We, the students, faculty, staff and alumni of Dartmouth College, hereby declare our outrage with the state of affairs at this institution. For decades, waves of community members have voiced their concerns and disappointments, which we now distill into a core shortcoming of the College:
Dartmouth has established and continues to preserve a culture that inhibits the development of feminist consciousness.
We feel stigmatized in our feminist ideologies and discouraged from acting on what we see is wrong. Yet our vision is that of the College, seeking a school in which:
“The life and work of a Dartmouth student should be based on integrity, responsibility and consideration. In all activities each student is expected to be sensitive to and respectful of the rights and interests of others and to be personally honest. He or she should be appreciative of the diversity of the community as providing an opportunity for learning and moral growth.”
Not only do we see our peers actively oppose this Principle of Community by enacting sexism, racism, homophobia, prejudice and violence, but we also see our College protect them in these actions.
The College fails to uphold this principle and is thus complicit in the behavior that destroys our community.
We cannot create community when the College asks us to analyze and critique the pains of the world in the classroom but encourages us to accept outdated traditions once we step outside. The College tells us to ‘make the world’s problems our own.’ This will not happen if we do not make our classmates’ problems our own, if we lack compassion for our neighbors and even ourselves. At Dartmouth we enlist in pledge terms and haze our collegiate siblings. We rape, are raped, and are taught to accept that sexual violence is a facet of our campus like the Bell Tower or the Green.
The normalization and perpetuation of these crimes must end.
To break through this culture of fear, in which our Principle of Community cannot thrive, we propose the raising of a feminist consciousness by:
- Creating and enforcing zero-tolerance policies toward interpersonal violence of all types, particularly sexual violence.
- Transforming all existing social spaces into safe environments for students of all identities, and providing equal opportunity for people of all genders to own social space and host campus social life.
- Centralizing all sexual violence prevention and response resources, in addition to other programs that aim to facilitate a community of support, advocacy and feminist activism.
- Incorporating social justice and personal reflection components into every academic and residential curriculum, and requiring a sex and sexuality seminar for all first year students.
We invite you to join us in demanding these changes and to begin the process by contributing your voices.