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The cold morning of Sept. 30 saw a trickle of people headed towards Rollins Chapel: elderly folks from cars, tallis and yarmulke in tow; professors corralling tykes in itchy clothes; some students in slacks and sport coats and some in khakis and sweaters; security guards in dark uniforms, hired to keep the peace. While everyone looked different, everyone tried to look their best.
As I mill about the beloved Class of ’53 Commons (colloquially adored as “Foco”), I cannot help but stop and reminisce on a somewhat nostalgic cavalcade of bygone pizzas and one-off lobster dinners. It strikes me that this glorious facility — this Sistine Chapel of student sustenance — has proven the backdrop of my most iconic collegiate memories.
Blink, blink, blink. As I stared blankly into the plain white abyss, the intimidating brigade of metronomic blinks seemed to grow louder and louder without making a single noise. How could a cursor, an enemy no longer than 20 pixels make me, a 6-foot-3-inch first-year, feel so defenseless? My already intense feelings of torment, defeat and worry manifested into a single nightmare of emptiness, my fervent and enthusiastic inspirations felt as though they had evaporated into thin air. I was distraught. For every moment my LED-illuminated eyes stared at my blinking nemesis, I could feel an arrogant cursor staring back at me. I’ve been staring at “Write a caption...” on Instagram for five minutes.
Rush is coming to a close and for yet another year, glaring issues with women’s rush remain. Women’s rush has long entailed a condensed speed dating-like process in which “potential new members” talk to multiple sisters of the house for all houses in the first round. Though the rush process has long needed improvements, recent events have made this conversation even more relevant — namely, the loss of shakeout for Epsilon Kappa Theta sorority and the “drop” policy changes mid-process.
Campus was abuzz the last week of September with reunions for the Classes of 1944, 1949 and 1954. Dartmouth’s Homecoming is on Oct. 11, a part of the 250th anniversary celebrations. Alumni will be out in full force, connecting with current students and returning to their old stomping grounds.
Earlier this September, the Department of Education ordered sweeping changes to a Middle Eastern studies program run jointly by Duke University and the University of North Carolina. The MES program was rebuked for not complying with Title VI, which grants federal funding to international studies programs, and criticized for various reasons, including the placement of “considerable emphasis on ... the positive aspects of Islam” and an absence of “positive” imagery of Judaism and Christianity. Assistant secretary for postsecondary education Robert King, author of the official statement published by the DOE. regarding Duke-UNC’s consortium, also disparaged the program for its irrelevance to “the development of foreign language and international expertise for the benefit of U.S. national security and economic stability.”
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau is the latest public figure to fall from grace. A few weeks ago, a photo of him wearing brownface at a party in 2001 surfaced. He acknowledged that this was not the only time he had worn brownface or blackface. He apologized. The jury is still out on whether he will be forgiven.
Robert Hunter, one of the psychedelic era’s foremost songwriters, died last Monday, finishing what was certainly a long, strange trip around and around the sun.
The beginning of the school year has seen myriad changes at Dartmouth, not all of them necessarily good. The disconnect between students and the administration seems to grow ever wider. Like many juniors, I’ll be taking two terms away from campus, so I can’t imagine what Dartmouth will be like next spring. Given how small campus is, there is a surprising lack of empathy at Dartmouth. The disconnect between students and administration, as well as many of the problems with our campus culture, could be resolved if both sides practiced different kinds of empathy.
It has been over a year since the Department of Justice drastically changed its official definition of domestic violence — but hardly anyone has heard about it. Although the media did not bring significant attention to this policy change, it will have grave consequences for survivors. Worse than invalidating the experiences of many victims (which, admittedly, is already pretty bad), the change in definition will prevent many legitimate intimate partner violence nonprofits from receiving federal aid. Similarly, we've been receiving a fair bit of attention about the way we handle sexual assault at Dartmouth, while discussion on other sorts of abuse is largely ignored. It is imperative that this conversation be held in a manner that reflects the nuances of this issue, but neither the DOF nor Dartmouth seem to be making progress toward this.
Let’s face it: By this point, we are all well aware that Dartmouth’s House system is in dire need of repair. Especially in the wake of the new residential access policy preventing students from accessing dorms outside their House system, it’s hard to enter into a conversation on campus without hearing some complaint about the House system. Yet, despite the go-getter and self-starter attitudes of Dartmouth students, I haven’t been hearing many proposed solutions. Of course, there is the petition to restore students’ access to dorms, but what about the deeper problems perturbing the College’s idealized House system? We need a way to fight the entrenched inequality between the Houses and turn the House system into a source of pride among students, instead of an object of ridicule.
On Sept. 18, the College officially launched the Sexual Violence Prevention Project for the Class of 2023 after piloting the program for the last two years. Meanwhile, members of the Class of 2022 are currently participating in Dartmouth Bystander Initiative presentations in preparation for fraternity and sorority rush. With the College recently settling the federal class-action sexual misconduct lawsuit filed by nine former students, sexual assault and how it influences the culture on campus is at the forefront of the minds of many administrators, faculty members and students.
Is modern American feminism necessary? In a word, absolutely. Feminism is a necessary force in the United States as long as men and women are on unequal footing. As our country stands now, they certainly are. Men enjoy a soft, plush carpet — with a color that lies somewhere between cream and beige — while women are plopped squarely in the middle of an ice rink (if we are to continue with the footing metaphor).
On Sept. 17, the College announced that its endowment grew by 7.5 percent over the past year, reaching a total value of $5.7 billion. Growth has been even greater in past years — the endowment grew an average 10.7 percent annually over the past decade, well past the rate of inflation. Yet rather than use this wealth to dramatically reduce tuition, the College seems content to sit back and count its billions.
Campus is abuzz with talk of Dartmouth’s new residential access policy. Students have discussed the absurdity and uselessness of the decision, while bemoaning its consequences. The exclusivity of the Cube, the now everyday nuisance of letting a friend in to a dorm, the ludicrous “solution” to end racism and the continued failure of the House system have been amply talked about among the community. But what about safety, the essence of the policy?