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“Thank you for trying out … unfortunately, we are unable to offer you a place this year.” Over the past few weeks, such blunt statements have had a dominant presence in my inbox. Yet despite experiencing so many rejections in my first month on campus, I couldn’t be happier.
While it hasn’t been “business as usual” in American politics, the events of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh this past week are even farther from the norm. Regardless of what one holds at stake here — another conservative on the bench or the very efficacy of American justice (motives at this point abound) — these judicial proceedings have drudged up levels of emotion that transcend personal perspective, motive or party delineation. In the sense that Thursday’s hearing it put unbridled, human feeling on display, America may finally have found itself presented with, at least in its essence, the apolitical.
As a brother of Bones Gate fraternity, I don’t make a habit of talking to the press, but we all make exceptions sometimes. And the rush process is one such exception. It plays a crucial role in determining which individuals on this campus will be endowed with the abilities and resources to facilitate major social spaces at Dartmouth. Granted, across campus there is a mixture of rushees who have had varying opportunities to acquaint themselves with the full body of the house they are joining. But regardless of whether they enter a house after terms of building credentials and connections or if they come with none at all, rushing a house gives every member the privileges of affiliation — and it is the scope of those privileges that I would like to address.
On the first day of senior year, the one-armed bro hugs and exclamations of “Oh my god, I haven’t seen you in forever!” punctuated the still Hanover summer. On the second day of senior year, a flood of blazers, suits and skirts marched in and out of the Top of the Hop, home of the annual career fair.
The anonymous “I am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” op-ed published in the New York Times is not powerful solely for its content. Half of its power can be attributed to its author’s anonymity. Before I argue on anonymity’s behalf, however, it is critical to acknowledge that the author is anonymous only to a certain degree. The New York Times wrote that the author is a senior official in the Trump administration, and I, for one, am inclined to believe them. Not only does the New York Times rarely ever publish op-eds with anonymous authors, but as CNN’s Chris Cuomo puts it, would the NYT really “risk their reputation on a kill shot like this if it was proven to be false?” Such a deed, according to Cuomo, would be considered a heavy “miscarriage of journalism.”
This past spring term, I went to the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact club fair and happened to be roped towards a stand titled “Dementia Scholars.” The poster’s station was manned by a handful of bright-eyed students, eager to catch my attention. They gave me the whole spiel — who they were, what they did, how often they did it. And without much thought, I wrote down my email on their list and forgot about it once I left.
In less than one week, I will have officially finished my freshman year at Dartmouth. In numbers, it looked like this: nine classes, eight opinion columns written for The Dartmouth, seven rejected applications (as a caveat, two rejections came from the same place), six close friends whom I treasure dearly, five days a week (every week) when I did not get enough sleep, four dramatic emotional outbursts, three pairs of lost headphones, two embarrassing incidents featuring me dropping food and making a mess at various dining locations and one constant cycle of oscillation. I am referring to the way I swung — back and forth, up and down, forward and backward — from one extreme to another: jubilance to despair, serenity to panic, confidence to shame, pride to humility. It was truly the best of times and the worst of times.
While it would be impossible to pay attention to every jumbled phrase that streams out of the President’s mouth, the impulse to ignore him is tempered by the sobering reality that his offhand statements often become the policy direction of the United States government. This seems to be the case with a comment he made recently in which he referred to MS-13 gang members as “animals,” a statement that the White House doubled down on Monday with a Breitbart-style press release entitled “What you need to know about the violent animals of MS-13.” Trump’s tendency to vilify all undocumented people and conflate immigrant communities with violent criminals is well-documented, and to parse his general incoherence in order to pretend he or his administration care to make any real distinction is intellectual dishonesty at its boldest. One only needs to ask what to make of the families of these so-called “animals” or the communities they live in to recognize the real intent of this rhetoric.
I have recently seen signs around campus proclaiming the phrase, “Unenthusiastic consent is not consent.” It is imperative, and in the best interest of all students on this campus, to demonstrate why this saying is extremely problematic. Although catchy, this contradictory statement creates subjectivity around what actually constitutes “consent,” since the expression of enthusiasm is not objective. Consequently, cases could arise in which one accuses another of a crime as serious as sexual assault simply because although the first person said “yes,” and the second person took that as their word, the first person wasn’t genuinely enthusiastic about it.
A few months after I turned 17, I dragged my mom with me to the crowded Harlem Department of Motor Vehicles in New York City. After three hours of waiting and a disturbingly easy test — think, “What does a red octagonal street sign mean?” — we made it to the front of the line, where I received my learner’s permit. Since I was to turn 18 before the end of that calendar year, the DMV employee recommended that I register to vote while I was there. I considered myself liberal and my parents were Democrats, so without much deliberation or discussion, I became a registered member of the Democratic Party in New York.
I want to be rich. There, I said it. I am at this school because I love the people here, I love the opportunities afforded to me here and I love the things I am learning here, but I am primarily here because I expect a high rate of return on my Ivy League education.
I can count on one hand the number of times my parents and I have said “I love you” to each other. In Chinese culture, love is something people show through their actions; it is weird to express it with words. The action of love is not shown through hugs and kisses, either, but rather through sacrifice and diligence. It is something that I have never felt comfortable explaining.
On June 5, 2018, a recall vote will be held in Santa Clara, California to determine whether Judge Aaron Persky will continue as a county judge. The recall efforts were led by Michele Dauber, a professor at Stanford Law School, who gathered enough signatures for a petition to force the vote. For the activists who campaigned to remove Persky, this is a huge success. However, for the criminal justice system, the recall vote is a travesty.
The Asian region of the Arunachal Pradesh borders Bhutan, China, India and Myanmar. For many years, this area has been a point of controversy between China and India. On one hand, India stations thousands of troops in the region, proclaiming it as Indian territory. However, China also claims ownership, calling it South Tibet. Every day, disputes like this are occurring around the world. Various border regions are contested by powerful players, with tensions sometimes high enough to cause violence and war. There is one player independent of these hostile countries, however, that is keeping many of them out of perpetual conflict. This often-overlooked player is Google Maps.
Buried among queries about ethnicity, GPA, extra-curricular activities and legacy status, high school students will find the following question on the Common Application: “Have you ever been adjudicated guilty or convicted of a misdemeanor, felony, or other crime?”
In a recent research report on the financial prospects of genome editing treatments for biotech companies, financial giant Goldman Sachs inadvertently sparked outrage by asking whether curing patients constitutes “a sustainable business model.” The report notes that while curing diseases is, in fact, the point of medicine, it is difficult to maintain “sustained cash flow” to developers and researchers when people do not require prolonged treatment. The reaction from the media and the general public was, predictably, one of immediate anger.
With the exception of several houses that hosted events promoting awareness of campus sexual assault, self-care and gender inequity, Greek life spaces closed this past Friday night in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Termed the “Night of Solidarity,” Friday evening was meant to encourage Dartmouth community members to reflect on the ways that Greek life perpetuates sexual violence on campus. The night’s sentiment encourages steps toward ensuring safety and support for everybody on this campus, particularly because of its union with Dartmouth’s “Take Back the Night” march. However, in demonstrating support by prohibiting entrance to students for a single night, Greek houses risk feigning action with inaction. While the Night of Solidarity recognizes the reality of campus sexual violence, it ultimately offers no solutions for impactful change on this front. As several houses mentioned in their emails of solidarity, the next essential steps toward aggregating campus social change include strict and enforced intolerance of sexual violence.
On February 27, the section of Wisconsin Avenue directly in front of the Russian Embassy in Washington was renamed Boris Nemtsov Plaza, in a tribute to its namesake Russian opposition leader. The Associated Press has called the renaming “a D.C. sponsored effort to troll the Russian government.”
Some know Martin Shkreli as the “pharma bro” responsible for gouging the price of the life-saving drug Daraprim, relied on by vulnerable populations — pregnant women, cancer patients, people living with AIDS — by 5,000 percent. Some know him as the man who received a seven-year sentence for securities fraud this March. Some know him as the owner of the sole existing copy of the Wu-Tang Clan album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.”
I do not believe in hurting others. It is important to me to live on a campus where the student body can feel safe and respected regardless of personal identifiers or beliefs, but I think there comes a point when political correctness begins to tread on people’s toes. When legitimate expression of political or otherwise controversial ideology becomes compromised or vilified on campus, students need to take a step back and understand the repercussions of responding with outrage. Equating disagreeableness with hatefulness intentionally smudges the line between exercising and abusing free speech, placing significant constraints on campus conversations.