Monday, April 30, 2007

Andrew Seal is a Winner

I'm not quite sure what this entails, but apparently it's newsworthy:

>Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 11:17:10 -0400 (EDT)
>From: Darsie.Riccio@Dartmouth.EDU
>To: [redacted]
>Subject: English major survey winner!

Dear students:

Thanks to all who completed the survey of English majors. The English Department faculty appreciate your help.

The winner of the $100 gift certificate is Andrew Seal. Congrats, Andrew!


Become a SAPA, or Else?

This could possibly just be hearsay: I have it from an anonymous source that there may be big changes in store for the Greeks next year. In an effort to recover from an underwhelming year at the helm of Student Assembly, President Andreadis is pushing for new rules to govern all of next year's pledges. According to my source there is a tentative plan to require all of next year's pledges to undergo Sexual Abuse Peer Advisors (SAPA) training.

If true, it is more or less de facto recognition by Andreadis that he has utterly failed in the one goal he set for himself: making the campus safer for women. In booting the solution on down to his successor, he is taking a page out of Dean Nelson's book.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Dartmouth Wins Ethics Competition

Congratulations to the Dartmouth Ethics Society for placing first in the National Intercollegiate Business Ethics Competition. The event was held at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles on April 20th and 21st, and it played host to 36 colleges and universities from both undergraduate and graduate schools across North America. Among the many schools present were The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, The United States Naval Academy, New York University, McGill University.

The Dartmouth Ethical Society addressed the Hewlett-Packard pretexting scandal that hit the pages of the Wall Street Journal this last February. They focused on the unethical nature of the pretexting scandal from three angles: first, by distinguishing between the spirit of the law (which is grounded in ethics) and the letter of the law (which is grounded in experience and history), second by discussing the privacy violations, and, finally, by assessing the ethics of corporate leadership. An awards banquet was held after each group presented, and Dartmouth was announced as the champion of the National Intercollegiate Business Ethics Competition.

In an aside, TDR editor G. Emily Ghods-Esfahani is a member of the winning Dartmouth team.

Friday, April 27, 2007

2nd Amendment Under Fire

More absurdity on the opinion page of The Daily D. Today's lowpoint was written by Zachary Hyatt ‘09. In his piece, Mr. Hyatt takes aim at the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, albeit by a rather circuitous route. Aparently unable to fill up space in the article with germane information or arguments, he spends a considerable amount of type relating the plat to a Camus story—reminiscent of a D├╝rrenmatt play called Der Besuch der alten Dame (The old Lady's Visit). What this story had to do with gun control, much less the Second Amendment is unclear. Mr. Hyatt vaguely tries to insinuate that we should all feel partly responsible for the tragedy at Virginia Tech because we 'allowed' the killer to buy a gun. To be fair, the Camus story appeared to have something to do with guilt, but the connection between the story and the recent tragedy is tenuous at best.

Mr. Hyatt's real argument can be summed up thus: "
No militias needed, no arms needed. No militias, no right to bear arms. . . . A strict constructionist method leads us to a progressive conclusion." Yes, but it would also do-away with the "emanating penumbras" that protect privacy, i.e. abortion.

My point is this. If one wants to make a serious argument, do it. Just don't dress it up in an allegory hardly fit for a Comp-Lit paper.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Laundering in the Connecticut

Sustainable Dartmouth sent out a petition today, gauging support for a "Sustainable Living Center". The petition reads as follows:

This is a survey to estimate student support and interest in a Sustainable Living Center.

The Residential Life Philosophy states that "residential communities are designed to provide a variety of learning opportunities that promote the academic endeavors of students and encourage the growth and development of our students." In the interest of providing a residential option that would include:
--living in an environmentally-conscious community,
--setting an example for living a low-impact, low-energy, sustainable lifestyle,
--the use of environmentally-friendly appliances and products,
--providing education and resources on practical green living,

I would support the design and creation of a Sustainable Living Center for Dartmouth College.

Whether the Living Center would be implemented as soon as next year remains unclear. I, for one, am hoping for the petition's success: the College could rent out tents along the Connecticut for $1,000 a term, giving these eco-crunchies quick and easy access to a daily bath.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

15 Greeks and a DAPA

John McCardell, former President of Middlebury College, visited campus yesterday. The Daily D reports that McCardell met with fifteen Greek leaders and one Drug and Alcohol Peer Advisor to discuss his support for changing the current drinking age—something he has called, “bad social policy and terrible law.”

McCardell's ideas are interesting, even when somewhat flawed. He suggest lowering the age to 18 from 21. A person would, however, upon turning 18, need to pass a test (much like a driver's test) before he could drink. This novel idea is intriguing but ultimately ineffectual: The entire freshman class had to pass an alcohol awareness test to come here. Those on campus can judge for themselves the effectiveness of that test.

Also problematic was an advisor of McCardell's assertion that "a drinking age of 18 allows one’s family to play a role in teaching drinking responsibility, as opposed to a drinking age of 21, when students are generally living away from their homes." Yes, that whole month or two of legal drinking at home will sure set Johnny straight before he gets to college.

I don't mean to dismiss this point lightly, for I believe they are on the right track. In order to fully inculcate the youngster, however, it would be better to lower the legal age to 16, with maybe hard alcohol at 18 (this is Switzerland's approach). Another option may be to make the legal drinking age 18 when outside of the home, but to allow parents to teach their children safely and legally about alcohol when at home.

All of this, is to say that Mr McCardell will need to tighten a few screws on his campaign before it can withstand the pressure that MADD is sure to bring to bear.

MacGovern Appeal is Dismissed

John MacGovern's appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court was dismissed on April 18, less than a month after the justices heard the case. The case involved an Association of Alumni decision not to allow proxy votes in the election of their Executive Committee. A full history of the case can be found here.

The order stated that "the petitioner's allegations fail to 'meet the threshold necessary to intrude upon the association's internal affairs.'" The decision was unanimous amongst the four justices, Chief Justice Broderick having disqualified himself from the case. The Court's decision to dismiss the lawsuit upheld a lower court's decision from August of 2006.

Though ostensibly a blow to more open governance, the case had ceased to be practical once all-media voting was introduced into the Association's elections. In that light, we can be glad that the Court decided to keep its nose out of the private sphere and can only hope it will decide to do so more often.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

With Respect to Free Speech

In perhaps one of the oddest op-eds I've come across in The Daily D this year, Danielle Strollo '07 struggles impressively to defend the indefensible: Political Correctness. The event that sparked Miss Strollo's outrage? The campus-wide recognized absurdity of a blitz sent out by Sustainable Dartmouth apologizing for an earlier blitz, in which they had written this:

/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*CARRY YOUR TRASH WEEK 2007*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\

because there is no 'away'...

Lug your garbage around with you for a week wearing a free, ecostylish, supersexy "Ask me Why" tee (they're made by American Apparrel [sic], so you'll know you'll look your best and be your most guilt-free)

We'll all congregate on the Green on Earth Day (Sunday, April 22) to weigh our individual trash bags, make a big pile, take pictures, sunbathe, have a drum circle, smoke lots of pot...okay, maybe not the last two or three.

***Come to Robo 108 tomorrow b/t 2:00pm and 10:00pm

Looking forward to seeing your garbage next week!

\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*\*CARRY YOUR TRASH WEEK 2007*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/

The apology that followed can be viewed in our Week in Review section. Suffice it to say, however, that Mr. King (the author of the original blitz) 'was made to see the light of day', and issued what can only be characterized as the most spineless retraction ever conceived. If you are confused about why the original blitz was "disrespectful" then you forgot that at Dartmouth only Natives are allowed to form drum circles. Woe to he who believes otherwise.

This brings us back to Miss Strollo. I'll move past the fact that she (despite her protestations) compares the above blitz with the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech, and just briefly note that her argument is quite neatly countered by Nick Desai's editorial in the most recent issue of The Dartmouth Review. Miss Strollo wants to cast political correctness as respect; she would, I fear, favor curbing any speech that hurts anyone. The problem with this position is too clear to alight on. Yes, we will all make an effort to be polite, but we needn't shy away from an argument if we fear we will hurt someones feelings.

UPDATE 4/28/07:The DFP has just published an actually rather lucid editorial on this subject. I will link to it as soon as it is put on their website.

UPDATE 5/4/07: Here it is.

Conservative Heavyweights Weigh In

Two of the most well known conservative syndicated columnists in the country have weighed in on the Trustee Election. First, on April 6, George F. Will, of the Washington Post, endorsed Sandy Alderson. The endorsement is somewhat convoluted, but it boils down to Mr. Alderson's proven track record of "constantly refreshed thinking" concerning venerable institutions, i.e. Major League Baseball. He would, so the argument goes, apply this same spirit to the Board of Trustees.

Four days later on April 10, William F. Buckley Jr., founder and editor-at-large of National Review, responded with an endorsement of Stephen Smith—the article is reprinted in the newest edition of The Dartmouth Review. The venerable Mr. Buckley sets Smith's campaign into the wider context of the past few Trustee Elections:

Smith’s candidacy is backed by members of the Dartmouth community who several years ago resolved to observe closely the development of their college, and to protest trends deemed inimical to its welfare. One of these is the expansion of the administration, which in the last ten years has grown much faster than the Dartmouth faculty. Professor Smith believes that Dartmouth should work diligently to renew its traditional commitment to having students taught in small classes by energetic and learned professors.

Mr. Smith, he argues, would further aid the petition trustees already on the Board, in preserving Dartmouth's old traditions. Mr. Buckley's interest in the school, while flattering, is anything but new; however, many speculate that Mr. Will's new-found interest has more to do with personal allegiances and baseball than with the welfare of the College.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Expanding Gender Neutrality

Today's Daily D reports yet again upon next year's pilot Gender Neutral Housing program. In the article, it is alluded that the program was originally to be confined to the first floor of the new McLane dorm, but in a turn of events there will be Gender Neutral Housing rooms beyond this "programming floor" in several other locations, including: Thomas Hall, East Wheelock, the Fahey-McLane residential cluster, and the Maxwell and Channing Cox apartments. Says director of Undergraduate Housing, Rachel Class-Giguere, “Why not have options for people who don’t want to be part of a pilot program floor, for whom this is just about a roommate choice? Or, if gender identity is at play, maybe students don’t want to identify with a programming floor" (emphasis mine).

One foreseen problem with spreading these rooms throughout the campus is the difficulty of filling vacancies in the rooms when a roommate (or roommates) leaves for an off-term. For Class-Giguere, however, these concerns are trumped by the inherent advantages in the Gender Neutral Housing Program: “This plan makes sense, particularly for individuals whose biological sex and gender identity don’t correspond. We don’t want people staring and wondering ‘what bathroom are you using?’” No, we certainly wouldn't.

Amongst other odd offspring from these politically correct pairings, one question in particular stands out: What is a gender neutral single?