Target: Dartmouth College’s Board of Trustees Chair Steve Mandel
Goal: Condemn Dartmouth College for threatening to discipline students who protested sexual assault on campus.
A group of Dartmouth College students recently interrupted an event held on campus for prospective students to protest incidents of racism, sexual assault and homophobia they have experienced on campus. The students alleged that the Dartmouth administration was incapable of fostering a safe and secure environment for all its students. The protest resulted in a serious number of death and rape threats against the protesting students on an anonymous online forum. The gravity of the threats forced Dartmouth officials to cancel classes for a day.
Recently, Dartmouth College’s Board of Trustees Chair Steve Mandel sent out a campus-wide email in response to the protest and the ensuing threats. However, instead of condemning the serious death and rape threats and ensuring students that Dartmouth was dedicated to creating a safe environment for its students, Mandel assured Dartmouth college students and faculty that disciplinary action would be taken against students who made anonymous threats, as well as against the protestors. Mandel’s blanket statement paints both the students behind the anonymous threats and those that were protesting sexual assault, racism and homophobia as equally lacking in civility. The email suggests that individuals who protest unjust treatment are akin to students who issue serious rape and death threats.
Although Steve Mandel’s letter was likely meant only to quell rising concerns, the email is dismissive and condescending. It suggested that students were simply protesting against “alleged” incidents of racism, sexual assault and homophobia on campus, neglecting to acknowledge that all the students involved in the protest had personally experienced the types of discrimination and violence they were protesting against. Mandel’s letter merely highlights Dartmouth College’s severe historical incompetence in dealing with issues of sexual assault and other forms of violence on campus.
Do not allow Dartmouth College to sweep this incident under the rug, or to punish students who are displaying immense courage by demanding a safe environment. Sign the petition below to condemn Steve Mandel for threatening to discipline students protesting against sexual assault an on-campus discrimination.
Dear Steve Mandel,
Recently, you issued an email to the students of Dartmouth College in response to a recent protest against sexual assault, homophobia and racism on campus. The email appeared to be an attempt to soothe students and faculty after a stressful few days on campus. However, in it, you stated that both students who made anonymous death and rape threats, and students who protested against unjust treatment, would face disciplinary action.
I am appalled that your response to students who have personally experienced sexual assault, homophobia and racism on your college campus is to threaten to punish them. The student protesters did nothing wrong; in fact, they were attempting to rectify Dartmouth College’s incompetence in dealing with sexual assault and other forms of violence and discrimination on campus. I am writing today to condemn you for this course of action and to demand that you retract your intention to discipline students who demand positive change on your campus.
[Your Name Here]
Image Credit: redjar via Flickr.