Bad Behavior Ruining Dartmouth, Says Its President

Philip Hanlon: Sex assaults, drinking, racism, sexism call for big changes

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 17, 2014 8:36 AM CDT

(Newser) – Dartmouth College's president has offered a stinging critique of his own school, saying that its future "is being hijacked by extreme behavior." In a speech last night, Philip Hanlon said sex assaults, rampant "dangerous drinking," and parties featuring "racist and sexist undertones" are undermining the Ivy League school's culture and image. "There is a grave disconnect between our culture in the classroom and the behaviors outside of it—behaviors which too often seek not to elevate the human spirit, but debase it," he said, citing a "general disregard for human dignity," the Boston Globe and Washington Post report per a copy of his prepared remarks. "It is time for Dartmouth to change."

Indeed, the Post reports applications dropped 14% this year—the most in two decades—and the federal government is investigating Dartmouth along with 52 other colleges and universities over allegations of sex assaults, an Education Department spokeswoman says. Twenty-four forcible sex offenses were reported at Dartmouth in 2012; the previous year saw 15 reports. But Dartmouth isn't alone in its woes, says Hanlon, who took his post in June. "These are issues everywhere,” Hanlon said. "A prospective student or parent should be concerned if a campus is not talking about them.” As for those who believe such campus problems can't be fixed: "Dartmouth will prove them wrong," he said, per the Dartmouth. (Some pretty gross hazing allegations made waves at Dartmouth in 2012.)

In this May 1, 2001 photo, Dartmouth College students lounge on a lawn on the campus in Hanover, NH.
In this May 1, 2001 photo, Dartmouth College students lounge on a lawn on the campus in Hanover, NH.   (AP Photo/Lee Marriner, File)
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