Forum, June 4: Dartmouth College alumni wearing teal to prompt change

Monday, June 03, 2019
Dartmouth College alumni wearing teal to prompt change

The Dartmouth College class of 1969 is holding its 50th reunion this week. We entered the college in 1965 as one of the last all-male classes, privileged by our gender to be eligible for admission. Today, we continue to be privileged through our education and status as alumni.

I’ll be one of a number of class members and guests who will wear teal arm bands at the 2019 commencement ceremony on Sunday. This is not a protest or judgment. Wearing teal is a way to increase awareness of the issue of sexual assault and harassment. It’s a way to recognize and show support for the ways Dartmouth’s staff and students are providing education and training to prevent sexual violence on campus. And it’s a way to encourage changes that are being made and will be made toward a healthier culture.

Initiated through classmates’ online discussion, the idea of alumni wearing teal comes from people saying, as one member did, “Sexual violence is not OK in the Dartmouth community. Each of us can do a small part to advocate for the culture we want.” Dartmouth shines in so many ways. Will it someday also become an exemplar of a safe place for all, everywhere on campus, 24/7? That would be a tremendous day for Dartmouth students, women and men. As one ’69 put it, “Sexual harassment and assault have been and remain a serious problem in our society and culture and we expect Dartmouth to be part of the solution.”

A few years ago, the college’s alumni magazine quoted Fred Rogers, class of 1950: “When I was at Dartmouth, the first word of the alma mater was ‘Men … Men of Dartmouth give a rouse.’ Well now the first word is ‘Dear.’ Some things change for the better.”

I join with classmates in supporting and encouraging more change for the better.


Wells, Maine

Religions foment hatred

The April 30 editorial from the Los Angeles Times (“Hate-Driven Violence Strikes Again”), condemns violence against “people of faith.” It mentions the tragedies at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in California, the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pennsylvania and two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, among others. Its last sentence reads: “It’s not the religions that contain hatred, but human hearts.”

It seems to me that it is indeed religions that contain and foment hatred. Over and over again, religious groups have functioned as militias fighting for territory, violently controlling the behavior of their and others’ members, and attacking groups that disagree with them. Major world conflicts have been fought under the banner of one God or another. One could, in fact, suggest that religions have contributed mightily to inter- and intra-national violence.

Perhaps it’s time we began to search for more inclusive umbrellas to unite under.



Bill offers ‘fair chance’ hiring

On the national and state level, we are struggling with the destructive consequences of mass incarceration and finally taking action to end this failed policy. Last year, New Hampshire succeeded in passing comprehensive bail reform. But it is our responsibility as citizens to go further.

As people who regularly work with formerly incarcerated individuals, we often hear about how hard it is to find employment when one has a criminal record. The most common reason is the box on application forms that asks if the applicant has a criminal record. Checking that box makes it easy for employers to automatically discard the applications of formerly incarcerated people, without considering their qualifications, their circumstances and the fact that they have paid their debt to society.

Giving people a fair chance at employment would substantially increase their abilities to successfully reenter their communities. This has become possible this year with Senate Bill 100. SB 100 would remove the box from job application forms and defer it until an interview. Employers can still ask the question and can still decide not to hire applicants because of their record. But it would give people a chance to tell their stories and make the case for their rehabilitation and a second chance. Thirty-one other states have some version of what is known as “fair chance” hiring. It’s time for New Hampshire to join them.





Adding a few details to a thoughtful ‘Senior Spotlight’

My aunt, Verna Dunn, was pleased to have been featured in the “Senior Spotlight,” written by Liz Sauchelli (“Enfield woman honored as town’s oldest resident,” May 19). It is incredibly difficult to capture an individual’s life, especially one that spans nearly a century, in a brief article, but Sauchelli did a fabulous job.

Following the interview, my aunt thought of a few details that she had forgotten to share. She was an active 4-H member and also participated in The Home Extension Group. She also enjoyed her membership in both the Mascoma and Indian River granges. Although she grew up on a rural farm on Choate Road in Enfield, she was not at a loss for social opportunities. Neighboring families took turns hosting the monthly “Night Hawk” parties, which featured music, dancing and refreshments. She remembers these events very fondly.

In 1990, she was given the Joseph Vaughn Award in recognition for being the outstanding volunteer in Grafton County. She was pleased to receive her honorary high school diploma in 2015, just prior to her 95th birthday. Sincere thanks to then-Superintendent Patrick Andrew and the Mascoma Valley Regional School Board for making this possible.

Once again, appreciation for a thoughtfully written article. We look forward to reading about other remarkable individuals living in our Upper Valley.