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Letter: Taking the Paper to Task

To the Editor:

While I have my own issues with your March 19 editorial on sexual assault at Dartmouth, I must respectfully take exception to Thomas Bruce’s letter (“Dartmouth Is Taking Action,” March 21) in which he takes the newspaper to task. It occurs to me that two other responses might have been more helpful in “shedding light” on this matter.

First, he might have laid out the record of how Dartmouth has historically reacted to this seemingly intractable problem, perhaps starting in 1990, when the Clery Act required colleges to collect and publish data on crimes committed on their campuses. Given the facts, your readers could draw their own conclusions about Dartmouth’s commitment to solving this problem over time.

Additionally, he might have told your readers, the vast majority of whom have little day-to-day contact with the college, how they could respond to his call for “positive action.” I happen to agree with his view that defeating this challenge will require us “to mobilize every member of our community.” What would he have us do? None of us should tolerate the finding that one woman in four at Dartmouth can expect to be assaulted during her college years.

I trust that President Hanlon appreciates the urgency of this problem and intends to deal with it aggressively. However, until Dartmouth’s data on sexual assaults demonstrates a transparent and substantive decline, I think it is entirely appropriate to keep the heat, as well as the light, on this issue.

Stanley Colla