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Dartmouth students take over president's office

April 3, 2014 - Andrea Johnson
Dartmouth students are staging a sit-in at their president's office this week. They are demanding that their institution of higher learning put into effect several measures to improve diversity.

A complete list of their demands can be found at the following link:

Some highlights from their list:

A class focused on the experiences of immigrants who are in the country illegally and a requirement that students in the country illegally be considered for admission on an equal basis with students who are American citizens or legal residents. The students are also demanding that students who are in the country illegally should be allowed to work on campus under the same conditions as international students do. They also want the university to provide students who are in the country illegally with pro-bono legal assistance. Students want use of the words "illegal immigrants" and "illegal aliens" banned from use on any document or program sanctioned by Dartmouth.

Expanding the number of classes and programs devoted to diversity and requiring students to take more such classes.

Establishing quotas to increase the number of professors and students of color. As the students put it , "Departments that do not have womyn or people of color will be considered in crisis and must take urgent and immediate action to right the injustice."

Requiring the college to offer full health care benefits to transgender students, regardless of whether they have had surgery, providing gender neutral bathrooms in all residence halls and asking professors to use the students' preferred gender pronouns. Also, as the students put it, "All male-female checkboxes should be replaced with write-in boxes to make forms, surveys and applications more inclusive for trans*, two-spirit, agender, gender-nonconforming and genderqueer folks. This should be a campus-wide policy."

The students apparently felt that the President had not responded sufficiently to their demands. The President's office is trying to persuade the students to leave and has met with students and promised to conduct a campus-wide climate survey, according to the Huffington Post. However, as they have told the students, the President's main job is to shake hands and persuade donors to give the college money – lots of money. Somehow, I think that fulfilling all of the students' demands might make that little task harder for him.

In some ways it is impressive that college students these days can be moved to protest anything. The tolerance of the administration is also admirable, since they have not yet summoned campus security to remove the protesters and issue them tickets for trespassing. It is in marked contrast to the response by University of California-Santa Barbara feminist studies professor Mireille Miller-Young to a group of pro-life protesters on her campus last month. Miller-Young and her students allegedly stole the protesters' sign and Miller-Young then allegedly pushed and scratched the 16-year-old girl who followed her and demanded her property back. Miller-Young is due in court tomorrow to face misdemeanor assault, theft and vandalism charges.

I doubt the Dartmouth students will get very far with their demands, but they're welcome to make their case. What do you think of their demands?


Article Comments



Apr-03-14 4:50 PM

Reminds me of the old phrase "the inmates are running the asylum."


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