On Monday, November 16, Latino groups on campus organized an “emergency community meeting” in the Cutter Shabazz Mural Room, in response to the alleged assault of a Dartmouth student by a Brown University Department of Safety officer at the Latinx Ivy League Conference. Despite the official purpose of the gathering, the well-attended event quickly shifted into discussion of the November 12 Black Lives Matter protest, and particularly The Dartmouth Review’s coverage of that event.
Much of the meeting was spent discussing the backlash to the Black Lives Matter protest and justifying the protesters’ actions. Students reiterated how they felt unsafe on this campus how unsafe Dartmouth is for people of color in general. In particular, attendees noted and complained about offensive comments on Yik Yak. The recent effort to change the theme of Winter Carnival to “Snow Justice, Snow Peace” was also discussed.
While much of the rhetoric at the meeting was unexceptional in comparison to the Black Lives Matter protest, it is notable that Vice Provost for Student Affairs Inge-Lise Ameer was in attendance. The two times she spoke throughout the hour-long meeting, she expressed unqualified support for the protesters, not only with respect to their safety and right to protest but also their demands and actions. “The protest was a wonderful, beautiful thing,” she said, explaining that the administration was telling the news media anyone that would listen that the protest had been justified. “There’s a whole conservative world out there that’s not very nice,” she added.
Vice Provost Ameer went even further in support of the protesters. She offered to reread the Freedom Budget and revisit the feasibility of many of its proposals. “Our new Provost is very much in support of all this,” Ameer said, specifically pointing to new faculty diversity initiatives. She requested regular meetings with the leaders of various minority groups as to help her better meet their requests. Then, she reiterated that she thought that the protest was a “wonderful, peaceful march” and asked the numerous “faculty and administrators in support” of the protesters present to raise their hands. Several of them did.
The Review maintains that the protesters who singled out students for harassment, including physical shoving and pointed racial insults, should be held accountable for their actions. We are disappointed that senior administrators are expressing support for the Black Lives Matter protesters in the face of facts that contradict their narrative. In a conversation with The Dartmouth, campus NAACP President Jonathan Dikawana ’16 claimed that “comments such as ‘F*** your white privilege’ were not personal or racist attacks on individual white persons in the library,” despite the testimonies that the protesters isolated, physically touched, and trailed the students they were addressing. We don’t believe that Dikawana’s explanation provides sufficient grounds for our administrators to look the other way.
Furthermore, we are disappointed that Vice Provost Ameer displayed an apparent bias against the many students who reported the protesters clear list of infractions. In doing so, the administration is undermining its own credibility and the credibility of the College.
The Review corroborated every anecdote cited in our coverage with multiple student eyewitnesses. We stand by our coverage of the Black Lives Matter protest in “Eyes Wide Open at the Protest” and hope that the attention this incident has garnered will prevent future protest movements from “pivoting” from political speech to overt personal harassment.
Addendum: The Review has obtained footage of this “emergency community meeting” in which Ameer attempted to appease the protesters. Some of her highlights at said conference can be seen here: