Friday's Verbum Ultimum discussed the sudden resignations of three female minority administrators this term. Are these departures cause for concern, and if so, what should the College's response be?
Yoo Jung Kim:
While the impending departures of these administrators are quite saddening, it seems rash to assume that their resignations are related to their identities as female minorities. Instead, I hope that they would be willing to shed light on their decisions through the appropriate channels, and should their reasoning merit concern, the College has a responsibility to fix said problems immediately.
The resignations of these staff members, coupled with claims of institutional racism and sexism, present tremendous challenges to the administration. President Kim must heed the recent calls for a reevaluation of administrative priorities, particularly in regards to the culture he will choose to promote at the College.
Drawing any nefarious pattern between these three separate departures is irresponsible when the circumstances behind each appear to be completely different. While the College should strive to be as diverse as possible, it's much more important that the administration hire replacements who will be stellar at their jobs, regardless of race or sex.
While the three departures could very well be coincidence, the fact that the administration has yet to speak earnestly in response to student concern is troubling. Whether or not the resignations are indicative of sexist or racist attitudes at Parkhurst, College administrators should ensure that the student body is being informed in a frank and honest way.
The string of high-level administrative resignations reveals hypocrisy in the Parkhurst bureaucracy. The administration is not embarrassed to directly address campus issues such as alcohol and sexual assault, regardless of how they might stain the College's reputation. Such initiatives to deal with controversial issues openly in order to keep students safe sets Dartmouth apart from its peer institutions. The administration's failure to create a positive environment for minority staff and faculty and its refusal to address the student body's speculations shows that the College refuses to confront its internal controversies in the same mature and transparent manner that it deals with student issues.
The determination to see a pattern of discrimination toward women reflects the kind of gender paranoia propagated by the ongoing V-Time festivities. People at Dartmouth come and go all the time and three resignations within a couple months should not be cause for alarm.
We absolutely need equally-qualified replacements for these three administrators, but the issue is being blown way out of proportion. All we can do now is find suitable replacements, find out why the three administrators left (and why others choose to stay) and take action on the items we can.
This trend is a cause for great concern. Dartmouth has long struggled to incorporate diverse viewpoints into its stale, traditional, conservative institutional mindset. While Dartmouth should look to fill these and future positions with highly qualified candidates, the administration should mandate that at least one minority, one female and one outside candidate be interviewed for every opening, in order to heighten the chances of exposing the College to new ideas outside of its bubble-like feedback loop.
The resignations present the administration with an opportunity to reexamine where and when affirmative action is to be used. If it is to be employed, let it be with the hiring of capable minority professors in order to advance the College's mission as an academic institution, rather than with advisors less critical to the Dartmouth experience.