From time to time there arises the unfortunate need for a campus such as ours to reaffirm some very basic standards of acceptable behavior. Last weekend's series of confrontations underscores such a need.
Physical and personal violence, regardless of circumstance, is never tolerable on a college campus. Whether an errant, single punch or a deliberate assault, any action that results in physical harm is fundamentally opposed to the values of a residential learning community. Such acts are especially egregious when they disrupt settings that ought to be among the most welcoming on campus?social houses and the dining halls. Students cannot reasonably expect to fully benefit from the offers of a residential college if acts of violence are used as an acceptable means of resolving disputes occurring in our most visible and sociable places. It is for this reason that we urge the College to consider the strongest possible sanctions against those responsible for last weekend's violence, including expulsion from the College.
While the violence is in itself profoundly troubling, equally worrying is the apparent disposition of some to cover up the incident. While the actions of some inevitably force fellow students to ask difficult questions, the appropriate answer to those questions is not to prevent the proper administration of justice. Furthermore, it is unsettling to think that the knowledge of some may be suppressed for fear of retribution on the part of the accused or their cohorts. Many students refused to contribute to the Orient's investigation of last weekend's events due to possible repercussions from their comments. This culture of fear has no place at Bowdoin.
The fights of last weekend occurred during an admirable attempt to restore a festive winter weekend on campus. We hope that future efforts to enrich campus life are not marred by such unacceptable behavior as we witnessed Saturday night.