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I wasn’t at all surprised by the recent college admissions scandal. The news struck close to home since I’m from Hillsborough, CA, a town in which multiple parents implicated in the scandal reside. The scandal shouldn’t be that surprising to anyone. Look at college admissions from a business standpoint: If a desired good — in this case, a degree from an elite university — is hard to obtain, black markets arise for consumers to gain access.
What factors should colleges consider when admitting applicants? About 90 percent of Americans believe high school grades and standardized test scores should be a factor in college admissions decisions. Outside of academic accomplishments, many Americans believe that athletic ability, community service involvement and being the first in one’s family to attend college should be considered by admissions committees. What few Americans support, however, is favoring applicants whose parents attended that same college. So-called legacy admissions receives either major or minor support from 32 percent of Americans, but only eight percent support the use of legacy as a major factor.
A new HBO documentary “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley” chronicles the rise and demise of Theranos, a health-tech company that claimed to have designed blood tests requiring a very small amount of blood. Its inexpensive tests could, it claimed, be administered and analyzed without a physician or a lab, thereby bringing healthcare closer to the consumer. Theranos received endorsements from a series of influential figures, including former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The company’s peak valuation reached $9 billion. But in 2015, its technological claims were revealed as false. By 2016, Forbes estimated the net worth of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes at virtually nothing. Her company was a scam.
The sun was setting in the Mataderos neighborhood of Buenos Aires, and I had just attached myself to the longest bus line I had ever seen: It wrapped around the corner and ended right next to an overflowing public trash can. Ten minutes passed, and the line and general discontent only grew. Another 15 agonizing minutes passed. Finally, a half-filled bus rolled up to the stop. I took one look at the line and knew that I’d probably have to wait for the next bus.
During the college application period, some parents support their children by reassuring them that hard work and good grades can get them into a good college. Other parents decide to support their children in a more unconventional way. Thirty-three wealthy parents, including Felicity Huffman from “Desperate Housewives” and Lori Loughlin from “Full House,” were recently involved in what the case’s prosecutors referred to as the “largest college admission scam” ever. These parents spent anywhere from $200 thousand to $6.5 million to get their kids into elite colleges such as Georgetown, Yale, Stanford and the University of Southern California.
The word “nationalism” calls to mind some of the darkest chapters in history. When I hear the term, I immediately think both of the divisive posturing that precipitated World War I and the fascist regimes of World War II. Nationalism seems pernicious. It appeals to tribal instincts, making people forget their opponents’ humanity and inviting catastrophic human-rights abuses. What’s more, nationalism seems irrational. In an interconnected world of increasingly fluid borders, one might think it foolish to promote the arbitrary identities that underlie the nation state. Following this logic, some are quick to condemn nationalism as a plague of the 20th century and an anachronism that society must eradicate whenever it reemerges in the modern world.
We all know the feeling — you’re scrolling through Facebook and you find that New York Times article you just have to read. Perhaps it’s about how unlovable Theresa May is, or breaking news that Donald Trump does have terrible cardiovascular health. You eagerly click on the article and BAM! You’ve been hit with the dreaded pop-up: “You have reached your limit of free articles.” Great.
According to Western news media, China presently faces a large number of problems. News stories are constantly awash with reports concerning the pollution in Chinese cities, political and religious repression and government corruption, among more. But there is one issue in particular that will seriously threaten China’s success within the next thirty years: Demographics. Even as a nation of 1.3 billion people, China will soon lack a sufficient number of citizens to support its economy. The country is aging quickly, and the repercussions of this should be a grave concern for Beijing.
In the modern news media industry, objective reporting and personal opinions increasingly share the same space. Many prominent, well-respected journalists maintain an active social media presence — in fact, they are almost expected to — giving readers unprecedented access to journalists’ thoughts, personalities and beliefs. It is clear that many journalists who publicize their personal opinions, whether directly or indirectly, still produce high-quality, objective reporting. But enmeshing news and opinion also opens the media to criticism, and in our current national environment, that criticism presents a threat to the credibility of journalism and reporting.
I began the year writing a manuscript about desire but quickly realized that words fall short of experience. One weekend away from the opening of the installation, “Dora’s Room: Digital Dreams,” at the Hopkins Center for the Performing Arts, I started to think about the practical implications of desire. People want to experience sex — not talk about it. Most adults remember having “the talk” with their parents when they were teenagers or having to sit through a sexual education course; these conversations were probably more uncomfortable than they were helpful. Given the national institutions that seem to oppose embracing sexuality and a collective desire to do just that, talking about it is more important than ever. This means that taking control of our own sexual health (both physical and mental) requires not just paying attention in health class, but also looking to media that acknowledges the aesthetic element to our bodies. While there are biological and scientific explanations for what happens to our bodies, there are emotional reasons for why these scientific occurrences are allowed to happen.
People often don’t fully process deaths when they occur in wholesale numbers. Fifty Muslims killed. Men and women, young and old. Mothers and fathers, daughters and sons. Someone will have to tell a mother that her son was killed. She will probably have spent a few hours frantically calling his cellphone after seeing the news coverage.
At the end of the winter term, 2019 Trips Director Madeleine Waters wrote an excellent piece detailing the upsides and shortcomings of this potentially magical yet simultaneously alienating orientation program. The crucial question she asks is this: “What can an orientation program accomplish if its job is to welcome people into spaces where they do not see lasting evidence that they are welcome?” While I have never been a Trip leader and periodically regret that decision, a number of friends who have joined found themselves frustrated and disillusioned — a stark contrast with the optimism expressed by many in charge of the program. For these students, the presentation of a convivial, homogenous community at the beginning of their Dartmouth experiences was not representative of their time spent navigating campus.
Tensions are rising within the Democratic Party. Last August, Gallup’s poll of American voters revealed that, for the first time since polls began, more Democrats held a more favorable view of socialism than they did of capitalism. To be fair, respondents approved of “free enterprise” more frequently than “capitalism,” but still: any mainstream Democrat ought to find that result concerning.
How embarrassing is it that nearly 30 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed, and nearly 10 years after then-Dean of the Faculty Carol Folt pledged to rectify this problem, Dartmouth still can’t provide an equal education to students with disabilities? Worse, it’s no surprise that Dartmouth is now forced to settle a lawsuit over this; perhaps the $3 billion “Call to Lead” campaign ought to be renamed the “Call to Pay All of Our Avoidable Legal Bills” campaign.
On March 22, special counsel Robert Mueller released to the U.S. Attorney General the results of his investigation into collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign. While the report found no evidence of collusion, it neither recommended charges nor exonerated the president on charges of obstruction of justice. We asked opinion writers for their responses to the release.
On Oct. 23, 2018, the Dartmouth College Republicans hosted controversial speaker David Horowitz in an event titled “Identity Politics and the Totalitarian Threat from the Left.” Horowitz, founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, has a history of comparing Muslims to Nazis and believes that universities brainwash students with leftist propaganda. The talk received numerous protestors. Some highlights of the event included Horowitz stating that “the only serious race war in America is against white males” and telling a student “I wouldn’t help you if you were drowning” in response to being told that black Americans do not need his help.
On Feb. 16, 2019, professor emeritus of English Jeffrey Hart passed away at the age of 88. We are not writing to rehash professor Hart’s achievements or contributions to the conservative movement, but rather to decry the treatment that Hart has received after his death. The late professor was a man who valued consistency of thought, and took the issues of his time seriously, but never himself. The former brought him to support then Senator Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election (and later again in 2012), as Hart believed the Republican party had lost the intellectual seriousness that he himself undoubtedly contributed; after all, “successful government by either Democrats or Republicans has always been, above all, realistic.” The latter was exemplified by his carrying of a “motorized wooden hand [he] used to drum on the table when faculty meetings went on too long.”
What is Trips? That’s a big question. Trips is, among other things, an entirely student-run program, a chance to welcome first-years to Dartmouth, a challenge, a community, an unrealized dream, the reason I personally chose Dartmouth and a logistical endeavor requiring over 3,214 eggs.
At the 91st Academy Awards on Feb. 24, stage performer and singer Billy Porter waltzed onto the red carpet donning a resplendent, head-turning black velvet gown skirt with a tuxedo-like top half and a black bowtie to match. News headlines raved about the celebrity, praising him as an “icon” and his outfit as “remarkable.” Oscar viewers fired up Twitter in energetic support. Vogue called the dress a “play on masculinity and femininity” that “challenged the rigid Hollywood dress code and was boundary-pushing in all the right ways.”
In Jan. 2017, just days after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, Hannah Arendt’s “The Origins of Totalitarianism” sold out on Amazon. Written when Trump was just five years old, “Origins” details the emergence of 20th century totalitarian movements in the context of the histories of antisemitism, imperialism and the complex notion of the nation-state. Deemed by some as a partisan overreaction, Arendt’s posthumous popularity signals a growing anxiety among the American public, a population that has historically believed its constitutional principles too strong for totalitarianism to ever get a foothold. These concerns are neither an overreaction nor unfounded. American politics today are in a desperate state of disarray — established norms are disappearing and the most dangerous voices are the loudest.