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In less than a week, voters will head to the polls to elect the next President of the United States and leader of the free world. Halloween may have been spooky, but for many the scare factor will increase exponentially on Nov. 8. Indeed, entrusting either a misogynist Muppet or a sleazy career politician with the nuclear codes is enough to give anyone nightmares, myself included. I am disappointed with our options on both sides of the aisle. In a country of over 300 million people, I am aghast that we’ve somehow narrowed it down to Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
I apologize in advance if this column comes across as a petulant plea from a hopelessly jaded senior. While yes, I am a member of the Class of 2017 graduating this spring, no, I am not jaded.
Last week, U.S. News and World Report released its highly anticipated national university rankings. While Dartmouth’s standing in terms of undergraduate teaching plunged from second to seventh place, the College on the hill moved up to 11th place overall. At the very least, we can breathe a sigh of relief now that we have beat Cornell by a solid margin across both measures. Our counterparts in Ithaca will thankfully continue to be the butt of Ivy League humor.
If I had a dollar for every “political selfie” that has graced my Facebook newsfeed this election cycle, I could probably purchase a selfie stick for everyone on campus. The likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, made her way to Hanover last July with challenger Bernie Sanders following closely behind. To this day, I am neither “Ready for Hillary” nor “Feeling the Bern,” although my social media accounts back then may have suggested otherwise. For weeks on end after their visits, I scrolled through a deluge of political selfies featuring the two candidates. This is not to excuse GOP candidates from the same behavior, as I soon discovered that those across the partisan aisle are also suckers for a selfie. Albeit less frequently, the smiling faces of Rand Paul and John Kasich also popped up on my feeds more than I would like to admit. Despite recent revelations that Facebook and other social media platforms might be less than neutral, that is not the direction I would like to take this piece. Instead, I would like to take a few moments to hash out our generation’s brand of high art: the selfie.
I’d like to preface this column by saying that it will likely be among the most unpopular I’ll write. But, with 16S drawing to a close and the start of senior fall just around the corner, I’m definitely not getting any younger — so here it goes.
Last week, The New York Times ran an article titled “Career Coaching for the Playdate Generation.” The piece, written by Laura Pappano of the Wellesley College Center for Women, discussed yet another pitfall of the so-called millennial generation. As a millennial who will soon be entering the workforce full-time, I couldn’t help but read on. For a number of reasons, I found the article a little more than disconcerting.
Last Monday, Obama made history by becoming the first sitting United States president to visit Cuba since 1928. The momentousness of the occasion was not lost, except maybe on Cuba’s current president Raúl Castro. While politicians and members of the press hailed Obama’s trip to the island as a historic triumph, the Cuban dictator apparently thought otherwise. Indeed, he did not even bother to greet the first family at the airport. Instead, the Obamas were received by a number of the regime’s dignitaries, including Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez and Cuban ambassador to the U.S. Jose Cabanas. White House staff quickly came to Castro’s defense, claiming it was “never contemplated or discussed” that he would attend the landing of Air Force One at Jose Martí International Airport.
On Nov. 3, the pro-Latino and pro-immigration PAC Deport Racism published its first video on YouTube. For a bizarre two minutes, the political ad features Latino children hurling profanity at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. A boy who introduces himself as Ricardo accuses Republican candidates of using “offensive words,” and then goes on to offer some of his own. Flipping the bird at the camera, the boy calls Trump “a racist f--k.” His counterpart Rosa quickly follows up, calling the 2016 contender “a racist d--k.”
Two weeks ago, Democratic presidential candidates gathered in Las Vegas to hash out their differences and debate the facts. The Oct. 13 debate and its aftermath, however, did little to shake up the field. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton still seems to be the token nominee, despite claims that she had begun to “feel the Bern” on the campaign trail. On his end, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders seems to have conceded at the CNN-hosted debate. Sanders came to Clinton’s aid when asked about her personal emails and forfeited a great deal of leverage in doing so.
The F-word is complicated, and it is no secret that it elicits a broad spectrum of reactions. For some, the word “feminism” is a cringe-inducing combination of letters. For others, it is something to live by. With two female candidates currently in the race for the White House, the F-word has been tossed about more than usual. It has been on the lips of reporters and talking heads on both sides of the aisle, and even the candidates have broached the subject. Despite its newfound status as a campaign buzzword, discussion of feminism has been dishearteningly shallow. In most instances, dialogue has devolved into shouting matches over the recent Planned Parenthood controversy. Being pro-choice has been made a pre-requisite for being a feminist. Being pro-life has been conflated with hating women, or at least failing to properly support them. As a result, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has been disparaged for peddling faux feminism on the campaign trail.
On Sept. 14, Ahmed Mohamed’s school day took a turn for the unexpected when he ended up in handcuffs. He had arrived at school that morning with an unusual looking device that he claimed was a homemade clock. According to a Sept. 16 report in the New York Times, the clock was composed of “a metal briefcase-style box, a digital display, wires and a circuit board.” Mohamed’s arrest sparked a firestorm on social media. He was either hailed as a budding engineer or pegged as a potential terrorist.
With all eyes trained on Pope Francis’ arrival in Washington, D.C., next Tuesday, many news outlets have dedicated a significant amount of coverage to preparations for the special guest. The visit will begin that afternoon, when President Barack Obama will greet the leader of the Roman Catholic Church at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. After paying his respects at the White House the next morning, Pope Francis will embark on a two-week-long journey across the United States. While the Holy Father’s visit is an occasion for celebration, we should be weary of the inevitable commotion that will accompany it. The truth is that the U.S. is not the only stop on the papal itinerary. Instead, we should be paying more attention to where Pope Francis will be spending his days prior to setting foot on American soil.
To the dismay of many, classes will be held on two Saturdays of the upcoming fall term. This change comes as the starting date of the term has been moved forward to Sept. 16 from Sept. 14 to accommodate the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. This information provoked outcry in social media circles — many a Yak decried the loss of two “chill” Saturdays, comparing the College to an overgrown boarding school with nanny administrators.
When I first set foot in Hanover in summer 2012, the Green was actually green, the sky was clear and sundresses and salmon-colored shorts abounded. I had not even begun my senior year of high school, but I was sold. As a native of southern Florida, basing my college decision on a single, summertime visit to New Hampshire may seem questionable. Yet to this day, I have no regrets. After participating in the Dartmouth Bound summer program, I was convinced that there was absolutely no other place in which I would rather spend four years. While each season at the College has its own unique beauty, there is something truly magical about a Hanover summer that I think every student should experience. Despite complaints of condensed course offerings and other grievances, sophomore summer is a tradition that the College should never let fail.
Regardless of whether you agree with it, the Obama administration has made its mark on Cuba-United States foreign policy. Last December, President Barack Obama addressed the nation and laid out a plan to normalize relations with the island. Obama not only pressured Congress to repeal the longstanding embargo, but also called for an embassy in Havana and a resumption of diplomatic relations with the regime. As justification for the policy shift, the president coolly remarked that he was “not interested in having battles that, frankly, started before [he] was born.”
Spring term has begun, and students on campus have survived both the untimely snow flurries and the initial rollout of the hard alcohol ban. By outlawing any alcohol with a proof greater than 30, the College’s attempt at Prohibition leaves students to drink themselves silly on cheap beer and wine. While administrators may have the best of intentions at heart, they have set a frightening precedent. The hard alcohol ban lacks definitive evidence to support its intended goal of reducing high-risk drinking, and it tramples over personal accountability and students’ ability to reason.
Earlier this week, faculty members joined in on the voting hoopla, granting students access to course evaluations. This was not the meeting’s only outcome. Soon thereafter, the faculty voted on abolishing the College’s Greek system. 116 faculty members voted to abolish the Greek system, and 13 members voted to preserve it. Three abstained. This outcome was not unexpected, and previous votes have yielded similar results. In 2001, the faculty voted 92-0 in support of abolishing the Greek system.
I still recall the first time I pulled an all-nighter. I was in 7th grade, and the concept of staying up studying until well past by bedtime was novel, even “cool.” I reveled in watching late-night TV devolve into “George Lopez” and “Friends” reruns, and even tried my hand at making my first cafetera of Cuban coffee. As the sunlight of a new day streamed in through my bedroom window, I felt a strange sense of accomplishment. I was hooked. Seven years later, I realize how horribly mistaken I was. The prospect of an all-nighter still makes my stomach churn. That’s not to say that I haven’t seen my fair share of 1902 Room sunrises or felt the sense of impending doom as the library’s final closing announcement goes out. While college, caffeine and sleep deprivation unfortunately seem to go hand in hand, the more concerning issue is that this trio has become an inescapable reality for students of all ages.
As a self-proclaimed “survivor” of Panhellenic recruitment this fall, I feel as if I should have some semblance of an opinion regarding my experience. Following fall and winter recruitment each year, this paper’s opinion section often fills with “obligatory” post-rush columns. While these pieces more often than not rail against the Greek system’s aura of exclusivity and slam the superficiality of the recruitment process, I would like to offer an alternative view. Despite its well-publicized faults, sorority recruitment can breed camaraderie, not animosity.
When I arrived at Dartmouth a little over a year ago, I was clueless. Sure, I had performed well in high school, but the College was a new beast to tame. In the spirit of honesty, I’m willing to admit a few things.