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Dartmouth’s Action Plan for Inclusive Excellence

President Phil Hanlon ’77 <presidents.office@dartmouth.edu>

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To the Dartmouth community:

We write to you today to present our commitments to advance diversity and inclusion at Dartmouth.

Over the last weeks, we have studied the reports from the three Inclusive Excellence working groups. We have reviewed the Community Study report. We have taken stock of many previous reports and surveys. We have listened to your feedback on calls, at community forums, and in meetings and office hours, and we have read your emails.

We have identified many previous efforts over the years to enhance diversity and inclusion in our community. And we have concluded that Dartmouth needs no more reports, task forces, or initiatives that occur in isolation. Rather, Dartmouth needs action, alignment, accountability, and transparency. Today we stand together and commit our institution to cultural change. This change is both possible and necessary, on behalf of the highest academic standards that are integral to this institution.

Dartmouth’s capacity to advance its dual mission of education and research depends upon the full diversity and inclusivity of this community. We have work to do. We must increase diversity, particularly among our faculty and staff. As we do so, we must also create a community in which every individual, regardless of gender and gender identity, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, disability, nationality, political or religious views, or position within the institution, is respected. On this close-knit and intimate campus, we must ensure that every person knows that he, she, or they is a valued member of our community.

Diversity and inclusivity are necessary partners. Without inclusivity, the benefits of diversity—an increase in understanding, improvement in performance, enhanced innovation, and heightened levels of satisfaction—will not be realized. We commit to investments in both, to create a community in which difference is valued, where each individual’s identity and contributions are treated with respect, and where differences lead to a strengthened identity for all.

In 2015, we launched the Moving Dartmouth Forward initiative to enhance the student experience and heighten learning outside the classroom, making the campus safer, more diverse, and more inclusive. The actions announced today build on Moving Dartmouth Forward with an expanded focus on diversity and inclusivity among staff and faculty, as well as students. As we did with Moving Dartmouth Forward, we commit to transparency and accountability in our actions. We will create a permanent home on Dartmouth’s website to allow you to track our progress across all dimensions of diversity and inclusivity, to ask questions, and to contribute ideas. We will appoint an external review committee to evaluate our work in fulfilling our commitments to diversity and inclusivity. And we will link that external review committee with the external committee already in place to evaluate our Moving Dartmouth Forward commitments.

Creating the culture we need and value will require a permanent commitment by the Dartmouth community. The actions we outline in the Action Plan for Inclusive Excellence mark that commitment with a period of focused action, supported by clear, accessible communication about our progress. We recognize that this effort is a marathon and not a sprint. We commit ourselves to constant vigilance and clarity regarding our efforts and their results.

See the full report.

Sincerely,

Phil Hanlon ’77, President

Carolyn Dever, Provost

Evelynn Ellis, Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity

Rick Mills, Executive Vice President

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“Human rights… It’s just not for me…”

Let me set the scene for you.

I’m at a Dartmouth College Activities Fair and I’m manning the Amnesty International table. Ya know, handing out the pamphlets and talking about what we do.

Then one student comes up the the table and asks “What do you guys do?”

I go into my mini spiel about our petitions, protest, activities, lectures and the workshops we organize.

His response, “Human rights… It’s just not for me.”

Now usually when people aren’t interested in Amnesty International, I’m like ok whatever, it is a time commitment that some people can’t do. But this response got to me.

“What do you mean human rights aren’t for you?” I asked. He looked weirded out by my question and he walked away.

But what is that even supposed to mean? It blew my mind and still continues to blow my mind. With my former years teaching ESL, I soon found out that many international adults had NO IDEA what human rights were and that they were entitled to  safety, water, citizenship, asylum, security etc.

There is this mentality that so long as you have human rights, it doesn’t matter if others have or don’t have human rights. But the truth of the matter is, if we, people who have human rights, don’t call for the human rights of others, our silence implies complicity. It implies that we think it is ok for others to get tortured for different beliefs, or sentenced to death for different ways of life.

That complicity then becomes normalization. The offence and clear disregard for human rights becomes normalized, like a domino effect… and how long before the normalized human rights offending ends up on our doorstep? Who is to say it’s not on our doorstep already?

Wake up. Human rights are for all of us and we all need to care about everybody because any one of us could be next. Not only that, but we should care about other’s human rights because it is right and just. Where are your ice cold hearts?

An update on Moving Dartmouth Forward

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To the Dartmouth Community:

Last January, I announced the launch of Moving Dartmouth Forward, a plan to greatly reduce extreme, harmful behaviors on campus including high-risk drinking, sexual assault and violence, and incidents of bias and exclusivity. I am writing to give you a progress report now that we are six months post announcement and two terms into the start of implementation.

My goal in launching the Moving Dartmouth Forward initiative was to ensure that our campus is a vibrant and supportive community focused on intellectual growth and engagement both within and outside the classroom. The elements of Moving Dartmouth Forward were based in large part on recommendations from a Presidential Steering Committee, chaired by Professor Barbara Will. In crafting its recommendations, the Steering Committee sought broad input from the extended Dartmouth community, consulted with experts on high-risk behavior, and studied best practices at a number of peer institutions.

A far-reaching element of this plan is to transform residential life at Dartmouth by developing a house community system, which we will launch next fall. These house communities will enrich the opportunities for social interaction and intellectual engagement within our residence hall system. We selected six talented house professors who will guide the creation of house communities in cooperation with Rebecca Biron, the new dean of the College, and they will be soliciting input from faculty, students and staff during the coming year. Additionally, we have committed $1 million to student programming this year.

Beyond the house communities system, Moving Dartmouth Forward includes a number of measures that will promote a safer and healthier campus. Last spring we revised the College alcohol policy to extend the ban on hard alcohol from students under age 21 to all undergraduates, and we differentiated penalties for violation of the alcohol policy depending on whether the violation involved beer or wine, or hard alcohol.

In the area of sexual assault, we significantly strengthened the College’s judicial policies a year ago. In the coming weeks, Safety and Security will send out a community announcement about a new Dartmouth-specific smartphone safety app, which I encourage every member of the community who uses a smartphone to download. Also regarding sexual assault, we have signed a memorandum of understanding with WISE, a regional advocacy and crisis services organization for those affected by domestic or sexual violence, and hope to soon have a WISE advocate working on campus. We are also piloting aspects of a four-year sexual assault education curriculum. And, later this fall, we plan to launch an online “consent manual” which will help to clarify acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

Last spring, students, faculty, and staff participated in three working groups charged with drafting a code of conduct, revising our event policy procedures, and drafting new standards for organizational accountability. I would like to thank those who took the time to work on these committees. This week, entering students will sign the new citizenship pledge, which was drafted by one of the working groups. Together with our Principle of Community and Academic Honor Principle, this new pledge affirms the rights and obligations that we all hold as members of an intellectual community–the duty to act with integrity at all times, in and out of the classroom; the right to express ideas freely, even if they are not popular, while remaining respectful of the rights of others; and the recognition that our diversity enriches all of us.

During the fall, we will introduce new rules crafted by the Social Event and Alcohol Management Working Group relating to alcohol service at undergraduate parties. Later in the year, we will introduce a new standard for organizational accountability based on the work of one of the working groups. All student organizations must make a positive contribution to our community in order to maintain recognition. These measures are in addition to those enacted last spring: a ban on pledge periods in all student organizations and a requirement for all Greek houses to have faculty advisers.

Last spring we conducted the AAU Sexual Assault Climate Survey and this fall we will conduct a Community Study, a campus-wide survey that looks at the learning, working, and living environment at Dartmouth (our campus climate). In the coming weeks, you will receive information about this campus climate study and I encourage all students, faculty, and staff to participate. We will release results of these surveys and use the information they provide to enhance our efforts to create a safe and inclusive campus.

Finally, to ensure accountability, I named an external review panel that will report regularly to our trustees on whether we are taking the steps that we promised in the Moving Dartmouth Forward initiative.

As we move forward with implementation, we will continue to assess the effectiveness of our efforts using information from the surveys and all other available data. I invite you to visit the Moving Dartmouth Forward website to stay informed about our progress.

Sincerely,

Phil Hanlon ’77

President

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Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH 03755

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Interim Muslim Advisor Job by: Dartmouth College

Job description

Dartmouth College, a member of the Ivy League located in the beautiful Upper Valley of New Hampshire is seeking an Interim half-time Muslim Advisor. This role supports Muslim students on campus and serves as a resource on matters of Muslim faith and practice, creating thoughtful religious life programming while providing spiritual support and guidance to members of the college community, with an emphasis on undergraduate and graduate students.

Successful candidates will show a demonstrated ability to work with college students’ intellectual, social and spiritual needs. A strong knowledge and understanding of the Muslim faith, including awareness of and openness to engage current scholarly debates in the Muslim faith, coupled with keen interest in developing Muslim life in higher education, and superior communication and organizational skills, are required for this position. The Muslim advisor provides religious and pastoral support to students, along with creating opportunities for greater inter-personal connections. While not necessarily leading public congregational worship, the Advisor ensures that there is public congregational worship for the Dartmouth Muslim Community.

Requirements include a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience and education, a history of involvement with campus Muslim groups and a commitment to student development and confidentiality. Candidates will possess a proven ability to effectively advise students, empower students to plan campus events, collaborate and work in teams, and occasionally offer educational seminars to the larger Dartmouth community and local religious congregations.

Note: This is a term position ending 12/31/2015.

For the full job description or to apply to this opportunity, please visit this link https://searchjobs.dartmouth.edu/postings/29495. For more information about this opening, please contact career.opportunities@dartmouth.edu.

Dartmouth College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer with a strong commitment to diversity. In that spirit, we are particularly interested in receiving applications from a broad spectrum of people, including women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, veterans or any other legally protected group.

How to apply

For the full job description or to apply to this opportunity, please visit this linkhttps://searchjobs.dartmouth.edu/postings/29495. For more information about this opening, please contact career.opportunities@dartmouth.edu.

A bankrupt future

I took out student loans from American Education Services a while back while I was a student at Penn State. I am now a full-time graduate student at Dartmouth College. A few months back (Fall 2011) I started receiving phone calls from a strange number. Sometimes they would hang up as soon as I picked up, the rest of the time I stopped picking up and they never left a voicemail. Then my mother started receiving the same calls, except they would speak to her, say they were AES, and demand to speak to me and give her no information. I have called them on more than one occasion and in the end they told me that from the information they have received from the National Student Clearinghouse that I have withdrawn from Dartmouth and hence have to pay back my student loans.

 

I talked to AES on the phone and they told me to get a letter from Dartmouth saying I was still enrolled and had never withdrawn and to fax it to them. I did get that letter and I tried to fax it to them, but their fax machine was not accepting my fax. So I mailed it to them. I then received another bill from them, so I called them again and asked why I was still getting billed, since I did what they wanted me to do. They then told me that the letter wasn’t sufficient and that they needed more information. So I got another letter from Dartmouth and went to every office at Dartmouth concerning enrolment and not one office has me in their system as having ever withdrawn. I took a leave term to conduct thesis research, but never withdrew. Dartmouth is on a quarterly system as opposed to a semester system and so it is not uncommon for students to take a term during the year off and enrol during the summer term, as winters here are awful. Dartmouth has students take leave terms all the time and I was told by my registrars office that this is the first time they have heard of anyone being forced to pay back their loans during an off term. So, if I had taken the summer off, I would have had to repay my loans?

 

Dartmouth still charged me annual fees and I was still and am still considered an enrolled student, in good standing. So I sent the next letter from Dartmouth to American Education Services, and then I received an email from AES, in which they were referring to me by my mother’s name and using my mother’s information. Which is inexplicable since my mother and I have two different names, different social security numbers, different addresses, different phone numbers- we are clearly not the same person and to top it off, they won’t tell my mother anything when they do call her. So why are they referring to me as my mother? They still continued to bill me and hurt my credit. I have been receiving financial aid and am on a tight budget. Despite my tight budget, I still made/make small monthly payments, just so I can start paying off the interest on these loans.

 

My mother who is bankrupt helps me make the AES payments and AES told me that I am still liable to pay the monthly bills while they keep me in limbo about my enrolment status, on purpose, I’m sure- Even though it was never my fault and it is all a mistake. No one at Dartmouth that I spoke to has even heard of the National Student Clearinghouse or knows anything about how they get their enrolment information. I’m a full time student and my studies are absolutely suffering due to their incompetence and scamming demeanour.  I have filled out all the paperwork and sent the letters and did everything they wanted me to do to fix their mistake, but they insist on hurting my credit like this. I have lost all hope in trying to communicate with them and get straightforward answers. I have absolutely no idea what to do anymore or where to turn to anymore and would appreciate any help. I feel like I dedicate at least an hour or so a day to running around talking to different offices, reading through loan information, and trying to contact anyone who can help. That is a lot of hours over the months.

 

I want them to stop harassing me and my mother. I would also like a formal apology for harassing my family. I don’t have a problem with paying back my loans once I am out of school, but I am still in school and I can’t afford to be a full-time student and take on a full-time job. I want them to listen to me and take my concerns seriously. I know that they record the telephone calls, so I want them to listen to the phone conversations they have had with me in the past and look at the email correspondence they have had with me. I have been receiving inconsistent information, and I feel that it is all a scam to keep me in the limbo while they continued to charge me. Also, they have consistently been confusing my mother and me. They keep confusing our accounts together and referring to me by my mother’s name in emails even though I sign my emails with my name. They continually tell me my email addresses are wrong and it’s because they keep using my mother’s information. I have corrected it numerous times, but they still keep getting us confused. I have since changed my first name legally and hope that this will help the issue, although it might just confuse them even more.

 

I have contacted the Pennsylvania Attorney General and have contacted a pro bono lawyer, as well as my senator. My senator’s office tried to help me, they asked that I request all my information from AES. I asked AES three times for my deferment agreement; all I received was my agreement of loan consolidation and Master Promissory Notes. I emailed FAFSA and Studentloans.gov and the Department of Education. I received some information from the Department of Education, but it didn’t really address my issue with National Student Clearinghouse or AES. I have read over my consolidation agreement more than a few times and each time I read through it, I can’t seem to see clear information about repayment, deferment or the terms of repayment after enrolling in a second degree. I called asking for more information about my deferment and they just said that I was automatically deferred based on the information from the National Student Clearinghouse. And I explained to them the situation in which I don’t understand why I had been charged since I had never withdrawn and I wanted every piece of information they could give me about deferment. They put me on hold for over twenty minutes, in the end only to refer me to CommonManual.org- telling me it was lawyer speak and I wouldn’t understand it. They aldo said they would send me something in the mail. Who knows what they’ll send me. I told them I wanted to know all the rules that they have to follow in regards to deferment and they huffed at me.  I don’t think I am being out of line in wanting to know how they are handling my account. I asked them if anyone had ever asked for their deferment information before, but I didn’t receive a clear answer from them since they kept telling me there are no real documents explain deferment. I was most offended that they assumed I wouldn’t be able to understand CommonManual.org. I’m reading through the information now, I understand it just fine. The only thing is that there is a lot to read and that takes time to figure out why they were charging me.

 

I contacted the Better Business Bureau but in the end I just received a notice from AES basically saying that they are right and I’m wrong. With that the BBB shut the case. I spent over a month talking with my Senator’s office and in the end they said I am essentially having an issue with the actual state of Pennsylvania. Since my problem is with PA, my senator can’t help me. I tried to contact the senators in PA, but they told me they couldn’t help me because I no longer live in PA. I contacted Penn State and they told me to contact Federal Student Aid. Federal Student Aid sent me a letter, which was helpful, but didn’t address my issue at all.

 

Eventually, after lots of phone calls, crying, yelling, angry letters  etc, my enrolment status was fixed, although AES still maintains that they were correct. Now I am faced with the issue of, how long after I graduate are my loans deferred for? My online account says one thing, a letter they previously sent me says another thing and there is no deferment agreement to actually outline it. So I have no idea when I am supposed to start paying them back again and they won’t be clear with me about it either.  The senator’s office said they contacted the Department of Education, although I haven’t heard anything from them since.  Fyi, my senator’s office said they thought my case was unusual and that they hadn’t heard of anything like it.

 

I’m getting the run around and even though right now, the problem seems to be fixed, I still worry everyday that somehow my account is going to go back into repayment or that I am going to be hit with bills the second I graduate. I don’t know how badly my credit was affected by my delinquent payments all I know is that AES is unpredictable, untrustworthy and unreliable.