There's Inflation and There's Inflation

Oct 31 2014

Last February when Phil announced that the rate of growth of Dartmouth tuition was not going to exceed "the rate of inflation" -- and then he later announced an increase of 2.9%, even though the current Consumer Price Index (CPI) rise was about half that figure -- he was not breaking a promise. He was simply using a different index: the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI). Inside Higher Education describes the Index as follows:

HEPI Comp.jpg

That said, choosing an index that rises far faster than the CPI earns Phil no points with Dartblog. That choice would be equivalent to the College's endowment managers announcing that their return on investment was better than the TMCEI -- the Terribly Managed College Endowment Index, made up of the worst performing funds of different schools. (Note: I made this up.)

American families live in the world of the CPI, and there is no reason that the College should not have a cost structure related to the CPI, too. Only about 13% of Dartmouth's overall expenses relate to faculty, and another few percent are the cost of senior administrators. The remainder of the College's cost structure, from custodians to administrative assistants to the construction of buildings to utilities to food to taxes is identical to the cost structure of the businesses that generate the CPI. The College should not compare itself to a subset of poorly performing institutions; let's set our sights higher than that.


Radical Faculty Go After Greeks

Oct 30 2014

Hard on the heels of The D's editorial urging the abolition of the Greek system, a group of radical faculty members is circulating a letter urging fundamental changes to the College's system of fraternities and sororities. In addition, at Monday's faculty meeting, a motion will be put forward from the floor "to call a vote on phasing out Greek organizations," as a letter making its way around the faculty has phrased it.

Faculty Greek Letter Comp.jpg

I expect that close observation of Phil Hanlon on Monday will provide us with an understanding on where he stands on the fate of the Greeks. Word is that English Professor Don Pease has long had Phil's attention. Curiously, Pease has not yet signed the above letter.

Addendum: As we have noted in the past, faculty meetings are dominated by a small clique; professors who are unable to attend for whatever reason are denied the right to vote.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

If the faculty think that Bowdoin College is better for eliminating fraternities, they clearly didn't read this article in the NY Post that indicates that binge drinking and sexual assault is endemic there as well.

Fraternities can have issues, but removing them does not eliminate student desires to drink and have sex.

Addendum: Hank Balaban '16 offers a comment:

The social system at Dartmouth is completely out of date and incredibly unfair to women in a myriad of ways, and the administration has done a terrible, truly embarrassing job of providing gender neutral alternatives to the Greek system. In that context, it's no wonder we have an "animal house" reputation (and easy to understand the precipitous decline in applications and reputation that is highly related).

That being said, I think that it's really short sighted to think that "abolishing" the Greek system would lead to sweeping culture change -- the problems have deeper roots than that, and all you have to do is look at similar schools to Dartmouth that have eliminated their Greek systems to see that sexual violence and binge drinking are far more complicated problems than some in Hanover would have you believe. Reforms are long due, but pretending like you have a simple solution to an immensely dynamic situation is immature.

In addition to the above addendum re: Bowdoin, here are horror stories of rape and sexual violence at:




Anyone who believes that these schools have successfully addressed college-aged binge drinking has truly detached themselves from reality. I'm happy for these professors that they have found an easy scapegoat to blame Dartmouth's problems on, but I hope that in the coming years Phil takes a well reasoned approach to the legitimate issues they raised rather than caving to the incredibly vocal minority.

Addendum: Another longtime reader writes in:

We shouldn't let Hamilton and Williams off the hook...




U.S. News Best Global Universities

Oct 29 2014

U.S. News has now ranked the world's top universities. Here's how the Ivies did:

#1 Harvard
#10 Columbia
#13 Princeton
#17 Yale
#19 Penn
#23 Cornell
#106 Brown
#242 Dartmouth

The publication's methodology is heavily weighted towards research and publications.