Source: Courtesy of Caris White and Andrew Sasser
This editors' note is featured in the 2020 Fall special issue.
Normally this special issue coincides with Homecoming, the first of Dartmouth’s three termly “big weekends.” But as we all already know, nothing about this fall is normal. Absent the usual hammering, sawing and bonfire wood-arranging fervor, this year’s Homecoming has been marked by a different kind of deconstruction.
This fall, the quintessential Dartmouth experience has been stripped down and reformatted by a pandemic that shows no signs of stopping. At times, it feels like so many aspects of our community have been taken away that what remains is unrecognizable. However, the beauty of deconstruction is that it gives us a chance to take apart what Dartmouth has built and decide for ourselves what pieces are important, to rediscover old truths and make room for new ones.
This issue examines some of these pieces up close, from the College’s oft-debated mascot to affinity housing and the movement to abolish Greek life. Going all the way down to ground level, we grapple with Dartmouth’s Indigenous land history, and zooming all the way out, we discuss students taking gap years and international students who aren’t on campus at all.
Deconstruction is uncomfortable. It is unnerving and scary, and it often just feels like the world is falling apart. It is also essential for new growth. The goal of this issue is to lean into that tension, to deconstruct Dartmouth and take a good look at what we find.
Andrew and Caris