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Forum, July 16: Dartmouth Hall is sacred, and must remain so

Published: 7/15/2021 10:00:00 PM
Modified: 7/15/2021 10:00:06 PM
Dartmouth Hall is sacred, and must remain so

Images of planned renovations to Dartmouth Hall show some disturbing concepts. Indeed, some of the plans seem to fly in the face of the college’s purported loyalty to its iconic images and architecture.

Dartmouth Hall is the North Star of the college. As Castle Freeman Jr. wrote in his essay “Cathedral in the Pines” in Dartmouth Alumni Magazine: “Dartmouth Hall, from the day of its completion, served to declare that here was ... a permanent, dignified, historic institution that would take — had already taken — its place in the new nation its graduates would go forth to lead.”

“It was an announcement,” he wrote, “a gesture issuing from an ambition quite magnificent.”

That magnificent ambition must be carried forward now by honoring this dignified edifice. “The sacred exterior will be preserved,” says the July-August issue of the Alumni Magazine. Sacred. However, the plans show that the exterior will be altered, not preserved.

Dartmouth Hall’s exterior must not be sullied by plazas, and adjacent buildings by farmhouse porches. Are those even elements of the building’s celebrated Georgian architecture?

Dartmouth makes much of the “sense of place” that has permeated this special campus and community for centuries. I hope the place has the sense to respect the integrity of Dartmouth Hall.



Teach the facts of American history

I welcome the controversy in New Hampshire about teaching so-called “divisive concepts.”

The issue of teaching and learning about race and racism in America is finally being addressed and endorsed by elected officials. After all, ideas and knowledge about race and racism are at the root of the difficulties in our nation and need to be explored honestly.

While a recently enacted law, as part of the state budget, prohibits, for example, teaching that any race is inherently superior or inferior, it specifically does not “prohibit discussing ... the historical existence of” race and discrimination.

In fact, the law’s primary sponsor, Sen. Jeb Bradley, says the law “does not undermine the — necessary in my view — discussion that as a nation, as a state, we should have about our history and current affairs.” And, according to Sen. Bob Giuda, “there’s nothing in this (law) that stops teaching the facts. ... It is designed to ensure that facts are brought forward.”

Although I am skeptical of the intentions of many of the law’s supporters, and despite opposition to the law by many respected educators and social justice advocates, the door has not been closed on teaching and learning the facts of American history.

Educators who want students to learn about the aspirations of American democracy should take this law as a directive from our Legislature to teach about America’s stated founding ideals and our nation’s attempts to adhere to these ideals.

In addition, students can discuss how they can help our nation achieve those lofty goals.

Tell your school board and school officials to make sure fact-based and inclusive discussions of the history of race and racism are part of your district’s required curriculum.



Keep door-to-door free speech protections alive

In response to the Bloomberg News article regarding Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, calling out the partisan overreach that is preventing people from getting vaccinated (“Fauci criticizes partisan response,” July 12), I would like to call attention locally to New Hampshire’s Republican Senate leader, Chuck Morse.

After the COVID-19 infections of Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s staffers, and after an unspecified number of New Hampshire House Republicans tested positive for COVID-19, and following his replacing Dick Hinch, who died of COVID-19, Morse posted on his Facebook page that the Biden administration’s plan to knock on doors to offer a lifesaving vaccine is an “invasion of privacy” and “feels like an intimidation.”

Really? Is door-knocking more concerning than his colleagues and co-workers getting sick and dying of COVID-19?

Does he also feel intimidated when Girl Scouts selling cookies knock on his door? Does he reject the door-knocking precedent of Revelation 3:20 and Matthew 7:7-8, connected to religious speech?

Does he feel that the great American tradition of political free speech going door-to-door is “an invasion of privacy”?

I personally believe he does the public a disservice by targeting door-to-door public health-related speech designed to educate the public about noncompulsory, lifesaving vaccines. In my opinion, his decision to single out vaccines and science insults the intelligence of the people of New Hampshire. It’s time for Chuck Morse and New Hampshire’s other political leaders to dial back the partisan politics for the public good, and keep door-to-door free speech protections alive in New Hampshire.



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