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Over the past several months, two of Dartmouth’s peer institutions — Harvard University and Columbia University — saw members of their student unions strike. Harvard’s graduate student union went on a three-day strike in late-October, which later led to a contract that increased pay. Columbia student union began striking in early-November; that strike is still ongoing, upending academics as the union fights for fair pay and recognition of hourly student employees as union members.
Months after its catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan, the United States faces another major challenge to its unipolarity: a belligerent Russia.
On Dec. 17, interim provost David Kotz and executive vice president Rick Mills announced several new additions to Dartmouth’s COVID-19 policies, which will now include a booster shot requirement for all community members as well as a ban on “social gatherings” and a shift to grab-and-go dining for the first two weeks of winter term. This move comes as multiple peer institutions, including Harvard University, Stanford University and Yale University, have decided to delay the start of in-person classes.
On Nov. 6, the Office of the Provost notified the Graduate Student Council via email that North Park graduate housing, a collection of apartments on North Park Street east of College Park and one of the only on-campus housing community for graduate and medical students, will be exclusively occupied by undergraduates for the 2022-2023 academic year. This change is the College’s way of making up for the shortage of undergraduate housing that will arise from the renovation of Andres Hall and Zimmerman Hall beginning in summer 2022. Notably, this is the second time in less than five years that the College has stripped North Park from graduate students. To make matters worse, this appalling decision was taken without first consulting the Graduate Student Council. Dartmouth should immediately reverse this decision, or risk an even worse graduate student housing crisis than the one it faced this year.
There is no piece of advice more profound than to think before speaking. Yet this aforementioned wisdom has merely become an age-old adage — one that is mindlessly repeated by exasperated parents to their children in exactly the same manner that it was mindlessly repeated to them. The problem isn’t necessarily the cyclical nature of such advice, but rather the deaf ears onto which it falls, for the implications of forgoing this lesson are such that they fundamentally impact the influence and value that society places unto speech. When people simply speak in order to have something to say, any and all words begin to lose their meanings. Our problem: Are we, as a society, assigning relevance to words with actual meaning? Or are the words that we revel in mere nonsense, meant only to dispel the looming prospect of silence?
When I began working at a spunky, midtown startup last summer, I expected to slog through a hopefully rewarding, but probably boring, few months. I braced myself for long hours of worksheet organization, awkward water cooler small talk with 30-year-olds and the majority of my time spent twiddling my thumbs instead of actually accomplishing real, important work.
One week ago, interim athletics director Peter Roby ’79 announced that, due to a lack of compliance with masking rules as well as “inappropriate behavior” by students when asked to mask by gym staff, students would be barred from Alumni Gymnasium for two days — Monday and Tuesday of this week. This closure — the second this term, after an earlier one-day shutdown in October — is demonstrably unjust, a collective punishment that negatively impacts both the physical and mental well-being of the student body. Yet the student behaviors described in Roby’s email — which have been observed at other places throughout this campus, including in the dining hall and classrooms — also have no place on this campus. Simply put, both sides have a part to play in reducing the current tension: the College, for its part, must stop foisting unjust collective punishments on students and commit itself to more coherent and rational pandemic policies, while students must take the simple step of treating the College employees who do so much for this community with the respect they deserve.
Prompt: As the fall term begins to draw to a close, marking the end of Dartmouth’s first in-person term since the COVID-19 pandemic began, it is important to reflect on the term. In an Opinion Asks published earlier this term, we asked what writers perceived to be the largest challenges of the term. Now, we want to ask: What were some of the most successful parts of the fall term? How should the various successes and failures of this term inform the College’s actions going forward?
I nearly had an aneurysm in early October when the gym was closed to “incentivize mask wearing.” Last Friday, when I was warned that the gym will be closed November 8 and 9, ostensibly to punish unmasked students, I almost did something, well, destructive.
Since 1996, Julia Griffin has served at the helm of Hanover local government, in her role as town manager overseeing day-to-day operations and the town’s almost 30 departments. Now, 25 years later, her long career in public service will come to a close: Late last week, Griffin announced her plans to step down from the role following the annual town meeting in spring 2022.
On Oct. 25, the Sudanese military seized power and declared a state of emergency. In response, thousands of civilians poured into the streets of the capital, Khartoum, in protest against the prospect of military rule. General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan’s power-sharing “Sovereignty Council,” which constitutes a lead civilian-military institutional setup, launched the military coup and took the prime minister captive. Although prospects of a return to military rule loom over Sudan, the counterrevolution could still be reversed with extensive street protest coupled with firm international pressure.
Who am I?
Absent significant innovation in the technologies that facilitate space travel, all human life will end. Earth has already experienced five mass extinction events in the 3.5 billion-year history of terrestrial life. The next mass extinction may, potentially, wipe out advanced human civilization. Many experts think climate change presents a serious threat to human life; others fear asteroid collisions, supervolcanoes and solar flares. And even if our resilient species adapts to apocalyptic conditions on Earth, virtually all astronomers and physicists agree that eventually — in roughly 10 billion years — our sun will die.
Dartmouth is short on cash, or so it seems. Last year, the College cut the budget of its study abroad programs by 45% and permanently shuttered two of its five libraries. This year, the College is struggling with “labor shortages,” which they refuse to resolve by offering higher wages. The labor shortage is so bad, the College argues, that the students should excuse food lines that stretch down the block and Living Learning Communities where the students live with mice, exposed wires, no shower heads and a floor so tilted that items roll across the room.
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.