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Dartmouth College cancels Wednesday classes to address online threats over protest

DartmouthMost college students spend the last week of April prepping for their final exams and writing term papers.

But not those at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where classes Wednesday were cancelled so the administration could address the “abusive” online threats directed toward some students who protested a recent admissions event.

The university scheduled an entire day of  “alternative programming…to discuss Dartmouth’s commitment to fostering debate that promotes respect for individuals, civil and engaged discourse, and the value of diverse opinions,” according to an email from Interim President Carol Folt acquired by Business Insider.

“This has been prompted by a series of threatening and abusive online posts used to target particular students in the wake of the protest that disrupted the Dimensions Welcome Show on Friday evening,” Folt explained in the email. “We feel it is necessary for the community as a whole to have the opportunity to learn about all that has transpired and to discuss further action that will help us live up to our mission.”

The protest that sparked the controversy occurred Friday night, when the student group Real Talk Dartmouth crashed an event for accepted students called “Dimensions” and began chanting “Dartmouth has a problem.”

According to the group’s website, the point of the protest was to bring attention to incidents of “racism, sexism, homophobia, classism and ableism”  that have “not been addressed adequately by the Dartmouth administration, and continue to be ignored and overlooked by the student body.”

“Our goal is to not scare prospective students away, rather to give a holistic and realistic prospective to counterbalance the flawed advertising that takes place during Dimensions,” the website explains. “We are showing a different dimension of Dartmouth.”

But the protest backfired on protesters when a prospective student started a “We love Dartmouth” counter chant, and now the group is under siege and some of its members have received threats from others, according to the campus newspaper The Dartmouth.

“The general opinion is that what happened was uncalled for, and that they deserve some form of punishment not because they expressed their opinions but because they barged in,” one student told The Dartmouth.

Angry over the protest, some students took to Facebook and other websites to share their opinions – some of which have been deemed “threatening and abusive” by the administration.

“We were well aware that attempts to speak truth about personal discomfort on campus are socially punished at Dartmouth,” Dartmouth student Karolina Krelinova told The Chronicle. “But we definitely did not expect anonymous death threats and other very hurtful comments.

This article was updated to reflect the titling of Karolina Krelinova. 

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