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Economics Professor Doug Irwin, who runs the Political Economy Project and does just about everything else that you could expect from a fine professor/scholar/author/public servant/all around nice guy, has penned for the Wall Street Journal the most intelligent commentary that I have seen regarding President Obama’s Cuba initiative:

WSJ Irwin Cuba.jpg

The only lacuna in his piece regards those nations whose political systems we have abhorred, but whom we decided not to embargo. I’m thinking of the Soviet Union and the rest of the erstwhile East Bloc, along with the various right-wing dictatorships that used to dot the globe. As Burton Yale Pines of the Heritage Foundation pointed out in the early 1990’s at an Aspen Institute meeting that I attended with Professor John Rassias, when we conducted commerce and allowed our citizens to visit these regressive countries, the end result was that virtually all of them now have free-market economies and a freer form of government than they did in the first few decades of the post-WWII era.

However, those nations whom we scorned, and whom we have tried over the years to harass into changing their form of government by using trade and travel embargoes — Cuba, China, North Korea, North Vietnam and Laos — are, to a man, still controlled by Communist/totalitarian governments.

Our Republican Congress would do well to heed the lessons of history and lift the legislatively-enacted elements of our embargo against Cuba.

Addendum: The College’s Dartmouth Now website has compiled the views of various College professors on the lifting of Cuba sanctions.

Addendum: As I have mentioned in the past, the Political Economy Project is the most interesting academic initiative currently taking place at the College. PEP will fund and oversee a dozen courses in the current academic year — courses that would not have been taught but for PEP’s alumni funding — in addition to organizing dinners, reading groups, and visiting speakers. If you want to provide a stocking-stuffer to PEP this holiday season, I can’t think of a better charitable contribution. Please e-mail Doug Irwin directly.

You don’t hear much about photography at the College today, but it seems that people like Gary Winogrand spent time holding workshops here in the 1960’s. One of the students that he influenced was Jonathan Sa’adah ‘72:

Jon Saadah Comp.jpg

As a young photographer Sa’adah documented everything from the seminal moments of the 1960’s (the 1969 occupation of Parkhurst Hall — that’s Anthropology Professor Hoyt Alverson holding the microphone):

Parkhurst 1969.jpg

to off-beat life in the Upper Valley:

Jon Saadah Union Village.jpg

Slate Magazine notes that Sa’adah

recently published a collection of images taken around that time through 1975 into a book called How Many Roads? The book, divided into three sections, provides plenty of subtle moments that transport the age-appropriate viewer back in time: Anti-war protests, a broken down VW bus, snapshots of seemingly all American families, and portraits of people who could just as easily be mistaken for your neighborhood barista.

The book is only available through Phoenicia Publishing.

Addendum: What a wonderful photograph:

McGovern.jpg

Addendum: The Hood has purchased several silver-gelatin prints of Sa’adah’s photographs of the Pilobolus dance company ca. 1971-72.

How often did you sit in the Memorial Field stands to cheer as the backs go tearing by? Those seats are no more: the old façade will remain, but the home side area is being entirely re-done.

Memorial Field.jpg

The College’s press release from earlier in the year has more details:

The project will feature wider aisles and concourses, handrails, modern rest rooms, a premium chairback section on the 50-yard line, and accessible seating on three levels connected by an elevator. The new press box will also be accessible by elevator, and will include upgraded technology for video streaming, television and radio broadcasts, and video scoreboard operation.

The West Stands were originally completed in 1923, and the structure has been deemed by engineers to be nearing the end of its useful life. The Trustees originally approved the replacement project in 2008, but it was suspended along with several other campus projects due to the economic downturn. The College had already invested several million dollars in precast concrete, which will now give the project a head start and limit the additional construction cost to $10.5 million…

The project will be the latest in a series of impressive improvements to Memorial Field. A new track and FieldTurf® playing surface were installed in 2006, followed by Floren Varsity House, the new East Stands, and end zone seating in 2007. Field lighting was then installed in 2011 and a new video scoreboard was erected in 2013.

Here’s a rendering of how the final result will look when the 2015 football season begins:

Memorial Field Elevation.jpg

After initially crediting “a rumor” as leading the paper’s reporter to ask about the absorption of the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science by the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice, the Valley News has now edited its story as follows:

Lawrence’s statement, sent in response to a request for comment following a Dartblog post that the center was going to be absorbed by the institute, described the planned changes as intended “to facilitate President (Phil) Hanlon’s vision” for how Dartmouth could contribute to health-care reform, both domestically and internationally. [Emphasis added]

In addition, the VN printed a clarification at the bottom of the piece:

Valley News Clarification.jpg

Merci.

                        

The Daily D’s website has been down for several days, but I don’t think that anyone has noticed.

Now here’s a really fun read. On December 10 we noted in an addendum:

Kim’s other healthcare project at the College was the Center for Health Care Delivery Science. You’ll recall that Kim appointed then-Trustee Al Mulley ‘70 to run this new institute, funded by a $35 million gift, said to be from Trustee Steve Mandel ‘78. You might also recall that Mulley headed the Presidential Search Committee that brought Kim to Hanover. Such endearing mutual support. In any event, it looks like Mulley has run the show as well as any crony can be expected to do, and word has it that the standalone Center will soon be absorbed into the The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice.

On Wednesday the 17th the Valley News wrote a story on the event, after asking the College to “comment on a rumor that the center was going to be absorbed by the institute”:

Mulley Center Comp.jpg

Read the entire story for an example of journalism where nobody is speaking frankly, neither the College nor Rick Jurgens, the Valley News’ writer. If you are short of time, let me translate the entire 902-word piece into plain English for you:

Dartmouth: As we had always planned to do, we are folding Jim Kim’s Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science into the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

VN: I don’t believe you.

Dartmouth: And Al Mulley, who Jim Kim appointed to head the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science, will be staying at the College for a long time.

VN: I don’t believe you.

The Dartmouth crowd is spinning its little heart out — look at the full piece for endless jargon and boilerplate from every College representative — and Jurgens knows it, too, but the strictures of modern journalistic practice restrain him from saying so. However his repeated questions and his choice of quotations communicate what he really thinks.

Playing Kremlinologist has its pleasures, but the world would be a better place if people spoke plainly.

Addendum: The funniest line in the whole story is this one:

[Director of the Dartmouth Institute Elliott] Fisher, who last year became the institute’s director, said that he didn’t know what his opinion at the time would have been about the original decision to create a separate entity, but noted that there was “good theory” that a separate entity might act as a catalyst for innovation. “I think (the center) was successful in catalyzing some important things,” he added. [Emphasis added]

What a great quote. It reminds me of the legal depositions where the person being deposed says “I don’t recall” 149 times. Given that Dr. Fisher has been at Dartmouth since 1986, I have little doubt that he had an opinion — and quite a strong one — about Jim Kim’s decision to give Al Mulley his own fiefdom, rather then integrating the activities of the Center for Health Care Delivery Science into the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice from the very start.

Phil Klay ‘05, who recently won the National Book Award for fiction for his collection of short stories about the Iraq war, Deployment, did well on the Colbert Report:


Addendum: In its July 2008 issue, the Alumni Magazine published a controversial piece about Colbert, whose character claims to be an alum. Some folks did not get the joke.

It would seem that the Admissions department has detected weakness in the number of applicants again this year, and in order to keep the College’s precious yield figures in line with the other Ivies, the number of students admitted via Early Decision has climbed to an all-time high of 483.

Early Decision Admits 2006-2019.jpg

Of these students, The D is reporting that only about 148 are athletes; another 50 athletes have been told that they will be accepted with the pool of students admitted in April. Given that everyone in these two groups of athletes will matriculate, and that one can expect a continuation of the increased number of legacy and private school admits that began with the Class of 2014, our yield figures should be safe for the time being — along with our increased tuition income.

The D also quoted Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Maria Laskaris as noting that “the admitted group of students will represent approximately 41 percent of Dartmouth’s Class of 2019.” That number can be interpreted two ways: that the admitted 483 ED students will be 41% of a class that will therefore number 1,178 students; or that the students from the ED group who actually matriculate — usually about 3% less than those accepted — will be 41% of a class that will therefore number 1,142 students.

Either way (I used the conservative figure in my chart below), the number of students in this year’s freshman class will be similar to last year’s entering class, which numbered 1,152 students — the largest freshman class in Dartmouth’s history:

Freshman Class Size 2006-2019.jpg

When Phil Hanlon was Provost at Michigan, he increased the size of the student body in order to compensate for reduced state funding of the university. He appears to be adopting the same strategy now in Hanover. Certainly the budget will benefit from extra tuition payers, but how will academic life improve when ever more students chase after already-oversubscribed courses and a limited number of dorm rooms?

Addendum: The College boasts that we had a record number of ED applicants this year. That’s no surprise; the word is out there that we accept a larger percentage of students from our ED pool than any other Ivy. Look at this this table of last year’s figures compiled by the Ivy Coach:

Ivy Coach Comp.jpg

In addition, the Daily Pennsylvanian compared the selectivity of the ED admissions cycle at the leading schools that have announced their results this year:

Penn ED stats.jpg

We don’t look too good.

Addendum: The Washington Post lists the early decision rates for a broader range of schools.

Phil’s EVP Rick Mills is proving to be a surprise. To date all reports have been good regarding his attention to detail and seriousness, but the characteristic that has been even more pleasing has been his unrelenting honesty. At the Town Meeting that he held with Provost Carolyn Dever on December 4, he explicitly raised the issue of trust at Dartmouth. He went so for as to show the below claymation video:

Now why would an administrator raise a topic like this? The discussion was summarized as follows in the College’s press release:

Mills says he hopes the meetings will help build trust among members of the College community.

“You don’t get trust because you say ‘trust me,’ ” Mills said. “You build trust and you earn trust over time.” His aim, he said, is to unite around the idea that everyone at the College is working to make Dartmouth better.

Of course, Mills is hoping explicitly to build trust among the various constituencies at the College because there has — for good reason — been so little of it in Hanover over the past twenty years or so. The unholy trinity of Wright/Kim/Folt were unprincipled in their justification of decisions and initiatives, not to mention the conflicts of interest they allowed in multiple appointments to senior positions in the administration. I don’t call someone a liar easily, but these three played fast and loose with the truth whenever it even minimally suited them. Phil Hanlon and his team are a happy, optimism-inducing departure from that course of conduct.

The College’s 2014 accounts (for the fiscal year from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014) are a mixed bag, but they do contain hopeful signs. The original budget was Carol Folt’s, but its administration was Phil Hanlon & Co.’s responsibility .

To start, total spending grew by only 2.1%, the lowest growth since before Jim Wright became President. With little fanfare, the College’s expenses grew less than during any of Jim Kim’s three supposed budget-cutting years.

Dartmouth Expenses 2002-2014.jpg

A sign that the credit does not all go to Carol is that the budget showed an operating surplus of $13.6 million (versus a slight deficit of $1.8 in fiscal 2013). It seems that the administration kept a grip on spending throughout the year.

However the Kim tuition gouge that began with the Class of 2014 contiinued to work its way through the College’s classes. You will recall Kim markedly increased early admissions acceptances (ED applicants have no leverage to negotiate financial aid), admits from private schools (a wealthier demographic) and legacies (a group also more likely to pay full freight), along with tightening up financial aid so that we are the least generous of the Ivies. The end result of these policies is that fewer students at the College receive aid that at any other Ivy.

Net tuition receipts — after deducting for financial aid — grew by 6.2%, the highest growth in over a decade, save for Kim’s 12.2% explosion in 2012. The 6.2% figure far outstripped the 3.8% increase in the tuition, room and board, that the Trustees had announced for the year. Obviously, the College is taking in more money from the same number of students:

Dartmouth Tuition 2003-2014.jpg

Although total salaries and wages grew by 5.25% (from $350.9 million to $369.4 million), spending on employee benefits fell — that’s right — by 1.73% (from $124.6 million to $122.4 million). Why didn’t I think of that?

Let’s hope that these first inklings of fiscal discipline don’t give way to the old profligacy, given the endowment’s strong 19.2% increase during the past year. If Phil wants to formally announce that the rules of the game are changing in Hnaover, he might announce at the March 7-8, 2015 Trustee meeting that there will be no increase at all in tuition, room and board, and fees for the 20154/2016 academic year.

Addendum: The College’s SEIU union contract comes up for renewal on July 1, 2015. Last time around, IP Folt gave away the store with wage hikes of 3%, 3% and 2% over the three years of the accord. Those raises were all above inflation for staffers whose total compensation is already approximately double what comparable workers make in the private sector in the Upper Valley. Thanks, Carol. As we have noted in the past, the College pays market wages to faculty members, and students and their families get gouged with sky-high tuition, but the support staff does better than fine, thank you. For whom is the College being run?

Rubber Stamp.jpgAt Rick Mills’ December 4 Town Meeting, Provost Carolyn Dever noted that the Trustees will review the Moving Dartmouth Forward committee’s recommendations in New York City at a special meeting on January 28, and then Phil will present the group’s proposals to the Dartmouth community on January 29:

Further improvement will come from the Moving Dartmouth Forward process, which Dever said is nearing completion. She said President Phil Hanlon ‘77 will present his plan to address extreme behavior on campus to the Board of Trustees on Jan. 28, and will announce the plan as part of a major address on his vision for Dartmouth’s future; the announcement is slated for delivery to the Dartmouth community on Jan. 29.

Hold on a second. Let me see if I have this straight. The Trustees will meet on January 28 to review the proposals. They will have a long, searching discussion of the pros and cons of the MDF committee’s ideas, to which they will bring to bear their extensive experience with the College, organizational behavior and management; when that discussion has concluded, they will vote unanimously to support the changes to Dartmouth’s ongoing life that the committee has developed — and Phil will present these ideas to the College community the very next day. That’s it, right?

Of course, it is. What you are seeing yet again is that the Board of Trustees is no more than a rubber stamp for anything that the administration wants. But then, how could it be otherwise?

Addendum: The above surmise is the fruit of extended conversations over the years with former Trustees of the College. One Trustee went so far as to assert that his colleagues on the Board did not just have rubber stamps in hand; rather, he said, there was a putative stamping machine in the corner of the boardroom that functioned fulltime. Judge Jose Cabranes suggested as much as in his important article: Myth and Reality of University Trusteeship in the Post-Enron Era.

He could write, he could think, he loved to argue. Christopher Hitchens died three years ago today. He undoubtedly rests in peace in a well furnished library in the ether.

About how many people can you say that you’d read whatever they write, no matter what the subject: the logic was persuasive, the style fluid and delightful, and the conviction always firey bright. The modern Mencken in a different idiom? Who is his equivalent today? Whatever Hitch was, he illustrated the wide gulf between the good and the great.

Hitchens Comp.jpg

I miss him every day.

Addendum: I’ve enjoyed posting about Christopher (never Chris, please) in the past.

Addendum: For students wanting to learn to write well, an intimate acquaintance with any of Hitchens’ writing will teach a great deal by osmosis.

Paul Durand-Ruel1.jpgIn the second half of the 19th century Paul Durand-Ruel (1831-1922; portrayed at right by Renoir in 1910) owned art galleries in Paris, London, Brussels and New York, and at a time when nobody cared for their art, he bought paintings from Monet, Manet, Renoir, Dégas and other artists who would soon be known as Impressionists. “We would have all died from hunger but for Durand-Ruel,” said Monet later in his life. Well, perhaps not died, but rather gone on to other styles of paining or even other work, had not the dealer believed in their creativity and promoted it tirelessly (and profitably). In exchange, Durand-Ruel had right-of-first-refusal contracts with the major Impressionists: he could buy up their works and then release them for sale in an orderly fashion — a little like de Beers does with diamonds. However, beyond his acumen as an innovative, globalizing businessman, Durand-Ruel had a fine eye and a sincere love for the new painting: he kept for himself many of the finest works that passed through this gallery, or even bought back decades later at market prices works that he had had to sell in earlier, less prosperous times. Lucky fellow. He owned Renoir’s three dances: à la Campagne, en Ville, and à Bougival.

Renoir Danses.jpg

I hadn’t ever seen these freshman-year, Art 2 favorites together until attending an exhibition of the most important paintings from Durand-Ruel’s erstwhile collection at the Musée du Luxembourg last week. The show runs until February 8.

Recently we looked at a page in the 1962 Student Handbook, which laid out the obligations incumbent on incoming freshmen. The publication was given to members of the Class of 1966 when they arrived in Hanover. A different page reviews parietals: the rules that limited late-night interactions in dormitories between Dartmouth men and their female acquaintances:

Class of 66 Parietals.jpg

The restrictions lasted for several more years into the 1960’s, until, as the story has been recounted over the decades, the College Proctor opined, “What business of mine is it if a guy wants to discuss Spinoza late into the evening with his girl.” Après ça, le déluge.

The Atlanta Blackstar publication has prepared a list of 9 Big Name Colleges You Didn’t Know Benefited From Slavery. The College merits the #2 position on the list due to the following anecdote:

Slavery Comp.jpg

Dartblog is informed that even today students at the Geisel School of Medicine routinely carve up cadavers as part of their education in anatomy. Such practices now take place with bodies of all races and genders.

TURN TO PAGE TWO


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