May 2013 Alumni Council Meeting


Here below are the highlights of the May 2013 Dartmouth Alumni Council Meeting, below. But, first, as this is my last e-mail to you as your Alumni Council Representative (my 3-year term is ending), please allow me to introduce to you the NEW Class of 1985 Alumni Council Representative: Akua Sarr ’85. Akua (formerly Hilary Perry) majored in English at Dartmouth and later earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in African Languages & Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A native New Yorker, and longtime resident of Madison, Akua has been at Boston College since 2006, serving as Dean of Freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences and Director of the university’s Academic Advising Center. Here is Akua’s website link:

Akua lives in Newton, MA with her husband and two daughters. Akua is very excited to serve you and the College by representing YOU (her fellow classmates) on the Dartmouth Alumni Council. You can reach her at:

One last thing: thank you all for allowing me to serve as your representative to the Alumni Council. I have truly enjoyed doing this, and I know that Akua will as well.

Very best regards



HIGHLIGHTS from the May 2013 Alumni Council meeting:

1. STUDENT PANELS: On Thursday evening, I attended a two-hour student panel on High Risk Student Behavior. Five undergraduate seniors, each of whom was a student of leader of some sort (including former head of the Pan-Hellenic Council, two former fraternity presidents (one of which was a Marine before coming to campus), a former sorority president, among others), spoke about the interaction between binge drinking and sexual assault. They mentioned that a significant set of student-generated recommendations have already been presented to Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson. These recommendations include allowing kegs (now-banned) back into the fraternities and adding water fountains to all the fraternity basements. The student leaders are hesitant about any requirement for mandatory outside bartenders. When asked if the College is doing enough on this issue, they suggested a regular mechanism for the College President to engage with student leaders was highly desired and not something that currently existed. All of them were very supportive of the fraternity and sorority house system. Interestingly, their collective views each were that the drinking culture at the College had decreased over the last fours, but in a small way. They all believed that the College is no more unsafe than any other college or university. One good comment from a female panel member was that new freshman women should seek out upper class female mentors right away and should seek to establish a support structure as soon as possible. The three student discussion panels, held at the same time, included: “Changing Lives: Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth,” “A Campus for All: Are We There Yet?” and “Curbing High-Risk Behavior on Campus: The Student Perspective.”
2. “Back to the Classroom” for councilors. We sat in on undergraduate classes.

3. Welcome remarks and report from Marty Lempres ’84, Alumni Council president, detailing the following:
— Greenways 40th anniversary celebration of coeducation at Dartmouth, brought more than 600 alumni to Dartmouth, including MacArthur Fellows;
— the 40th anniversary of the Native American studies program;
— the ongoing Year of the Arts;
— two Guggenheim Fellowships to Dartmouth professors;
— construction of a new sorority;
— the publication of the reports of the strategic planning working groups;
— the recent Dimensions weekend protest and “A Day of Reflection and Understanding” that followed;
— the men’s fencing national title; and the participation of men’s rugby in the national semi-finals;
— new Dartmouth president Philip J. Hanlon ’77 will take office on June 10;
— interim president Carol Folt ’78a will shortly take up her new position as chancellor of the University of North Carolina;
— Mitch Kurz ’73 will join the Board of Trustees in June;
— Robert Lasher ’88 has been appointed senior vice president for advancement;
— David Spalding ’76 will depart the College to become dean of the business college at Iowa State University.
4. Presentation by Interim College President Carol Folt ’78a, topics including:
— the anniversary celebrations of both coeducation and the Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association (BADA);
— several new foreign study programs;
— increasing efforts to recruit the best faculty from around the world;
— appointment of internationally recognized war photographer James Nachtwey ’70 as the Roth Distinguished Visiting Scholar;
— the College’s Leading Voices in Higher Education Lecture Series has brought 22 distinguished scholars to campus;
— citations to Dartmouth faculty papers place the College in the top 10 nationally;
— faculty profile is being enhanced by an increasing share of national awards;
— not a single lab in the Geisel School of Medicine without undergraduate researchers;
— Abbey D’Agostino ’14 became the first woman to win NCAA titles in both the 3,000- and 5,000-meter runs;
— swim team now has permanent funding:
— the College has more Native American alumni than all of the other Ivies combined
— Year of the Arts at the College
— the College’s strategic planning process is nearing completion. See for a brief summary of the process and the ideas presented in the nine summaries, with working group reports and community feedback;
— students are concerned about sexual assault and binge drinking: the College is aiming to make changes in student life that will help students get the most out of their education. The recent Dimensions weekend protest was unfortunate. The protest snowballed and led to a one-day closing of classes and “A Day of Reflection and Understanding.” One thousand members of the College community participated in a teach-in that day, and these conversations proved to be very useful.
— thanked Dartmouth “for 30 wonderful years”.
5. Dean of Faculty Report, by Mike Mastanduno:
— the College has recently tightened its standards by which it transfers credit from foreign study programs of other universities;
— the College will no longer grant course credit for high school Advanced Placement tests, but will use them for placement;
— a College-wide curriculum review is ongoing, with topics including: (i) the College is providing the best possible education, (ii) whether the distributorship requirement is still valid, (iii) whether the College is adequately advising its students, (iv) whether the College’s majors are sufficiently rigorous, (v) whether faculty teaching blocks are adequate, and (vi) whether classes should be held in the evening as well as during the daytime; with recommendations to be presented “soon”, followed by implementing action during the course of the year.
6. Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson: Panel Presentation on Student Life:
— undergraduate advising role has been upgraded
— new centralized advising center located at Baker-Berry Library, with academic, personal, and medical advising for students
— efforts to combat high-risk drinking and sexual assault continue to be upgraded, with the level of dangerous intoxications seeming to trend downward;
— regarding the College’s handling of sexual assault, the guiding principal remains making sure that the victim has control over what happens: the College’s response to sexual assault is “survivor driven,” and offers the victim the option of reporting to the Hanover police in person or anonymously. The College strives to ensure that a victim feels supported. A sexual assault counselor, physician, and dean are on-call 24 hours a day for this purpose. Interim president Folt and Dean Johnson recently issued a joint statement outlining the new and strengthened initiatives the College has in place to reduce sexual assault on campus
7. Pete Frederick ’65, Chair of the Alumni Council Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee, presented a report.
8. James Nachtwey ’70, photojournalist and Roth Distinguished Visiting Scholar, presented his work, which has focused on war reporting, including Rwanda, Iraq, Chechnya, and Afghanistan. See
9. Dartmouth Alumni Award: to Andrea Lordan ’86
10. Dartmouth Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award to David Wagner ’99

11. John “J.B.” Daukas ’84 (brother of our classmate Galen Daukas ’85), President of the Association of Alumni: summary of a proposal to simplify the election process (for Alumni-nominated trustees and for Association of Alumni officers) in instances when a particular election is uncontested.
12. Dartmouth Board of Trustees Report, by Annette Gordon-Reed ’81:
— comments on new College president Phil Hanlon: “a scholar and administrator”, “totally comfortable in his skin”, “a deeply committed man”, “an executor”;
— the College is in a period of transition, with current open spots for: provost, executive vice president / CFO, VP of marketing and communication;
— the College continues to fulfill its commitment to Native Americans;
— another priority is getting Dartmouth’s message out to the world in order to strengthen its international reputation;
— quality of student life will be a high priority for the new president, with maintaining a welcoming and tolerant community a top goal;
— regarding the recent protest during the Dimensions weekend, noted that letter to the Dartmouth community from the Chair of the Board of Trustees.
13. Admissions Update, by Maria Laskaris ’84, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid:
— 22,428 applications to the Class of 2017;
— 2,245 offers for admission, admit rate of 10% ;
— 1,101 acceptances: 50/50 between men and women, from 48 states and 40 countries;
— >90% top 10% percent of their class; 33% were valedictorians;
— mean SATs are 718, 723, 723; the mean ACT is 32; 206 recruited athletes; 14% legacies; 10% first-in-family to attend college;
— 37% students of color; 9% international; 46% will receive scholarships, averaging $42,000;
— the U.S. Supreme Court’s upcoming decisions in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin may affect how race may be used in the college admissions process;
— McNutt Hall is being renovated;
— new Dartmouth Bound program brings first-generation, under-represented, low-income applicants to campus for two-to-three day immersion programs, and allows the admissions office to “pull out the nuances and get a handle on the intangibles that help us identify top students.”
— alumni interviewing program will be revised, including a software upgrade and a requirement that interviewers certify to good PAST conduct in their interaction with minors.
14. Alumni Relations Update, by Martha Beattie ’76, VP for Alumni Relations:
— Dartmouth for Life initiative, to improve connections with alumni throughout their lives, to be led by Dan Parish ’89 (brother of our classmate Beth Parish ’85);
— new College and new Alumni website;
— series of lectures by Dartmouth faculty:
— May 2013 webinar by Beattie and her team: “The State of Alumni Relations at Dartmouth,” at
15. Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion Update, by S. Caroline Kerr ’05, co-chair:
— committee formed to support and contribute to the College’s goals of (i) increasing the diversity of Dartmouth’s workforce through the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff of color (both national and international) and other under-represented populations and (ii) determining what structures, resources, and best practices are needed toward this end;
— reviewed the membership of the committee and reported on the progress of its work in identifying best practices of Dartmouth’s peer institutions as well as non-academic organizations and business entities that are leaders in issues of diversity and inclusion;
— report and recommendations expected October 2013.
16. For your interest, a summary of the Dimensions Weekend disturbance (drafted by the Alumni Council):
— Friday, April 19, 2013 – Dimensions show student protest occurred.
— Saturday through Monday, April 20–22, 2013 – Campus response included anonymous postings on Bored@Baker and the Dartmouth online comments section targeting the protesters and others.
— Tuesday, April 23, 2013 – Meeting was held of some faculty, administrators, and the president to discuss the situation. The decision was made later that day to cancel classes for the following day, Wednesday, April 24.
— Wednesday, April 24, 2013 – An early-morning faculty meeting was held to discuss the cancellation of classes, a decision made the evening before and announced by email, and the day’s agenda for “A Day of Reflection and Understanding.” During the course of the day there was strong participation by students and other members of the Dartmouth community. The day began with a keynote address by Jessica Pettitt speaking on “The Day Everything Changed.” Pettitt, a social justice and diversity consultant, described her talk as timely, “in light of the recent events – of the last 400 years.” Dartmouth Hall 105 was standing room only for Pettitt’s talk and five overflow rooms were opened to accommodate the approximately 400 people who attended. Later that day, there were speeches in front of Dartmouth Hall by dean of the faculty Mike Mastanduno, professor Bruce Sacerdote ’90, and others (with an estimated attendance of 1,500); a community luncheon in ’53 Commons (with an estimated attendance of 2,500); and an afternoon of teach-ins with more than 800 students participating in discussions. Additional information about the day is available at
— Board of Trustees chair Steve Mandel ’78: “As some of you know, a small group of students disrupted the Dimensions Welcome Show for prospective students on Friday, April 19, using it as a platform to protest what they say are incidents of racism, sexual assault, and homophobia on campus. Following the protest, threats of bodily harm and discriminatory comments targeting the protesters and their defenders ran anonymously on various sites on the Internet. With tensions high across the Dartmouth community, Interim President Carol Folt, the Dean of the Faculty, and other senior leaders across campus agreed that the best course of action was to suspend classes on Wednesday, April 24, for a day of reflection and alternative educational programming. This decision was made to address not only the initial protest, but a precipitous decline in civility on campus over the last few months, at odds with Dartmouth’s Principles of Community. This unusual and serious action to suspend classes for a day was prompted by concern that the dialogue on campus had reached a point that threatened to compromise the level of shared respect necessary for an academic community to thrive. The faculty and administration together determined that a pause to examine how the climate on campus can be improved was necessary. This was an important exercise that the Board supports. It is also important to note that there will be an opportunity for faculty to hold the classes that were missed as a result of Wednesday’s events.”

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