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Choosing a college is an important decision. Each year, students spend dozens of hours discussing with their parents, teachers, counselors and coaches where they would like to spend the next few years of their lives. They pore over statistics, rankings and testimonials, trying to decide which school is the best fit. And data is everywhere: A prospective student can go online to find anything from financial aid statistics to the average class size to the number of robberies on campus.
Though it is always concerning when societies implement a culture of censorship, more concerning still are the attempts to defend it. Jessica Lu ’18’s April 20 column “Considerate Correctness” is exactly such an attempt, and I must voice my vehement disagreement with her position. A culture of political correctness is not only antithetical to the core values that Dartmouth should uphold, but it also sets a dangerous precedent for higher education across the country.
On April 20, the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network hosted a panel on the digital rights of artists. The panelists agreed that there needs to be a cultural shift in how we think about the value that content creators provide.
HBO’s critically acclaimed fantasy drama “Game of Thrones” returns this Sunday with its sixth season. The series has attracted record numbers of viewers on HBO and developed a particularly extensive and active international fan base. Based on the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series of epic fantasy novels written by George R. R. Martin, the television series is set to overtake the books with its sixth season. Without a textual basis for season six, the show’s producer and Dartmouth alumnus David Benioff ’92 and his co-producer D. B. Weiss will have broad leeway in telling Martin’s story. The show’s actors and producers have received widespread praise for their acting, storytelling, production values, scope and complex characters – winning 26 Primetime Emmy awards for their efforts. Why do millions of viewers return to the world of ice and fire year after year to watch their favorite characters get killed off? The popularity of “Game of Thrones” is partially reflective of the broader trend of increasing interest in novel big-budget, high production value television dramas, as well as a more cynical and disillusioned viewing audience.
Most of you probably remember that the United States women’s national soccer team won the Fédération Internationale de Football Association World Cup last year. And if you do not recall this exciting victory, I’m willing to bet that it was far more popular news than the men’s team coming in 15th place the year before. This polarity in international prestige between the men’s and women’s soccer teams is not just a recent phenomenon. The U.S. men’s national soccer team has participated in several World Cups, with their best season occurring in 1930 when they came in third, followed by their more recent second best in 2002 when they reached the quarterfinals. By contrast, the women’s team has won three World Cups and four Olympic gold medals since 1991. In 2015 alone, they generated $20 million more in revenue than the men’s team. The catch? The women are paid a mere fourth of what the men earn.
Recently, I’ve been undergoing a crisis of identity. I consider myself liberal, progressive, woke — all those buzzwords that The Dartmouth’s frequent commenters love to decry as a disease of foolish millennials. I’ve spent most of my opinion-writing career on issues of intersectionality, on bringing light to problematic behaviors that are overlooked despite the profound impact they have on those they target. I’ve used this space to contribute to a discourse that may be one of the defining conversations of this generation. This time, and I think perhaps for the first time, I’ve finally figured out where I stand and where I think we all should stand.
It’s getting hot in Hanover. And as the temperature rises, so does the number of people wearing sunglasses, boat shoes, salmon shorts and, you would hope, sunblock. Unfortunately, a 2013 survey reviewed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that a minority of respondents, only 14.3 percent of men and 29.9 percent of women, regularly use sunscreen on their face and other exposed skin. Those of us who both buy and apply sunblock on a regular basis will know that the drug store has a whole litany of options available when it comes to lathering up before going outside.
My “New Hampshire for Bernie” poster has started to look forlorn lately as it rests against my dorm window. Senator Bernie Sanders was an upstart back in February, when I cast my vote in the primary for him. But whatever small chance Sanders had has all but disappeared in light of the New York primary. He received 42 percent of the vote in New York, placing him 741 delegates behind Hillary Clinton. FiveThirtyEight, a website that focuses on statistical analysis stories, suggests that Sanders is struggling to stay within 90 percent of the delegates he would need to win. A Clinton Democratic nomination, and likely presidency, seems to be the foregone conclusion.
The group of misfit women who established Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority in 1993 initiated the house’s traditional “Derby” party. These women created a home for themselves beyond the existing options in Greek life. When mulling over a spring “darty” theme, these local sisters thought of the horse racing parties, such as the Kentucky Derby and the Carolina Cup, that are the staple theme for springtime sorority parties in the South. Considering this, sisters have in years past invited guests and dressed in hats and flair rather than dresses to make a creative and light-hearted “mockery” of the typical parties thrown by their nationally affiliated counterparts.
With the recent blitzstorm about Student Assembly elections, I felt like it would be a good time to write about our governing body. Then I realized I had no idea what Student Assembly actually does. So I did what any curious college student would do: go to the Assembly’s website. A few initial impressions: the landing page is a photo slideshow, of which slides one, two and four are the exact same picture with different captions. The “SA News” section’s last post was on Sept. 16, 2012. The website highlights two of the Assembly’s recent initiatives — the Dartmouth Group Directory and Course Picker. The DGD hasn’t been updated in four years, based on the page for this newspaper, which lists a ’12 as editor-in-chief. The Course Picker, on the other hand, does not work whatsoever. Any attempt to search for a class immediately returns an error. But maybe their website just has some issues — it might not reflect the state of Student Assembly. After all, the recent Bill of Rights website certainly looks great, and maybe the fact that two of their initiatives have gone nowhere is just a coincidence. But if the prevailing opinion on campus is to believed, it’s not.
During a time in which politics dominates many aspects of our lives, from protests to everyday conversations, it’s nice to take a step back and appreciate the little things in life. And newspapers like The New York Times just don’t cut it.
One doesn’t become a leader because of the titles they possess. One becomes a leader through the work that they do. At Dartmouth, we have lots of opportunities to hold all sorts of titles across the many groups and clubs of which we are a part. More often that not, the reality is that we do not even compete or challenge ourselves that much to gain these titles. I would even go so far as to say that it required more effort to have a leadership role in my high school than it does at Dartmouth.
This weekend, the Dartmouth undergraduate student body will have the chance to decide which of their peers will represent them in Student Assembly for the upcoming year. The two most talked-about races, for president and vice president, involve six and four candidates this year, with each vice presidential candidate aligning themselves with a presidential one. In the past, The Dartmouth’s editorial board has endorsed a candidate. Two year’s ago we abstained from doing so. As this year’s election approaches, we have chosen to do so again. Instead, we want to discuss some of the troubling trends in Student Assembly elections and the future of our student government.
My friends call me Nathan, and I am humbled to be Sean Cann’s vice presidential running mate. I first met Sean during Green Key our freshman year. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of working with him to positively evolve Juggling Club and Collis Governing Board, two organizations he now leads. He is brilliant and empathetic, and he gets thing done. I am confident that Sean Cann has all the foundations necessary to lead our student body with excellence.
Less than a week ago, Dartmouth’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People launched the #DoBetterDartmouth campaign, calling for increased inclusivity and diversity education. Since then, critics of the movement have been quick to assert that the racist online comments that the movement decries should not be taken so seriously. Granted, many people who post racist comments online may be so-called internet trolls, and the issue of rude online comments may not be as salient or as potentially dangerous as other social or political problems concerning race. But who’s to say that all the issues — the big and the small — are not interconnected? Though some might view the comments as simply rude but innocuous, this behavior seems to parallel what some call “colorblindness” — or the dismissal of harmful microaggressions and the failure to recognize the importance of race in social problems in America.
Last week, The New York Times ran an article titled “Career Coaching for the Playdate Generation.” The piece, written by Laura Pappano of the Wellesley College Center for Women, discussed yet another pitfall of the so-called millennial generation. As a millennial who will soon be entering the workforce full-time, I couldn’t help but read on. For a number of reasons, I found the article a little more than disconcerting.
Purdue University recently announced a new program, “Back A Boiler,” that will give rising juniors and seniors an alternative way to pay back debt. The program’s website notes that this alternative is potentially less expensive than more traditional loans for students who need additional funding to pay for their education. This option is based on an income-share agreement, also known as an ISA, and gives students an award of $5,000 or more to complete their degree. Students will then repay the debt at a fixed rate in the years immediately after graduation. The repayment rate will be calculated based on a student’s anticipated salary and will continue for a fixed amount of years, up to nine. Worth mentioning here is that the interest rate is zero percent, and that students will not have to pay once the payment term is up. The ISA program will take effect at Purdue starting next month. Although time will tell whether this program is effective or not, ISA has the potential to be beneficial to both the school and the students. It is an option that Dartmouth should consider adopting in the future.
Within dysfunction there is opportunity for transformation. While I believe that Dartmouth’s climate is teeming with issues, I also believe that those issues can be solved. Still, having served as the chief of staff of Dartmouth’s Student Assembly, I am keenly aware that in its current form, Student Assembly is unequipped to tackle the problems plaguing our campus today. But I also believe that my candidacy offers the most reliable and authentic opportunity to revive our student government — to fix a broken model and transform it into an institution that can effect real change.
I must admit to a sense of schadenfreude whenever I learn of foolish occurrences at other Ivy League colleges. It is devilishly fun for me to snicker at the misfortunes of our Ivy League peers, smugly satisfied that my school is, at least, not in their shoes. However, when such foolishness has far-reaching and dangerous implications, then that self-righteous snobbery transforms into genuine alarm. And then suddenly the smug superiority vanishes as I realize that the Dartmouth I love so much is vulnerable to the very same troubles.
In her March 30 column “Reprehensible Rapprochement,” Sarah Perez ’17 wrote that President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba came despite continued abuses by the Cuban government and an overall United States policy of weakness and appeasement. She accurately highlights the challenges facing Cuba’s more than 11 million people, including severe economic stagnation, crumbling infrastructure and the arrests of political protestors even as Obama arrived on the island. Perez voices an understandable frustration with the pace of meaningful change since December 2014, when the two nations first moved to normalize relations. However, concerns over the visible progress of rapprochement today miss the long-term advantages that engagement provides in the post-Castro era.