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Dartmouth hails its diversity as an element that enriches its educational environment, calling it “one of [its] great natural resources.” The offices, initiatives and programs dedicated to promoting diversity on campus are flashed across marketing and outreach platforms, meant to demonstrate Dartmouth’s commitment to diversity and praise the impact they’ve had on students. At first glance, the demographics of the student body and the institution’s diversity efforts do appear praiseworthy; viewed more closely, though, it is difficult to ignore the unsettling nature of the language used to describe this diversity.
As a loather of the current President of the United States, I was surprised by my ability to find merit in one of Donald Trump’s main policies. While pondering the consequences of American dominance (a favorite activity of mine), I realized that, in a twisted sense, “Making America Great Again” is the answer to my prayers. I am an advocate for the reduction of power of nation-states and the growth of pan-global institutions. I believe that the dominance of one nation should be a fixture of the past and the remains of an old world order.
My intent was to write an article about U.S. tax reform — that’s why I went to Dirt Cowboy Café, my writing spot. I came in late in the afternoon, around closing time. It was quiet. I ordered my usual coffee, paid, found a table and realized I forgot to ask for a glass of water. A young barista whom I recognized but whose name I did not know brought me my coffee. I thanked her. Before I could ask for a glass of water, she said:
I hold my coat tight to my chest, the only protection from the biting Chicago cold. The sun just edges up from the jagged tree line, casting long shadows on the almost vacant Toys-R-Us parking lot. It is 4 a.m., and I could not be more awake. The year is 2006, I am 7 and my brother and I have managed to convince my mom to wait in line with us to buy the newly released Wii. A wad of ones and fives bulges in my pocket, dollar by dollar meticulously saved from the past year of birthdays, holidays and any odd jobs with which my neighbors would trust a 2nd grade child. Like everyone who arrived in line earlier than the store’s 8 a.m. opening, we had managed to snag a Wii, but the now outdated gaming console is, unsurprisingly, not what sticks with me all these years later — my brother ended up selling it to pay for some newer system. No, what sticks with me is the line.
The sense of disgust in one’s mouth is palpable when reading the racist anonymous messages sent to students and faculty members over the past few months. Thus far, at least 18 students and three faculty members have been targeted by racist and sexually explicit messages — that two of those students had been physically targeted with slurs put on their doors only makes the matter more disturbing. That most of the targets appeared to be Asian, and that this fact played a role in the bigoted mocking present in the messages is even more loathsome.
The 2020 presidential election is rapidly approaching. President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign war chest grows to over $100 million; meanwhile, more and more Democrats are announcing their campaigns to replace him. America is not ready for another round of the polarizing, tribalistic turf war that increasingly defines this country’s presidential politics. Tensions still run deep from the toxic 2016 elections, and little suggests that the entrenched party elite on either side of the aisle will jostle for power in 2020 with any more civility than last time.
When convicted illegal campaign contributor Dinesh D’Souza ’83 tweeted Tuesday morning about his lecture at Dartmouth Monday night, he had little to say about the content of his “A World Without Walls” speech. Perhaps D’Souza — who started his career as provocateur by outing gay classmates while editor of The Dartmouth Review and has since gone on in his numerous books and movies to make abhorrent statements that do not merit repetition — felt as though his followers already knew what his brand of hatred had to say about the border. More likely, though, D’Souza saw an opportunity to stir up his base. “...the campus leftists yelled, chanted, obstructed, & even cried!” D’Souza wrote. “Despite the best efforts of these little fascists-in-training, the event went on ...” Fox News reporter Heather Childs parroted this idea in her coverage of D’Souza’s visit, claiming on Twitter and television that protestors had “harassed” and “verbally attacked” him.
I can’t speak anymore — not without people attaching the same searing comment, like a parasite, after every point I make. It’s rattled in my brain since my first term here as a freshman.
Four years ago, Dartmouth formed the Ad Hoc Committee on Grading Practices and Grade Inflation, and to quote Douglas Adams, “This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” Of course, the rationale seems both simple and unimpeachable: Dartmouth gives a lot of As, and if we keep going about it this way, soon everyone will have an A (and if that happens, Dartmouth isn’t doing its job). I added the part in parentheses because it’s an implicit assumption of Dartmouth’s approach toward education, and because I want the reader to read it in a stuffy bureaucratic voice that undermines it as a normative assumption about what Dartmouth’s job is. A giver of well-distributed grades is a terrible way to think about a college education.
We all know what winter means.
To no one’s surprise, many members of the Class of 2022 were once hyper-involved, overachieving high school students. I’m one of them. In high school, I was a peer tutor, varsity athlete, editor of the newspaper and involved in various other activities. At Dartmouth, my plan was to pick up where I had left off and throw myself into as many activities as possible. After all, this method worked for me in the past, allowing me to make friends and build a life for myself each time I switched schools. This time, though, that didn’t quite happen.
Last night, Dinesh D’Souza ’83 gave a talk in Filene Auditorium entitled “A World Without Walls.” He has espoused controversial views in the past, and his presence sparked student protests. What does Dinesh D’Souza’s visit to campus mean for the community?
What comes to your mind when you think of Dartmouth? The picturesque serenity of the Green, or the joyful tunes resonating from the Baker bell tower every afternoon? Is it the cozy Sanborn couches and the 4 p.m. tea, or maybe the winter chills you feel while roaming through frat row? Regardless of what images come to your mind, there will be one common denominator: all of these images are symbols of the common Dartmouth experience and are linked to Dartmouth’s core values, as mentioned in its mission statement. These values are what have been shaping the community’s experiences for the past 250 years, and despite their monumentality, they push the College toward dynamism and improvement. In this special edition of The Dartmouth, let us cherish these common values with some tales from students, alumni and faculty.
A recent analysis by the American Historical Association revealed that nationwide, the number of students who pursue an undergraduate degree in history has dropped precipitously in recent years. With only 5.3 history degrees awarded per 1000 students, the discipline is shrinking rapidly with no end in sight. Though the study identified several reasons for the sharp decline, Benjamin M. Schmidt, the analysis’ author, believes that most can be condensed into reduced receptivity to the holistic philosophies of a liberal arts education. Students and parents, he contends, are now looking for a faster and more profitable return on their investment into higher education than ever before.
This year, Dartmouth is celebrating its 250th anniversary. And at first, I thought it had absolutely nothing to do with me.