This editorial is featured in the 2022 Green Key special issue.
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Tesla CEO and outspoken Twitter user Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter has become one of the most talked-about acquisitions in recent memory. It is not just the hefty price tag, but also the promise of radical change to a platform that hosts hundreds of millions of daily users that had people furiously mashing 280-character takes into their phones. In a statement made shortly after the deal was completed, Musk unveiled the new direction of the company: One that would focus on “free speech… the bedrock of a functioning democracy” and transform the platform into a “digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.” Musk’s vision of Twitter is misguided, however, and rather than a haven for free speech, his reforms could turn Twitter into a world of increasing misinformation and polarization.
The turbulence that was the 2020-21 academic year will not escape the collective memory of the Dartmouth student body. Last year, mental health for many students was at rock bottom; COVID-19 policies were strict and students were feeling the disruption of an ongoing pandemic. This was especially difficult for the Class of 2024, as they transitioned into a new space without much support. Three first-year students — Beau DuBray ’24, Connor Tiffany ’24 and Elizabeth Reimer ’24 — died by suicide, and a fourth student — Lamees Kareem ’22 — died of a medical condition.
As the cost of higher education remains an economic burden on young Americans and their families, progressive Democrats are ramping up calls for various levels of loan forgiveness. One of the most comprehensive proposals is that of Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who, along with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has called for up to $50,000 in loan forgiveness, in addition to making public college free of cost. Though President Joe Biden has so far only endorsed up to $10,000 in loan cancellation, concerns about waning support among young voters have increased his attentiveness towards more expansive relief.
Since its founding in 1769, “Vox Clamantis in Deserto” — or, “A voice crying out in the wilderness” — has been the motto of Dartmouth College, representing its unique place in rural New Hampshire and the tight-knit community that this setting creates. Understanding the origins of this motto, which we so proudly advertise, is integral to having a complete understanding of the College’s history — and of this place so many of us call home.
Last June, I had the not-so-delightful experience of being randomly placed on the housing waitlist. Despite the College offering a $5,000 incentive for students to give up a claim to fall housing in June, I and 128 other students remained in limbo in July. It was only in mid-August that I finally learned I would live on campus. This persistent uncertainty, compounded by my work as editor-in-chief and re-entry into classes after a pandemic gap year, was exhausting.
Re: Verbum Ultimum: An Apple A Day (April 15, 2022)
To put it bluntly, Dartmouth’s grading system has failed. Enforcing medians is hypocritical for a college that purportedly encourages academic success and empowerment but more importantly, as a student, enforced medians are also disappointing. Many of my professors have expressed a similar disappointment with the system too.
While the administration recently promised to reorient its focus toward student health, there are still some critical gaps in campus support systems. Despite my love for this school, the illusion of care spread by certain professors and disability services is an aspect of Dartmouth that disappoints me.
It’s no secret that Dartmouth is practically swimming in cash: Our $8.5 billion endowment rivals many nation’s GDPs, and we have dished out an enormous sum of cash on recent capital improvement projects, such as the recently announced $88 million allocated for renovating the Hopkins Center for the Arts. But aside from these public pronouncements, where exactly do we spend our money?
The snow has melted, the sun is out and the flowers are beginning to blossom: Spring has arrived in the Upper Valley.
Any student who is even remotely familiar with fraternity basements during on-nights knows there’s one guest who is almost always present: cans of Keystone Light beer. Inevitably, these cans end up in the trash — take a walk down Webster Avenue on a Thursday or Sunday morning and you’ll see the aftermath of frats’ clean-up operations. When you consider the amount of beer that just one frat consumes in one night, the total number of cans used across campus each weekend must be enormous.
Noticing the billowing smokestack towering over the southern part of campus and the oil trucks that regularly make deliveries there, I decided to do some research. I discovered that Dartmouth’s heating plant, which has been supplying heat to campus since 1903, uses 3.5 million gallons of No. 6 fuel oil each year to heat campus.
Prestigious universities, such as Dartmouth and its peer institutions, have grown too comfortable with hoarding their billions in endowments as a status symbol, preventing students from benefiting from even the fraction it would take to improve campus facilities and programs. Just last year, the College boasted a 46.5% year-over-year return on its endowment, and instituted a few limited financial changes, including increasing student workers’ hourly minimum wage by $3.75 and eliminating an expected parent contribution in financial aid calculations. While these changes are commendable, institutions like Dartmouth continue to withhold funds from being used more directly for improving the academic and personal lives of their students. It’s past time for the federal government to step in with a stick and tax college endowments.
What comes to mind when you hear the words “Student Assembly”? Please take a moment to think about it.