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Janet Halley.jpgIn an extended memorandum, Janet Halley, the Royall Professor at Harvard Law School, excoriates the sexual assault enforcement procedures recently enacted at Harvard. The policies are similar to those at Dartmouth, having been guided by regulations and non-binding publications issued by the federal Departments of Justice and Education. Halley’s introductory paragraph:

Today colleges and universities around the country enjoy a moment of special opportunity: a chance to change slipshod, dismissive and actively malign handling of sexual harassment claims, and to offer genuine remedies for victims. But it is also a moment of danger: because one such remedy involves discipline for wrongdoers, the rules must define misconduct to include the conduct we want to sanction and deter (and not socially valuable or unharmful behavior), and to process complaints in a way that is fair to all parties. The new University Policy and Procedures realize these dangers: they provide an overly broad definition of sexual harassment, far beyond anything that federal courts recognize; they trench directly on academic freedom and freedom of speech; they threaten stigmatized minorities with unjustifiable findings of responsibility; they will rush low-income students who cannot afford counsel to unfair judgment; and they are defective on every known scale of equal procedural treatment of the parties and due process. [Emphasis added]

In addition to bringing to bear her legal scholarship on sexual harassment, Halley draws on her “own service as a sexual harassment enforcer in a university setting.” The memo is well written and easily accessible to non-lawyers.

The piece appears to be a detailed follow-up to an open letter to the Boston Globe in which twenty-eight members of the Harvard Law faculty denounced the myriad unfairnesses of Harvard’s new assault policies.

The fact that the procedures are entirely out of touch with traditional notions of legal and adjudicatory fairness illustrates a larger problem in the academy. How is it that Harvard administrators can draft such policies without consulting members of their university’s own Law School faculty? As we have noted in the past, educational administration has become a world of its own, entirely divorced from the learning and experience of scholars. Johns Hopkins Professor Benjamin Ginsberg has written a book on the subject: The Fall of the Faculty, The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why It Matters.

Addendum: Former Yale quarterback Partick Witt, now a student at Harvard Law and previously the object of sexual assault accusations while an undergraduate, has written a piece in the Boston Globe deriding the prosecution of assault charges.

Addendum: The New York Times published a lengthy report in the same vein last Sunday entitled: Mishandling Rape, and it followed up on Wednesday with another piece headlined: New Factor in Campus Sexual Assault Cases: Counsel for the Accused.

Uh, that’s the National Book Award for fiction, which Klay won last night in NYC. NPR reports:

Former Marine Phil Klay took home the National Book Award for fiction, winning the prize for his debut short story collection Redeployment.

Klay, who had been deployed in Iraq, appeared taken aback by the honor on stage.

“I can’t think of a more important conversation to be having — war’s too strange to be processed alone,” he said in his acceptance speech. “I want to thank everyone who picked up the book, who read it and decided to join the conversation.”

Across a dozen stories told in first-person, Redeployment is at its heart a meditation on war — and the responsibility that everyone, especially the average citizen, bears for it. The book beat out a shortlist that included Marilynne Robinson, one of literature’s most celebrated living writers and the favorite coming into the night. Also on the shortlist were Emily St. John Mandel, Anthony Doerr and Rabih Alameddine.

We’ve written about Klay’s fine work twice now (here and here). The ‘05 who wrote to me with the news noted, “Some good news for a change.”

Addendum: The College’s press release also gives background on past Dartmouth winners of the National Book Award.

A persistent student complaint over the years has been the lack of availability of timely mental health counselling at Dick’s House. I’ve always wondered about the perceived need for this kind of support; I guess that the pressures of modern student life are intense enough that many more students need assistance than in my day. But just how bad is this situation? Are we in some kind of invisible crisis?

We’ve writen about the widespread abuse of cocaine at the College, and The D has reported extensively on student use of Adderall and othe stimulants. And while we are on the subject of excesses, there is no need to provide citations to confirm undergraduate overuse of alcohol. But a question needs to be asked: are we dealing with no more than youthful experimentation/exuberance with regard to such substance abuse, or can this behavior fairly be described as self-medication? In his book Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life, William Deresiewicz suggests the latter possibility:

Deresiewicz Mental Health.jpg

The extent of the mental health problem at Dartmouth became more apparent to me via a recent comment on the Improve Dartmouth website by Heather Earle, Director of the College’s Counseling and Human Development service:

As many of you may know, more and more students are feeling increased pressure in many areas of their lives. While many students work at trying to find solutions to these pressures through help from friends and other support systems on campus, increasingly large numbers are seeking counseling assistance. As one example of this increase: in October 2013, CHD had 976 student encounters; in October 2014, CHD had 1355 student encounters. [Emphasis added]

Come again? That’s 1,355 “encounters” last month alone — for a student body of 4,276 undergraduates, not all of whom are on campus for the term, and many of whom, freshmen I expect, have not learned to avail themselves of Dick’s House. So what do you figure? A quarter of our undergrads received mental health counseling in October?

All is not well in Hanover.

Addendum: A recent graduate of the College writes in:

Yes, it really is that bad. “Invisible crisis” is not an overstatement. Many of my friends sought counseling during my time at Dartmouth. And these are just the people who were willing to talk about it — needless to say, sadly there’s a significant stigma associated with mental health issues. Couple the high-achieving Dartmouth student with the general reluctance to ask for help (for fear of seeming weak) and you have a very real problem.

Even more absurd is when students fail classes due to mental health issues, the College politely asks them to take a leave term. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess. Sound like anything else the College deals with?

Addendum: A concerned ‘15 offers a comment:

I read your most recent Dartblog post and I felt compelled to write to you, particularly in light of the SA fleece snafu. While “jacketgate” has left many questioning SA’s role on campus, it is important to recognize that they are, in fact, working tirelessly to tackle some of the most pressing issues at Dartmouth — namely, the mental health crisis that you describe. The “I’m Here For You” initiative that Casey and Frank launched recently has been met with significant enthusiasm, in addition to the “It’s on Us” campaign to combat sexual violence on campus.

While SA misstepped seriously in their use of student funds, let’s not rush to peg them as incompetent and corrupt. This year is the first in my time at Dartmouth when SA engaged seriously with campus issues and made itself a legitimate presence in campus discourse.

Addendum: Look at the size of College’s Counseling and Human Development service: nine psychiatrists/psychologists, three counselors, two nutritionists, five psychiatry/psychology residents/interns, and two administrators.

Addendum: A reader sent in a link to a column in the Dartmouth Mirror by Annie Fagin ‘15 in which she recounts her struggles with depression:

I’m that girl you see in Collis, the one with the starry jeans and the big glasses. If you’ve ever spoken to me, you probably thought I had my act together.

But mental health problems can and do touch many of us here at Dartmouth. My story is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg that is our community’s silence on mental health issues. Our peers and classmates suffer from anxiety, learning disabilities, eating disorders, PTSD, addiction and more. And my perspective is only one of many.

In the November 7 issue of the Mirror, Abigail Hartley ‘16 shares five rules on “Maintaining Sanity” at Dartmouth. One of them is:

See a therapist. I’ve heard the counselors at Dick’s House are a mixed bag. I got lucky and found one I really got along with, but there are also multiple places in town where you can go to dump your problems on someone else for 45 minutes every week. Even if you just don’t feel “right,” talking to a trained professional — not your roommate/best friend/Tuesday night hookup — can totally help.

I guess this is about as official as it’s going to get. As we reported almost two weeks ago, Senior Vice-President for Public Affairs Tommy Bruce is no longer employed at Dartmouth. The College has issued no press release to this effect, thereby sparing us a recitation of how Tommy wants to spend more time with his family, but at least the Public Affairs webpage now notes that an interim SVPPA has been named: erstwhile spokesman Justin Anderson:

Tommy Bruce5 Comp.jpg

Congrats to Phil Hanlon for cutting bait here. No need to struggle forward when the wrong person has been picked for a post. Of course, the question remains as to whether Phil will show similar resolve with Senior Vice President for Advancement Bob Lasher ‘88.

                        

A great deal of commentary is being voiced about the Student Assembly’s misuse of student activity funds. Now there seems to be an organized way to give voice to your anger:

SA Petition.jpg

You can go to the petition here.

SA Fleece.jpgIf the Trustees can dip into the College’s endowment to fund their own investment companies (and garner prestige among their own potential investors by doing so), and the staff can score way-above-market wages and benefits (twice the compensation of their neighbors working the same jobs in the private sector), why shouldn’t the students working on the Student Assembly take the opportunity to use the SA budget to buy $80 Patagonia fleeces for themselves (customized no less)?

The jackets came to a total of $1,876 out of an overall SA budget of $40,000 — that’s 4.69% of the annual budget. Add to that a lovely Panera-Bread-catered lunch for 55 people for $966.23 and the prospect of a SA+dates-only formal (later cancelled) at $2,500 or so, and you would have had more than an eighth of spending going to fleece, food and fun for the student body’s hard-working representatives. No wonder the College has cut the SA’s budget from $76,250 to $69,500 to $58,000 to $40,000 over four years. As a result, the Undergraduate Finance Committee will now review all SA expenditures over $500.

The leaders of the SA, President Casey A. Dennis ‘15 and Vice President​​ Frank. M. Cunningham III ‘16, have written to the student body to say mea culpa (Latin for “my bad”):

SA Letter.jpg

One has to wonder if the student body’s mandatory $83/quarter activities fee couldn’t be put to better use, or just chopped by two thirds.

Addendum: Meet the leadership of the SA.

Addendum: On November 13 The D ran an article on the SA that included the following note:

[SA] Treasurer Forrest Beck ‘15 said the reduced budget has not changed the Assembly’s policy goals, but necessitated certain concessions, such as not fully catering events.

Beck said that the Assembly wanted to bring a guest speaker to discuss mental health in Greek organizations, but could not afford the speaker’s $4,000 fee.

Priorities, priorities…

Addendum: Meanwhile, in other news, the College’s total expenses in the 2013-2014 fiscal year were higher than Brown’s by $78,532,000, even though Brown has a third more students and a third more faculty members than we do. The sum of the College’s wages and benefits spending was $83,487,000 more than Brown’s expenditures on compensation. However, as of publication today Dartblog could not determine whether student leaders at Brown had purchased fleece jackets for themselves with university money.

Addendum: The D’s report on this latest scandal was thorough and well written. Do I detect signs of life in Robo?

Addendum: An undergrad writes in:

I must say I’m pretty incensed at what the SA did. Even if they wanted to foster a sense of community, couldn’t they have bought 9$ printed customized cotton T-shirts like everyone else on campus?

As for me, I’m planning on paying my tuition fees less 83$ when the statements are sent out later this month. I might as well save the cost of the student activities fee and buy myself a Patagonia instead — and I’d encourage other students to do the same until every last cent (or sweater) is returned. This is ridiculous.

If you are ever looking for proof that politics is a dirty business, one of your top exhibits would be the recent appointment of ex-Dartmouth CFO Steven Kadish as Chief of Staff for Massachusetts’ newly elected governor, Charlie Baker. At Harvard the word on Kadish was that he spoke softly so you would not hear his lies, and as Jim Kim’s right-hand man in Hanover, he justly earned a reputation for sleazy financial manipulation. As we predicted, Kadish and his wife left the College hurriedly in his mentor’s wake, probably out of fear that he would be run out of town on a rail had he stayed any longer.

Kadish Mass Comp.jpg

Last week we looked at two campus-wide messages from President Phil Hanlon and Provost Carolyn Dever about civil interaction and academic honesty; we found them weak. Today you might take some time to compare our administrators’ notes with Middlebury President Ron Liebowitz’s reaction to the destruction by a group of Midd students of a 9/11 memorial display that had been created by other students. If I had to share a foxhole with a college president, I know whom I would choose.

Middlebury President Statement Comp.jpg

The campus debate at Dartmouth on free speech has been wan and wanting, to say the least. Free speech is not an absolute right. To offer but a few examples, as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. opined, you cannot falsely yell “Fire” in a crowded theater; safety trumps speech. And you can’t park a sound truck in front of someone’s house and blast political messages at them 24/7; the right of quiet enjoyment in one’s own home trumps speech rights, too. In an academic community, a person has a right to speak, and replies must be civil and respect the right of the speaker to be heard and the audience to listen. That imprecation certainly includes the right to be free from vulgarity — at least as a matter of manners if not the law — most certainly when other forms of expression are up to the task.

English Professor Barbara Will, the leader of the Moving Dartmouth Forward effort, has sent two e-mails to the campus. Students received an extended one, and community members found a shorter version in their e-mail in-box. The biggest difference was the following paragraph, which only undergraduates saw:

What has become very clear during the re-engagement phase is that there is no easy solution to the problems of high-risk drinking, sexual assault and lack of inclusivity. We know that virtually every college campus across the country suffers from the same issues and that no one has found the silver bullet. These problems exist at big universities and small colleges, institutions with Greek systems and those without, rural and urban campuses.

The campus saw a shorter version:

Moving Dartmouth Forward.jpg

It appears that people voicing a concern that Professor Charlie Wheelan ‘88 so artfully articulated — that proof is lacking regarding the cause and effect relationship of the Greek system and the College’s social ills — have made themselves heard. At least students have been told so.

Addendum: The links in the above screenshot are:

Full committee timeline: http://forward.dartmouth.edu/about/timeline/
Moving Dartmouth Forward website: http://forward.dartmouth.edu/

Addendum: You can find the full e-mail that students received in the extended:

You can stop complaining about the absence of speakers on campus regarding your favorite topic du jour. Send in a suggestion:

PEP Projects.jpg

pep@dartmouth.edu
jason.p.sorens@dartmouth.edu

The Athletics department seems to be acting on its own to punish varsity athletes who were caught sending in a clicker with a friend to the Religion 65 class. Offenders are being asked to sit out one game or more of the department’s choosing. This posture seems fair, so as not to punish the entire team in a single game for the infractions of a few teammates.

Valley News reporter Tris Wykes made the following observation regarding this past weekend’s football game against Brown:

[Running back Brian] Grove, linebacker Eric Wickham and receiver Victor Williams were not on the sidelines for the game. [Football Coach Buddy] Teevens would say only that the trio violated team rules last week.

It is unclear whether other non-starting players did not dress.

No members of the men’s soccer team appeared to be sitting out in the 3-0 victory over Brown.

We’ll see who is not present for the season-ending football game against Princeton this weekend. If Yale beats Harvard, and then we lose to Princeton due to the absence of players who violated the College’s honor code — and thereby not share in the Ivy football title with Harvard and Yale, potentially our first title since 1996 — you can bet that athletes will tell the story for decades, and be more than adverse to breaking the College’s core rules ever again.

Addendum: The Athletics department’s sit-down punishment for athletes is independent of whatever sanctions the College will mete out. If players on winter and spring teams have to take terms off due to College sanctions, they will sit out contests when they return

Addendum: Today’s D reports on the number of athletes taking Religion 65:

Varsity athletes comprise just under 70 percent of the 272-person class, including more than half of the football team, or 61 players, more than half of the men’s hockey team, or 16 players, and more than two-thirds of the men’s basketball team, or 12 players. The men’s soccer team has 10 players in the class, and the baseball, women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse teams each have nine. Athletes in the class represent 24 of Dartmouth’s 34 varsity teams, and about a quarter of Dartmouth students are varsity athletes.

Who’s gonna play Princeton?

Erratum: The above post contained several errors of fact that have now been corrected as we gather more information.

There will come a point when the free association cue of “Dartmouth” will cause people to hold their nose. Perhaps in New Hampshire we are already there:

Union Leader.jpg

What a pleasure it would be if the College occasionally made the headlines for innovative programs, the arrival of exciting new professors, or the cutting of tuition.

Addendum: On and on and on:

CHE Cheating Comp.jpg

Munich Column.JPGMunich was bombed repeatedly (71 raids from 1940-1945) and fought over once in WWII — not that you could tell that fact on a visit today. Just as I was struck by Mainz’s material progress between 1976, when I lived there in the fall on LSA, and on a return trip to see my host family in 2004, so does Munich show all the indicia of wealth that one could hope to see: lovely, restored buildings; elegant shops; and a cleanliness that only Swiss cities can rival. Yet, unlike Berlin, or even our neighborhood in Paris, the civic fathers have chosen to scrub away almost all traces of the war, save for a few. The columns of the Palais an der Oper (right) and the nearby Opera itself show signs of shrapnel blasts from aerial bombing.

Erasing memories strikes me as the wrong approach to history. When the wounds of war are visible, passers-by can’t but think of their good fortune to live in a time of peace. Munich has come a long way since 1945:

Munich bombed.jpg

Addendum: The Wall Street bombing of 1920, thought to have been perpetrated by Italian anarchists, killed 38 people when an explosive device carried in a horse-drawn wagon was detonated across the street from the headquarters of the J.P. Morgan Bank at 23 Wall Street. That event, too, left its mark on masonry, and to this day the Bank has respectfully chosen not to patch the pockmarks from the terrorist attack.

Wall Street Bombing 1920.jpg

Addendum: An alumnus in the military writes in to note that the Ford Island control tower at Pearl Harbor has been preserved in memory of the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941.

Oahu Control Tower.jpg


The Navy itself notes:

The tower is where a radioman issued the first radio broadcast of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor at 8:05 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941. Exploding bombs shattered lower-level windows during the assault.

“The tower is part of the Navy’s history and our country’s history, and it is important that we continue to preserve this historical site,” said Rear Adm. Dixon Smith, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. “As the history of Pearl Harbor continues with current and future generations to come, we need to have memorials and reminders of all the important history that happened here more than 65 years ago.”

Rauner, Kitzhaber and Wolf, oh my. They may be politicians, but they are Dartmouth politicians: Bruce Rauner ‘78 (R-Illinois), John Kitzhaber ‘71 (D-Oregon) and Tom Wolf ‘71 (D-Pennsylvania) were elected to the governorships of their states on November 4.

Dartmouth Governors 2014.jpg

In his first run for elective office, Rauner received the votes of 50.8% of Illinois voters. He won every county in the state, except for Chicago’s populous Cook County, which he lost by a 2:1 ratio. Kitzhaber won an unprecedented fourth term as Oregon’s governor with 49.4% of the vote, and if he serves his full term, he will be the nation’s second longest-serving governor. Another newcomer to elective politics, Wolf won in Pennsylvania with a 54.9% majority; in contrast to Rauner, he easily won his state’s urban areas, including 88% of the voters in Philadelphia County, which accounted for almost his entire margin of victory.

Addendum: There are four sitting U.S. Senators who graduated from the College: Angus King ‘66 (I-Maine); Rob Portman ‘78 (R-Ohio); Kirsten Gillibrand ‘88 (D-New York); and John Hoeven ‘79 (R-North Dakota).

One begins to get the feeling that Phil is going to be little more than a caretaker President, someone who nibbles at the edges of problems rather than taking the decisive moves that the College had needed for several decades. Reappointing Mike Mastanduno as Dean of the Faculty is a case in point. Like Phil, Mike spends little time with the faculty in their departments, and as a result, we see the kind of drift that marks the rest of the College. Sure, there is lots of talk about interdisciplinary this and that, but does Mike have anything substantive to show for his five years in office (or for his 28 years in Hanover?) — since he was predictably appointed by Jim Kim and Carol Folt? Can anyone recall field-leading professors moving to Hanover or exciting scholarly initiatives?

Beyond an overarching vision for the future (what George Bush called “the vision thing” — as evidence that he didn’t have one), a chief executive must have an eye for strong people. When Phil allows someone like Mastanduno to carry on, he tells us that he is comfortable with the mediocre status quo at the College. As I keep saying, Mike is a nice guy with a good sense of humor, but that isn’t enough.

Mastanduno Reappointment.jpg

The only questions remaining are whether the more accomplished members of the faculty will raise their voices against Mastanduno, and whether Phil will listen to them. Other than the usual set of sycophants, Mike has few supporters out in the trenches.

TURN TO PAGE TWO


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