May 19–20, 2012

This Student Affairs Committee meeting focused on the recent news about hazing allegations at Dartmouth, how to improve both the graduate and undergraduate student experience, and what the Dartmouth of the future will look like.

April Thompson and Wes Schaub, from the Dean of the College Office, presented to the committee and gave an update on the recent press the College’s drinking and Greek culture have been receiving. The committee was informed that Dartmouth’s Greek life problems are not as bleak as they were presented by Rolling Stone magazine and that hazing is something that is not unique to Dartmouth’s Greek system. They reported that funding to the Greek system has been increased, a new alumni-based advising program has been implemented, and a new Greek letter organization director has been hired to help restructure the pledge process.

The committee was introduced to Suril Kantaria ’13 and Julia Bradley-Crook ’14Adv, who are the presidents of the Student Assembly (SA) and Graduate Student Council (GC), respectfully. Suril said he is looking to revamp the structure of SA and make it something that more students would be interested in being a part of. He hopes to put into place a student senator system in which members from various campus communities are able to come together to share perspectives and issues as well as a peer-to-peer advising program for freshmen. Julia is hoping to bring childcare/nursing facilities to the graduate student community. She will be continuing the efforts of the GC president before her and trying to secure a centralized community space for graduate students while also looking to align with the shifting Dartmouth administration.

Associate Professor of Chemistry Jon Kull ’88 spoke to the committee about the progress of the Students of the Future working group within Dartmouth’s strategic planning initiative. Professor Kull shared his vision of a Dartmouth where intellectual vigor is evident in everything associated with the College. He asked whether Dartmouth could show an increase in external intellectualism; if it is one of the top colleges in the world, we should showcase and be proud of its merits. The Students of the Future working group is looking at the Dartmouth of today and finding ways to enrich the “Pan-Dartmouth” experience of tomorrow. One aspect of Dartmouth life that the working group is hoping to improve is the residential dorm system. If Dartmouth were to adopt a “residential college” model, where a student would have one place of residence/community to go back to year after year, we may see behavioral shift in the ways that students treat one another. Currently, students cycle through the dormitories as frequently as twice a year, and such radical change in residence can be disruptive to building community.

The next vice-chair of the committee will be John “J.B.” Daukas ’84. Lou Spelios ’95 will be the next chair.