My Letter to Dartmouth’s President

Scott reproduced here the form email that Dartmouth’s president, Philip Hanlon, sent to all alumni who expressed concern about Black Lives Matter protesters harassing and intimidating students in Dartmouth’s library with profanities and racial epithets. Today, I wrote President Hanlon to express my dissatisfaction with his position on the protest. I will post any reply that I get, but I am not holding my breath:

President Hanlon:

I have read your form letter to alumni who have expressed outrage at the conduct of Black Lives Matter protesters in Baker-Berry Library, and find it inadequate.

You say that “we have received no complaints of physical violence” and therefore, apparently, you have no problem with the conduct of the protesters, which included threatening and screaming racist abuse at students who were peacefully studying, in an effort to “shut down” the library. Is racist abuse now acceptable at Dartmouth, as long as no one is actually punched? That sets the bar ridiculously low, and appears to represent a change in policy. I never expected to see a scene straight out of 1930s Germany in my beloved Baker Library, but that apparently, in your view, is now the norm.

Then we have this gem, as reported in the Dartmouth:

Vice provost for student affairs Inge-Lise Ameer was in attendance at the meeting, and she apologized to students who engaged in the protest for the negative responses and media coverage that they have received. “There’s a whole conservative world out there that’s not being very nice,” Ameer said.

Are you running a college, or a comedy club?

For what it’s worth, I think you are wrong in believing that the protest did not include physical violence. I have heard from the family of one girl who was slapped and spat upon by protesters who also slammed her laptop shut and subjected her to racial invective and other verbal abuse. However, in the climate of fear that prevails today at many colleges and universities, including Dartmouth, it is not surprising if she prefers to remain silent.

I am ashamed of you, and of Dartmouth.

John Hinderaker ‘71

PS—Please don’t bother to send me a form response.