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The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly changing life across the world, and Dartmouth is no exception. The past month has brought sweeping changes to the College — campus facilities are now all but closed, with coursework reduced to a credit/no credit, remote format. Some of these policies, like the decision to move spring term to remote learning, are generally recognized as necessary given the realities of the public health crisis. Others — like charging full tuition — have received much less support from the student body. But in all of Dartmouth’s policy changes in response to COVID-19, one thing stands out: the College’s failure to take students’ voices into account.
The past few weeks haven’t been easy for anyone. In that short span, the novel coronavirus COVID-19 went from a far-away news story to a dominating fact of life for members of the Dartmouth community. Spring term is greatly curtailed, with all classes to be conducted online. Campus life is severely diminished. Among other restrictions, all Dartmouth-sponsored travel is banned, students are effectively forbidden from returning to campus and emails arrive daily bearing stricter and stricter regulations.
The coronavirus is here. What for so long seemed like something far away — in Wuhan, then the rest of China, then Korea and Italy and Iran — has made its presence clear in the Upper Valley. Two employees at DHMC have come down with COVID-19, the new coronavirus that has the world watching with bated breath. What’s more, New Hampshire’s patient zero ignored advice to self-quarantine and attended a Tuck School of Business social event last Friday, meaning that some number of community members may have been exposed to the virus.
As this newspaper reported last Friday, Dartmouth Dining Services has decided to eventually implement biometric scanners at the Class of 1953 Commons, the College’s main dining hall. Jon Plodzik, the head of DDS, extolled the virtues of scanners at the entrance, calling the technology a “game changer” that would reduce lines at ’53 Commons. What’s more, Plodzik justified the presumably expensive scanners as a means to ensure “better utilization of resources.”
If the Dartmouth College Republicans had not used the phrase “They’re bringing drugs…” in the subject line of an email sent to campus earlier this week, it is quite likely that none of what is described in the remainder of this editorial would have happened.
In recent years, students have seen the cost of college rise dramatically. Between 1988 and 2018, according to the College Board, tuition prices tripled at public four-year schools and doubled at private four-year programs.
This editorial is featured in the 2020 Winter Carnival special issue.
Just this month came the announcement that Jewel of India, a restaurant that has stood as a Hanover landmark for the past 28 years, will close by the end of June. The restaurant, which operates out of a Dartmouth-owned building, is one of many Hanover businesses that have closed in recent years.
This editorial board has previously criticized the New Hampshire state government’s efforts to restrict student voting — and we remain concerned about how laws passed in 2017 and 2018 by Republicans in the state legislature can hinder students’ ability to vote.
This past December, the College offered admission to some 547 early decision applicants for the Class of 2024. These applicants applied under a binding agreement — if accepted, they had no choice but to attend Dartmouth. While this admission cycle’s numbers are a slight decrease from the 574 students admitted through early decision last year, they are still startlingly high; the College admits almost half of its freshman class through early decision. For the Class of 2022, early-decision admits made up 49 percent of the incoming class. This trend is consistent with practices in the rest of the Ivy League — but that doesn’t make it a good idea.
The New Hampshire primary is just a month away. And with 14 Democrats and three Republicans each vying for their party’s nomination, this is a competitive and complex race if there ever was one.
The freedom of the press was defeated on a 15-13-4 vote earlier this week in a meeting of Harvard University’s Undergraduate Council, its student government body.
Every year in October, Dartmouth and similar institutions are required to report on their campus crime and security in accordance with the Clery Act. Topics subject to reporting include law enforcement authority, incidence of alcohol and drug use, sexual assault, and domestic or dating violence. Of particular note in this year’s report for Dartmouth was that the number of reported sexual assaults increased.
Today is Día de Los Muertos, the Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Central America, honoring those who have passed on. Last week was Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, a celebration of new beginnings, the prevailing of good over evil
Last week, the College partially reversed the new card access policy, reopening House centers and other social spaces to all students. This came after the College received almost universally negative input from students and worked with Student Assembly to ameliorate discontent. This Editorial Board has already criticized the policy changes at the beginning of this term, and we are pleased that the College has taken steps to undo what was clearly a misguided tactic.
This Homecoming weekend, during Dartmouth’s sestercentennial, alumni came to celebrate. Between green-lit buildings and a cake shaped like Dartmouth Hall, an implicit push for alumni to share their wealth with the College was tangible.
Fall term brings many perennial favorites to the College: a new freshman class, football, Homecoming and fall foliage. It also features rush — a period of several weeks in which many sophomores seek admittance to Dartmouth’s fraternities and sororities. The Editorial Board commented last week on the rush process, but what happens when that process ends?
Rush is coming to a close and for yet another year, glaring issues with women’s rush remain. Women’s rush has long entailed a condensed speed dating-like process in which “potential new members” talk to multiple sisters of the house for all houses in the first round. Though the rush process has long needed improvements, recent events have made this conversation even more relevant — namely, the loss of shakeout for Epsilon Kappa Theta sorority and the “drop” policy changes mid-process.
On Sept. 18, the College officially launched the Sexual Violence Prevention Project for the Class of 2023 after piloting the program for the last two years. Meanwhile, members of the Class of 2022 are currently participating in Dartmouth Bystander Initiative presentations in preparation for fraternity and sorority rush. With the College recently settling the federal class-action sexual misconduct lawsuit filed by nine former students, sexual assault and how it influences the culture on campus is at the forefront of the minds of many administrators, faculty members and students.
This past Saturday, the College restricted students’ access to buildings only within their own House communities. The College said the policy change came in response to the number of “racial bias incidents” that occurred last October, characterizing the policy as a security measure.