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Letter: Dartmouth Is Working Hard to Combat Sex Assault

Dartmouth Is Taking Action

To the Editor:

I was pleased that your editorial “Sanctions for Sex Assault: Dartmouth Gets Tougher” (March 19) recognized that we are currently soliciting comments from the campus community on our new sexual assault proposal that calls for mandatory expulsion, and a new external investigatory process among other actions. I am disappointed that you discounted the efforts of all of us who work hard to make a real difference in the well-being and safety of our students.

Sexual assault is a problem so challenging that it requires every person, in every community across America, to mobilize. As members of this community, we all have a role to play, including the Valley News, by shedding light — and not heat — on the issue and calling for positive action. President Phil Hanlon and his team understand there is an urgent need to act and to mobilize every member of our community to get rid of the scourge that is sexual assault. This alone should motivate us all to work harder together.

Thomas W. Bruce

Senior Vice President, Public Affairs

Dartmouth College


Land Trusts Know Their Mission

To the Editor:

I’m on the Vermont Land Trust board of trustees and the Upper Valley Land Trust board of advisors and have been dismayed by the recent discussion about amendments to conservation easements. The focus has been on how terrible it would be to change the terms of an easement sometime in the future. VLT holds a conservation easement on our land, and we didn’t convey the development rights to them because we think it’s a particularly special place; we did it because we want our 100 or so acres to continue to play a positive role in keeping Vermont free from careless development. We think of our acres as playing a small part in a larger landscape that will provide fuel, building materials and food for people and good living situations for all the other creatures that live among us.

The land trusts that I know of in this area are dedicated to that very same mission, and the suspicion and mistrust that the legislation now being considered has aroused seems to me quite unfounded. The damage to the reputation of any land trust that would mindlessly amend or terminate an easement would be lethal — there’s no way that’s going to happen.

Maybe I’m extreme in this regard, but personally, if it became necessary to do something off-label to our land in order to protect a significantly more valuable ecological treasure, I’d say go for it. For better or worse, the likelihood of that happening is minimal and the provisions in the bill under consideration make it even less likely. Even if those who work at land trusts were to markedly change for the worse in the future, as some have suggested, it’s hard to imagine that they’d be replaced with people single-mindedly out to shoot themselves in the foot.

Virginia Barlow


Beer Cans, in the Bag

To the Editor:

Chris Fleisher’s beer columns clearly left a mark on Upper Valley beer drinkers. For more than 30 years, we have picked up Miller and Bud Lite cans along with a range of others, including our favorite — used tobacco plugs deposited in otherwise empty bottles. In a good year, our lawn, fields and ditches yield several full feed bags for the local redemption center.

Last night brought a new upscale generation of litterers to our doorstep. There in the snow, when my wife went out to get the Valley News, was an empty bottle of Lagunitas Brown Shugga’. Can Chateau Talbot be far behind?

Lincoln Clark


A Life Devoted to Conservation

To the Editor:

It is ironic that your editorial, “Trusting in Conservation” (March 15), revealing an effort in Vermont to redefine “forever” in land conservation matters, appeared in the Valley News only a few pages away from the obituary of Laurel Letter. Working with The Upper Valley Land Trust and the Lebanon Conservation Commission, Laurel devoted huge amounts of energy and a significant part of her other resources to land conservation. I would hope that this change is not enacted until we have an opportunity to discuss it with her.

Sidney S. Letter


Curb Carbon Pollution

To the Editor:

Having experienced firsthand the air pollution in both Hanoi and Beijing, I am compelled to urge Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Sen. Kelly Ayotte to support the president’s Climate Action Plan.

The EPA has proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants across the country, and according to the Supreme Court, they have authority under the Clean Air Act to do so. Recently, the Senate debated climate in an all-night session. The take-away from the debate was that the Senate still has the power to act positively on climate change. It is time to act; the era of delay and denial in Congress must end.

Setting the standards to reduce carbon pollution from power plants must be a national priority for the health and safety of future generations. Just as the EPA protects our health from arsenic, mercury and lead, the EPA can protect our health from dangerous carbon pollution. I hope you will join me in urging Sens. Ayotte and Shaheen to support the EPA’s authority to curb carbon pollution from power plants and promote clean air.

Merle Schotanus