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What School Are You Talking About?

The other day we noted that OPAL was actively training students to see themselves as endlessly victimized by racial prejudice and to respond aggressively to anything that they might perceive as the slightest slight. The people involved in that effort are coming into focus now. However, two of Dartmouth’s most notorious social justice warriors are no longer with the College.

Ashlee Consulting Comp.jpgI’m talking about Kyle and Aeriel Ashlee, she an Assistant Dean and OPAL Adviser to Pan-Asian Students, and he the acting Director for the Center for Gender and Student Engagement. It seems that while he had been working “fulltime” for the College, and she had been on “medical leave,” they had been working hard setting up their private consulting business. Both recently resigned.

This space has commented on Aeriel Ashlee before, when she was Aeriel Anderson. Her blog gives one an inkling of her approach to the world:

I have written before about microaggressions and stereotypes targeting Asian Americans. I have written about my frustration of traveling far away from the streets of a racialized America and yet still being accosted by the ignorant. I have shared stories of racial prejudice towards Asian Americans and thoughts on triumphs of breaking boundaries of racial typecasting. I have rambled and reflected, and yet here I am again making issue of Asian American identity. What’s my beef? Why can’t I just “let it go”? Because this shit is in my face everyday.

However Kyle Ashlee has not heretofore come to our attention. That’s a shame. Judging from a piece that he wrote on Monday in The Good Men Project entitled Bravery in the Ivy League, his views are provocative, to say the least. Read his take on daily student life in Hanover:

It’s late on a Friday night and a rowdy group of drunken co-eds stumble through the entryway of the student center at Dartmouth College. Shouting obnoxiously, one of the inebriated students kicks over a wet floor sign while another angrily tears down a flyer advertising a gathering for student protest on campus. The student worker behind the food counter sighs deeply and prepares for the impending exchange. Sadly, it’s one that she is all too familiar with.

As the hostile group approaches the counter, the alpha male of the group barks his order at the young Black woman without apology. Despite having received a scholarship for tuition, this First-Generation college student took on the serving job as a way to survive the high cost of college without financial support from her family back home. She rang up the order and moved on to dealing with the other demands and slurred food orders. A few minutes later, one of the students stumbles back to the counter:

“You’re all out of forks. Where the hell can I find a God damn fork around here?”

Having dealt with his type many times, she responded with dignity:

“There are more forks on the other side of the dining hall. And do you mind treating me with a little respect, please?”

A puzzled look of disbelief fell over his face. Without thinking, he gathered all of the alcohol soaked saliva in his mouth and spit a violent wad of phlegm directly in her face: “Respect? A n***** like you doesn’t even belong at this school. You should feel lucky to be serving me food.”

Disgusted and appalled, she immediately phoned Campus Safety to report the egregious offense. Later, a security officer arrived to the student center in response. The drunken aggressors were long gone at that point, having left behind their half-eaten slices of pizza and chicken tenders for someone else to clean up.

While this may sound like an extreme incident of disrespect and racism, it is a scene not wildly uncommon at the prestigious institution of Dartmouth College. As a former administrator at the college, I heard from many students who had been treated similarly at some point in their academic career…

During my two years at Dartmouth, many students came into my office with heartbreaking accounts like the one shared here. These are the stories that the outside world never thinks about when Ivy League schools like Dartmouth College come up in conversation.

Come again? Does Kyle Ashlee seriously assert that it’s “not wildly uncommon” for a male Dartmouth student to spit in the face of a female undergrad working at Collis and call her a “n*****” in front of several other students. Frankly, I don’t believe for a minute that the incident occurred. How could such an event (or many events?) go unreported and unpunished on a campus where only last year Safety & Security conducted a manhunt for a student who spoke faux-Chinese to two Asian students?

Of course, the slanderous story is out there now. I bet that in eight months year applications to Dartmouth will probably drop by another few percentage points due to the fervid imagination of a now-former employee of the College.

Addendum: OPAL is an ongoing soap opera. A couple of years ago, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Advisor to Black Students Quantrell Willis resigned his position after only five months on the job. His stated reason was “in order to have additional time to focus on his family.” Uh, right. Certainly his extremely close advisory role with an undergraduate had nothing to do with his departure.

Addendum: Kyle Ashlee’s piece has already been picked up by Business Insider.

Addendum: Some quick answers from students about the supposed incident at Collis:

Quite easy to prove that article false in multiple ways: the biggest being that we use our student ids to buy food. Go back to the time the guy paid for his meal, find out who paid at that time, match face, boom, kid expelled. This article is a huge lie.

and:

Ashlee’s story reeks of lies - small ones, like saying Collis serves pizza or that the woman was both a food handler and a cashier at the same time, and big ones like claiming these men could not have been caught. Post-renovation Collis is rigged with *many* security cameras and if she was a hybrid food handler/cashier (which doesn’t actually exist), the incident would have occurred somewhere near a cash register. These men would have been identified, the incident would have been in safety and security logs, and it would have been reported by the daily Dartmouth.

It’s getting harder and harder to separate the lies from the truth. Whatever, as long as it makes good story…

and:

I also hated the Ashlee piece because it’s such a transparent fabrication. I would add that, standing at the Collis register, I think you can’t see someone entering the building and you definitely can’t see them tear down a flyer on the bulletin board, which is on the opposite side of the wall and facing the opposite direction. Furthermore, the same student couldn’t both “ring up” and “take” an order. At Collis, you ask for food from people inside the area, and you pay at the register. There is no “counter.” And, yeah, the first thing that jumped out at me as a total lie is the pizza and chicken tenders thing. Collis doesn’t have both of those things! I wish though!

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