‘12s experience budget crisis, administrative changes
By Sam Rauschenfels, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, June 8, 2012
The Class of 2012 experienced a multitude of changes in their four years at the College, including a new president, new dining facilities, new deans and a new email system. In the midst of a failing economy and campus-wide discussions about diversity, sexual assault and binge drinking, the seniors have witnessed profound changes at the College as well as the upholding of centuries-old traditions.
FRESHMAN YEAR: 2008-2009
Before they even matriculated, the Class of 2012 found Dartmouth at the center of a debate about the effectiveness of the United States’ 21-and-over alcohol consumption law. Former College President James Wright joined 130 college and university presidents in signing the Amethyst Initiative, designed to spark debate about the legal drinking age.
Beta Alpha Omega fraternity joined the fall rush process after being permanently derecognized by the College in 1996. A group of 17 upperclassmen were in charge of recruiting during the rush process. Alpha Xi Delta sorority, which had leased Beta’s former physical plant for 10 years, found itself without a physical plant upon Beta’s return to campus, to the displeasure of AZD member and women’s groups on campus. AZD’s physical plant moved to a newly constructed College-owned property on East Wheelock Street in the fall.
Preparations were underway in the fall to search for the next College president to replace Wright when he stepped down in June 2009. The search committee, led by Al Mulley ’70, called for a president who would demonstrate a commitment to teaching and recruiting strong faculty, developing a resource-allocation strategy and integrating the College’s undergraduate and graduate programs.
In an effort to ease financial strains on low and middle-income families, the College implemented a new financial aid program that eliminated all tuition for families earning less than $75,000 per year. All loans were replaced with grants for all incoming members of the Class of 2012, and aid was increased for current students.
Fall term also saw the opening of the Sustainable Living Center, renovations to Zeta Psi fraternity’s physical plant in preparation for the house’s possible re-recognition, the implementation of the “Select and Rank” system for sorority rush, campaign visits from celebrities such as actor Justin Long in preparation for the 2008 presidential election and the election of Vanessa Sievers ’10 as Grafton County treasurer. The College also began the planning and construction of the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center, Class of 1953 Commons and the Black Family Visual Arts Center.
During Winter term, construction on a physical plant for Alpha Phi sorority was delayed due to College budget cuts in response to the 2008 economic downturn. The College’s endowment dropped by 18 percent in early 2009. Despite economic difficulty, the College moved forward with other renovations and construction across campus.
Later in the term, the College announced layoffs of approximately 60 staff members and a total budget cut of $47 million by the end of the 2011 fiscal year as part of Wright’s “Budget-Reconciliation Plan.” The plan included reductions in course offerings and a restructuring of Dartmouth Dining Services. The Geisel School of Medicine also announced that it would cut $25 million from its budget and lay off staff members over the next two years.
The Tucker Foundation also saw a turnover in leadership when College Chaplain Richard Crocker replaced Stuart Lord as dean of Tucker.
Former athletic director Josie Harper, who gained national attention in 2006 after her public apology for hosting the University of North Dakota “Fighting Sioux” at a hockey tournament, announced her retirement after 27 years as director. She was the first female athletic director in the Ivy League.
Three fraternities and two sororities faced probation after violating College policies, including misconduct at Fall formal events. While Chi Heorot fraternity, Kappa Kappa Kappa fraternity and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity appealed the decision, Delta Delta Delta sorority and Sigma Delta sorority decided not to challenge their probations.
As a result of unseasonably warm weather and rain, the snow sculpture replica of Moosilauke Ravine Lodge collapsed, forcing a quick construction of a new, simpler sculpture before Winter Carnival festivities.
Only weeks before the end of the term, the College announced the selection of Jim Yong Kim as Dartmouth’s 17th president. Kim would take over in the midst of the College’s budget restructuring in response to the financial crisis.
Spring term began with the legalization of gay marriage first by the state of Vermont and then by New Hampshire, as well as a visit from the Earl of Dartmouth, William Dartmouth.
In student politics, Frances Vernon ’10 and Cory Cunningham ’10 were elected student body president and vice president by an “overwhelming” margin.
As the economic downturn continued, students witnessed the closing of Quiznos and Carpaccio in Hanover, as well as continued budget cut discussions.
With the increasing threat of swine flu, the College evacuated students on the Mexico Language Study Abroad program and began preparations for a potential outbreak on campus.
The term also saw Kappa Delta sorority become the College’s eighth Panhellenic sorority.
SOPHOMORE YEAR: 2009-2010
College President Jim Yong Kim was inaugurated in September 2009 and received a congratulatory letter from the South Korean president. In his inaugural address, Kim echoed the values of past presidents with his emphasis on social change. Kim, a doctor and public health expert, also lauded the value of the liberal arts curriculum and announced his focus on the public image of the College’s Greek system.
Former Dean of the College Tom Crady abruptly resigned before Fall term began. Sylvia Spears, who previously served as director of the Office of Pluralism and Leadership and acting senior associate dean of the College, became the acting Dean of the College and announced early in her new position that the College’s long-discussed and more lenient Alcohol Management Policy would not become official College policy. Spears instead proposed a student panel to review the College’s alcohol policies and make recommendations.
Zete participated in Fall rush for the first time in eight years as it moved forward in the re-recognition process.
Students took part in the renovation of a Lyme, N.H., family’s home for an episode of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” The Marshall family raised over $100,000 for the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth.
In September, the BoredatBaker website, a platform for anonymous College gossip, was relaunched.
The term also witnessed the resignation of College Provost Barry Scherr, who had remained at the College longer than planned to assist in Kim’s transition to his role as College president. Ongoing budget cuts led to the departures of Dean of Undergraduate Students Rovana Popoff, Dean of First-Year Students Gail Zimmerman and Assistant Dean of First-Year Students Meg Hancock. Carol Folt replaced Scherr as College Provost in October.
In October, One Wheelock opened in the lower level of the Collis Center, replacing the Lone Pine Tavern.
Continued economic struggles resulted in a 23 percent drop in Dartmouth’s endowment, necessitating further budget reductions. The Board of Trustees announced a new series of budget cuts in November, which would eventually total $100 million over the following two years, and Kim announced a restructuring of the College’s administration.
On a more positive note, the College fulfilled its $1.3 billion target for the Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience in December after the program’s initiation in July 2002.
As part of ongoing budget cuts at the College, however, Kim announced that the proposed construction of a new ’53 Commons building would not take place. Instead, the funds for that project would be redirected for a renovation of the existing Thayer Dining Hall. Continuing budget woes led to 38 layoffs and the reinstitution of loans in the financial aid packages of some students.
Winter term opened with a fire at Phi Delta Alpha fraternity that resulted in significant property damage. There were no injuries, but the building was uninhabitable for the remainder of the school year.
In February, Hanover Police announced it would lead “sting operations” to check compliance with New Hampshire alcohol laws at the College. This led to outrage and frustration from many students and Greek organizations. The new policy was eventually indefinitely delayed by the police department.
Greek life experienced further change with the elimination of the position of dean of residential life and the departure of assistant Dean of Residential Life and director of Greek Letter Organizations and Societies Deborah Carney. Subsequently, Acting Dean of the College Sylvia Spears instituted changes in the Undergraduate Deans Office to reduce the budget and streamline operations.
Eric Tanner ’11 was elected as student body president and Brandon Aiono ’11 was elected as student body vice president in early Spring term.
The Grafton County Executive Committee voted in April to request the resignation of county treasurer Vanessa Sievers ’10, due to repeated absences from meetings and communication failures. The term also saw the announcement of construction on a new physical plant for Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, as well as the formation of a Student and Presidential Committee on Sexual Assault in March led by Kim. In addition, the Student and Presidential Alcohol Harm Reduction Committee released its findings, advocating for the formation of a student alcohol monitoring initiative and a more lenient keg policy to limit the availability of beer cans at events.
Over sophomore summer for the Class of 2012, Michael Mastanduno was named as dean of the faculty. The College announced that BlitzMail would be replaced by Microsoft Online Services, much to the frustration of those who preferred BlitzMail or supported the use of a Google platform.
JUNIOR YEAR 2010-2011
As the academic term began, Wiley Souba was announced as the new dean of the Geisel School of Medicine.
In order to accommodate the historically large incoming Class of 2014, 44 double rooms were converted to triples.
The College’s endowment increased by 6 percent, the first increase after major declines following the financial meltdown.
Kim’s newly-created Center for Health Care Delivery Science found its first director in Mulley, who had previously headed the Presidential Search Committee that selected Kim.
Flooding in early October washed tens of thousands of pumpkins from an Upper Valley farm into the Connecticut River, prompting students to retrieve them and distribute them across campus.
Greek organizations faced allegations of misconduct early in the term. Sigma Delt, Psi Upsilon fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and Theta Delta Chi fraternity faced charges of serving alcohol to minors.
Staff and faculty criticized further budget cuts. Initiatives that replaced copy machines and office supplies were met with frustration from department administrators, while the reduction in size and number of trash receptacles dissatisfied some faculty members.
In an effort to bolster the College’s sustainability, Rosi Kerr ’98 became the new sustainability chair. Recycling programs across campus were also expanded to reduce the College’s environmental impact.
Kim addressed the issues of sexual assault and alcohol abuse at the October Faculty of Arts and Sciences general meeting, stressing the importance of faculty involvement in improving student life.
Subway restaurant opened in Hanover as the first fast food chain to serve the town since Quiznos’ closure in 2008.
During Winter term, a search committee was formed to find a replacement for acting Dean of the College Sylvia Spears. The women’s and gender studies and Asian and Middle Eastern studies departments offered the first Foreign Study Program to India.
As part of efforts to reduce sexual assault and binge drinking, Spears announced the introduction of a “Safe Ride” late-night shuttle service.
The College also announced planned renovations for Baker-Berry Library, aiming to fill Baker’s main hall with seating and a new coffee shop for student use. Other construction projects, including the Life Sciences and Visual Arts Centers, proceeded on schedule.
Early in the term, the College announced a new online room draw system, the implementation of the Green Team student event monitoring system and a new online course selection system.
Assistant Dean of Student Life Samantha Ivery resigned from her position, prompting a campus-wide discussion of declining administrator diversity. Ivery’s resignation was followed by the departure of Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Students Colleen Larimore ’85 in mid-February.
The College announced the renovation of its riverfront property on the Connecticut River, beginning with the relocation of the swim docks.
Following the conversion of Thayer Dining Hall to ’53 Commons, Dartmouth Dining Services announced the implementation of new meal plans featuring pay-per-meal “swipes,” which was poorly received by students.
In Spring term, the town of Hanover approved renovations to the Hanover Inn, and the environmental studies department began to offer the new sustainability minor.
Max Yoeli ’12 and Amrita Sankar ’12 were named student body president and vice president in an election marked by debate over the eligibility of students who had suspensions on their records. This rule prevented Will Hix ’12 from running in the election, though he received over 600 votes as a write-in candidate. Rohail Premjee ’14 filled in for Sankar for part of Spring term when she had to leave campus for personal reasons.
In his continuing battle against binge drinking, Kim formed the Learning Collaborative on High-Risk Drinking with 14 other colleges and universities in May.
In response to the assault of a female student by a male fraternity member at Sig Ep, all eight Panhell sororities announced a boycott of social events held with any fraternity that failed to properly adjudicate assault committed by one of its members.
Budget reduction tensions continued as faculty members demanded a detailed breakdown of cuts from Kim. The administration predicted a $2.6 million surplus in the College’s 2012 fiscal year budget and presented a report about how the $100 million budget gap was closed.
At the term’s end, Charlotte Johnson was named as new dean of the College, and Jessica Jennrich was selected as director of the Center for Women and Gender.