By Peter Hackett ’75, Theater Professor, Avalon Foundation Chair Of The Humanities
Published on Tuesday, May 22, 2012
To the Editor:
In the year leading up to the recent Dartmouth Dance Theater Ensemble production of “Undue Influence,” Dartmouth became an even more dangerous environment for women.
According to the most recent Clery Act report, campus sexual assaults more than doubled in 2010 over the previous year. In the Ivy League, this increase was second only to Harvard University’s, which has 15,000 more students. In overall cases, Dartmouth also ranks second, although it has by far the smallest student population.
There was also a 23 percent increase in alcohol and drug violations, the highest among our peers. Studies indicate that alcohol is involved in the vast majority of sexual assaults.
While insisting that any change in campus culture can only come from the students, the administration continues, to quote “Undue Influence,” “to form committees, to form committees, to form committees to tackle problems.”
It is simply disingenuous to claim that students alone can engineer the dramatic social changes necessary to effectively address this issue. The increasingly dire situation demands that this administration finally embrace its moral obligation and intervene. The College is in desperate need of leadership that will speak out often and unambiguously about sexual assault and take decisive action until the problem is diminished. Comprehensive and mandatory sexual assault awareness education for all students is long overdue.
When responding to the recent Clery Act report in the Valley News, the College admonished us that “change is not going to come overnight.” Coeducation arrived in 1972. How much longer do the women of Dartmouth have to wait?