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Phil’s office keeps sending out to parents and alumni the same form letter that was drafted and distributed last week. Sad stuff, really. On one side we have a clear declaration that “vandalization” of a BLM display occurred — no quibbling there — and on the other we still have the words “political protest” as a description of the angry mob that invaded Berry. Here’s an e-mail that went out today:
Phil’s Message to the Community dated yesterday was better, even if it did seem to say that both sides bore the blame for intemperate shouting.
After close to two and a half years in office, Phil does not seem to have molded his personal staff into a smooth-running machine. Does that tell you anything about his abilities as a manager?
The Valley News’ investigative reporter/muckraker Jim Kenyon has published a two-part series on the 2008 dismissal of hugely popular Dartmouth Outdoor Programs Office director Andy Harvard ‘71 (Part 1 and Part 2). On July 15, 2008, this space’s headline read: Andrew Harvard ‘71 Fired as DOC Director; The D’s story took the College’s line: OPO director Andy Harvard steps down.
Harvard is perhaps the College’s most accomplished mountaineer with four ascents of Everest among other feats to his credit. In 2004 he gave up a varied career as a corporate lawyer, filmmaker and entrepreneur to return to Hanover to lead the Outdoor Programs Office, where his proudest accomplishments were the rejuvenation of the Outing Club and the re-building of Fred Harris Cabin. However after four years on the job, a period that included a 2007 NCAA nation championship in skiing and the great affection of students, Andy was abruptly dismissed. The ostensible reason: sloppy paperwork, late budgets and erratic job performance.
There was some truth to these charges, especially in that Andy was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease the following year, but not meeting paperwork deadlines does not get you fired out of the blue at Dartmouth. Actually, poor job performance hardly ever results in sacking at the College, but not being a team player certainly does. Andy had fought hard against the administration’s creeping nanny state attitudes: he wanted to teach students leadership and responsibility. For example, he insisted that DOC members could lead their own, chaperone-free trips to places like the Grand Tetons. He gave students the same freedoms that he had enjoyed as the undergraduate leader of the Outing Club.
The big herd of little minds in Parkhurst did not like such open displays of independence; they had been gunning for Andy for a good, long time, just as they have rousted out of the College’s ranks many other people who have argued against the party line. As it turns out, men were disproportionately the victims of this ongoing campaign, which reached its height in the following years under Jim Kim. The word is that the pattern was so clear that the General Counsel’s office wrote a letter to Kim noting that the College was at serious risk in a gender discrimination lawsuit. Kim brushed it off.
The College dangled a severance package in front of Andy, to be paid only on the condition that he keep his mouth shut about the dismissal. As Kenyon reports, the threat constituted huge pressure on Andy to not complain publicly about his treatment or even admit that he had been fired. Longtime readers of this space will recognize the paradigm here: dismissals are never announced as such in Hanover.
To date, seven years later, Andy and the administration have not come to an agreement on a severance package, despite medical confirmation that Andy had been suffering from Alzheimer’s while on the job. Andy and his family have argued for his inclusion in the College’s disability plan, which could have led to payments to Andy in the area of $200,000.
The College’s hardline attitude towards a once favorite son is hard to fathom, except for the rejection of Andy’s independent attitude. As we have reported, Dartmouth is more than generous with severance payments. In 2009 President Jim Wright and VP for Finance Adam Keller left their jobs after having been given the boot by the Trustees (Wright) and by Jim Kim (Keller) for disastrous job performance. According to the College’s IRS Form 990, both continued to receive severance payments at least through 2013 — the time period covered by the latest public filing. During the 2010-2013 period, Wright received a total of $2,335,985 and Keller took in $2,458,105. When the next Form 990 comes out in May, we’ll know if these payments continued into 2014 .
All in all, Kenyon’s two columns depict a mean-spirited College administration that had it in for Andy Harvard ‘71. Kenyon has the story right.
Addendum: Andy’s Class of 1971 is coming up on its 45th reunion. I wonder if the Class will decide to do right by Andy rather than contribute to the administration’s continued wasteful mismanagement.
Addendum: An alum from a recent class writes in:
When Jim Wright spoke at Homecoming, I always recall him closing his remarks by reminding students of the “oldest Dartmouth tradition: look out for one another.” I sincerely hope that the embarrassment generated by the Valley News will get the College to put its money where its “mouth” is and finally do right by Andy Harvard… but I suppose I shouldn’t get my hopes up.
Eleven days after the November 12 Berry Library invasion by BLM protesters, Phil Hanlon has come out with another letter to the Dartmouth community — perhaps in replacement of his weak-kneed first effort of November 13. It would seem that Phil has had his knuckles rapped by someone. Could the Trustees have weighed in? Or is e-mail to the President’s office running ten to one against the aggressors, and so Phil is listening to the prevailing wind just like Dean Ameer?
That said, note how Phil strains to establish some moral equivalency in the underlined section of the above letter. He points out something that I have heard from no quarter: that students already in the library may have shouted back at the aggressive demonstrators. Heaven forfend if it’s true; shame on Phil if it’s not.
Addendum: A reader comments:
At least, the College is now “actively investigating all reports of violations of College policy” and not hiding behind the bogus lack of any “official” complaints, but the proof is in the pudding. We shall see if (a) anything actually happens, or if (b) student privacy rights will trump any reports of discipline for violations (extremely likely), or if (c) the administration is hoping that it all goes away over the winter break. I’m cynical enough to expect that the last of those three possibilities will prove to be the case. I would love to be wrong.
Here’s a wan apology if there ever was one: only through listening has Dean Inge-Lise Ameer come to understand that “not everyone” believes that a mob of students screaming racist imprecations has no place in Berry Library. But does she?
Ameer also apologizes for making a generalization slandering conservatives, though she can’t bring herself to tell us why she said what she said, nor why she was wrong in making the statement:
This space pointed out from the very start that Dean Ameer’s appointment by Provost Carolyn Dever was a serious mistake. Ameer had neither the training nor the background to be the Dean of the College (note: though her official title is Vice Provost for Student Affairs, she is doing the job of the Dean in its traditional sense at Dartmouth). Her only qualification is that she appears to be in synch with the diversity-besotted views of Provost Dever. Amazingly enough, Dean Ameer is the proud holder of a doctoral degree from Harvard. Read her full thesis here, though the abstract may be enough:
Day-to-day race relations at Harvard College: The student perspective
Ameer, Inge-Lise. Harvard University,
Author Ameer, Inge-Lise, Pages 156 p.
Publication year 2002, Degree date 2002
Advisor: McLaughlin, Judith Block
Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, universities and colleges in the United States witnessed an increase in tense race relations among students. Undergraduates describing the racial climate on their campuses conclude that the day-to-day racial tensions are the most difficult to negotiate. (Turner, 1994) This study explores the characteristics of daily “cross-race interactions” (Hurtado, 1994), the routine social and academic interactions for students of color and white students at Harvard College.
Distinguishing this study from previous research on racial climate is its emphasis on exploring students’ experiences and interpretations of their day-to-day positive and negative cross-race interactions. Based on semi-structured interviews with seven African American, seven Latino, seven Asian American and seven white undergraduates, it examines students’ interpretations of these interactions, the differences in racial groups’ descriptions and reports of their experiences, and the strategies students employ to develop successful cross-race relationships. Data analysis incorporates two processes: drafting analytical memos (Strauss, 1987) and transcribing and coding the interviews and memos (Patton, 1990).
The study’s findings indicate that students experience a strained civility in their cross-race interactions in extra-curricular activities, in housing, and in the curriculum. Students arrive with different orientations: white students arrive excited about being part of the most racially diverse community they have ever belonged to. Students of color, on the other hand, are primarily focused on exploring their own racial identities with other students of color. As a result, students of color face nervous and awkward moments with white students who have little skills or strategies for living daily in a racially diverse community. Comparatively, white students experience students of color as not being interested in them. These factors contribute to tense daily cross-race interactions and result in students across race turning to racial stereotypes for explanations of these interactions.
White students and students of color who do experience positive cross-race interactions either came from uniquely diverse secondary schools or made positive cross-race interactions at college a top priority, seeking them out through extra-curricular activities and in race-related courses.
There are also tensions intra-racially. African American students feel tension from Afro-Carribeans; Mexican-American students have tense cross-race interactions with Cuban-American and Argentinean Americans; and the Asian American students face tensions based on country of origin.[Emphasis added]
Is such scholarship — I use the term very advisedly — the kind of thing that Harvard now rewards with the title of Doctor of Philosophy? Twenty-eight chats with students that one then writes up through a lens of political correctness.
The abstract alone contains generalizations that would cause any honest social scientist to cringe. I would have thought it self-evident that many students of color go to college for the same reasons as other students: to study the liberal arts and to obtain sufficient intellectual training to go on to become scholars, scientists, doctors, lawyers and entrepreneurs. But maybe I don’t listen as well as Dean Ameer?
She needs to find another job, and fast. Phil?
The NY Post ran an editorial last Thursday about Dean Ameer’s “apology”:
I wonder what the Post’s half-million daily print and millions of on-line readers think about Dartmouth now.
Addendum: Who hired a person like Vice Provost for Student Affairs Inge-Lise Ameer anyways? Actually, Phil hired her as interim Dean, and then Provost Carolyn Dever appointed her as Vice Provost. Are you drawing conclusions about Phil and Carolyn?
Addendum: The WSJ ran a piece today entitled: A Campus Mayhem Syllabus: The grievance protests spread, and the adults keep rolling over. The College received a special mention:
Dollars to doughnuts Phil and his merry band of appeasers are busy right now drafting a diversity plan similar to the one that Brown has just announced:
Of course, if screaming at dedicated students in Berry Library will get you a $100 million diversity plan, I bet that sacking the President’s mansion will produce $150 million, and burning Dartmouth Hall to the ground will have the administration cough up $200 million. At least that’s the lesson that I would take away from administrators who cave in to the pressure of an unruly mob.
Addendum: A reader writes in about the dangers of giving in to the threat of violence:
And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.
Let’s not forget that despite the administration’s fecklessness, good things are happening all over the College. Football, which tied for the Ivy championship yesterday (Thank you, Penn!) for the first time since 1996, is on the way to building a dynasty — or at least a string of competitive teams. Thoughtful, well produced recruiting videos like this one are evidence of the increasing excellence in the Athletics Department:
Would you want your athlete to go to school with these guys? I sure would.
Addendum: From all reports, the most inclusive, diverse part of the College is the Athletics Department and the teams that represent Dartmouth. Of course, the folks there rarely primp and preen about that aspect of what they do; they are entirely focused on winning their next game. That the rest of the College could be as serious.
We went to see Suffragette and The Martian this week at cinemas on the Champs Elysées, and we were frisked by a security guard entering both movies. I hadn’t been patted down in a public place since I don’t know when — until I did recall: London in the mid-1980’s, when I was there working for Bain. At that time, you could not see a movie or a play without someone looking inside your briefcase and giving you the once over. The Irish Republican Army waged an active war of terror in London for the last thirty years of the 20th century, with several hundred different incidents, mostly bombings, on over 140 separate days that caused 38 deaths and hundreds of wounded. Here’s a summary of attacks during the time I lived in Britain’s capital:
During the IRA’s war on Britain there were periods of sustained aggression, like the first week of October in 1993:
London learned to deal with the incidents, just as Paris will. While La Capitale’s hoteliers are suffering a wave of cancellations, you can be confident that this, too, shall pass — or we’ll get used to it. We’ve seen it all before, even if the press gnashes teeth and wrings hands as if something unprecedented has occurred.
Addendum: During the same 1970-2000 period in London, there were also ten acts of terrorism by Arab groups.
Palaeopitus is a senior society, founded in 1899, which unites campus leaders in service to Dartmouth College. Palaeopitus connects students with administration by advocating on behalf of the student body to high-level administrators.
In an e-mail to the campus yesterday, the society found it possible to take issue with the tone of criticism of the violent Berry Library invasion by students supporting the Black Lives Matter movement — without even obliquely alluding to the inappropriateness of the BLM action itself. Their logic seems to be that if a group is the subject of a couple of torn T-shirts and aggressive posts on Yik Yak, it may respond as violently as it wants:
From: Student Assembly
Date: Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 5:09 PM
Subject: A Statement from the Palaeopitus Senior Society
Dear Students and Community Members,
In these past weeks, campus dialogue has turned toward race, inclusion and safety on campus. Last Thursday’s Black Lives Matter protest has become a focal point in this conversation.
Criticisms of the protest’s methodology have dominated discourse both here and in national media. It is the purpose of any institution of higher education to foster an intellectual environment that encourages both respectful dialogue and dissent. While some criticism of the protest has been respectful, we are dismayed at the form that much of the backlash against the protest has taken on campus. When students post racist comments online or direct slurs or threaten fellow community members, they only reinforce the bigotry those who protested were attempting to highlight and address.
As seniors, our delegation has witnessed firsthand the cyclical nature of protest at Dartmouth. The protests have catalyzed important conversations, but too often, pressing issues are raised by marginalized communities only to be dismissed outright or met with anger, even threats of violence. It is upsetting to see the issues raised by the protest—namely, racism on campus—recede into the background in favor of ad hominem attacks and outright racism. Thursday night reminded us that there are students on this campus who feel unsafe. That there are students who feel marginalized or threatened is a serious problem, and we must not dismiss this message by refusing to engage with it.
These conversations extend beyond the confines of our campus. Racial injustice exists in an important national context that includes the events at the University of Missouri and Yale University as well as the broader Black Lives Matter movement, which seeks to fight police violence and systemic inequality.
We as a delegation are comprised of student leaders from disparate walks of life, and each of us wishes to affirm our commitment to addressing racism on this campus. This winterim, Palaeopitus Senior Society will be soliciting feedback from the community on ways to continue the dialogue on these vital, difficult issues. We will be reaching out to administrators, students and staff on the best steps moving forward.
We encourage you to submit questions, comments or concerns through this google form, and we hope to have a concrete plan of action by winter term.
Palaeopitus Senior Society 2016 Delegation
Aniksha Balamurugan, Hui Cheng, John Comerci, Frank Cunningham, Kirk Davis, Nathaniel Goss, Zac Hardwick, Shagun Herur, Felipe Jaramillo, Charlotte Kamai, Katie McKay, Deidra Nesbeth, Victoria Nevel, Daniela Pelaez, Tyler Rivera, Robert Scales, Maclean Simonson, Jordyn Turner, Sarah Waltcher [Emphasis added]
One would hope that the self-evident blindness and moral bias of these campus leaders would be challenged by senior members of the administration. That’s what a teaching moment is, right? Nope. Just the opposite. Dean of the College Rebecca Biron (“Biron is a professor of Spanish and comparative literature whose research and teaching focus on Latin American literary and cultural studies, literary theory, gender studies, and Mexican cultural criticism”) writes to applaud the students’ letter:
From: Rebecca E. Biron
Sent: Friday, November 20, 2015 5:33 PM
To: Student Assembly
Cc: Inge-Lise Ameer; Philip J. Hanlon; Carolyn M. Dever
Subject: Re: A Statement from the Palaeopitus Senior Society
Dear Palaeopitus 2016 Delegation
(Aniksha Balamurugan, Hui Cheng, John Comerci, Frank Cunningham, Kirk Davis, Nathaniel Goss, Zac Hardwick, Shagun Herur, Felipe Jaramillo, Charlotte Kamai, Katie McKay, Deidra Nesbeth, Victoria Nevel, Daniela Pelaez, Tyler Rivera, Robert Scales, Maclean Simonson, Jordyn Turner, Sarah Waltcher),
I applaud your statement to the students today. It is reasoned, calm, thoughtful, and productive. Your solicitation of comments and ideas from the community is a great first step toward formulating a plan for continuing dialogue on campus in winter term and beyond. Your leadership on this is exemplary. Thank you.
Please know that I will support this effort, as well as efforts originating from the administration and other student groups, to do the hard work of building a pluralistic community at Dartmouth. Everyone belongs. Everyone deserves to be heard. At this Liberal Arts College, we must continually teach and practice the skills necessary to listen and learn from each other.
One is left to wonder just how far the BLM movement can go before an adult on campus will take issue with its tactics. Pretty far, I think.
Last Wednesday evening, November 18, the College held a social gathering in Manhattan to allow Phil Hanlon to get together with 75-80 NYC-based Dartmouth parents. The event took place at a private apartment on the Upper East Side. Phil started off with his usual fifteen-minute stump speech — the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network, Moving Dartmouth Forward, we love your kids and we’re lucky to have them in Hanover, I’m teaching the Mathematics of Sports, it’s all great at the College — and then he asked for questions.
He got them. But they were all about Black Lives Matter and the library invasion, and many of the Manhattan parents were in no mood for soft answers. About a half dozen parents in a row gave Phil an earful: they wondered why they heard nothing about the events in Berry Library from the College; why everything came to them from the press; why were their children at a school where aggressive demonstrators could invade a place reserved for study; were the demonstrators going to be punished; what was Phil going to do in response? In short, the parents wanted to know, “What the hell is going on?”
Recall that this event is taking place in one of the finer precincts of NYC among parents who are likely paying full boat for their kids to be at Dartmouth, and who could well contribute serious money to the upcoming capital campaign (it has been upcoming for a long while now, don’t you think?) [Note: At the recent Alumni Council meeting, Ann Root Keith, Chief Operating Officer of Advancement, said that the capital campaign could begin “as soon as 2017.” Methinks that the quiet phase of the campaign is pretty quiet].
Phil did not, uh, wow the crowd with his responses. He tried to defend Dean Ameer, whose remark critical of conservatives did not play well with some people in the crowd. Phil finally fell back and said, “I need to look into this further.” When asked what could be done to resolve situations like this, he opined that at Michigan the administration had put together discussion groups to bring opposing parties together to sort out their differences. Sheesh.
At that point, Trustee Peggy Tanner Epstein ‘79 stepped in to try to address relieve the tension. She noted that similar disturbances were taking place at many schools across the country (a lousy argument, by the way). Finally the evening’s host suggested that people change the subject and simply enjoy themselves at her home. The party broke up soon after.
What to say? Phil probably risks losing the support of a good many parents. Rather than showing leadership, he made everyone aware of its absence.
The Trustees have a lot to talk about.
Does anyone who attended the event want to add a comment or two?
Addendum: On November 19 Dean of the College Rebecca Biron sent the following e-mail to many parents and members of the extended Dartmouth community:
From: “Dean of the College Rebecca Biron”
Date: November 19, 2015 at 4:03:45 PM EST
To: Undergraduate Parents:;
Subject: Message to the Community
Dear Parents & Families,
Many of you may have heard reports of a demonstration at Dartmouth last week. Some of you have reached out with concerns. Please know that the safety and wellbeing of all students is our highest priority and we are supporting all of our students as they move into the final exam period of fall term.
We have seen many portrayals of what transpired the evening of November 12, and some sources have greatly mischaracterized the evening’s events. At this point, the College has no confirmed reports of physical violence. We have been and will continue to review any information thoroughly and, as always, will rely on the Standards of Conduct to determine any violations.
I would like to share with you last Friday’s message from President Hanlon to the Dartmouth campus community. I also encourage you to read the College’s “Statement Regarding Recent Student Protest in Baker-Berry Library” (http://www.dartmouth.edu/press-releases/statement-regarding-student-protest.html).
Dean of the College
Message to the Community
November 13, 2016
Dear students, faculty, and staff,
At its best and strongest, Dartmouth is a place where every person is treated with dignity and respect, where we move beyond stereotypes and caricatures and learn about each other as individuals, and where we discuss challenging issues with a shared goal of making our community—and our world—more inclusive and more just. Recent events at college campuses across the country serve as a reminder that there is more work to do to strengthen our community.
We have the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others, to recognize our own limitations, to broaden our understandings, and to see issues from new perspectives. That’s why we’re here.
Although we have more to do here at Dartmouth, we have a wealth of diversity on this intimate campus. Every day we have the chance to interact with classmates, professors, and staff whose experiences are dramatically different from our own. We must take advantage of these opportunities. But a diverse environment is only a first step; what we must continue to strive for is a diverse community.
This fall we inaugurated a Dartmouth citizenship pledge, drafted by students, faculty, and staff, in which we recommitted ourselves to these principles:
“We learn together. We teach one another. We create knowledge together. We treat ourselves and each other with dignity and respect. We recognize that our diverse backgrounds broaden our understanding of the world. We appreciate that an honest and civil exchange of ideas—especially conflicting ones—strengthens our intellect and makes for an inclusive community.”
These are not just words on a page. The inclusion and safety of all members of our campus is a responsibility we each hold as citizens of the Dartmouth community. Each of us should play a role in confronting harmful and hurtful behavior. We should not tolerate acts of prejudice. We must be ready to listen with respect. And we should expect to be spoken to with respect. Free expression and the open exchange of ideas are the essential underpinnings of this, and every, academic community.
We have much to learn and much to do—here, and in the wider world—to make every person feel welcomed and valued, to confront acts of bias and ignorance, to engage in respectful conversations about challenging topics with people who have a diversity of opinions, and to increase our diversity in all areas of our community. Like so many in the Dartmouth family, I am committed to pursuing these goals. I ask you to join us, and thank you for your partnership.
Phil Hanlon ‘77
Dartblog has learned that today at about noon the College’s Bias Impact Response Team (BIRT) website received an anonymous report regarding the invasion of Baker/Berry Library by disruptive and abusive protestors. BIRT’s procedures allow for anonymous complaints by people not present at events of bias, violence, racism, etc.:
I know the identity of the person who submitted the report, but I have promised my wife that I would not tell anyone that it was me.
While various self-interested parties try to cast doubt on what went on in Berry Library on the evening of November 12, students know full well what happened. They also know that anyone stepping forward to complain of the harassment meted out by the BLM activists will receive more of the same for months to come.
I’ve asked a couple of eyewitnesses to describe their own experiences on November 12:
To date, it seems that Phil continues to hide behind the “nobody complained” excuse.
Erratum: It turns out that the College announcement was, shall we say, imprecise. Exams were never scheduled for today. The College Director of Communications, Justin Anderson, sent me this explanation:
The suspension on the Saturday during fall term exam period is not new. It’s been standard operating procedure since the calendar change several years ago. It is the result of an Ivy League rule that prohibits regular season games during reading periods or exams. When we adjusted our calendar it resulted in last football game of the season being played during exam period. To accommodate the change, the Ivy League gave us a waiver and allows us to play during the exam period. There are, however, no exams on this day to accommodate student athletes.
Addendum: A different College schedule does not include exams on November 21.
The Dartmouth Events website is noting “Final examinations suspended.”
No announcement has been forthcoming from the College. This year exams run from November 20-25, according to the Registrar’s website:
The College Republicans have sent the below open letter to Phil Hanlon and other senior members of the administration:
I wonder what will happen if the Republicans invade Cutter-Shabazz and chant “White Lives Matter” and yell racist insults at the inhabitants there.
Addendum: It’s hard to do satire these days. There is really no line at all between the serious and the absurd.
I’ve been late getting to the story of the students of color invasion of Berry Library. I guess that the macroaggressions in Paris (and the faculty meeting) have been of greater moment than the emotional outburst of many of the College’s minority students and their allies.
Two incidents seem to have incited an initially quiet protest on November 12: the tearing down by a single drunken student of two protest T-shirts from an NAACP Black Lives Matter wall display, and racially charged posts on Yik Yak — the anonymous commenting website that had superseded bored@baker. However what started as a respectful demonstration that included American Indian prayer circles quickly spun into an aggressive disruption of students who were studying in Novack Cafeteria and Berry Library. Take a look as at least a hundred students forcefully and noisily marched through the library:
The Dartmouth Review describes in some detail how the demonstration unfurled:
While less complete, eyewitness Charles Lundquist ‘17 gives a consistent description of the same event, as did an article in The D. In addition, I have spoken with several students who confirm the report of violent language used by many of the demonstrators.
Do you think that this behavior is in violation of Standard VIII of the College’s Standards of Conduct?
Or how about Title LXII of the New Hampshire Criminal Code?
TITLE LXII CRIMINAL CODE CHAPTER 644 BREACHES OF THE PEACE AND RELATED OFFENSES Section 644:2
644:2 Disorderly Conduct. - A person is guilty of disorderly conduct if:
III. He purposely causes a breach of the peace, public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creates a risk thereof, by:
(a) Making loud or unreasonable noises in a public place, or making loud or unreasonable noises in a private place which can be heard in a public place or other private places, which noises would disturb a person of average sensibilities; or
(b) Disrupting the orderly conduct of business in any public or governmental facility; or
(c) Disrupting any lawful assembly or meeting of persons without lawful authority…
VI. Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor if the offense continues after a request by any person to desist; otherwise, it is a violation.
I agree with you.
In response to the events, Phil Hanlon sent out the following letter to the campus:
And he has been sending the below form letter to alumni who have written in to ask about the library demonstration:
The College also has put up a statement on its Press Releases website:
Of course, the administration’s embarrassing formalism should be apparent to everyone. No Complaints! No Justice! Since when has a complaint been required for the College to enforce its rules and regulations? Has anyone ever complained about freshmen rushing the football field or trying to touch the bonfire. The College has had no problem prosecuting infractions of those rules.
And Phil Hanlon’s comment about a “political protest” is equally transparent. Nobody has the right to disrupt the peace for any reason. The College’s own rules and the NH statute above certainly don’t carve out exceptions for political or other activities. A disruption is a disruption. Even if you take Phil at his word, did the protest look like a political one to you? As Groucho Marx used to (almost) say (and as Richard Pryor often repeated), “Who you gonna believe, Phil or your lying eyes?”
Compounding the College’s ineptitude, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Inge-Lise Ameer attended a post-demonstration meeting on Monday at Cutter-Shabazz to discuss the situation with students. The entire meeting is here, but we have excerpted several salient sections in the below. Dean Ameer comments at length on the demonstration and race relations at the College, and responds to questions from Geovanni Cuevas ‘14, the student recently roughed up by the Brown campus police:
Below is a transcription of the first part of Dean Ameer’s comments:
Inge-Lise Ameer: I’m very sorry about all of this. I know it doesn’t help, but we’ve received a lot of terrible calls today, too, and we’ve told them that they were all, you know, ridiculous, and that the protest was a wonderful, beautiful thing.
Geovanni Cuevas ‘14: Can you elaborate on that?
Inge-Lise Ameer: You know, people, there’s a whole conservative world out there that’s not very nice.
Geovanni Cuevas ‘14: They’re fucking racists. Don’t say they’re not very nice. They’re fucking racists. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to blow up like that.
Inge-Lise Ameer: I’m not going to say that. But it was hard. We’re on Yik Yak all the time and we’re constantly contacting them: Please take this down. Please do this. Stop doing this.
We fought bored@baker. It’s finally down. It took five years to get that stupid thing down.
And all I can keep saying, as I’ve been saying with students all of the last few days, if you’re feeling unsafe, and you’re not feeling that you’re getting responded to, then you contact me directly. And will deal with it, because that is not right, and I don’t want you feeling this way, I don’t want any of you feeling this way.
And I think that the reaction to the protest in the library has been, I think that it just displays our society very clearly right now.
What to say about these pandering remarks? Ameer supports the students’ “wonderful, beautiful” protest, and she all but says that anyone who criticized the protest did so only as an expression of racism. Heaven help us, and heaven help the impressionable students who are being indoctrinated with such ill-thought-out nonsense.
Is there any teaching going on at Dartmouth? In the 1:13:01-long meeting, Ameer never asked exactly why someone might feel unsafe? She never inquired whether students understood that they were hurting their cause by disruptive behavior, nor did she suggest better methods of protest. She never defended other students right to study in peace. All she did was show support for students complaints and behavior no matter how baseless, disruptive and illegal.
This is higher education?
Addendum: A longtime reader writes in:
I have a reasonable awareness of the unfairness of “structural” racism, but this is ridiculous, especially in such a context. Premier academic institutions recruit under-privileged minorities, give them free tuition, and create academic departments and endless support bureaucracies organized around them. Is this a case of give someone an inch and they’ll take a mile?
It reminds me of the ideological purity power games from the early days of the Russian Revolution combined with Miller’s “The Crucible”.
Addendum: A professor writes in:
I just don’t understand what it means to feel unsafe in a place like Hanover, New Hampshire. This sort of thing has to be spelled out. What exactly is unsafe? Someone saying something offensive? Get used to the world. Students need to learn strategies of response. Not constant coddling. Protection is not the answer.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
- The Dartmouth College Case
- 2007 Trustee Election
- Dartmouth Constitution
- Sunday Morning Sinatra
- The Indian Wars
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