May 13, 2005

Dartmouth Observer advises new Trustees

I disagree with Chien Wen Kung over at the Observer sometimes, but I agree with this message he has:
James Panero, following up on an essay by Roger Kimball in the latest New Criterion, is hailing Robinson and Zywicki's victory as "one more battle won in the effort to retake the universities." I'm a little skeptical of the military metaphor. As I've said previously, I don't think Dartmouth is in dire straits; and I certainly don't think it needs to be "retaken." We aren't Crusaders and Dartmouth isn't Jerusalem. In fact, I think conflict and open hostility between the new trustees and the administration or faculty is a bad thing. Conservative stalwarts may recollect with fondness the battles the Review waged against official Dartmouth in the 1980s, and may look forward to such skirmishes in the years to come, but I don't. I don't want my professors protesting on the Green; I want them in the classroom, teaching students. This is not to say that I'm against the trustees criticizing the faculty or administration. Some degree of criticism is necessary, because some things -- like tuition fees for instance -- need to be looked at. The question is how.

Panero's rhetoric betrays exactly what I fear a lotta cons are actually thinking now. I hope and feel pretty sure that the new Trustees won't get carried away in the glory and glamor of their victory.

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