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If you’ve followed the news on campus this term, you’ll know that the Dartmouth administration has enacted a strict set of COVID-19 policies, violations of which have led to the College removing an unknown number of undergraduate students from campus this fall. The administration has justified its approach on public health grounds. It appears, however, that the College has been rolling out policies amid a growing and glaring double standard: COVID-19 regulations for graduate students are dramatically less restrictive than those for undergraduates.
As part of Dartmouth’s reopening plan, the College made clear that it would have little tolerance for violations of its COVID-19 “Community Expectations.” Dean of the College Kathryn Lively warned in August that students who engaged in behavior that violated the agreement would immediately “lose the privilege of campus enrollment” for the rest of the year.
Over six months have passed since Dartmouth shifted to Zoom world. The free and simple video-conferencing platform has been a lifesaver, used for class, meetings, video calls, events, interviews — just about every human interaction that once happened on campus. But as we become ever-more acquainted with Zoom, this new fixture of College life deserves closer scrutiny.
The COVID-19 pandemic coincides with one of the most contentious — and critical — elections in modern American history. With America still in the grips of the pandemic and its accompanying restrictions, much of this year’s vote will take place by mail. For many Dartmouth students, kept away from campus by the College’s COVID-19 measures, voting by mail will be their only way to have a say in the political future of the place where, in more usual times, they live, study, work and base their lives.
After an extended absence, Dartmouth students have returned to Hanover. Thousands will now, once again, be able to experience a form of campus life — something considered unattainable mere months ago. The success of this operation in the face of COVID-19 has largely been a result of the dedication and efforts of both the College administration and town in creating a feasible, actionable reopening plan, and the student body for holding up its end of the bargain. For this, both parties should be commended.
In response to the killings of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor and several other Black Americans at the hands of police in recent weeks, massive protests nationwide have called for police reform and racial justice. The premise of the recent protests — that all people deserve equal treatment regardless of race — reflects a fundamental truth, and one to which we as a society still fail to hold ourselves. Systemic racism and white supremacy are national and even global issues, but they manifest themselves at the individual and community scales. And Dartmouth is no exception.
The College has yet to announce its decision on the structure of fall term — a formal announcement is slated to be made by June 29. In a recent installment of his weekly livestream, Provost Joseph Helble said that the COVID-19 task force is looking into a “hybrid operation” for fall term that would see a portion of the student body back on campus. This plan hinges on the million-dollar question: Which students will be allowed on campus come fall?
On May 6, while wall-to-wall COVID-19 coverage dominated the media, the Department of Education quietly released an updated set of Title IX guidelines. These new policies have amounted to, in the words of Dartmouth’s Title IX office, a significant change in “the definition and scope of sexual misconduct” and surrounding processes.
“Want to go for gelato at Morano?”
At the end of winter term, Dartmouth students scattered across the U.S. and the world. Yet one thing noticeably remains in Hanover: our belongings.
Remote learning has become the new reality for students around the world, and it’s here to stay — at least for another term. While Dartmouth students have quickly adapted to the new platform, the transition has not been without hiccups. The margin of forgiveness has been understandably wide considering the last-minute and unprecedented nature of the move online.
The College’s announcement that summer term will be held exclusively online has understandably caused a great deal of disappointment. Only adding to this frustration has been the College’s decision to preserve the requirement that students spend at least one summer term “in residence.” As a result, the current sophomores now find themselves facing either another term of remote learning or the inability to pursue internships during their junior summers. This is an unfortunate reality, and one that reflects a long-term strategic failing on Dartmouth’s part.
Your knuckles are white and your heart is racing. Nervously pacing back and forth, you check the Wi-Fi for the fifth time in the last minute. That’s right — it’s add/drop time. Dartmouth students know this antiquated course change process all too well. At midnight before the first day of classes each term, the Dartmouth registrar opens up the course selection webpage for students to add or drop courses. Term after term, the add/drop process causes students undue stress and confusion. The failure of the most recent add/drop period has made it clearer than ever: the current system must go.
Dartmouth’s decision to institute a credit/no credit grading system has not been without controversy. Yet regardless of one’s views on the matter, it cannot be denied that the decision came from a well-intentioned place — primarily aimed at providing equity for the student body. At this point, the policy has been implemented, and it’s in our interest to focus on making the new system work effectively.
The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly changing life across the world, and Dartmouth is no exception. The past month has brought sweeping changes to the College — campus facilities are now all but closed, with coursework reduced to a credit/no credit, remote format. Some of these policies, like the decision to move spring term to remote learning, are generally recognized as necessary given the realities of the public health crisis. Others — like charging full tuition — have received much less support from the student body. But in all of Dartmouth’s policy changes in response to COVID-19, one thing stands out: the College’s failure to take students’ voices into account.
The past few weeks haven’t been easy for anyone. In that short span, the novel coronavirus COVID-19 went from a far-away news story to a dominating fact of life for members of the Dartmouth community. Spring term is greatly curtailed, with all classes to be conducted online. Campus life is severely diminished. Among other restrictions, all Dartmouth-sponsored travel is banned, students are effectively forbidden from returning to campus and emails arrive daily bearing stricter and stricter regulations.
The coronavirus is here. What for so long seemed like something far away — in Wuhan, then the rest of China, then Korea and Italy and Iran — has made its presence clear in the Upper Valley. Two employees at DHMC have come down with COVID-19, the new coronavirus that has the world watching with bated breath. What’s more, New Hampshire’s patient zero ignored advice to self-quarantine and attended a Tuck School of Business social event last Friday, meaning that some number of community members may have been exposed to the virus.
As this newspaper reported last Friday, Dartmouth Dining Services has decided to eventually implement biometric scanners at the Class of 1953 Commons, the College’s main dining hall. Jon Plodzik, the head of DDS, extolled the virtues of scanners at the entrance, calling the technology a “game changer” that would reduce lines at ’53 Commons. What’s more, Plodzik justified the presumably expensive scanners as a means to ensure “better utilization of resources.”
If the Dartmouth College Republicans had not used the phrase “They’re bringing drugs…” in the subject line of an email sent to campus earlier this week, it is quite likely that none of what is described in the remainder of this editorial would have happened.
In recent years, students have seen the cost of college rise dramatically. Between 1988 and 2018, according to the College Board, tuition prices tripled at public four-year schools and doubled at private four-year programs.