A note from clasmate David Agan

1969 brothers and sisters-
 
Last month, I wrote a note about sexual assault and old Dartmouth culture.  I said I would wear a teal arm band at 2019 Commencement to show my support for current and future changes to prevent sexual assault and harassment at Dartmouth.  The changes are beginning as the College’s Campus Climate and Culture initiative and through community, student, and faculty  efforts.   Teal is the color worn by advocates who bring attention to the prevention of sexual assault and harassment.  
 
This idea seemed to resonate with a number of classmates who said they will wear teal arm bands at the ceremony, too.  Some ‘69s responded with comments about who they were fifty years ago and are now.  Some sent longer emails with personal reflections on learnings and changes in their attitudes and outlooks. Among the comments on the past, present and future were: 
 
  • [It took me] years before I could perceive women as whole human beings, years before I could simply have women as friends.
  • We know better now and need to insist that these “old traditions” be recognized, discredited, and to the extent still practiced, discarded. 
  • Sexual harassment and assault have been and remain a serious problem in our society and culture, and we expect Dartmouth to be part of the solution. 
  • Sexual violence is not OK in the Dartmouth community.  Each of us can do a small part to publicly advocate for the culture we want.
  • As for me, I will wear the teal as a sign of my solidarity with women and my commitment to justice.
  • Hopefully alums will help to push the College in the right direction on this question.  It does look like progress is being made.  So, I am hopeful about that.
  • The college needs to be at the forefront of efforts to maintain an open, inclusive and safe environment for all members of the community. People should not need to even think a moment about their safety. It should be a  given. We, as [alumni] , need to keep pushing the College to take whatever steps are needed to harness goodness and reject negativity in all aspects of life in Hanover. 
 
For me, wearing a teal arm band is not a protest or judgement   This action is not meant to take a position on any dispute over methods or on lawsuits that will be settled in court.  It is not meant to create differences within the class.  We are one in ’69 whether arm banded or not.  The teal arm band symbolizes an affirmation of change for the better toward a Dartmouth where everyone is safe from harassment and assault, 24/7, everywhere on campus.
 
Classmates will make arm bands available to those who request them on reunion Saturday and at Sunday breakfast before we process.
 
When I meet them at the Saturday reunion luncheon, I intend to encourage the President and Trustees to wholeheartedly pursue the goal of a Dartmouth without harassment and sexual violence.  Maybe others will, too.  They should be glad to get support from 50th reunion participants. 
 
David Agan ’69