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Forum, July 28: Dartmouth needs to address sexual harassment problem

Published: 7/27/2020 10:00:18 PM
Modified: 7/27/2020 10:00:12 PM
Dartmouth needs to address sexual harassment problem

Dartmouth College, which in 2014 ranked third in the nation for reports of campus rape, just settled a class-action lawsuit connected to allegations of sexual misconduct by three professors in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

This ignominious history has now resurfaced with the case of Maha Hasan Alshawi, a first-year doctoral student who alleges she was sexually harassed by a professor in the computer science department and met with retaliation by a supervisor after making a report to the college’s Title IX office.

In protest of the college’s inaction regarding her case, Alshawi began a hunger strike. It is because of this, and because of external pressure from students and community members alike, that the college has offered to bring in an outside investigator to review her case, but only after attempting to undercut Alshawi’s credibility by suggesting that she needs mental health evaluation.

It is infuriating to see a fellow graduate student be driven to such extreme measures in order to be heard.

As medical students and future physicians, we swear to protect and advocate for our patients and community. Imagine if your doctor didn’t believe you. Imagine if your institution didn’t believe you. It is clear that the college needs to address sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape as the crimes they are, not just for Alshawi, but for the sake of all of us. We stand with Maha Hasan Alshawi to demand justice and compassion from our institution.


White River Junction

How could Vt. prison workers just watch this inmate die?

Kenneth Johnson: Say his name.

His life matters — mattered — though not to the prison workers who watched him dying and gave him nothing but threats and cold medicine. He, too, could not breathe (“Report: Dying inmate ignored,” July 23).

What’s wrong here in Vermont? How do people get to the point they will turn their back on a man dying in agony?

We know that at least part of the answer is written in Black and white.

What do we do about it? We cannot turn our backs. These guards and people called health care workers, nurses, work for us. We pay their wages. We cannot let them continue this in our name.


East Thetford

Whitewashing this crisis away

There is no “only” in front of “Black Lives Matter.” So I ask myself, why are so many people trying to whitewash this crisis away with the statement of “all lives matter”?

After decades of racism, are we afraid to hold up the mirror and be accountable to the social, institutional and economic policies that have created this crisis?

Are we afraid of change, or afraid we might have to give up some of the inherit privileges that our white skin has afforded us?

I once read that racism is not caused by ignorant and hateful people who produced racist ideas and instituted racist policies; rather, racial discrimination and racist policies produce racist ideas that lead to ignorance and hate. If the latter is true, then your vote this fall matters.



This is what fascism looks like

It can happen here. It is happening here. We see them on the television — faceless, nameless, uniforms marked misleadingly, “police” in camo. Brownshirts? Blackshirts? Aggressively they baton and detain — kidnap — Portland citizens who are exercising their First Amendment rights, mostly at a distance from the Mark Hatfield Courthouse (the late Sen. Hatfield would be turning over in his grave at the scene). They are purportedly protecting this federal property from “anarchists and terrorists.”

President Donald Trump and his minions, Attorney General William Barr and temporary (one can only hope) Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf also threaten to unleash the same in other cities, which are places of mostly nonviolent citizen protests. No local authorities have sensed any need for such federal intervention.

Authoritarianism is too kind a word for such abuse of the rule of law: This is what fascism looks like.

All must resist this if America is to continue to be “the last best hope” of mankind, if America is to become great again. The “Wall of Moms” in Portland, who stood between the fascist minions and a nonviolent citizenry, as well as the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, Black and white citizens together, point the way. This is what the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. looks like. This is an appropriate, effective citizen response, the more massive the better, to the lawless violence now being perpetrated by the state.

Remember in November.


Springfield, Vt.

Letter brought back uneasy memories of Nazi Germany

John Mudge’s recent letter (“Witness the coming of the brownshirts,” July 23) which referenced his similar letter published in July last year, raised my uneasy memories of what we had learned about Nazi Germany in the 1930s and during World War II.

By not protesting, nor supporting change in our present administration, we become enablers of policies of which we will be ashamed. All eligible citizens, whatever party you support, vote, vote, vote, for change in November.



Tim Ashe has a history of accomplishment

I am writing to urge a vote for Sen. Tim Ashe for Vermont lieutenant governor in the Aug. 11 primary. Despite his youth, Ashe has a long history of accomplishment and service at both the local and state levels, early on in the office of Bernie Sanders and most recently as president of the Vermont Senate.

He has led on issues from housing to major climate initiatives to major investments in the area of mental health to protecting workers from harassment to support for reproductive rights, just to name a few. Ashe considers his most important legislative work to be the preservation and expansion of educational opportunities for Vermont’s children. He has the respect of those in all three parties. He’s strong on issues but listens to all sides.

Ashe has helped Vermonters. He has shown strong and compassionate leadership during the first months of the pandemic and I feel fortunate he’ll be able to continue to do so. Experience counts, now more than ever. His extensive website is at


Rochester, Vt.

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