Dartmouth Cancels Classes After Students Make On-line Threats

dartmouthAn email from Dartmouth College Interim President Carol Folt and Dean of the Faculty Michael Mastanduno went out just after 6:30 pm on Tuesday announcing cancellation of all Art and Science classes for today (Wed). The move was prompted by threatening and abusive online posts targeting particular students. The online posts stem from Friday’s night interruption of Dimensions a show for newly accepted students, by REALTalk Group who decried homophobia, sexual assault and racism on campus.
The college has an entire day of programming planned including speaker Jessica Pettit, a social justice and diversity consultant and facilitator.
A letter written by parents of a student from the class of 2016 wrote the following comment on the Dartmouth Review Blog.
As the parents of a current Dartmouth freshman, we are very disappointed with the Dartmouth College administration’s decision to cancel class tomorrow, as well as with the faculty’s decision to cooperate with this poorly conceived decision.

Our daughter was part of the Dimensions show which was rudely interrupted by student protestors last Friday night. We are extremely disappointed that no one from the Dartmouth College administration has censured the actions of these protestors. It is not a matter of censuring their viewpoints or their choice of venue; no one takes issue with that. It is a matter of the manner in which they chose to protest; it is a matter of censuring and holding responsible ANY student who tramples on the rights of others by using force or physicality to make their views heard. That is the path to radicalism and should never be condoned or exonerated. The fact is our daughter was in the middle of performing her skit when these protestors entered screaming after pushing people down and she became frightened. Some of the other girls in the skit started to cry. These were students who had worked hard over multiple hours and weeks to give an entertaining evening to prospective students in a college approved event. It is a tribute to the maturity and restraint shown by the Dimensions show students and organizers that they did not allow this ill-conceived protest to escalate into a more violent event. We am proud that our daughter was among them. They deserve to be commended for their response, and for their positive interactions with the prospective students which resulted in the prospective students shouting “We love Dartmouth,” and helping to hasten the end of this protest.

Your reasons for canceling class tomorrow seem to revolve around the campus’s response to these protestors, rather than also to condemn the overly aggressive actions of the protestors. We are not surprised that a large number of current Dartmouth students are not only angry but are ostracizing the students who participated in the protest. It is the same reason that people who may sympathize with the non-violent views of Chechen separatists will still ostracize and detest the actions of the Boston Marathon bombers. It is why people still view the Weathermen, who in the 1960’s sought to have their anti-capitalistic viewpoint heard and resorted to bombs and killing innocent policemen, as dangerous criminals whether people agreed with their viewpoints or not. These students must learn now that the end NEVER justifies the means. A reasonable course of action would have been to hold the protest outside of the Dimensions show and engage in a meaningful dialogue with prospective students as they left the show. We are sure that if they had followed such a reasonable course of action, there would have been no issues. In the real world, protestors must get permits. Forcibly inserting yourself into a meeting is grounds for trespass. Forcibly pushing someone down or out of the way is grounds for assault. You do these students no favors by teaching them that this is the proper way to draw attention to their problems. These protestors should not be allowed to use reactions to their own faulty actions as a reason to have classes cancelled and we are appalled that you have made this decision. All you are doing with your current response is encouraging more aggressive/disruptive protests to gain your attention. This will polarize people even more. The protestors deserve sanctions/censure for their part in creating a situation that could have led to violence. We would like to be reassured that the administration will take some action against these protestors rather than give the appearance that you support their aggressive actions, irrespective of how you feel about their views.

By Parents ‘16 on Apr 23 | 11:14 pm

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