Dartmouth College

I’ve been following the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees’ dispute for about two years, where “the entrenched authority at Dartmouth has been trying to rid the Board of those who ask probing questions and who do not reflexively accept the administration’s word as final.”

Dartmouth College, one of the nation’s oldest institutions of higher learning and the preserve of one of our premiere undergraduate programs, has in the past five years seen something quite like a revolution.

At Dartmouth, the Board of Trustees’ September 2007 decision to dilute significantly the representation of alumni-elected trustees—eliminating distributed democratic governance structures that were carefully maintained for over a century—has sparked a nationally-covered imbroglio. The issue of whether to hear litigation on these changes is now before the Grafton Country Superior Court.

But to understand what’s at stake in the current case, one must consider the context. These events, at first glance, may appear to be one elite college’s internal governance dispute. But what happens in Hanover both indicates and influences current trends in academic board oversight—a realm undergoing significant rethinking in light of the ongoing economic downturn. And with the ongoing governance revolution, the eyes of higher education are looking on. Dartmouth, to be sure, is far from the only place where fealty to organizational leaders—and the notion of “going along in order to get along”—has been placed before true fiduciary duty.

Here’s a memorandum (pdf) that discusses the issues involved.


Are You Racist?

An Obama criticism flow chart.



Dr. T. David Gordon, Professor of Religion and Greek at Grove City College, has various essays online here.


The Gospel-Driven Life

Also, here’s a sample of Mike Horton’s new book, The Gospel-Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World.


A Million Miles

You can read three chapters of Donald Miller’s new book, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years, here.


Net Neutrality

FCC to Propose ‘Net Neutrality’ Rules here.

Some good comments about the issue as well.


Two Articles

A couple weeks ago I received an email from Amarnath Amarasingam asking if I would be interested in posting a couple of his articles on The Divine Conspiracy. Amarnath is a doctoral candidate in Religious Studies, and I just posted his two articles, one on the Religion page, the other on the Psychology page.


The Walk

I know yesterday was “excerpt” day, but here’s another excerpt, this time from The Walk: Steps for New and Renewed Followers of Jesus.


Patrol Magazine

Patrol Magazine, an online journal for “hip” evangelicals.

(h/t First Thoughts)

UPDATE: Here’s a description of another online journal, The City.

The City is a publication of Houston Baptist University featuring leading voices in academia on faith, learning, and the critical issues of the times. A collection of thoughts deserving permanence in a fleeting age, it is published thrice annually and distributed free of charge to thousands of readers in every state and over twenty countries.


Religious Beliefs

The Volokh Conspiracy is discussing whether or not a candidate’s religious beliefs, in this case creationism, should disqualify a person for political office.


Religious Discrimination

Abercrombie & Fitch faces lawsuit due to religious discrimination.

A Muslim teenager claims in a federal lawsuit that she was denied a job at an Abercrombie & Fitch clothing store at a Tulsa mall because she wore a head scarf.

In the lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Tulsa by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 17-year-old Samantha Elauf said she applied for a sales position at the Abercrombie Kids store in the Woodland Hills Mall in June 2008. The teen, who wears a hijab in accordance with her religious beliefs, claims the manager told her the head scarf violates the store’s “Look Policy.”

“These actions constitute discrimination against Ms. Elauf on the basis of religion,” the lawsuit states.


Gavin Newsom

There’s a good chance that Gavin Newsom will become California’s next Governor. If so, this is the type of policies he will support.

Calling soda the new tobacco, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will introduce legislation this fall that would charge a fee to retailers that sell sugary beverages.

Newsom would need voter approval to tax individual cans of soda and sugary juice, but only needs approval from the Board of Supervisors to levy a fee on retailers. His legislation would charge grocery stores like Safeway and big-box stores, but would not affect restaurants that serve sodas.

Newsom wouldn’t say how much the stores would have to pay or how the city would spend the fees. When he first floated the idea in 2007, he said the money would go to his Shape Up San Francisco exercise program and for media campaigns to discourage soda drinking.

The mayor said the city attorney’s office has warned him the city would probably be sued over the matter, but he said it is worth the risk to try to curb a leading cause of obesity and diabetes.

“We know we’ll be sued,” he said. “But I really believe this is important to do.”

When the federal government takes over health care, you will see this same type of legislation.



Politics Daily weighs in on the comparative surveys of conservative and progressive religious activists I linked to here.


Obama and the Truth

Charles Krauthammer asks and answers the question, Does He Lie?



The WSJ reviews Christopher Caldwell’s new book, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe.

Yet much of Europe has discarded its historic religious underpinnings as irrelevant at best, harmful at worst. Even the memory of what a religiously ordered society was like has seemed to disappear, Mr. Caldwell observes. “A good definition of religion” for most modern Europeans, he says, might be “an irrational opinion, strongly held.”

Most European elites, though, have not debated seriously the potential effects of introducing into this land of postmodern chatter millions of devout believers in another religion, one previously seen as antagonistic to European culture. As Mr. Caldwell says, Europe’s elites seem hardly to have considered that the ethical views they pride themselves on have little meaning when divorced from Christian origins.

Many Europeans are determined to defend their values— witness France’s ban on headscarves in schools—but it is hard to defend what you cannot define. “There is no consensus, not even the beginning of a consensus,” Mr. Caldwell writes, “about what European values are.” When the Netherlands decided not long ago to try to define its values and inculcate them in prospective new residents, it ended up producing a ghastly naturalization packet that included a video that featured “gays expressing affection in public, and bare-breasted women on the beach.” Welkom, immigrants!


The Left

The Left defends ACORN.



The Al-Qaradawi Center for “Moderation.”

In an amazing bit of irony, a Qatari government fund is creating the Al-Qaradawi Centre for Islamic Moderation and Renewal, named after leading Sunni scholar and self-proclaimed “Mufti of martyrdom operations” Yousef Al-Qaradawi. Its director claims that the center will direct its “moderation” towards “politicians and economists,” train imams, and show the “huge difference between terrorism and jihad.”

Yet all of these stated goals directly contradict Al-Qaradawi’s statements in support of terrorism, his desire to overthrow capitalism, and his position as a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Read more here.


Higher Education

An excellent article by George Leef on liberals and higher education. In the article he provides this quote by Michael Munger of Duke.

I’ll tell you who should be upset: Liberal students! Liberal students ought to sue the faculty of their university for breach of contract. Conservative students get to play against the first team, many of America’s best liberal minds. Conservative students learn to argue, to defend themselves without becoming angry, to understand and dissect the opposite view.

What do liberal students get? They get patted on the head, and told, “Good little liberal! Here’s a biscuit!” I was in a meeting of faculty department chairs where one chair, apparently believing she was among friends, openly said, “I don’t feel like I have to talk to the liberal students much. They already have it right. So I spend my time on the conservative students, educating them about the truth. But there are so many of them! Sometimes in my classes I have 3 or 4!”

So, in my mind there is a paradox working here, but it is working on the side of good. It is the liberal students, recognizing that they are being denied the (pardon the pun) “faculties” of critical reasoning that are starting to drive a backlash against leftist hegemony in the academy.

More here.



A positive review by Stephen F. Hayes (The Weekly Standard Blog) on the new book Speech-less: Tales of a White House Survivor.


San Jose Giants

Congratulations to the San Jose Giants who last night won the North Division Championship of the California League. As I have mentioned several times, I love minor league baseball and saw about 25 games this year, about equally divided between the Giants and the Stockton Ports, both single A teams.

San Jose next plays the High Desert Mavericks, the South Division champions, in the best-of-five California League Championship Series. Go Giants!

On a side note, I really like the High Desert Mavericks baseball cap and have tried to buy one online for over a month, all to no avail. Last night I wrote a letter to the club wondering why they don’t have any replica hats, but as of yet have not received a reply. How can a baseball team not have hats? Sheesh!