2021's Write to UVA After Charlottesville

Aug 16 2017

In the name of the Class of 2021 and in light of the violent events at Charlottesville, a group of students led by Carlos Polanco '21 and Luiza Odhiambo '21 have written a public letter to support the incoming freshman class at UVA:

Dartmouth 2021s to UVA.jpg

Students at a number of other schools (Columbia, Yale, Williams, Pomona, and Vassar) have followed the '21's lead. The Washington Post has the story.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Note that the message of the Class of 2021 is quite vague; it refers to "what was happening on your campus." The only reference to human agency appears to be the mention of the need to "change the minds of white supremacists and those who ascribe to their beliefs." The obvious innuendo is that the violence was exclusively attributable to that ill-defined group. No mention is made to the well documented violence also perpetrated by the Antifa group and those who ascribe to their beliefs, which quite openly call for violent assault.

The reality is that a number of people showed up to protest for their beliefs opposing or favoring removal of the Lee statue. Some of them were actively seeking violence, others wore protective gear in case they were attacked (a not unreasonable expectation given what has happened elsewhere), and others probably expected a peaceful event with normal police intervention should the need arise. Unfortunately, the police made no attempt to separate the factions and the thug element got violent.

The simple message of the 2021s makes no attempt to sort out what was a complex situation and seems a shallow exercise in virtue signaling.


Readers Write in About the Golf Course

Aug 16 2017

The Dartblog in-box saw a surge of mail about yesterday's post concerning the proposed sale of the Hanover Country Club golf course by the administration:

An alumnus:

The proposal to sell the Golf Course, if true, would be yet another evidence of broken governance at the College -- presidents who call the shots for their own short term ends, and a rubber stamp Board of Trustees. Hopes for some restraining alumni influence were dashed some years ago when the College threw all its resources into defeating efforts to gain independent alumni representation on the Board.

The amazing thing to me is that alumni support hasn't fallen even further than it has. Many of my classmates see the College only through a lens that filters out all reality in favor of sentimental reminiscence of their long departed youth. They prefer to recline in a warm and comforting bath of nostalgia rather than oppose anything harmful to the College's best traditions.

A close observer of the campus:

The administration's thinking about the future of Hanover Country Club -- important though that is -- is simply a metaphor of larger issues: questions of stewardship of what we have been entrusted by those who came before us, philosophy of education, and the long-term direction of Dartmouth.

For example: Are the outdoors and Dartmouth's long history of encouraging active, rugged, physical experiences and camaraderie beyond the classroom, still vital to the College's identity? Will this remain a distinctive of Dartmouth as it competes against its elite but relatively effete, urban peers?

A professor:

I realize that the 15th of August is a day of celebration throughout much of Europe, but did not know that there was an April 1, Fools Day, activity associated with it. Or at least I hope this is a joke....

An alumnus:

wtf? really true? i can't even begin to say how much all of these people suck. i really hate them. and it makes me sad.

A loyal reader:

Selling the crown jewels to balance the books is never a good idea. Bad governance. Should a community golf course be a profit center or is it a public/student "good"?
[I am not a golfer, but I sure appreciate the trails and green space.]

An alumnus:

According to the Board's website:

"...the Board of Trustees has ultimate responsibility for the financial, administrative and academic affairs of the College."

Hanlon is a Trustee and, notwithstanding whatever his contract recites, serves at the pleasure of the Board. The Board needs to step up, exercise its responsibilities, install proper management and fix this mess.

An alumnus:

They should start to cut employees starting at the top. Obviously, Phil has never realized that when the First Republic decided to get rid of the man at the top, they just chopped off his head. No need to pay severance or a pension to Louis XVI.

Getting a chance to be trapped with Phil for 4.5 hours on a golf course has to be the definition of a "bad day."

A reader:

Golf Course sale ...

1. Please confirm that Pine Park wouldn't be included.

2. How can selling land be reconciled with the recently-suggested enlargement of the College? (You can always hope to raise more money; you can never hope to create more land.)

3. Didn't you just say there's a big endowment? But there's a tiny campus! If you need to spend assets, then do so, but what's the *logic* of getting rid of land?

A reader:

C'mon, Joe. Sell the golf course?? Someone must be feeding you "fake news" in order to embarrass you for printing it.

An alumnus:

Honestly, how can we get this clown out of office?

A friend of the College:

Your post this morning is distressing, to say the least. Though in times like these I suppose I must add: as distressing as news about a golf course could be.

Having such a beautiful golf course walking distance from the center of campus has to be one of the more unique assets in all of higher education. It would definitely be folly to part with it. Among the Ivies, only Princeton and Cornell appear to also have home courses fairly close by, though I think HCC is the most convenient of all. I have been to Yale's course, which a 15 minute drive from the campus.

Part of HCC's charm is that one can simply walk on to it and play. The fact that the course is not fenced speaks to the kind of community Hanover and Dartmouth are, and particularly the rural and small town character that helps to provide Dartmouth with its distinctiveness. One of my favorite traditions when the days were at their longest was to go to the course at 5:30 a.m., play 9 holes, and then pay up at the pro shop and head to work. It was an unbeatable way to start a day.

I hope that nothing comes of this.

An alumnus:

The golf course is where the cross country teams host their meets... obviously, practice isn't as much of an issue, but I would think that if the Country Club was sold, the cross country team would not be able to host meets, so that would be more travel for them as well.

A professor:

The sale of the HCC would be even more stupid than Jim Kim's sale of the Minary Center back in 2010 to finance his overpriced Inn renovation. For peanuts ($6.75 million) the College lost control of one of the most beautiful retreat centers in New England. This rash of recent bad presidents will reduce the College to a series of bleak buildings on asphalt.

An alumnus:

Your post today is disturbing--particularly for those of us who live in the HCC neighborhood! Is there any evidence that the College is considering asset sales, including the golf course, or is it more a case of asset sales being a logical result if the Hanlon administration doesn't start to turn things around? I'm hoping neither scenario is the case!


Philip Hanlon '77, Thought Leader

Aug 16 2017

Phil Hanlon, who likes to refer to himself as a thought leader, has issued a statement to the Dartmouth community about this past weekend's event in Charlottesville:

Hanlon on Charlottesville Comp.jpg

How would you grade this piece if you were an English 5 (now Writing 5) teacher looking for tight reasoning and forceful prose? Maybe I am being overly critical, but all I see here are a string of buzzwords and little rigor and precision. If Phil meant his statement to incite reflection on campus, he has not succeeded.

I'm told that Phil writes these pieces himself. It shows. Just how do the events in Charlottesville affirm our need for "a sense of responsibility for each other and for the broader world." What do those words even mean?

Addendum: Horror and profound dismay? Enhancing the depth of our learning? Unnecessary and senseless?