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BREAKING: Classes Cancelled to Discuss Value of Diverse Opinions

The below e-mail from IP Folt went out this evening to the entire community. Most faculty learned of the cancellation of classes only when they received this communication.

From the text of the memo, the decision to cancel classes and the content of the day’s programming were both prompted entirely by the abusive messages posted on the Bored@Baker chat site. While the action by the RealTalk group in invading the Dimensions show does not seem to be open to question, nasty messages on a low-traffic website seems enough to cause the administration to organize an entire day of sensitivity education for the student body.

The President’s Office has scheduled Jessica Pettitt, “a social justice and diversity consultant and facilitator,” to speak in 105 Dartmouth. Given that there are close to 4,000 students on campus, and the seating capacity of that space is only 184 people, the administration can’t have very high expectations for student attendance. Learn more about Pettitt on her website

Jess gets participants uncomfortable enough to incorporate — not just talk about — social justice into their lives immediately. Nominated for three years by Campus Activities Magazine for Best Diversity Artist, and Hot Pick for 2011, Jessica’s programs are direct, customized, and highly interactive. Her workshops, trainings, and keynotes take participants on a journey weaving together politics, theory, current events, and storytelling with large doses of humor reminiscent of Bob Newhart, George Carlin, Wanda Sykes and Paula Poundstone. This is by no means your typical diversity speaker!

Now there’s a reason to cancel classes. A diversity consultant and comedienne! More seriously, it speaks volumes that the central address of the teach-in is being given by a self-help consultant, rather than by IP Folt herself. The day would be a great opportunity for Carol to show real leadership to the Dartmouth community, before she graces Carolina with her talents. But no.

These are sad days for Dartmouth.

Class Cancellation Memo.jpg

Addendum: At the present time (Tuesday evening at 10:50pm), the D story on the cancellation of classes has six pages of comments, the great majority of which are critical of the administration’s decision to cancel classes.


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