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A Cowboys and Indians Soiree Gets Inspected

I have been reading through today’s report in The Dartmouth, “Interrupted crew formal generates apology.” The situation seems to be this: The crew team had their yearly formal dance in the basement of the Collis Student Center. The theme: ‘Cowboys and Indians.’

The evening begins, and folks are dancing. Guys and girls show up dressed, variously, as cow-ropers and Native Americans per the invitation’s instruction. Soralee Ayvar ‘07, a non-party to the soiree and positioned upstairs for another event entirely, sees folks arriving for the party. “We saw two girls walk by with stereotypical Indian dress on, so a couple of us went downstairs to find out where they were going to and why they were dressed like that,” she told The Dartmouth.

Ayvar, after tailing the girls to the party, went back up the stairs and located Dean Alexander Hernandez-Siegel. He is the Associate Dean of Student Life. She informed him of the theme of the party downstairs, apprising him, presumably, of the two costumed girls at whom she took offense. She asked the dean to enter the party and, The Dartmouth reports, “examine the situation.”

Dean Hernandez-Siegel entered the party. It was held in FUEL, an area the entirety of which is a dance floor. The dance floor is pitch-black save for the DJ’s effect lights. The dean surveyed the crew team’s party per the student’s request. But he did not stop there. He claims to have noticed students who seemed to be drunk. (College students at a dance party, without variation, either 1) Are drunk or 2) Appear to be drunk.) Claiming that his dean duties required him to report possible intoxication, the dean elected to immediately telephone Dartmouth’s security officers. They arrived, interrupted the event, and questioned the revelers. And that is where the story ends.

What happened here is this: A single student felt offended at the “Cowboys and Indians” theme of an athletic team’s party. (Or, more precisely, she was offended at the costumes said theme elicited.) She found the nearest dean, registered her complaint, and the dean took egregious and unnecessary action in response, potentially causing the cancellation of a student event which had broken not a single College rule.

At least, that is my reading, from The Dartmouth’s reportage. It doesn’t seem right that the offense taken by one person could cause a band of security officers to invade a student event and interrogate its participants, does it?

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