Dartmouth College suspends classes after campus activists receive rape threats

Some students have received death and rape threats for their involvement in an anti-sexual assault protest

Published April 24, 2013 5:21PM (EDT)

   (Heather Martino)
(Heather Martino)

Several Dartmouth College students have received rape and death threats following a Friday protest against sexual assault, racism and homophobia on campus and in administrative policies. In response to the threats, the college has suspended classes, announcing that it would hold "alternative programming … that promotes respect for individuals, civil and engaged discourse, and the value of diverse opinions,” according to a letter obtained by Think Progress.

As reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education:

After the protests, Dartmouth students flocked to Facebook and Bored at Baker—an online forum named for the campus library but not officially affiliated with the college—to share their opinions, many of which took on violent tones. The comments offered streams of profanity-laced insults about the protesters' ostensible sexual orientations and appearance, and included calls for physical violence against them involving razor blades and other weapons.

"Why do we even admit minorities if they're just going to whine?" one commenter asked. "Wish I had a shotgun. Would have blown those [expletive] hippies away," wrote another.

Such ugly comments, in turn, prompted students involved in the demonstration to create a blog, called Real Talk Dartmouth, where they have been collecting and posting screenshots of the most offensive posts.

An email notifying students of the change in schedule from interim president Carol L. Folt explained that in place of classes, the college would be hosting a community lunch and teach-ins led by Dartmouth faculty: "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," she wrote.

By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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