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Unwritten Speech Codes

A few weeks ago, about the time when The Dartmouth Review blog broke the Priya Venkatesan story and Dartblog was first to publish an interview with Ms. Venkatesan, the Office of Public Affairs began to include blogs in their review of Dartmouth in the news. This did not last long, and it is not the first time. In 2005 a blog called “ViewPoints” a compendium of Dartmouth news and information largely from student blogs was begun only to mysteriously vanish.

One Dartmouth student, class of 2010, commented to Dartblog on the recent OPA reversal of policy:

Surprise, surprise, the Dartmouth Propaganda Machine will only alert you to the good things the Dartmouth Administration does. In what is essentially the largest self-call in the history of Dartmouth (Self-call is slang for egotistical statement here at Dartmouth) the Office of Public Affairs (OPA) here on the hill creates €œa daily summary of news coverage involving Dartmouth, and higher education in general, that the Dartmouth Office of Public Affairs has found and compiled. € You can sign up to have this self-call blitzed to you daily. Recently, I believe it coincided with the Priya fiasco, the OPA appropriately began to include blog coverage of Dartmouth. I found this to be wonderful as I was now but a ctrl-click away from reading articles discussing Dartmouth on blogs such as this one, Dartlog, Powerline, etc.

Unfortunately someone in the Administration evidently caught on and quickly censured this informative feature, by means of some industrious and hardworking pawn, err €¦ student intern. As of this week, the blitz from the OPA no longer includes Dartmouth mentions in blogs. You see, most of the blogging which goes on about Dartmouth is pro-reform or constructively critical of the Wright Administration. I suggest we all continue reading pieces that challenge the status quo and make us think. It ‘s better than propaganda.

Or not. Perhaps ignorance is bliss. After all, it may be 2008 in America, but at the Little College on a Hill, some are still trying to turn back the clock to 1984.

Conditions on the ground might not be quite Orwellian, but I wish that I could say I believed it was just a coincidence that the media sources that advocate reform and cast a critical eye towards the Administration are the news sources that are not included in the daily media roundup at Dartmouth.


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