Voices in the Wilderness

A forum for discussion of all things Dartmouth.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

One is an Anomaly, But Three is a Movement

As the Dartmouth election enters its final weeks, it has begun to attract national interest. This article in the Weekly Standard makes the case that the Dartmouth election is of interest to non-Dartmouth grads because it highlights the issue of speech codes on campuses across the country.

The article underscores an interesting coincidence: a letter by James Wright on the Dartmouth website on the issue of speech regulation subsequently disappeared after it was referred to by one of the petition candidates. The relevant portion of that letter read as follows:

"As a community committed to fairness, respect, and openness, we have no patience with or tolerance for bigotry or demeaning behavior. I affirm here, with deep personal conviction, that Dartmouth is and will be an actively anti-sexist, anti-racist, and anti-homophobic institution and community. . . . In a community such as ours, one that depends so much upon mutual trust and respect, it is hard to understand why some want still to insist that their "right" to do what they want trumps the rights, feelings, and considerations of others. We need to recognize that speech has consequences for which we must account."

The article points out that "Wright's letter vanished from the Dartmouth president's website last month. Try to find it, and you discover its location has been 'moved.' (But where? Calls to his office went unreturned.) Is it a coincidence that the document on Wright's website disappeared after Robinson and Zywicki zinged its contents? Probably not."

Why the resistance to the candidates? Because one trustee is an anomaly, but "three trustees might signify the beginning of a movement."

Indeed, the movement is afoot.