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February 25, 2014
"Oppressed" Dartmouth students fail to impress
Posted by Laura

Perceived grievances and manufactured injustice continue to dominate the thinking of the radically-minded on college campuses today.  One of the more hilarious examples of this aggrieved mindset comes from my alma mater Dartmouth College, where a group of underwhelming undergrads have a document called the “Freedom Budget”--

"As members of neglected and marginalized communities at Dartmouth, we are receiving a separate and unequal education exacerbated by the administration’s refusal to structurally address issues central to our Dartmouth experience. This gross neglect affects our academic success, mental well-being, and physical health. Thus, we concerned Asian, Black, Latin@, Native, Undocumented, Queer, and Differently-Abled students hereby demand that Dartmouth College create its own Freedom Budget to transform itself into a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment for us all."

The “Budget” goes on to list a lengthy series of demands.  Some of my favorites are:  

  • Increase enrollment of Black,Latin@,and Native students to at least 10 percent each; increase outreach to prospective qualified undocumented students.
  • Create a class that discusses the history of undocumented immigrants to the United States...how the DREAMers changed the civil rights movement. 
  • Create...Chicana/o Studies.
  • Increase the interdisciplinary academic focus on sexualities.
  • Enact curricular changes that require all students to interrogate (sic) issues of social justice.
  • Each student should have to take classes that will challenge their understanding of institutionalized injustice around issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, etc. This learning objective could be embedded in all first year seminars. 
  • Transgender health coverage for all employees-without pressure to agree to particular measures. We demand body and gender self-determination. 
  • Mandate sensitivity training for all faculty to reduce incidents of racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, and ableism by faculty towards students. 
  • Create a policy banning the Indian mascot (e.g.,turn away people from sporting events who are wearing Indian head shirts). 
  • Require that the Review give up the "Dartmouth" part of their name if they refuse to...stop using the term “Indian.”
  • Incorporate into each department at least one queer studies class.

The malcontents who churn out these manifestos are often egged by professors and administrators who indulge and even encourage their tedious entitlement-mentality.  Undoubtedly some of these educators are reliving their own glory days of teach-ins and boycotts.  They all obviously have way too much time on their hands.  To read about their claims of “systematic injustice” in Hanover, New Hampshire, you would never know that these students attend one of the most beautiful and prestigious institutions of higher learning in the the world.  Do they really think anyone takes them seriously?  Who in his right mind (ooh, sorry, can’t use “his”!) believes a college can only be free of bias if it devotes entire academic departments to certain “Studies” (African American, Pan Asian, Chicano, Women’s)? 

Granted, it has been close to three decades since I graduated from Dartmouth, and as editor of the infamous Dartmouth Review, I had my share of run-ins with the college faculty and administration.  In the 1980s, much to the chagrin of faculty and deans, reporters at the  Review exposed the dangers of “political correctness” before there was even a term for it.  Many of the issues being raised in this “Freedom Budget”—the Indian symbol, the “-isms,” “economic oppression,” and (of course) “white male patriarchy,” were also high on Left’s hit parade back in 1985.  During the Reagan era, the Left was always seething about something—and they were hell-bent on “transforming oppressive power structures.”  These preachers of tolerance were usually the same people who who favored limiting free speech (speech codes),  and who wanted to kick ROTC off campus.  So little has changed in 30 years—except that the list of victims and their oppressors get longer.  

02/25/14 10:41 AM
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