Last Friday a group of about fifteen Dartmouth students staged an action at an event for prospective students, chanting “Dartmouth has a problem!” The group interrupted the gathering in the middle of a welcome skit, detailing a number of recent anti-gay and racist incidents and sexual assaults, and criticizing the college’s responses to them.
As word spread about the demonstration, other Dartmouth students criticized the protesters online, often using racist, sexist, homophobic, or violent language themselves. As the Chronicle of Higher Education reported, one commenter asked why “do we even admit minorities if they’re just going to whine?” while another wrote that if they had had a shotgun they “would have blown those fucking hippies away.” Many of the comments appeared at the unofficial Dartmouth website Bored At Baker, while others were posted on Facebook or other social media sites.
Soon a new blog called Real Talk Dartmouth appeared, composed primarily of screenshots of comments such as the following:
Yesterday evening college officials announced that as a result of “threatening and abusive online posts used to target particular students,” all classes would be cancelled today, with a series of community events taking the place of scheduled coursework. (Classes were last cancelled at Dartmouth in 2007, after a blizzard.)
Sometime yesterday evening, Bored at Baker went offline, with a note posted thereafter citing traffic volume, not content concerns, as the cause. The site administrator predicted that the site would be restored by nine o’clock this morning, but as of this writing (at nearly ten) it has not yet come back up.