‘Paternalistic Babysitters’ Begone! Dartmouth Students Call for Intellectual Independence

Catherine Sevcenko

At least some Dartmouth College students have had enough. In a scathing petition on change.org, five leaders in Dartmouth’s student government, joined by more than 1,200 signatories, have called on the administration to return the college to its mission of educating, rather than policing, students. Although the growth of bureaucracy in academia is no secret, it is always sobering to confront the statistics. According to the well-cited petition, non-faculty staff at Dartmouth grew by more than 1,000 people from 1999 to 2004, and in spite of faculty layoffs, that number had increased to 3,497 by 2015. And most administrative staff do not come cheap, especially at prestigious research universities. As the petition points out, this contributes to the institution’s sky-high tuition; the sticker price for a year at Dartmouth is now just below $70,000.

But the petition points out that the cost of non-faculty staff is only part of the problem; what many of these people do all day damages the college as a place of learning as well. The petition does not mince words: