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The end of this spring term will mark the first year of Moving Dartmouth Forward’s full implementation on campus. Despite the establishment of flagship policies such as the budding housing system and the hard alcohol ban, students seem to have adapted when MDF affects us and forgotten its existence when it does not.
I never go on shopping sprees, but on a whim, I bought a black California Fleece sweatshirt and a grayish trench coat from American Apparel following the announcement of its closing. I will miss their black turtlenecks, thigh high socks and soft t-shirts; to some extent, I’ll even miss their controversial advertisements. Yet, when I lamented the death of American Apparel and expressed my ensuing urgency to buy more clothing before it closed, one of my friends said, “Clara, how could you?” Because of the sexual assault allegations against former American Apparel executive Dov Charney and the apparent sexism of American Apparel advertisements, I have been forced to call my American Apparel clothing “Problematic Faves.”
It was 4 a.m., and I was in the Digital Arts, Leadership and Innovation Lab when I again found myself in what I’ve dubbed “the limbo.” I had a 10A and a 2A, an application for an internship to submit at midnight, a presentation to put together, tasks to do for my job, a column to write, homework to catch up on and of course, sleep. The magnitude of the amount of work I had to do paralyzed me — instead of making a decision about which task I would tackle next (or not), I sat on the couch and gave in to a feeling of complete helplessness.
The first installment of this series posited a divide between freedoms the United States purports to afford its citizens and the actual ways in which pervasive, structural features of American life restrict opportunities for those citizens. Perhaps the most important manifestation of this divide is in the American education system. Vast inequities in the quality of primary and secondary education across district lines, stemming from the fundamental ways the United States has understood the burden of educating its youth, beget vicious cycles of poverty. The rising cost of a college degree, necessary for any job that might propel one to a higher socioeconomic stratum, means the rich benefit while the poor grapple with either debt or ignorance.
Every year, soon after welcoming a new class of eager and wide-eyed freshmen, Dartmouth releases a report on its demographics. In recent years, these reports boast increasingly high percentages of students of color, students who attended public schools and international students. The admissions board and administration congratulate themselves for admitting such diverse classes. At the same time, they turn their backs on what Dartmouth’s community looks like for these students once they actually step foot on campus.
Last year’s Presidential election brought out the fundamental flaws in America’s two-party system. Establishment Democrats and Republicans alike were seen as being status-quo and in bed with big business, Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. The success and popularity of populist insurgent presidential candidates, including now-President Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), was largely an effect of their loud antagonism toward the Washington establishment, corruption and big money.
Believe it or not, it is already week two. We trudged through a snowstorm for April Fools’ Day, forced our livers back into full gear over the weekend and wound up again with dark circles underneath our eyes again. Things are starting to get serious – as we finally settle into our classes, we now have to catch up on our readings, pay attention to our professors and start working for the midterms and assignments coming up. This stressful consciousness of our impending workload could not be more different from the cushy, carefree first week most of us experienced as we “shopped” for classes but didn’t necessarily do work for them.
Over the last century, we have seen a blossoming expansion of human rights across race, age, class, sexuality and gender. Once upon a time, three-fourths of all people were enslaved, but human slavery is now illegal in every country in the world. In his tour de force “The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined,” Steven Pinker documents in painstaking detail how the murder rate has fallen since the Middle Ages by almost 95 percent, how child abuse has halved since the 1990s and how the rate at which animals are harmed during the production of movies has fallen by 90 percent since the animal rights revolution in the 1970s.
My spring breaks are notoriously uneventful, mainly due to my own lack of energy and creativity when it comes to planning cheap, fun and short outings. However, after many days of laying in bed, I was lucky enough to have friends that got tickets for the recently revived Broadway show, “Miss Saigon.”
People in America care — or profess to care — about freedom and personal liberty, perhaps more than any other group of people in recorded history. The Declaration of Independence speaks of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Constitution, the fundamental document from which each statute and protection in American law stems and whose tenets it must not violate, putatively exists to “secure the Blessings of Liberty.” Political and patriotic rhetoric, generally purporting to speak for “true” Americans and “true” America, centers on the freedoms that Make Us Special. United States foreign policy from George F. Kennan to Donald Rumsfeld has held the liberation of oppressed places and people from the chains of tyranny into the warm embrace of capitalism and democracy as its guiding ideal.
Before spending the winter term in Paris, everyone I had spoken to who had gone on a study abroad program had sworn by the life-changing wisdom and experience they had gained. I did not believe them. I knew that, just like most statements by Dartmouth students, those opinions were hyperbolized, omitting the negatives while exaggerating the positives, creating the illusion of satisfaction or happiness despite what exists beneath the surface. I would not say that I was right, but I was not wrong either.
Note to readers (April 6, 2017): When The Dartmouth learned that guest columnist Mary Sieredzinski ’17’s article was identical in places to those published in several other college newspapers that originated with publicity officials at Teach for America, we decided to remove it from our website.
Throughout the 2016 election cycle, President Donald Trump’s claim that the election would be “rigged” was dismissed by political commentators and elected officials as fanciful and improbable. However, examining the impact of stripped voter protections, it’s clear that the election was, in fact, rigged. The Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder seriously weakened the Voting Rights Act before Americans went to the polls on Nov. 8, which disproportionately targeted and disenfranchised lower-income Americans and people of color — communities that are statistically more likely to vote for Democratic candidates. Looking at these restrictions, we can see that the political battles regarding voting rights have serious implications for Dartmouth students.
I don’t know how to bike. You read that correctly — a Director of Dartmouth Outing Club First-Year Trips is not totally sure how to make that two-wheeled monster called a “bicycle” move from point A to point B. My first hike longer than a mile came on the last day of my own first-year trips, which was exceptionally average — until that hike.
On Sept. 11, 2001, two jets originating from Logan International Airport in Boston flew into the World Trade Center towers. Though many initially believed the first crash was accidental, these were confirmed to be terrorist attacks when the second plane flew into the South Tower 17 minutes later. Within the next two hours, two more planes were hijacked by members of al-Qaeda — one struck the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and the other, allegedly targeting the White House or the U.S. Capitol, crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers attempted to combat the hijackers. The four attacks were carried out by 19 terrorists.
In May 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party won the Indian national election, the largest election in human history. The BJP is tied to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the radical Hindu nationalist group to which Mohandas Gandhi’s assassin belonged. It became the leading party of the largest and most diverse democracy in the world, winning 51.9 percent of all seats in India’s lower house, the biggest victory since the Congress party, the initiators of of Indian independence, won in 1984. A BJP win in the recent regional elections in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab will vastly increase the party’s chances of winning the 2019 national elections and be crucial in defining the political landscape in India for years to come.
I will be graduating from Dartmouth this spring with an identity as a dancer that has greatly shaped my college experience. I have directed Street Soul and danced with ShebaLite during summer 2015. These are also my personal opinions, and I am choosing not to represent Street Soul through my statements.
On Feb. 24, Chinese photographer Ren Hang died. Known for his minimalistic portraits which often combined human subjects with animals and various inanimate objects placed unexpectedly, Hang often highlighted the borderland between erotic and artistic, leading him to shoot photos for fashion brands like Maison Kitsune and face censorship in China. His photograph “We’ve Got Eyes Everywhere” for Milk Studios, for example, features a black-haired woman donning red lipstick and holding a peacock which partially covers her face. Despite the polarizing nature of his work, Hang denied that his work had a political message, sometimes claiming it had no meaning at all.
A junior at Yale University named Cole Aronson wrote a column on Feb. 27 in which he argued that “sports have nothing to do with the mission of a college as I see it.”
I have been a conservative since I formed my political views and values early in my secondary school years. To be clear, the word conservatism is defined as the “disposition to preserve or restore what is established and traditional and to limit change.” Admittedly, there are a variety of unrestrictive factions within and interpretations of political conservatism, just as there are of any theory or ideology. These include, but are not limited to, Christian conservatism, paleoconservatism, neoconservatism, libertarian conservatism and moderate conservatism. Personally, my beliefs and values overlap among these groups, aligning with a strong conservative social and fiscal vision while aligning with neoconservatives on foreign policy issues.