Petition Calling for the Resignation of Karl Furstenberg, Dean of Admissions, Dartmouth College

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December 22, 2004

Re: Admissions and Athletics at Dartmouth College

As former student athletes who sacrificed their time, bodies, and in some cases, acceptances to Harvard and other highly selective institutions that aspire to academic excellence to represent Dartmouth College in intercollegiate sports, we, the undersigned of this letter, hereby call for the termination of Dartmouth College Dean of Admissions, Karl Furstenberg.

Furstenberg should be fired immediately for the private letter he sent to Alfred Bloom, the President of Swarthmore College, after Swarthmore decided to drop its football program. Unfortunately for Furstenberg, letters written on College letterhead are not private; someone of his position and stature surely understands this.

Furstenberg wrote: "I am writing to commend you on the decision to eliminate football from your athletic offerings. Other institutions would do well to follow your lead. I wish this were not true but sadly football, and the culture that surrounds it, is antithetical to the academic mission of colleges such as ours.

That James Wright knew of the letter in 2001 and did not take leadership action then is unfortunate. What if Furstenbergs letter had commended Swarthmore for dropping its film and media studies program, or its drug abuse counseling center, or the R.O.T.C. program and the culture that surrounds it?

The Ivy League imposes stringent recruiting standards upon its coaches. The purpose for these recently tightened standards is to ensure that recruited athletes are academically and otherwise qualified to attend and thrive at these highly competitive institutions. Many Dartmouth coaches often fight an uphill recruiting battle as the most highly qualified student-athletes are heavily recruited by the so-called Top Three Ivy League schools. Dartmouths coaches cannot afford to be further handcuffed by a Dean of Admissions intent on de-emphasizing the impact of student-athletes on campus.

We will refrain from reciting the merits and benefits of student-athletes in the Dartmouth community or the communities of other highly qualified academic institutions around the country. The very concept of Furstenbergs letter is indefensible and itself merits no direct attack in this short letter.

As former Dartmouth student athletes, we are concerned that the lack of a cohesive working relationship between admissions and athletics will result in the further degradation of Dartmouth athletics. Ousting Furstenberg would be the first positive step toward regaining control of the Dartmouth athletic program and, in turn, enhancing the College itself.