Short Answer

by The Dartmouth Opinion Staff | 10/31/10 11:00pm

Friday's Verbum Ultimum concerned President Jim Yong Kim's discussion of binge drinking and sexual assault at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences meeting. Should professors be involved, or should other issues have been discussed?

True, the faculty don't have much to do with fraternity culture problems. But, out of interest, I would like to hear their views on campus issues. We act like the faculty should engage in a disinterested critique of ideas, and remain shut away in the musty corridors of the academy. Yet they have a stake in the cultural atmosphere of their workplace. The problems of binge drinking and sexual assault affect the kind of intellectual community we're trying to create here.Samuel Buntz '11

For better or worse, College professors have little moral authority in the lives of their students. Thus talking to faculty about an issue that doesn't directly concern them in the hopes that this speech will allow them to change the way students behave makes little sense.Peter Blair '12

Friday's Verbum implicitly suggests that professors of this college should be privy to the type of ivory tower academia that we neither want nor expect. Professors were enthusiastic that President Kim invited them to help solve immediate issues facing the student body. They care deeply about this community and their students. We should welcome their input and seek their advice; after all, they are the best and the brightest in their respective fields. Why shouldn't we harness that knowledge to solve the most pressing issues facing our campus?Kevin Niparko '12

Professors teaching smaller classes have abundant opportunity to observe their students and are therefore uniquely suited to diagnosing student health issues. The most needy students can often be distinguished by slipping academic performance or physical illness. Professors' roles as teachers do not exclude them from being conscientious adults.Roger Lott '14

Addressing these issues with the faculty gives the impression that President Kim is serious without making any substantive progress. This was more illusory pandering than a comprehensive strategy to reduce sexual assault and binge drinking. Spenser Mestel '11

Discussing issues like these at faculty meetings is not only inappropriate but also potentially harmful. The meeting last week only reinforced students' most negative stereotypes in the minds of new faculty members.Brendan Woods '13

Sexual assault and binge drinking certainly affect students' academic lives and frequent professor-student interaction enables faculty to identify potential problems and direct students to the proper resources more effectively than campus deans and counselors can. That being said, this topic should have been covered in a separate meeting or workshop so that other important issues could also be addressed.Sapna Chemplavil '11

Although I neither expect nor want professors to intervene in my social life, it's important that they are occasionally reminded of the challenges students face outside the classroom. To ignore the relationship between physical health and academic performance is simply negligence.Josh Kornberg '13

Certain members of the faculty are shockingly out of touch with student's non-academic lives. By acquainting the faculty with serious campus issues, no matter the forum, Kim has done a service to both professors and students.Matthew Stumpf '12

I don't think that it is fair to expect the faculty to be our babysitters. I would largely agree with Friday's Verbum Ultimum that "plans for the impending expansion of departments, faculty hiring and coordination with the new Center for Health Care Delivery Science" should have been the focus of the meeting.Jonathan Pedde '14