The Dartmouth's Joke Issue Offended Certain Members of the Community

by Dean Krishna | 11/17/98 6:00am

To the Editor:

Who needs The Dartmouth Review when you have The Dartmouth? And thank God for the Jack-O. The Dartmouth's "joke" edition was an exercise in poor taste. It offended numerous students and revealed deep biases in the staff of The Dartmouth.

I was appalled to see an article making fun of an attempt to bring more vegetarian options on campus. Many students on campus have specific dietary restrictions -- whether it be vegetarian or kosher or something else -- that require more options at Dartmouth Dining Services. There is currently a group of students that is striving to make more such dining options available. I resent that The Dartmouth belittled what these students believe in and presented the issue to the campus as some sort of a joke.

The "joke" edition went on to attack the intelligence of a College employee who is suing the College. It normally might not be too big of a deal, but The Dartmouth has recently written articles about that case, and as the case proceeds there will inevitably be more coverage. The Dartmouth is supposed to be objective, but this revealed another case of bias by the editors. It takes thinking certain things about college employees before writing about them -- thoughts lead to actions.

Furthermore, on a number of occasions The Dartmouth made no attempt to hide the name of the particular students that they were making fun of. These individuals are all people who are trying to make a difference at Dartmouth, and despite the coverage that The Dartmouth has given them in the past term, they're succeeding. Not only has The Dartmouth continued to smear the credibility of those constructive members of our community, but it has consistently missed opportunities to point out instances where positive changes can and should take place.

I also sincerely disapprove of the setting in which The Dartmouth presented a candlelight vigil. It belittled both the function of such vigils and the students typically involved. It disrespected one of the few resorts that grass-root student action has to make a strong statement on this campus. When The Dartmouth made light of "joke" versions of candlelight vigils, the Assembly, concerned students, College employees and others, The Dartmouth was clearly drawing parallels to real-life situations. By making fun of these parallels, The Dartmouth was essentially making fun of the actual representations.

Finally, The Dartmouth concluded its edition of offense by railing several Greek houses. It's unfortunate that The Dartmouth used its privilege of readership to try and settle vendettas against particular houses.

In a way, I'm glad that all this happened. I now know what The Dartmouth truly believes. Even though the articles were clearly intended to be jokes, some of them were not funny to me. More importantly, they were presented based on The Dartmouth's definition of what is funny and what it is okay to make light of. It revealed deep-rooted biases from the staff of The Dartmouth. A newspaper cannot possibly call itself objective at the same time.

It is indeed ironic that the "joke" edition came out on a day that there was a big campus discussion concerning respect, sensitivity and the principle of community. I understand that The Dartmouth is a private newspaper and that it can print as it wishes, be it biased or not biased. Because I represent a number of different organizations on campus, I would like to emphasize that these views are my own, and I am not attempting to speak on behalf of any of these organizations. But since I do not agree with The Dartmouth's approach to reporting, I am canceling my subscription. I realize that the issue wasn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I'm just tired of the The Dartmouth's thoughtlessness and abuse of its privileges.