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After several college tours, the campuses I visited began to blur together into an indecipherable mix of bookstores and brick buildings. My final tour provided a stark contrast. While not so different from others in architecture or scenery, Dartmouth’s welcoming atmosphere left a memorable first impression. Students, faculty and community members alike greeted me on my tour throughout campus and seemed genuinely eager to see and talk to me. Within my first 10 minutes on Dartmouth’s campus, I knew I was home.
I came to Dartmouth ready to take full advantage of the political sphere: I attended a few meetings of the College Democrats, and I even met Elizabeth Warren on my birthday. But I soon realized that the political scene at Dartmouth was too vile and pushy for me to muster.
In the leadup to fall term, the town of Hanover openly voiced its fears that the return of students would lead to a rise in the area’s otherwise low number of COVID-19 cases. For the stated reason of protecting safety of the town and the College, the Dartmouth administration has put in place a series of strict — albeit understandable — regulations on students’ lives. For example, on-campus students cannot gather in groups larger than nine people and cannot have guests in their dorm room unless they live in the same building. Additionally, classes remain almost exclusively online.
Even before announcing his 2016 presidential bid, Donald Trump had a strained relationship with science. The president regularly tweeted claims that global warming was a hoax, that vaccines caused autism and that energy-efficient lightbulbs cause cancer — all of which are wholly unsupported by scientific evidence.
Over six months have passed since Dartmouth shifted to Zoom world. The free and simple video-conferencing platform has been a lifesaver, used for class, meetings, video calls, events, interviews — just about every human interaction that once happened on campus. But as we become ever-more acquainted with Zoom, this new fixture of College life deserves closer scrutiny.
As a soon-to-be-declared economics major, I’m well aware that the subject I love has some issues. When it comes to diversity, the numbers speak for themselves: According to the Brookings Institution, only 30% of Ph.D. economists in the federal government and 23% of economics faculty are women, while just 24% of Ph.D. economists in the federal government and 21% of economics faculty in academia are people of color. Even compared to other quantitative fields, economics stands out.
On Tuesday afternoon, I was jogging through Hanover, swerving around people on the sidewalk and huffing and puffing through my sweat-soaked mask. As I made my way downtown and passed the Hanover High School soccer field, I slowed to a walking pace because I couldn’t believe my eyes. On both ends of the field, the women's soccer team was doing tackling drills. Each group had at least 20 people, and not a single person was wearing a mask. My own mask suddenly felt a lot more prominent.
Less than 72 hours after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Donald Trump privately offered a Supreme Court nomination to Amy Coney Barrett, a staunchly conservative judge and self-described ideological counterpart to Justice Antonin Scalia. The judicial majorities which uphold abortion rights, gay marriage and the Affordable Care Act now stand imperiled. But no judicial confirmation should ever have had such apocalyptic stakes. A single elderly judge has died, a tragic personal loss for her family, friends and admirers — but one which should not be able to dictate the political trajectory of the United States.
For most students this fall, going back to school meant logging onto Zoom from the dining room table or, for some, donning masks for the few in-person classes available. But for two young girls in California, the first day of school was spent huddled on the curb outside a Taco Bell to use the free Wi-Fi. A photo of the young girls recently went viral on Twitter, highlighting the tremendous digital divide existing between the district of Salinas — where more than 40% of elementary school-aged students are homeless — and the neighboring Silicon Valley, the technology capital of the world.
At the core of the news media industry, like any business, is the drive to turn a profit. And from the advent of radio through the boom in social media, news companies have learned that sensationalism sells. Sensationalizing the news and allowing viewers to dictate what should and shouldn't be covered draws in more profits than traditional, objective reporting. While complaints of different news outlets having a liberal or conservative bias are commonplace, it is important to acknowledge that the media operates under a system that rewards sensationalism.
With the end of College-mandated quarantine earlier this week, a very small number of Dartmouth students have done the unthinkable — they have returned to in-person classes. For the past six months, our undergraduate education has taken place exclusively over Zoom. Although largely necessary in the face of COVID-19, remote learning has nonetheless proven an unfortunate arrangement and a poor substitute for face-to-face instruction.
The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the Supreme Court and liberal icon, was a tragedy for all Americans, regardless of political orientation. Ginsburg leaves behind a remarkable legacy in American law, culture and feminism, along with a gaping hole in the Supreme Court. The question of who will fill Ginsburg’s seat, or rather who gets to decide who will fill her seat, is on everyone’s mind. This much is made clear by media coverage, along with a surge in fundraising efforts — Democrats amassed more than $90 million in donations in the 28 hours after Ginsburg’s death. For its part, the Trump camp has fired back with sales of “Fill That Seat” T-shirts.
Wildfires have ravaged millions of acres of land in California this month. Though the climate crisis has made this natural phenomenon more destructive, California’s wildfires are inevitable. The summer climate is dry, and the region’s ecosystem is adapted to frequent burning.
Dartmouth has a love-hate relationship with Greek life. Despite various calls for abolition over the years, Greek life remains one of the most prominent aspects of the Dartmouth social scene. Around 67 percent of eligible students are affiliated, and even unaffiliated students often attend events hosted by Greek organizations. However, with the pandemic putting Greek life temporarily on pause and the rise of the “Abolish Greek Life” movement on other campuses, there is an increased risk that College will use the current circumstances as an excuse to crack down on Greek life once again. It is imperative that this does not happen. Banning Greek life would only make Dartmouth’s social scene more exclusive, dangerous and inaccessible.
The COVID-19 pandemic coincides with one of the most contentious — and critical — elections in modern American history. With America still in the grips of the pandemic and its accompanying restrictions, much of this year’s vote will take place by mail. For many Dartmouth students, kept away from campus by the College’s COVID-19 measures, voting by mail will be their only way to have a say in the political future of the place where, in more usual times, they live, study, work and base their lives.
As strong believers in government accountability, we have been greatly inspired by the national dialogue regarding police brutality and the many peaceful protests in our communities following the death of George Floyd. We agree with many of our peers that better training, the development of effective non-lethal weapons, reducing qualified immunity and enhancing police oversight and accountability are all practical steps in the right direction. On these fronts, activists are helping to bring the country one step closer to fulfilling its promise of liberty and justice for all.