November 17, 2010

The Great Class Gift Debate

Toward the end of the last academic year, the senior class (the Class of 2010) engaged in the annual ritual of raising funds for the "senior class gift". In an effort to top the Class of 2009's 96 percent participation rate, the '10s attempted to solicit contributions from 100 percent of seniors. Inspired, the Class of 1960 agreed to donate $1,000 for every percent of the '10 class that participated, and an additional $100,000 if the class reached 100 percent participation.

For those who have not yet been subjected to the class gift campaign, it is quite the ordeal. A committee of your peers, charged with meeting ever higher expectations, have access to the names of all seniors who have not contributed. They contact these seniors repeatedly until they give. The process, though effective, has more than a few drawbacks. Other than being devilishly annoying, it also risks putting undue pressure on seniors to contribute when they may not care to do so.

This happened in the last campaign. The name of the last holdout, who had her own reasons for not donating to the class gift, was released. She was criticized in College media (including an attack by a former contributor to this blog). The ensuing controversy earned Dartmouth a spot in The Chronicle of Higher Education for the coercive pressure placed on seniors to donate.

Today, Senior VP for Advancement Carrie Pelzel submitted an explanation to Dartmouth alumni. She claims that the issue was unfortunate, but not evidence of a systematic problem with Dartmouth's fundraising process. With all due respect to Ms. Pelzel, her letter does little to put the issue to bed.

The full letter after the jump.

November 16, 2010

Undue Influence

Sarah Palin may be able to influence our politics, but I draw the line at her influencing our language. This is a sad day for English.

From the New York Times:

At the start of the year the word “refudiate” didn’t exist. In mid-July Sarah Palin, Alaska’s former governor, changed that when she used the word in a Twitter message, somehow mashing up “refute” and “repudiate,” while trying to say something like “reject.”

Now refudiate has been named the word of the year by the New Oxford American Dictionary, published by the Oxford University Press, beating out a number of other locutions — many technology-related — that have spread through the language and the Web over the past year.

November 2, 2010

Stevenson '10 for MN Senate

Taylor Stevenson '10 is locked in a tight race for the Minnesota state senate from MN District 12. We will keep you posted as results are published.

Gazelka (R): 52 percent
Stevenson (D): 35 percent
Koering (I): 11 percent
Smith (C): 3 percent

5 precincts reporting.

note: Updated results drawn from the Brainerd Dispatch
The Associated Press does not break down the votes by precinct. We expect votes from Morrison County to favor Gazelka (R) and votes from Crow Wing County to favor Stevenson (D).

Update: This race should still be considered wide open. That said, Stevenson's window is closing. If the reported precincts come from Brainerd and/or Baxter, Stevenson will lose. If these reports are coming from outlying areas, particularly from Morrison County, Stevenson may yet win. (If forced to guess, this analyst would assume early reports come from the city centers of Crow Wing, but that is only a guess.) Stevenson still has a fighting chance.

Voting 2010: New Hampshire Second

Ayotte Wins, Lynch Narrowly Ahead.

Polls will close here shortly, and here's the latest from the Granite State:

Bass (R): 50.5
Kuster (D): 44.4

11 percent reporting.

*Ayotte (R): 63
Hodes (D): 34

11 percent reporting.

NH Governor:

Lynch (D): 50
Stephen (R): 48

11 percent reporting.

The Bass-Kuster race will likely tighten as Hanover and other Democratic areas report, but Bass will probably maintain his lead. Lynch's lead will shrink but he will win the race. Hodes's lead disappeared when Merrimack and Hillsborough Counties reported, and Hodes will likely lose.

Aside: Anyone who's been following the Rand Paul circus might be interested to hear that the Washington Post and New York Times have called the Kentucky senate race for Paul. Dr. Paul currently holds 56 percent of ballots to Conway's 44 percent.

Update: Joe Manchin III will win the West Virginia senate contest, making the probability of a Republican takeover of the upper house very low. The hilariously scary Christine O'Donnell will lose her contest in Delaware.

Update: Expectedly, Dartmouth alumnus John Hoeven '79 (R) will win the North Dakota senate contest by a wide margin.

Shooting at NH Polls

Two people were just shot at a polling location in Pittsburg, NH.

From Fox News (via the Associated Press):

New Hampshire State Police say two people have been shot in the North Country town of Pittsburg and a suspect is on the loose.

Police say one of the victims was shot in the chest and "is not doing well."

The other victim's wounds are said to be superficial.

The kindergarten through grade 12 Pittsburg School has been locked down and voting at the school has been suspended.

School Public information officer Sheli Aldridge says all 130 students are safe and no one is coming or going.

More information will be posted as it becomes available.

UPDATE: The Union Leader is reporting that one victim died at the scene, and two were transported to a nearby hospital. The UL also reports that one suspect is in custody. The shooting occurred at the Lake Francis General Store. [Updated Tuesday at 13:14)