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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 COVID-19 pandemic is not just a public health issue. The outbreak has upended many aspects of our lives. It has exposed the realities of class disparity, highlighting unequal access to resources like food and housing. In the face of this crisis, many people have had to turn to unions, rent strikes and community organizing for survival.
Dartmouth recently decided to suspend standard grading for the upcoming spring term and move all courses to a credit/no-credit grading system. We urge the Dartmouth administration to reverse this decision. The College’s argument is fallible, peer institutions have moved to more flexible grading systems and there will be a detrimental effect on post-graduate opportunities as a result of the new policy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented changes to Dartmouth. Following the College’s move to remote instruction, most students — including The Dartmouth's staff and directorate members — have vacated campus and returned home for the spring term. In order to accommodate these new and uncertain circumstances, The Dartmouth will pause print production for the duration of the term.
In response to the spread of COVID-19, Dartmouth joined with peer institutions and announced that its entire spring term would be conducted remotely. This move, although disappointing for many, should be considered a necessary step in securing the wellbeing of Dartmouth students and residents of the Upper Valley. However, in moving to online instruction, the College must continue to prioritize the educational success of its students. One way to do this is to institute a mandatory pass/fail grading system for the spring term. Here, I echo the sentiments of The Daily Princetonian’s Editorial Board and of the student-run National Intercollegiate COVID-19 Coalition and urge Dartmouth to take that step.
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.
Last week, Daniel Bring ’21 and Alexander Rauda ’21 wrote an apology in The Dartmouth in response to the criticism they received regarding their handling of the College Republicans’ attempt to bring U.S. Senate candidate Bryant “Corky” Messner to campus. The vast majority of the criticism they received focused on the inflammatory subject line “They’re bringing drugs…,” which introduced the campus-wide email inviting students and other members of the Dartmouth community to the event with Messner. While their apology is appreciated and long overdue, their removal from positions of leadership will likely do little to ameliorate the polarization plaguing this campus.
Former vice president Joe Biden isn’t a favorite among Dartmouth students. Mention his name, and you often elicit groans. He’s old, the line goes. He’s forgetful and stumbling. He’s Uncle Joe. In a recent poll by The Dartmouth, Biden attracted just 5.7 percent support among Dartmouth students planning to vote in the New Hampshire Democratic primary — that’s less than Andrew Yang received. In many of the informal exit polls that spread through campus group chats on Election Day, Biden wasn’t even listed as an option.
There are few things more essential to the modern student’s academic life than Wi-Fi. Just checking Canvas to view assignments or downloading video lectures for flipped classes — let alone conducting online research — requires uninterrupted Internet access. Dartmouth students are certainly no exception to this rule. But despite the fact that the College requires students to own laptops and the general necessity of Wi-Fi for academic work, the only consistent thing about campus Wi-Fi is its unreliability. And unfortunately, not all students navigate the problem of poor Internet access equally.
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.”
It’s not an election year unless Florida has a surprise up its sleeve, and this year the surprise in question just might involve the restoration of voting rights to felons. Just last week, a federal appeals court ruled that the state cannot use unpaid fees and fines related to conviction to bar felons from voting. This decision built off a 2018 amendment passed by referendum that promised to enfranchise over a million Floridians with felony convictions who had completed their sentences.
Last week, at the invitation of the Dartmouth College Republicans, U.S. Senate candidate Bryant “Corky” Messner — who is running against incumbent senator Jeanne Shaheen (D) — was scheduled to deliver a talk titled “Building a Wall Against Drugs: The Need for Border Security to End the Opioid Crisis.” I was involved in the planning of a two-pronged peaceful and educational protest against this event; that is, before the College Republicans cancelled it due to alleged “security risks.” I will speak briefly about my own political opinions and my personal motivation to protest peacefully. However, I also want to challenge the College Republicans’ cheap strategy of condemning the figure of the liberal protester rather than engaging in real political discourse with opposing ideas.
We are the former leaders of the Dartmouth College Republicans, and we regret the impact of our actions and decisions on that organization and on the Dartmouth community. Let us make one thing perfectly clear: It was never our intention to hurt the organization that we worked so hard to build and grow. We recognize that recent events have brought scrutiny to the College Republicans, and we take any and all responsibility for the organization’s failures during our tenure.
“Okja, Snowpiercer, Parasite, they’re all stories about capitalism,” said acclaimed Korean director Bong Joon-ho of his films. “Before it’s a massive, sociological term, capitalism is just our lives.”
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.
Imagine it’s 1:55 p.m. on a Wednesday; you just finished your 12 and you have exactly one hour and 50 minutes before your 3:45 p.m. practice. Considering how you always get to practice 15 minutes early to warm up and it always takes 13 minutes to walk from the green to your practice, that healthy amount of time is now running a little thin.
As both an affiliated student at Dartmouth and as a waste diversion intern with the Sustainability Office, I have experienced first-hand the divide that exists between sustainability and Greek life. It is nearly impossible to disregard the staggering amount of plastic cups and Keystone Light cans littered among Greek house basements — yet many students don’t blink an eye before tossing another can onto the pile. In the 2018-19 academic year, 65 percent of Dartmouth’s student population was affiliated with the Greek system. Greek life can no longer keep secluded from the environmental issues that affect every student on campus.