For the first time in six years, Dartmouth cancelled classes in the arts and sciences Wednesday. The College administration instead scheduled what it calls a “Day of Reflection and Understanding” after threatening messages were left for some students on an anonymous online discussion board.
The threatening messages were directed towards student protestors who had interrupted an event last Friday for the College’s incoming class. Students chanted “Dartmouth has a problem,” referring to recent instances of sexual assault, homophobia, and racism on campus. The student newspaper printed a picture of the protestors, who became the targets of the anonymous discussion board messages, some of which had racist and anti-gay themes.
I was in that picture. I have been terrified.
That’s Nastassja Schmiedt, a sophomore at Dartmouth and one of the protestors.
This is not business as usual. I think that it’s important that everyone recognizes that a crisis for what’s considered the marginalized members of this community is a crisis for all of this community.
On Wednesday morning, college administrators held a community gathering on the lawn in front of Dartmouth Hall to address the recent events. Charlotte Johnson, Dean of the College, spoke to the crowd.
This is your Dartmouth. And at Dartmouth, there is no place for violence. There is no place for racism. There is no place for homophobia. There is no place for hate. This is our Dartmouth, and we lead by example.
Michael Mastanduno, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, said he had gotten angry e-mails from faculty because of cancelled classes.
The very reason we messed with classes today is that we can’t separate what goes on inside the classroom from what goes on outside the classroom.