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Dartmouth cancels classes after anti-rape protesters threatened with sexual assault and ‘execution’

By David Ferguson
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 16:09 EDT
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Protesting students in Milan via Shutterstock
 
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New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College canceled classes for a day after students who participated in a protest against racism, homophobia and rape on campus were targeted with online threats. According to Boston.com, protesters were threatened with violence and death after they interrupted a Friday night assembly of hundreds of high schoolers considering enrolling at the Ivy League university.

The threats were made mainly on the message board “Bored at Baker,” a non-university-affiliated website named for Dartmouth’s Baker Library. Some anonymous posters called the protesters “terrorists,” while others said they hoped that campus police would “publicly execute” the group members.

Administrators at the college sent out an email blast Tuesday night announcing the cancelation of classes on Wednesday.

“We feel it is necessary for the community as a whole to have the opportunity to learn about all that has transpired and to discuss further action that will help us live up to our mission,” wrote interim President Carol Folt. “The decision to replace classes for a day with alternative programming is not taken lightly.”

Dartmouth spokesperson Justin Anderson said that student protesters were targeted for threats of violence because of their race or sexual orientation, and that the types of threats were especially repellent. Some he characterized as “really awful stuff, to the point that these students were concerned for their safety.”

“Threats of the nature we were seeing online are never something we can abide,” he said on Tuesday. “Because of the nature of these threats, we think what we’re doing tomorrow is crucially important.”

Instead of classes on Wednesday, students can attend a speech by a social justice and diversity specialist, as well as an outdoor gathering and facilitated discussions hosted by faculty and staff members on campus.

Anderson told Boston.com that while it is unusual for the university to cancel classes, it is not without precedent. Classes were canceled in the 1980s to protest apartheid in South Africa.

[image via Eugenio Marongiu / Shutterstock.com]

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
 
 
 
 
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