The Senior Class Gift, a traditional fund-raising campaign held by the graduating class, this year sought to break the 2009 class record on the curiously scaled graph from its website, reproduced on the right (dammit, we didn't break 120% again!). Incentivizing the annoying and self-congratulatory hecklers in charge of collecting funds and distributing flairy retro-sunglasses, was the class of 1960 (the '10s mentor class) who agreed to pay $1,000 for every percentage of the class who gave, and an extra $100,000 if all 100% donated. But just as sure as every theme park needs its one molesting mascot, so too does every ointment need its fly. And that's where DeLorenzo comes in.
After the jump, color-commentary and her anti-Dartmouth tirade in full.
Apparently Ms. DeLorenzo withheld her $1 donation, the one that could provide $100k in scholarships for disadvantaged students, or perhaps be used to rehire laid off workers (and now still will if only because of the '60s' dislike of people like DeLorenzo shitting on their parade), for political reasons. In a explanatory tirade sent around, DeLorenzo pins her disapproval of Dartmouth on the Greek system which she believes "teaches us to devalue the individual in favor of a 'groupthink' mentality" thereby leading to a "pervasive lack of a sense of community responsibility." This despite the fact that compared to its peer schools with their fractured, exclusive, and extremely hierarchical social systems brought about by eating clubs and societies, Dartmouth's social scene is remarkably fluid and comparatively homogeneous-- one of its most famed aspects.
In his last opinion for The Dartmouth, the venerable Zachary Gottlieb roundly demolishes each of DeLorenzo's points, from her argument that financial support is equivalent to complete endorsement of everything anyone at Dartmouth ever does, to her belief that one dollar of her (or anyone else giving on her behalf) money is too high a cost to give the '14s a 100,000-fold richer tomorrow.
I would add that there are two appropriate responses to dissatisfaction with Dartmouth. The first, endeavor to fix it. Don't like the frats? Work to organize your own social group! See a dirty kitchen, clean it! (given the speed with which janitors clean things and fine us, I find this kitchen scenario highly doubtful)
The second option is to leave. There is no honor in being a parasite, sucking off money and time from people who are trying to better you when in reality you don't want to be there. There is certainly no political value in trying to fuck over an entire fund-raising campaign because you weren't having a good time and couldn't think of one constructive way to tell us. No, Laura. We are measured by what we create, not what we destroy, and if intentions mean anything, you're not even worth the one measly dollar that you wouldn't give.
It's a shame that attention from the SCG has shifted from the fact that 99.9% of seniors gave to the fact that one space-cadet did not. I'm guilty for giving her ideas a forum. But at least we know that from the numbers, views like DeLorenzos -- that Dartmouth is a negative place -- are statistically insignificant. Hey, using sigfigs we might still get to 100% yet.
Delorenzo asked that if we quoted her at all, we do so in full, so here is her emailed manifesto:
I believe that when one donates money to an institution/organization, one implicitly embraces the values held by that institution/organization. After having spent four years at Dartmouth, I am comfortable with my conclusion that the values I see displayed by our student body on a daily (and especially a nightly) basis are not values that I endorse. Although Dartmouth does not openly promote such actions, I feel that Dartmouth does little to encourage a change in the culture of the student body.
I would not recommend Dartmouth to any prospective college student precisely because of what I feel is a pervasive lack of a sense of community responsibility on this campus. I think this is most obviously demonstrated by the fraternity/sorority system, which on the whole teaches us to devalue the individual in favor of a 'groupthink' mentality. This mentality in turn encourages stereotyping and also unseemly actions, for which the individual forsakes responsibility. Even in a bar filled with people I do not know, if a man begins to make unwanted advances on me, he is constrained in how far he will go because he knows that when he goes too far, other people will openly disapprove and stop him. There is no such social responsibility exercised in a fraternity/sorority basement. People who do speak up are often vilified rather than revered by their peers. However, I believe this behavior is not limited to these social spaces only, but in fact is reflected in many other aspects of Dartmouth life as well. Just walk into any dormitory common room and look at how dirty the kitchen area is to see the lack of respect many Dartmouth students have for one another. While I realize that many people on this campus do not act in an irresponsible manner, I feel that the percentage who do is too high and little is done to keep them from dominating campus culture.
I know that similar problems exist at other universities, but there are few campuses whose social life is as completely controlled by the fraternity/sorority scene as Dartmouth's is. At many other schools, dormitory/personal parties are more prevalent. At parties like these, people tend to have known one another before hand and to feel more responsible for each other's well being. Additionally, when one or two people host a party, rather than an organization, those individuals have no umbrella organization to hide behind when things go wrong. People's actions are motivated more by their individual beliefs than by loyalties to a social group. I think most individuals will choose to act in responsible and morally upstanding ways, when they act as individuals. But because Dartmouth is so dominated by the Greek system, this type of individual thinking is discouraged. Repressing of individual thoughts and responsibilities becomes characteristic of Dartmouth culture as a whole, and not just something one witnesses at fraternity/sorority parties.
I understand that many of my peers love this institution, and I respect that sentiment. I especially respect those, such as many involved with the senior class gift, who have taken the time to think through their beliefs and who are willing to put time and effort into achieving what they believe. I know that many people, even those who dislike Dartmouth, believe that the 'goodness' of donating to a scholarship fund should supersede my personal disapprovals of Dartmouth. I disagree because there are other worthy choices to which I can and do donate my money. My decision not to donate to Dartmouth reflects my personal conclusion that the negative aspects of Dartmouth outweigh the positive, and nothing more. Where other people choose to donate their money is their decision and I fully respect their right to make it. I resent the pressure that was applied to me as an individual because the class of 1960 promised an additional gift if the SCG reached 100% participation. If the class of 1960 believes in Dartmouth, they should donate that money regardless of my failure to do so, and if they do not wish to donate, they should not feel any obligation to do so based on a 100% participation rate in SCG.