This column is featured in the 2021 Winter Carnival special issue.
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This column is featured in the 2021 Winter Carnival special issue.
In response to the pandemic, Dartmouth assigned each class year either one or two guaranteed on-campus terms for the academic year. Under this framework, many members of the Class of 2023 will not be back on campus until summer 2021. Many ’23s have been vocally opposed to this move, often complaining about the way in which college administrators handled term assignments and other pandemic concerns. In a Jan. 21 op-ed in The Dartmouth, Max Teszler ’23 characterized the dismay of many of his classmates as "pointless quibbling” and argued that the ’23s should be grateful for the chance to be on campus at all. However, many ’23s, myself included, actually voiced legitimate concerns about how the College handled the reopening process. Addressing the reality faced by ’23s and working together to move forward is far more productive for everyone than pointing fingers at classmates for trying to fix the problem.
This year, Valentine’s Day just won’t be the same. Nobody will fortuitously stumble upon a soulmate at King Arthur Flour or dance with their Marriage Pact match in a fraternity basement. Some will insist on celebrating with a COVID-19-safe platonic get-together, while others will be rushing to secure evening plans for the 14th. Either way, love is in the air — and regardless of our relationship status, we should celebrate love this week by giving to our loved ones without expecting anything in return.
Last Friday, College President Phil Hanlon unexpectedly announced that the five varsity athletic teams cut last summer — men's and women's swimming and diving, men's and women's golf and men's lightweight rowing — had been reinstated. In his email, Hanlon attributed the change to the discovery that “elements of the data that athletics used to confirm continued Title IX compliance may not have been complete.”
When the pandemic began to spread throughout the U.S. last spring, seemingly everyone praised “essential workers” for putting their lives on the line to keep society running.
As on-campus students approach the middle of winter term, COVID-19 still maintains a presence in Hanover. The current number of active cases among students sits at 10. This number, while seemingly low, is relatively high compared to the numbers throughout fall term. Even with a vaccine in sight, outbreaks are still possible. Contact tracing — tracking where someone who has tested positive went, with whom and for how long — is often key to mitigating the spread of cases. Contact tracing has always been a part of the administration’s plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but with one change, it can become much more effective. In order to best protect the health of the community, Dartmouth should institute an amnesty policy for students involved in contact tracing after a student tests positive.
The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 introduced the first across-the-board federal minimum wage in American history. The aim was that the minimum wage — 25 cents per hour at the time — would provide a standard to protect the health and well-being of people in working-class jobs. The thought was that workers should at least be able to support themselves by working full time.
Since the onset of the pandemic, many cherished aspects of the Dartmouth experience have remained on hold. One familiar feature of Dartmouth life, however, has not been sorely missed: the physical education requirement. Often derided as a waste of time at best and a hidden fee at worst, the PE requirement is most notable for bogging down students with mandatory — and often expensive — checkbox-filling activities. Eliminating the PE graduation requirement for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 was a necessary move given the pandemic, but it’s time to go further. The College should permanently do away with the PE requirement.
Since German reunification, Chancellor Angela Merkel has led Germany for more time than all other chancellors combined. From November 2005 to the present, Merkel has led not only her center-right party, the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, but the largest economy and most populous nation in the EU. She has won widespread praise for her steady leadership in times of crisis: the Great Recession, the European migrant crisis and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic. She has governed as a moderate — and won the support of her fellow citizens in four separate federal elections — even as reactionary politics have gained a foothold in other European countries.
How should big tech companies such as Facebook and Twitter weigh preserving free speech against curbing the spread of misinformation? This is a pressing concern of the modern age, especially given Twitter’s recent ban of former President Donald Trump. However, before contending with this dilemma, one hurdle must first be overcome: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a regulation that says providers of interactive computer services cannot be treated as the publisher of third-party content. Thanks to this obsolete law, lawmakers have been unable to determine how liable tech companies should be for regulating what appears on their social media platforms.
On day one of my dorm room quarantine, I watched my professor’s lecture through a laptop screen. My food was delivered twice daily by a person whom I never saw. I was only allowed out of my room in order to use the bathroom and seek medical help. Though the situation sounds eerily similar to the premise of a dystopian novel, it’s actually my college experience, taking place entirely through screens and six-foot distances.
When Aldous Huxley published his novel, “Brave New World,” in 1932, he had no way of knowing that his dystopia — a society in which children were essentially designed in a lab — would eventually become possible. While his readers could take comfort in knowing that the horrors of the “World State” were confined to the realm of fiction, our generation does not have that luxury. In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that commercial genome editing will affect us in one way or another and, if left unregulated, will very likely prove dangerous. Thus far, the advance of genome editing technology has outpaced our ability to produce legislation to regulate its use, so Congress must — without further hesitation — redouble its efforts to keep up.
From Daniel Webster, Class of 1801, onward, many Dartmouth alumni have gone on to serve in prominent public service roles. Alex Azar '88, the former Secretary of Health and Human Services under the Trump administration, is certainly one of them. But prominence and power do not mean admirability; Azar stepped down from his post earlier this week with the entrance of the Biden administration, ending four years of controversial health care policy.
“Callous and full of blatant disregard,” “doing everything possible to screw us,” “ridiculous” — over the past six months, these have been the words with which the members of the Class of 2023 have described the handling of the pandemic. As a ’23 myself, I agree — our class has been screwed over. We’re enduring an unmitigated surge in COVID-19 cases, a disastrously slow vaccine rollout and more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S. All of us are victims of a negligent response by the federal government and the misfortune of this virus arising in the first place.
On Jan. 6, the nation watched in horror as a group of pro-Trump insurgents stormed the U.S. Capitol in an event best understood as a pathetic attempt at a coup. The group, some armed with assault rifles, Molotov cocktails, bombs and even six-foot spears seized the Capitol building, forcing Congress to temporarily delay finalizing the certification of the electoral vote and President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.