Dartmouth College cancelled classes for Wednesday after a student protest touched off racist and anti-gay comments, and physical threats against the protesters on an online message board.
It started with a demonstration Friday by students against what they said was a culture of sexual assault at Dartmouth. The protesters interrupted a large gathering to welcome high school students who are considering Dartmouth. Then, on a Dartmouth gossip website, anonymous commenters posted slurs against the protesters, identifying some by name and making threats of physical harm.
In an email, Folt and several other administrators said Wednesday’s classes would be substituted with a presentation by a diversity consultant, a community gathering and small group discussions, to talk about the college’s “commitment to fostering debate that promotes respect for individuals, civil and engaged discourse, and the value of diverse opinions.
“The decision to replace classes for a day with alternative programming is not taken lightly,” the email continued. “The faculty will decide how best to make up tomorrow’s class time.”
In July, Folt will start the new job at UNC-Chapel Hill, a campus that also has seen recent upheaval over the issue of sexual assault. The university is under investigation by the federal government over its handling of sexual assault cases and its reporting of campus crime statistics.