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Forum, Oct. 31: College must address housing crisis

Published: 10/30/2021 10:00:11 PM
Modified: 10/30/2021 10:00:11 PM
College must address housing crisis

It was with no small degree of interest that we learned Dartmouth College’s endowment grew over the last year by the remarkable sum of $2.5 billion. At the same time, recent Valley News articles have described the devastating impact on local businesses, including Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, of a very tight housing supply. This is a problem that too many Dartmouth students, at both the undergraduate and graduate level, experience.

Many residents may be unaware that, despite promoting itself as a residential college, Dartmouth does not guarantee housing to undergraduates, which results in an even more competitive local market. Because students are often willing to settle for conditions that others may find unacceptable, they are at the mercy of landlords. We have heard stories of mold, unrepaired appliances, rentals without kitchens, and of small units overcrowded with students desperate to find housing.

We believe it is the college’s responsibility to improve its students’ living conditions and to work toward alleviating the housing crisis in Hanover. We suggest the college create an institution similar to the Office of Neighborhood Life at Georgetown University, a resource for undergraduates living off campus that educates students about local ordinances and builds connections between renters and landlords.

As residents of Hanover, we also call on Dartmouth to work toward expanding the housing supply. The college can do this by drawing from the endowment to purchase and renovate local rental properties, specifically along Wheelock Street, to accommodate more students. This would free up other units, benefiting non-student renters, and students will no longer face overcrowded, overpriced and marginal housing.

Solving the broader housing problem is not going to happen overnight, and we understand these proposals focus on student housing. Nonetheless, we urge the college to accept its responsibility to its undergraduates and do a better job of expanding and managing housing options. A first step is to establish an Office of Neighborhood Life, then negotiate the purchase of local rental units, and finally renovate and expand those units. These simple steps will improve living conditions for students and strengthen the community as a whole.

DEBORAH H. BACON NELSON and MILES BROWN

Hanover

The writers are chair of the Hanover/Lyme Town Democrats and president of the Dartmouth College Democrats, respectively.

Hartford team deserves an apology

When children are in need, it is our job as adults to help them. If we see they are being harassed, brought to tears, humiliated, we help them. Earlier this month, when the Hartford High School girls’ soccer team was at Fair Haven Union High School, this did not happen (“Soccer team walks off over harassment,” Oct. 9). Students from Fair Haven — more specifically male students — hurled sexually abusive comments at the girls on the Hartford team. Hartford players were brought to tears out of fear and frustration for themselves and for their teammates.

Harassment this blatant cannot be ignored, and yet it was. The Fair Haven coaches, Fair Haven athletic director and parents were all in attendance and within earshot of the misconduct. Parents did not say a word. The AD did not intervene.

This teaches our youth two things. First, that this type of behavior is allowed and that there are no repercussions. Second, during a time of need, a person in the position of power — an adult — will not help you.

If you do not believe this to be true and you were there, ask yourself and those you were with why you didn’t step up. Why is it not a big deal if our children on the field are being taunted and made to feel unsafe when you would not want to be in their position yourself or want your child to be in their position? If you were not there, ask yourself why you haven’t already had a conversation about what happened. By saying nothing you are condoning the behavior.

This unfortunate incident has been investigated. In a letter sent out to the community of Fair Haven, the superintendent acknowledges the inappropriate behavior by the Fair Haven student fans. But where is the apology letter to the Hartford High School girls’ varsity soccer team? Unless an attempt at amends is made to the Hartford team and the community, Fair Haven’s words are empty. An apology means nothing if it is not given it to the people who were the subject of the maltreatment.

JOE CERNIGLIA

Springfield, Vt.

The writer is the Sports Enhancement Program coach at Hartford High School.

Turn signals required in roundabouts

A friendly reminder to Upper Valley drivers that you need to use your turn signal when exiting a roundabout. In my experience, almost no one follows this basic rule in the roundabout by the Co-op Market on Lyme Road (Route 10) in Hanover — and this includes police vehicles. Use of turn signals is required by law. (For more information, see http://www.nh.gov/dot/org/projectdevelopment/highwaydesign/roundabouts/index.htm.)

Think about it: The purpose of a turn signal is to indicate your intention to turn when you have a choice. The only choice the driver faces in a roundabout is which exit to take. If everyone followed this rule, the roundabout would be even more efficient than it already is, which is a darn sight more efficient than an intersection with traffic lights.

WILLIAM C. WOHLFORTH

Lyme




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