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Conservative Paper Sparks New Unrest at Dartmouth

March 2, 1988

HANOVER, N.H. (AP) _ Police have been guarding the offices of a conservative weekly newspaper that has revived stinging attacks on a black professor and reawakened charges of racism at Dartmouth College.

A march through the school’s Fraternity Row and continued picketing of several businesses that advertise in The Dartmouth Review were planned today, and a larger rally was scheduled for Thursday.

Four Review staff members face college disciplinary charges and possible expulsion stemming from a confrontation last week with William Cole, a music professor who once sued the paper for libel.

The staffers say they are being persecuted for taking strong stands on the quality of Dartmouth life and education, and deny that race has anything to do with it.

The independent newspaper also was at the center of controversy two years ago when 12 students, mostly Review staffers, took sledgehammers to symbolic anti-apartheid shanties on the campus green. That raid sparked a semester of sit-ins, disciplinary hearings and other unrest that caused a leadership crisis for Dartmouth President David McLaughlin.

McLaughlin resigned in June 1987, though he said the disturbances didn’t contribute directly to his decision.

As tensions rise again, McLaughlin’s successor, James Freedman, said Tuesday he would ″urge everyone in the Dartmouth community to take the high road to civility of expression.″

Freedman had a similar message Monday when he spoke to 250 students at a rally protesting the Review’s attacks on Cole. He defended Cole’s qualifications, as well as the right to freedom of speech, ″however unpopular, provocative and offensive that speech may sometimes be.″

Cole sued the paper in 1983 for libel over an article that said he ″looks like a used Brillo pad.″ He dropped the suit in 1985. He received no damages and both sides claimed vindication.

Two weeks ago the Review published a cover story calling Cole’s teaching performance ″academically deficient″ and including excerpts from a transcript from one of his recent classes.

On Thursday four Review staffers approached Cole after a class. Editor-in- chief Chris Baldwin said the staffers wanted to give Cole a chance to rebut their article, and to demand that he apologize for allegedly calling them ″white-boy racists″ during a class.

Shouting ensued, and the incident ended with the professor allegedly breaking the camera flash of Review photographer John Quilhot. The Review published a photograph of an agitated Cole on its cover in its next issue with the headline, ″The Truth Hurts. Cole Explodes Over Review Criticism.″

Cole has not commented publicly on the incidents.

Three police officers stood guard Tuesday outside the Review’s office above a hardware store a block from the Dartmouth campus.

Nearby, hoisting signs that urged motorists to ″Honk if you don’t support the Review,″ about 25 people picketed the Dartmouth Bookstore and other stores that advertise in the Review.

The four Review staffers face punishment ranging from a fine to expulsion if they are found guilty of disorderly conduct, harassment, or violating Cole’s right to privacy. They are Baldwin, a junior from Hinsdale, Ill.; Quilhot, a sophomore from Fort Wayne, Ind.; executive editor John Sutter, a senior from St. Louis; and staff writer Sean Nolan, a freshman from Lexington, Mass.

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