Friday, January 16, 2009

Results of SA Student Budget Survey

Tough economic times call for sensible belt-tightening?

The results, when asked which were the most important elements of a student's Dartmouth experience, are exactly what you'd expect if you've ever been on the Dartmouth campus (Asian and International students ranked Career Services more important that both DDS and traditions like Homecoming and Winter Carnival, for example). Naturally, the Office of Pluralism and Leadership fared quite poorly, and the Student Assembly has recommended that it be eliminated or drastically restructured. This has met with some degree of emotional outrage, as is to be expected.

Student Budget Survey

51 comments:

Truth Be Told said...

Students don't understand where the real $ is going. Look at these nine clowns:

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~ide/about/who/index.html

and then try to imagine the additional budget beyond their bloated salaries for seminars, consultants, training and other junkets.

The College could hire many professors in lieu of the crew in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity.

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Anonymous said...

I'm an international and Asian student, and I was probably one of the few who rated neither Career Services nor OPAL very highly. I think both provide very useful services but I personally don't use Career Services all that much, and I believe OPAL is bloated. I see the purpose it serves and I've personally benefited from some of the services run through it, but as I see it the college bureaucracy dealing with diversity is just too big and unwieldy. I'm almost certain that it could be downsized without severely affecting students from minority backgrounds.

Anonymous said...

Students from minority backgrounds surely benefit from special support. However, they would be better served by not having a plethora of adult overseers constantly brainwashing them into believing that they are "marginalized". Instead of self-presribed isolation, they might try involvement in the heart of campus activities. The OPAL/IDE bureaucrats need to stop fighting the battles of the 1960's. The College needs to stop throwing money at this.

Anonymous said...

是李明吗?

Anonymous said...

Student Assembly actually never recommended cutting OPAL.

Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

*

And by that I mean Student Assembly never advocated for "eliminating" OPAL, as the post suggests.

W. Aubin said...

Fair point. They advocated cutting funding for OPAL, not total elimination.

A Research University? said...

Does anyone actually know what OPAL's budget is for 2009?

This whole discussion is up in the air because the College does not release its budget figures to anyone.

If we could see the budget - in the way that EVERY state U. in America publicly details its budget - then we might have an intelligent discussion.

Until then, we are all just spinning our wheels.

Anonymous said...

Most of the cost has to be people. We can see them.

Anonymous said...

There is a related budget discussion going on over on the long-quiet Association of Alumni blog.

Anonymous said...

Not any more! No surprise.

Anonymous said...

Isn't having something like OPAL just a cost of doing business these days? Don't some incoming students, rightly or wrongly, check whether schools have diversity offices when they consider which school to attend?

You don't have to love nukes to realize that you're a participant in an arms race.

Anonymous said...

You do not have to participate in a race that you do not believe is important. Is having a "diversity office" overstaffed with extra personnel really needed to attract minority applicants? I'd be surprised if even one student would come forward and say that having such an office was an important factor in their attendance decision.

No Surprise said...

The AoA blog editors have seemingly hidden the discussion on budgets, but it is still available thru the link above (3pm yesterday), and their archives.

Anonymous said...

It's ba-ack!!!

Anonymous said...

"I'd be surprised if even one student would come forward and say that having such an office was an important factor in their attendance decision."

It was a HUGE factor to why I came and why I decided to stay.

You'll find students considered it a factor.

Anonymous said...

Posting anonymously is not "coming forward."

If you are a student, please explain why the 9-person IDE office (which is not OPAL by the way) influenced your decision.

Anonymous said...

Oh, come on, commenting on this page is too "coming forward." Anecdotal evidence is all you're going to get on this site anyway. You shouldn't have an opinion either way about the necessity of these various offices until you compare competitor schools and read a scientific survey of accepted students.

Anonymous said...

Good old Dartmouth. Feelin' good about my decision to go.

Anonymous said...

In what way do the actions of competitor schools help define the necessity of these offices in contributing to the Dartmouth experience?

With all the elite schools spending all their energies "keeping up with the Jones' next door", combined with seemingly unlimited monies from alumni donations and federal grants, no wonder their expenses consistently outpace inflation by a good margin.

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Anonymous said...

So you can stalk me on facebook? Umm no.


I've come forward to people I can trust. I don't trust you. You will viciously attack me for no reason, or for spite, or for fun. I wouldn't conduct my discussion on any forum. I'd rather face you, but then I don't know if you're psycho.

And frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:02: A logical response to your concern, but you avoided the question of A 5:29 following your 10:01 statement. Even an anonymous answer will be something; do you have one?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps no one thinks the stubbornly blinkered questions of Anonymous 5:29 deserve an answer.

"In what way do the actions of competitor schools help define the necessity of these offices in contributing to the Dartmouth experience?"

In what way do you think you are justified in shifting the discussion from recruitment to "the Dartmouth experience"? If Brown started drawing Dartmouth recruits by sending glossier brochures, Dartmouth would have a good reason to follow suit. It has almost nothing to do with the experience.

"With all the elite schools spending all their energies 'keeping up with the Joneses' ..."

How can they all be doing it? At least one of them has to be the Joneses.

"combined with seemingly unlimited monies from alumni donations"

Alumni donations are unlimited neither in fact nor in appearance. Donations to the capital campaign are down recently.

"and federal grants,"

Federal grants do not even "seem" unlimited. Dartmouth's occasional federal grants are limited to specific research projects, usually in biology-related fields. Federal grants are not paying the salaries of the OPAL people.

"no wonder their expenses consistently outpace inflation by a good margin."

Don't you mean "tuition consistently outpaces inflation"? That's what people usually complain about, as if colleges were exempt from market forces.

Dartmouth is expanding facilities, programs, faculty, and overall enrollment. Something would be wrong if expenses did not outpace inflation, even in non-deflationary times.

I am not saying OPAL should exist, I am saying you cannot tell whether it should be eliminated without knowing the facts.

Anonymous said...

OK Let's separate the support of recruitment (the IDE offices) from the student experience (OPAL). Why does it take a special 9-person office to recruit a diverse population, when an already diverse population of administrators and faculty exists with a responsibility for attracting new faculty and students? While the efforts of a recruiting office might have an impact on admissions, why should the existence of that office be itself a factor of consideration, as opposed to considering OPAL? Should not the experience be foremost among recruiting factors?

"If Brown started drawing Dartmouth recruits by sending glossier brochures, Dartmouth would have a good reason to follow suit. It has almost nothing to do with the experience." Is the existence of a glossy brochure something one factors into their decision on where to receive an education or seek employment? How shallow. Raising awareness is important, but if finance dictates a choice between substance and image, which do you prefer?

Truth Be Told is correct.

Anonymous said...

http://diversityatdartmouth.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

How does one validate the claim that the minority of students served directly by OPAL are the most vulnerable? Regardless of who needs support, are there more cost-effective ways of delivery?

Anonymous said...

A vital OPAL service… the CWG Sex Festival. Clearly for the most vulnerable.

John Bruce said...

Appalling, especially when the real issues are being kept quiet.

But what else can loyal alums expect from the Review?

Anonymous said...

So what are the real issues?

Anonymous said...

John: Why do you link the appalling Sex Festival to the Review you despise? It is a creation of the Administration, not of its chief critic among students.

Queen Vagina said...

"Founded in 1988, the Center for Women and Gender celebrates women's achievements..."

Yet has no website mention of Catherine the Great, Queens Victoria or Elizabeth, Margaret Thatcher, Joan of Arc, Marie Curie, Billy Jean King, Susan B. Anthony, Madonna, Luthien Tinuviel, my mom, or any mother.

Anonymous said...

Maybe some bright students can create some virtual world assets, sell them for WoW gold, convert that to real dollars, and donate the proceeds to their education.

From The Dartmouth said...

Some student suggestions:
-----
If the new president is truly committed to “restoring Dartmouth to a position of collegiate primacy,” he or she will clean house on the first day on the job. Dartmouth’s administration is filled with dead wood: individuals who reject innovation and rational thought in problem solving and instead cling to old policy like Republicans to guns and religion. We need administrators who are not afraid of innovation, and who do not behave like robots, concerned only with taking the easy way out and avoiding setting precedents.

—Christian Kiely ‘09
-----
Letting the light of transparency shine in is the first and most integral step to any real change. Until we have numbers and facts in our hands, it is impossible to identify the sources of our weaknesses, flaws and areas of waste. I would ask the next president to boldly pursue a more effective and consolidated administration, an expanded faculty dedicated to teaching as well as research, and a revamped athletic program.

—Isaiah Berg ‘11
-----
Aggressive fundraising is the first and most obvious step to be taken. Alumni are going to be less and less likely to donate as their own financial situations deteriorate, but fiscal breathing room is necessary before any progressive changes can be made. Instead of answering the question of what departments and programs must suffer, the new President should try to keep those questions from being raised at all.

—Tom Mandel ‘11

Note to Tom: Fundraising will be difficult if the President does not first address the concerns about waste and inefficiency.
-----
I would recommend a fundamental restructuring of the curriculum. The College should introduce an optional core curriculum and do away with superfluous departments (there’s no reason why we can’t study African-American history in the history department and African-American literature in the English department). Along with this restructuring, the College should, in any way it can, increase faculty salaries to attract the best possible professors to Dartmouth.

—Peter Blair ‘12
-----
If Dartmouth truly wants to live up to providing the best liberal arts education, then the new president should immediately commit to creating more small, seminar-style classes. Other universities, such as MIT, have already experimented with replacing large introductory classes with more hands-on, discussion-oriented courses. We should be at the forefront of that movement.

—Brian Solomon ‘11
-----
What should the administration and new president do to restore the College to primacy? Nothing. The only reason the College fell in the U.S. News and World Report rankings was because of the ceaseless bickering between the alumni and the administration. We are still the same school, regardless of what anyone says about us. The new president should minimize bickering, minimize scheming, minimize grand plans or designs to improve student life. Dartmouth should just concentrate on being what it is. ...

—Sam Buntz ‘11

Note to Sam: The way to end the bickering and alumni dissention is to address the issues your fellow students raise above regarding administrative deadwood, transparency, class sizes, teaching, etc.

Anonymous said...

"The way to end the bickering and alumni dissention is to address the issues your fellow students raise above regarding administrative deadwood, transparency, class sizes, teaching, etc."

Since when has the source of alumni bickering been any of those things? Alumni were complaining about "parity."

If you think you've got a budget idea Dartmouth hasn't thought of, then submit it.

Anonymous said...

Apparently Anon 9:35 did not follow any of the issues raised during the past several elections for alumni trustees. Parity only became an issue AFTER the Establishment, embarrassed by petition candidates raising the same concerns students now note regarding class sizes, administrative waste, etc., decided to change the rules.

The economy is belatedly forcing a confrontation with challenges that should have been addressed earlier.

Anonymous said...

"Parity only became an issue AFTER the Establishment, embarrassed by petition candidates raising the same concerns students now note regarding class sizes, administrative waste, etc., decided to change the rules."

Parity also became an issue after the Fall of the Roman Empire. One was not caused by the other, however. Alumni began complaining about parity only because they believed it to be threatened by the BoT's 2007 announcements. First alumni had to come up with the concept of "parity" and then a label for it, too.

Anonymous said...

There was cause and effect. Ending criticism of administrative (mis?)management was the motivation behind the BoT's 2007 announcements and the elimination of parity. Their actions only came because they felt threatened (or embarassed) by the issues being raised in trustee elections (i.e. "divisive" campaigning). Altering the election rules and lessening the alumni ratio was their solution, as lessening the ability of alumni to run their own elections and lowering the importance of those elections will ultimately lessen "debate" regarding budgets/programs/direction/etc.

Anonymous said...

Internal message: "We will not micro-manage".

External message: "We are not a rubber-stamp."

Truth-Be-Told?????

Anonymous said...

A 9:35/3:03 sees the situation more clearly than most other alumni: The College values its alumni for its money and its blind support - nothing else. Alumni who want to "contribute" any more than that are out of line.

Anonymous said...

"Ending criticism of administrative (mis?)management was the motivation behind the BoT's 2007 announcements and the elimination of parity."

I don't know what channel you're watching, but all four of the critics of administrative management are still on the board and weren't eliminated or even silenced by the board's reform. The petition route to nomination still exists and is even more accessible than before, meaning that the number of "critics" on the board could double.

The board said straight out that it wanted more control over the selection of the new members than the alumni nomination process would give it. That is why it made all of them charter trustees.

The alumni bickering that Sam was talking about was the parity controversy. They are one and the same. That bickering has mostly ended. The solution proposed by 9:28 (change class sizes, etc.) is a solution in search of a problem.

Anonymous said...

I was listening to the Haldeman channel, wherein he said that more elections were a bad thing because of the controversies stirred up when people disagree and debate issues. "Too divisive".

The Board is less unhappy having to deal with a few renegade members than uncomfortable having to address College concerns that arise during the elections themselves.

Reducing the number of alumni trustees to a point that they become true voices in a wilderness will insure that petitioners stop coming forward, even if the petition/election process remains. Mission accomplished.

"The bickering has mostly ended." Perhaps. Alumni participation in giving, which had been in decline for two decades, only began to revive in the past 5 or so years, in parallel with the petition movement. It will be interesting to see if alumni participation returns to its declining ways, now that 40% of alumni voters were explicitly disenfranchised by the "with prejudice" request of the AoA officers.

Anonymous said...

Haldeman's comment about adding elections has nowt to do with "ending criticism" by Smith, Zywicki, Robinson, Rogers, or any future petition trustee (up to 8 at a time). The "parity" controversy is a result of the board's vote, not Rogers' complaints about free speech. That is why no one came up with the concept of "parity" until the spring of 2007, years after Rogers' FIRE gave Dartmouth a "green light" and Rogers stopped complaining.

If the board ever "reduc(es) the number of alumni trustees," we will know what to watch out for, thanks to your comments.

"Alumni participation in giving, which had been in decline for two decades, only began to revive in the past 5 or so years, in parallel with the petition movement." Not true, and not causative. Alumni giving owes more to the economy than the petitioners.

"…now that 40% of alumni voters were explicitly disenfranchised by the "with prejudice" request of the AoA officers." I do not see how you are "disenfranchised" when your organization drops out of a lawsuit. The franchise is the right to vote, and you can still vote in AOA elections and alumni trustee nominations irrespective of the lawsuit. In addition, your opinion will probably change when you learn that the lawsuit was initiated on the basis of deception and was later proven to lack a mandate from the membership. It seems almost as if someone has deceived you into believing that the lawsuit was legitimately about something it was not.

Anonymous said...

The AoA officers did more than meet member wishes and drop the lawsuit. In cases where a lawsuit is deemed frivolous, the judge can dismiss it "with prejudice", meaning that it cannot be refiled.

The judge did not rule the case frivolous; in fact he ruled it had merit when he denied the college motion to dismiss. However, when asked by the plaintiff who brought the suit to dismiss it "with prejudice", he consented to plaintiff's wishes.

Thus the AoA officers not only did what members wanted this year, but took it upon themselves to forever lock up alumni action even if members might want it in the future. That is disenfranchisement of future votes and voters!

If parity is a new concept, why was a balanced board (what parity means in this context) being negotiated between alumni and trustees way back in 1891?

Anonymous said...

Neither parity nor a balanced board was negotiated in 1891. The board resolved on its own to elect alumni nominees to 5 vacant seats out of 12. They didn’t say “balance,” “half,” “parity,” or any such thing. They said “five.”

The previous AOA officers defied majority opinion by filing the lawsuit against Dartmouth. It was proper for the later and more scrupulous AOA officers to ask that the lawsuit be dismissed with prejudice. Dismissal with prejudice is the end result of a lot of lawsuits, many more than just those that are “frivolous.” The distinction between dismissal with or without prejudice does not have anything to do with alumni voting.

If the previous officers had never filed the lawsuit, then “alumni action” would not have been locked up in the way it was, whatever that means. And was "alumni action" really locked up? Then I do not know how to explain the new alumni lawsuit if it is not "alumni action."

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Anonymous said...

"The board resolved on its own to elect alumni nominees..."

Out of the blue they did this? No. Just because the Board had the power of unilateral action does not mean it did so. Suggesting that their action was absent a context of negotiations with alumni is denying history.

Anonymous said...

"Suggesting that their action was absent a context of negotiations with alumni is denying history."

What's your point? Zzzzz is right. So they talked it over with alumni, and with the legislature too. The resolution was still made by the board alone, and it still says nothing about parity or balance. Neither does the AOA post-resolution commentary and constitution, which quotes the resolution word for word. Alumni didn't come up with "parity" until they needed a reason to file a lawsuit.

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Anonymous said...

Back to the budget. "Real issues"?