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Ryan Spector ’19’s Feb. 2 guest column titled “You’re Not Tripping” seems to me, and many others, to be a violent attack against women and women of color. Fortunately, the Dartmouth community has responded; several organizations — 40 at the time of publication — have voiced their support for the members of the Trips directorate. Those mentioned in Spector’s column and those who went out of their way to support them make this community strong.
This past Friday, a controversial guest column came out in The Dartmouth. The writer, a male undergraduate, suggested that his rejection from First-Year Trips Directorate amounted to discrimination, citing the 80 percent female composition of the directorate. The article provoked intense backlash.
Last year, the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics and Public Life at the University of Oxford announced a project titled “Ethics and Empire” to convene “a series of workshops to measure apologias and critiques of empire against historical data from antiquity to modernity across the globe.” The first colloquium took place from July 6 to 7, 2017, as the opening session of the five-year project. The project’s webpage justifies the need for such a project given the “intense public debate” surrounding issues of colonialism and its legacies in Britain and around the world. The project seeks to challenge the consensus it identifies in scholarship of colonialism that imperialism has been nothing but “wicked; and empire is therefore unethical” so “nothing of interest remains to be explored.” The webpage for the project cites the movement to topple statues of British imperialist and white supremacist Cecil Rhodes as evidence for this imagined scholarly orthodoxy that needs to be challenged, arguing that imperialism had often produced good outcomes around the world.
Freedom of speech and freedom of the press have always been polarizing points of discussion, particularly in recent years. It is difficult now to read any publication or witness any discourse, on TV or elsewhere, without there being an undercurrent pertaining to this freedom of expression. On both sides of the aisle, invisible lines are being drawn, partitioning categories of opinions and ideas that are allegedly “fake news,” conspiracies or subjectively considered to be wrong. Some may feel that open discourse is being suffocated. Others might contend that people are not doing enough to stifle unsavory discussion. A society must define what is out-of-bounds in terms of freedom of expression and ask where it ought to draw a line in limiting dialogue.
According to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey, about 67 percent of adults in America rely on social media platforms for their news, up 5 percent from 2016. I am part of that 67 percent — I get almost all of my news, both local and national, through Facebook.
Maybe the Sun God has an origin story.
What was the State of the Union really about?
We have been following the controversy on the Campus Events listserv over the last few days regarding Ryan Spector ’19’s Feb. 2 guest column in The Dartmouth. To be clear, we support diversity and inclusivity. That said, we are troubled by the nature of the debate itself.
I doubt that there is any Dartmouth student who has not yet read the Feb. 2 guest column titled “You’re Not Tripping.” Myriad conversations on campus have picked apart the author’s various claims to the extent that I question my ability to add anything novel to the dialogue. However, as a woman who doubted her leadership abilities for a long time and found her moxie through positions within First-Year Trips, I feel compelled to respond to Ryan Spector ’19’s claim that the Trips directors have prioritized “identity” to the detriment of the program.
To the Dartmouth Community,
When First-Year Trips director Lucia Pierson ’18 and assistant director Dalia Rodriguez-Caspeta ’18 told me that my failed candidacy for directorate was unrelated to diversity considerations, I almost believed them. Merit, they insisted in a private email, was the driving force behind their decisions.
The Dartmouth that students enter in half a decade may look very different from the College we know today. Last fall, the College’s leadership announced the creation of a task force to consider increasing the number of undergraduates on the campus by as much as 25 percent, or roughly 1,000 students. The task force’s final proposal is due in mid-March. If implemented, such a change would represent a shift at the College that would likely necessitate large-scale faculty hiring, massive building initiatives and a fundamental change in campus culture. Both proponents and opponents of the proposal deserve a chance to weigh in before any final decisions are made.
Who hasn’t heard of the campus left, those illiberals who shut down speakers, protest Halloween costumes for allegedly being oppressive and cast offensive speech as “discursive violence”? Countless writers have covered the movement, some in a critical light. After all, the current trends in campus activism can border on the surreal. But is it really so bad? For all their authoritarian rhetoric, campus movements have a noble goal in targeting discrimination. Besides, right-wing illiberalism just elected a president. Isn’t the alt-right a greater threat to liberal values than some fringe campus movements?
In the 21st century, authenticity has become a brand value. We seek products and personas that are real, whether it be in global cuisine or live singing. Yet the search for the real can blind us to the benefits of the synthetic. Making real leather harms animals, leather-tannery workers and nearby communities, while synthetic leather has no victims. While fur-free movements have made an impact over the past few decades, leather has often slipped under the radar. However, leather production is equally harmful to human health, animal rights and the environment.
In the week following the end of the government shutdown, American politics have been riddled with speculation and conjecture regarding the future of the Delayed Action for Childhood Arrivals program. It seems that President Donald Trump — master of the art of the deal — has finally responded by proposing his own framework: DACA could survive and the children of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. at a young age could be given a special path to citizenship. However, the proposition comes with a caveat. A DACA revival would only come to fruition if Congress (particularly the Democratic aisle) agrees to fund the construction of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. This deal is expensive; it is ostentatious; but most importantly, it is worth taking.
In another installment of "Recollections, A Dartmouth Experience," Neelufar Raja '21 addresses the College's pace of change.
Dartmouth College, the rest of the Ivy League, Stanford University, Williams College — these are colleges only by technicality. See, thinking about a general category often means thinking about the mean or median. When we think of the American worker, our national consensus converges to about the right median.
Though campus jobs often have salaries barely above minimum wage, Dartmouth students are all too willing to take them. The difficulty of these jobs ranges wildly. Many entail simple tasks, such as filming varsity team practices, entering data into spreadsheets and swiping IDs at Dartmouth Dining Services locations. Yet there are also more challenging jobs, such as research assistantships that require advanced skills like statistical analysis. This latter group of campus employment is extremely cost-effective for the College and could be further expanded.
Sometimes the audience isn’t so receptive.