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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.
As strong believers in government accountability, we have been greatly inspired by the national dialogue regarding police brutality and the many peaceful protests in our communities following the death of George Floyd. We agree with many of our peers that better training, the development of effective non-lethal weapons, reducing qualified immunity and enhancing police oversight and accountability are all practical steps in the right direction. On these fronts, activists are helping to bring the country one step closer to fulfilling its promise of liberty and justice for all.
As a member of the Dartmouth swimming and diving team, it is hard to put into words how incredibly upsetting it was to hear of the administration's decision to cut the team. It is clear that the current Dartmouth administration has completely neglected its primary responsibility — Dartmouth students — in its attempt at total reorganization and overhaul.
Blake Neff ’13 resigned from his position as Tucker Carlson’s writer after CNN exposed his misogynistic and white supremacist online vitriol. Few were surprised that he wrote for The Dartmouth Review, which proudly claims the likes of Dinesh D’Souza and Laura Ingraham. The Review creates a nice, cushy home for privileged bigots like Blake Neff. I should know. I wrote for the Review on and off my freshman year.
Days before the start of my senior year at Dartmouth, I went out for a run in my suburban Chicago hometown to celebrate my 21st birthday. Awaiting me after my run were not birthday messages celebrating my newly minted adult status, but rather news that would brand my class as part of Generation 9/11. Terrorists had just brought down the World Trade Center and hit the Pentagon. Days later, the halcyon senior fall we had long anticipated gave way to conversations about recovery efforts, military campaigns in Afghanistan and rising discrimination against Muslims.
On July 24, Julia Griffin, the Hanover town manager, penned an op-ed in The Dartmouth titled “Selfish Students.” In this article, Griffin warns students to “smarten up” and attempts to scare them by discussing the potential reversal of students’ future on-campus privileges. While I strongly agree that students must socially distance, Griffin neglects to address other Hanover community members who blatantly ignore guidelines. Instead, she bitterly characterizes Dartmouth students as the main threat. All of us, as a community, have the responsibility to uphold social distancing regulations. To point fingers in discourse, to cast blame and to depict Dartmouth students as enemies rather than community members does not protect Hanover; it divides us and dooms our community’s future.
In her recent guest column entitled “Selfish Students,” Hanover town manager Julia Griffin criticized Dartmouth students currently living in Hanover for not wearing masks and not following social distancing guidelines. As a student currently living on-campus, I have also received many emails from college officials conveying a similar message, such as a July 3 email from Dean of the College Kathryn Lively informing us of “increasing … complaints from faculty, staff and other local residents” who have seen Dartmouth students ignoring the various recommendations. From my experience, however, Griffin’s sweeping claim is untrue at the macro level and the warnings of college officials — while well-intentioned — are biased and misguided. In fact, I see local Hanover residents committing social distancing violations just as often as Dartmouth students. By antagonizing students, the town and the college fails to acknowledge that local residents are part of the problem, putting us all at risk.
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.
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 1, the Board of Trustees, College President Phil Hanlon and his senior leadership group sent an email to campus that emphasized the administration’s commitment toward racial justice.
If there was one benefit to going to college in rural New Hampshire, away from big city amenities, it was King Arthur Flour. Specifically KAF, the cafe that occupied the physical and spiritual heart of Baker-Berry Library.
When I was a junior in college, the issue of the day on campus was an innovative new technique that the Hanover Police were threatening to deploy to crack down on underage drinking. The police department had announced that if underage students were found to be drinking in college Greek houses, the students themselves would not be the only ones held responsible — the Greek houses that supplied the alcohol would be held responsible as well. In this case, “held responsible” meant that they would be fined. The fine could be as high as six figures.
From the bed they sleep on to the apparel they wear, the lives of many Dartmouth students are influenced by a few dozen of their peers: Dartmouth’s student-business owners. But for years, Dartmouth women have been boxed out of student-business ownership. It’s not an act of intentional exclusion. Women have merely been forgotten as the traditional student-business structure has evolved without them. Currently, only six women have been able to establish themselves as student-business owners, out of a total of around 60 student-business owners at Dartmouth.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis. Its impacts are felt around the world, and stopping this virus will require global cooperation. Last month, The Dartmouth published a story about how Dartmouth students, parents and alumni donated a large supply of personal protective equipment to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the Upper Valley. This was an admirable act of charity, one that demonstrated the Dartmouth community’s willingness to mobilize and respond to public health challenges — many in the Upper Valley will likely benefit as a result. But we, as a community that benefits from connections throughout the world, must also think about supporting the pressing needs of our global partners.