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Faculty Rally last Thursday

I decided to use my biweekly People Places Pines post to share a rather overlooked aspect of Dartmouth College's history: our activist past, present, and futures. Before applying here, I was aware of the school's historic occupation movements: in 1969, when Parkhurst Hall (where administration is based) was seized by students in protest of the Vietnam War; in 1986, when students erected four 'shanties' in the middle of The Green, calling the school to divest from its financial entanglements with the South African apartheid; and the 2013 take-over of the annual Dimensions Show—when prospective students are invited onto campus—to call administrators' attention to the blatant racism, homophobia, and misogyny students were facing. 

If I am being completely honest, knowing Dartmouth's history of impactful political organizing was one of the leading factors in my choice to apply here as my Early Decision choice. As if in a foreshadowing moment, high-school senior me wrote his Common App personal statement about the time I spent camping outside the British Columbia Legislative Assembly in Victoria, protesting in defense of Indigenous land rights. Now, as encampments calling for divestment from Israel are set up in numerous college campuses—not only across America, but all throughout the world—I am inspired to take part in yet another historic moment in our College's history. 

And, if you read this post up to this point, and think I might be pushing a certain political perspective onto potential applicants, that is not my intention. The objective of this post isn't to commemorate nor to condemn either the student-protesters who took over the Green the night of May 1st, or our administration—who quickly responded by calling the police to forcefully dismantle the camp. This post isn't about taking sides. This post is about drawing parallels between my own experiences as a student on this campus and the numerous other student-led protests that marked this institution's history. 

In my opinion, there's nothing more aligned to Dartmouth's traditions than student activism, and it's definitely one of my favourite outside of class activities. So why shouldn't we proudly take part in it?

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