Your Turn

Readers write, react and respond. (January-February 2015)

Letter Imperfect
I write on behalf of the Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association [BADA] in response to DAM’s decision to publish the letter from John Barchilon ’60 [“Your Turn,” November/December 2014].

While Dr. Barchilon is entitled to his opinion, as well as his freedom to express that opinion, BADA was dismayed to see his views of “politically combustible” women and minorities and their failure to gratefully keep their place as underlings. His comments were given a national platform in a publication we expect to represent a higher level of discourse than these outdated and hostile sentiments. We are also concerned to see a personal attack on students by an alumnus being tacitly sanctioned through communication platforms supported by alumni contributions, including those of many BADA members.

There are varied points of view among the hundreds of alumni in our organization as to the benefit of publishing opinions such as Barchilon’s. Some of our members feel DAM did its duty in providing an accurate view of the attitudes of a range of Dartmouth alumni, while others believe that positions such as Barchilon’s do not add anything useful to ongoing conversations surrounding race and gender at Dartmouth College.

BADA remains united in its support of students such as Aby Macias ’14 and Dondei Dean ’17 who work to make Dartmouth a welcoming and diverse environment for all students. We urge DAM to exercise care in selecting the letters it publishes and to recall that for many, the choice of giving a megaphone to the ugliest speech in the room serves no purpose other than to alienate alumni, divide students and turn away prospective applicants.

Leah Threatte Bojnowski ’01
Albany, New York

I am saddened to see any ink and attention spent on the letter from Barchilon, who apparently considers white men to be the Romans and Dartmouth a Rome. He considers it to belong to him and people like him, and any participation by previously excluded groups is a charity and grace. But Dean is a far truer daughter of Dartmouth than Barchilon is a son of Dartmouth, and I call on the editorial staff to recognize this.

The usual disclaimer that views in letters are not representative and that printing them is not an endorsement falls short. Printing Barchilon’s letter implies the editors deemed it suitable for publication—and that the status of those other than white males at the College is a reasonable topic for debate. It is not.

Printing such nonsense says minority students’ place on this campus is still open to debate. It is not enough to benevolently take up the other side of the debate, that “we” welcome “them.”

The editorial staff has a duty to crush any such notion of a debate. There is no “them” to discuss. There should be a little journalistic integrity and responsibility, even regarding the letters section.

Doug Urban ’06
Somerville, Massachusetts

There are some within the Dartmouth community demanding that DAM not publish sexist and racist comments such as those made by Dr. Barchilon. Although I respect the individuals involved, I have to disagree.

I say bring on the John Barchilons of the world. We need all these people: the radical, the conservative, the old, the young, the whole spectrum.

I don’t care for Barchilon’s point of view, but whether I like it or not, he is just as much a part of Dartmouth as I am. I won’t invalidate his opinion simply because I disagree. How do we know how far we’ve come and how far we have to go if we don’t know where we came from?

I will not ignore people like him because Dartmouth taught me to never back down. Instead I will speak up and speak out as I have done in my blog post, “Dartmouth Alumni Magazine Keep on Doing What You’re Doing,” at

Thank you, Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, thank you for publishing the Barchilon letter. Thank you for reminding me what I stand for, thank you for reminding me that I need to exercise my voice and thank you for reminding me that the job of growth is never done.

I urge others to welcome the challenge people such as Barchilon present you with, as it is the chance for the truth to come out, a chance for you to speak up.

Sophia Vazquez ’14
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

“The Place I Loved”
I attended Dartmouth only my freshman year, then had to transfer elsewhere for financial reasons. I attended the University of Virginia, then UC Davis, where I also went to law school. I absolutely loved Dartmouth and was very sad to leave.

Although I’ve not kept as current with the College as I would have liked, I made great friends there.

Admittedly I could not help but compare the College to the other relatively prestigious institutions I attended. One of the bigger differences was that Dartmouth was well behind the times when it came to social, sexual and gender issues.

To read “What’s Going On Here?” in the September/October 2014 issue was utterly depressing. I could recall (too easily) the truth of the culture of drunken stupor and attitudes that seemed to encourage or facilitate date rape.

Although some may try to brush such problems under the rug, or say I wasn’t there long enough to really know the culture, I tend to think a year is sufficiently informative.

I now have two beautiful daughters and, frankly, would not recommend they attend the place I loved. That speaks volumes, no? I hope the school I so loved gets its proverbial s*** together regarding such fundamental matters.

Dan Muller ’88
Lafayette, California


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