College concludes Moosilauke missing student investigation

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 6/21/19 2:05am


An external investigation found that there is “significant room for improvement” in the execution of OPO-led trips. 

by Debora Hyemin Han / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

The external investigation into how a student went missing during a May outdoor programs office-led trip on Mount Moosilauke has concluded, College spokeswoman Diana Lawrence confirmed to The Dartmouth yesterday. The director of outdoor programs Tim Burdick ’89, Med ’02 also resigned yesterday.

Members of the Dartmouth Outing Club were informed of Burdick’s resignation in an email sent by assistant outdoor programs director Rory Gawler ’05 obtained by The Dartmouth. 

Lawrence confirmed that Burdick no longer works at the College as of yesterday, but declined to speculate on the reason behind his resignation. 

After Arun Hari Anand ’19 was separated from May 10 until May 12 from his hiking trip, the College began an investigation into the incident as a possible case of negligence.

An external investigator hired by the College found that there is “significant room for improvement” in the execution of OPO-led trips. The College has subsequently published an executive summary which includes recommended policy, practice and training changes. These changes include increased supervision of OPO staff members, more structured plans for all OPO offerings and use of communications technology in areas where cell reception is not always available.  

“The College takes the events of May 10-13 very seriously,” the summary says. “Our goal for the future is to ensure that OPO continues to offer best-in-class, safe, educational outdoors activities for Dartmouth students for many years to come.”

Burdick, who assumed the role of director in August 2018, oversaw OPO. He was responsible for the supervision of the office staff, risk management, budgets and all other executive decision making, according to the OPO website. OPO facilitates all programs and activities relating to the Dartmouth outdoors, including those involving the Second College Grant, Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, the waterfront, the DOC, Cross Country Ski and Skate operations and physical educational programs.

He previously worked as an assistant professor at the Geisel School of Medicine and an associate medical director and clinical leader at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Manchester. 

“It was an honor to serve as the director of OPO,” Burdick wrote in an email statement to The Dartmouth. “I wish all the best for the organization.”

Another story with more information will be published in the future.

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