Dartmouth Students Claim Racial Oppression, Threaten ‘Physical Action’

by Sandor Farkas - Dartmouth College on February 24, 2014

A group of disgruntled students at Dartmouth College sent an 8-page protest letter to leaders of the Ivy League institution Monday calling for reparations for what they claim is the school’s oppressive and racist atmosphere – and threatened “physical action” if their demands are not met.

The list of demands, written by “concerned Asian, Black, Latin@, Native, Undocumented, Queer, and Differently-Abled students,” include:

• Racial enrollment quotas for Black and Latino students to “at least 10 percent each”

• “Ensure that 47 percent of post-doctoral students are people of color”

• “Ban the use of ‘illegal aliens, illegal immigrants, wetback’ and any racially charged term”

• Mandate cultural competency and sensitivity training for professors

• “Ask staff/faculty to use students’ and employees’ preferred gender pronouns”

• Enroll more students in the country illegally (undocumented students); and provide them free legal assistance and financial aid

• Convert ethnic studies programs into full-fledged departments

• Incorporate into each department at least one queer studies class

• Increase the interdisciplinary academic focus on sexualities

• Enact curricular changes to force students to study social justice and marginalization in depth

• Provide gender-neutral bathrooms in every building on campus

• “Create a policy with serious consequences against hate speech/crimes”

• Create a policy penalizing and discriminating against students who use the Indian mascot

• Require school’s conservative paper give up “Dartmouth” name if they use term “Indian”

Enacting these changes and the many others listed on the lengthy demand letter, its authors stated, will “eradicate systems of oppression as they affect marginalized communities on this campus.”

“These systems–which include racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, and ableism—are deployed at Dartmouth and beyond as forms of institutional violence,” the letter states. “We demand that Dartmouth challenge these systems by redistributing power and resources in a way that is radically equitable.”

The unnamed students go on to assert that by March 24 – the first day of spring term – Dartmouth administrators must publicly respond to each item raised in the letter with “its exact commitment to each one of its demands” and that reparations that require funds “have a monetary commitment in the 2014-2015 fiscal budget.”

“If the Dartmouth administration does not respond by the indicated time, those who believe in freedom will be forced to physical action,” the letter states. “As mentioned before, this proposal is not about interpersonal interactions, but about restoring justice in an institution beset with a history of discriminatory and oppressive practices.”

The letter does not specify what “physical action” will be taken.

The students called their reparations a “freedom budget,” and CC’d a copy of their letter to every student at Dartmouth College.

DEVELOPING: Check back to The College Fix for campus reaction to the letter.

College Fix contributor Sandor Farkas is a student at Dartmouth College.

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