Letter from the Dean February 2018

Dear Families, 

As Dartmouth’s 2018 Winter Olympians strut their stuff on the world stage, Dartmouth students on campus this term celebrated Winter Carnival with wins on the ski slopes and lots of cold weather shenanigans on the Green and in Occom Pond. We hope you enjoy the video and images included in this issue.

Fun and games are an essential element in individuals’ physical, mental, and emotional wellness. For community health, it’s also important that we tackle serious issues out in the open together. As you’ll see in this month’s newsletter, Dartmouth proactively addresses challenges that face every college campus. A new committee representing every area of the College will be reviewing our collective efforts to prevent and respond to sexual assault and sexual harassment. As the national dialogue unfolds, we will evaluate and reinforce our efforts in this area. We’ve also joined a consortium of institutions to examine hazing behaviors and related risk reduction strategies. We are committed to assessing the latest research and best practices to promote a safe and healthy community.

Another essential aspect of healthy community at Dartmouth is the free and fair exchange of ideas. Contemporary social and political debates inflame passions on all sides, and productive discourse easily breaks down when people feel personally attacked by others’ views or forms of expression. As I point out at first-year orientation each fall, we expect students to express themselves and to agree and disagree with others vigorously and honorably, regardless of perceived and real power differences. We also expect them to do so without engaging in ad hominem attacks. 

Dartmouth defends the value of a Liberal Arts education because it requires learning from different academic disciplines and intellectual traditions, understanding the sources of diverse ideas, and then articulating positions in the kind of open and productive discussion that contributes to intellectual excellence. Differences are not to be feared or erased; they actually make meaning and learning possible. By preparing students to wrestle with ideas bravely, constructively and respectfully, we promote positive citizenship and responsible leadership. That is our mission and the gold standard we will continue to uphold.  

One final note for first-year and sophomore parents: mark your calendars for upcoming family weekends May 4-6 (Class of 2021) and July 27-29 (Class of 2020). More details to follow in our next issue. 

With best wishes,


Rebecca Biron

Dean of the College