Sensibly enough, the Wall Street Journal berated Phil Hanlon, the president of Dartmouth, for mishandling the two-day takeover of the university administration building by a small group of diversity-obsessed students. Instead of the obvious move–having the protesters tossed out–Hanlon met with them, then announced: “Their grievance, in short, is that they don’t feel like Dartmouth is fostering a welcoming environment…I deeply empathize with them.” He welcomed a conversation about their list of 70 demands, which included free sex-change operations under the campus health plan, a mandatory ethnic-studies curriculum, more “womyn and people of color” on faculty, censoring the library catalogue for offensive terms and gender-neutral bathrooms in every campus facility. The students also complained about “micro-aggressions,” those tiny slights that render sensitive students uncomfortable and therefore militant. Oh, and they asked that college officials stop referring to them as “threatening,” apparently yet another micro-aggression.
After Hanlon said that he welcomed conversations, the protesters explained that talking had a serious flaw; it would led to “further physical and emotional violence enacted against us by the racist, classist, sexist ,heterosexist, transphobic, xenophobic and ableist structures at Dartmouth.” Joe Asch, editor of Dartblog, a running commentary on life at Dartmouth, said “members of the faculty are wondering whether Phil Hanlon has a spine.”