An open letter to President Hanlon

The Dartmouth College Republicans have promulgated an open letter to the president and trustees of Dartmouth College. The letter smartly heightens the internal contradictions of Hanlonism, i.e., the college’s pronouncements to students and alumni following the rampage of the Black Lives Matter mob through Baker-Berry Library last week:

It is with great sadness and the utmost disappointment that we find ourselves having to write this letter. As the Dartmouth College Republicans, we often feel discriminated against by the administration and unwelcome on this campus. As conservative students, we have often felt marginalized in this community. In light of an especially toxic campus environment, a seriously concerning incident has come to our attention: at a recent public event held on the evening of Monday, November 16, Vice Provost Inge-Lise Ameer stated, “There’s a whole conservative world out there that’s not very nice.” Furthermore, students at that meeting repeatedly violated Dartmouth’s Principle of Community by referring to conservatives by slurs such as “f***ing racists,” which Ameer did little to stop.

Unfortunately, her recent comments and actions are only the latest manifestation of a campus culture that dismisses conservative voices. We are now at the point where the vast majority of conservative students on campus do not feel comfortable expressing their views. Even self-identification as a conservative can invite serious backlash. Many of us have been called bigoted, racist, and homophobic — among other epithets — for simply stating our opinions. Thus, it is especially concerning that a senior administrator would casually encourage a culture of prejudice against conservatives on this campus.

At the same public event, Vice Provost Ameer also stated, “If you’re feeling unsafe and you’re not feeling like you are getting responded to then contact me directly and we will deal with it because that is not right.” We feel unsafe, and we feel that we are not being responded to. The same resources made available to the Black Lives Matter protesters, including regular meetings with senior administrators, should be made available to conservative students on campus. An open and polite dialogue is essential to any college campus. It is difficult enough to be a conservative on any college campus, and it is simply unacceptable that any administrator would reinforce such a hostile climate.

We urge Vice Provost Ameer to condemn the actions and words of protesters and to send an open and public apology to all of campus, retracting her previous statements on conservatives and reaffirming the need to respect conservative students and their opinions.

The letter may not do much, but it does this much at least. It sets off the inane pronouncements of college officials against a sane and mature voice that should shame and embarrass them if they are capable of feeling shame and embarrassment.