At 4 p.m. this afternoon, about 35 Dartmouth students stormed President Phil Hanlon’s office and settled in for a protest. The idealistic group, who came armed with sleeping bags and pizza to wait out the night, was seeking a point-by-point response from the administration regarding last month’s Freedom Budget.
The Freedom Budget, written by a group of students and released on February 24th, is a document that demands greater efforts towards diversity and equality (racial, ethnic, gender, and otherwise) on Dartmouth’s campus – and for a lot of college money to be spent on those efforts. Within its 70 specific proposals, the Budget calls for increased numbers of faculty and staff of color, expansion of gender-neutral housing and bathrooms, pro-bono legal assistance to undocumented students – and increased enrollment of black, Latino/a, and Native American students to at least 10% each. The sky-high demands of the Freedom Budget, particularly the last point, have been met with general skepticism from other students (not to mention our own skepticism), and originally only generated a bland, mad-libs style response from the administration.
“Extremely dissatisfied” with the statement, issued by Hanlon and Interim Provost Martin Wybourne, the 35 students entered the President’s office and remained there for about 45 minutes of discussion. During the conversation, Hanlon promised to identify the individual administrators who could respond to each point on the Freedom Budget, arguing, “I don’t make all the decisions at the College.” Students stayed long after Hanlon left at 5:15 p.m.: as of 7 p.m., five people were still camped in his office, with another eight in the atrium. According to protester Dondei Dean ’17, the movement is “about disruption.” Dean also seems assured of the group’s notoriety on campus, telling Dean Charlotte Johnson at the start of the sit-in that “you probably know most of us already;” he went on to state to Hanlon that “if you implement these changes, I guarantee you people will support them.” Big words for someone who says that the group does not speak for campus.
Given these lofty claims, it’s hardly a surprise that commenters on bored@baker have been doing a pretty job of lambasting the kids; on a scroll through recent posts, snarky usage of the hot new term “microagression” shows up once or twice. Among their criticisms is the admittedly astute observation that a 10% Native American quota hardly mirrors actual national populations – and that in general, to make a blanket-quota of 30% for three racial groups rings a little sketchy.
Beyond that, the general vibe on b@b and in The Dartmouth’s comment section is one of “check your motherfucking privilege.” Some highlights from annoyed b@b users:
I guess what bothers me about Real Talk is that they’re wasting all their resources and time on trying to improve the negligible problems that occur at Dartmouth instead of focusing their efforts on putting themselves in positions of power to affect actual change. Like, if I wanted to solve world issues, I would set myself to make a shit ton of money and then go into politics so I could affect change in real areas around the world; not worrying about “microagressions” and shit that happens on liberal college campuses. It just displays an ironic upbringing of privilege and entitlement on behalf of the RealTalkers and a complete lack of global self-awareness
I feel terribly for Phil Hanlon and our other leaders who are trying to enhance the competitiveness of this institution and have to deal with forces who oppose that in every way.
Dear God if these kids actually get a “campus climate survey” everyone better respond so that these fuckers get drowned out..