The venerable Dartmouth College has become the latest institution of higher learning to receive a length laundry list of demands from “concerned” students that, if unmet, will result in “physical action.” The use of that phrase, which conjures up violence, calls to mind a letter sent to the president of the University of Michigan in January by the Black Student Union. So do several of the demands, such as increasing representation of various of the groups represented by the signatories, to 10% of the student body.
In Dartmouth’s case, the number of students involved in the protest is not stated, though logic suggests there are at least seven: one for each of the categories mentioned in the opening paragraph, which follows:
We, the Concerned Asian, Black, Latin@ [sic], Native, Undocumented, Queer, and Differently-Abled students at Dartmouth College, seek to 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. We demand that Dartmouth challenge these systems by redistributing power and resources in a way that is radically equitable. We believe that dialogue and resistance are both legitimate and necessary ways of disturbing the status quo and forcing parties to deal with the roots of the issues.
Blah, blah, blah.
The letter, which was addressed to the president of the college, the chair of the trustees, and some dozen deans, is titled “The Plan for Dartmouth’s Freedom Budget: Items for Transformative Justice at Dartmouth.” In all, the 8-page document, which can be read here, contains over 100 demands, and some of them are pretty wild. For example, they want the university to “ensure that 47% of post-doctoral students are people of color” and that “every Dartmouth student … be taught and made aware that the land they reside on is Abenaki homeland.” Since education about “social justice” and “marginalization” are currently insufficient, they also demand that each student be required to take multiple classes “that will challenge their understanding of institutionalized justice around issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, etc.”
The blog MrConservative notes that administrators at U. of Michigan caved to the Black Student Union’s demands, agreeing to provide $300,000 worth of renovations to an existing building in effort to satisfy the demand that “the oppressed black population be given new cheaper housing.” Will Dartmouth follow suit, and if they do, which university is next?