Thursday, July 31, 2008

UChicago Faculty Protest New Milton Friedman Institute

From the Milton Friedman Institute website:
“The goal of the Institute is to build on the University’s existing leadership position and make the Milton Friedman Institute a primary intellectual destination for economics by creating a robust forum for engagement of our faculty and students with scholars and policymakers from around the world,” said President Robert J. Zimmer. “The Milton Friedman Institute will continue Chicago’s extraordinary tradition of creating new ideas that stimulate the academic world and innovative approaches that influence policy.”

If you have not yet read the original protest letter, it is here.

The document speaks for itself, but the quality of its prose makes one wonder why professors of English would attach their names to it.

Read U of C Graduate School of Business Professor John Cochrane's riposte here.

Dartmouth Grads Scrape By

Ten to Twenty years out of school, Dartmouth grads earn more money on average than the alumni of other American schools according to a recent study compiled by Edging out the second place Princeton alums, who make $131,000 a year, the average Dartmouth alumnus makes $134,000 ten to twenty years after his graduation. The findings are particularly remarkable considering that recent graduates (within the last five years) make $58,000—good enough for only 18th place when compared to their peers. Forbes, which reported the findings, largely attributed the success of Dartmouth graduates to the loyal and tight alumni network. While Monica Wilson of career services, told Forbes that the success was based on the College’s success at creating well-rounded people. Dartmouth also placed well when schools' top ten percent of earners were averaged, coming in second behind Yale.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More Newss

From July 21, courtesy of Regret the Error:

P.S. A reader points to this from the VNews as well:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Are You Financially Literate?

Dartmouth Econ. Prof. Annamaria Lusardi has devised the following test to determine a person's financial literacy. The results are disturbing. Only one third of the respondents that were older than fifty managed to get all three questions right. For the answers to the three questions and an interesting interview with Prof. Lusardi, follow this link.

1. Suppose you had $100 in a savings account and the interest rate was 2 percent per year. After 5 years, how much do you think you would have in the account if you left the money to grow?

a. More than $102
b. Exactly $102
c. Less than $102
d. Do not know

2. Imagine that the interest rate on your savings account was 1 percent per year and inflation was 2 percent per year. After 1 year, would you be able to buy more than, exactly the same as, or less than today with the money in this account?

a. More than today
b. Exactly the same as today
c. Less than today
d. Do not know

3. Do you think that the following statement is true or false? “Buying a single company stock usually provides a safer return than a stock mutual fund.”

a. True
b. False
c. Do not know

P.S. More on Lusardi here.

Treasury Taps Wilson '69

Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson '68 has taken on fellow alum Ken Wilson '69 to help him sort out the financial mess the country is currently in. This is from today's Wall Street Journal (subscription required):
In Mr. Wilson, Mr. Paulson gets a formidable ally in navigating the current problems, with years of Wall Street experience and a Rolodex of well-placed friends and clients. Mr. Wilson, the head of Goldman's financial-institutions group, has served as Wall Street's go-to banker during the last year, as firms from Wachovia Corp. to National City Corp. have turned to him for advice on their mortgage woes. Helping burnish Goldman's reputation: During the current crisis, it has managed to avoid some of the big mistakes that have plagued rivals such as Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co.

[. . .]

It is perhaps no surprise that Mr. Paulson, once the CEO of Goldman Sachs, called on his former colleague. The two men met at Dartmouth College, and Mr. Paulson helped recruit Mr. Wilson to Goldman. Once a year, the two head to Andros Island in the Bahamas for a few days of bonefishing. In a nod to Mr. Wilson's influence, Mr. Paulson gave him an office on Goldman's 30th floor, a power alley that includes current firm Chairman and Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein.
Meanwhile, on one of the Journal's blogs, Heidi Moore remarks on the quiet presence of Dartmouth alumni all over the financial district.

(Photo is courtesy of Reuters.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hanover: New Arts Center is Hideous

The Valley News ran a story today on the College's new Visual Arts Center. Construction on the building is scheduled to begin in the Fall of 2009. The building's location—southeast of the Hopkins Center—was chosen specifically to give a more grandiose southern entrance to Dartmouth. The project is not without controversy, as residents (quite rightly) fear that the new arts building will be as aesthetically disturbing as the Hopkins Center.
College officials' upbeat presentation yesterday was a sharp contrast with the negative reviews from members of a Hanover community group the college convenes to discuss potentially sensitive matters.

“I can't be very tactful about it,” said Marilyn “Willy” Black, a former selectwoman and current town moderator who sits on the Dartmouth Liaison Committee. “I just think it's hideous.”

She and other members of the committee said the building's design was panned at a recent session with college officials.

“It doesn't tend to generate a neutral reaction,” said Town Manager Julia Griffin, who said she's not yet decided what she thinks of the design, which she said makes “a big, bold statement.”
The whole story, here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Harvard Forced Out by Administration

This from today's (occasionally) Daily D:
Andy Harvard, director of the Outdoor Programs Office, stepped down on Friday, according to an e-mail sent by acting Dean of Student Life Joe Cassidy. Several students and alumni associated with the Dartmouth Outing Club, however, said they were confused about the suddenness of Harvard’s departure and believed that Harvard likely did not step down voluntarily.
Perhaps the most inadvertently hilarious claim was that "Palmer and Polashenski said many members of the DOC were “shocked” by Harvard’s departure and upset by the secretiveness surrounding the resignation." This from a segment of campus known for its opacity in things like selecting croo members and spreaders of goodwill. Nonetheless, the question is still out there: why was Harvard forced out? Especially when 76% of DOC members wrote to Dean Crady expressing their support for him.

P.S. See the comments for more from DOC insiders. Also, if anyone knows the precise reasons for his dismissal, blitz me.

P.P.S. Here is Davenport's Op-Ed, and a pdf of Polashenski's letter.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Campaign Stops and the Klan

A pair of interesting pieces in today's Wall Street Journal. First a book review of Michael Cohen's Live from the Campaign Trail by David Shribman '76:
This year, so far, we have heard two speeches that aspired to greatness: Mitt Romney's treatise on religious freedom and Barack Obama's "more perfect union" remarks on race relations in America. Both were ambitious and provocative, but they were also derivative, haunted by echoes from nearly a half-century ago, when Sen. John F. Kennedy addressed the Houston Ministerial Association in September 1960. It was there that Kennedy attempted to address concerns that the nation would not elect a Roman Catholic to the White House.

The great American campaign speech is obviously hard to pull off and, for the readers among us, now hard to find. Students no longer stand before classrooms and recite the hallowed words of past office-holders and -seekers, and the small volumes of political speeches that once lined every American library – I cadged some splendid ones when Dartmouth's Baker Library disposed of its collection 35 years ago – are a thing of the past.
Also of interest is this piece by Dorothy Rabinowitz:
Keith Sampson, a student employee on the janitorial staff earning his way toward a degree, was in the habit of reading during work breaks. Last October he was immersed in "Notre Dame Vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan."

Mr. Sampson was in short order visited by his union representative, who informed him he must not bring this book to the break room, and that he could be fired. Taking the book to the campus, Mr. Sampson says he was told, was "like bringing pornography to work." That it was a history of the battle students waged against the Klan in the 1920s in no way impressed the union rep.

The assistant affirmative action officer who next summoned the student was similarly unimpressed. Indeed she was, Mr. Sampson says, irate at his explanation that he was, after all, reading a scholarly book. "The Klan still rules Indiana," Marguerite Watkins told him – didn't he know that? Mr. Sampson, by now dazed, pointed out that this book was carried in the university library. Yes, she retorted, you can get Klan propaganda in the library.

The university has allowed no interviews with Ms. Watkins or any other university official involved in the case. Still, there can be no disputing the contents of the official letter that set forth the university's case.

Mr. Sampson stood accused of "openly reading the book related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject in the presence of your Black co-workers." The statement, signed by chief affirmative action officer Lillian Charleston, asserted that her office had completed its investigation of the charges brought by Ms. Nakea William, his co-worker – that Mr. Sampson had continued, despite complaints, to read a book on this "inflammatory topic." "We conclude," the letter informed him, "that your conduct constitutes racial harassment. . . ." A very serious matter, with serious consequences, it went on to point out.
Read the whole thing.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Summertime TV

A discussion between author Tom Wolfe and former Dartmouth Professor (and neuroscience expert) Michael Gazzaniga.