October 9, 2005

Spinelessness at TDR

Leading off the Week in Review section of the lastest issue of TDR was this pathetic attempt at statistical analysis:

Class of ‘09 Most Diverse Ever, Crime Up
Dartmouth recently released information on the Class of ‘09 showing that it is the most diverse class yet, with students of color comprising 27.4% of the student body. Also released was the college annual security report that shows a doubling of burglary and liquor law arrests in the past two years, as well as a quadrupling of forcible sex offences in the same time frame. In compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act the College has generated its annual report on policies relating to security, alcohol and drug use as well as statistics on crime occurring on campus. This information has been collected to serve as a resource for those in the Dartmouth community to readily find information about campus policies and "criminal activity."

Come on guys, either buck up and make the racist claim you're obviously hinting at or just shut the hell up. I found it really strange given TDR's shameless propensity for pumping out conservative propaganda that they wouldn't go the extra mile and try and articulate some sort of causation accompanied by the requisite sarcastic comment that characterizes the other squibs of This Week in Review. This seemed uncharactisitically weak-willed and half-assed for the normally outspoken TDR. Perhaps they remain cowed by Sarah Chaudry '07's scathing letter (not yet archived, check out page 2 of the physical issue) written in response to their coverage of the Willis-Starbuck murder?


  1. Anonymous3:00 PM

    I think it's the LGB's duty to post the actual criminal statistics by race in order to refute TDR's racists blather.

    Hmmm. I forgot. The JCDCSPCC doen't require the race of the perpetrators to be published. Maybe that's what LGB needs to push for: NO PC at D! Full Disclosure!!!

    Hmmm. Then what mindless blather would LGB post? Shucks, LGB is full of mindless blather, no problem!

  2. Anonymous7:15 PM

    Eh... I think it's a bit tasteless, but not spineless.

    I think that when the '04s were freshmen, there were a few articles in the D that were badly-written and relayed the impression that the '04 class somehow singlehandedly brought chlamydia to Dartmouth.

    Clearly not the same thing, but whatever.

    The "Week in Review" section, if I remember correctly, is a bunch of one-liners meant to ridicule the news and vent, rather than produce incisive social commentary.

    To the anonymous commenter, I don't think TDR's claim is meant seriously or that there's any reason to refute it. But, if you insist, I'll just point out that correlation is not causation.

    First, a rise in arrest rates is not the same as a rise in incidents. More arrests could mean more police, more police vigilance, etc.

    Second, a rise in arrest rates does not mean a rise in the arrest rates of Dartmouth students. Many of the reported "crimes" on campus are not actually committed by Dartmouth students.

    Third, the rise in crime is not commensurate with the rise in minority students. Even if you accept for a second the racist claim that most of the crime comes from non-WASPS, the statistics don't really support it. This article http://www.thedartmouth.com/article.php?aid=1999051201010

    shows that "diversity" usually hovers in the 20-30% range. If you assume that there are 1000 students in a class, and that the classes of 2005-2008 had 22% diversity, then the loss of the '05s plus the gain of the '09s results in about an extra 55 "diverse" people. This is about 5% of the total population. If there are 5% more minorities on campus, and they cause all of the crime, then you'd expect a 5% increase in crime. Instead, the measurements have doubled for some offenses and quadrupled for others. This disparity practically screams out that something else is going on. Maybe the local police are cracking down harder on specific crimes. Maybe a bus full of rapists and underage drinkers broke down in Norwich. Maybe there's a military base or 2 nearby whose inhabitants were called away to Iraq in the past 2 years and burglars have taken advantage of the fact that in many of the dwellings, the "man of the house" is gone. Maybe there were draconian abortion laws 14 years ago in New Hampshire, and now the unwanted, poorly-raised miscreants have grown up to terrorize the upper valley.

    The point, of course, is that it is highly unlikely that TDR was making a serious claim. The innuendo was tasteless, but not serious. Thus, LGB doesn't need to refute it by showing stats/race correlation, but I don't think it effectively brands TDR as either spineless or racist.