On Tuesday, the Bowdoin Daily Sun posted an article lauding three Bowdoin students who secured internships at Goldman Sachs this summer. On Wednesday, the post was deleted from the site after drawing criticism for distastefully trumpeting the well-known fact that Bowdoin students often land prestigious internships, glorifying the financial industry, and neglecting to acknowledge two other students also interning at the bank.
What is perhaps most irksome about the Goldman Sachs post is that it undermines the prestige of the College. Bowdoin alumni have been employed by the firm for many years, so these five internships are hardly a new development. Furthermore, students garner impressive internships every summer in a variety of sectors—singularly championing the field of private wealth management is problematic. The post was distasteful in part because a Bowdoin education is not directed at securing a high-paying job on Wall Street; Barry Mills' NPR discussion this week about the priceless value of a liberal arts education makes this clear. Given the fact that peer colleges refrain from boasting about the career placements of their students, it is remiss for Bowdoin to do so.
Finally, all three students featured in the original post are female, while the two unmentioned Goldman interns are male. The story could have been a worthwhile profile of women in finance, but if that was the original intention, it was certainly not reflected in the headline, "Three students Selected as Goldman Sachs Interns."
The article is representative of many preceding posts on the Bowdoin Daily Sun that subtly tarnish the image of the College. Here are a few examples of what the Daily Sun considered worthy of disseminating to the Bowdoin community: "10 Things You May Not Know About the Titanic," "Wall Street Hires Watson, the Supercomputer 'Jeopardy!' Champ," "The Age You Can Stop Dieting," "On St. Patrick's Day, Luck May Pass You By," and "Take That, Fabio! Baldness Could Be Good for Your Health."
Rather than posting links to which cologne best attracts jaguars, like one June 2010 post, the site should feaure articles that are relevant to the College and representative of its values, such as its recent post on Art Museum security guard Dan Dowd's Saab-inspired photography exhibition, or the profiles of award-winning alumni. The insightful columns by development officer John Cross, President Barry Mills and other senior administrators are consistently informative, and we think they have pioneered a practice of communication that should be emulated by other leaders in higher education.
Granted, as a competing media outlet for the Bowdoin community, the Orient is by no means an impartial observer of the Bowdoin Daily Sun, and it would be something of an understatement to say that we are known to make mistakes from time to time. But the blog is an official mouthpiece of the College's administration, and trivial content is embarrassing if it is not directly pertinent to the Bowdoin community or tied to college life.
Stories with only tenuous connections to Bowdoin—like Patrick Dempsey's apparel choices—are often teased front-and-center on the College website, positioned next to official College news and academic information. Such poorly conceived posts do not do justice to the reputation of Bowdoin, and we hope the administration will raise the standard for what content is appropriate on the site.
The editorial represents the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient's editorial board, which is comprised of Erica Berry, Nick Daniels, Carlo Davis, Sam Frizell, Linda Kinstler, and Zoë Lescaze.