We’ve got some praise for Dartmouth. Dartmouth College, the smallest of the eight Ivy League colleges, has been in the news of late because its relatively new president, Philip J. Hanlon, himself a Dartmouth alumnus, has been making some pretty significant changes at The College on the Hill. To offer some background, Dartmouth has long been trying to move away from a reputation for a culture of fraternities and drinking. While BASIC originated at Dartmouth, a language that would change computing forever, so too — many would suggest — did beer pong. Although students at Dartmouth simply call it pong. And they play with paddles. Yes, paddles. The movie “Animal House” was even loosely based on Alpha Delta fraternity at Dartmouth, the movie’s screenwriter a former AD fraternity brother at the school. It’s a movie Dartmouth likely wishes never came out because they’ve had to distance themselves from the reputation perpetuated by this college movie for many years now.
But Philip Hanlon is changing things. He has made national headlines for banning hard alcohol on campus. And in a move that surprised many, he gave the boot to Alpha Delta fraternity, initiating their derecognition. Take that, Animal House. That’s right — he kicked to the curb his old fraternity in a nod to the future he hopes to build for Dartmouth. It seems like President Hanlon, himself a mathematician, is practicing some broken windows policing in a way. He’s making small changes in the hopes it will lead to a transformation for Dartmouth, away from a fraternity culture. While Dartmouth is a wonderful institution as it stands now, we salute President Hanlon’s efforts to endeavor to make his university more welcoming, more harmonious. We salute him for challenging the status quo and for selflessly risking his reputation in the hope of strengthening his university. More universities — and more university presidents — should follow suit, guided by the example of Dartmouth College.