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Dartmouth College Reports Third Racial Incident in Three Months

Friday, January 25, 2013
Hanover — Dartmouth College has seen its third report of racism in as many months, as college officials are investigating an incident in which students were allegedly verbally harassed “because of their perceived race.”

Two Asian students reported that they were walking in the dining hall at the college’s ’53 Commons student union Wednesday when a white student “walked by them, made eye contact and verbally harassed them by speaking in gibberish seemingly meant to mock Chinese,” college spokesman Justin Anderson said in an email.

The incident is under investigation, Anderson said.

A forum for members of the Dartmouth community to discuss the incident is scheduled today from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. It is closed to the public.

The allegations come just days after racist graffiti was discovered in a campus dorm over the weekend; somebody had scrawled the “n word” on a student’s whiteboard, Dean Charlotte Johnson reported earlier this week. The college held a forum in response to the graffiti on Monday.

The Dartmouth reported that Safety and Security director Harry Kinne said during the forum part of the message “appeared to be directed towards that individual, and it was a racist statement.” (The Valley News was asked to leave that event because it was closed to college outsiders.)

Anderson said yesterday that “there is nothing that leads us to believe this incident is connected to the graffiti over the weekend.”

He added: “The type of behavior described is entirely inconsistent with the principles of respect, acceptance and tolerance Dartmouth embraces and seeks to promote throughout its community.”

Racist graffiti was also scrawled in a dorm in November, 2012. It was written on wall-hangings supporting President Obama, according to The Dartmouth.

Interim President Carol Folt sent an email to the Dartmouth College community yesterday afternoon about Wednesday’s incident.

“Yesterday we received a report of several students being targeted and verbally harassed in ‘53 Commons because of their perceived race,” she wrote. “These actions, that could seem small to some, are dangerous and one by one destroy the very fabric of our community.”

She said today’s forum, which will take place in Kemeny Hall, “will be an opportunity to share your stories and experiences and discuss the impact that bigotry and other forms of ignorance have on our campus.”

“Dialogue in isolation will not make change,” she said. “Action is required.”

She said the Office of Pluralism and Leadership will be leading efforts “to ensure that every member of this community understands that Dartmouth belongs to them,” and that Dartmouth community members “will be hearing more about these efforts in the days and weeks ahead.”




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