Monday, August 11, 2008

TDR Summer 2008

The new issue is online and packed with goodies, the likes of which you don't often see. Among them:


E. Wheelock said...

From the "Things You'll Only Find in the Review" Department


Is it not duplicitous to say “the hoi polloi” since hoi means “the”? [TDR 5/16/08]

Bruce ‘37

Anonymous said...

Reading between the lines, Dean Crady's New Alcohol Management Program is a major change from Wright's "hammer the little bastards" policy. I'd say that the legal drinking age at the College is now 18.

See Phil Aubart:

"Let’s look at some basic truths about Dartmouth’s administration. The College clearly has a liberal alcohol policy. They allow us to have parties, play pong and buy unlimited amounts of beer — as long as it’s in cans — and all they ask in return is that when Safety and Security walks through a Greek house, those without wristbands lower their drinks. There are no breathalyzers or sobriety tests of any kind...
Dartmouth also does a pretty good job of keeping Hanover police out of our Greek houses and dorms. Did I mention that more than half of the people present at these alcoholic social events are often underage?"

Fed Up with BS said...

The MALS program is a complete waste of time and effort. Dartmouth does not need an "adult education program", as the MALS site describes itself.

In 2006 the acceptance rate for the program was 84% ( and canning the program is regularly discussed. That is why Pease is such a shameless shill for Wright. Dandy Don wants to keep his little fiefdom.

We don't need MALS students bloating classes that should be reserved for undergrads.

danny w said...

Re Governance Related Things, ASE questions alumni voting "against" their own interests. This is not surprising, considering their love of the College. However, it is disappointing to see their elected representatives taking actions against the interests of those they represent.

The newly elected officers of the Association of Alumni ran on a platform of ending the lawsuit. They could have done so simply by withdrawing it. But they went beyond this. They asked the Court to dismiss it, something the College had done earlier which the Court rejected because there was validity to the pleadings. Fine so far, but they also asked for a dismissal WITH PREJUDICE, meaning the suit was not proper and cannot be re-filed. Since the plaintiff made the request that its own suit be so judged, the court complied.

This writer is not attorney, but in posing this situation to those who are, the answer consistently is that this action, blatantly opposed to the interests of the client, is never seen [until now]. The official representatives have taken a permanent action to limit the rights of their own members. Alumni, today opposed to a lawsuit, might change their opinion if future actions by the trustees become more egregious, and wish to vote into office a new version of the parity party. No matter how remote a possibility, it was a right of alumni that their own leaders have forsaken forever.

wrathokhan said...

Dismissal with prejudice does not mean "the suit was not proper."

The client's request for a dismissal with prejudice was not "blatantly opposed to the interests of the client". The client's requests are the end-all and be-all of the client's interests, whether or not pundits think those requests are wise.

The right to pursue this particular lawsuit was forsaken forever, but not the right to file a lawsuit in the future if the board unjustifiably harms the AA somehow.

Contra ASE's piece, the election really was not about parity. It was about the lawsuit. The prosuit campaigners could not guarantee, promise, or even suggest that they had the ability to maintain parity. All they could and did promise was to keep suing the board. Considering that the people who started the lawsuit did it without asking the alumni, and that they were at the highest and most successful point in the life of their particular lawsuit following the denial of the motion to dismiss, the election can only be seen as a rebuke of the lawsuit.

Danny said...

"The client's requests are the end-all and be-all of the client's interests"

Wrathokhan is technically correct, as the Association was the client. The point is that the request from the Association officials (who "are" the Association for legal purposes) was not in the interests of the Association members, as it gave up something the membership had (right to a future action) with nothing in return.

There is no disputing that the election was a rebuke of the lawsuit... at the present time and in the present context.

Danny said...

Providing more detail to my response to "Wrathokhan", who wrote "The right to pursue this particular lawsuit was forsaken forever, but not the right to file a lawsuit in the future if the board unjustifiably harms the AA somehow.":

What happens if the Board proceeds with its plans to eliminate parity, when many alumni had been led to expect a negotiated agreement to retain parity while addressing Board concerns regarding needed expertise and election concerns? Alumni might then view the AA as having been "unjustifiabled harmed" but would have NO ability to file a lawsuit (as claimed by Wratho) because any such suit would be ruled a re-opening of the one dismissed.

wrathokhan said...

How do you know what was "in the interests of the Association members," Danny? What makes you so sure the decision to kill a loser lawsuit was not in their interests?

Isn't this problem of representation the reason that elected officers exist? The official decision by the democratically-elected leaders of that group with thousands of members is a better proxy for their individual interests than some pundit's opinion is.

No alumnus was "led [by whom?] to expect a negotiated agreement to retain parity while addressing Board concerns regarding needed expertise and election concerns." The lawsuit was an attempt to force a negotiated settlement, but the board did not back down.

Your "harm" from the board expansion is the same "harm" that the AA talked about in the lawsuit. The AA will have to find another "harm" if it wants to sue the board again. Personally, I think the AA should go after fatter targets if it wants to try to force college boards to take its members, like Princeton or Harvard.

Danny Boy said...


The discussion is not about the right and desire of alumni to withdraw a lawsuit that may or may not have been a loser, or a winner, or in their interests or not. We are talking about the right of alumni to change their mind in the future. The AA officers have taken that away.

wrathokhan said...

Well, yes. Are you saying the AA should have asked for a dismissal without prejudice and kept the lawsuit in its back pocket for a few years? That would be unkind and unfair to Dartmouth, and it would contradict the spirit if not the letter of the mandate that 60 percent of the voters issued: we don't sue Dartmouth over things like this.

The AA leaders promised to take away the option of suing over this expansion. They did not promise to execute a headfake or some kind of feint or half-measure. "Withdraw the lawsuit" here means request dismissal with prejudice. You are trying to be disappointed that the AA leaders did not obey the will of the minority.

I repeat: if the AA believes a board vote (other than to carry out this expansion) causes an unjustifiable harm, it can file a lawsuit to try to overturn the vote. Good luck with that.

Party Animal Alum said...

Re the new alcohol rules, will they also be applied to alumni events sponsored by the College (since underage drinkers can be found at these as well)? If so, will grey hair be allowed in lieu of a wrist band for visible identification of age? Seriously, while the challenges of student gatherings are clearly greater, it might be interesting to apply these same rules, which on first glance appear reasonable, to on-campus alumni reunion events.

John said...

A comment on another part of the issue here.

anonymo us said...

I too think you can judge the entire institution of Dartmouth College on the basis of the poor correspondence skills exhibited by an editor of the Review, and a couple other dealings with individuals. As long as it confirms my preconceptions.

John said...

12:28, the poor correspondence skills of at least two TDR editors certainly help -- but I've also dealt with the likes of lightnin' Todd Zywicki and Frank Gado, as well as assorted nincompoops on the other side.

If I knew who you were, it would probably reinforce my impressions too.

A Dissident Not a Pessimist said...

What "small role in the alumni revolt" did John have other than disparaging Zywicki and Gado? If he is so down on Dartmouth, both as it was 40 years ago when he was an undergrad, and on its current faculty and students, maybe he should just go away. John can look in a mirror if he wants something to reinforce his own impressions.

John said...

Well, if you need an answer, I interviewed the first alumni petition Trustee for The Dartmouth Review; I produced another opinion piece for TDR which, for whatever reason, they never ran; I was approached by one of the people on the then-Executive Committee of the AoA to run for a petition seat in this past spring's election (I begged off). I interacted with several key parties, including an extensive e-mail exchange with John Mathias, the current EC President, over the past winter. This may have had an influence on his own decision to take a more active role. I don't think it's inaccurate in calling it a "small role".

On the other hand, what I do notice in the past couple of posts is a hypersensitivity to any criticism of Dartmouth. This suggests that students are coddled and flattered while in Hanover, during a period in their lives when they are most likely to develop a permanent narcissism. As a result, any suggestion -- even something so routine as that little jerks on The Dartmouth Review have peed in their own lemonade -- meets with incredulity.

The anonymous posters, of course, don't need to point out anything they've done in life.

Dan said...

Funny you should mention that, John. I peed in the communal punch fairly regularly when I was in school. Nobody ever complained; with everything else in there, you couldn't really taste it. May be a bad example; I think Dartmouth students now take people peeing in the punch as a matter of course.

Party Animal Alum said...

Now you're talking.

However, Alcohol Managmeent Policy
Section 245, Paragraph 6, Subsection F2:

"No peeing in the punch."

Subsection F3:

"Especially if you are a little jerk."

John said...

Dan, my point exactly -- peeing in the punch is a matter of routine these days, as even Editors at TDR do it.

The question I have is how Jeffrey Hart can call himself a mentor to the little bastards -- back in the days before Obamamania, he was, on the whole, opposed to the practice.

Party Animal Alum said...

Subsection F4:

"Little bastards shall be treated like little jerks for purposes of these policies."

John said...

By the way, seems like Forbes is down on Dartmouth, too. US News is probably going to have to split the difference on the Ivies rated so low by Forbes, so my guess is Dartmouth can kiss any future rating in the top 20 or even top 50 goodbye.

And it's well deserved. The de facto tuition reduction earlier this year was in fact probably a recognition of the changing market perceptions even prior to Forbes. And note that if Princeton was number 1 -- Forbes being a Princeton family -- number 2 was Cal Tech, which significantly doesn't give preferences to children of alumni donors and in many ways does not follow the Ivy-liberal arts model.

Will Dartlog have a remotely insightful post on this rather baleful development?

Anonymous said...


Here's my only comment. If you were wondering why few besides the likes of "Party Animal Alum" responds to your posts, or perhaps why the Review never bothered to publish some of your "work", it is because people are nearly as uninterested in a tiresome old bore's constant stream of invective as they are in arbitrary college rankings.

Dan said...

Of course Cal-Tech doesn't follow the Ivy / Liberal arts model. For exactly the same reason that MIT doesn't. It's a technical school, devoted to math, physics, engineering, etc. Those schools exist more on private and public research grants much more than on alumni donations (not to say that the donations aren't there, but rather not as important). Therefore, they have little incentive to give admissions preference to legacies.

So.... what's your point in bringing that up, John?

John said...

Because a major critique of the standard educational product has been the liberal arts cafeteria system, which in the opinion of authors like Christopher Lasch is undemanding and ultimately produces narcissists like the anonymous poster(s) here.

I think the preference for legacies also produces an overheated social environment, which is probably a contributor to the major alcohol problem on campus. It's interesting that Wright started his administration with the Student Life Initiative, which was basically going to fix alcohol if nothing else, and ended it hiring an alcohol-tolerant Dean. My guess is if you wanted to get to the root of the problem, you'd have to look more closely at admissions.

The Dartmouth student/alum product is remarkably vapid and anti-intellectual -- just look at some of the posters here. The discussion on both sides in the alumni lawsuit dispute was unbelievably silly -- I kept scratching my head and wondering how all these people had 1500 board scores or whatever they were. A constant refrain was that any dispute about Dartmouth would damage the value of a Dartmouth degree on the job market.

Now, I'm not going to disagree that college rankings are arbitrary, but I'm sure everyone's a little happier if Dartmouth is 11 rather than 127. The US educational product is standardized, with instructors getting PhDs from the same institutions via the same vetting procedures, and hired the same way. Nevertheless, I've been amazed, during the time I've been writing about it, at how feckless Dartmouth has been in producing educated graduates, reflected, again, in the remarkably poor quality of alumni debate.

The 127 ranking is, to my way of thinking, certainly reflective of something. Cal Tech is producing a superior product, to my way of thinking. You can argue that it doesn't produce many English majors, but then society probably needs the typical English major about as much as it needs more Hummers right now. Yet this is what Dartmouth is set up to produce, metaphorically speaking.

HankP said...

Dear John Bruce,

I am a wayward Dartmouth undergrad, and the granite in my brain is still soft and moldable, like Brylcreem. I would hate to graduate from this steaming refuse-pile of an institution a vapid narcissist like most of my classmates. How did you so bravely emerge from the pack of Dartsheep and become the Ubermensch that you are today? I have read with baited breath your various short stories posted on internet "zines," and wondered how such refined and forceful prose could come from someone who graduated from the 2,347th worst school in the country (127th best is too generous). What illustrious career did you pursue that resulted in a retirement filled with trolling for attention on Dartlog? In short, what is your secret, sensei?

Obsequiously yours,
- Bored at Baker '11

John said...

"baited breath"? One of my secrets is a dictionary. You might want to pick one up - apparently they no longer recommend them in first-year writing. But seriously, I would not expect an Ivy student or Ivy grad -- 700-plus verbals, for instance -- to misuse simple words.

The problem with posters who get all bent out of shape at criticisms of Dartmouth education is that they consistently prove my point. Our bored at Baker boy may wish to consider taking remedial courses at a state university to fix the work that wasn't done at Dartmouth.

HankP said...

I'm sorry, but my professors taught me that the only way to deconstruct the dominant paradigm is by injecting my own Derridean word-play into everyday discourse. Doing so deterritorializes the micropolitics of desire by radically problematizing the Master Signifier at the locus of onto-linguistic commodification.

In conclusion, the only dictionary I use is ALL DAY ERRY DAY YA HEARD

Just Curious said...

John, when was the last time you were actually at Dartmouth? Or interacted with a Dartmouth undergrad, beyond your various petty quibbles here?

And, for the love of God, please walk me through the logic of how having a higher-than-normal admissions rate for legacies creates an alcohol problem on campus... ("Problem," of course, is pretty subjective; problem by whose standard?)

John said...

I don't know what to say about HankP, but this may go to alumni donors' kids.

"Legacies" covers quite a bit of territory, but we're not talking about Joe Blow '72 who got his daughter in with 1375 SATs and a $50 annual contribution.

We're talking about a certain number of places in each entering class reserved for 6 and 7 figure donors, with standards reduced for them -- but also recognizing that they, being rich, are likely to set the social tone for the place. Frankly, the sorts of alcohol related incidents that make it into the D or IvyGate are more appropriate for urban skid rows. People passed out on the front lawns of fraternities with 3 times the DUI limit isn't just Animal House.

I've got to wonder, to tell the truth, what kinds of backgrounds folks come from if they're fall-down drunks at 18 or 19. It's hard for me to think social pressure doesn't have something to do with it, as well as family background. I'd be asking admissions (if I were an incoming College President) if there's something we could be screening for, as I strongly suspect a non-trivial part of the student alcohol problem comes in with the entering first-year classes. Just my opinion.

If Dartmouth students are fall-down drunks, by the way, don't you think this should eventually show up in ratings?

I was last at Dartmouth in 2001. I've had e-mail exchanges with students and alums on a regular basis for a number of years, as people often comment via e-mail on my pieces in The Dartmouth Review.

pArkham said...

"Animal House" was probably much worse than just passing out outside extremely drunk. The fires come to mind.

On the other hand, the dismissal of rankings reeks of an "everyone's a winner" approach to life. Fine if you're a soccer mom raising a 8 year old, not so fine for an Ivy League university.

John said...

I have a DVD of Animal House. Fires? Toga, Sophomore Dies In Kiln Explosion, Horse in Dean's Office, but fires?

It's interesting that as far as I can see, nobody except the Dartmouth Independent has an opinion on the Forbes ranking. I have a discussion of this here.

Seems like if for no one else, this will be an agenda item for the new President.

Anonymous said...

"Night of the Seven Fires"

I thought you were an AD pledge...

John said...

Oh, I see, but it wasn't in the film. But there are certain films, from East of Eden to Elmer Gantry, where you can pretty much toss the book and rely on the film. Animal House has got to rank up there with those.

Larry Burlingame was an AD, but not me.

dumb jock said...

@parkham: "Fine if you're a soccer mom raising a 8 year old"?

You're showing your age. It's not that way any more. Sure, the moms may act that way at soccer practice to throw off the competition. But check dad out over at pee-wee lacrosse practice. They're playing for keeps, even if the prize is just the chance to get drunk at an ivy league school.

an.onymous said...

It is good to have John back and commenting again. I only wish he had not sat out the finals of the lawsuit debate. No one disguises childishly primitive reasoning with hypersensitive cultural awareness as well as he. Too bad he does not put it to better use than to promote exaggerated class stereotypes and weird personal class resentments.

Bring on the baseless generalizations wrapped in literary references!

ucenl said...

If John is guilty of childishly-primitive reasoning, why did he take the winning side in the lawsuit debate? Should we agree with John, or with those he sided with? Strange bedfellows indeed.

an.onymous said...

John did not take the winning side in the lawsuit debate. He or the people he was getting lunchtime legal advice from thought there was a contract, that the trustees or college lawyers had failed by allowing a lawsuit to be filed, and that the people suing would win.

UCENL said...

Ony: John was very upset by the Zywicki speech and in a guilt by association action, refused to do anything in support of those filing the lawsuit. Where did he ever say they would win?

any enormous said...

an.onymous is clearly much too clever to be wasting his time here and he should be thanked for doing so.

an.o: Is there something you need to tell us? We're all friends here.

an.onymous said...

Where did he say they would win? He said it over and over again. Based on what he was learning about the law from his wife or somebody. He waded in way over his head to write a slimy editorial comparing Trustee Stith-Cabranes to Ward Churchill. He did not take the winning side. He made stupid arguments for the losers.

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