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The Dartmouth
June 17, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

'97s witness four years of changes and events on campus

From learning the Salty Dog Rag on their freshmen Dartmouth Outing Club trips to patiently awaiting their imminent diplomas, the graduating seniors have celebrated, lamented through, but most importantly shared many different experiences throughout their four years at the College.

Freshman year

As the '97s took their first steps on the Green, so did Peter Goldsmith as he became the new Dean of Freshmen.

During the freshmen sweep on Dartmouth night, the '97s were at their rowdiest -- thumping parked cars and uprooting street signs -- which subsequently resulted in stricter regulation in future sweeps. Thirty freshman daringly rushed the field during the Homecoming game against Harvard.

But the excitement of Homecoming died down when Dan Boyer '94 committed suicide in a gun shop in Lebanon. His unfortunate passing was marked by the planting of four apple trees outside of the Collis Center.

Winter term brought new social options for students as the new Collis opened up and the College's second undergraduate society, Amarna, formed offering an alternative to the Greek system.

Amarna drew 31 members and was able to obtain a house from the College by the end of the term much to the praise of administrators.

Nate Cook '94 and David Robb '94 -- two members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity -- were arrested in February of 1994 for allegedly violating a New Hampshire anti-hazing law, a new state law which had taken effect only the year before.

Criminal charges against Robb were dropped and charges against Cook were lessened from a misdeanor to a violation, but the College decided to suspend Robb for two terms and Cook for four terms. The house itself was also sentenced to a year of suspended recognition because of its involvement.

Student Assembly also had its conflicts as representatives tried to impeach former Assembly President Nicole Artzer '94 from office.

College President James Freedman announced he would take a six-month sabbatical beginning in January of 1995 and Dean of Faculty James Wright would serve as acting president.

Shortly after his announcement, Freedman was diagnosed with having lymphatic cancer according to the tests performed on a testicular tumor. Freedman subsequently underwent six months of extensive chemotheraphy.

Sophomore year

Early into their sophomore year, the '97s experienced the lost a fellow classmate, Adam Brown '97, to lung cancer. The College mourned for Brown, who was a member of the fencing team. A memorial issue of the Forum, a campus publication on public discourse, was dedicated to Brown.

Students were outraged during the Fall term over Hanover Police's practice of arresting minors for the "internal possession" of alcohol. The law cited a breath test revealing alcohol in the bloodstream was sufficient cause to arrest minors for underage drinking.

Police were accused of violating student rights and the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union became involved in the case.

In October, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel spoke about his Holocaust experiences in Spaulding Auditorium to an audience of more than 1,100 people.

"Six million men, women, and children perished in the tempest of fire and fury," Wiesel said that night. "Did God weep or is possible that God wept and humanity was not moved?"

Wiesel stressed the importance of remembering the horror of the Holocaust.

A female student in French Hall awoke one November morning to find an uninvited male stranger in her room. Other women living in the River Cluster residence halls also reported similar incidents of trespassing. These events resulted in extra safety precautions in the River Cluster.

Winter term also brought a meningitis scare to the College. That winter, several student contracted the highly contagious and often fatal disease.

Controversial sparks flew within the Student Assembly as Danielle Moore '95 resigned from the Assembly presidency citing political in-fighting and bickering within the assembly as reasons. After her decision to step down, Vice-President Rukmini Sichitiu '95 ascended to president.

Eight out of the 12 members of the executive committee wrote in a letter asking John Honovich '97 to resign as secretary. The letter accused Honovich's demeanor of causing the assembly "infighting, confrontation [and] unproductivity." Despite their attempts to remove Honovich, he was later elected vice president.

During the Winter and Spring terms, Freedman took a six-month sabbatical while recovering from lymphatic cancer. During his sabbatical, Freedman wrote the much-praised book "Idealism and Liberal Education."

Sophomore Summer

As sophomores, the Class of 1997 spent their summer basking on the Green and swimming in the river. They also took advantage of Tubestock, the town's summer festival in the Connecticut River.

However its sunny moments turned to one of tragedy for the '97s as the College's great female athlete, Sarah Devens '96, committed suicide.

Devens died at her home in Massachusetts in July 1995 of a gunshot wound to her head in what police have called an "apparent suicide."

Devens was a three-sport varsity athlete who excelled in field hockey, ice hockey and was named an All-American in Lacrosse.

Junior Year

More tragedy arrived in the fall of their junior year as three more of the College's students committed suicide.

In October, Marcus Rice '94, who had never completed his graduation requirements, committed suicide in his Tarrytown, NY home.

His father, Berkeley Rice said his son had been suffering from depression for several years which caused him to withdraw from the College in 1993.

Two weeks later, another Dartmouth student, Philip Deloria '96, committed suicide in his apartment in Grantham. The chief forensic investigator of his case determined the cause of death was by "asphyxiation by hanging."

His brother Vine Deloria said in the morning before the suicide, "Philip was very upset. ... He was real down, felt like had no where to go, didn't know what to do."

Early in the winter term in January, another student of the College Anthony Lightfoot '92 also committed suicide in a Seattle skyscraper by shooting himself in the head with a rifle.

Several hate-related incidents occurred on campus that year. During Fall term, assailants threw dirt at the window of a student living in Lord Hall who had hung a Dartmouth Rainbow Alliance flag out of her window. Homophobic slurs were also written on doors bearing "Gay friendly space" stickers.

In February, two Asian-American men in Little Hall and two Asian-American women living off-campus discovered racial slurs scrawled on their doors.

These incidents sparked off a rally against injustice in front of Parkhurst Hall in which more than 400 students participated. Over 40 students and faculty members spoke at the event.

Senior Year

The year began with the Big Green football team's narrow win against the University of Pennsylvania's Quakers -- the game which led to an undefeated season and the 17th title in the Ivy League.

The College began celebrations for the 25th anniversary of coeducation and women such as Regina Barreca '79 were invited to speak at the celebratory events.

The College's former Provost Lee Bollinger stepped down as Provost of the College to accept the offer for presidency at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He officially began his presidency in February of this year.

Beta Theta Pi fraternity was derecognized in December after a series of five serious violations since 1993.

Among those offenses were chasing and attacking a member of Sigma Nu fraternity last summer and violating a suspension by having alcohol in the house Fall term .

Perhaps the biggest event to have caught the majority of the students' attention this year was the Dartmouth Dining Service's proposal to impose a mandatory $800 declining balance account meal plan.

The Dartmouth Dining Services claimed to have lost over $400,000 and Tucker Rossiter explained to angry students that an $800 minimum was the absolute minimum necessary to recover the losses.

This event led to campus-wide referendum conducted by Student Assembly to gather student opinion on the situation. Students overwhelmingly voted to cut services at DDS and a revised plan has been subsequently proposed.

This term, many students -- especially graduating seniors -- eagerly awaited the College's announcement of this year's commencement speaker. Rumors of Hillary Clinton and Margaret Thatcher as being possible speakers circulated the campus, and many students expressed surprise when Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponnen was announced as this year's commencement speaker.