Wright Direction? No Thanks.

The Daily Dartmouth Editorial Board has gone off the deep end. In today’s editorial feature, the Editorial Board argues that a college president’s job shouldn’t involve petty things like . . . managing the College.

While issues such as fraternity derecognition and the Student Life Initiative are important to Dartmouth students, focusing on the education of veterans should be more important. We should be debating ways that Dartmouth can contribute meaningfully to academia, the country and the world. Wright should still be attending to the internal well-being of the College, probably by hiring administrators to manage it. But in terms of Wright’s legacy as president, his contribution to the world — and how he leads Dartmouth to contibute [sic] to the world — should be paramount. If onlookers are dead-set on judging the Wright administration on campus life or bureaucracy, he should disregard them, not because their opinions are wrong but because that sort of judgment would be a woefully incomplete method of measuring a president’s performance.

With all due respect, a college president’s area of focus should be the college of which he is president, not the world writ large. No one is saying President Wright’s work with disabled veterans isn’t laudable (and, in truth, his overall stance on things such as ROTC—despite being himself a marine—lag behind his Ivy League counterparts), but to extrapolate from that work that he needn’t bother himself about things related to the College’s welfare is ludicrous. Wright’s job, as President of Dartmouth College, is to make sure the College is giving its students the best education possible.

The Editorial Board wants to elevate Wright to the level of institutional demi-god, to place him in the shadow of someone like Woodrow Wilson. Again, to reiterate, I hope as many veterans as possible are able to attend Dartmouth, and I think Wright’s encouragement of them is commendable. To say, however, that therein lies Wright’s job is absolutely fallacious.

Sometimes they just make me wonder.