A student leader at Dartmouth College is calling upon her peers to end the time-honored tradition of Homecoming, with claims that it is a part of the “legacy of colonialism.”
In an early October op-ed for the university’s student newspaper, student leader Jessica Cantos, a member of the Inter-Community Council, claims that Homecoming celebrates colonialism because it takes place on “stolen Abenaki land,” the Native American tribe that once lived there. She claimed that the festivities “actively supports the administration’s violent negligence of the most vulnerable of our peers.”
The student was also vocal in her anger against the school administration for its alleged lack of support for illegal immigrant students enrolled at the college. She demanded for Dartmouth to provide sanctuary and aid for those with DACA status.
“For the administration, the encouragement of alumni participation in Homecoming traditions has never been a purely nostalgic act but rather a way to solicit donations,” stated Cantos. She called on readers to “not forget that we are celebrating Homecoming on stolen Abenaki land, a fact that the College continues to ignore while the administration claims this land as our home.”
The student complained about the “privileged complacency” of her peers who “blindly celebrate school pride while ignoring the harm this institution has committed and continues to perpetuate.”
“Since [DACA] students would no longer be work-study eligible [after the program’s expiration], the Office of Financial Aid must replace the student contribution of current DACA recipients with financial aid,” she said. “Furthermore, the President’s Office and the Financial Planning and Budget Office must transparently provide legal fees for students and family members who are under threat of deportation.”
Despite her complaints about the university, the administration itself has pledged to continue supporting DACA students. Following Trump’s announcement of the DACA program’s expiration, college president Phil Hanlon released a university-wide statement calling DACA a “moral imperative and national necessity.”
The school said that “admissions and financial aid policies do not consider domestic applicants’ immigration status,” adding that illegal immigrant students already receive, and will continue to receive support from school departments.