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Letter: Moral Leadership at Dartmouth

To the Editor:

In his Sept. 29 Perspectives piece, Randall Balmer focuses his sole criticism of Dartmouth’s withdrawal of an offer of the Tucker Foundation deanship to Bishop James Tengatenga on the issue of the bishop’s alleged homophobia. As a long-time worker in Africa, I would suggest the far more relevant and important criticism should be the enormous difference between the social and moral problems of Africa and the social and moral problems of Dartmouth students. Balmer very properly applauds the bishop’s courage, his fight against the social corruption and disparities of wealth that permeate almost all African societies, his work to eliminate HIV/AIDS and sex trafficking, and his interfaith efforts between Christians and Muslims. As one who has spent years and years in Africa, I can attest these are very important issues in Africa, but would appear to be of minor relevance to Dartmouth.

As I understand them, the primary moral issues on the Dartmouth campus appear to be sexual violence against female students, overemphasis on sports and social activities, and a lack of interest in such national issues as racial discrimination, inner city problems and income disparity within the United States and with the developing world. I believe the Tucker Foundation would be far more effective if it were led by an American-born leader who could stir the emotions of students on these issues, which they will face or should face after graduation and perhaps even earlier.

Edmund Coffin

Strafford

Related

Column: Diversity Has Its Limits at Dartmouth

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hanover James Tengatenga, the Anglican bishop of Southern Malawi, will not be the next chaplain and dean of the Tucker Foundation at Dartmouth College; an appointment was offered and then later rescinded this summer. What does this unfortunate episode tell us about the limits of diversity at an elite liberal arts college? When the provost’s office asked me to serve …