A Plan to Remake Dartmouth

This is the headline today on Joe Asch’s Dartblog, an established and very readable blog about Dartmouth:

Breaking: Frats Survive (for now); Hard Liquor Goes; Moral Education Returns

The reference is to a plan by University president Phil Hanlon to deal with Dartmouth’s outstanding reputation for binge-drinking, feminist accusations of “rape culture,” and angry faculty demands that fraternities be eliminated. The frats can stay, at least for now, but each must have “active advisors of both genders,” and “third-party” bartenders must be hired for parties. Hard liquor not be served on campus in an effort to eliminate ”extreme behaviors.”

Joe Asch writes: “The Greeks will not be abolished (what chaos that would have brought us — a full two thirds of upperclassmen are in a house), nor will they be forced to go co-ed (over the years co-ed frats have occasionally made it onto the College’s list of problem houses, too, and Phil understands that sorority women decidedly do not want to move into fraternities). Phil also wisely noted that schools with/without Greeks, and those who have abolished their fraternity/sorority system, all suffered from the same social pathologies as the College.”

All students, including those in fraternities, will be part of one of six housing communities with its own social and academic programs. Academic programs in dorms call to mind the notorious residential life programs at the University of Delaware, conducted in dorms without warrant or faculty, but Hanlon likely does not have these in mind. Each residential community will have a professor and graduate students in residence.

Hanlon wants a more diverse faculty (i.e., fewer white males) and asks faculty “to consider a number of way to increase the rigor of our curriculum.” On sexual assault: “We have adopted an independent investigator model for when an assault is reported, as well as a zero-tolerance sexual assault disciplinary policy that includes a mandatory penalty of expulsion in extreme cases. We have also introduced a customized Bystander Training Program that engages students in preventing assault.” This is conventional on campus: women can’t be urged to drink less at parties or to find someone to walk them home, because that can be considered blaming the victim. But calling on bystanders for protection is OK. Hanson also promises to provide a “consent manual” by 2015.

So far, the campus response to the Hanlon plan seems to be a group shrug. Apart from the ban on hard liquor, the plan has few details and doesn’t say much.


  • John Leo

    John Leo is the editor of Minding the Campus, dedicated to chronicling imbalances within higher education and restoring intellectual pluralism to our American universities. His popular column, "On Society," ran in U.S.News & World Report for 17 years.

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One thought on “A Plan to Remake Dartmouth”

  1. Amazing how no matter what the problem is, it can be solved by driving white men away. It worked so well in Detroit, too . . .

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