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Though winter term has begun, most students still dialed into their Zoom classes while scattered far from Hanover. The reason? On Dec. 7, the College announced that it had chosen to delay move-in from Jan. 5 and 6 to Jan. 16 and 17 in order to mitigate the consequences of a post-holiday surge in COVID-19. This late decision — announced just a month before students were due to return, and nearly a month after the College gave students their original move-in dates — has created financial and academic difficulties for students forced to abruptly change their plans.
This term has been a bleak one. Students arriving in Hanover faced a 14-day quarantine in their rooms, almost all classes have been conducted online and the College has strictly regulated all face-to-face social interaction. In the face of rising COVID-19 cases nationwide, the College has taken and will continue to take many precautions. But now, after a term’s worth of experience, the College must take a step back and consider those areas in which it can improve students’ experience for the winter.
It’s not over yet — but the results to date indicate that former Vice President Joe Biden has a clear path to being elected the next president of the United States. The election so far has not seen the overwhelming repudiation Democrats had hoped for. And for many, the continued widespread support for President Donald Trump — even after four years of hate-filled governance — is a slap in the face. But now is not the time to lament the unexpected or curse those who voted for a second term of Trump. Instead, it is up to us — as part of a driven, young generation newly instilled with a drive to make change — to carry forward the momentum behind the 2020 election in pursuit of meaningful progress in America.
Updated Oct. 30, 2020 at 1 p.m.
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.