We have long championed Dartmouth College as one of the most LGBTQIA-friendly universities in America. If you’re an older reader of our college admissions blog and you find yourself scratching your head with memories of then-student Laura Ingraham outing members of the school’s GSA, know that the Dartmouth of today is very different from the Dartmouth of the ’60’s, ’70’s, and ’80’s. The Dartmouth of today is home to Triangle House, a vibrant learning and living community that helps connect LGBTQIA students and promote the sharing of LGBTQIA “histories, identities, culture, and politics.” The Dartmouth of today is a university at which the first openly gay male pro team sport athlete (before the likes of Jason Collins and Robbie Rogers) became an All-American lacrosse player and led his team to an NCAA Championship before sharing his story with the world on “ESPN.” We were proud to be at his side to share that story all those years ago. The Dartmouth of today is a school that rescinded an employment offer to a man who was to lead its Tucker Foundation when his homophobic views came to light. The Dartmouth of today is a school that embraces its LGBTQIA students and serves as a model of compassion to universities across the land.
A School that Champions LGBT Students Should Keep the Rainbow Room at the Heart of Campus
But that doesn’t mean we won’t offer some criticism of the school when we feel it is justified. Recently, it was announced that Dartmouth would be moving its Rainbow Room, a meeting spot for the school’s GSA, out of Robinson Hall. Robinson Hall is centrally located and home to a number of popular student organizations on campus. Years before, the Rainbow Room was located in the adjacent Collis Center, another campus hotspot. It now seems through that Dartmouth wishes to move the room to Triangle House.
Now don’t get us wrong. We were big supporters of Dartmouth’s construction of Triangle House. Yet Triangle House is on the outskirts of campus and a meeting center for the LGBTQI community need not be in a space that is specifically intended for the LGBTQI community and its allies. In fact, Rainbow Room’s current location at the heart of the school’s campus serves as a powerful message to all that the vibrant LGBTQI community at Dartmouth is central to Dartmouth’s heart — with the hill winds and all. We imagine it’s also quite a bit less scary for a recently out student to attend, say, a GSA meeting in Robinson Hall than to walk over to Triangle House. And that’s super important.
We hope Dartmouth reconsiders moving the Rainbow Room. We hope the school keeps this important room at the heart of campus. Dartmouth has wisely reversed unpopular decisions before. Remember when the school cut the swim team only to later reinstate it after campus-wide protests? We do, we do. In this case with the Rainbow Room, we have a feeling Dartmouth will do the right thing again.