Friday, November 30, 2007

Are the Ivies Exploitive?

Business Week published an interesting article today about the effect of 'Ivy plus' schools on public universities and on higher education in general.

The Ivies cannot fairly be blamed for public education's financial predicament, but they certainly are exploiting it. Even the most prestigious of public universities are increasingly hard-pressed to repulse richly financed Ivy Plus raiding sorties seeking to steal distinguished faculty members and their research grants. Public schools are being drained for the benefit of the ultra-elite, says Robert J. Birgeneau, chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley. "The further you project into the future, the more frightening it becomes."

Boguslavsky Polls College Republicans

The Union Leader reports that TDR senior editor Greg Boguslavsky polled students in New Hampshire on their primary preferences:

--The chairman of the New Hampshire College Republicans, Dartmouth College junior Gregory Boguslavsky, recently polled the candidate preference of 300 GOP students and found that McCain edged Rudy Giuliani, 25.6 to 22.2 percent, with Ron Paul a close third at 21.1 percent. Mitt Romney placed fourth at 12.2 percent.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Super Dartmouth Opines

David Nachman '09 has some further thoughts concerning Zywicki and the issue of petition trustees as a whole:

1. I believe that the presence of the petition trustees is ultimately beneficial to Dartmouth. I like Dartmouth's administration and I think they do a very good job. I've worked with some of the top administrators and they always seem on top of their game and the sort of people we want leading Dartmouth. But even the best administrators need good oversight, because people are human and they make decisions that are not always the best. And the stakes here are very high - one of the most prestigious academic institutions. I don't have great confidence in the oversight capabilities of the Board of Trustees because I believe they are overly willing to follow the administration's lead. By comparison, the election of the petition trustees put increased pressure on the administration, and their presence on the Board has led and will continue to lead to increased oversight. I think this is a good thing and will benefit Dartmouth in the long run.

The whole post.

UPDATE: Valley News roundup.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Update on Sexual Assault at the Top of the Hop

This was just blitzed out to the campus in response to this earlier blitz.

>Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 15:41:45 -0500 (EST)
>From: Harry.C.Kinne@Dartmouth.EDU
>To: dartmouth-announce@locum.dartmouth.edu
>Subject: Safety and Security Update
>Sender: massmail-sender@locum.dartmouth.edu
>Precedence: bulk

On November 14, 2007, I informed you that Safety and Security and Hanover Police had responded the night before to a report of a sexual assault in a bathroom near the Top of the Hop. The Police have informed us that an incident did not occur at the Hop or on campus and did not involve anyone from the College community. The police continue to investigate.

Harry Kinne
Dartmouth College
Director of Safety and Security


Question: How does it take two weeks for the police to realize that they were not, in fact, where they said they were?

First-Year Seminars: Professorial Dumping Ground

Here at Dartmouth freshman undergo the first year writing program to 'bring their writing up to par.' This includes Writing 5 for some and a First-Year Seminar for all. So what is the administration's attitude toward this latter program? Here's the official version:

The First-Year Seminar Program serves four purposes. First, by means of a uniform writing requirement, the seminar stresses the importance of written expression in all disciplines. Second, it provides an attractive and exciting supplement to the usual introductory survey. Third, it guarantees each first-year student at least one small course. Fourth, the program engages each first-year student in the research process, offering an early experience of the scholarhip that fuels Dartmouth's upper-level courses.

Why then, if this program is so important, would the administration recommend dumping problem professors into these classes? From today's Daily D:

She was then informed that she did not fit in with the “culture” of the department and that if she stayed on, she faced assignment to first-year seminar theater classes.

I should note that some really excellent professors teach First-Year Seminars; nonetheless, the majority seem to be on par with Sabinson—especially those who teach the Writing 5 classes.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Blitz on the way out?

Inside Higher Ed reports that the College is looking into outsourcing campus e-mail to either Google or Microsoft.

Dartmouth students still rely on BlitzMail today, downloading their messages with a traditional Windows- or Mac-based client. But nearly 10 years later, even David L. Bucciero, the director of technical services, calls the service “archaic.” It lacks some of the “bells and whistles,” he said, that most students take for granted with the personal Web-based e-mail accounts they take with them to college. Such features might include the ability to view and compose messages in HTML, which allows the customization of fonts and colors, or virtually unlimited storage space.

Those inadequacies — combined with occasional downtime — explain why Dartmouth might go back to the drawing board. And in rethinking its e-mail strategy, officials there will confront similar issues as many other colleges and universities in a time of rapid shifts in messaging habits and in the economics of Internet applications. Bucciero and a planned study group will soon consider whether it’s worthwhile to continue maintaining BlitzMail, or whether Dartmouth should consider for e-mail what colleges routinely do for many other basic operational functions: outsource it.

In the world of e-mail, outsourcing means two things: Google or Microsoft. Both have been marketing Web-based messaging services to small businesses, nonprofits and other groups, and they’ve focused more intensely on the higher education market over the past year.

[. . .]

The availability of viable options outside of the university IT department has forced administrators to consider the consequences of abandoning their in-house e-mail systems. Does it make financial sense to keep spending resources on aging proprietary software when it’s available on the Web? Do colleges’ services still offer advantages over those reflexively preferred by students? And in offloading a primary function of the campus information technology infrastructure, what role would remain for administrators who previously oversaw e-mail services?


When NetBlitz went off-line wasn't the College's argument that they didn't want non-Dartmouth personnel servicing Dartmouth's e-mail system. "Improving security has been a focus," said Bucciero at that time.

Andrew Sullivan on Obama

There is a fairly intelligent piece by Andrew Sullivan in the current issue of the Atlantic about Barack Obama. A thought-provoking excerpt:

Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Fallout from Zywicki's Speech

The Daily Dartmouth reports on possible fallout from Trustee Todd Zywicki's '88 Oct. 27th remarks before the John Locke Foundation. Zywicki defended his criticism of President Freedman, noting that it was in line with the views of both William F. Buckley Jr. and Professor Emeritus Jeffrey Hart. He did, however, rescind his assertion that the rest of the board believed in neither God nor country, saying he did not mean for that remark to be taken literally.

Chairman of the Board Ed Haldeman '70 has said only that Zywicki's 'behavior' may be an item for the whole board's consideration. The underlying issue at stake seems to be disagreement over the desirability of the direction in which Freedman led the College.

UPDATE: David Nachman has more over at Super Dartmouth.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

'Islamofascism.'

One of my favorite writers on politics, Daniel Larison, has given the term 'Islamofascism' the pummeling it deserves in the latest American Conservative, one of the few anti-war organs of the American Right.
As Marxists once used the term “fascist” to vilify everyone to their right as a means of wielding influence, Horowitz and his allies use “Islamofascist” to group together the many regimes and groups they wish to cast as a cohesive, united enemy, conflating mutually hostile forces into a single, undifferentiated mass.

[snip]

The proper use of names and words is essential to rational argument, and the proliferation of nonsense terms and thought-policing labels is fatal. Use of propagandistic terms like “Islamofascism” and “Islamophobia” is an attempt to wield power through confusion and intimidation: they aim to mislead about the nature of our actual enemies on the one hand and invent new heresies against “tolerance” on the other. The debasement and cheapening of language are assaults on the quality of thought and discourse, and they are intended to prevent the proper, sober understanding of the realities of the Islamic world and our policies overseas.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Kathy Slattery Phillips, 1952-2007

Dartmouth's athletic dept. suffered a terrible loss yesterday when Kathy Slattery Phillips, my former boss and the head SID at Dartmouth for the past 24 years, passed away due to massive brain aneurysm that ruptured.

She was also an avid golfer, winning 22 Hanover Country Club women's championships and 1988 New Hampshire state women's championship.

A memorial service will be held in Rollins Chapel at Dartmouth College on Friday, November 30, at 11 a.m. A reception will follow at Hopkins Center on the Dartmouth campus. Donations may be made to the Kathy and Corey Phillips Family Fund, to benefit Kathy's young stepchildren, care of Mascoma Savings Bank, 67 North Park St., Lebanon, N.H. 03766.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Difficulties in Hiring Professors

The D published a pretty interesting and worthwhile article today about the long, arduous process of hiring tenure-track professors in the two most popular and notoriously oversubscribed departments, government and economics. It also features an amusing quote from government professor John Carey:
Some academics are reluctant to live far from a major city, while others may be concerned by the lack of a viable job market for their spouses, said government professor John Carey, whose wife, Lisa Baldez, is also a professor in the department.

“The spouse-partner thing is the real challenge,” Carey said. “If you find someone who’s sort of a lumberjack that works, but there just aren’t that many professors who are married to lumberjacks.”

Computer Services: Competition? No Thanks.


This story keeps getting more interesting. About a week ago, the College was updating their servers, and in the process of doing that NetBlitz experienced an outage. NetBlitz was created by David Marmaros ‘01, who now works for Google while working on a masters in computer science at Stanford. Previously, whenever their had been outages the College had let Marmaros log into the server and get NetBlitz up and running again.

Here's the catch. This time they didn't. Apparently, Marmaros' ability to log in had been suspended by Computer Services.

Marmaros said that he asked Computer Services to restore his access, but that the request was denied. Instead, he has installed NetBlitz on additional servers.

“I wanted to set up something for people to use in the interim,” he said.

One copy of NetBlitz, Marmaros said, is currently active on a Stanford server that he has access to as a part-time student in the university’s computer science master’s degree program. Another copy was installed by a system administrator on a server owned by the Dartmouth Institute for Security Technology Studies, according to Marmaros. The version of NetBlitz running on ISTS servers has since been removed.


David Bucciero, director of Technical Services, is stonewalling attempts to get NetBlitz running on a Dartmouth server again. On top of that, John Gaythorpe, director of Systems Services, has said, "We’d rather see it go away because there’s already Webmail and WebBlitz."

So what's going on? Blitz them and ask.

N.B. Here is the address of the Stanford server: http://www.stanford.edu/~marmaros/cgi-bin/Bl.cgi

Monday, November 19, 2007

It's a Feast: New TDR Issue

The Menu:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Exclusive TDR Interview with State Representative Mooney

The most recent edition of The Dartmouth Review is done being put together and will appear online soon. Inside the new issue I interview NH state representative Maureen Mooney who is sponsoring a bill that would repeal the 2003 law that gave the College complete control of its charter (save for the governor serving in an ex officio capacity).

During the interview Rep. Mooney made the surprising claim that, if passed, her bill would not affect the College in the least. Below is a key excerpt from that interview.

TDR: Okay. As of right now, are you hopeful or optimistic about the chances of your bill?

Mooney: Yeah, I think it has a pretty good shot. Clearly, this is an issue that needs to be taken up, and it’s caused a tremendous stir, it’s gotten a tremendous amount of press, which surprises me, really. This is my third term in the House; I’ve put in probably close to a hundred bills maybe at this point or cosponsored them, and for a one-liner—that’s really all my bill is is a one-liner—it’s caused a tremendous amount of stir. Hearing Dave Hess’s take on it, I think that gives the bill tremendous promise, but we’ll see, you know? It’s like that with any bill, you just really don’t know, you don’t know what committee it’s going to go to, you don’t know what the committee is going to think about it. The issue is complex, there’s no question about it. It takes time to understand it, and its history, you know, goes pretty far back, so we’ll see. It’s hard to see in the House what happens.

TDR: Along those lines, along history, many believe that the 2003 law—the law that your law would repeal—

Mooney: Correct.

TDR: —simply codified the Dartmouth College v. Woodward Supreme Court case. Is that your understanding?

Mooney: Well it’s a good question. It could be, yes it could be, and from the conversations I’ve had, and as you can imagine, there’s been quite a few conversations, I didn’t just come up with this idea on my own, the timing of it seems odd. Let’s face it. I mean, the Dartmouth v. Woodward case came down in 1819, and now we have it being possibly codified in 2003—the timing seems a little funny.

TDR: If your bill does in fact become law and it’s challenged, as it most likely will be, do you have concerns about the constitutionality of it?

Mooney: I don’t, and that goes back to you know the research I’ve done on this and so forth, and the conversations that I’ve had. Dartmouth and New Hampshire have had a very interesting and a very unique relationship. Yes—in 1819, a Supreme Court decision said they could amend their own charter. Fine and dandy. But you saw, and I emailed you, some session laws—

TDR: Right.

Mooney: One passed in 1893, one passed in 1921, 1961, and 1967. All four were bills brought by legislators that became law that some form or another amended the Dartmouth charter. Now my question is, why? Why did that happen four times? Nobody can give me an answer. People have asked me, I say I don’t know, I’m looking for the same answer. The closest answer I’ve been given by somebody fairly close to Dartmouth is that it’s a “belt and suspenders” approach, whereby Dartmouth doesn’t have to ask the state for permission, but that’s just tradition, it’s just historic value, sort of like a courtesy thing for the long and expansive history that Dartmouth and New Hampshire have had together. So, that brings us to 2003. And then it further brings us to my bill. People—I’ve been reading editorials and so forth—are accusing my bill of bringing the relationship of Dartmouth and New Hampshire back to the year 1818, and that’s false. My bill would bring the Dartmouth/New Hampshire relationship back to the year 2002, just as it was before. If Dartmouth wants to come and ask permission, by all means. If they don’t, I don’t see anything that would prevent them from having to come forward asking the state’s permission to do anything. That’s all my bill does.

TDR: So along those lines, if the College doesn’t come and ask for permission, would you or any other legislators take any action?

Mooney: No, absolutely not.

TDR: So I guess the question is, what is the purpose of your bill?

Mooney: It’s to preserve the historic and traditional relationship that Dartmouth has had with the State of New Hampshire up until 2003, and some alums find that relationship—they cherish that relationship and want it to go back to that—and whether it has anything to do with the recent governance committee’s actions, I just don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe it is just a coincidence, I don’t know, it seems awfully funny—but bottom line is, there’s a significant group of alums out there who felt a lot more comfortable with the traditional Dartmouth.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Studying Abroad, Dartmouth Tops the Ivy League

A news release from the College announced that "Dartmouth ranks third in the nation among doctoral degree granting institutions in undergraduate study abroad participation." The study noted that 60.9% of Dartmouth students studied abroad, behind only Yeshiva University at 75.1% and the University of Denver at 62.8%. Only two other Ivy League schools made the top forty: Princeton (34th) and Harvard (40th)

The information comes from the Institute of International Education's annual "Open Doors" study. When compared with liberal arts colleges, however, Dartmouth's place is decidedly sub-par, being tied for 40th place.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Who's Like Hugo Chavez? Answer: The Majority of the Board

Talk has been circulating about a presentation Todd Zywicki '88 gave earlier this fall at an event sponsored by the John Locke Foundation. The video can be downloaded here; Zywicki starts speaking about sixteen and a half minutes into it. Within he compares the majority of the Board to Hugo Chavez and the Empire (à la Star Wars). He also claims they are people "who don't believe in God, who don't believe in country." More quips upon viewing.

Hanover High Student Convicted

...and the judge tells him to look up 'lemming' in the dictionary.

Remembering Ben Lolies '09

His trip leader remembers a gifted young athlete who was cursed with Crohn's disease.

"Guantanamo-like or quasi-gulag situations"

Lots of jail news in today's D, and also one of the most absurd statements from a professor I've heard in a while:

When discussing the immigration violation that resulted in a Dartmouth coach's fiance being jailed for 28 days, former Dartmouth prof Weyman Lundquist said, "If Homeland Security keeps putting these immigrants into those almost Guantanamo-like or quasi-gulag situations, they will send back home millions of immigrants who will from then on absolutely hate America."

Jesus Christ. Honestly, the immigration mix-up and subsequent jailtime must have been absolutely horrible for Ms. Vinnikova. But comparing time in a state correctional facility for violating terms of a visa to labor camps in which 3 million people died is shocking, ridiculous, and in very poor taste.

Headline of the Day

"New course features prison trips"

I kid you not.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NetBlitz Lives

Spread the word to your friends off campus. Despite the College's subtle hostility towards NetBlitz, the service continues to be available. Reset your bookmarks to the following:

http://www.stanford.edu/~marmaros/cgi-bin/Bl.cgi

Yet Another Public Service Announcement

>Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2007 16:12:53 -0500 (EST)
>From: Daniel.M.Nelson@Dartmouth.EDU
>To: all-students-announce@locum.dartmouth.edu
>Subject: Dick's House/Safety & Security Alert
>Cc: Mark.H.Reed@Dartmouth.EDU, Katherine.P.Burke@Dartmouth.EDU, John.H.Turco@Dartmouth.EDU, Mark.H.Reed@Dartmouth.EDU, Daniel.M.Nelson@Dartmouth.EDU
>Reply-To: Safety.and.Security@Dartmouth.EDU
>Sender: massmail-sender@locum.dartmouth.edu
>Precedence: bulk


Dick's House/Safety & Security Alert

We write to alert the student community that several undergraduates have described recent experiences of unexplained memory loss while attending parties across campus. Although there is no substantiated evidence linking these individuals or their experiences, the fact that several people believe they may have experienced similar situations involving drinking, social parties and significant loss of memory is of great concern. Like any other college, Dartmouth is not immune to the possibility that rohypnol, ketamine, GHB and related drugs could be present on campus.

These drugs, sometimes referred to as "date rape" or "predatory" drugs, can be easily slipped into drinks and are colorless and tasteless. The use of these drugs is very difficult to document as they are only detectable in the body for 4-12 hours after they are ingested and the victim is generally heavily sedated or asleep during that time. By the time a person seeks medical help and has testing done the drug is usually out of their system and undetectable.

While we don't have a currently documented positive lab test for GHB or rohypnol, we do have reports of a few students who were suspiciously incapacitated. Since it is possible that these substances are currently being surreptitiously used on campus we feel it is very important to review steps that students can take to protect themselves and their friends:

* only drink from containers you open yourself
* don't leave your drinks unattended
* avoid drinking from "punches" or common sources where you can't be sure what is in them
* be very careful with mixed drinks
* do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach or when taking prescription or over the counter medications
* if you suddenly feel very intoxicated (or more intoxicated than you would expect), tell someone and get help (call Safety and Security at 646-4000, or come to Dick's House). Let the medical staff know of your concerns so you can be tested for the presence of a "date rape" drug
* look out for your friends
* watch their drinks
* make plans to go out together and go home together (don't leave your friends behind at a party)
* if you are worried about a friend (they seem very drunk or more impaired than you would expect) get them help -call Safety and Security at 646-4000
* if you witness suspicious behavior (ie. witness something being put in a drink, the drink has an odd taste, see powder remnants in a drink, hear conversation about "spiking a drink") let someone know (call Safety and Security)

Other important resources on campus include Community Directors in the residence halls, peer health educators, and Xenia Markowitt and Megan Fallon of the Center for Women and Gender. Xenia and/or Megan are available to meet with students who have questions about sexual assault related issues. You can reach them at 646-3456. Sexual Assault Peer Advisors (SAPAs) are also great resources for any student who has a question or concern related to sexual assault. You can reach a SAPA by blitzing SAPA. Additional information about these drugs and prevention ideas can be found at http://www.4women.gov/faq/rohypnol.htm#6.

Please contact Dick's House, Safety and Security or any of these campus resources if you have questions or concerns.

Harry Kinne, Director of Safety & Security
Jack Turco, Director, College Health Service
Mark Reed, Director, Counseling & Health Resources

Columbia President Criticized for his Criticisms

This doesn't deal directly with Dartmouth, but it does illustrate the ridiculousness of the world of higher education: Over 100 faculty members at Columbia University have signed a document criticizing President Lee Bollinger for, among other things, his negative remarks about Mahmoud Ahmedinejad when introducing him as a speaker at Columbia. Apparently, saying anything even remotely disparaging about a man who's expressed the desire to see Israel "wiped off the map" is simply offensive pandering to evil conservatives.

Trustee Q&A Video

Courtesy of Joe Malchow:



Part two:

Public Service Announcement

>Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2007 10:21:15 -0500 (EST)
>From: Harry.C.Kinne@Dartmouth.EDU
>To: dartmouth-announce@locum.dartmouth.edu
>Subject: Safety and Security Alert
>Sender: massmail-sender@locum.dartmouth.edu
>Precedence: bulk

Safety and Security Alert
In an effort to keep the Dartmouth community updated, and consistent with federal law requiring educational institutions to make timely reports of certain crimes, we are writing to notify the community that at approximately 9:30 pm on November 13, 2007, a woman who is not affiliated with the College reported to Hanover Police that she had been sexually assaulted by an unknown male in a bathroom near the Top of the Hop. Hanover Police and Dartmouth College Safety and Security responded to the scene.

We emphasize that at this time the information available to the College concerning the incident is incomplete and Hanover Police are continuing to investigate. In the interest of safety, however, we are writing to notify the community.

Anyone who may have information about this incident should contact the Hanover Police at 643-2222 or Dartmouth College Safety and Security at 646-4000.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Purple Hart at Dartmouth

ABC news profiles Brendan Hart '10, a retired marine.

Wright Lowest Paid Pres. in the Ivy League

President Wright has smallest salary in the Ivy League. Story here.

Hunger Banquet

Dartmouth is having a field day today with progressive-themed dining options. I just got this blitz from Dartmouth Ends Hunger:
Low on DBA? Interested in world poverty? Come to a FREE, interactive dinner like no other....

*******************
HUNGER BANQUET
6PM Tonight
Brace Commons (in East Wheelock)
*******************
featuring keynote speaker Keith McHenry of Food Not Bombs

WHAT IS A HUNGER BANQUET??
Those dining will be seated and served according to a wealth class representative of the world's wealth and food distribution. The event will be emceed by Professor John Rassias and will feature Keith MeHenry of Food Not Bombs.

FREE AND OPEN TO ALL STUDENTS

*Canned food donations welcome to benefit the Upper Valley Haven.

While awareness of world hunger, an appearance by star professor John Rassias, and food donations to a local family shelter are all very well and good, the blitz raises a few interesting questions:

1) Can we change the name of Dartmouth Ends Hunger to something like Dartmouth Mitigates Hunger? I know it's not as catchy, but it's pretty presumptuous to think 4,000 students in Hanover, NH can end world hunger.

2) What on earth is served at a hunger banquet? Last year, attendees were randomly assigned to eat a regular dinner, no dinner, or a rice-and-beans dinner, presumably to raise awareness of inequality in food distribution, but I don't know if they're doing that this year again.

Monday, November 12, 2007

In Defense of Poor Taste, Part Two

Dartmouth Professor Mary Coffey has joined Provost Scherr in defending Wenda Gu's late installation in Baker Library:

What does it mean that the critique of Wenda Gu’s work rests upon a series of Romantic myths about art and the artist: that art transcends the market, that the artist is a moral visionary who eschews materialist concerns, and that the artist determines the meaning of his or her work? This Romantic appeal, while noble in its idealism, also suggests an unreflexive innocence that not only obfuscates ethical political action, but also sustains the very forms of exploitation it seeks to unmask. In what follows I interrogate our Romantic attachment to art’s transcendence and ask what interests does it serve?

Read on.

Hollander Finishes his Commedia

Robert Hollander, a Princeton professor who has intermittently taught courses at Dartmouth, has just published his translation of Paradiso, bringing to an end his translation of Dante's The Divine Comedy. The NYTimes' review is here.

Hollander is also notable as the founder and director of the the Dartmouth Dante Project, a searchable database of over 70 commentaries on Dante. Check it out.

Senior Petition Trustees Left Out of Leadership Positions

From the Daily D:

“It is our expectation that the new committees of academic affairs, alumni relations and student affairs will allow the board to get closer and have more touch points with three of our most important constituencies,” Haldeman said. “We felt these committees would allow more frequent and better interaction and communication between the board and those specific constituencies.”

It is notable, however, that none of the three announced committees is chaired by a trustee who was elected to the board as a petition candidate.

In addition, none of the former petition candidates chair any committee or serve on the governance committee, the sub-group which was responsible for recommending the recent controversial changes to the board’s structure.

“We have been assured that there is an open process of making committee assignments, and alumni have expressed the opinion to me that they find that hard to believe if none of us, even senior petition trustees, are put in positions of authority,” Stephen Smith ‘88, who was nominated by petition, said. “I take Chairman Haldeman at his word: I am junior, I am just learning the ropes, but eventually, I would hope that if I work hard and earn the confidence of my colleagues, that as a trustee elected by petition I will have the opportunity to head up a committee or serve on the governance committee.”

While Haldeman was not available to comment on the committee assignment process following The Dartmouth’s interview with Smith, Roland Adams, a spokesperson for the College, said in an e-mail that “the Board’s committee assignments are made at the September retreat and are generally based on expertise and seniority.”

According to the board’s website, two trustees elected to the board in the same year or after the former petition candidates have leadership positions on the board.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veg Pledge Day

Dartmouth College is joining a host of other schools across the country for "College Vegetarian Pledge Day." Thankfully only one dining hall is subjecting students to this nonsense. Two questions, (1) why is it that a lot of vegetarians still eat fish? and (2) what is a beet cake? Full menu below:

Dinner

Today is College Vegetarian Pledge Day and we, along with 33 other colleges across the country, will offer a special Vegetarian Dinner. Our Menu Includes:

Brown Sugar Chipotle Salmon with a Honey Berry Glaze;

Quinoa with Corn and Scallions

Portobello Winter Stew with Soft Polenta;

Sweet Onion Tart;

Spinach and Arugula Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing

At the Grill you will fine: Tuna Steaks and Tempeh Satay - both with Citrus Slaw

Vegan Burgers

Portobello Sandwich

LoMein Stir-Fry

Dessert: Peanut Butter Pie and Beet Cake

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Haldeman Takes the Mike and Doesn't Let Go

The trustee Q&A held late yesterday afternoon was interesting in that students were able to see and interact with the trustees, but they received few straight answers to their questions. This was probably inevitable and in many cases necessary What was disturbing was how few questions were asked. As soon as the initial student introduction was over Haldeman jumped to the podium, clearly intent on sidetracking the event as much as was possible—and he was largely successful as only approximately ten questions were answered in 90 minutes. The one thing that was most (surely unintentionally) noticeable about Haldeman was his autocratic style of interaction.

Once at the podium he underhandedly criticized the events organizers, rambled on about how busy the trustees were, and tried to coopt the process of asking questions. Instead of having students line up in an orderly fashion behind the microphones in the aisles of the auditorium, Haldeman wanted to have students simply raise their hands, and someone (presumably him) would pick who was worthy of asking questions and who wasn't. Fortunately this effort was squashed by one of the event's organizers, Joe Malchow—who stood up and contradicted Haldeman, telling students to go ahead and line up behind the microphones.

Failing in his endeavor to cherry-pick the questions, Haldeman visibly decided that a filibuster would be his best tactic. He asked all of the 13 trustees in attendance to introduce themselves before any questions were asked. The net result of all of Haldeman's stalling was that we were 25 minutes into the Q&A and exactly zero questions had been asked. This was especially vexing as he put a time limit on the event saying they had to be somewhere at 6:15—though, curiously, at the end of the program he had changed that time to 6:00.

Haldeman funneled all of the questions to the "appropriate" people on the Board, which basically ended up meaning each question was answered by anywhere from 2-6 people, severely limiting the number of questions asked. The Board members' stock answer to most questions was that the issues were "complex" and "complicated." The issues no doubt are, but pointing out the obvious is helpful only to a point.

Haldeman's most noticable gaffe was thankfully pointed out by one of the questioner's. On the school's bureaucracy he had directed everyone to a recent Forbes article which showed clearly that every school's bureaucracy was growing. Is it really any defense that Dartmouth is performing just as poorly as other schools?

UPDATE: Also, here is the College's press release concerning the trustees' weekend.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Indians Win Home Opener

The Dartmouth Men's Hockey team won their home opener tonight against Union College. The score was 4-0. The men in green scored three goals in the first period, and after a lackluster second period they scored their fourth in the third.

The Ed Haldeman Show


The first ever student-trustee Q&A wrapped up a little less than half an hour ago. The event was succesful to a point. The trustees were candid when asked questions, though they refused to talk at all about the ongoing lawsuit. Perhaps the single most annoying part of the event, however, was how Chairman of the Board Ed Haldeman '70 coopted the microphone right from the get go, delegating who got to answer what. More on this later.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Dartmouth Administrator Hangs Out

From the police blotter:

November 3, 1:34 a.m.,

Crosby Street

Hanover Police were called in to assist Safety and Security personnel after a man and a woman were observed helping a clearly intoxicated friend walk down Crosby Street, near Dartmouth’s heating plant. Upon arrival, officers found that all three were older than 21, but did not feel comfortable leaving one of the individuals, a 25-year-old-woman and a Dartmouth administrator, in the custody of the other two. The woman, who blew a BAC of 0.24, was taken to Grafton County Jail and placed into protective custody.

Q&A UPDATE

The Dartmouth Review has it from a reliable source that the two trustees that have, at this point, confirmed their attendance are Stephen Smith '88 and Todd Zywicki '88. Regular readers of Dartlog will note that both were petition candidates. If Haldeman '70 really is committed to better lines of communication, one would think that this would be an excellent opportunity for him to prove it.

Trustee Q&A This Friday at Filene

>Date: 08 Nov 2007 01:28:48 -0500
>From: AGORA
>Subject: ASK THE TRUSTEES ANYTHING
>To: (Recipient list suppressed)

************************************************************

"ASK THE TRUSTEES ANYTHING"

FILENE AUDITORIUM in MOORE, 4:30 FRIDAY

with FREE RAMUNTO'S

For the first time ever, all Dartmouth students can pose questions directly
to members of the Board of Trustees.
Meet Jim Wright's bosses. Only students and trustees - face to face.

Questions will not be screened - no topic is off limits.

All trustees have been invited. At least two have confirmed attendance.

Possible questions include:
"What's the deal with the lawsuit?"
"Is Dartmouth in good financial shape?"
"What's going on with COS reform?"
"What do the Trustees think of the Greek system?"
"How should free speech be addressed at Dartmouth?"
and anything else you want to know....

Sponsored by: Inter-Fraternity Council, Panhellenic Council,
Inter-Community Council, College Democrats,
College Republicans, Phi Tau, Tri-Kap, Chi Gam,
and AGORA.

************************************************************

AGORA strongly encourages attendance at this event.
Please spread the word around to your friends.

ASK THE TRUSTEES ANYTHING you want!!!

Let's Be Reasonable

TDR alumnus Stefan Beck '04 has a meandering post over at the Cabal about hate crimes—and especially the sticky situation created when minorities commit hate crimes against themselves. Of interest perhaps because some of these events have happened at our sister institution in New York, Columbia University. Also of interest because Beck highlights an instructive episode in this College's history.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Auden and Dartmouth

Michael Weiss '02 reminisces.

Provost Scherr Defends His Poor Taste

Provost Scherr wrote in to the Daily D defending the College's recent choices in commissioned artwork.

I continue to believe that the Dartmouth community can embrace art at the Hood Museum as well as in unexpected places on campus, be it in Baker Library, in front of McNutt, or near Sherman House. While I certainly don't expect everyone to like every piece, I do have confidence that the discourse around art will be informed and respectful. And I have no tolerance for the destruction of any art on the campus, whether inside or outside of the museum walls.


That last sentence is in reference to the Inuksuk pile of rocks in front of McNutt, which has apparently been knocked over nine times. Also, someone managed to cut the Gu exhibition with scissors. Scherr also revealed in the piece that Director of the Hood Museum Brian Kennedy will answer charges laid against both him and Gu by the Dartmouth Independent.

While I agree that aiming for everyone to like every piece is too lofty a goal, is it too much to ask that some people like some of the pieces?

N.B. For whatever reason, today's Daily D has not been put online yet. I will link to this letter once it's online.

UPDATE: Link here.

Monday, November 05, 2007

More News on the Lawsuit Front

The following announcement was released by the College's public affairs office:
  • The parties have agreed on a briefing schedule for the College's motion to dismiss the Association's petition, which the College filed Oct. 26. The Association will file its memorandum in opposition to motion on Nov. 16. The College will file its reply to the Association's opposition on Dec. 7. The parties will ask the court to set the hearing on the motion to dismiss for as soon after Dec. 7 as the court's calendar allows.
  • The Association of Alumni is withdrawing its motion for a preliminary injunction in light of the College's representation to the court, also in papers filed Oct. 26, that no new Trustees will be elected at the Nov. 9-10 Board of Trustees meeting. The court hearing on the motion for a preliminary injunction, previously scheduled for Nov. 9, will be cancelled.

Valley News on Wenda Gu

From today's editorial page in the Valley News:

The shock of the new may be what much contemporary and conceptual art is all about, but shock isn't necessarily accompanied by awe. It's often accompanied by revulsion. The Dartmouth community, filled with young people whose cultural tastes and aesthetic judgments are evolving, resorted to low-brow criticism, calling Gu's hair pieces “disgusting” and “creepy,” and some Dartmouth students formed an Internet chat group called “Students for a Bald Baker.”

Not everyone was turned off. One student commented, “I mean this guy is like the Monet of hair.” But the generally unfavorable critical response to the installations seems to have disappointed the Hood's director, Brian Kennedy, who apparently had hoped the works would inspire more erudite public dialogue. Speaking to Valley News columnist Jim Kenyon the other day, Kennedy said, “I think acceptance of new is less accepted than it has been in previous times. This (type of contemporary art) is not new in the art world, but it's incredibly new to Dartmouth students.”

Maybe. Or perhaps the students weren't so much narrow-minded as they were discriminating. That is, maybe they just didn't take to Gu’s creations, just as many people are repelled when first confronted with Damien Hirst's animals preserved in formaldehyde or Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ, a photograph of a crucifix submerged in the artist’s urine that caused much outcry when it was exhibited in 1989. The fact that Gu's installations irritated some and unsettled others could be seen as evidence that both the artist and the Hood succeeded in getting students to raise questions about contemporary art even if the works themselves didn’t inspire rapturous commentary or dissertations on the growth of nationalism. Whatever the case, we hope the dismissive reaction doesn’t deter the Hood from commissioning other works for a campus that would benefit from more public art, as Kennedy has pointed out.


The full editorial is here.

State Representative Moves Forward

A state representative in New Hampshire is moving forward with legislation that would repeal a 2003 law. That law gave permission to the College to amend its charter without any interference from the State—so long as the Governor continued to serve as an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees. There will be a public hearing on the bill early this upcoming winter.

The Daily D's article: here.

Investment Strategies for Collegiate Endowments

The Boston Globe had an interesting article last Friday. In the last few years elite universities and colleges have reaped huge rewards by investing their endowments in "alternative" assets. Their performance has significantly out-stripped that of their peer institutions, leading to further stratification.

When it comes to investing, risk has paid off for the nation's elite colleges and universities

Endowments at a dozen top-tier schools grew much faster than those at higher education institutions as a whole since the early '90s, mostly because larger portions of the elite schools' endowments were allocated to "alternative" assets such as buyout, venture capital, and hedge funds, according to a new research study.

The study, by Harvard Business School professor Josh Lerner and two coauthors, shows substantial increases in average university endowments across the board during that period, but dramatically greater expansion of the top-tier endowments.

UPDATE: More on this in yesterday's NYTimes.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Forced Conformity to Expectations

As noted in a comment to a post below, Google removed the Spencer video the same day the Daily D published a letter by Spencer, in which he responded to Muslim students at Dartmouth's characterization of his speech.

In that article, the student "was impressed by Spencer’s knowledge of Islamic theology, [but] she questioned the accuracy of his comments concerning the Koran in regards to women. '[Spencer’s assertion] that the Koran says it is okay to beat women is incorrect and offensive,' she said." Spencer said no such thing, he acknowledged full well that many Muslims believe the Koran does not endorse spousal battery. Spencer effectively said that some translate the Koran as justifying beating your wife, while others do not. Each individual has to choose which one he believes is true: it is clear what the jihadists think, and although Spencer hinted that he thinks their's is probably a more accurate translation, he never made his opinion explicit.

Bret Vallacher '10, over at the Dartmouth Independent, has another write up of the event in question. He makes several valid points about Spencer's speech, as well as some which seem to me a stretch.

In the end, I think this is a case a misguided expectations. People expected it to be controversial. When it turned out not to be they needed to twist it to fit into their pre-formed conception of what it was supposed to be. My advice is this; take it for what it was, and please, no more awareness weeks.

UPDATE: Courtesy of Power Line, here is the video: