political balance among the faculty.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Time Notes Dartmouth's Athletics Flap

Time magazine has noted--belatedly--the furor over Dean of Admissions Karl Furstenberg's letter claiming athletic programs like football "represent a sacrifice to the academic quality and diversity" of students (last item).
Dartmouth fans are kicking up a storm over an admissions dean's letter expressing contempt for college football. Some want him fired. The team's 1-9 season didn't help.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

They're after their Lucky Charms

Apparently a school in the Boston area has decided to remove Frosted Flakes, Fruit Loops, Cap'n Crunch, &tc. from its dining halls. Which aspect of this story is least surprising?

a) Harvard has a six-figure cereal budget
b) Harvardians like their fruity pebbles "really fruity"
c) That a hunger strike has yet to be organized in protest
d) The Boston Globe will write an article about anything involving Harvard students, no matter how inane.

Stay tuned for the upcoming Valley News expose on long lines in the Food Court grill line.

Will ASD Target the Official Candidates Too?

After yesterday's harshly critical campaign email from Gregg Engles '79, the Voices in the Wilderness blog wonders why Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth hasn't attacked him for his anti-administration rhetoric. "Or is it just a matter of time?"

Engles is one of the four Alumni Council-nominated alumni Trustee candidates.

Is ASD Backfiring?

We've heard a lot of speculation that, far from hurting petition candidates Peter Robinson '79 and Todd Zywicki '88, Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth might in fact be causing more people to vote for them. Many alumni and students have suggested in email and in person that the negative campaign is simply drawing attention to the independents and that the group has done nothing to encourage voting for the official slate.

There's no way to confirm this until the election results are released at the end of next month. Nevertheless, searching Google for "Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth" is very revealing: the website run by that organization ranks only ninth in the results. In fact, The Review's coverage of ASD takes spots one through four, and FIRE's response to them comes in fifth; the ASD website actually ranks below an op-ed by Trustee T.J. Rodgers '70 in the Daily Dartmouth that refutes the groups claims without even naming it. Their message just doesn't seem to be getting out, at least not in any sort of positive way.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Women's Hockey in the Frozen Four

The Indian women's hockey team will take on the Golden Gophers of Minnesota tonight for the first game of the Frozen Four. The puck drops at 8 o'clock in Durham. Live scores from both games are available on the NCAA website, and the Dartmouth radio broadcast is also online.

Tonight's winner will play either Harvard or St. Lawrence on Sunday for the NCAA championship. As of this writing, Harvard leads 4-1 just into the third period.

Official Campaign Email Plugs Strong Dartmouth

Alumni Trustee candidate Gregg Engles '79, one of the four nominated by the Alumni Council, has sent his first campaign email. Notably, at the end of the message, he specifically directs readers to the website of Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth, a College-linked group opposed to petition candidates Peter Robinson '79 and Todd Zywicki '88.

Engles touches on what have become the major issues of the campaign: the College's undergraduate focus; athletics; academic diversity; and free speech. His paragraphs on academic diversity and free speech are particularly noteworthy.

His email (edited slightly for readability, emphasis added, missing links in original text):
Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2005 12:04:26 -0600
From: Association of Alumni
Subject: First Candidate Email - Gregg Engles '79

According to procedures set forth by the Balloting Committee, each candidate for alumni trustee may choose to send up to two emails to the alumni body during the balloting period. This email is the first such communication from Gregg Engles '79.

Comments made by the candidates in these e-mail communications represent their individual perspectives on different issues pertaining to the trustee elections. They have not been edited by the College or the Balloting Committee of the Association of Alumni. While the Committee may contact candidates to discuss any concerns it may have about the accuracy of the text of the email, the candidates have the final decision as to the content of their messages.

Dear Fellow Alumni:

My name is Gregg Engles, Class of 1979, and I'm a candidate in the current election for the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees. Unlike any Trustee election I can recall, it looks like this election is going to be contested, substantive, maybe even contentious. That's a good thing. The Board of Trustees is the College's governing body. It defines and articulates Dartmouth's mission, hires its leaders, allocates its resources. This election is important. As Alumni, you ought to understand where the candidates stand, and it's important that you vote.

This year's write-in candidates have been described as "insurgents" while the Alumni Council candidates have been portrayed as hand picked shills for the administration ( I don't believe either characterization is accurate or fair. It certainly isn't for me. I believe all of this year's candidates are on the ballot because of their love for Dartmouth and their belief that they can help her fulfill her historic role as America's finest undergraduate institution and training ground for leaders throughout American society. That's certainly why I'm a candidate. But the candidates' positions on the issues are different, as are their abilities to represent your point of view and make changes constructively.

For my personal biography and a broad discussion of my views on Dartmouth and important issues she faces, please click on the following link: (link to Dartmouth Alumni Trustee Candidate information). In addition to the matters addressed in my official statements, there are a few issues emerging as central themes of this election, and you should fully understand my position on them.

Dartmouth's Focus on Undergraduate Education.

It is a universally held truth for Dartmouth Alumni that the College is, and should remain, the finest undergraduate institution in the nation. Its focus should be undergraduate education. It's 'fightin' words,' as we say in Texas, to mention Dartmouth and "University" in the same paragraph. "Research" evokes almost as visceral a reaction.

I believe firmly that Dartmouth's core strength is its undergraduate program, and that's where we should focus our energy and resources. But if we are to 'rededicate Dartmouth to its mission of undergraduate education,' what exactly does that mean for Tuck, Thayer and the Medical School, or for Dartmouth's other graduate programs, particularly in the sciences? To be clear, all of Dartmouth's PhD programs are in the sciences)? Some of the rhetoric around this issue would suggest that we should do away with graduate schools and programs,or at least greatly deemphasize them, lest we become a "University."

From where I sit, that would be a mistake. The territory of small, exclusive,purely undergraduate colleges is occupied by the likes of Amherst and Williams. When I think about institutions that might overtake Dartmouth in providing the finest undergraduate education in America, it's not those institutions. And it is less so today than when I enrolled at Dartmouth. Their engineering students can't possibly have the quality experience Dartmouth's have, because Thayer's cutting edge professors, supported and attracted by the opportunity to teach and research at Thayer, aren't there. The Life Sciences is perhaps the most promising area for the advancement of humankind in the next century. Would anyone seriously argue that Dartmouth undergraduates interested in those areas would have a better experience, taught by a more able faculty, if Dartmouth didn't invest in the Medical School or its life sciences graduate programs?

So what does 'focus on undergraduate education' mean? It means directing resources first to undergraduate education. It means investing in research and graduate programs only where to do doing so materially enhances the undergraduate experience. It means attracting to Dartmouth exceptional faculty that want to teach undergraduates. That must be a necessary condition to join the faculty and for tenure. It means devoting enough resources to ensure that the faculty is adequate in number, and students have ready access to them.

But make no mistake, an important acriterion by which the faculty will be judged to be exceptional, by students and alumni alike, will be the quality and notoriety of what they write and the research they do. So we must provide the resource and environment to attract an exceptional faculty, and that means supporting the research and writing that made the faculty exceptional to begin with. To do so is central to Dartmouth's mission to provide the finest undergraduate education.

The Need to Maintain Dartmouth as a Balanced Place.

Dartmouth has traditionally produced a disproportionate share of leaders in American life - graduates distinctively capable of tackling the issues of their time. I don't believe that is just because of academics. Part of the reason is that both in and out of the classroom, the College helped its undergraduates to develop a balanced perspective on life. There are three areas in which that balance seems to be slipping, and Dartmouth needs to correct them.

Outside the Classroom Activities, Particularly Athletics.

Athletics at Dartmouth have long contributed to the character and well roundedness of its students. As traditions go, its one of Dartmouth's important ones. Despite the success of some Dartmouth teams, there is reason to believe that the administration does not appreciate the importance of collegiate sports in developing exceptional graduates, or as some fear, other non-academic pursuits, for that matter. One only has to recall the attempted termination of the swimming and diving program and the Dean of Admission's Furstenburg's completely antagonistic views on the merits of football (and presumably football players) to suspect that this administration implicitly intends to continue deemphasizing sports on campus. And if football can be seen as antithetical to the academic mission of Dartmouth, why not the Outing Club? Actions speak loudly, and I believe the College's actions should support activities outside the classroom that have historically contributed to building the character of her graduates.

Orthodoxy of Thought on Campus.

'Group think' can be corrosive. It breeds prejudice, intolerance, and a lack of critical thinking. I fear we have a bit of group think going on in Hanover in the administration and the faculty, and it is bad for the College. The faculty selects and weeds out their own in the hiring and tenure process. They tend to support their own as they move into the administration. The process reinforces and concentrates, often silently, certain attitudes and philosophical tendencies in the institution. At some point those attitudes become so much the norm that one feels free to say that football is antithetical to the academic mission of "colleges such as ours" about the most storied football program in the Ivy League, or to stifle points of view that the group 'knows' are incorrect. No one even notices when a poll shows Ivy League professors support one political point of view by 84% to 16 % (link to website).

My comment has nothing to do with the scholarly credentials of Dartmouth's faculty. Rather, it deals with an inbreeding strong enough in certain dimensions that I believe the College is losing its ability to educate its students in a balanced way about the most important issues of our time. I received my law degree from Yale Law School, which has quite a liberal reputation. But when I was there, many of the lions of the faculty were conservatives, and the Law School continues to recruit and retain them. Because whether you're liberal or conservative, the issues can't be fully vetted, nor positions or thoughts honed, if you have no worthy advocate on the other side with whom to match wits. Of course, with no one to make the opposing argument, there's little chance you might explore an issue deeply, or even change your mind. I feel Dartmouth is losing its balance in this regard. As a Trustee I would work hard to convince the faculty, the administration, the institution as a whole that it should be restored.

Free Speech.

My concerns about free speech on campus are closely related to my concerns about orthodoxy of thought. Because when a group becomes so convinced that its views are correct, and effective voices in the group do not rise up to question the group's orthodoxy, it becomes very easy to stifle opposing points of view.

Certain reactions to the Dartmouth Review and statements regarding the Student Life Initiative are examples, I believe, of where some members of the Dartmouth community just 'knew' they were right. I don't want to debate the merits of these episodes. There are always two sides to the issues. And that's just the point. If the institution, implicitly or explicitly, stifles one side of the debate, we often won't get to the right answer on the merits. In the classroom, and the societal conversations among students and the faculty, the result can be even worse, because we often won't get to the debate at all.

Why Me.

Dartmouth is a complex, large institution with many different constituencies and important issues to it must tackle. There isn't one philosophical point of view that will yield the answers to all of the issues Dartmouth faces. Leading Dartmouth will require a thoughtful, practical approach to the issues at hand. I started my own company in 1993 and have built it into an organization with $10 billion in revenue and 30,000 employees. I understand what it means to lead such an institution. I haven't been teaching or writing about it, I've been doing it for over a decade. I know the importance of a clear mission and strong leadership. I know how to work with diverse groups, how to listen, understand, compromise, and where necessary, not to compromise. I would bring all of my experience to the Dartmouth Board of Trustees, in an effort to help Dartmouth fulfill its role as America's finest undergraduate institution. I would appreciate your support for my candidacy in this year's election to the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees.

For my personal biography and a broad discussion of my views on Dartmouth and important issues she faces, please click on the following link:
The link to ASD, while perhaps innocent, could give the impression that he endorses the views of the organization or that the group mantains the official College campaign website. Given ASD's documented ties to the College, this is not necessarily far from the truth.

Regardless, if the establishment's own candidates are debating the merits of the campus orthodoxy, they must be just a bit worried.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

ASD Using College's Website for Campaign

Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth has been using the College's new inCircle online networking service, which is hosted on Dartmouth's website, to promote its campaign against the alumni Trustee petition candidates. InCircle allows users to send messages to alumni and students within a broad social network that could include hundreds or even thousands of people.

Geoff Berlin '84, the apparent mastermind of the group, posted this message to inCircle yesterday in order to boost the ASD agenda:
From: Geoff Berlin '84
To: Friends of friends of friends
Date: Mar 23, 2005
Category: General
Location: Kiev 01001, Ukraine

Has anyone been following the issues on the trustee elections?

Check out and sign up if you agree!

You can see a rebuttal on the issues raised by the petition candidates at


Geoff Berlin '84
The Alumni Association recently determined that it violates campaign rules to use Alumni Office resources to speak for or against a candidate. It is unclear if this electioneering would violate that ruling, since the Alumni Office runs and maintains inCircle.

Alumni Association Steps In

The President of the Association of Alumni, John Walters '62, has responded to critics who claim that the Association and Council have been using their offices to promote the official candidates at the expense of the petition candidates.

Below is his email to John Sharer '72, sent yesterday. It follows up on a series of emails they exchanged earlier this month. (Emphasis added)
Hi John - I do owe you an apology for not closing the loop after our earlier exchange of emails on the above issue. Frankly, just keeping up with the daily happenings relating to the election campaign (not to mention my day job!) have made it difficult to look back at earlier unfinished business.

The Balloting Committee has met on a regular basis to consider a variety of messages which have been sent out by alumni groups or an individual alumnus/a supporting or opposing different candidates, including the Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth. As I had indicated to you, our guidelines give us the ability to limit campaigning by the candidates themselves, and while we can also request a candidate to discourage indirect campaigning on his/her behalf, our Committee concluded that we do not have the power to direct a third party - whether it be an individual website or blog or an organization with a bias one way or the other - to cease and desist. Therefore, we were not in a position to demand that the website be taken down, as you had requested.

We have taken steps to assure that persons directly related to the College itself are not involved in campaigning activities and do not provide support to any person or group on behalf of a candidate. For example, we instructed Alumni Relations to delete the portion of Alumni Council President Karen Calby's video supporting the Council candidates, and the College counsel also directed one of the alumni groups supporting the Council candidates (I believe it was the Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth) to remove the College Seal from its website. We also instructed Alumni Relations that under no circumstances should they make available to any alumnus/a or alumni group any information maintained by their office (mailing lists, data bases, etc.).

There has been considerable frustration regarding this election cycle on the part of many alumni, with totally different perspectives. The decision this year to permit each candidate to send out two emails during the balloting period, which was designed to address the concerns raised last year by some candidates who felt they were unfairly "muzzled", has had mixed results, and it is clear that further modifications to the election guidelines and procedures are required to bring the campaign into step with the realities of the communications media available today.

Mr. Sharer replied:

Thank you for the time and trouble you took to put together such a thoughtful response. I also appreciate the instructions that you have given to the Alumni Office. I am completely satisfied with your response. My thanks to you and your colleagues on the Balloting Committee for their careful attention to my inquiry, and for all their hard work on what undoubtedly must be, on some days, a thankless task.

It is difficult to believe that twenty years have gone by since I served on the Alumni Council (1984-87), when you served as Council President during a part of your tenure. All best wishes for a very Happy Easter.

John '72

FIRE Responds to ASD's Claims

FIRE President David French has responded to ASD's lame defense of the College's attitude towards free speech. Responding to ASD's odd claim that banning merely offensive speech "merits debate," French notes:
Any group that would state such a position cannot credibly claim to support or respect free speech. At FIRE, we have learned that concepts like "civility" or a "sense of community" have led to the censorship of the following forms of "offensive" expression: the display of American flags, the display of posters supporting American soldiers, speech criticizing American military efforts, peace protests, parodies and political cartoons, flyers advertising speeches by black conservatives, affirmative action protests, worship services and religious association, critiques of administration policy -- the list could go on and on (see FIRE's case archive). In fact, in an environment that prohibits "offensive" expression, the only speech that is sure to be free from punishment is speech that agrees with the enforcing entity.
French also notes that ASD seems to take a perverse satisfaction from the fact that Dartmouth's peer institutions fare no better with respect to free speech. As French aptly puts it:
Students at Dartmouth have fewer free speech rights than students at a local community college, and this group is pleased that other colleges are just as restrictive? Is that even an argument?
In case there were any doubt that Dartmouth's alums have a real choice in this election, I note (with great approval) French's observation that:
Dartmouth has an opportunity to become a leader in restoring free speech and academic freedom to our modern university culture, and Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth says, "No thank you."
Well, I know who I'll be voting for. Hopefully, you do too. If you're an alum, please vote for Peter Robinson '79 and Todd Zywicki '88 (and those two candidates only) for trustee!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Alums Start Call for Accountability

Citing apparent conflicts of interest between the alumni establishment and Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth, one alumnus sent the following to The Review (edited somewhat for readability):
RESIGN - members of the Joint "Takeover" Committee on Governance who are actively campaigning with ASD

RESIGN - members of the incoming and outgoing Association board who are actively campaigning with ASD

4 official Candidates - CONDEMN the activities of ASD in your next email to alumni, admonish them, and restrain them as your supporters from campaigning on your behalf, or if you refuse, then ACKNOWLEGE as idiotic poison pills the rules that the entrenched apparachiks have put in place to keep themselves in power
Asking to remain anonymous, the alumnus called for an "Evergreen Revolution" in Hanover--a democratization movement like the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia or the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. Roger Simon '64 likewise has hinted at the parallel stuggles for open governance.

Who Is Geoffrey Berlin?

Berlin seems like someone we should know more about. As "John" learned from his "whois" search on ASD (see the first comment to my post below), the ACS website is registered in his name. Plus, as Mr. Ward notes, his association with the group runs deep.

He seems to run a business called Alums Online, Inc., which itself apparently grew out of Berlin's association with the College. Interesting.

UPDATE Ah, I see that this Alums Online tidbit was mentioned in Mr. Ellis' piece. Don't know how I missed it the first time through. Oh well.

UPDATE In Mr. Ellis' piece,

Nels Armstrong '71, the College's Director of Alumni Relations, said that he knew Berlin, and that he was "a wonderful entrepreneur," but denies that he has ever done work for Alumni Relations.

On the Alums Online website, however, it says:

Alums Online grew from a successful initiative to develop online platforms for our 20th reunion at Dartmouth College."

(Berlin is a member of the class of '82.) Indeed, this seems to be the sort of thing they've done for other classes, too.

It seems very doubtful indeed that he wasn't working for (or with) Alumni Relations when he was developing platforms for a reunion. It's possible, but it seems unlikely. Did he contribute his work for free?

Why this evasiveness?

Dartmouth Establishment Campaigns Again

Alumni Council member J. Michael Houlahan '61 forwarded an email to various alumni publicizing the latest campaign message from Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth. The email was sent to him directly from Geoff Berlin '84, the mastermind of the ASD website and one of the group's primary supporters.

Berlin's email:
From: [Geoff Berlin '84 ]
To: [J. Michael Houlahan '61]
Subject: STRONG DARTMOUTH: Rebuttal on the issues
Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2005 9:09 AM

Dear J. Michael,

ALUMNI FOR A STRONG DARTMOUTH seeks to advance the debate on the election issues that have been raised by the candidates.

We offer a rebuttal to the views expressed by the petition candidates on the following issues:

- Has Dartmouth strayed in its mission?
- Does Dartmouth have too few faculty?
- Does Dartmouth have the right faculty?
- Does Dartmouth repress free speech?
- Does Dartmouth have the right trustees?

You will find this rebuttal at

Please pass this link on to your Dartmouth friends and classmates.

Thanks for all you are doing to get out the vote!

Best regards,

Geoff Berlin '84
This email, apparently establishing a link between Berlin and the Alumni Council through Councilor Houlahan, creates a further tangle on the already complex web of connections that ties the College to this group.

Officially, ASD is not violating the alumni Trustee election rules, which prohibit "campaigning by the candidate or his/her supporters" beyond two official emails. But ASD isn't exactly holding to the spirit of those regulations, either, however badly designed and unduly restrictive the rules may be.

Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth

Can anyone tell me who is behind Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth?

I need to know nowish. Email me at Emmett - at -

ASD Takes on Petition Candidates

Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth, a College-affiliated negative campaign group, has posted on their website a statement rebutting arguments made by petition candidates Peter Robinson '79 and Todd Zywicki '88. The rebuttal makes five main points:
  • ASD says that both petition candidates took out of context President Wright's comment that Dartmouth is a "research university in all but name." The group maintains that Wright accurately described Dartmouth, but they also point to a seemingly contradictory speech where he said Dartmouth would keep its undergraduate focus. That speech was in 1998. Since then, Wright has repeated this "we are a university" mantra on numerous occasions, most recently in February, when he defended himself by referencing his own comments about Dartmouth's undergraduate focus.
  • Next, Strong Dartmouth says that both petition candidates were wrong to say that some academic departments lack the professors to meet student demand because there are more faculty now than in 1991. While there may indeed be a better overall faculty-to-student ratio now, that has not ameliorated the crowding in many departments, which is the issue Robinson and Zywicki have addressed. And the ratio is still lower than that of other Ivies.
  • The group also takes issue with the claim that Dartmouth lacks many of the great professors of the past and that there are more adjunct and inexperienced teachers now than before. Dartmouth does have good professors, they maintain, because the College gave awards to a handful of its own professors. They add that Dartmouth actually has as many full-time professors as other institutions, though why Dartmouth should merely be "in line" with "average" colleges is unclear.
  • Dartmouth's speech codes are irrelevant, they maintain, because the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which issues reports on campus free speech, ranks other Ivy League schools poorly as well. Again, they do not explain why Dartmouth should stoop to the level of Harvard, Princeton, Cornell and most of the other colleges in the country (perhaps BuzzFlood could explain).
  • Finally, ASD questions Zywicki's attack on the Trustees as being too closely tied with the school, and they ask which of the Trustees he referred to. The answer to that is not difficult: he presumably referred to the six Trustees nominated by the College-affiliated Alumni Council and elected largely without contest, and to the seven put in place by the Board itself. The only real ambiguity is whether he meant his critique to include President Wright and Governor John Lynch.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Wright Says Dartmouth in 'Great Shape'

President Wright last week told Florida alumni that "the College is in great shape," and rattled off the usual laundry list of successes: increased applications, new construction and so forth. He then defended the College against accusations of large class size, explaining that students will normally take one or two small classes (out of the 30 or more needed to graduate), implying that there's no problem at all. Wright also addressed the question of poor athletics, saying he's "tired of losing" at football. He added that some other sports teams are doing well, including the men's basketball team, which finally had a .500 season in the Ivies (10-17 overall).

Wright began his speech, as he is prone to do, referencing the Booz Allen Hamilton report that declared Dartmouth one of "the world's most enduring institutions." As before, Wright ignored most of the actual text of the Booz Allen Hamilton report. The report does not praise Dartmouth as it is today, but rather its successes until the 1970s--notably absent from the report are references to Presidents McLaughlin, Freedman and Wright. Booz Allen Hamilton cited in particular the College's anti-administration revolt of 150 years ago:
[Dartmouth] demonstrated how an academic institution could reform itself of dry rot. Fed up with a curmudgeon president who thwarted good will efforts to raise the educational level of the institution, Dartmouth's constituencies (undergraduates, alumni, faculty, etc.) prepared a bill of particulars and summoned the president to answer the charges of neglect. Faced with this earnest consensus of informed critics who were loyal to the college, the derelict president resigned. ... What made this self-reform especially remarkable is that it took place precisely during the decades when advocates of the creation of new, large universities were predicting the death of the liberal arts college. Not only did Dartmouth College defy those odds, it dared to create a special institution that did not follow the conventional wisdom of university building that dominated the era.
This, perhaps, is the message students and alumni should take from the BAH article: that students and alumni can tear out the "dry rot" of the administration and prevent Dartmouth from becoming just another university.

Update: I fixed the permalink and added a clarification about the BAH report.

Petition Candidates Leave a Mark

It remains to be seen whether alumni Trustee petition candidates Peter Robinson '79 and Todd Zywicki '88 will be elected. It is clear, though, that several of the issues important to them—free speech, class size and athletics—have been taken to heart by the College establishment.

In fact, even the Alumni Council-nominated candidates now attack administration policy in these areas, as Curt Welling '71 does in his first campaign email. Welling adds that the Trustee campaign has been characterized by "ideological generalization, hyperbole and oversimplification," an apparent attack on the petition candidates, who many generalize as conservative apparatchiks.

Welling's email is reproduced below, with emphasis added:
From: Association of Alumni
Subject: First Candidate Email - Curt Welling '71, Tu '77
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2005 10:06:24 -0600

According to procedures set forth by the Balloting Committee, each candidate for alumni trustee may choose to send up to two emails to the alumni body during the balloting period. This email is the first such communication from Curt Welling '71. This email is being distributed to all alumni, regardless whether or not they have voted.

Comments made by the candidates in these e-mail communications represent their individual perspectives on different issues pertaining to the trustee elections. They have not been edited by the College or the Balloting Committee of the Association of Alumni. While the Committee may contact candidates to discuss any concerns it may have about the accuracy of the text of the email, the candidates have the final decision as to the content of their messages.

Dear Fellow Alum-

It is an honor to be nominated to run for the Board of Trustees at Dartmouth. I have been continuously involved in Dartmouth since graduation: as a Tuck student (T'77), as a class officer and reunion-giving chair, in the activities of the Dartmouth Fund, and in the Alumni Council-including as its president. I can think of no more important or more satisfying way to be of service to Dartmouth than as a Trustee. I take both the opportunity and the commitment very seriously.

I am writing to summarize for you some of the things I believe about the College and about the role of the Board. Remembering that "brevity is the soul of wit", and in the knowledge that the length of this note and the probability of your reading it are inversely correlated, I will be brief. For a fuller explanation of my views, I hope you will look at the ballot materials which are available online and will soon be available in hard copy.

I believe-

—That commitment to excellence in the undergraduate experience is "true north"-it is the lens through which all policy and resource allocation decisions must be seen and resolved. All candidates seem to believe the same.

—That, on balance, Dartmouth does an outstanding job of attracting and educating the finest young men and women in America. This is the clear meaning of student satisfaction numbers and of the success of our graduates in both academic and professional marketplaces. To suggest that the "product" is anything other than excellent is disingenuous and misleading.

—That Dartmouth can be better. For example, the shortages of faculty, unacceptable class sizes and unavailability of classes in some majors cannot be tolerated and must be quickly addressed. These conditions are clearly inconsistent with an abiding commitment to excellence in undergraduate education. The Board must determine how this has happened and ensure that it does not recur.

—That the Board needs to create a culture of aggressive self-criticism. This will require an openness to all voices that has not characterized the Board in the past. All truly great institutions relentlessly examine the quality of their programs and the validity of their assumptions. In a dynamic marketplace, organizations that are not aggressively self-critical are dying.

—That Dartmouth today is, of necessity, an intricate entity that operates in a complex and dynamic environment. The critical issues facing the College are similarly intricate and not amenable to caricature. I believe that some of the rhetoric of this campaign is ideological generalization, hyperbole and oversimplification. I do not think it is informed by the complex reality of Dartmouth today.

—That the First Amendment means what it says. Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of the pursuit of the truth. Speech codes, social or academic pressure on speech cannot be tolerated in any shape or form. It is the Board's responsibility to ensure that they are not tolerated. In the debate between civility and freedom of expression, civility is nice and a worthy objective--freedom of expression is quintessential and cannot be compromised.

That a great undergraduate institution must have beds available for all its students--whether in dorms or in affinity group residences. Residential availability and continuity are important issues that today severely compromise the quality of the undergraduate experience.

—That in a capital campaign of $1.3 billion, a target of $22 million for athletics is a curious resource allocation decision. It is hard to imagine the rational for allocating less than two pennies per dollar to an activity in which more than half of the students participate, and which is so obviously a critical component of the undergraduate experience.

That when a senior officer of any organization publicly disagrees with the policies and values of the organization to its detriment, that officer should be held accountable.

—That Dartmouth is uniquely positioned to assume a preeminent role in defining excellence in undergraduate education: large enough to be credible, strong enough to attract the best students and faculty, informed and guided by its core values and its undergraduate focus. To achieve this position Dartmouth need only reaffirm these values and then have the courage and the steadfastness to be guided by them in all important decisions.

—That each Trustee owes the College independence of thought and action. Dartmouth is both an ideal and an objective reality. Trustees are elected to protect the ideal and to improve the reality. To me, that means representing all stakeholders with an honest open-mindedness that is informed by the facts and inspired by Dartmouth's core values.

These are the beliefs that will guide my work if I am elected to the Board. If any of this raises questions, I would be happy to answer them.

Thank you for taking the time to consider these matters and for voting in what I believe will be an important election for the College.


Curt Welling '71, Tuck '77
Do any readers know what the officer accountability bullet refers to? It does sound rather like a call for maintaining message discipline within the administration.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Women's hockey time change

The NCAA has switched the times of the women's Frozen Four semifinals. Dartmouth is now playing Minnesota in the prime time game at 8 PM on Friday, rather than the early game at 5 PM as originally scheduled.

Prof. Ackerman's Email

An alumnus has forwarded to The Review a copy of the email Prof. Susan Ackerman '80 sent on March 7th to attack alumni Trustee petition candidates Peter Robinson '79 and Todd Zywicki '88.

In her message, she dismisses arguments for free speech and less administrative bloat as somehow representing "reactionary ideologies" and a nostalgic longing for racism and sexism. She also says that Dartmouth in past years maintained an "anti-intellectual environment," a claim sure to go over well with the alumni who attended the College then. The email is reproduced below (emphasis added):
Date: 07 Mar 2005 16:04:03 EST
From: Susan Ackerman
Subject: Dartmouth Trustee Election

Dear Friends,

I assume you all received today (as did I), or will receive soon, an announcement from the Association of Alumni that Dartmouth's Alumni Trustee election is now under way. I write to ask -- and indeed beg -- you to vote. I know, of course, that many of you are fairly indifferent when it comes to Dartmouth and its affairs, and that there are even some of you have less than fond memories of your time here (e.g., some of you who were here with me during the early days of co-education). Still, I have reason to believe that all of you care about me to some degree or another, and since my professional life is bound up with Dartmouth, I am hoping that you will vote to help make Dartmouth the best place it can be for me and in turn for today's students.

More specifically: as you will see, there are six names on the Trustee ballot, four nominated by the Alumni Council and two nominated by petition. To be frank, none of the Alumni Council nominees (Cheston, Engles, Lewis, and Welling) excites me all that much, as I am convinced that we most desperately need on our Board representatives who have professional expertise in higher education, rather than expertise in business or law (nine of the Board's current 15 members hold an M.B.A. or other business degree, as do two of the Alumni Council nominees; three current Board members hold some sort of law degree, as do three of the Alumni Council nominees [if you're wondering about the math, one of the Alumni Council nominees holds both an M.B.A. and a J.D.]).

Still, any of these Alumni Council nominees is preferable, in my mind, to the two petition candidates (Robinson and Zywicki), as the two petition candidates both represent, as far as I can tell, the same sorts of reactionary ideologies as were represented in last year's elections by TJ Rodgers. More specifically, both question the College's commitment to free speech because, for example, the College has disciplined organizations that have printed sexually demeaning and even abusive comments about our female undergraduates; both argue the College over-emphasizes the intellectual experience of our undergraduates in favor of athletics or, more generally, the "well-rounded individual"; both feel that critical positions in Student Services -- positions that support, for example, African-American students, Native American students, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students, and students of Asian descent -- represent not a commitment to helping historically disadvantaged populations succeed at Dartmouth but administrative bloat; both oppose President Wright's attempts to broaden social options for Dartmouth students beyond fraternities and sororities. Both petition candidates, in short, seem to me to long nostalgically for some "Dear Old Dartmouth" of the past, without admitting the idealized past they crave represents a Dartmouth that was often hard on women, gays and lesbians, and minorities; monolithic in terms of its social life; and fostered an anti-intellectual environment.

Despite my reservations, therefore, I intend to vote for ALL FOUR Alumni Council nominees (which the Trustee voting procedures allow), in the hopes that any one of them will garner more total votes that the petition candidates. I hope you can do the same. If you want more information, I would direct you to:

(2) (Zywicki's web page about the election)
(3) (Robinson's web page about the election)
(4) ) a recent article in The D that Zywicki cites with approval).

Ballots must be submitted by April 22, either by mail or electronically. You do need a password and security number to vote electronically, which should be sent to you via e-mail. If it isn't, or you need help, you can contact

Please feel free to forward this e-mail to other potential voters like yourselves, and thanks for reading, thanks for voting,

The Valley News first got wind of her email two weeks ago.

Update: A reader points out that in 2001 Ackerman condemned Dartmouth's "president, James Wright, and trustees for not eliminating the Greek system." This is hardly the "broaden[ing of] social options for Dartmouth students" that she speaks of in her email.

Women's Basketball Falls in First Round

The Indian women fell in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament, losing 95-47 to the third-seeded UConn Huskies. The Associated Press has the details.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

From This Moment On

No more blue songs.

Jeffrey Hart, Professor Emeritus of English at the College, has a great new essay in January's issue of The New Criterion. It's about the 1940 World's Fair. The whole essay is powerful, I think, but here are some remarkable excerpts:
Its theme was 'The World of Tomorrow.' It was also the last great Fair, innocent in its faith. It believed in Progress as a comprehensive idea. We no longer have that kind of belief. We believe in advances-- in transportation, medicine, communications, computers, longevity, and so on, but not in Progress as a central animating idea, one that gives meaning to life.
I have a copper penny rolled oblong with the image of the Trylon and Perisphere stamped on it, a souvenir of the Fair. I wear it on a silver chain as a necklace along with a silver cross. The Trylon and Perishpere were symbols so powerful that they possess continuing imaginative life. They are both severe, timeless geometrical symbols, the signature of their era, immortal but gone.
"Read the whole thing" and all that.

Professor Hart also wrote a book called From This Moment On about 1940-- the historical moment of it.

Thanks to Scott Johnson for convincing Roger Kimball to put the essay online.

Bush Names Portman '78 to Trade Post

President Bush on Thursday named Robert Portman '78, an Ohio congressman, to be the next US Trade Representative, pending Senate confirmation. The Washington Post said the staunch free-trade advocate enjoys broad bipartisan support, so his approval is likely. A former trade lawyer, Portman served in the White House in the early 1990s, successfully ran for Congress in 1993, and campaigned for President Bush in 2000 and 2004.

Even though he represents Ohio, a state whose protected industrial interests have been hurt by freer competition, Portman has remained committed to liberalization. As he explained during a press conference Thursday,
open markets and better trade relations are key components to a more peaceful, a more stable and a more prosperous world. Through expanded trade, the roots of democracy and freedom are deepened. And here at home, trade policy opens markets to create jobs, a higher standard of living and greater economic growth.

Heschel to Lead Anti-War Rally

Susannah Heschel, chairwoman of the Jewish studies program, will be leading an anti-war rally Sunday in Manhattan, according to the arch-liberal Village Voice. Timed to mark the second anniversary of Iraq's liberation, the rally is organized in part by Iraq Veterans Against the War, a defeatist organization which sees the War on Terror as "pointless" and based on "lies and deceit." Also appearing with the Jewish studies professor will be the YAYA Network, a group dedicated to undermining the armed forces by "counter-recruiting," and Military Families Speak Out, which has declared that fighting terrorists with force "is the problem, not the solution."

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Moore Film Coming to Dartmouth

Film about heavy-handed documentarian to be screened.
From: Minority Films
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2005 18:45:52 -0700
Subject: PRESS RELEASE: This Divided State



Orem, Utah___Minority Films and the Center for American Progress proudly announced this week the national college tour of the controversial new documentary film, This Divided State.

Steven Greenstreet, director and producer of This Divided State, has been invited by the Center for American Progress and its sub-division Campus Progress to screen the film at 22 colleges around the nation including Harvard, Yale, NYU, and USC.

This Divided State follows the explosion of community protest surrounding Michael Moore's visit to Utah Valley State College (UVSC) in October 2004. Though UVSC is located in one of the strongest Republican strongholds in the United States, vehement opposition to liberal filmmaker Michael Moore's visit was much greater than anticipated. Death threats, hate mail, bribes, and lawsuits were all candidly captured on film. Equally surprising, however, was the overwhelming "uprising" of students in support of Michael Moore. Additionally, since the controversy took place in Utah, a heated religious debate broke out as to whether Mormons can profess to be liberal without betraying their religion.

The national tour will begin in Washington D.C. on March 23rd 2005 at the E Street Theater and then will move throughout the nation during the following 5 weeks. The screenings (except the D.C. premiere) all take place on college campuses and are free of charge.

Michael Moore has been invited to attend the D.C. premiere.

For more info on This Divided State, the tour, or to RSVP for a screening visit: or

CONTACT INFO: Steven Greenstreet, Producer, 801-830-5145
Michelle Pate, Manager, 801-856-2010
It will be shown in Hanover on April 6.

Moore's a bad filmmaker not because he opposes Bush, but because he refuses to develop sufficiently his ideas onscreen. Suggestion, spectacle, red herrings and cheap shots every which way take the place of argumentation. Suggestion is fine in film (actually very appropriate), but when he grapples with such specific issues, he can't afford to cast off nuance and powers of observation that documentaries can provide. Because the essence of his most recent film is political (it's geared to topple Bush), which is different from a film reflecting on political events, he can't present an incoherent aura of feelings as his evidence. Wolfowitz uses saliva as his Brylcream? Is he implying that Wolfowitz is corrupt or disgusting or narcissistic or stupid? It's unclear. He's not brave enough to connect video images to such concrete interpretations. Don't take it from a conservative, though. Christopher Hitchens and Jean-Luc Godard (a former (?) Trotskyist and a continental radical, respectively) also have critiqued his films, particularly Fahrenheit 9/11.

Women's hockey advances to Frozen Four

The Dartmouth women downed Wisconsin, 4-3, tonight at Thompson Arena in the NCAA Quarterfinals to advance to the Women's Frozen Four being held at the Whittemore Center on the campus of University of New Hampshire in Durham. Dartmouth joins Minnesota, Harvard, and St. Lawrence, who had previously won their quarterfinal matchups.

Dartmouth will face Minnesota in the first semifinal at 5:00 PM on Friday. The Consolation and Championship will take place Sunday afternoon.

Colgate ends men's hockey chances

Though it won't be official until the pairings are announced tomorrow morning, Colgate's victory today over Vermont appears to have killed any chance of Dartmouth making the NCAA tournament for the first time in 25 years by locking up the last at-large spot for the Raiders. Dartmouth instead gets the painful distinction of being the first team left out of the tournament.

An up and down season that was full of great wins (9-8 over UNH & 2-1 (OT) over Harvard especially) but also, and perhaps more importantly, numerous bad losses (Princeton x2, Yale, Quinnipiac) that will leave the team wondering "what if" for a long time. The second Princeton loss in many ways was the killing blow, not because of its affect on the NCAA race but because it cost Dartmouth the first round bye in the ECAC playoffs and forced the team to travel to Vermont rather than vice versa.

They should bounce back next year, however, though they will obviously have to replace some key players, including captain Lee Stempniak and netminder Dan Yacey. The biggest question mark for the second year in a row is whether Hugh Jessiman stays or whether he bolts for the pros.

Indian? Green? Moose? None of the Above

Richard Miller '62 writes us with his thoughts on the Dartmouth mascot:
Since I graduated in 1962 I was a Dartmouth Indian. I can see why real Injuns, er, I mean Native Americans, were outraged to be likened to such vacuous liberal nitwits that have overrun the College, although they would probably be proud to lend their likeness to the writers and readers of The Dartmouth Review.

Their outrage resulted in more recent graduates being Big Greens, whatever they are. Since no real "Big Greens" have ever been found we have been safe from criticism but lack any real institutional image.

I have a suggestion of a realistic institutional image, which will be in keeping with the recent victorious seasons of our football team. I think the members of the group will be proud that we are using them as our symbol. It was always the term used in my day by the Emmets and the Newts, er, I mean Native New Hampshirites and Vermonters, to describe us, so it already has widespread appeal. I nominate as our new institutional symbol:

"The Dartmouth Pinhead"

Richard Miller '62

More Trustee Election Shenanigans

Scott Johnson '73 has posted a letter on Powerline from Dennis DiMuzio '71. DiMuzio describes a recent mailing, "under the auspices of the Office of Alumni Relations," which includes information about only the official slate of four Trustee candidates, and nothing on the two petition candidates.

Hockey NCAA bid possibilities

Dartmouth is fighting Colgate and Vermont for the final at-large bid to the NCAA hockey tournament. It should be noted that all three teams are in the ECAC, and whoever gets it will give the league three bids (along with Cornell and Harvard) for the first time in years.

Here's how it appears to shake out with one day left on the season.

Colgate gets the bid with:
a win or tie (vs. Vermont in ECAC consolation game)

UVM gets the bid with:
a win (vs. Colgate) AND a Quinnipiac win (in the Atlantic Hockey championship) win AND an Alaska-Fairbanks win (in the CCHA consolation game).

Dartmouth gets the bid with:
a Vermont win AND a Mercyhurst win (in the Atlantic Hockey championship),
a Vermont win AND a Michigan St. win or tie (in the CCHA Consolation game).

Friday, March 18, 2005

Dartmouth's Speech Code—Removed?

Two important documents which outlined Dartmouth's speech code have been removed from the College web site:
  • President James Wright's "letter to the Dartmouth community," which declared that students lack "'rights' [which] trump the rights, feelings, and considerations of others." The letter, originally available as a press release and on the Student Life Initiative web page, also explained that "speech has consequences for which we must account."
  • Dean of the College James Larimore's letter, which argued that "the rules and standards of our community" trump the right to "expressive conduct," since to do otherwise would be "corrosive of the very idea of a residential college." His letter was also available as a College press release and on the SLI website, but it is likewise unavailable from either location.
Is this an effort to re-write history? Other releases from May 2001 are still present on the press office website. The letters' removal appears recent, since a search of the Dartmouth website still returns results for both documents. Fortunately, both have been preserved in their entirety by the Internet Archive: Wright's letter; Larimore's letter.

The Review
covered both letters, and their potential consequences for speech on campus, in the issue of May 14, 2001.

Update: Joe Malchow '08 posits that this is a Trustee election gimmick by the administration.

Election Rules Violations — VIII

Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth has modified its website to directly endorse the official College slate for alumni Trustees.
Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth endorse the four Alumni Council-nominated candidates. Based on their records, their achievements and their Dartmouth involvement, we believe these candidates would make the strongest contributions to the Board.

Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth does support the petition process in alumni trustee elections, but in assessing the petition nominees in this election, we find them lacking compared to the other candidates.
In the past, the College-linked group has taken advantage a loophole in the wording of election rules, which seemed to permit campaigning against candidates. The organization is now working directly on behalf of these candidates and the College establishment, even though the Alumni Association's election rules expressly prohibit them from doing so.
Campaigning by the candidate or his/her supporters beyond the two emails is inappropriate . Campaigning is defined as any effort to garner votes and may take the form of written, electronic or telephone communications. It is the responsibility of the candidate to communicate the dignity of the trustee nomination process to his or her supporters and to honor the spirit and the guidelines of the process.
One could actually interpret these regulations to mean that the candidates themselves could be disqualified, though it's probable that the Balloting Committee will again rule in ASD's favor. (Tip: ViTW)

Association Admits Email Foulup

The Alumni Association has re-sent the campaign email from Trustee candidate Todd Zywicki '88, explaining that "there was an error in the original distribution." Many readers noted last weekend that they received an email from "official" candidate Ric Lewis '84 but not from Zywicki, even though both had scheduled such communication.

It is unknown whether the delay of almost a week in re-sending the email could have affected the polling, which lasts roughly six weeks.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Hugh Hewitt on the Trustee Election

Conservative talk show host and blogger Hugh Hewitt has come out in favor of alumni Trustee candidates Peter Robinson '79 and Todd Zywicki '88.
A genuine story in higher education is the campaign by Peter Robinson and one other "outsider" to join Dartmouth's governing board. The first outsider candidate won last year, and if two more win this year, a new model for taking control of higher education back from the PC elites and clubby trustees will emerge. Alums are fed up with nonsense policies and absurdist frauds like Ward Churchill, and if Dartmouth can patiently work its way to a representative board of governors, then other colleges and universities can do so as well through the coordinated actions of alums using the internet to gather themselves into cohesive groups.
He also posts the text of Robinson's email to alumni:
Peter Robinson '79

Dear Fellow Dartmouth Alumna or Alumnus,

I'm running for one of the two seats on the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees that will be filled in the election this spring. If elected, I'll devote myself to three issues: excellence in undergraduate education, freedom of speech on campus, and a restoration of the Dartmouth athletic program. Dartmouth, I believe, must build on its own immense and distinctive strengths—not become a second-rate Harvard or Yale.

On the College's website, I state my position on all three issues. In this email, I'd like to provide a more thorough discussion of the most important of the three, the need to rededicate Dartmouth to excellence in undergraduate education.

President Wright has spoken of Dartmouth as "a research university in all but name." I believe that this view of the College is profoundly mistaken—and that the effort to put it into effect has undermined the institution we all love. Consider a few aspects of life at Dartmouth today:

Trouble in the Classroom

Dartmouth undergraduates should find the faculty accessible, classes of a reasonable size, and even the most popular courses readily available. Yet look at the following:

· Dartmouth now has 13 percent more students for each member of its faculty than does Harvard, 50 percent more than does Yale, and 80 percent more than does Princeton.

· The number of classes of 20 or fewer students at Dartmouth is now 23 percent lower than at Harvard, 25 percent lower than at Yale, and 22 percent lower than at Princeton.

· Many courses are chronically oversubscribed. "[A] nauseating number of students," one undergraduate wrote in The Dartmouth this month, "end up on the waitlist of many social science courses....Seven out of eleven non-senior government courses offered next spring will be at or above their cap, and economics is worse off...." "Many students," another undergraduate wrote this month, "count on being shut out of at least one if not two courses in their own major every term."

The Changing Character of the Faculty

Consider the finest professors of recent decades. I myself think, for example, of professor of history Charles Wood, professor of government Vincent Starzinger, professor of religion Charles Stinson, and professor of English Jeffrey Hart. Each was an accomplished author of books and essays, yet each gloried in the classroom, making it clear through the sheer excellence of his instruction that he viewed teaching as the worthiest of callings.

The faculty today? It's difficult to escape the feeling that many of the finest professors now see their real work not as teaching but as research. For that matter, many courses now are taught not by professors but by non-tenure track instructors. Dartmouth makes such extensive use of adjunct professors, post-doctoral fellows, and other instructors, indeed, that the proportion of the faculty made up of non-tenure track employees now stands at more than one-third.

The Growth of the Bureaucracy

Undergraduates may find themselves forced to accept instruction from non-tenure track faculty or turned away from oversubscribed courses, but the bureaucracy in Hanover is thriving.

The Student Life Initiative, created six years ago, largely, to quote President Wright, to end the Greek system "as we know it," has spawned its own officialdom, an administrative superstructure that has absorbed millions of dollars. And when Dartmouth faced a budget crisis in 2003, what did the administration propose? To cut the swimming and diving programs and to close the Sanborn House library—but to create a new Dean of Pluralism.

Whereas not long ago the number of deans at Dartmouth could have been counted on one hand, today the number of deans has grown to more than 30.

What I Would Do

While maintaining the excellence of its graduate schools, I believe, Dartmouth must strive to provide incomparably the finest undergraduate education in the nation. As a trustee I'd work to ensure that the College reduced its bureaucratic overhead, provided enough courses in the most popular subjects, granted the very highest standing to the very finest teachers, and concentrated resources where they belong—in the classroom.

I'd also work to ensure that the College listened to its alumni.

Alumni and the Governance of the College

When President Wright announced the Student Life Initiative in 1999, according to The Dartmouth, "Wright said both he and the Trustees are prepared to weather the...alumni opposition they expect will result from this decision...." Think about that. Dartmouth alumni are probably the most loyal of any in the country. Yet how does the administration look upon us? As if we were bad weather.

Two years ago, when the administration proposed to eliminate the varsity swimming and diving teams, it ultimately reversed itself, reinstating the teams. Why? Because of the alumni, who protested the move—and then proved generous enough to keep the swimming and diving program alive. Recently the administration has taken a sudden interest in the entire athletic program. Why? Once again, because of the alumni.

Watching a decade-long slump—from 1995 to 2005 the Dartmouth athletic program slid from second to sixth place in the Ivy League, and fell, in ten out of 30 sports, to second-to-last or last place—the alumni grew exasperated. Then, when they learned of the Furstenberg affair—in a 2000 letter that became public last November, Dartmouth Dean of Admissions Karl Furstenberg congratulated the president of Swarthmore on abolishing the Swarthmore football program, asserting that "[F] antithetical to the academic mission of colleges such as ours"—the alumni grew incensed. The result? The administration has at last taken steps to improve the athletic program, the most hopeful of which was hiring Buddy Teevens '79 to return to Hanover as head football coach.

The swim team scandal, the Furstenberg affair—more must still be done to restore Dartmouth athletics, but in both instances the involvement of the alumni produced a result that was good for the College.

The administration often suggests that we alumni must not presume to know what is best for Dartmouth. Since many of us graduated, we are told, the world has changed dramatically.

It has indeed.

· In nations around the globe, we have witnessed the change from central, authoritarian control to democracy.

· In business, we have witnessed the change from pyramid-shaped enterprises to enterprises with organization charts that are nearly flat.

· In communications, we have witnessed the change from a tight control of information by elites, intent upon enhancing their power, to the free and utterly effortless exchange of ideas that new information technologies have made possible.

· In government at all levels, we have witnessed the change from an arrogant belief in social engineering to a renewed appreciation of the enduring values of our civilization, including freedom of speech and respect for the views of each individual.

What do these changes suggest? That, just as people everywhere have begun to help direct the institutions that matter to them, we alumni should become more involved in the governance of the College, not less.

Trustee T. J. Rodgers '70, elected as a petition candidate last year, has already shown how a determined member of the Board can begin to open up Dartmouth governance. I'd help T. J. Rodgers continue that vital effort in every way I could.

My Pledge

As a trustee, I'd represent my fellow alumni by supporting Dartmouth without reserve—and by working to build on the College's strengths, not attempting to remake it.

I grew up in a small town in upstate New York, the son of a man who had never attended college, and my four years at Dartmouth transformed me. They opened my mind, introduced me to classmates who to this day remain among my closest friends, and enabled me to study with professors whose scholarship and excellence in the classroom I have never seen equaled. I'd welcome the opportunity to give something back to the College—and, if my views reflect your own, I'd be honored to have your vote.

Peter Robinson '79
The petition candidates have, if nothing else, managed to generate a lot of publicity.