Letter: Dartmouth Ignores Wake-Up Call
To the Editor:
We are outraged to read of Dartmouth College’s latest attempt to quash Real Talk Dartmouth (“Protesters Face Discipline,” May 30), by issuing emails to student protesters indicating the college’s intent to punish them for their role in the April 19 demonstration in the 1953 Commons. The thin excuse cited by the emails — that the protesting students ignored college officials’ instructions not to enter a room that was at capacity — is insulting and demeaning to students who courageously voiced their frustrations about the rampant level of sexual assault and harassment, racism and homophobia on campus. With these emails, it now becomes apparent that Dartmouth’s administrative response to the protesters is to fall back on a rigid enforcement of its rules and codes — at a time when semesters are changing and many students have left Hanover for the summer. If the room was so overcrowded in April, why not email then? Would there be such a response from the administration if the hockey rink or football field were “over capacity”?
Real Talk Dartmouth should be seen as a chance to educate Dartmouth, change the pervasive culture of rich, white male dominance that does not recognize the “other” as anything more than a joke or a threat, and make the campus safe for all people. Studies have shown that students cannot learn in unsafe environments. The media publicity surrounding the protests and Real Talk Dartmouth’s ongoing attempts to change Dartmouth for the better will soon become negative. This latest punitive step comes from the very administration that needs exactly the sort of wake-up call that Real Talk Dartmouth just provided. The college’s course of action underlines its inability and unwillingness to tackle the serious, debilitating problems of sexual violence and racist and homophobic language and actions. Faced with such an atmosphere, how many parents would send their daughter or son to Dartmouth?
Alix Olson and Martha Popp