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Letter: How Dartmouth Sells Itself

To the Editor:

Just before my wife and I moved into Kendal, a granddaughter of ours was busy selecting a college. “Go to Dartmouth!” we begged. “It’s right down the road.” Expectations high, she signed up for a tour of the campus. But she returned an hour or so later looking glum. “This is definitely not the place for me,” she said. “The emphasis,” she explained, “was on fraternities, sororities, sports and parties.”

A couple of years later, an undergraduate at a prestigious Moscow institute visited us. She wanted to take the same tour. I accompanied her as surrogate grandparent. Walking backward, the guide told us of the happy life of the Dartmouth student. Good courses to be sure, but lots of time for making whoopie.

“I can’t believe this,” the Russian student said afterward. “Is this really one of the best universities in the United States?” “It is,” I explained sheepishly. “It just has a peculiar way of selling itself. Education is a business, you see.” She did not see.

I cannot help but suspect that these tales of woe are related to the campus culture that was examined recently at the Parker Gilbert trial.

Robert Belenky