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I retired from Dartmouth in the fall of 2020 after spending 28 years at the College as a coach for the track and cross-country teams. A major part of that job was recruiting, and one of our key strategies involved distinguishing Dartmouth from our Ivy League counterparts. Living on a walkable campus was a real draw, especially compared to the extensive shuttle bus system at Cornell University. We could tell potential students that Dartmouth’s athletic facilities were on campus — unlike Columbia University or Yale University, where students rely on shuttle buses to get to practices and competitions.
The Student Worker Collective at Dartmouth has — after three grueling months of organizing — secured the support of a supermajority of the student workers of Dartmouth Dining Services, a turning point in our work to create a union of student workers. On Jan. 5, the SWCD sent an open letter to the administration and requested a response by Jan. 17. We now await a reply that, ideally, will consist of the College’s acceptance of our demands, including voluntary recognition of our union through a card check agreement and quarantine pay for DDS student workers in COVID-19 isolation. If the College truly cares about its DDS student workers, especially amid the dramatic rise in cases on campus, it must agree to the SWCD’s demands to ensure the safety and livelihood of DDS student workers.
Dartmouth is short on cash, or so it seems. Last year, the College cut the budget of its study abroad programs by 45% and permanently shuttered two of its five libraries. This year, the College is struggling with “labor shortages,” which they refuse to resolve by offering higher wages. The labor shortage is so bad, the College argues, that the students should excuse food lines that stretch down the block and Living Learning Communities where the students live with mice, exposed wires, no shower heads and a floor so tilted that items roll across the room.
A recently released report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has a loud, clear and harrowing message: Humans are “irrevocably” to blame for the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing rising seas, raging forest fires, devastating droughts, melting ice caps and intense heat waves worldwide. In addition, the report warns that greenhouse gases have become so pervasive that global temperatures will increase by 1.5 degrees Celsius in the next two decades. An increase of up to and over the 2 degrees Celsius mark is likely unless the United States and our global partners act fast to enact bold climate change prevention initiatives.
During my time at Dartmouth, I have served on the executive board of Epsilon Kappa Theta sorority and the Inter-Sorority Council in an effort to discover how the widely-accepted ills of Greek life — racism, elitism, sexual violence, among others — can be addressed via collaboration. Following the recent pushback against a campus culture of sexual assault, I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that one-sided action, even amongst a group of talented, ambitious women and non-binary individuals with the best possible intentions at heart, cannot remedy the pervasive disregard for consent and personal autonomy within fraternity spaces.
My name is Nancy Carter and I am a candidate for the Hanover Selectboard. I appreciate your support and would like your vote today.
Today, please make the time to participate in Hanover’s Town Meeting at the Dewey Field Parking Lot. Hanover residents will have the opportunity to vote by official ballot for town officers and four articles. Residents will also have the opportunity to attend the Business Meeting, starting at 7 p.m., to discuss and vote on articles six through 21, which pertain to matters such as the annual budget, bridge bonds and the Community Power Plan. I’m running for Selectboard to continue to support the pandemic recovery, ensure the successful re-evaluation of properties, encourage good planning and improve communications.
Throughout this pandemic, there’s been a theme.
Dartmouth is experiencing a mental health crisis, but it’s not just us: college students nationwide experienced higher rates of anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation in 2020 than in 2019. The pandemic has only exacerbated existing strain on college counseling centers. Something has to change.
As the world reacted to the unknown and unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, Dartmouth adopted a set of policies, excerpts and descriptions of which were sent to us by several anonymous professors. These policies, designed to continue through summer 2021, were intended to offer stability and enable students and professors to plan for the coming terms, despite the daunting uncertainty ahead. To their credit, Dartmouth turned on a dime and steadied the ship.
The Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health has sparked controversy on both sides of the political aisle. The central issue of this case is whether the state of Mississippi can outlaw abortions after the fifteenth week of pregnancy, which is before a fetus is viable to live outside of the womb. For thirty years, the Supreme Court has never upheld a “pre-viability” ban of this kind. If the Court were to uphold this Mississippi statute, it would mark a distinctive shift in its attitude toward abortion. Yet, regardless of the Court’s decision, the extent to which the Court’s ruling will impact access to abortion — both in Mississippi as well as the United States as a whole — remains unclear.
Last summer, former PhD student Maha Hasan Alshawi gathered student and community support when her allegations of sexual harassment from computer science professor Alberto Quattrini Li were not sufficiently addressed. During this time, we, as members of the Student and Presidential Committee on Sexual Assault, took part in various conversations with administrators, hosted round tables and collaborated with Alshawi, as well as the advocacy group Justice4Maha, in response to the allegations and the lack of response by the College. We stand by our decision to have done so and will continue supporting and advocating for survivors on campus without hesitation. A formal investigation process began only after Alshawi risked her life in order to increase the visibility of the harm she experienced on campus.
When I was a freshman in 2018, I found myself tangled within the complicated web of Dartmouth’s mental health policies. At every possible turn, I was treated as a nuisance, a legal liability the College could not risk being accountable for. To stay on campus, I traded my medical freedom, waiving my right to confidentiality so that the College could be sure I was pursuing counseling services I could not afford. More than two years on, it is evident that Dartmouth’s policy of cruelty and punitive action has not changed; in fact, the College’s lack of mercy has worsened in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, when more students than ever are in need of mental health care and support.
We are a group of alumni-affiliated group leaders, many with a decade of experience leading diverse alumni communities including the Dartmouth Asian Pacific American Alumni Association, Dartmouth’s LGBTQIA+ Alumni Association and Women of Dartmouth. But our Dartmouth education did not leave us prepared to address what we’ve seen in the last two months alone: the mass murder of eight people at a FedEx facility, four of them Sikh; the killings of eight in Atlanta, six of them Asian women; the police shootings of Mah’Khia Bryant, Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo; voter suppression and anti-transgender youth bills; and the murders of trans women of color. The problems we as a society face are interconnected, inseparable and built into the foundations of this country. Yet, Dartmouth treats anti-racist, decolonial teaching and queer studies as siloed and optional fields of study, allowing students to graduate without ever having exposure to these essential educational tenets.
On March 31, members of the Class of 2021 received word that their family and friends will be totally excluded from the in-person Commencement ceremony. Instead, they have the luxurious privilege of tuning into the ceremony via livestream, like it’s a foreign soccer match you can’t get with a cable package.
In recent weeks, Dean of Libraries Sue Mehrer and the Dartmouth library leadership team have come under fire due to their mishandling of the decision to close two campus libraries. Much has been said about the leadership team’s decision not to consult the affected faculty, staff and students before the announcement, most notably through a widely shared Google document with thoughts from William Cheng, chair of the music department.
It’s no secret that the physical sciences are one of the cornerstones of a Dartmouth liberal arts education. Historically, investment, faculty recruitment and generous undergraduate research grants have solidified the College’s position as a uniquely engaging place to receive undergraduate training in the sciences. The maintenance of the Kresge Physical Sciences Library was one of those important investments.
Over the past few years, controversies over the removal of public monuments have raged across the nation and throughout the globe in any place still grappling with the legacies of European colonialism and 19th century scientific racism. Dartmouth is no exception and may even be a bellwether site, for debates over public art on its campus have been frequent and ongoing for the better part of the last century. For those of us, like myself, who have been involved in these debates, change has felt painstakingly slow. However, it is understandable that for those who have not, decisions — like the removal of the weather vane from the tower of Baker-Berry Library — can seem sudden and even rash. This is in part why a working group, which I co-chair, has been convened by College President Phil Hanlon to make recommendations for a more consistent and transparent process going forward.
Smoking is one of the leading causes of death in America, and the tobacco industry has concealed and obfuscated the dangers of smoking to protect its profits. As a former cigarette smoker, I learned the risks firsthand and quit for good when I had a precancerous growth removed from my inner lip in 2019. I have lost relatives to smoking, and I know how dangerous it is.
The litany of complaints is well-known at this point: a lawsuit on behalf of sexual harassment victims in psychological and brain sciences department, an open letter from Black faculty, staff and students highlighting institutional racism at Dartmouth and a graduate student forced to resort to a hunger strike. Despite the College’s rhetoric, Dartmouth has not taken sufficient concrete steps to address harassment, discrimination and harmful power dynamics in its community. The College must establish an independent ombuds office to help mediate conflict and resolve disputes among faculty, staff and students.