Saturday, July 17, 2010

Begin the Revolution

Well, that sure didn't take long. Looks like concern that the Administration would delay their decision over what to do about the River turned out to be unfounded. Instead, they rendered it less than 48 hours later.

From Blitz:

Dear Dartmouth Students:

We are writing to update you on this summer's swimming options. As you may already be aware, students and the Administration have been working together to develop and review proposals for the safe use of the waterfront. The Administration has reviewed the recommendations received to date and has concluded that we do not have viable alternatives that can be implemented this summer.

As such, the College will continue to provide free shuttles to Storrs Pond on weekends. We are also working with the student leaders at Ledyard Canoe Club to continue to offer free use of canoes and kayaks through the end of the summer term.

None of us are happy with the current situation. We are committed to working together to find a safe and fun alternative for the summer. We will be working with Student Assembly to form a Task Force to explore longer term options for use of the College controlled areas of the waterfront. It will be very important that the Task Force members represent the breadth of the student community. In addition, College staff and faculty with particular areas of expertise will be asked to assist. While Student Assembly is developing its appointment process, please blitz Campus Life if you are interested in participating, or have ideas that should be considered.


Sylvia C. Spears, Ph.D.
Acting Dean of the College

April Thompson
Associate Dean of the College for Campus Life

Aaron R. Limonthas '12 Summer Term Student Assembly President
John R. Rutan '12 Class Council President
Satoshi W. Harris-Koizumi '12 Class Council Vice-President

I hope Mr. Blalock is ready to rush his troops to action.


John said...

What puzzles me is why the College ever did anything to facilitate swimming in the Connecticut. When I rowed in freshman crew in the 1960s, you could see (expressing the matter politely) raw sewage floating down the river. I guarantee you, none of the guys wanted to fall into what was in effect an unflushed toilet. I don't know if things have changed, but I doubt if they've changed that much.

What we seem to have, though, on top of the College actually adopting a sound policy following some decades of unsound policy, is student government leaders learning how to sell out in the standard political environment. Interestingly, there's been some incisive comment in the past week or two on just this subject, which I refer to here. Dartlog, this is the sort of thing that applies directly to the Ivy League as well as some parts of the conservative movement. Why aren't you guys on top of this?

Anonymous said...

Only John Bruce could try to make a logical connection between raw sewage and the meritocratic ideal of American education...

By the way, ever hear of the Clean Water Act?

John said...

Google is your friend: "The Connecticut River was better known as 'America's Best Landscaped Sewer'," Gwyther says. For decades was unsafe to swim in, much less drink (and in some areas still isn't). The river today is impacted by sewage, pollution, and development. Chelsea Gwyther explains that we use the river for sewage disposal, and in high run-off or flooding events, municipalities actually pump raw sewage directly into the river. "Often times after a flood event when the water is still up, it's still not safe to swim in the river, or some of the tributaries, because of raw sewage coming downstream."

Let me just ask this: if you look at the Daily D's reporting on the decision to terminate the swimming, isn't it peculiar that April Thompson just keeps saying basically er, nothing special, no, nothing's changed, er, nothing that extra lifeguards would affect, er, just an ongoing conversation about safety. Seems like what they're trying to do at Parkhurst is deflect the possibility that anyone might conclude that nobody'd noticed this problem for 35 years.

If I were the angry sophomores or The Dartmouth Review, I'd be demonstrating over $50K-plus per year for this, and it's a third-rate education. As evidence, I'd cite the lack of basic research skills by the average anonymous commenter at Dartlog.

Anonymous said...

The river "was" known as a sewer in the past at Springfield, but since then it has become safe to swim in at Hanover. The most recent sample collected at Wilder Picnic Area showed 4 colony-forming units of E. Coli per 100 ml, which is safe for swimming.

I do have to wonder about the reasonability of anyone who tries to read something about water pollution between the lines of a few stories on the swim dock. In fact the college would probably like to have pollution to point to as an additional justification for the swimming ban, but it cannot honestly do so.

Our Mr. "Research Skills" seems to be the same genius who had Dartmouth reporting 25% of its students in senior societies. He shares Brandon Lachner's mindset and respect for evidence. This might be a shock, but the college was not frozen in amber the moment you guys left.

Anonymous said...

Just for comparison, 88 CFU/100mL is the state maximum for a public freshwater swimming area.

John said...

But we do have it as generally accepted that during heavy rains, municipalities pump raw sewage into waterways. In fact, California beaches are routinely closed for just this reason. So it seems to me that, with readings regularly taken near the College docks, it would be logical that following some period of heavy rain -- which must certainly have occurred during the last 35 summers -- swimming in the Connecticut would be suspended, just as it routinely is at beaches, for exactly the same reason, raw sewage and surface runoff contamination. Can anyone cite any time when this has happened? The DOC site refers only to "weather permitting" restrictions on swimming -- presumably not in a thunderstorm.

Reclamation said...

FYI the river is a bit different from the Pacific Ocean in some ways. For example, it doesn't have tides, and it doesn't have a lot of municipal sewer outlets upstream from Hanover.

Hanover's award-winning sewage treatment plant is downstream from the dock, so that wouldn't be a problem even if it did overflow sometimes like a big-city sewer system.

You should try fishing there.

the great santa said...

Wonder why John still thinks the river's an "open sewer" and that's the real reason for the swimming ban.

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