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Dartmouth’s Ongoing Shame

The following post was put up on the Bored@Baker chat site almost four weeks ago, but it now seems to be generating a great deal of comment among faculty and deans and on various social sites frequented by Dartmouth students. Apologies for the vulgarity in it, but students who write such hateful and hurtful things need to be shown for what they are. (The name of a Dartmouth student has been redacted.)

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Although the Trustees have debated trying to block access to B@B from Dartmouth’s computer servers — a discussion which only shows how little the members of the Board know about the Internet, let alone their appreciation of free speech rights — I think that the site has value in giving us all an aperçu into the attitudes of certain people in Hanover. Behind the pretty resumés, high SAT scores and shining GPA’s, we have individuals in our midst who have no qualms at causing pain to fellow human beings, let alone their own classmates. Shame on them.

Addendum: Currently B@B has 34 posts containing the words “Choates Whore,” the oldest one being a year old. In addition, the site routinely has posts on it that are explicitly racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic. To be clear, such posts are not the fault of B@B. Rather, they are evidence of the kind of things that people will say when protected by anonymity. The site has value in that it lets us know what some people really think.

Addendum: Women’s and Gender Studies Lecturer Giavanna Munafo has written in to The D to decry the B@B post; she urges the community to respond to it and to the attitudes that engender such a missive. An excerpt from her letter:

I received emails from several students on Tuesday informing me of a Bored at Baker posting that names a member of the Class of 2017, identifies where she lives and urges readers to rape her. The email I received included a screenshot of the post, which had been removed by the time I had subscribed and visited the site. The post, by now probably known about in every corner of campus, is being referred to as a “rape guide,” and it is, indeed, just that: a step-by-step guide to finding and raping this individual woman. The appropriate administrators are doing their jobs to investigate this matter and provide support to the student. I have no such responsibility, so I am responding as a member of our community.

Addendum: A longtime reader writes in:

This letter made me feel sad for my alma mater. How could a student write such a thing about another student? But to call this whole description “rape” seems off to me. How is the seduction that occurred any different from two students on a dance floor grinding against each other, one or the other or both having the desire to arouse the other in the aim of proceeding to a hookup? Sure the author went after the girl with the intention of having sex with her. But is that rape? I think that Professor Munafo devalues that awful word when she uses it in this context.

Addendum: After reading the ugliness above, my wife asked me to offer a link to a post that I wrote last April: Will No One Defend Romance? It is relevant to today’s discussion in several ways.

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