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I’m a student athlete. Upon reading Osman Khan ’21’s April 26 column, “Admitting Our Athletes,” in The Dartmouth, I felt two initial reactions. First, I felt angry and hurt that another student so strongly believed that my teammates and I might not belong at the institution we worked so hard to be a part of. And secondly, I felt resentment toward The Dartmouth for publishing an article demonstrating a concerning lack of awareness of how so many students felt about campus athletics.
When I first enrolled as a Ph.D. student at Dartmouth, I understood that I was choosing to do graduate work at an undergraduate-focused college. That was one of the main reasons I chose Dartmouth: If I ultimately wanted to teach and be a professor, why not learn from some of the best undergraduate instructors in the world? I didn’t anticipate that as a graduate student I would often be an after-thought — expected to shut up and do my work and not really be a part of the Dartmouth community. But make no mistake, graduate students are fundamental to the success of the College, and it is about time the institution acted like it.
If we want to understand the state of small family farming in this country, we need to look beyond partisan fault-finding and demeaning stereotypes of farmers and their operations. Contrary to the suggestions of Thomas Knight ’22 in his May 9 column for The Dartmouth, titled “Trump and the Family Farm,” there are no economic indications that President Trump’s actions are worsening the decline of small family farming in New Hampshire or elsewhere.
For hundreds of years, Dartmouth did not fulfill its commitment to Native Americans. Dartmouth’s campus is built on the land of Abenaki indigenous people, and Dartmouth’s founding charter outlines that the school’s principal mission is to educate Native youth. But in its first 200 years of existence, Dartmouth only graduated 19 Native Americans. When Native students finally did matriculate to Dartmouth in meaningful numbers, many of them were not exactly thrilled to see that Dartmouth had an Indian mascot, and they widely protested it. Native students Howard Bad Hand ’73, Duane Bird Bear ’71 and Rick Buckanaga ’72 were among those who led the call to end the use of Dartmouth’s Indian mascot in the 1970s, and in 1974, the Board of Trustees agreed with the protestors that the mascot was inconsistent with the values that Dartmouth is supposed to uphold.
Everyone’s favorite New England postcard is in trouble. For years, tourists have flocked to the Upper Valley, where antique barns are framed by the rough-hewn fences that rein in gentle and photogenic Holsteins. If they’re lucky, they might even get a glimpse of a farmer who charmingly lacks a few teeth and says “ayup” with that old New England agrarian accent. But you would be hard pressed to find that today. The reality is that the Upper Valley and many rural farming communities around the country are feeling the squeeze. Family farms found some success in the later years of the Obama presidency, but since then, profits have decreased by almost a third. There is no question that family-run agriculture has been in decline over the last half-century, partly due to the changing demands of ever-changing consumer tastes.
Under Dartmouth’s 2018 “Telling Our Story” brand image guidelines, the College seeks to position itself as a “basecamp to the world,” where “scholars … love to teach” and “liberal arts [is] at the core.” Reading these three tenets of our identity, it is clear that the College places teaching and education at the center of its mission. And as the guidelines acknowledge, education is a broadly transformative force. At its best, the education system has the potential to expose students to new possibilities and remove their economic prospects from pernicious cycles of poverty. At its worst, the education system discourages critical thinking, reduces self-efficacy and reproduces inequality. With its ability to profoundly shape the development of its students, education deserves to be studied at the most comprehensive and rigorous level.
I am a student-athlete, and I received one of the “likely letters” that Osman Khan took issue with in his article last Friday in The Dartmouth. I’m not ashamed of that fact, nor am I ashamed that I wasn’t the top student in my high school class. That’s because, despite the derision with which Khan treats student-athletes at Dartmouth, I believe that our college is enriched by a diversity of experiences and abilities. There is a real and meaningful conversation to be had about increasing opportunity for historically disadvantaged groups at institutions of higher education. Unfortunately, this guest column does little to contribute to it.
In a recent Verbum entitled “Symbolic Sustainability,” The Dartmouth Editorial Board derides the campus fossil fuel divestment campaign as performative activism that undermines Dartmouth’s other environmental initiatives. This argument is misguided. Here’s why.
Dartmouth students aren’t so great at most of the sports they play. Not on a national level anyway. Barring specific winter sports, which we often excel in, as well as a few other exceptions, our athletic performance isn’t anywhere near as impressive as our alumni’s professional and academic showings are. Don’t argue with that; the last time our roughly 100-man football team produced an NFL player was a full 15 years ago, and the last time our basketball team produced an NBA player was in 1990. And yet, we hand out some of the most coveted seats in higher education to recruits in the name of upholding the strength of our athletic programs: over a fifth of the current student body is comprised of varsity athletes.
In the wake of last month’s horrific massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, all of the usual media phrases and buzzwords that have grown so familiar and tired were put back into circulation. First came the expressions of shock and sorrow, peppered with words like “unimaginable” that have not been applicable for a long time. Then came the discussion of the responsibilities of the news media, wherein a number of very serious-sounding people have the same conversation about not showing the video of the shooting for what seems like the 30th time.
During the college application period, some parents support their children by reassuring them that hard work and good grades can get them into a good college. Other parents decide to support their children in a more unconventional way. Thirty-three wealthy parents, including Felicity Huffman from “Desperate Housewives” and Lori Loughlin from “Full House,” were recently involved in what the case’s prosecutors referred to as the “largest college admission scam” ever. These parents spent anywhere from $200 thousand to $6.5 million to get their kids into elite colleges such as Georgetown, Yale, Stanford and the University of Southern California.
People often don’t fully process deaths when they occur in wholesale numbers. Fifty Muslims killed. Men and women, young and old. Mothers and fathers, daughters and sons. Someone will have to tell a mother that her son was killed. She will probably have spent a few hours frantically calling his cellphone after seeing the news coverage.
On Oct. 23, 2018, the Dartmouth College Republicans hosted controversial speaker David Horowitz in an event titled “Identity Politics and the Totalitarian Threat from the Left.” Horowitz, founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, has a history of comparing Muslims to Nazis and believes that universities brainwash students with leftist propaganda. The talk received numerous protestors. Some highlights of the event included Horowitz stating that “the only serious race war in America is against white males” and telling a student “I wouldn’t help you if you were drowning” in response to being told that black Americans do not need his help.
On Feb. 16, 2019, professor emeritus of English Jeffrey Hart passed away at the age of 88. We are not writing to rehash professor Hart’s achievements or contributions to the conservative movement, but rather to decry the treatment that Hart has received after his death. The late professor was a man who valued consistency of thought, and took the issues of his time seriously, but never himself. The former brought him to support then Senator Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election (and later again in 2012), as Hart believed the Republican party had lost the intellectual seriousness that he himself undoubtedly contributed; after all, “successful government by either Democrats or Republicans has always been, above all, realistic.” The latter was exemplified by his carrying of a “motorized wooden hand [he] used to drum on the table when faculty meetings went on too long.”
What is Trips? That’s a big question. Trips is, among other things, an entirely student-run program, a chance to welcome first-years to Dartmouth, a challenge, a community, an unrealized dream, the reason I personally chose Dartmouth and a logistical endeavor requiring over 3,214 eggs.
In their Feb. 12 Opinion Asks series, writers for The Dartmouth opinion staff unanimously condemned Dinesh D’Souza ’83 and the Dartmouth College Republicans for inviting him to deliver a lecture sponsored by the Young America’s Foundation, a seminal organization for young conservatives. Moreover, in its Feb. 22 Verbum Ultimum on minority identities, The Dartmouth editorial board proclaimed that Dartmouth is an institution “where conservatives invite individuals such as Dinesh D’Souza ’83 who spread hateful and intolerant ideas.” Notice that these writers fail to adhere to a journalistic maxim: support all claims with evidence. These two articles are part of a trend that I have observed among many students belonging to the Dartmouth left, some of whom are writers for and editors of the ostensibly conservative publication The Dartmouth Review. These individuals lambast Mr. D’Souza as a poor representative of American conservatism, to which I would quote National Review’s Jonah Goldberg and say, “If D’Souza is a ‘phony conservative,’ it’s hard to know who the real deal is.” Further, it is conceited to believe the College Republicans invite speakers solely to evoke a reaction from the Dartmouth left.
The offensive remarks and actions made by Dinesh D’Souza ’83 are so numerous that I can only begin to break down a few of his most egregious ones. I feel it is important to do so because many of D’Souza’s supporters seemed baffled that anyone would dare to claim he is a racist or a homophobe, even though his ideology is deeply rooted in provoking outrage with his offensive remarks. D’Souza proudly makes his shocking comments on his social media platforms and in his books, such as “Letters to a Young Conservative,” which I will be referencing throughout this piece. It appears that D’Souza is thrilled to capitalize off of controversial and hateful stances in order to gain more attention and followers. Perhaps I am feeding into his desires by putting the spotlight on him in this piece, but nonetheless I find it important not to let his dark past fade away from the public eye.
As winter term comes to an end, it’s as good a time as any to review the speakers the Dartmouth College Republicans have exposed our school to over the past two quarters: David Horowitz, Tawfik Hamid and Dinesh D’Souza ’83. The Dartmouth College Republicans speaker line-up responds to the age of post-truth unprincipled politics and amoral Republicanism with, “Yes, let’s do that.” Instead of inviting respected Republicans or policy analysts, the College Republicans have scraped the very bottom of the modern media landscape’s fringe punditry to produce a remarkable lineup of bigots and hacks. But let me back up my argument with facts — a novel idea to the men on the above list.
Like all faculty, staff and postdocs, I received my email summons to complete mandatory Title IX training, as directed by College President Phil Hanlon and the College in response to the student lawsuit against faculty and the College stemming from alleged sexual misconduct of three male faculty in the psychological and brain sciences department. By a certain logic, this obligation makes me yet another link in the chain of the exploitative side of Dartmouth’s culture, in this case as it concerns labor practices. Exploring this link may point to deeper fixes for campus culture.