Hundreds of Dartmouth College students and faculty gathered just off the Green Wednesday in a show of solidarity. Dartmouth Interim President Carol Folt told the crowd why classes were canceled.
"We believed our community hit a tipping point where festering wounds and years of calls for help needed to be addressed without further delay," Folt said.
Friday night, a group of protestors barged into a performance for newly accepted students. They repeatedly chanted "Dartmouth has a problem," highlighting issues of sexual assault, homophobia and racism on campus. The act of civil disobedience spiraled into something much more sinister; according to the college newspaper, anonymous calls on a campuswide online forum to assault, rape and even kill those involved in the protest. A report has been filed with Hanover Police. They are working to figure out who is behind the threats.
"I was really upset. I was hurt and upset," said Elise Smith, a senior.
Smith spoke at Wednesday's rally. She told the crowd that she has never come face to face with bigotry at the Big Green, but she says it does exist.
"These acts of intolerance, these acts of hate, whatever you want to call it are happening and they have happened and I am so proud of this institution for really taking a stand against it. You know, we have waited and this is our time," Smith said.
But others at the rally expressed a different view, calling out those who took part in the protest, saying it was their violence Friday, specifically the way they forced their way into the building, that led to the campus controversy. Others chose not to take part and simply watched from a distance.
Campus officials said expressing positions in a peaceful way was the goal. A series of events were planned throughout the day to replace classes.
"We want Dartmouth to be unique in the leadership role it takes tackling these challenges," said Justin Anderson, a spokesman for Dartmouth College.
Not everyone at Dartmouth agreed with the day's turn of events. In facts, some students said they were, in fact, planning to attend class, silently expressing their opinion and highlighting a divide that clearly exists on this campus.
College officials say they are gathering information and statements to see if there will be disciplinary action.
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