According to a statement released today by the university, sophomore Ashley Ryan, 20, was thrown out of the Ivy League school for “racial aggression” after a student of Mexican heritage complained that her use of Mexico’s traditional wide-brimmed hat was culturally insensitive.
“It was just a normal sombrero,” Ryan says. “It wasn’t even mine. Some guy gave to me and said I looked cute in it. I was wearing it for maybe like two or three hours max.
“I was called into the dean’s office this morning. I didn’t know what to expect. I thought it maybe had something to do with the amount of alcohol I drank that night.
“The dean said I was trying to make fun of Mexican culture or something. But I wasn’t doing that at all. I was just trying to have a good time. I don’t know what I’m going to do now. I guess I’ll have to transfer. This really sucks. It was just a party. ”
Dartmouth College is one of America’s most prestigious universities, with notable alumni including Daniel Webster, Robert Reich, Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner, Nelson A. Rockefeller and Aisha Tyler.
In recent months, however, it has become more well known for the poor quality of its administration than the high quality of its academics. In April, for example, the administration banned a sorority from using the word “fiesta” at charity fundraiser, the latest in a long line of decisions that many criticize as political correctness run amok.
The attention Dartmouth gives to policing its students’ speech for racial sensitivity seems especially odd given the university’s poor track record in policing sexual assaults on campus.
Several recent high-profile sexual assaults led to a 14 percent drop in applications last year. And the college is also one of dozens of schools under federal investigation for its handling of sex crimes cases.
Yet in an exclusive interview the school’s dean defends it decision to expel Ryan and says the college’s priorities are in the right place.
“Here at Dartmouth we try to foster an environment of diversity and tolerance,” says Vernon Warner. “And that’s why we simply couldn’t tolerate the sort of ethnic intimidation that Ms. Ryan was engaged in.
“Wearing a sombrero on Cinco de Mayo is no different than what Hitler did to the Jews. It’s wildly inappropriate, and frankly I don’t know why this idiot thought she could get away with it.
“Not only are we expelling Ms. Ryan, we’re referring this case to the local prosecutor’s office as a potential hate crime. This woman raped a nation’s cultural heritage. Is there any worse kind of rape? Frankly I hope she spends a few years behind bars.”