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The Dartmouth Review on Ryan Spector

The Dartmouth Review opines on Ryan Spector ‘19’s op-ed in The D about the 15-4 female:male composition of the Trips Directorate:

“In Solidarity”

On behalf of the more conservative members of the Dartmouth community, we would like to offer our support to both Ryan Spector and The Dartmouth in light of the recent publication of the op-ed entitled “You’re Not Tripping.”

While Spector’s column is not without flaws, we would like to condemn the numerous personal attacks he has endured, in addition to the dangerous rhetoric coming from many of the condemning organizations. While it is difficult to substantiate that the decisions regarding Trips executives were based on identity rather than merit, the issues he raises in his article are important, and it is important that an open discussion of the topic is held. Spector’s closing statement - that trips is “no longer for trippees… It is for ideology, no matter how cruel the implications” - indeed paints a picture of a troubling, yet very real state of affairs.

Furthermore, we find the notion that Spector’s column communicates any type of hate, racism, bigotry, or “toxic masculinity” to be wholly ridiculous. His words are not an attack on any population or any individual; they are simply raising awareness of a perceived problem. The many emails proclaiming solidarity for “victims” of his article have a warped perception of his ideas; nowhere does he convey the notion that “there is nothing meritable about a room full of women, WOC, or POC,” or that his article is an “attack on people of color, queer folk, gender non-conforming people, first generation, low-income students or women.” These perceptions are nothing but absurd. As such, any personal attacks directed back upon him - or anyone coming to his defense - are reprehensible.

Finally, and most importantly, we wholly support the decision of The Dartmouth to publish this article in the first place. It is an important step in assuring that all ideas, unpopular or popular, conservative or liberal, right or left, are heard on a campus that is overwhelmingly liberal and that often ignores unpopular, conservative, or right-leaning notions. We always stand for open discourse, and we condemn all those who seek its destruction.

Addendum: For further letters concerning the Spector op-ed, please see the extended:

1. Dartmouth Spectra:

Dear Dartmouth,

We are sending this letter on behalf of the Executive Board of Dartmouth Spectra, in response to a recent op-ed published in The Dartmouth.

We would like to express our solidarity and support for the women of color (WOC) who were called out in the article. We, as a campus and as an organization, should be uplifting the voices of successful WOC who thrive in spite all of the extra labor it takes for WOC to succeed at here and in the U.S. at large. By repeatedly using their full names and class years, the op-ed endangers both the safety and the future job prospects of the women it bashes. We wish to express our wholehearted support for these strong, resilient, hard-working and amazingly qualified women. If Spectra as a community can provide space, resources, emotional support, or labor on behalf of these women, we offer all these and more.

We would also like to take a clear stand against the blatant racism and sexism apparent in the article, and on campus at large. This campus often feels hostile to women, WOC, people of color (POC), queer folk, and queer people of color. We as an organization strive to make Dartmouth a more welcoming place for the aforementioned groups, and thus we strongly reject hateful sentiments expressed on campus, particularly the hateful and harmful sentiments that are expressed in the op-ed.

The language employed in the article reflects a dangerous idea that there is nothing meritable about a room full of women, WOC, or POC. We reject this idea. It also suggests that there is something inherently uncomfortable or dishonorable about a room full of women, WOC, and POC. We reject this, too. The article proposes that a room full of women will somehow erase representation for men, but this idea is misguided, ahistorical, and irrelevant. We are worried that a campus that allows ignorance and privileged anger to be heard over the voices of marginalized groups will erase the safety and community that women, especially WOC, and POC in general have fought for for so long. Dartmouth must speak up in solidarity.

We call on Dartmouth to do better.

Yours in Solidarity,

Spectra Execs

2. Amarna Society:

To the members of the Dartmouth community,

We, the members of the Undergraduate Society of Amarna, would like to affirm our solidarity with the 2018 first year trips Director, Assistant Director, and the Directorate as a whole. We will not stand for the op-ed’s attack on people of color, women, queer folks, gender non-conforming folks, first generation , and low income students on campus. In this we join the other houses and organizations in supporting the values of diversity and inclusion in the trips program and condemning the stance of this article that perpetuates the misogyny and the racism that is present in large parts of Dartmouth’s culture. Amarna is dedicated to making underrepresented folks on campus feel safer, and that mission does not just apply to the people in our house, but to the entirety of campus.

We admire the Trips Directorate’s unique position to influence campus in a way that we cannot as a house. As they work towards a more inclusive and accepting campus, we stand behind them wholeheartedly.

In Solidarity,

Each and every one of Amarnites

3. Student and Presidential Committee on Sexual Assault:

To the Dartmouth Community,

The Student and Presidential Committee on Sexual Assault (SPCSA) stands in solidarity with the First-Year Trips director, assistant director, and entire directorate in response to the op-ed published in The Dartmouth attacking their credentials and the legitimacy of the directorate selection process.

This article’s hateful sexism and racism attacks marginalized identities who are already discriminated against at Dartmouth on a daily basis. Furthermore, this ad hominem attack promotes the vicious idea that marginalized people, women and people of color, can
not earn positions of power on merit alone. SPCSA condemns this attack and the rest of the article, which displays a fundamental misunderstanding of systematic oppression, power, and privilege on this campus.

We are confident that each member of the First-Year Trips directorate is objectively qualified for their role. Moreover, we firmly believe the refreshing breadth of diversity and inclusivity captured by this directorate was selected with every best intention
for the Dartmouth Class of 2022 and the Dartmouth community. While we are saddened that such rhetoric and ideas continue to exist at Dartmouth, we hope this article sparks conversations and reminds everyone that we must continue to be better.

In Solidarity,

SPCSA

4. Divest Dartmouth:

To all of campus,

Divest Dartmouth is writing to address a recent op-ed piece titled “You’re Not Tripping” that was published in The Dartmouth. We would like to stand in solidarity with the DOC Trips Director and Assistant Director; all of Directorate; and anyone who was affected, including the communities that were directly attacked, such as womyn of color.

Divest Dartmouth firmly supports WOC who tirelessly pour their time and energy into improving Dartmouth. We would like to remind Dartmouth that due to the societal construction of the U.S., in order for womyn, WOC, and POC to obtain levels of success so easily obtained by white men requires an incredible amount of extra labor and overcoming the odds. Any strides towards justice that have been made on this campus, including making the DOC a more accessible space to those who have been historically excluded, have been achieved not because of Dartmouth, but in spite of Dartmouth.

Other campus groups, such as the Inter-Community Council, Dartmouth Spectra, SPCSA, and Link Up, have already released similar statements condemning the violence of this article and the negligence on the part of The Dartmouth for publishing it. Rather than repeating previous sentiments, we thank these groups for expending time and energy to eloquently respond. We would like to support everything already stated, and reiterate how decisions like these — publishing articles that endanger the safety and wellbeing of marginalized students — only further perpetuates the culture of toxic, male, white supremacy at Dartmouth.

Yours in solidarity.

Onward,

Divest Dartmouth

5. Asian-American Students for Action

To the Dartmouth community,

We, the members of Asian/American Students for Action, stand in solidarity with the First-Year Trips Director, Assistant Director, and Trips Directorate in response to a recent op-ed published in The Dartmouth.

In the very first sentence, the article calls out by name and class year the two female directors of First-Year Trips. The article then goes on to mention their names not one but nine more times. In doing so, the intention of the article is clear — to attack the Trips Directors’ abilities to make fair decisions as women in positions of authority.

This was a failed attempt to publicly shame and humiliate two women of color who dared to try to make Dartmouth more inclusive. This is a specific kind of violence that seeks to put women who have attained power back in their “place” for choosing to center marginalized people rather than appease privileged persons.

The article goes on to describe the Trips Directorate as “unrecognizable as representatives of Dartmouth’s student body.” This description invisibilizes people of color, women and trans folk, queer women of color, and other marginalized peoples on this campus. The article’s assertion that male students need male role models relies on the sexist and binary assumption that women and gender non-conforming people cannot serve as role models for men. A community that erases and silences the voices of its most vulnerable members is no community at all, but instead a space of violence that forces
marginalized peoples to forge creative methods of survival.

We condemn The Dartmouth’s decision to publish this article, given the author’s clear intent to harm. The editors must have known how widely this article would be circulated, yet they chose to not only publish this article, but also include the identities of the women being targeted without their consent. By giving hate speech a platform, they actively harm these women’s mental health and future prospects. We see this violence as an example of the additional emotional burden and labor demanded of women of color. On a campus where women of color have been targets of death threats and hate crimes for choosing to speak against injustice, the actions of The Dartmouth are yet another example of this institution’s systematic disregard for the safety and material well-being of women of color.

We urge The Dartmouth to issue an apology and retract the names of the directors from the article.

Redistribution is not injustice.

You cannot co-opt the language of oppression to stand with the oppressors.

White male tears will not stop women of color from thriving. We will continue to create communities of survival and resistance.

In solidarity,

Asian/American Students for Action (4A)

Go to the undergraduate listserv and search your screen for the word solidarity to see letters from the Rockapellas, DOC President, Alpha Phi, Women in Computer Science, Sigma Delta, Chi Delta, Association of Women in Mathematics, Native Americans at Dartmouth, Dartmouth Student Mindfulness Group, Alpha Xi Delta, Kappa Delta Epsilon, La Alianza Latina, Outdoor Leadership Experience, Subtleties, Phoenix, and Link Up.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

I think one good thing to come out of the Spector Op-Ed backlash is that so many Balkanizing groups on campus have come forth and displayed their infirm ideologies.

Two comments in the barrage jumped out at me:

Women in Computer Science: “We have seen them many times before, from the Google Manifesto of James Damore that claimed that gender imbalance in achievement is the result of biological differences, to the systematic exclusion of minorities from tech.”

Damore did not make that assertion. My understanding is that he said men and women, as general groups, have different vocational interests. Moreover, minorities certainly are not excluded from tech. I believe that every important tech firm in the country bends over backwards to recruit qualified minority employees. They should seize these opportunities. The best thing WiCS members can do to make their point that their is no “gender imbalance in achievement,” is to achieve! Dartmouth gives them the platform to do so.

La Alianza Latina: “As an organization that provides a space for Latinx students and other marginalized groups on campus …”

How pathetic to term themselves, and so many other groups mentioned in their letter, “marginalized.” Nobody can attain their best life while thinking of him/herself as a victim. The Alianza insults and - ironically - marginalizes itself by referring to its members in this way. It’s risible to think that anyone who’s matriculated at an Ivy League institution is oppressed. They should be encouraging their members to go out and succeed, not nurse their sense of victimhood.

As for all the discussion of “safety,” it’s preposterous to think that Spector’s piece created a climate of physical danger. And in terms of intellectual safety, that is the last thing a university should provide its students. If people leave Dartmouth never having dealt with new ideas and different perspectives, they will collapse. Young people don’t need protection from alternative ideas and debate, they need as much exposure to them as they can get so they can learn how to deal with challenging situations in a mature and responsible way. They need to develop resilience, not stagnate in a comfortable but ultimately untenable spot whose only virtue is that it is familiar.

It’s very bad for Dartmouth that it has splintered into untold numbers of identity groups in the way it has. This phenomenon can only produce a divisive campus. The people behind the “privilege” narrative are fantasists; they reject reality.

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