Dimensions show to proceed despite hazing investigation

by Lucy Turnipseed | 4/5/19 2:20am

Despite an ongoing investigation into alleged hazing committed by the Dimensions performance group, the Dimensions of Dartmouth student performance will continue as planned. This year, Dimensions, a program that allows the admitted students of the Class of 2023 to explore and learn more about the College, will occur on April 11-12 and April 25-26, and will include a show organized by the Dimensions performance group at each session. 

On Oct. 12, 2018, The Dartmouth reported that the College was planning to hire an external investigator to look into 12 student organizations as well as the Dimensions performance group in response to hazing allegations.

Director of judicial affairs Katharine Strong stated in an email that “we do not comment on ongoing investigations” when the office was asked about the findings of the investigation into the Dimensions student group.

College spokesperson Diana Lawrence declined to comment on the ongoing investigation as well.

Director of admissions Paul Sunde said the Dimensions performance group is currently rehearsing its show for this year under the same structure as last year’s, in which past members of the group assume leadership roles for the underclassmen involved.

In the past few years, Dimensions has become an event structured by the admissions office, with faculty at the center of the programming, according to Sunde.

“We’ve talked to [the students involved with the Dimensions show] about inclusion and this notion of wanting to represent as broad a cross-section of Dartmouth experiences or perspectives as possible,” Sunde said. “We’re working with every group a little more closely than we have in the past. And I’d say it’s similar with the Dimensions show. We have a better handle on who’s participating and we’ve been a little more encouraging of them to be inclusive and operate with good judgment and common sense as they develop the show.”

In the past, there has been a loose connection between the students involved in the Dimensions performance group and the admission office, but this year they are working more closely together, Sunde said. 

“We do want to be thoughtful about this,” Sunde said. 

However, while Sunde said that the admissions office is “being more mindful and closely coordinated” with the Dimensions performance, they largely leave the writing to students and do not dictate who is or is not involved.

“We really want to preserve that which is so strong and wonderful about the Dimensions show,” Sunde said.

Many students said that they recognized the importance of having a group of Dartmouth students welcoming the ’23s onto campus, but have expressed certain reservations about the current state of the investigation. 

Although Cameron Thibault ’22 did not attend Dimensions, she has heard many positive accounts of the performance ­— leading her to believe that it is important for admitted students to experience. 

 “[The] Dimensions [show] is an experience students continue to reminisce about through their time at Dartmouth,” Thibault said. “It would be a disservice for future students to miss out on this over an allegation.”

Jenique Richards ’22 believes that the College’s stated hazing policy should have played a stronger role in the situation. 

“I feel like they should have gotten farther in their investigation in order to make an informed decision about whether [the Dimensions show] should happen,” she said. “At this college, there’s a zero tolerance policy, so they should be able to determine if there’s hazing before putting on the program.” 

Jack Smul ’19, however, thought that the investigation mitigated the risk of repeat hazing occurrences. 

“I think [the Dimensions show] should still happen, and it being student run is a good thing,” Smul said. “I don’t think the school should fully take over, but I think the fact that there is an investigation does kind of prevent wrongdoing from occurring.”

Director of Greek Life Brian Joyce confirmed that none of the 13 organizations currently under investigation for hazing allegations have received any restrictions during the ongoing investigation.

“We are certainly excited about what the students are developing for the Dimensions show and all the programs that are going on,” Sunde said.