August 18, 2009

Paying Attention

...Do we know them?

They are the people who will be in charge of our lives for the remainder of our college careers, 
the people who have become the latest and most fashionable authority figures...
They are the people who will make the big decisions about where the money goes, and about where our educational lives go.

I'm not talking about the Obama administration, or about the current members of Congress, or even about the tax collectors (who are going to start knocking down our doors soon, if they haven't already).

No, I am referring instead to the Dartmouth administration-- the President, Provost, Dean, and other assorted leaders who have an immense amount of power over the running of the college, and thus over our lives.

We all know President Kim, of course, to a certain degree. We the freshmen at least have read "Mountains Beyond Mountains" and become distinctly enamored of our new president's endeavors to make the world a better place. But do we really know anything about his life beyond what Tracy Kidder so graciously related to us in those pages? Do we know his politics? Do we know that much about the man who is about to assume control of everything Dartmouth?

And even if we do, do we know Provost Barry Scherr? The new (and very suddenly new, I might add) Dean Spears? Anyone on the Board of Trustrees? According to one of the Dartmouth websites, "The Board of Trustees has ultimate responsibility for the financial, administrative and academic affairs of the college." That sounds rather important, don't you think?

Barry P. Scherr

We as Americans are ignorant enough of the federal government. Can any of us name all of the members of Congress? Of course not... Can we even name all of the members of Congress in our own states? Or even (I shudder to think that the answer is no) the Congressperson from our own districts?

I wouldn't mention it but for the fact that, well, one of the reasons society has been going down the tubes is because we just don't pay enough attention. So let's start paying attention. Know who's in charge and know what's going on-- yes, even and especially you, my fellow freshmen. As tempting as I know it is to go all googly-eyed and blindly fall in love with everything Dartmouth, we should know a bit about our own administration.

So, I leave you with this challenge: read up a bit on the new Dean and the Provost (seen to the right) and the President, maybe even the Trustees. Think a bit about just how much power these people have over our lives. Hey, maybe even look up the name of your Congressperson (though I hope you already know it). Think about taking an interest in the people who have authority over you...

Either way, it'll have a positive effect. If our authority figures are doing wrong, we'll shame them into doing right-- and if they're doing right already, then they'll appreciate our taking notice.

So follow your common sense. Follow these links:

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