No hate in Dartmouth as Select Board approves policy task force

Feb 22, 2021

Dartmouth may become a “no hate” community after the Select Board voted to create a task force to explore the issue at a Feb. 22 meeting.

Former Executive Administrator Mike Gagne proposed the idea to the board at the meeting, noting that 24 cities and towns in Massachusetts already have a “no hate in my community” policy.

“I don’t need to certainly go into what has been historically happening throughout the United States,” he told the board. “I think it’s been a rough ride the last year in this regard.”

The policy could cover incidences of bullying or discrimination relating to religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, or political and personal views. 

Gagne noted that with 35,000 residents, plus 8,500 UMass students and 16,000 commuters in Dartmouth, a “no hate” policy — similar to those outlined at — could be useful.

“I really think it would be beneficial for us to at least look into the issue and have a committee report back to the Selectmen in a couple of months as to what their findings are,” he said.

“You do hear of some issues in the Greater New Bedford area,” he added. “But maybe it makes more sense to get ahead of this issue and have some policies in place.”

Select Board member David Tatelbaum was also involved in bringing the proposal before the board. 

“I’m really proud to be alongside Mike here in trying to make this thing happen,” he said.

Board Vice Chair Shawn McDonald noted that he’d like to see task force members drawn from police, schools, UMass Dartmouth, the Council on Aging, the Youth Advocate, Board of Health, and a member of the general public.

“I think this is something we can support,” he added.

“I think we need to step up again and be leaders in this,” agreed board member Stanley Mickelson.

The Select Board voted unanimously to create the task force.