By DAMIEN FISHER, InDepthNH.org
More than 900 Dartmouth College students, alum, faculty and staff are using a petition to call out the perceived racism in the conservative student publication The Dartmouth Review.
The petition signers are demanding that the school disassociate itself from the publication and prohibit it from using the Dartmouth name as part of its brand.
The petition also calls for the school to “hold student staffers accountable for their bigotry.”
Diana Whitney, a Dartmouth alum who lives in Vermont, said Monday night that the impetus for the petition came after a CNN report uncovered that Blake Neff, a Dartmouth alum and then-head writer for the Fox News Tucker Carlson Show, had made misogynistic and racist postings on the Internet using a fake name for several years.
“We read the frankly disgusting, appalling, racist statements he had made online and saw that he was former editor of The Dartmouth Review and the movement started there,” Whitney said.
Neff, who is no longer employed by Fox News, appears to no longer have public social media pages and could not be reached for comment. Rachel Gambee, The Dartmouth Review’s current editor-in-chief, did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Zachary Wang, the current president of the publication.
Diana Lawrence, Dartmouth’s associate vice president for communications, said The Dartmouth Review is an independent newspaper and not recognized by the college as a student organization. The publication gets no money from the college.
“Opinions and remarks made in the Review do not represent the views of the College,” Lawrence said.
Whitney said TDR’s history of racism, misogyny, homophobia, and anti-Semitism go back to its founding in the 1980s. According to the petition:
“Their methods include divisive articles (see Keeney Jones’ blatantly racist 1982 piece “Dis Sho Ain’t No Jive, Bro” or any of the insidiously racist pieces of recent years), engagement in anti-LGBTQ bullying, anti-Semitic statements (including the portrayal of President Freedman as Hitler), harassment of Black professors, and repeated offenses against indigenous students. Even the Dartmouth Review’s current logo flaunts this position, featuring a scene from the recently-removed campus weathervane deemed by President Hanlon to ‘represent an offensive portrayal of a Native American.’”
Current Fox News star Laura Ingraham edited the publication in the 1980, and during her tenure sent a reporter to secretly record a meeting of closeted students who were seeking support from the school’s small Gay Student Association, according to a Newsweek article. The Dartmouth Review then released a transcript of that meeting.
The college has also been cited for recently publishing a poem mocking the sexuality of Asian women titled “Take Up the White Man’s Fetish.”
Whitney said college leadership sent a letter at the start of the month voicing support for the Black Lives Matter movement and supporting taking action against racism. But when confronted with The Dartmouth Review, the school seems resigned, Whitney said.
“We’re looking for them to take action and not just release a lip service statement,” Whitney said.
While Dartmouth College does not endorse the views expressed by the publication, Lawrence said the school is committed to free speech. She also said Dartmouth is firmly against prejudice.
“As an academic community, we are committed to free speech and open inquiry. All students, faculty, and staff enjoy the freedom to speak, write, and listen, and are encouraged to challenge ideas, in pursuit of better learning and understanding; however, bias or discrimination in any form—including racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia—are contrary to Dartmouth values.”
Whitney said the school needs to push for legally taking the Dartmouth name away from the publication.
“They have a crack team of lawyers and a $6 billion endowment,” Whitney said.