It won’t be Dartmouth

Oh, how familiar. Via Stephanie – at Dartmouth,

some students at Dartmouth College interrupted an evening of entertainment for prospective students with a brief protest against racism, homophobia, sexism, and rape culture on campus. This protest was met by additional racism, homophobia, sexism, and rape culture in comments posted online. The college cancelled classes for a day to address the problem.

And how are they addressing the problem? By blaming both parties – the people making anonymous threats and racist sexist comments, and the people protesting that kind of thing.

Sy Mukherjee, who graduated from Dartmouth in 2012, explains.

In a campus-wide email sent out on Friday, Dartmouth College’s Board of Trustees Chair Steve Mandel appeared to equate the actions of sexual assault protesters with the subsequent death and rape threats made against them by several other Dartmouth students on anonymous online forums and message boards.

Familiar. So, very, familiar.

Although the email was likely distributed to quell tensions, its blanket language lumping the actions of student protesters with those making threats of physical harm against them as equivalent “declines in civility” are more likely to inflame them. The missive also glosses over the relevant detail that many of the protesters weren’t just speaking out against “what they say” are incidents of sexual assault, racism, and homophobia on campus — they are actually victims of those very crimes and social ills. The website Real Talk Dartmouth has chronicled the events that inspired the initial protest, as well as the hateful comments that some Dartmouth students have made in its aftermath.

And – oh how sad for Dartmouth’s administration – at least some of those prospective students are thinking Dartmouth doesn’t sound like such a nice place after all.

The message boards, and the generally hateful comments posted on the student newspaper’s website, have highlighted sentiments that previously bubbled below the surface. One prospective student at the school found this particularly illustrative, as he or she highlighted in the newspaper’s comments section:

I was a prospective student who witnessed the protest. Though a little stunned at first, I found the demonstration to be interesting but in no way influential at the time to my impression of Dartmouth. If anything, it added a realistic layer to a seemingly perfect campus. However, reading these comments has had a far greater impact on my impression of Dartmouth. The reaction to the protests has given me reason to reconsider my enrollment. The comments here depict the very perspectives that the protesters sought to reveal (but that most of us prospective students assumed was being exaggerated). You folks are mean and intolerant. I’m really glad I saw these comments before deciding where to spend my next four years. It won’t be Dartmouth.

Imagine going off to university, all eager for the treat, and finding it full of the same kind of shits who made your high school hell.


  1. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    The rot starts early. I’m convinced (in an anecdotal and colloquial sort of way, mind) that the last refuge of overburdened teachers and parents everywhere—“I don’t care who started it—you’re both being bad!”—somehow became reified into a Truthiest Truism Of Profound Wisdom That Everyone Can See Is As Correct As The Sun Is Bright.

    It’s not. It’s ethically irresponsible well beyond the point of bankruptcy. It’s an expression of exasperation, not a sound moral judgment. But it’s everywhere. It elevates arbitrary points of etiquette over justice, and yet nearly everyone acts as if it’s self-evident.

    It’s horrible and unjust to schoolchildren; oh, how often children suffer because teachers treat defensive lashing out as on an ethical plane with aggressive abuse and bullying. It does not magically become morally upright with adults.

  2. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    And it’s at the core of rape culture, too. Acceptance of bullying as a force of nature is precisely the same pathological deployment of corrupt folk wisdom as acceptance of rape culture. It’s the same phenomenon ignoring the same power dynamics with the same consequences for victims.

  3. Bruce Gorton says

    @Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Anti-consumer corporate culture as well.

    It is an attitude which essentially takes any progress that could be made on any issue (no matter how large or small) and calls the people wanting to make that progress entitled.

  4. Sili says

    Sadly, I doubt any other university they’ll go to, will be any better. They’ll just be better at hiding it, if anything.

  5. Ulysses says

    Sili @4

    At least certain other colleges make some effort to deal with sexual assualts against students and staff. It’s obvious that Dartmouth wishes the whole thing would just go away. The Dartmouth administration is not differentiating between students with a legitimate complaint and others support the campus rape culture.

  6. Francisco Bacopa says

    She’d have been fine at Dartmouth if they just admitted that sexist harassing bullshit happens there. It’s this whole “Both sides have something to say and both have transgressed” bullshit that shows Dartmouth is worthless. One side has something to say that’s important to say and the other side is worthless. Punishing the worthy side as you punish the worthless side shows that the leaders of Dartmouth are moral degenerates and that no student should attend that university, A mass prospective student strike should whip them into shape unless they are content with half full classes of W Bush style legacies.

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