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On Feb. 26, as Russian troops marched toward Kyiv, the United States government reportedly offered Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy a chance to escape the country. Zelenskyy apparently responded quickly: “The fight is here,” he said. “I need ammunition, not a ride.”
In a Feb. 21 press release, the College announced that faculty and administrators had voted 89-4 to delay the development of proposed undergraduate housing along Lyme Road. The reason? Faculty members expressed concern about the distance of the housing from the core of campus, arguing that it contradicted the commitments Dartmouth made in its strategic master plan and threatened the quality of the “undergraduate experience.”
On Feb. 17, Librex — an app that allowed users from Dartmouth and other elite schools to post anonymously for all their peers to see — announced that the platform would be permanently shut down. This news sent shockwaves throughout the community. While some mourned the loss of a way to stay connected to Dartmouth culture, others celebrated the permanent end of the app. Why? Throughout its history, Librex allowed students to objectify peers, mock their friends and even target individual students with slurs. We cheer its end, and that of the harmful discourse it enabled — but we also caution the Dartmouth community against allowing yet another iteration of a venomous, anonymous app to rise from Librex’s ashes.
Never before had the Zuo household seen chaos like it did the week before I moved into college. In a hurricane of nervous shopping, my parents and I spent hours pouring over Dartmouth’s move-in guidelines, picking out the perfect twin XL bedding set and ordering textbooks. One by one, all of my earthly possessions were shoved into two suitcases, unpacked, added to and packed again. By the time the car was fully loaded, we had made our list, checked it twice, and then checked it a few more times just for good measure. At the end of it all, my parents — confident that I wouldn’t starve or freeze to death in my first week — finally took a step back, and there was peace in our living room again.
Feb. 17 marked the end of an era: The anonymous online discussion forum Librex was permanently shut down. All posts were deleted and all user data wiped as the team behind the app decided to move on to new endeavors. Curiously, Librex’s tenure at Dartmouth mirrored that of the pandemic. A week after the app’s launch in March 2020, the effects of COVID-19 hit Dartmouth as the administration decided to move classes online for the upcoming spring term. Now, COVID-19 cases are on the decline and Librex has met its demise. Dartmouth students are currently looking forward to a spring term that resembles life before COVID-19 — perhaps the absence of Librex will help with that. During the pandemic, however, as students sought some semblance of community, Librex quietly became a fixture of Dartmouth’s culture. While Librex was not without its flaws and ugly moments, we should remember the app for its ability to connect students during challenging times.
Yesterday was my 19th birthday.
On Dec. 10 of last year, a tornado hit an Amazon warehouse in Illinois and collapsed its roof, killing six workers inside who were not able to find proper shelter despite advance warning of the tornado’s approach. The deaths renewed discussion about Amazon’s long-standing and, frankly, disgusting habit of mistreating its workers. I say “renewed” because anyone who follows the news has also heard about Amazon’s other workplace scandals, such as revelations that its executives know their delivery drivers are forced by Amazon’s productivity expectations to pee in bottles while on the job and that warehouse workers have been sent immediately back to work after a colleague, who wasn’t given help for a full twenty minutes, died on the job of a heart attack. The employee had even reported having heart attack symptoms at an on-site clinic beforehand, and yet Amazon still did nothing. Tragic stories like these illustrate how large and wildly profitable conglomerates like Amazon cannot be trusted to respect their employees without substantial corrective action to hold them accountable.
Recently, some of the bluest states in the nation announced the end of their mask mandates in an attempt to return to normalcy: “We recognize that we want to turn the page on the status quo,” Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said last week. As the end of winter term approaches, marking another term with some COVID-19 policies still intact, we ask: Should the town of Hanover drop its mask mandate? Should Dartmouth? Relatedly, how should COVID-19 policies change — or not change — at Dartmouth in the spring?
This term, students walking through the library have been met with a jarring sight: Usually bustling with energy, First Floor Berry has been a ghost town. The space, which has been closed since the start of the winter in response to low mask compliance during the fall, is slated to remain closed until the indoor mask mandate is lifted. This measure, however, has shown itself to be utterly ineffective. Without access to a key group study space, students looking to hit the books have simply moved to less supervised areas of the library, leading to overcrowding and, if anything, aggravating the problem of mask non-compliance.
Rapid antigen tests are having something of a moment. In December, demand for the tests surged, reflecting a widespread desire to test before visiting relatives over the holidays. Last month, the Biden administration premiered its website to allow every household to order four free rapid tests. On campus, we’ve presumably administered thousands of such tests over the past weeks as people have tested out of quarantine.
It is the start of a new academic term: Students log onto the Canvas pages for their courses, click on their syllabi and scroll. There, lying in wait, are two words that inspire dread: “Required Readings.” Occasionally, there may be a disclaimer noting that all of the required readings are available on Canvas. Most of the time, however, students will see a jarring list of books that their professor expects them to have access to, often in physical form.
This editorial is featured in the 2022 Winter Carnival special issue.
This cartoon is featured in the 2022 Winter Carnival special issue.
This cartoon is featured in the 2022 Winter Carnival special issue.
This article is featured in the 2022 Winter Carnival special issue.