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Most current Dartmouth students remember the hell this campus went through last year: Dealt a bounty of pandemic-related stressors, students’ mental health suffered tremendously over the course of last year, and three first-year students — Beau DuBray ’24, Connor Tiffany ’24 and Elizabeth Reimer ’24 — died by suicide within a matter of six months. In response to these deaths and years of complaints from students about Dartmouth’s mental health infrastructure, the College announced a four-year partnership with the JED Foundation, a national nonprofit that promotes emotional health on college campuses. The partnership began last week when the “Healthy Minds” survey was fielded to students. Over the next two years, that survey and other findings will be used to implement interventions on campus before the survey is readministered in the 2024-25 academic year. Some community members see this partnership in a positive light; one student referred to it as “a step in the ‘right direction’” in a recent article.
Earlier this month, Dartmouth announced a 46.5% return on its endowment, which reached an eyebrow-raising total value of $8.5 billion. This windfall, after a year of slashed study abroad programs and library closures, seemed to embarrass the College into action. Dartmouth immediately announced an increase to the student minimum wage, bonuses for employees and grad students, and more generous financial aid policies.
On Oct. 11, WMUR broke the news that the Dartmouth College Republicans would be inviting first-term U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, a 26-year-old Republican from North Carolina, to sit on a panel titled “The Future of the Republican Party” on Oct. 24, this Sunday. Cawthorn will attend alongside NH-1 congressional candidate and former Trump administration assistant press secretary Karoline Leavitt and former Trump campaign strategist Alex Bruesewitz.
I love the Choates.
On Oct. 14, the streets of Beirut witnessed deadly gun battles amid tensions over the probe into the 2020 Beirut port explosion. This fighting comes nearly two years after the October Uprising erupted in 2019, evoking memories of Lebanon’s civil war and the sectarian strife of the 1970s. With a political system in deadlock and an economy in shambles, the salvation of Lebanon does not lie in foreign intervention or aid packages, but in steadfast rejection of the status quo and a thorough investment in community building away from identity politics.
Last Friday, in a campus-wide email, Interim Dean of the College Scott Brown announced the discovery of significant mold growth in the Andres and Zimmerman residence halls, informing the community that students with a “health sensitivity” to mold had been given the option to relocate to temporary housing, first in the Boss Tennis Center and, starting Sunday, in a “limited number of hotel rooms in the area.” The email also noted that mold “remediation” efforts, which include the vacuuming of interior surfaces of each HVAC unit with a high-efficiency particulate vacuum and the installation of additional filtration, have already begun in Andres and Zimmerman and that additional inspections will occur in other residential buildings throughout the next few weeks. In addition, the College announced that, moving forward, it will expand its mold protocols to include regular checks of air handling units in all Dartmouth buildings.
On Monday, Dartmouth announced that its endowment — the pool of money generated from donors and investments and used in part to finance the College’s operations — grew to $8.5 billion at the end of fiscal year 2021, a striking 46.5% increase from the previous fiscal year. When Dartmouth announced this growth, it also announced several ways it would use the endowment to support the student body, such as increasing financial aid to undergraduates, offering a $1,000 bonus to certain graduate students and raising the student minimum wage from $7.75 an hour to $11.50 an hour — a change College spokesperson Diana Lawrence estimated would impact around 1,000 student workers.
I find myself continually frustrated by the College’s ignorance of the problems it creates for itself. I’m struck by how the administration struggles to provide logical, effective solutions in a timely manner. It seems as if they don’t care. At all.
The first time I went to a gym, I dropped a weight on my foot. I was a stick-thin, anxiety-riddled 18-year-old who had just arrived in Tel Aviv on a gap year program. The only reason I was at this strange, odorous facility in the first place was because my friends had somehow cajoled me into accompanying them, even though I was staunchly against actually joining the gym. When we strolled down the aisles of panting millennials on ellipticals and bulging Israeli Defense Forces soldiers pumping ungodly heavy curls, however, my perspective quickly began to change. Contrary to my expectations, I wasn’t being judged for my super-skinny arms at all. Nobody cared if I was barely able to wobble up a 20-pound weight— they were simply concerned with their own workout. When I attempted to lug a 30-pounder over to my bench, the weight rolled right off the rack, thunking onto my right foot. And yet, while my pain was very real, the expected accompanying embarrassment simply never came.
Professors, as well as the administration, love to tell us to put our health first. They tell us to sleep and to eat and to take care of our mental health — and to put all those things before our schoolwork. And yet, the incentive to sacrifice our physical, mental and emotional health on the altar of academia remains. If we want a culture of healthier and happier students, and people in general, then we need new norms. Extensions, understanding and academic flexibility must all become a deeper part of Dartmouth’s culture.
This editorial is featured in the 2021 Homecoming special issue.
This article is featured in the 2021 Homecoming special issue.
This article is featured in the 2021 Homecoming special issue.
On Sept. 13, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., attended the Met Gala, the most glamorous red carpet in America, parading a floor-length white gown emblazoned with the words “TAX THE RICH” in bright red. A week later, she reversed a “no” vote and abstained from voting on supplemental legislation that would provide $1 billion to the “Government of Israel for the procurement of the Iron Dome defense system” and “in support of Operation Guardian of the Walls.” From her performative attempt at sartorial activism to her last-minute vote switch, Ocasio-Cortez’s symbolic tactics underscore her failure to articulate clear, concrete principles.
Last Thursday, an article published in The Dartmouth reported that the Class of 2025, with a class size of 1,229 students, is the largest in Dartmouth’s history. This revelation comes only four years after the previous record-holder for the largest class, the Class of 2021, matriculated, and is only the second time in Dartmouth’s history that the number of newly enrolled students has surpassed 1,200.
Adopted by the faculty in 1962, Dartmouth’s Academic Honor Principle commands that “all academic activities will be based on student honor.” Since then, the Academic Honor Principle has been a foundational text in the lives of Dartmouth students: It is mentioned in nearly every syllabus and discussed by many professors on the very first day of class.
The beginning of this term represents a welcome return to the normal Dartmouth experience for many in the College community. Yet, this transition has nonetheless been accompanied by challenges and uncertainty. For example, last week The Dartmouth’s Editorial Board criticized the long lines at dining halls and argued that the current state of campus dining was untenable. The week prior, the Editorial Board urged students to be patient and kind and refrain from “discount[ing], delegitimiz[ing] and dismiss[ing] the experiences of [their] peers” following “a disrupted and tumultuous year.” To this end, what do you believe are some of the most prominent challenges students have faced so far this term, and, in your opinion, would these challenges have existed in a pre-pandemic world?
If you were in Hanover this past summer, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the pandemic was over. Masks came off, social interaction returned and Dartmouth dissolved its COVID-19 Task Force — all actions that seemed to emphasize the lack of a need to plan so intensely around the virus.