In response to the recent bias incidents on campus, a group of student leaders will be installing a display of black and white portraits of students and faculty in Smith Union this weekend to show support for any who feel targeted or marginalized by these incidents. Throughout the week, student photographers sat outside the entrances of both dining halls during dinner to solicit individuals’ participation, asking each person whether they would take a photo “for the bias incident thing.”
While we applaud our fellow students’ effort to unify the campus, we feel this emphasis on participation and urgency did not engage the nuances that precipitated the incidents in the first place. We would like to believe that each face that appears on the wall represents a student who has done this out of genuine support, not out of a sense of social obligation. There is subtle but coercive social pressure to comply with the request and avoid the risk of being labelled as insensitive. We understand there are a variety of reasons why someone may not want their photo on public display. Providing a medium to express clear and visible support for those affected by the bias incidents is laudable, and we hope that the upcoming show will spark conversations that have so far been glossed over.
The editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of Claire Aasen, Erica Berry, Nora Biette-Timmons, Marisa McGarry, Eliza Novick-Smith, Sam Miller and Sam Weyrauch.