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The coming of V-Week each year encourages the reopening of dialogue on issues surrounding sexual health, violence and female empowerment at Dartmouth. Many V-Week events provide opportunities, particularly for women, to explore issues of sexuality that some people may find uncomfortable to discuss in everyday life. We applaud the efforts of the organizers of V-Week to draw attention to these important issues and spark discussion among students. However, such dialogue needs to continue beyond this week and extend to a broader section of campus that includes men as well as women if it is to have any hope of effecting meaningful change.
? Over the past week, Student Assembly and the Campus Center Advisory Committee have been reaching out to students for input regarding new social spaces in the Collis Center and in the basement of the Class of 1953 Commons. We applaud these groups for seeking student involvement in the process of developing these new facilities, and we hope that they will take advantage of this opportunity to expand the range of social spaces on this campus in accordance with student views and student needs.
Since the publication of Andrew Lohse's recent column ("Telling the Truth," Jan. 25), members of various groups in the Dartmouth community have come forward to participate in the dialogue about hazing at Dartmouth. Over the past week, members of Greek houses, the faculty, the administration and alumni have all offered their own perspectives on the pages of The Dartmouth. However, a truly productive conversation concerning the improvement of pledge terms cannot be sustained in Dartmouth's current environment in which the threat of fraternity sanctions and derecognition discourage productive dialogue.
It is the responsibility of any journalistic publication to ensure the accuracy of the information that appears on its pages. The Dartmouth takes journalistic integrity seriously. We do not censor our content to protect specific interests, nor do we print statements presented as fact without first verifying their truth to the best of our ability.
Over the past week, numerous factions of American society have joined in protest of the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act, currently being debated in the House of Representatives, and its counterpart in the Senate, the Protect IP Act. A coalition of new media companies, civil liberties groups, politicians and common citizens have rapidly mobilized to pressure legislators into withdrawing their support for the two bills. In recent days, such efforts have spurred numerous prominent political figures to denounce SOPA, and it now appears Congress is unlikely to pass this legislation. For this, we breathe a sigh of relief. Although the intent of the acts is to protect copyrighted material from piracy and illegal use, the acts would restrict the free flow of information through the Internet in ways profoundly detrimental to both our campus community and society at large.
On Sunday, members of the Dartmouth community were notified of the tragic death of Crispin Scott '13 ("Student dies on Barcelona trip," Jan. 9). The news sent shock waves across campus as students, faculty and other members of our community grappled with the untimely loss of one of our own. Students and faculty immediately reached out to one another for support, organizing events such as the memorial gathering at Phi Delta Alpha fraternity and extending the availability of counselors, clergy and undergraduate deans. Through these efforts, students could seek comfort in the wake of this tragedy.
When admitting recruited athletes, Ivy League institutions perpetually struggle to balance the demands of competitive athletic programs with maintaining high academic standards. These schools have agreed to maintain a common minimum measurement of academic qualification, below which no athlete can be recruited. Unfortunately, recent evidence suggests that Dartmouth admissions has, on average, been accepting recruits with academic records that rank near the bottom of the Ivy League, and yet these low academic standards do not correspond to athletic success for the Big Green.
Last week, we all reneged on our moral responsibility to ensure that our campus is a safe, accepting place. The Dartmouth community's response to the discriminatory vandalism on the ground floor of Fahey-McLane residence hall has been delayed and half-hearted on every level. From the administration to student leaders to The Dartmouth itself, campus groups did not react to this disturbing incident in a forceful or timely manner that reflected the egregious and hateful nature of the crime. In so doing, Dartmouth students and administrators did not adequately send the message that homophobic, bigoted behavior is not tolerated here.
Next week, when many students view their course schedules for Winter term, they will be sorely disappointed. As they are term after term, a number of students will be turned away from classes that are simply too full, left to enroll in courses that interest them far less.
Last week, conservative lawmakers on New Hampshire's House Judiciary Committee voted to recommend a bill, H.B. 437, that would repeal the state's 2009 law legalizing same-sex marriage and replace it with a system of civil unions ("Bill could repeal same-sex marriage," Nov. 4). Under the proposed legislation, any individual could refuse without penalty to recognize these unions, and could freely discriminate against same-sex couples in housing, employment and public accommodations. The passage of this bill would be a catastrophic blow to equality and civil liberties in this state, and we strongly urge all students and community members, particularly those who plan to vote in New Hampshire next year, to vocally oppose the legislation in the coming weeks, before the House votes in January 2012.
This week, Director of Greek Letter Organizations and Societies Wes Schaub sounded an ominous note about the future of traditional pledge term activities at Dartmouth fraternities and sororities: "Most Greek leaders [are] people who understand that these are traditions but maybe might not have as much value as they once did" ("Greek orgs. evaluate pledge term activities," Oct. 26). Under Schaub's new leadership, Greek organizations are now receiving greater scrutiny for potential hazing than they have been in recent years. There is no doubt that some of the activities that comprise pledge terms at Dartmouth could rightly be considered dangerous and degrading. It is those activities, which occur at night in windowless basements and far from the eyes of administrators, that should be GLOS's primary concern.
Last November, College President Jim Yong Kim announced that the College was finally undertaking a much-needed and long-awaited overhaul of the undergraduate student advising system. The new system, which would centralize all advising services in a single physical location, would be fully implemented by Fall 2011, Kim said in a previous interview with The Dartmouth Editorial Board ("College plans new advising system," Nov. 30, 2010).
Reading through the 12 recommendations recently put forth by the Committee on Standards Sexual Assault Review Committee, it is clear that both praise and criticism are in order. On one hand, the recommendations are sensible, long overdue updates to the College's policies and practices regarding sexual assault. On the other hand, the recommendations shed little light on the standard of evidence used for sexual assault reviews, keeping the process muddled and prolonging the widespread perception that the system is inconsistent and unreliable.
Next Tuesday, the College will renew an exciting quadrennial tradition when GOP presidential contenders take the stage in Spaulding Auditorium for the ninth Republican primary debate of the 2012 election season. Hosting a debate is a tremendous honor one that only two other schools in the nation are currently scheduled to share. Students of all political persuasions should engage in the lively and spirited dialogue that the event will bring to our campus, but it is imperative that students and community members remember to set a civil and respectful tone for this discourse.
U.S. News and World Report confirmed this week what will come as no surprise to Dartmouth students: Internship experience is the norm, rather than the exception, on this campus ("College receives high ranking for internships," Sept. 30). More surprisingly, none of the other Ivies approach Dartmouth's percentage of graduating seniors who have previously held an internship. Dartmouth, which ranks third in the newly released U.S. News list, is the only Ivy to crack the top 10. This statistic is a powerful reminder of how Dartmouth's career-focused culture shapes students' expectations and beliefs in ways we often take for granted. The internship, practically a rite of passage for juniors on off-terms, is an integral part of Dartmouth's social current a current that also pressures students of all backgrounds and interests into participating in corporate recruiting each year.
It is no secret that The Dartmouth's opinion page is widely and frequently criticized. Writers for this page receive every possible kind of feedback from our readership sometimes constructive, sometimes ridiculous, sometimes mean-spirited. Regardless of tone, many of our critics often seem to assume that we editors believe the opinion section is perfect. In reality, we, the members of The Dartmouth Editorial Board, are the most ardent critics of this page.
Dartmouth students do not like change. Mention a new plan or College initiative, and students are likely to oppose it. Perhaps the resistance comes with the territory of attending a school with almost 250 years of history and tradition, but change is inevitable and necessary on a large, diverse and dynamic college campus. The many negative reactions to plans to convert the Main Hall of Baker-Berry Library, a classic Dartmouth space, into a more social area this winter were no exception ("Baker-Berry renovations to begin in spring," Jan. 14). But despite students' complaints, the College shifted the landscape of the library and the changes were completed this term.
This term has seen the rise of two issue-specific student committees in response to administrative action and inaction. Dartmouth Students for Dining Choice was founded to protest the newly announced changes to College meal plans and Access By Leadership in Equity members have expressed growing frustration with the lack of administrative progress toward enhancing accessibility resources ("Students protest against new DDS dining plan," May 10; "Students review accessibility issues," May 13). The current student-led initiatives supporting these movements are laudable. However, the Student Assembly, which is supposed to be the greatest advocate for Dartmouth undergraduates, has failed to take the lead in responding to either of these issues. The proliferation of ad hoc committees is a testament to the Assembly's inaction and inability to lobby meaningfully on behalf of the student body.
The eight Panhellenic presidents sent shock waves throughout campus on Wednesday when they announced that their sororities will begin canceling all social events with fraternities that fail to hastily initiate an internal adjudication hearing when one of their members assaults a female student ("Sororities announce new policy," May 12). The announcement has sparked a passionate debate about whether the policy is a wise course of action. Not surprisingly, much of the rhetoric has centered on the violent incident that occurred in a fraternity basement Saturday and triggered the new policy.
This week, college administrators scored two political victories that have generated significant buzz on campus and in the national press. The launch of Dartmouth's intercollegiate campaign against alcohol abuse, the Learning Collaborative on High-Risk Drinking, demonstrates that the College is still capable of formulating innovative solutions to inveterate campus issues. Also this week, the announcement that comedian Conan O'Brien will deliver this year's Commencement address has been met with great enthusiasm from students. Indeed, these announcements instilled hope in the student body that College administrators are not as out of touch with student opinion as they have sometimes seemed.