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Samuel E. Kohn '09
November 29, 2006
As we come together today to celebrate the community that we seek an education from, the community of Dartmouth College, I feel obligated to remind those in attendance of a few things:
Your presence here today indicates something larger than ourselves, something larger than the individual groups which we represent. You presence here indicates a genuine interest in creating a welcome climate on the campus of Dartmouth College.
I'm speaking here on behalf of the Native Americans at Dartmouth. We, as a student group, have been the target of a number of incidents on campus this term. While all of these incidents have been painful, difficult, and many remain without resolution, I want to communicate an additional point to you, but to convey that I need to share a quote from the Native American politician, writer, and activist Vine Delora, "Western civilization, unfortunately, does not link knowledge and morality but rather, it connects knowledge and power and makes them equivalent." By being here today we're linking our knowledge and morality, and that's something that we need to continue on long beyond this rally today. We need to continue connecting our knowledge with out morality for the rest of our Dartmouth career, and the rest of our lives. Additionally, we need to make sure that this is made clear to our followers at Dartmouth, so that it will be perpetuated beyond our time here.
So this presents an easy solution, right? Not quite: this morning, when speaking with a member of a separate student group, it was communicated to me that this event taking place today is simply history repeating itself. After all, the events leading up to this event, and the demonstration today, ring strangely familiar to the events which took place during the late 1990s. A similar campus climate, and igniting event under the student body caused actions which are very close to what we're seeing today.
Yet, in the previous case, and in this case, we are not trying to make an easy solution, or give a temporary fix to this problem. We're trying to create a lasting solution; we're calling for a lasting solution from the Dartmouth administration. I present the following two points:
a) Taken from a Dean of the College/Committee on Standards publication: "The College's Code of conduct for undergraduates specifies that disruption of the orderly processes of the College-whether for purposes of expression or dissent or otherwise-violates College regulations and may subject individuals and organizations to disciplinary action." The Native Americans at Dartmouth call on the administration to act on this statement.
b) Our Principle of Community must be statement which can hold people accountable for their actions, not simply a "suggestion" as it is now. The Native Americans at Dartmouth call on the administration to allow the principle of community to be the basis for a committee on standards hearing.
It is our earnest belief by addressing these concerns the college will in turn create a better climate for the students of color, a better climate for students who are the target of all of the recent events which have taken place on campus. We are making the steps toward that better campus by meeting here today, and it's imperative that we continue this steps well into the future.
In conclusion, I was to personally thank everyone here today. It's a very positive step to see such a large number of students present and speaking out for the change which will address the problems which are affecting students on our campus today. While this is not a solution, it's definitely the beginnings of one, and it's my hope that we'll see much more work to this extent. Thank you.