Toga! Toga! Toga!

March 8, 2012

The Boston Globe recently dropped anchor in the controversy swirling in Hanover, New Hampshire around Andrew Lohse, an undergraduate student at Dartmouth College who opined in that school’s paper that fraternal hazing runs rampant in the great north woods, and that he was its victim.

He neglects to mention that ritualized initiation of new members by fraternities is hardly news, or that he went into the process open-eyed and informed, or that he’s given his concerns voice only after he was expelled from his own fraternity because he was arrested for possessing cocaine and attempting to intimidate a police witness.

Still, Mr. Lohse has scribbled up a stormcloud, and given people like Dartmouth theater professor Peter Hackett an opportunity to, in reference to the collegiate Greek sytem, ask the Globe things like, “Why do we still have a social system that is from the 19th century?”

Though it’s unclear what exactly – or even inexactly – Professor Hackett is talking about (social clubs? fraternal organizations? collegiate hazing? the prevalence of vomit in the 19th century?), the answer is obvious: because those social systems have produced folks a lot more accomplished than Professor Hacket.

Nelson Rockefeller, for one. General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, another. Dr. Seuss. Former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson. Intellectual Jeffrey Hart. Former IBM boss Lou Gerstner. Buck Henry, Chris Miller, Budd Schulberg and Fred “Mr.” Rogers. Chief Justice Salmon Chase, Robert Reich, former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, Nate Fick, Norman Maclean, Robert Frost, and Daniel Webster… not to mention Michael Corleone. Good Dartmouth frat boys, all of them.

Dramatist Hackett might do worse than read the words of Jim Yong Kim, President of Dartmouth College, right below his own in that Globe piece:

“The minute you think as an administrator that by fiat you can institute culture change, the only thing you’ll get is mocking and ridicule. And at that point it will be well deserved.’’

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Dartmouth Rugby Splits Opener

September 18, 2011

Dispatched from the Dartmouth Rugby Football Club wire service:

On a beautiful Labor Day weekend in Hanover, Dartmouth kicked off their fall season with a pair of tough tests against top Canadian sides Queen’s University and McGill University as part of the Dartmouth Rugby Classic, presented by Rockwood and Royall Rugby.

Although The Big Green had a tough opening game against Queen’s, losing 36-0, they bounced back nicely to defeat McGill 32-15 to get a split on the weekend. Overall, both games were good experiences that helped a 1st XV looking to break in several new starters, according to Captain and No. 8 Paul Jarvis, Darmouth Class of 2012. “I was very excited to see the team progress over the weekend,” he said. “We still have a ways to go in terms of technique in contact and winning set piece ball, but the team really showed glimpses of greatness this weekend.”

Dartmouth was back on their heel right away in their first game against Queen’s, as the opening kick off didn’t go ten meters, giving the Golden Gaels a scrum at midfield. From there, they quickly moved the ball down the field, taking it to the five-meter line in only a few phases. It was then that Jarvis got hit in the head by an opponent’s knee while going for a tackle, suffering a mild concussion.

As he lay on the field still reeling from the injury, Queen’s quickly moved the ball wide to get their first try. As the guests made the subsequent conversion, Jarvis was able to walk off the field under his own power, but was unable to return to the game. “It was immensely disappointing to get hurt so early in the season,” he said afterwards. “Fortunately it’s only the preseason, so I should be back within a few weeks at worst. In the mean time, I’ll contribute to the team in other ways and work on my recovery.”

With their captain sidelined and down a try only two minutes into the game, things somehow only got worse for The Big Green. A few minutes later, they would have a kick deep in their own territory blocked, leading to a mad scramble in the try zone for the ball. While fullback Madison Hughes, Dartmouth Class of 2015, was able to hold up a Queen’s player to prevent the try, the Golden Gaels would not be denied that easily as they deftly moved the ball wide from the subsequent scrum to get their second try and go up 12-0. They would add another only two minutes later as they once again went wide, this time from a lineout to increase the lead to 17-0. Ultimately, Dartmouth would not be able to recover from their slow start. “The first ten minutes against Queen’s evidenced our relative inexperience with one another on defense, as we conceded three fairly routine tries at the very start of the game,” said co-captain and flyhalf Bill Lehmann, Dartmouth Class of 2012. “From that deficit, it was always going to be difficult to catch up.” While the match became a much more even contest as it went on, any hopes of a Dartmouth comeback would be dashed right before halftime, when a Queen’s player caught the ball off the goalpost after a missed penalty kick and then proceeded to run it through the hands for another try to make the score 24-0. The Golden Gaels would add two more tires in the second half to bring the final score to 36-0.

The Big Green would have a much better opening, and much better go of it overall, in their next game against McGill. Where they had been stifled by the Queen’s defense the day before, Dartmouth was able to move the ball well against the Redmen. Dartmouth was especially effective when they were able to get it with pace to their speedy back three, who in turn created several line breaks. The team was able to open the scoring this way, as center Owen Scannell, Dartmouth Class of 2013 was able to hit Hughes, who took it from around the 22-meter line into the try zone to give The Big Green a 5-0 lead.

Hughes would strike again about ten minutes later, once again burning the McGill defenders on the edge to increase the advantage to 10-0. He would finish off the hat trick five minutes later, and would add on the conversion for good measure to make it 17-0. All in all, Hughes was far and away the best player of the day, tallying 22 of the team’s points (three tries, two conversions, one penalty). “It felt great,” Hughes said when asked about his performance after the game. “After yesterday’s loss, it was important for the team to turn around and perform better today. I was really happy to be able to help do that and we got the result we wanted. Hopefully we can build on this and get a winning streak together.”

While McGill was able to respond only a few minutes later with a converted penalty to make the score 17-3, the outcome of the game once would again be put out of question right before halftime. Except this time, it was the Big Green who put the game away, as prop Lawrence Anfo-Whyte, Dartmouth Class of 2013, burst through the McGill defense on a set strike move from a lineout and took it the distance to bring the lead to 24-3. That lead would prove too big to come back from for the Redmen. Although they would score two tries in the second half, good defense from Dartmouth, along with a Hughes penalty and a try by wing Kevin Clark, Dartmouth Class of 2014, would be enough to let The Big Green hold on for the 32-15 win.

Dartmouth will next be in action Saturday, Sept. 10th as they host the Granite State Cup in Hanover. The one-day tournament will see the Big Green’s 1st and 2nd XV sides taking on college teams from all over New Hampshire and Vermont. The action will kick off at 9 am at the Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse, located at 9 Reservoir Road in Hanover, 1.8 miles north of the Hanover Inn, off of Lyme Road.


Dartmouth Rugby: National Champions

June 6, 2011

Apologies re. the paucity of new content lately; bar examination season is at hand, the test itself it nigh, and your editorial staff’s free time is at a premium (and much put upon). Still, it’s worth noting that the Dartmouth Rugby Football Club recently bested the United States Military Academy in the final round of the national collegiate rugby tournament, televised nationally, thereby securing well-deserved recognition as the best collegiate rugby club in America. The final score was a convincing 32-10. Details available via The Dartmouth Review, whose writers enjoy more leisure than ours.


This is Joe Rago.

April 19, 2011

Wall Street Journal editorialist Joe Rago stirred up unnecessarily strong feelings some time back when, in that paper’s pages, he questioned the value of blogs. The meat of the argument was that there are no fact-checking or stylistic guardians at the blogospheric gates – indeed, there aren’t even gates – and, as a result, blogs spew opinions which are both mis-informed and terribly written, thereby polluting the marketplace of ideas.

The mainstream media, flawed as it may be, endeavors at least to preserve some standard of factual accuracy and facility with the king’s English.

The blog mob fired back, mainly via its championed electronic platform, to defend itself and denounce Mr. Rago. Most of the counter-offensive was appropriately analphabetic. One recurring theme: “Who is this Joe Rago character? He’s barely ten minutes out of Dartmouth (where he was a member of Phi Delta Alpha and edited The Dartmouth Review), and already he thinks he’s O.O. McIntyre? And anyway, who was O.O. McIntyre?”

This week, Mr. Rago – all 28 years of him – was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for editorial journalism for his work covering healthcare legislation. It’s a well-deserved honor and your editorial staff disloyally wishes him well, and wishes also he would write more often about Warren Zevon.

Joe Rago, editorialist.


Dartmouth Rugby Opens Season Strong

March 29, 2011

The Dartmouth Rugby Football Club opened its Spring season this past weekend with a 15-5 victory over an agile, strong University of Delaware side in Newark, Del., on that school’s Frazier Field.

The match was also the DRFC’s first as part of the newly-formed College Premier Division, a goup of rugby-playing colleges and universities to which Dartmouth was recently added. The Division is comprised of the 31 best collegiate rugby teams in the country, which are sub-divided by regional conference. The formation is new to American collegiate athletics, which had not previously recognized top-flight programs with their own division.

The DRFC next plays the Pennsylvania State University, and then travels to Barbados for its annual Spring Tour.


Carnival – 1, F. Scott Fitzgerald – 0

February 15, 2011

Yesterday’s Boston Globe published this history of the Dartmouth College Winter Carnival, re-printed below with as minimal abridgement as possible: 

Of all the winter traditions in New England — inaccurate forecasts; broken shovels; gaping potholes — this one might be the most fun: the Dartmouth College Winter Carnival, celebrating its 100th year this weekend.

Once known nationally as “the Mardi Gras of the north,’’ and famously used to lure women to Dartmouth before the school went coed, Winter Carnival inspired a Hollywood film, and proved too much for no less a party pro than F. Scott Fitzgerald. He attended in 1939, ostensibly to collect material for the movie’s screenplay, but was so done in by heavy drinking he left early.

The carnival was invented in 1911 as a series of athletic competitions to help dispel the doldrums of the long New Hampshire winter. But the weekend soon took on a vital social function — attracting young women to the all-male Dartmouth in the dead of winter. In time, the picturesque campus, dotted with snow sculptures and sweater-clad couples, was adopted far beyond New England as a kitschy symbol of winter fun, and the college, 120 miles from Boston, became a destination for would-be carnival queens.

But in the beginning, when the future was uncertain, Dartmouth men were called to duty.

Winter Carnival “will not succeed without girls,’’ warned the college newspaper, The Dartmouth, in 1912, according to a history the paper published last week. “It is up to every man with a purse or a heart or a bit of enthusiasm . . . to make haste to procure that most necessary item.’’

To mark this year’s centennial, organizers brought back lost traditions, including the Carnival Ball, a formal dance that was held from 1913 to 1932; a snow sculpture contest; and snowshoe races on the Green.

They did not revive the “Queen of the Snows’’ pageant, the wildly popular competition that began in 1923 and ended in 1972, the year the school went coed. The pageant attracted hundreds of contestants, and even the interest of Hollywood starlets, some of whom tried to get an edge on the crown, said Jere Daniell, a Dartmouth history professor and 1955 graduate.

The real significance of the carnival, said Daniell, is the role it played in the transformation of Dartmouth from a failing regional college at the end of the 19th century to an elite institution with a national profile.

“It helped create an idea of community within the student body and the faculty — this sense of being from Dartmouth — and it put Dartmouth on the national map,’’ said Daniell, 78. “Like a lot of things that are flashy at one point, it’s less so now, but it is a celebration of winter, and an acknowledgment of the process that turned Dartmouth into an amazing place.’’

In the early years, students’ carnival “dates’’ were often women they had never met, who shipped north for the weekend from New York or Boston on Dartmouth-bound trains. By the 1930s, the town was swamped. “Hanover is set back on its collective heels as girls, girls, girls pour in,’’ blared the college newspaper in February 1939, according to a 2003 story in The New York Times.

It was 1939 when Fitzgerald visited carnival, sent by a movie producer who wanted a script. Budd Schulberg, a Dartmouth-educated writer who accompanied him on the trip, recalled in a 2003 interview with the Times how they started drinking champagne on the plane from California and never sobered up. Schulberg, who died in 2009, fictionalized the story of that weekend in his novel “The Disenchanted.’’


Corporations Turn 192

February 3, 2011

On this day in 1819 the United States Supreme Court decided the case of Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, in which the Court made law the notion that private corporations ought to be protected from takeover-at-will by the states in which they reside, thereby establishing the modern American corporation. Dartmouth’s own Daniel Webster argued the College’s case, concluding thus:

This, Sir, is my case! It is the case not merely of that humble institution, it is the case of every college in our Land! It is more! It is the case of every eleemosynary institution throughout our country – of all those great charities founded by the piety of our ancestors to alleviate human misery, and scatter blessings along the pathway of life! It is more! It is, in some sense, the case of every man among us who has property of which he may be stripped, for the question is simply this, ‘Shall our State Legislatures be allowed to take that which is not their own, to turn it from its original use, and apply it to such ends and purposes as they in their discretion shall see fit!’

Sir, you may destroy this little institution; it is weak, it is in your hands! I know it is one of the lesser lights in the literary horizon of our country. You may put it out! But if you do so, you must carry through your work! You must extinguish, one after another, all those great lights of science which for more than a century have thrown their radience over our land! It is, Sir, as I have said, a small college. And yet there are those who love it.”

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