Casque and Gauntlet building leased to Tuck as graduate student housing
The building is under a three-year lease to alleviate Casque and Gauntlet’s financial situation.
Founded in 1866, Casque and Gauntlet is the second oldest senior society at Dartmouth.
In Aug. 2020, the Casque and Gauntlet building — a senior society located at 1 South Main Street — was leased to the Tuck School of Business for graduate student housing.
Casque and Gauntlet is the second oldest senior society at Dartmouth after Sphinx, according to the society’s webpage. Founded in 1866, notable alumni include Theodor Seuss Geisel — Dr. Seuss — and Nelson Rockefeller. The society does not keep its membership secret unlike many other societies, according to former Casque and Gauntlet president Hanover Vale ’20.
Tom Tomai ’79, a member of the trust group responsible for managing the One South Main Street property, wrote in an email that using the building as a senior undergraduate residence was no longer “financially sustainable.” Tomai wrote that the COVID-19 pandemic had worsened the situation, and the lease allows the trust group “time to figure out the future of the building.”
According to Vale, during the pandemic, Hanover completed a re-evaluation of the properties on Main Street and enacted a tax increase of “around 30 or 40%” on the Casque and Gauntlet property in one fiscal year.
Tomai said that the trust was able to create the new arrangement due to combined support from the College and Casque and Gauntlet’s 2021 student delegation.
Current Casque and Gauntlet board president Doug Chia ’93 described his experience living in Casque and Gauntlet as an undergraduate as “transformative.”
“I can speak for many alumni at Casque and Gauntlet who feel that the house — or the ‘Castle’ as we call it — is such an essential part of the C&G experience,” Chia said. “We would love to have the student delegations get back in there and be able to live there and use the property.”
Chia said the house provides senior society members the opportunity to live with people they have never met before, as the society typically consists of leaders from various student groups across campus.
After the trust group made the decision to lease the senior society’s house to Tuck due to financial strain, Vale said the Casque and Gauntlet alumni community experienced “divisiveness,” as many alumni were unhappy with the decision. Vale noted that she believes the conflict was a result of generational differences regarding opinions on how the Casque and Gauntlet building should have been handled.
“Generational divides were really difficult to cross and haven’t been bridged,” she said.
Vale said the loss of the society’s physical space has been difficult for the organization. She added that she thought the repurposing of the building was a “measured” decision and that most members agreed.
“I understand from the ’21s and ’22s [that] engagement hasn’t been the same for a lot of reasons,” Vale said. “Mainly, I think that a lot of people are just really sad at the loss of the physical space. Also, the pandemic has just been really challenging to navigate as an organization.”
Since the trust group leased the One South Main Street space, a new board has been established for Casque and Gauntlet, according to Vale, who now serves as the student alumni coordinator. She said she is working on overcoming the loss of the building and maintaining the “community-oriented presence” that has been a core tenet of the society.
After the three-year lease expires, Casque and Gauntlet will reevaluate the organization's financial state, Vale said. She noted that there has been a rallying response from alumni to raise funds over the next three years.