Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wow

On the front page of The New York Times website, there was an ad tonight for SaveDartmouth.org:


I've never heard of the group or website until now, but it's paid for by "The Committee to Save Dartmouth" which it says it is led by Andres Morton Zimmerman. The site says that it "will be running soon in major national newspapers." The website, which of course opposes the review of trustee election procedures, urges alumni to contact the trustees through its website and provides an optional form letter, quoted below:

Dear Dartmouth Trustees:

I′m writing to encourage you to abandon any future plans that will dilute the voices of Dartmouth alumni.

For over 100 years, Dartmouth alumni and alumnae have enjoyed the assurance of direct input into the selection of one-half of the Trustees. This is part of what we expect as members of the Dartmouth family. We deserve nothing less.

As Trustees, you represent all of the Dartmouth family. You hold the legacy of Daniel Webster, Salmon Chase, Ernest Martin Hopkins, John Sloan Dickey, and John Kemeny in your hands. Please do not take this responsibility lightly.

Over sixty thousand of us are depending on you to “set a watch, lest the old traditions fail.”

SaveDartmouth's "Lone oPine" page also quotes P. Diddy ("Vote or Die!"), which I think is pretty hilarious. As one of their terms of conditions, they also make people promise not to "root for Harvard." In the midst of epic alumni struggle, episode III (since I've been here), it's good to see that at least somebody is approaching it with the proper sense of humor.

Update: I was a bit slow on the uptake, but I realize now (twenty minutes later) that "Mr. Andres Morton Zimmerman," the supposed leader of the movement, is not a real person, but rather the names of three dorms in the East Wheelock Cluster.

The Dartmouth has also published an article about the advertisements via its website, and reports that the estimated cost of the ad campaign will be $300,000.

10 comments:

Carey Heckman '76 said...

It is typically ironic, and it always cracks me up, when someone misreads the third verse of Men of Dartmouth/The Alma Mater.

For thirty or more years, sloppy or feeble minds have unintelligently used the words as suggesting traditions should not be changed.

Anyone who takes the time to read the entire verse should immediately realize that it is directed not at all towards the traditions but rather towards US.

WE are the ones who should live up to the traditions of standing as brother stands by brother, daring a deed for our old Mother, greeting the world from the hills with a hail, and keeping for Dartmouth that old chivalric faith.

Sorry, but nothing about preventing Dartmouth from moving forward is contained in that verse.

Anonymous said...

Carey,

The verse could also fairly be read as exhorting Dartmouth men to do many things (1. Set a watch, lest... 2. Stand as. etc.).

In this way, it would be understood as intended by the authors of the new web site.

But then, I may be "feebleminded", i.e. not as smart as you desperately want everyone to think that you are (by the way, your recent swim team post was a dumb as they come). Your problem here is not intelligence, but rather a compulsion to obsequiousness at the cost of objective thinking.

Here's the whole verse:

Men of Dartmouth, set a watch
Lest the old traditions fail!
Stand as brother stands by brother!
Dare a deed for the old Mother!
Greet the world, from the hills, with a hail!
For the sons of old Dartmouth,
The loyal sons of Dartmouth,
Around the world they keep for her
Their old chivalric faith;
They have the still North in their soul,
The hill-winds in their breath;
And the granite of New Hampshire
Is made part of them till death;
And the granite of New Hampshire
Is made part of them till death.

From the Dartmouth Song Book (6th ed., 1950).

Tim Dreisbach '71 said...

Carey: You show your age and mine... I believe chivalry and chivalric faith is one of those "traditions" that has bit the dust... update your songbook.
Tim

Anonymous said...

MY EMAIL TO THE NYT AD

Sorry, but I am not buying.

Class of '81, so I lived through the painful birth of the Datrmouth Review, and all it represented. "Lest the old traditions fail..." is code, and you know it.

I just visited Hanover with my 17 year old daughter, who is very interested in applying without any input from me whatever. When she asked for my approval I told her that the school I attended doesn't exist, that the passage of time changes things--as it should. What has not changed, and the only thing in my opinion that "makes Dartmouth, Dartmouth" is a real focus on the undergraduate, liberal arts education of bright young people.

All the rest--Indian symbols, alma maters, fraternities, alumni board elections--is surplusage, and it to Dartmouth's detriment that so much time, talent and money has been wasted on those issues over the years.

Carey Heckman '76 said...

Yes, I know it's a code. But I enjoy the irony of people who want you to believe they are in the know using a wrong reading as their code.

As for my being obsequious, that's nearly as hilarious. I've been called unmanageable and outspoken from time to time, perhaps with at least a measure of truth to it, but servile or fawning or deferential have never been used or remotely conceivable.

You know you're on the right track when anonymous bloggers can't think of anything better than resort to personal attacks.

Anonymous said...

The Anon post included the text of MoD for all to see. His post sounded more plausible to me than yours when I read the lyrics.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed that the SaveDartmouth website is full of errors? It says that Dartmouth only had 10 trustees in 1891, and 16 today. Are these people idiots, or liars?

The Charter trumps 1891 every time said...

Why did these people feel the need to fabricate facts in their PR campaign? Is their message not compelling enough on its own? The line about "the assurance of direct input" is at least misleading, and the line about the "selection of one-half of the Trustees" is false. Can't these people count? There are eighteen Trustees. Half of that number is nine. Alumni have some input on eight Trustees. That is fewer than half.

"As Trustees, you represent all of the Dartmouth family." That is technically not true. The Trustees do not represent anyone. Their choice of illustrious alumni is intriguing, because several of them actually were Trustees – but only because they were Presidents. This automatic trusteeship, with full voting power, is something of which Save Dartmouth remains ignorant.

If Save Dartmouth genuinely cared about "old traditions," it would not be trying to abrogate the oldest tradition of them all: the Charter of Dartmouth College, which has required the board to elect replacement Trustees since 1769. Save Dartmouth is nothing more than a petty, anonymous, self-interested lobbying group out to spread false information in hopes that it can benefit by maintaining the perceived power of alumni on the Board. Never mind the actual level of alumni influence, or the truth.

DartBored said...

I agree with Carey. Obsequious? Never.

Lest the old traditions fail, is it time to start admitting more football players who don't understand the meaning of obsequious, i.e. SATs under 600?

Anonymous said...

Dear Carey,

To me, coming from my unique position in relation to you, you appear servile, fawning, deferential and yes, dare I say it - obsequious.

Granted, I don't know you as well as some may, and I haven't known you as long as some have, but from what I know of you, you appear servile, fawning, deferential, and...obsequious.

I think that your intentions generally seem good (again, I don't know you as well as some may), but nonetheless, I must confess, you seem servile, fawning, deferential, and obsequious.

And don't worry, I'm perfectly aware of exactly what I'm saying, and I scored significantly better than '600 on the SATs.'

Nor am I a football player, not that that really has anything to do with anything.

Have a French Fry,
GD