An Email Exchange

Dean Larimore, in a form response to an impassioned email, has ignored my question.

> Dear Emmett,


> Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts regarding

> the recent elimination of the swimming and diving teams. It was

> a difficult decision and one that we hoped would not be

> necessary. Director of Athletics Josie Harper did examine a

> range of alternatives, including another round of

> across-the-board budget reductions that would have affected the

> competitive ability and overall experience of all teams, before

> reaching the decision to eliminate the swimming and diving

> program.


> Students gain much from their experiences outside of the

> classroom and I very deeply regret that it has become necessary

> to reduce the number of varsity sports offered at Dartmouth. We

> will continue to be one of just eleven Division I schools in the

> nation to offer more than 30 varsity programs (the average number

> of sports offered by Division I schools is 19). However, I

> realize that this does not diminish the range of emotions that I

> am sure you and others are experiencing as a result of the

> elimination of our swimming and diving program.


> I hope that you will continue to offer support to the

> student-athletes, coaches, parents, and alumni who are struggling

> with this difficult news. The College has extended its support

> to the swimming and diving coaches and team members, and Athletic

> Director Josie Harper has indicated willingness to help establish

> swimming and diving as a club sport if students are interested in

> that option.


> Thank you again for writing,


> Jim Larimore

Extended your support? You cut the rug out from under them! You’ve done nothing but harm to them!

And you flat-out ignore what I said in my email. WHY was it necessary? WHY does it come before all that gobbledegook that the College seems intent on forcefeeding its students?

I never expected to get a response, but I would have been less upset than I am now if you had simply ignored my email. This response — or non-response — has infuriated me. You don’t address a single criticism I raise. Instead, you blithely send me a form letter.

Below is a post, made by Alexander Wilson ’01, on yesterday:

“…I fear you guys are not focusing on the important issue about the College budget. Empirically, there is no reason to cut any program, PC or not, useful or not. Whatever the exact size of the endowment, it is more than it was in 1999, and at least several multiples of what it was in 1990. Tuition has increased above the rate of inflation, while labor costs have not kept pace as far as I know. Certainly the past year has witnessed no increases in labor costs, fixed operating expenses, or similar expenditure problems. And the College admits to no major decrease in alumni giving. So the College has a far larger endowment, and at worst the same annual revenue to expenditure ratio that it had in 1990, yet is cutting programs. In other words, it is willing to sacrifice those programs, academic, athletic, or otherwise, to maintain the endowment.

“The question you should be asking isn’t what programs could be cut more painlessly, but why any programs should be cut at all.”

How about a thoughtful (and, dare I ask, honest) answer to this question, not to mention my own?

…but I won’t hold my breath.