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“With 339 active cases on campus — and the others unaccounted for — some have questioned the College’s decision to lift asymptomatic testing requirements. Some have questioned whether, in the absence of this requirement, the College COVID-19 dashboard conveys any meaningful information at all. We ask: Do the 339 cases warrant concern? If so, how should the College respond?”
Recently, some of the bluest states in the nation announced the end of their mask mandates in an attempt to return to normalcy: “We recognize that we want to turn the page on the status quo,” Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said last week. As the end of winter term approaches, marking another term with some COVID-19 policies still intact, we ask: Should the town of Hanover drop its mask mandate? Should Dartmouth? Relatedly, how should COVID-19 policies change — or not change — at Dartmouth in the spring?
“The Dartmouth reported on Jan. 28 that the College would not voluntarily recognize the Student Worker Collective at Dartmouth, which is seeking to form a union of student dining workers. SWCD claims that 80% of student dining workers support their unionization effort, but the College argues that an election moderated by the National Labor Relations Board “ensures a full airing of points of view on unionization, which we believe students deserve.” Importantly, the decision to not voluntarily recognize the union also extends the process of formalizing the union. (The College has agreed to negotiate with the SWCD to “streamline” the election process.) What is your opinion on Dartmouth’s decision to not recognize the union and how should the College and students proceed going forward?”
Prompt: As the fall term begins to draw to a close, marking the end of Dartmouth’s first in-person term since the COVID-19 pandemic began, it is important to reflect on the term. In an Opinion Asks published earlier this term, we asked what writers perceived to be the largest challenges of the term. Now, we want to ask: What were some of the most successful parts of the fall term? How should the various successes and failures of this term inform the College’s actions going forward?
The beginning of this term represents a welcome return to the normal Dartmouth experience for many in the College community. Yet, this transition has nonetheless been accompanied by challenges and uncertainty. For example, last week The Dartmouth’s Editorial Board criticized the long lines at dining halls and argued that the current state of campus dining was untenable. The week prior, the Editorial Board urged students to be patient and kind and refrain from “discount[ing], delegitimiz[ing] and dismiss[ing] the experiences of [their] peers” following “a disrupted and tumultuous year.” To this end, what do you believe are some of the most prominent challenges students have faced so far this term, and, in your opinion, would these challenges have existed in a pre-pandemic world?
Summer term served as a test of Dartmouth’s ability to operate “normally” as the pandemic continues. It’s fair to say things have gone well so far: Until recently, cases have been few and far between even after most COVID-19 policies were rolled back in the last month. However, increasing case counts locally and the rapid spread of the Delta variant across the country have thrown a “normal” fall term into uncertainty. Just this week, Hanover reinstated its indoor mask mandate, and the College did the same yesterday. What should Dartmouth do to balance fears around COVID-19 with its long-promised return to normal operations? Should the College prioritize one over the other?
“As Dartmouth approaches the end of a full academic year online, it is important that the Dartmouth community reflects on the successes and failures of the past year. While some of the changes and policies the College has implemented in response to the pandemic have been successful, others have not been. Of the numerous pandemic-related changes that Dartmouth has made this past year, are there any you found to be particularly successful or unsuccessful? Why did you perceive them this way and what changes should be implemented as Dartmouth transitions back to “normal” in the coming months?”
“Dartmouth has not released a large amount of information about sophomore summer and what it will look like, but has said that it will be a hybrid term in preparation for a return to some sort of normalcy in the fall. According to the recently released timetable, however, there will only be around 20 in-person classes offered this summer. Given that sophomore summer is intended to be a transition term, what do you think it should look like? (this can draw on on-campus policies, course selection, housing & more).”
This past week, Dartmouth announced in a college-wide email that students living in off-campus, private spaces who were vaccinated could gather in groups of nine or fewer students without masks and without maintaining six feet of distance — a policy that is in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines regarding vaccinated individuals. However, the new policies do not afford vaccinated on-campus students the privilege of unmasked, undistanced gatherings because, in part, of the difficulty of ensuring only vaccinated students are gathering in common spaces or dorm rooms. Do you agree with these proposed changes to the college’s social distancing and mask policy? If not, what changes to these policies would you propose?
As COVID-19 vaccines become more readily available around the nation, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has announced that out-of-state students will not be eligible for vaccination in the state. Given this recent announcement, how do you think Dartmouth should respond? Does the College have an obligation to help secure vaccines for all students or is it more important that Dartmouth yields to state rules?
Amid an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak on campus, cases have risen to more than 140 and students have been thrown back into quarantine. On Wednesday, Provost Joseph Helble stated that "trends continue to suggest that noncompliant social interactions — particularly those where people are not wearing masks or observing adequate physical distancing — are the primary cause of this increase in virus transmission." Should the College hold accountable these people responsible for “noncompliant social interactions?" If so, how?
After the recent revelations regarding Leon Black ’73’s payments to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, should the Black Family Visual Arts Center be renamed?
This past term was an unusual one for Dartmouth. As the first term to welcome students back to campus since March nears its close, there is much to reflect on. In your opinion, was this term successful? What worked and what didn't?
Bookstore and bar “Still North Books,” owned by Allie Levy ’11, is opening in downtown Hanover soon, replacing what once was the Dartmouth Bookstore, which closed last year due to financial difficulties. After the closure of Wheelock Books, which provided textbooks at a discounted rate, businesses that are explicitly targeted at Dartmouth students are notably absent in town.
Homecoming weekend is upon us, and it is the second year in which Dartmouth freshmen are walking around the bonfire instead of running. Though some upperclassmen still miss the thundering laps of old, two years from now, every Dartmouth student will have only ever walked around the fire. The Dartmouth Opinion section responded.
Campus was abuzz the last week of September with reunions for the Classes of 1944, 1949 and 1954. Dartmouth’s Homecoming is on Oct. 11, a part of the 250th anniversary celebrations. Alumni will be out in full force, connecting with current students and returning to their old stomping grounds.
On Sept. 20, The Dartmouth reported the demographics for the Class of 2023 and detailed how the admissions office uses a “holistic process.” The Dartmouth Opinion Staff responded.
On Sept. 5, a Customs and Border Protection checkpoint was operated near Dartmouth’s campus on I-89. In late August, Ismail Ajjawi, a Palestinian student from Lebanon, arrived in Boston to attend Harvard University, and the New York Times reported that he was turned away by a CBP agent. The Dartmouth Opinion Staff responded.
On March 22, special counsel Robert Mueller released to the U.S. Attorney General the results of his investigation into collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign. While the report found no evidence of collusion, it neither recommended charges nor exonerated the president on charges of obstruction of justice. We asked opinion writers for their responses to the release.
Last month, Governor Chris Sununu signed into law a voter residency bill that will require New Hampshire voters to be residents of the state beginning in 2019, making it substantially more difficult for out-of-state college students to vote. What are your thoughts on the new law?