Emphasizing the Positive

by Raymond Rodriguez | 11/15/07 2:07am

For the first time since matriculation, I am an outsider to the College. I am currently off campus for two terms due to the D-Plan, and can only see Dartmouth through a very constricted lens. As an outsider, I've been able to view Dartmouth in various lights. I see the College in one light as a student who is actively involved on campus and has knowledge of the College's unique atmosphere, and in another light as a person who sees things objectively from a distance.

As an involved student, the recent on-campus controversies do not surprise me. Unfortunately, none of them are new. Dartmouth has been faced with issues of gender inequality, disrespect and alumni discontent for many years.

The imbalance of gender relations has plagued our campus since the time when women first matriculated at Dartmouth, and will continue to do so if only male-dominated social spaces continue to reign. The consequences and outrage caused by Chi Gamma Epsilon fraternity's t-shirt is nothing out of the ordinary. This past summer, an incident between Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and Theta Delta Chi fraternity triggered offense and caused us to once again question the relative positions of men and women at Dartmouth. We only have to search through the archives at Rauner Library to find similar incidents that have provoked anger on campus in years past. What have changed are the specifics and the manner in which outrage and disrespect are caused -- but the outcomes are the same.

We get upset, then we start to question the nature of social interactions, and a year later, another unpleasant incident takes place. When will we say that enough is enough?

Under that distant and objective light, the negative interactions between men and women at Dartmouth, and the constant hostility between alumni and their alma mater over who has the right to oversee the well-being of the institution, only serve to paint a harmful picture of the College on the Hill. For individuals who may not understand the intricacies of our school and the social atmosphere in which we operate, they are only able to digest and comprehend what the media and other sources portray. Currently, what is being depicted is not in the best interest of the College.

Although there are always marvelous things going on in Hanover, negative occurrences always manage to publicly mar the institution's image and well-recognized name.

This fall, just as last fall, there is controversy, outrage, drama and in-fighting at Dartmouth. While the time period and specific scenarios have changed, discontent at the College is still prevalent and the controversies and their effects are still portrayed through various means. Whether incidents are described incorrectly or overdramatically, they are still broadcasted to a larger audience which will then make assumptions about Dartmouth and its students.

Although some things never change, other aspects of our College experience, and of the College itself, must change and be improved if Dartmouth is to continue on a path of progression. The first women who graduated from Dartmouth, visiting campus this past weekend in order to celebrate the 35th anniversary of coeducation, lamented the same problems that exist at the College since the time of their own matriculation ("Alumnae celebrate, reflect at weekend," Nov. 12). Indeed, a great portion of the problems has not changed.

I believe that now is the appropriate moment to improve the various aspects of the College that have kept it from moving forward throughout the years. We owe it to the alumni who came before us, to the students who will come after us, and most importantly, to ourselves.

Some things in nature are meant to occur in a cycle, others are not. Dartmouth is not meant to continue on with its cyclical nature. I can only hope that when I, and other proud Dartmouth students, return for the spring, I will not have to say, "Here we go again."