Dartmouth College has canceled classes tomorrow in order to offer what administrators in an email called “alternative programming designed to bring students, faculty, and staff together to discuss Dartmouth’s commitment to fostering debate that promotes respect for individuals, civil and engaged discourse, and the value of diverse opinions.”

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It must be something big for Dartmouth to cancel classes, so what’s the occasion? That “massive outbreak of violent hate speech,” as author and assistant professor of English Jeff Sharlet put it, allegedly was directed toward members of a group called “Real Talk Dartmouth” who crashed a campus event last week to demand that the school address charges of sexual assault, racism, and homophobia on campus.

On its website, Real Talk described the protest as reaching out “to current and prospective students to engage in a dialogue about persistent, systematic, and structural issues of racism, sexism, rape culture, homophobia, classism, and ableism at Dartmouth.” The group posted video of the protest to YouTube, showing plenty of Occupy-style “human microphone” chants alleging that “Dartmouth has a problem.”

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Dartmouth Review executive editor Melanie Wilcox lends her perspective as a journalist and student.

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