Verbum Ultimum: The Hanlon Transition

by The Dartmouth Editorial Board | 9/19/13 10:00pm


Any leadership succession tends to elicit expectations for future performance. Fortunately, most reports coming out of Hanover this summer sang praises of Hanlon's efforts to engage with the student body. That he has met with over 700 students, faculty and staff since taking office in June speaks volumes about his willingness to listen. Hanlon plans to continue holding regular office hours and is even teaching a section of Math 11 this fall. Students have longed for a president who could thoughtfully catalogue their concerns, and early returns suggest that we may have found one. We anticipate that Hanlon will announce his new policy initiatives today and eagerly await this news. Perhaps Dartmouth will finally receive the undergaduate-centered direction that we lacked under former president Jim Yong Kim.

Hanlon arrives at a time when campus is still reeling from the events of the last six months. Spring term saw the protest of an accepted students event. The summer was marred by a horribly insensitive party co-hosted by two Greek organizations. But if things were on edge when students left Hanover in the spring, they seem to have cooled down so far this fall. In this vein, an email from the Dean of the College's office earlier this week has pledged to continue the conversation that began in earnest with last spring's teach-ins. We commend Dean Charlotte Johnson for promoting these intergroup dialogues as a means to ensure that the spring's lessons are not easily forgotten.

Yet even as Dartmouth's near future appears more promising than we could have imagined in the spring, clouds of uncertainty will continue to hang over the College. Dartmouth remains under scrutiny in a Title IX investigation, which the Department of Education has opened of its own accord. If similar proceedings at Yale University are any guide, this process is likely to drag on for over a year. Meanwhile, in the short term, a quarter of our community has been barred from entering social spaces that much of the upperclass community enjoys. Will the Greek Leadership Council's freshman ban have the intended effect of reducing rates of binge drinking and sexual assault? Or will these figures shoot right back up after Homecoming weekend?

Nevertheless, we are cautiously optimistic that we will continue to see progress under Hanlon's direction this fall.

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