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On June 29, Dartmouth announced its plan for a partial reopening in the coming terms, which includes a decreased student body in residence, a mix of virtual and in-person classes and restrictions on where students can and cannot go. Due to these limitations, some students are considering gap years, hoping to be on campus only when Dartmouth is closer to normal.
Radio plays, at-home workshops and smartphone recordings of theater scenes are just some of the many adaptations Dartmouth community members are employing to maintain arts education despite the challenges imposed by COVID-19. Technology has proved critical in these plans, allowing students to learn, perform and rehearse together across time zones.
Alberto and Ernesto Villalobos performed a live concert from their New York City living room for the Hopkins Center for the Arts’ online program Hop@Home on Wednesday, July 22. They were joined on the virtual stage by bassist Victor Murillo, as the Villalobos Brothers’ third member, Luis, is currently in Spain.
Given the current state of the world — an unprecedented global pandemic, the ongoing ecological disaster of climate change and the social justice crisis of systemic racism — it is not surprising that the more religiously inclined among us have sounded warning bells that the Apocalypse is near. A New York Times article from April provided a concise snapshot of how widespread this sentiment is today, as well as how historically rooted the notion of the “end times” is in many religious traditions. Culturally, many of us in the United States are captivated by this idea of an Apocalyptic event and its fiery aftermath. Movies famously depict such events: from the nightmarish depictions in “The Road” to the more light-hearted and hopeful scenes in “WALL-E” to the all-too familiar totalitarian state in “V for Vendetta.” Despite some thematic differences, all of these portrayals of the Apocalypse conceive of it as a singular future event which is shared by an entire community or even an entire planet. However, this focus on large scale societal calamities distracts from the reality of what an apocalypse actually is: a personal reckoning with the tragedies of life. Perhaps, if this were better understood, we as a society would be less willing to sacrifice the lives of those around us merely to maintain some semblance of normalcy.
As Dartmouth prepares to welcome back a portion of the student body to campus in September, the rate of COVID-19 infections around the nation continues to skyrocket. This latest spike in the spread of COVID is marked by one particular difference: young adults are getting infected at much higher rates than they were during the spring. Why is this the case? As The Hill reports, many young adults have a misguided impression that the virus cannot cause them harm, consequentially risking their health and that of their family and friends.
The global COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement continue to rage on throughout the country. The government’s reactions to both have unsurprisingly and consistently failed to protect its marginalized constituents. The U.S. is reaching record-breaking rates of infections and deaths as the failures of the government’s public health measures, or lack thereof, become apparent. Alongside this health tragedy, anti-racist protestors are facing violence and imprisonment at the hands of armed government forces.
In June, the Department of Homeland Security released draft amendments to the United States’ asylum policy. The 161-page document recommends narrowing the definition of persecution, and subsequently, the grounds for asylum in the United States.
During his weekly “Community Conversations” livestream on Wednesday, Provost Joseph Helble announced the cancellation of winter term off-campus programs, summarized budget losses for the fiscal years 2020 and 2021 and provided updates on the selection process for students’ in-residence terms, international student guidelines and student belongings.
Updated July 23, 2020 at 11:30 p.m.
On July 10, Blake Neff ’13, former writer for Fox News host Tucker Carlson, resigned from his position following reports of bigoted comments he had posted online under a pseudonym. In light of these revelations, the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine has faced controversy over its recently published profile of Neff entitled “The Right Stuff: Former 'Review' staffer Blake Neff '13 settles in at Fox.”
With all that is happening in the world today, it is easy to get lost in what seems to be an endless slew of hopeless news. Between rising cases of COVID-19 and the ugliness of police brutality in the United States, it seems there is little reason to be hopeful for America’s future. I, however, look to the future not with despair, but with hope; the Black Lives Matter movement has renewed my faith in our ability to improve American society.
On July 14, federal judge Landya McCafferty gave final approval to the $14 million settlement in the class action sexual harassment lawsuit against Dartmouth. The settlement’s approval follows a fairness hearing held last week during which the judge heard statements from three of the nine plaintiffs named in the case to determine the fairness of the settlement.
On July 8, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania to uphold a regulation that allows employers to deny women access to birth control coverage. Specifically, the decision allows employers with a “sincerely held religious or moral objection” to appeal to the Trump administration for the right to deny their employees insurance coverage for contraception. Previously, under former President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, employers were mandated to provide insurance coverage for contraception with no out-of-pocket expenses. The Supreme Court’s new ruling broadens the already existing exceptions to this mandate, allowing most employers to seek exemption from paying for employees’ contraception on religious grounds. The court’s decision is both patriarchal and anachronistic. It is time for decision-makers to stop restricting the rights of women and realize that infringing upon women’s reproductive rights sets back the United States as a whole.
In response to the joint statement from the Board of Trustees and College senior leadership on taking steps to address systemic racism at Dartmouth, a group of Black Dartmouth alumni penned a letter and started a petition on July 3 calling for “anti-racist campus-wide work and deliberate actions.” The petition has garnered upwards of 1,500 signatures as of July 16.
Last week, a letter titled “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate” was published in Harper’s Magazine. The letter was undersigned by 153 scholars, writers and political theorists, including Dartmouth’s Eli Black professor of Jewish Studies Susannah Heschel. J.K Rowling, Noam Chomsky, and Margaret Atwood were among the signers of the letter, which warns against a perceived growing societal trend in public shaming and ostracism for holding opposing views. The Dartmouth sat down with Heschel this week to discuss her views on ideological conformity and the importance of open discourse.
In an email sent to the Dartmouth community last Thursday sharing the College’s plan to cut five varsity athletic teams, College President Phil Hanlon also announced the permanent closure of the Hanover Country Club, citing financial deficits.