A Wealth of Feedback

With the end of Sophomore Parents’ Weekend, our feedback-gathering phase of Moving Dartmouth Forward has also finally come to a close. As many on campus are aware, our committee has spent the last three months looking into some troublesome aspects of student life: high-risk or binge drinking, sexual assault, and lack of inclusivity. By crowd-sourcing ideas and opinions from students, alumni, faculty, staff, and parents, our process has been amazingly effective. Our results are clearly shown on our website (forward.dartmouth.edu). We have received over 1700 emails. We have met with over fifteen alumni groups in person in Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City. On campus, we have talked with student groups in affinity houses and basements, gym rooms and the front porch of Collis. We have had countless one-on-one meetings with faculty members—some of whom have been active in student life issues for years, but many of whom have stepped up for the first time to talk about their sense of student life outside the classroom. And we have drawn on the expertise of student life professionals on campus to hear their concerns as well as hopes about making campus a safer, more intentional, and more positive experience for all students. We thank everyone who has participated so far in these feedback sessions; your input has been thoughtful, challenging, and moving.

We are spending the rest of the summer consulting with national experts in our three areas of focus. At the July summit on sexual assault, which brought national attention to President Phil Hanlon’s initiatives to combat extreme behavior, we had the privilege to consult with the top experts in the field of sexual assault prevention. Our challenge now is to bring together the ideas and best practices of a range of experts across our three areas of focus and to make their insights relevant to the Dartmouth experience.

As we embark on the next phase of our project, we invite you to continue to think through with us ways to eliminate extreme behavior by affirming Dartmouth College’s core principles and values: the principle of community, based in the integrity, responsibility, and consideration of individuals and organizations; the principle of coeducation, requiring equal rights and treatment for men and women in all aspects of curricular and extracurricular life; the code of conduct, demanding that community members act in ways conducive to their own and others’ intellectual and personal growth. As an educational institution, we can do better to make these principles part of the lived experience of our campus. Eliminating extreme behavior can only succeed if we all work together to affirm the foundations of the community that Dartmouth holds dear.

As Frank Cunningham ’16, a member of our committee, said recently in a presentation to parents, there seems to be a new energy on campus around discussing these ideas and transforming the campus into a healthier and safer environment for all its members. We look forward to channeling this energy into a strong set of recommendations to present to the administration in the fall. As we move into this next phase of engagement, we once again invite the community to continue to stay in touch with us, either by visiting our website andposting a comment or by sending an email to moving.dartmouth.forward@dartmouth.edu. Your continued, sustained interest and commitment is crucial to the success of our project.