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When Hanover Police announced its intention to implement compliance checks and sting operation at Greek organizations ("Stricter alcohol plans outrage Greek orgs.," Feb. 5), it highlighted that there are two related, but distinct, aspects of drinking at the College that must be addressed: underage drinking and health risks. In reaction to this announcement, College President Jim Yong Kim formed the Student and Presidential Alcohol Harm Reduction Committee ("Kim starts committee to address alcohol use," March 1), but failed to adequately address both concerns.
When signs by an anonymous author appeared on the front lawns of multiple Greek houses pledging to hold the organizations "accountable" for sexist acts ("Signs contend Greek orgs. are racist, sexist," Feb. 25), they awakened the gender controversy that has simmered near the surface of campus dialogue for years, occasionally boiling over. Issues of gender roles, social spaces and sexual harassment have consistently raised fierce debates on Webster Avenue and throughout the rest of the community. Yet these issues, despite being perennial sources of outrage, have never quite been dealt with adequately as institutional and cultural problems at Dartmouth.
On the eve of the recent Board of Trustees' meeting, budget cut debates split the Dartmouth campus into a variety of angry factions and ad hoc coalitions, with the majority of the uproar focused on the prospect of layoffs. Concerned community members most notably members of the Service Employees International Union Local 560, faculty who wrote an open letter to College President Jim Yong Kim and the group Students Stand with Staff gathered on the Green to voice their demand that the administration "put people first" ("Layoff fears spark candlelight vigil," Feb. 5). When budget cuts were announced days later, it appeared that the Board had listened to the groups' concerns and limited layoffs to a reasonably small segment of the College. Yet Students Stand with Staff and other groups continue to challenge the changes that were much less extensive than what the community originally expected.
While layoffs for hourly workers received widespread attention prior to the announcement of budget cuts, the effect of cuts at the upper levels of the administration was rarely discussed. Protesters, instead, pointed to the confines of Parkhurst for further reductions, but on Thursday, acting Dean of the College Sylvia Spears announced a plan for consolidating her office that will most likely eliminate a number of dean-level administrators ("Spears initiates structural changes," Feb. 12). Among others, the College will likely lose Dean of Residential Life Martin Redman to layoffs and assistant Dean of Residential Life and director of Greek Letter Organizations and Societies Deborah Carney to retirement ("Redman, Carney plan to leave College posts," Feb. 12). The departures follow the announcement that Associate Director of Coed, Fraternities and Sororities Fouad Saleet will leave for Colgate University, causing all of the direct oversight of Greek life to quickly evaporate. The absence of leadership, coupled with a nebulous plan for replacement, results in a troubling lack of institutional memory during what already was a period of transition for Webster Avenue.
The Hanover Police Department policy to deploy undercover operatives to Greek houses in order to combat underage drinking ("Stricter alcohol plans outrage Greek orgs.," Feb. 5) represents a startling and troubling lack of perspective on the part of Hanover Police. College President Jim Yong Kim acknowledged a well-known truth last July when he said underage drinking is a reality on college campuses ("Kim addresses Greek life, alcohol policy," Jul. 1), and responsible consumption should be emphasized. The Hanover Police Department may have a legal right to investigate such violations of state laws, but this measure will have a crippling effect on the openness of the Dartmouth social scene and potentially disastrous repercussions for student health on campus, both points that have students across campus vehemently speaking out against the policy.
The oft-cited "Dartmouth Experience" undoubtedly means something different to each member of the College community. When the endowment is doubling, any differences in personal values can conveniently be swept under the rug. Only after losses to the endowment when jobs are threatened and budget cuts debated must we seriously consider how these values define the College. Before we make cuts, we must prioritize what is essential to the Dartmouth experience. Until we do this, all budget cut conversations will be overshadowed by the larger debate on the College's core purpose.
The Grafton County Superior Court's decision to dismiss the second alumni lawsuit against the Board of Trustees on Tuesday ("Second alumni suit dismissed by court," Jan. 21) likely ended the prospect of a judicial resolution to the debate on preserving parity between alumni-elected and Board-selected trustees. Judge Timothy Vaughan's dismissal was predicated on specific procedural grounds, however, and did not offer much analysis of the parity issue that was central to the case.
The College's decision to postpone the implementation of the Organizational Adjudication Committee's student board ("Implementation of OAC student board postponed," Jan 13) was abruptly announced Tuesday following months of preparation and support from the student body. The reasons cited for delaying the board's first training session ranged from budget cuts to the Phi Delta Alpha fire and ultimately raised more questions than they answered.
The completion of the Capital Campaign ("Dartmouth completes $1.3 billion campaign," Jan. 8) signals that despite the recent recession, donors are still enthusiastically supporting the College. The name attached to the fundraising effort "Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience" expresses precisely why we believe donations have not ceased in this economic climate. Alumni, parents, students, faculty and staff understand that their investment will maintain the high standards of excellence at the College, and ensure that future generations will have as positive an experience as those that came before them.
College President Jim Yong Kim will never be accused of sitting idle during his first five months in office Parkhurst Hall has undergone significant restructuring under his watch, much of it long overdue. While we have been apprehensive about some of the change mostly notably the unusual timing of former Provost Barry Scherr's decision to step down earlier this fall these rearrangements have represented significant steps toward addressing inefficiencies and redundancies that have plagued the College's central administration for years. Many of these inefficiencies were enumerated in a McKinsey and Company review of the College conducted four years ago.
The Dartmouth Board of Trustees announced last weekend that the College will implement a series of budget cuts over the next two years that could total $100 million in an effort to address a 23-percent drop in Dartmouth's endowment and a $34-million fiscal deficit ("College aims to cut $100 million over two years," Nov. 9).
Last winter, after a series of clashes between Greek houses and the administration, voices across campus called for reform of the College's organizational adjudication process ("Five Greek Orgs. May Be Placed on Probation," Jan. 30). In the spring, the Organizational Adjudication Committee review commission proposed changes to the committee's structure including the formation of a student board to oversee cases in which organizations had allegedly committed minor infractions ("SA endorses OAC reform proposal," May 27).
Last May, a group of Dartmouth students, frustrated with the College's Student Accessibility Services Office, presented a report to the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity advising that revisions be made to the College's accessibility policy ("Accessibility Services lacking, students say," June 2). These students argued in favor of increasing funding for Accessibility Services and improving guidelines for professors on how to best accommodate students. Their goal was to ensure that students with disabilities were granted equal access to all facets of the Dartmouth experience.
It is no secret that Dartmouth's football team is in the midst of some of the worst days of its storied history. The Big Green's 17-game losing streak is currently the second longest in the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision behind only that of Indiana State University and the signs of hope Dartmouth showed early this season are starting to look like false omens.
It is a perennial criticism even a platitude that women's rush at Dartmouth is flawed, and getting worse.
This week, College President Jim Yong Kim unexpectedly announced that Provost Barry Scherr would be stepping down after more than eight years as Dartmouth's chief academic officer ("Scherr to Step Down as Provost," Oct. 5). The announcement of Scherr's retirement as provost comes after a series of rapid resignations and departures by high-level officials in the Kim administration, including former Dean of the College Tom Crady and former Dean of Undergraduate Students Rovana Popoff.
Despite recent and unsettling setbacks in College alcohol reform ("Spears says College will not adopt AMP," Sept. 24), this week offered encouraging reminders of the progress Dartmouth continues to make in crafting an enlightened approach to dealing with underage drinking on campus.
In his inaugural address this past Tuesday, College President Jim Yong Kim discussed the philosophy of a fellow Iowan, the late W. Edwards Deming.
The reforms proposed by the Organizational Adjudication Committee Review Commission represent a positive step toward more consistent and just treatment of student organizations ("SA endorses OAC reform proposal," May 27). Whereas, under the current system, all but the most serious cases are often heard by a single dean, the commission's proposal calls for students to take the lead in making decisions in all cases thus allowing for true peer adjudication, fairness and, ideally, transparency.
Last June, the College's Board of Trustees voted to "freeze" its membership until the Association of Alumni's lawsuit against the College had been resolved. Over a year has passed, however, and the freeze remains in place. As a result of the Board's decision, trustee elections, which were scheduled to take place this spring, were postponed indefinitely, and the two-term limits of alumni-elected Trustee Michael Chu '68 and Board-selected Trustee Russell Carson '65 -- both of whom were slated to finish their final terms in June 2009 -- have been indefinitely extended. In addition, the Board put off the reelection of several first-term trustees.