A portrait of Dartmouth’s most important critic

The Valley News provides an informative, balanced profile of our friend Joe Asch. Joe writes the Dartblog, an indispensable source of information about developments at Dartmouth College, from which three of the four Power Line authors graduated. Our publisher, Joe Malchow, started Dartblog in 2004, when he was a freshman.

Recently, as the Valley News says, Joe Asch has broken several big stories on Dartblog, including one about fraternity hazing at Dartmouth that Rolling Stone magazine later covered. But it’s Joe’s eagle-eye coverage of more mundane but highly important issues, such as housing and the budget, that makes Dartblog so valuble to me. And I am not alone. In July, a fairly slow month, the blog had more than 36,000 page views. As Ron Green, Dartmouth’s long-time outstanding Religion professor says, “I think [Dartblog] is a must-read for anyone who’s devoted to Dartmouth.”

Joe has plenty of critics, of course, and the Valley News spoke with some of them. From all the appears, none was able to point to any errors or substantive problems with anything Joe has written.

Instead, they resorted to ad hominem attacks, claiming that Joe is motivated by bitterness over his defeat in the Dartmouth Trustee election of 2010. But, as these critics surely know, Joe offered the same kind of criticism in the years preceding that election; he started writing on Dartblog in 2009 and had written critically of Dartmouth before then in the student newspaper. Indeed, the forces that opposed Joe in the 2010 election (including Jim Kim, then Dartmouth’s weak excuse for a president) attacked him (albeit not always by name) for providing the same type of criticism some now claim is motivated by his 2010 defeat.

Joe Asch’s criticism of Dartmouth surely stings the powers-that-be in Hanover. But the criticism normally is spot on. And the College’s lack of responsiveness to the issues Joe raises helps explain why Dartmouth continues to drift.