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We live in a world where many of our problems — climate change, poverty, inequality and more — are caused or exacerbated by corporations. It is easy, as individuals, to settle for just posting about these issues on social media platforms rather than striving for tangible change. And who could blame us for buying an unsustainable outfit on Shein, eating a sandwich from the homophobic Chick-fil-A or using a plastic grocery bag? Most of us did not directly cause or contribute to the major issues plaguing our world, and we have our own problems, such as being college students during a pandemic with a scarcity of time and money. Changing our behavior when we already have such a small individual impact seems almost pointless. However, we are more powerful than we give ourselves credit for.
On my graduation day, June 13, I published what I believed would be my last article in this newspaper. It was a bittersweet moment, saying goodbye to a place at which I had worked for years, first as a writer, then as editor of the opinion section, and finally as Executive Editor.
The entire Dartmouth community is yearning to break free of the COVID-19 pandemic and make the long-awaited return to in-person classes. Yet, as we emerge from the pandemic, we can’t return to what we knew as “normal.” Before last spring, what might have been seen as classroom norms in fact presented barriers that prevented many students from fully thriving academically. Though by no means perfect, some changes brought about by the pandemic — such as recorded content and lenient course policies such as forgiving absences and alternative participation methods — greatly augmented students’ ability to participate in their classes. Come fall, these improvements must be carried over into the new school year to make Dartmouth more academically accessible for every student.
Less than an hour after polls closed in Hanover’s 2021 Town Meeting, news broke that David Millman ’23 had lost his campaign for Selectboard. His campaign deserves tremendous credit for trying to get a student onto the governing board of this town — and for driving engagement with key local policy issues among the student body.
Since November of last year, the Ethiopian military has been at odds with insurgent forces in the country’s northernmost state of Tigray. Stirred by an increasing sense of ethnic nationalism, the current fighting has led many to call for the state’s independence. While the state is functionally independent as is, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front has declared its willingness to formally and permanently part with Ethiopia if the violence continues. However, whether the world will accept an independent Tigray is a difficult question to answer. Self-determination has consistently been the subject of controversy in international relations, especially because the United Nations charter does not contain any clear and certain guidance on the topic. In one section, it claims to support the “self-determination of peoples,” and presumably the right of people to become independent — while in another, pouring cold water on any sort of secession, forbidding infringements “against the territorial integrity … of any state.” These respective articles have been used in the past to justify both pro- and anti-independence viewpoints, leaving conflicts with no clear path to peace. The U.N. Charter must be updated to resolve this contradiction once and for all.
This past June, the Supreme Court handed its latest victory to religious interests in the case Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the most recent in a series of rulings expanding the scope of freedom of religion under the First Amendment. The Court unanimously sided with Catholic Social Services, an organization that did not recognize marriages between same-sex partners and refused to certify them as foster parents, allowing the organization to retain their place as an official foster service provider for Philadelphia. The case is yet another in the trend of organizations, corporations, and individuals using religious liberty to justify discrimination — over the past decade, an unprecedented series of ‘wins’ for religious freedom have threatened some protections against employment discrimination, allowed the refusal of service to LGBTQ+ people and weakened access to reproductive healthcare. We as a society must more specifically define what religious freedom is and is not and combat its use to harm marginalized communities.
This past academic year, Dartmouth students have endured an unprecedented period of hardship and loss. Alongside the pandemic, which forced many students to go through the academic year relatively isolated from campus and their peers, students faced the loss of four of their peers — three of which were the result of suicide, according to reporting from The Dartmouth and the Boston Globe. These losses spurred outrage among students over the lackluster nature of Dartmouth’s mental health infrastructure, which many have blamed for creating an environment that does not adequately support students who are experiencing a mental health crisis.
In the best of times, Dartmouth’s 10-week term is notoriously demanding — it’s nearly impossible for most students to focus on anything other than their academics. In the worst of times, the intensive Dartmouth schedule is nothing short of debilitating. Students’ schedules leave little room for anything to go wrong, so if — or when — that happens, they struggle to balance their personal situations and mental health with the omnipresent pressures of life at Dartmouth. And sometimes, things go wrong for nearly everyone, especially when tragedy strikes on campus. Many would expect the College to be sympathetic to students in such situations, but too often, it is not. At best, Dartmouth ignores students’ cries for help; at worst, the College exacerbates their problems. When the situation calls for it — when events make it impossible for academics to be a student’s top priority — the College must recognize reality and give students a break from classes.
In 2013, shortly before the last conflict between Israel and Gaza, the population of Israel’s West Bank settlements stood at just under 325,000 people. Eight years later, by the start of the most recent conflict — an 11-day war that claimed the lives of more than 200 — the population has surged to 475,000, and in the process, thousands of Palestinians have been displaced and seen their homes destroyed. Though last month’s conflict was centered in Gaza, where Israel has no outposts, the violence was precipitated by Israeli police raids and crackdowns on Palestinian protests — including protests against planned evictions of Palestinian residents from their homes in East Jerusalem — as well as violence from a far-right Israeli settlement organization, Lehava. Illegal Israeli settlements are the main problem, and the U.S., through the billions in foreign aid it offers to Israel each year, has unique leverage to stop them. Israel's continuing encroachment on the West Bank leads to violence and directly infringes on Palestinian human rights and sovereignty. The U.S. should halt foreign aid to Israel until it commits to ending settlement of the area.
Over the past few months, many students have felt disconnected from the Dartmouth administration. Many of us believe that, despite their sincerest intentions, the administration cannot possibly understand how profoundly the COVID-19 pandemic has affected its students. While, of course, the administration has been forced to make difficult decisions as a result of the pandemic, student perspectives have been largely absent during these decision-making processes.
In a shock to absolutely no one, Dartmouth’s scandals are back in the national news.
How can we start preparing now for the next COVID-19? If you ask some of science and medicine’s best thinkers, the answer lies in monitoring and sequencing viruses in animals, continuing development of new vaccines and increasing funding to the WHO, among other approaches. To be sure, these ideas have great promise — but on their own, they can never be enough. In addition to harnessing innovations in science, preparing for the next pandemic will require a multi-pronged economic plan to tackle mounting financial and social inequities that contribute to the spread of disease and inhibit any attempts to stop it.
The preferential treatment of legacy students in the admission process at many American universities is a practice that has been around for almost a century despite the practice’s anti-Semitic and xenophobic roots. In fact, the practice of legacy admissions began at Dartmouth in 1922, and soon after, other institutions adopted the practice as a means of reducing the number of recent Eastern European immigrants — a large majority of whom were Jewish — who were admitted. Today, universities maintain the practice more out of tradition and fear that without it, alumni donations will plummet, but its effect is no less damaging than it was at its bigoted beginnings. In honor of the 100th anniversary of Dartmouth’s use of legacy preference in admissions, Dartmouth should acknowledge the ridiculousness and inequity of this practice and end the use of legacy preference in admissions.
While living somewhere as remote as Hanover has its pros and cons, there’s one thing for certain: you’ll never want for mushrooms. Whether you are vegetarian or not, mushroom risotto has a rich umami flavor that meat simply cannot beat. The mushrooms give this dish depth, and the creaminess from the starchy rice and fatty cheese creates a luscious sauce that surrounds each grain of rice. I will say, this dish is a labor of love; it requires standing at the stove for a good half hour, constantly stirring and ladling in hot broth. However, the end result is a dish that is simultaneously decadent and impressive. It’s perfect for when you need some comfort food or when friends come over.
The health of the environment is one of the most pressing issues of this century. If we do not make drastic changes soon, we will be left with a planet that is difficult to recognize — one plagued by rising sea levels, melting ice caps, bleached coral, loss of animal habitats, floods and heatwaves. Given the existential crisis we are facing, it is understandable that books, articles, documentaries and social media posts urging people to take individual action against climate change have become commonplace in recent years, pushing them to shift to a plant-based diet and reduce their carbon footprint, to recycle and reduce their waste and to limit their use of gas, water and electricity to reduce energy consumption. Yet while all of the above are commendable, environmentally-conscious habits, they leave out an important piece of the puzzle — the responsibility corporations bear for getting us into this mess in the first place.
Students often demean Dartmouth Dining Services for its quality, but DDS is undeniably convenient and reliable. However, the pandemic has increased the number of students living off campus while restricting DDS to students in dorms. No longer can off-campus students, like myself, walk to the dining hall after a long day of classes. We are out in the real world to fend — and cook — for ourselves.
Including the recent gun violence incidents in Colorado and Georgia, there have now been 103 mass shootings — defined by the Gun Violence Archive as an incident in which four or more people are shot — in the United States this year. This means that in 2021, the U.S. has averaged more than one mass shooting per day. 2021 is not unique, though — for five consecutive years since 2015, the U.S. has seen more than 300 mass shootings annually. In 2018 and 2019, the U.S. saw more of these events than calendar days.
Last Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., introduced legislation in the Senate proposing a tax on the ultra-wealthy. A wealth tax is notable because it taxes net worth rather than income, making it harder for wealthy people who have low incomes to escape taxes. If passed, Americans with wealth greater than $50 million would pay an annual tax of 2% on all their assets. For those with over $1 billion in assets, there would be a 3% annual tax on their wealth above that threshold. Although Warren’s tax is backed by many progressives, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., it has received widespread backlash from conservative legislators and even a few Democrats, including President Joe Biden himself. Critics claim that the proposed tax is too difficult to enforce, that it would reduce America’s gross domestic product and that it would cause the ultra-wealthy to simply move abroad; these are important points on the complicated nature of wealth taxes. Yet the American public’s support for such a tax, as well as Warren’s many improvements on past attempts at a wealth tax, cannot be ignored.
Last December, people across the globe watched with hope as American nurses and doctors received their first COVID-19 vaccine doses — only to see our country fall flat on its face as the rollout stalled despite the U.S.’ place as an epicenter of international vaccine development. Now that President Joe Biden has taken office, vowing to “listen to the scientists” and “shut down the virus,” things must have turned around, right? Not so fast — while the federal government’s leadership has undoubtedly improved, the Biden administration's goals for vaccination are relatively tame, at least according to many health experts. Under former President Donald Trump, the federal government falsely promised a near-miraculous rollout of the vaccine. We now face the opposite problem — the Biden administration is underselling the vaccine. It’s time to ramp up expectations and engage in a full bore campaign to get doses into arms as fast as the vaccines are manufactured.
Asian carp, garlic mustard, zebra mussels, lionfish, kudzu vines — the names of these invasive species might sound familiar. The United States is currently home to around 50,000 non-native species, around 4,300 of which are considered invasive. These are non-native species which can inflict significant damage on local ecosystems and overwhelm native species, often despite containment efforts.