Cheerleading Team Stages Protests during Anthem

Last weekend, students on the Dartmouth cheerleading team protested President Trump’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program implemented by the Obama administration. Eight of the twenty present Dartmouth cheerleaders knelt for the national anthem during Saturday’s game against Yale. This display was organized by Valentina Gonzalez, a cheerleader and junior at the College. Ms. Gonzalez also serves as co-director of Dartmouth CoFired: Coalition For Immigration Reform, Equality, and Dreamers. A “dreamer” herself, Ms. Gonzalez spoke candidly with the Valley News about what President Trump’s announcement has meant for her personally and the work being done on campus to protest this action. Referring specifically to the group that knelt during the national anthem, the Valley News reported that Ms. Gonzalez “wanted to make sure the whole team was behind whoever decided to kneel.” The majority of Dartmouth’s team remained standing for the anthem, but there was no apparent animosity amongst the team. Following the anthem, all members carried on with their cheers and homecoming festivities as if nothing were amiss. Many of the spectators, especially current students of the College who arrive late to football games and do not read the Valley News – that is to say everyone, remain completely ignorant of the fact that a protest took place at all.

This, however, is certainly not the only response that President Trump’s announcement has elicited on campus. In early September, President Trump ordered the end of the Obama-era policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, within the next six months. Following this, President Hanlon released a statement that he was “deeply disappointed in President Trump’s decision.” Additionally, the College officially affirms its commitment “to inclusion and diversity” for their undocumented and DACA students and seeks to aid them in legal proceedings. Members of Dartmouth CoFired feel that this is not enough. They issued a letter following the election calling on President Hanlon to establish Dartmouth as a “sanctuary” school and to not comply with any potential coming changes in immigration policy. President Hanlon denied their request at the time. He appears to be resolute in his decision even now that these changes have come to pass. Dartmouth College will continue to advocate for their undocumented students that may potentially face deportment, but they will only do so “within the bounds of the law.”