TWC Corner: Transformative Justice at Dartmouth

Dartmouth_College_campus_2007-10-20_09

Hello and welcome! We are Dolma Ombadykow and Olivia Veira. We’re both first years and will be blogging the Third World Center perspective for the Bruin Club blog this year! It’s going to be excellent.

This past week, several students at Dartmouth College sent a message to the administrators of their campus: they want the college to take actions to eradicate systems of oppression on campus. We thought what they did was so inspiring that we had to share it with you. Here’s an excerpt of their letter. Click here to read their “Plan for Dartmouth’s Freedom Budget: Items for Transformative Justice at Dartmouth.”

“We, the Concerned Asian, Black, Latin@, Native, Undocumented, Queer, and Differently-Abled students at Dartmouth College, seek to eradicate systems of oppression as they affect marginalized communities on this campus. These systems–which include racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, and ableism–are deployed at Dartmouth and beyond as forms of institutional violence. We demand that Dartmouth challenge these systems by redistributing power and resources in a way that is radically equitable. We believe that dialogue and resistance are both legitimate and necessary ways of disturbing the status quo and forcing parties to deal with the roots of the issues…The age of complacency and apathy toward change at Dartmouth College ends now. By March 24, 2014 (the first day of the 2014 Spring Term), the Dartmouth administration needs to publicly respond to each item raised on this document with its exact commitment to each one of its demands. We also request that, by that day, a timetable and point people are designated for the above commitments. Finally, items that require funds will have a monetary commitment in the 2014-2015 fiscal budget. If the Dartmouth administration does not respond by the indicated time, those who believe in freedom will be forced to physical action. As mentioned before, this proposal is not about interpersonal interactions, but about restoring justice in an institution beset with a history of discriminatory and oppressive practices. This list of demands does not promise to end oppression; but with this list, Dartmouth College can begin to build itself anew.”

The students’ requests are very reminiscent of Brown students’ demands regarding both Ray Kelly and the Divest Coal movement, as well as many other movements on campus that seek to eradicate systems of oppression. When you’re a Brown student, it’s very easy to get caught up in Brown’s problems. This can be great because tremendous change can happen at our University, but at times it can harm us. We forget that other Universities not only experience similar tensions, but some have an even more difficult time with systems of oppression. At some Universities, the problem is not up for discussion. Because of this,  we stand in solidarity with the students from Dartmouth who wrote this letter. We not only want to see Brown do better, but we want colleges across the country and world to join the fight in eliminating systems of oppression.

P.S. Happy Tsagan Sar and Losar Tashi Delek to any Kalmyk or Tibetan reading this!

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Update (3/3):  Things are heating up across the Ivy League. Check out I, Too, Am Harvard, “a photo campaign highlighting the faces and voices of black students at Harvard College.” The curators claim that “Our voices often go unheard on this campus, our experiences are devalued, our presence is questioned– this project is our way of speaking back, of claiming this campus, of standing up to say: We are here. This place is ours. We, TOO, are Harvard.”

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We will be co-blogging the first year, Third World Center perspective for the Bruin Club this year. If you have any questions or suggestions for what you’d like to see happen with our blog, please send us an email! We don’t bite (promise!).

We hope to hear from all of you!

Olivia & Dolma

olivia_veira@brown.edu

dolma_ombadykow@brown.edu

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