Democratic candidate for Maine governor speaks at Helmreich
Maine’s Democratic nominee for governor and current congressman Mike Michaud delivered a brief speech and fielded questions from students in Helmreich House on October 5.
Michaud stuck to the stump speech he has delivered around the state, telling the story of his early political career—when he split time between the Great Northern Paper Mill in East Millinocket and the state legislature—and describing what he accomplished during a 12-year tenure representing Maine’s second district in Washington, D.C.
Recent polls have showed a tight three-way gubernatorial race between Michaud, Republican incumbent Paul LePage and Eliot Cutler, an independent. Two polls were published last week—one giving Michaud a 42-36 lead over LePage and another showing LePage winning 41-40. Cutler had the support of 16 percent of voters in each poll.
With polls showing Cutler in a distant third, Michaud focused his criticisms on LePage, citing the current governor’s “failed policies” as his reason for entering the governor’s race.“Our biggest liability as a state is our governor,” Michaud said.
Michaud highlighted some of his policy proposals, including investing in renewable energy, his Maine Made jobs plan, and expanding Maine’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.
Medicaid expansion is one of the issues that separates Michaud and LePage most clearly. In April, LePage vetoed a bill that would have expanded Medicaid to over 60,000 low-income Maine residents.
“The expansion offered through Obamacare would have a disastrous impact on Maine’s budget, as well as those truly needy individuals—our disabled and elderly—who rely today on the scarce resources in our program,” LePage wrote at the time.
Michaud told students at Helmreich that there is a “moral responsibility” to expand Maine’s Medicaid program. When one student pushed back, citing LePage’s concern that expansion would be too expensive, Michaud argued that it would actually save money by reducing the number of uninsured patients seeking uncompensated care in emergency rooms.
The federal government would cover 100 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion through 2016, a figure that would decrease to 90 percent by 2022.
Michaud also addressed the closure of the Verso mill, which was announced on October 1. He said that the closure was unfortunate, particularly since each mill job is tied to five to seven other jobs in the state, and said he would find new areas for job growth as governor.
“There definitely are a lot of new opportunities,” he said. “The Maine Technology Institute said if you look at job growth in the state of Maine, it’s actually in the clean, renewable energy sector and they’re good paying jobs.”
The LePage campaign blamed Michaud for the closure, saying that Michaud had stalled the expansion of natural gas pipelines capacity in the state, which drove up energy costs for mills.
In 2013, Michaud voted against H.R. 1900, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, which sought to streamline the process for permitting natural gas projects. Michaud, acting in his capacity as a congressman and not a gubernatorial candidate, explained his vote in a letter he sent to LePage on September 29.
“Ultimately, H.R. 1900 is misguided legislation and would be detrimental to expanding our natural gas infrastructure in a safe and responsible manner, to say nothing of the serious long-term impact the legislation could have on our environment,” Michaud wrote.
At Helmreich, Michaud said that expanding natural gas pipeline capacity was an issue on which Maine’s governor would have to work with other New England governors, and faulted LePage for failing to do so on issues ranging from energy to substance abuse.
“When the New England governors wanted to meet to deal with the drug addiction problem [LePage] refused to meet, said it was just a photo op,” Michaud said. “Well if you take that attitude how do you expect other New England governors to work with you when you need something?”
DeRay McKesson ’07 participates in ‘principled protesting’ in Ferguson
Just after midnight on August 16, DeRay McKesson ’07 was at home in Minneapolis, watching TV coverage of the protests in Ferguson, Mo., when he decided he needed to be part of them. McKesson rented a car the next morning and made the nine-hour trip to Ferguson. He planned on protesting for two days, but ended up taking a full week off from work and staying for nine days.
The protests began on August 9 when police officer Darren Wilson, who is white, shot and killed Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man who was unarmed at the time. Police claim that Brown assaulted Wilson, but numerous witnesses offer conflicting accounts. Several witnesses describe seeing Brown raise his hands above his head just before Wilson fired the shots that proved fatal, an image that inspired one of the protestors’ mantras: “Hands up, don’t shoot."
McKesson, who works for the Minneapolis public school system, said that as someone who works in education, he was immediately struck by one stark reality of Brown’s death.
“There are a lot of great things we can do for kids around opportunity, especially kids from low-income communities,” he said. “But you have to be alive to learn.”
The protests focused on racial inequality and police discrimination against black Americans.“It is centrally about the idea that black lives matter and that Michael Brown’s blackness is not enough for him to be perceived as a deadly threat,” said McKesson, who is black. “Ferguson is a case study in systemic, structural racism.”
McKesson said that a wide range of people took part in the protests. He heard children there asking their parents why Brown was killed and whether or not they should be afraid of the police.
“It was an experience to see parents have to remind their kids that they are worthy members [of society],” McKesson said.
According to McKesson, young adults at the protests thought that they could find themselves in Brown’s position.
“At night in a hoodie, I’m another Trayvon Martin. I am not a Bowdoin grad—I’m a black guy in a hoodie,” he said. “I understand that my blackness is how people experience me first sometimes, for better or for worse, and that’s real.”
Amidst the upheaval that marked his days in Ferguson, McKesson said he was surprised and happy that his time in Ferguson was, as he put it, “a Bowdoin moment.” He spent his first nights in the area on the couch of Ivy Blackmore ’07. He bumped into Priya Sridhar ’07, who was covering the protests for the Associated Press, Will Donahoe ’08, who was protesting, and Kristina Goodwin ’10, who was providing legal aid.
Ferguson schools were closed for a few days during the protests, so volunteers taught children at the local library. McKesson was among them, as was Ross Jacobs ’10.
“It was powerful to see the College’s commitment to the social good play out in such a natural way,” McKesson said.
McKesson began to document the protests via Twitter because he was frustrated that the media—distracted by the shocking optics of the police response—had forgotten the purpose of the demonstrations, which he referred to as “principled protesting.”
Local authorities policed the protests using armored vehicles, hundreds of officers in riot gear, tear gas and rubber bullets. McKesson said the enormity of the police presence was incredible, and that the situation was often terrifying. He once found himself caught between two tear gas canisters. On another night he hid from law enforcement by crawling beneath the steering wheel of his car.
“I never thought in America that I would run and hop fences because I thought police were going to shoot me when I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said.
Despite his fear, McKesson said he always remained committed to the cause.
“You continue to protest because you believe,” he said. “You believe that what’s right outweighs the fear for your own safety.”
McKesson said that the scale of the police response speaks to the protesters’ concerns with racial inequality and structural racism.
“What the police presence does in Ferguson is immediately criminalize blackness,” he said. “The assembly of black people is immediately a criminal moment that requires every police officer in the area.”
The media’s attention has drifted away from Ferguson, but McKesson’s has not. He has returned several times and helps write a daily newsletter about the protest movement at hashtagferguson.org
McKesson said that his experiences in Ferguson have not made him more cynical, but that they have made him more vigilant.
“It was a reminder of the obligation to defend and protect democracy—the concept and reality of democracy—on all fronts,” he said. “There are more Fergusons in America.”
College stands behind aid policy following publication of College Access Index
Director of Student Aid Michael Bartini defended the College’s financial aid policy following the publication of a college access and affordability index by the New York Times’ The Upshot blog. In it, Bowdoin performed only slightly above average.
Bartini said that Bowdoin remains deeply committed to financial aid, not only for low-income students, but also for middle- and upper-middle class students.
“In a broad sense we want to make sure that we can make Bowdoin affordable to anyone who’s admitted,” he said.
The College Access Index included colleges with four-year graduation rates of 75 percent or higher. It calculated a score based on two factors—the percentage of students who received federal Pell grants over the last three years, and the net price paid in 2012-2013 by low-income households, defined as those with annual incomes between $30,000 and $48,000.
At Bowdoin, according to the New York Times, 13 percent of students receive Pell grants and the net price for low-income households is $8,900. Forty-five schools outperformed Bowdoin in the index, including peer institutions Amherst, Haverford, Pomona, Vassar, Wesleyan and Williams.
Since the index considered a narrow income range and statistics related to Pell grants—the vast majority of which are awarded to students from households earning less than $50,000 per year—it does not represent college access and affordability for students across the economic spectrum.
The New York Times admitted that its index has limitations.
“The biggest downside of using the Pell grant as a measure is that it treats students just above the threshold as no different from affluent students,” wrote David Leonhardt, who helped create the index. “A college that enrolls many students from families making $75,000 a year may be somewhat more economically diverse than a college with an identical share of Pell recipients but fewer middle-income students.”
Bowdoin is one of a very small number of colleges and universities that meets 100 percent of demonstrated financial need without loans for all students. Many of the colleges that outperform Bowdoin in the index do not make the same guarantee. Vassar, the highest-ranking school in the index, only guarantees a financial aid package without loans for students from households making less than $60,000 a year, according to the Education Portal.
Students on both the low and high ends of the income spectrum qualify for and receive loan-free financial aid packages at Bowdoin, according to Bartini.
“There are an awful lot of students who are applying for and qualifying for financial aid with family incomes that, quite frankly, are in the six-digit range,” said Bartini. “So you make $150,000, so you make $200,000—if you’ve got two kids at a Bowdoin-like school, that’s pretty difficult.”
Bartini said the College does not have a plan to increase the percentage of students who receive Pell grants.
“I think when you look at the numbers for Pell [grant] recipients, you say to yourself, ‘Oh maybe not so bad, but not so great,’” Bartini said. “But the truth of the matter is that we have lots of students who receive financial aid whose family incomes are quite low. They’re not eligible for Pell [grants], but they’re still going to have trouble without receiving resources.”According to Bartini, 23 percent of Bowdoin students come from households with annual incomes under $45,000—but not all of them qualify for Pell grants.
Kyle Nowak ’15, who pays for his own education, receives a full Pell grant. After factoring in Bowdoin financial aid grants and government grants, he is left to pay just under $5,000 this year.
“I’ve been pretty fortunate—I still have loans—but compared to what it would have been if I went to another school I have significantly fewer loans,” Nowak said.
Some of the financial aid packages that Nowak received from other schools would have required him to pay twice or even three times as much per year.
Nowak said that his aid package has always been fair and that he is grateful for Bowdoin’s support, but questioned the way the College pitches its financial aid program.
“Bowdoin does a lot of broadcasting that we’re a need-based, no-loans school, and there really should be an asterisk by ‘no loan,’” he said.
Bartini said that the no-loans policy means that the College will meet full need without loans, but that families decide for themselves how to pay their share of the cost.
“Some families say to themselves, what’s the best way for me to finance my share, and that’s when they look at student loans or parent loans—because in their particular circumstance it might make the most sense,” he said.
Nowak said that he does see some value in taking out student loans.
“I think taking out a loan is a good thing,” he said. “You need to learn about interest and understand how you need to pay it back and have that responsibility—because you’re going to encounter that a lot in life.”
During high school, Nowak was preparing to travel to New England to visit several Ivy League universities when he received a call from Dave Caputi, head coach of the football team. It was the first time that Nowak had heard of Bowdoin. He said that he thinks the College can do more to reach out to low-income high school students.
“Back home in Minnesota, most people didn’t know what Bowdoin was—the people who knew were people that were affluent,” he said.
Top-ranked field hockey remains unbeaten after three games
Top-ranked women’s field hockey (3-0 NESCAC, 3-0 overall) continued its undefeated start to the regular season this week, beating Amherst 2-1 on Saturday and shutting out Bates 2-0 on Wednesday evening. Both games were played at home.
Rachel Kennedy ’16 was named NESCAC Field Hockey Player of the Week after notching both of the team’s goals against Amherst. She continued in fine form on Wednesday evening, again scoring both of the Polar Bears’ goals. Kennedy has now scored five out of her team’s seven total goals scored this season.
Bowdoin outshot Amherst during the first half on Saturday, but was unable to find the breakthrough goal until shortly before halftime, when Kennedy sped past two defenders in transition and slotted the ball into the left corner of the goal.
Just 36 seconds into the second half, Kennedy struck again. Her long-range shot was deflected to the right side, where Adrienne O’Donnell ’15 recovered the rebound and directed it back to Kennedy, who then bounced the ball into the net.
Amherst caused some anxiety for the Polar Bears in the game’s dying minutes, scoring a penalty shot with fewer than five minutes left in regulation. The Lady Jeffs came close to scoring the tying goal, but goalie Hannah Gartner ’15 made two saves to preserve Bowdoin’s lead.
Head Coach Nicky Pearson said the team was happy with the result, but disappointed to have surrendered a late goal.
“They got one back, and we were disappointed that we had that breakdown,” said Pearson. “That made the end of the game a little too exciting, really.”
Bowdoin’s performance against Bates on Wednesday night was more dominant, with Bates managing only one shot and the Polar Bears racking up 31 shots, 13 of them on goal. Pearson gave credit to Bates’ circle defense, which prevented the Polar Bears’ attack from capitalizing on its abundance of opportunities.
“Looking back on the game, we probably should have scored more,” she said. “There were times when we played into their strengths by going down the middle. In hindsight, we should have gone wider and tried to get in behind them.”
Early in the first half, Colleen Finnerty ’16 used some nifty stick work to wiggle past a defender before finding Kennedy with a pass. From the left side of the circle, Kennedy rolled the ball across the face of goal and into the net.
The second goal came when a free hit found O’Donnell on the end line. O’Donnell passed to Kennedy, who spun away from a defender and fired a no-look reverse shot past Bates' goalie.
The Polar Bears are travelling to Vermont this weekend to take on No. 4 Middlebury, whom they have been defeated by in back-to-back NESCAC championship games—once in overtime and once on penalty strokes.
“We’re excited,” said Pearson. “They’re an incredibly talented team—they are year in and year out. They’re going to challenge us all over the field, in every aspect of our game, so we’re going to have to rise to the occasion.”
Committee publishes job description for next president
The committee searching for President Barry Mills’ successor shared the job description it is providing to applicants and issued a call for nominations in an email sent to members of the Bowdoin community last Friday. Over the summer, the committee hired the firm Isaacson, Miller to assist with the search and conducted information-gathering forums with students, faculty and staff, according to the email.
Isaacson, Miller is an executive recruitment firm that recently consulted for Amherst’s and Williams’ presidential searches.
The job description was written by the recruitment firm and the search committee—which consists of 10 trustees, three faculty members, two students, two staff members and a member of the Alumni Council—and was reviewed by the Board of Trustees.
The document begins with the writings of two former presidents of the College, William DeWitt Hyde’s “Offer of the College” and the portion of Joseph McKeen’s inaugural address that highlights the importance of serving the common good.
The rest of the document consists of a description of the College and a list of the challenges the next president will face.
“I think it is a document that tries to present the College first and foremost to potential candidates for the college presidency, but also to frame the discussion about the College’s aspirations and what objective the next president might lead the College towards,” said Jes Staley ’79, the trustee who is serving as chair of the Presidential Search Committee, in a phone interview with the Orient.
The job description refers to Bowdoin’s upward trajectory five times, with the introductory section stating, “The College seeks a new president who can extend Bowdoin’s trajectory.”Staley said that based on conversations he has had with members of the committee and other members of the Bowdoin community, there is a shared belief that the College is in a good place.
“This is not a college that is in need of a major change because the school is in such terrific shape—the quality of the faculty, the quality of the students, the quality of the residential life, the support of the alumni—as the document underscores, people just want to make sure that we find the best possible candidate to continue what is a pretty extraordinary place,” he said.
The section of the job description titled “Qualifications and Experience” mentions the ability to lead a conversation about the curriculum, an understanding of college governance, and experience working with both faculty and board of trustees. Staley said that those preferred qualifications are not an indication that the committee is only considering applicants working in academia.
“We haven’t set out criteria that limit the range of candidates that the committee can look at,” he said. “Clearly there’s an appreciation by the committee of the value of finding an individual with a deep understanding of academic life and an appreciation for liberal arts education.”
The committee also laid out its expectation that the next president will be able to “engage effectively with the many constituencies of the college, skillfully negotiating different points of view” and “articulate the value of a liberal arts education in the twenty-first century.”
During an interview with the Orient last semester, Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies Tess Chakkalakal, a member of the search committee, said that the second of these abilities is particularly important to her.
“What I’m looking for is someone who really has not just a commitment to the liberal arts in general, but someone who really is on the front line in the current debates regarding our college’s role in training young people to become active citizens and productive in the world,” she said.
The job description praises Mills’ administration for raising funds dedicated to financial aid and diversifying the faculty and student body, and calls on the next president to continue expanding access to the College.
“The new president should extend Bowdoin’s efforts to remain affordable to first-generation and middle-class families, continue efforts to diversify the faculty and staff, and address the academic and social needs of the student population to ensure that every Bowdoin student feels included in the campus culture and is positioned to thrive,” it reads.
Staley said that the committee would keep the College’s commitment to diversity in mind throughout the search process.
“The composition of the search committee tried to reflect the diversity of the Bowdoin community overall,” said Staley. “There’s a deep commitment by the College to embrace diversity, and I think that embracing diversity extends to how the search committee is going to handle its search.”
Staley said that in order to attract the most talented applicants, the committee has to keep the names of candidates confidential. Applicants do not want to risk losing their current jobs by demonstrating a public interest in becoming Bowdoin’s next president.
Withholding the names of candidates is common practice during a college’s presidential search, according to Staley.
The committee has already received nominations and will continue to receive them in the coming weeks.
“We have reviewed a very long list of potential candidates and we are going to be reaching out to dozens and dozens,” said Staley. “These are people that we’re going to be approaching, people that have been recommended to us, and people that have approached us. It is a long list and I’m sure it will be an even longer list as the fall moves forward.”
Yik Yak latest controversial social media platform to hit campus
The app allows anonymous posts, which are often crude, offensive or insulting to individual students.
Yik Yak, a controversial app that allows users to share anonymous posts, called Yaks, with others nearby, has taken hold at the College in recent weeks, with dozens of posts made daily, many of which attack or demean specific organizations, teams or individuals.
The posts range from the inane—“Can I just point out that napping is the best tho”—to the crude, to the racially insensitive. Many of the posts single out individual students negatively: one names a female student and makes claims about the frequency and nature of her sexual encounters. Common subjects for the posts include genitalia, masturbation, hooking up and—most common of all—the football and hockey teams.
Bowdoin has contended with other anonymous message forums in recent years. College Anonymous Confession Board caused a stir in the fall of 2010, when the College hosted several meetings to discuss anonymous speech and support those who had been targeted in the forum.
The app was temporarily disabled in the entire city of Chicago due to school administrators’ bullying concerns, according to The Huffington Post. It has also captured the attention of administrators at Bowdoin, including Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster and Dave Caputi, head coach of the football team.
“It’s the kind of stuff that’s inconsistent with who we are as a community. It’s bullying,” said Foster. “We’re better than that.”
Foster said he is particularly concerned about Yik Yak because it allows for anonymity.“I have really strong feelings about anonymity—this thing to me is a cesspool,” he said. “Freedom of speech doesn’t assure anonymity. If you want to say something, put your name behind it.”
Foster said he does not plan on asking Yik Yak to disable service on campus, as countless high schools have done across the country, but said that students could face consequences for their posts.
“If someone came to me with evidence of a particular person being responsible, it could be actionable. If it’s offensive, threatening—I wouldn’t hesitate to act,” he said.
The football team, which is the subject of many posts, was told by its coach to stop using Yik Yak, according to several members of the team. Caputi declined to comment for this story.
One sophomore football player, who asked to remain anonymous because of his coach’s request, said he was among the first Bowdoin students to use Yik Yak. He and his friends began posting inside jokes about three weeks ago, but they began to have reservations as the app’s popularity grew.
“Some of my friends started to delete it because they thought it’s getting too big and some of the posts are kind of messed up,” he said. “They just wanted to get out.”
The football player, who recently deleted all of his Yaks, said there was a clear message at the meeting where the football team was asked to delete the app.
“It was just like, some things shouldn’t be said ever, and when you put something out there anonymously, it’s a cowardly move,” he said. “There’s no respect for someone like that.”
Monty Barker ’16 has been the subject of countless Yaks, including: “Is Monty a narp?” “Monty wears a bathing suit in the shower;” “Just caught Monty sniffing my bicycle seat;” and “Monty is friend and id appreciate it if you guys would stop.”
Barker said he is unconcerned by all the attention.
“I don’t mind it that much, to be quite honest,” said Barker. “I know the people who are writing them, and I think it’s funny.”
For the record, Barker is indeed a NARP (a term that stands for “non-athletic regular person”).
“I don’t play on a sports team,” he said.
Brunswick not exempt from New England opiate epidemic
A look into heroin and prescription addiction in Brunswick, where 95 percent of local crimes are drug related
They are among Brunswick’s stay-at-home moms, its career criminals, its 50-year-old businessmen—even its high school students—and they all have at least one thing in common. They are Brunswick’s heroin and prescription opiate addicts.
The opiate addiction epidemic has gained national attention in the past year as the number of fatal heroin overdoses has skyrocketed, particularly in New England. In January, Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont dedicated his entire State of the State address to the problem. In March, Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts declared opiate abuse a public health emergency.In his own State of the State speech in January, Maine Governor Paul LePage called drug use a “troubling epidemic,” and said that 927 babies in the state—more than 7 percent of all newborns—were born addicts in 2013.
LePage had been hesitant to approve the distribution of nalaxone—an overdose reversal drug—fearing that it would give addicts a false sense of security. Last week, after intense criticism from lawmakers, health professionals and the media, LePage finally approved a bill that allows family members of addicts to receive the potentially life-saving drug.
Everyone the Orient interviewed for this article—a substance abuse counselor, the director of the outpatient behavioral health at Mid Coast Hospital, Brunswick police officers, a defense attorney, and a psychologist—said that Maine’s opiate problem is not unique to certain cities, ethnicities, ages, or socioeconomic levels. Addiction exists everywhere, Brunswick included.Addiction
The most common path to heroin addiction begins with medicinal or recreational use of prescription painkillers like Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet. These powerful drugs are often prescribed to patients following surgeries and can quickly lead to dependence.
“One of the fastest growing populations for addicts in the opiate world is adults who have had surgeries, weren’t recreational drug users, and now are breaking into their neighbor’s house going through their medicine cabinets because they’re desperate for drugs,” said Geno Ring, a licensed substance abuse counselor who works both with Bowdoin students and at Brunswick High School.
“Nothing on their radar prepared them for this happening in their lives. They’re married. They’ve got kids. They’ve got careers—and all of a sudden they’re spiraling out of control,” said Ring.
Yet it is not only adults developing opiate dependence through prescribed drugs. Sixty-seven percent of teens receiving treatment for opiate addiction were prescribed painkillers in the previous year, according to the American Society for Addiction Medicine.
Director of Outpatient Behavioral Health at Mid Coast Hospital Eric Haram said that failing to dispose of unused pills also poses a risk, since teenagers will often find them and use them for recreational purposes. Most teenagers fail to realize the risks involved, or simply feel invincible, but Haram said everybody is vulnerable when it comes to opiates.
“Nobody chooses to be an addict; nobody wants to have track marks all over, be losing their kids, be losing their teeth…Black teeth are a tough thing to see in the morning at the jail,” said Brunswick defense attorney Chris Ledwick ’95.
“Opiates always produce physical dependence. It’s not one of those things that doesn’t happen to people—it’s simple biology,” added Haram.
Ledwick said that in the last five years, about 70 percent of the drug cases he had seen were based on legal drugs and prescription pills.
“Anyone who goes into a surgery comes home with 50 pills for getting a tooth pulled. It’s crazy,” he said. “So you can have a grandparent with 500-pill bottles in their houses, and the nephew, grandson, stepson, they know about it and that’s how they get hooked on this stuff.”
The progression from occasional recreational use of painkillers to addiction can be rapid.
“The way it usually works for people is that they’re using this once or twice a month at parties, and then it’s once a week, and then it’s three to five times a week, and then they’re an addict,” said Haram. “I’ve heard that story thousands of times in the last few years.”
He said the number of patients he sees has doubled to 800 in the past seven years. In the past year, about 200 of those patients were Brunswick residents.
Responses to the rise in painkiller addiction have included reducing availability and reformulating pills like Oxy 30 to make them more difficult to abuse. An unintended consequence of these changes has been a spike in the use of heroin—a cheaper, more accessible and often more potent alternative.
“It’s a demand issue no matter how you put it,” Haram said. “When you restrict access to pain medication, you haven’t reduced the volume of addiction; you haven’t reduced the demand in a community for that high.”
Since heroin is an illegal substance with an established social stigma, newspapers and politicians tend to devote more attention to it than painkillers. But from a treatment and public health perspective, Haram said, there is no difference.
“Opiates are opiates,” Haram said. “There’s social stigma associated with [heroin]—did you get that Oxy from your mom’s medicine cabinet or did you get heroin in the alley—so it sounds much graver.”
The likelihood of an accidental overdose from heroin and prescription painkillers is the same, according to Haram.Treatment
Brunswick is home to one of the country’s most effective addiction treatment centers. The Addiction Resource Center at Mid Coast Hospital, which Haram oversees, has won national awards for improving patient outcomes using science-based approaches. According to Mid Coast’s website, the Center’s approach has reduced wait times from 11 to two-and-a-half days and improved its treatment completion rate from 60 to 94 percent.
Treatment for opiate addiction generally includes detoxification, followed by counseling and the controlled use of medications like Methadone or Buprenorphine (often referred to by the brand name Suboxone). These medications act on the same parts of the brain as heroin and can reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
The Center uses BASIS-24, a computerized outcome measurement tool, to evaluate its effectiveness. Patients are asked questions halfway through treatment and every 90 days thereafter.Their responses receive scores in six categories—depression and functioning, emotional lability, psychosis, relationships, self-harm and substance abuse—as well as an overall score. The scores of Mid Coast’s patients are then compared to the scores of similar patient populations around the country.
Mid Coast performs in the top two percent of treatment centers nationally, which makes it competative with well-known counterparts like the Cleveland Clinic, the Hazelden Foundation and the Caron Foundation.
“People pay 40 grand up front for going to places like this,” Haram said. “We’re a publicly funded, community hospital and can produce those same kind of outcomes, but treatment where I work might cost four grand.”
Despite a sharp increase in the number of addicts over the last decade, public funding for Maine’s Office of Substance Abuse—which funds treatment centers like the one at Mid Coast—was lower in fiscal year 2012 ($26.7 million) than it was in fiscal year 2006 ($29 million). In the same time period, the number of Mainers seeking treatment for opiate abuse increased from 3,023 in 2006 to 4,697 in 2012, according to the Maine Office of Substance Abuse.
Haram’s primary problem has been meeting the demand for treatment.
“The number of beds, the number of detox, the number of outpatient slots—just the number of treatment slots in general—gets cut every year,” he said. “Certain medicines that are available to treat opiate dependence that are FDA [approved]—this administration has reduced access to those medications specifically.”
Providing access to treatment became even harder this January, when cuts to Maine’s Medicaid program kicked in. Haram says that about 15 percent of his patients, or roughly 100 people in the greater Brunswick area, lost their health care coverage.
“Typically what happens is those people drop out of treatment and return to street use,” Haram said.Law Enforcement
The opiate addiction epidemic has caused problems for the Brunswick Police Department (BPD) as well. Detective Richard Cutliffe, who works with BPD and the Drug Enforcement Agency, estimated that 95 percent of all crime in Brunswick is drug related. He said that other than marijuana, heroin is now the most commonly used illicit substance in town.
There have been several arrests for trafficking heroin in Brunswick over the last year, including that of Angel Quinones of Connecticut last May. Sergeant Marty Rinaldi of BPD told the Bangor Daily News at the time that Quinones was “a substantial dealer in the area.”
Brunswick’s central location offers one explanation for these trafficking arrests.
“We live on the Route 1 corridor. You’ve got I-95 and you’ve got Route 1. So anybody who’s traveling to bring their drugs anywhere, you’ve got to come through Brunswick,” said School Resource Officer Aaron Bailey, who works for BPD at Brunswick High School.
Once drug offenders enter the legal system, however, district attorneys attempt to differentiate between career criminals and addicts who are simply desperate to continue funding their use.
“When someone’s on probation for a year or two and fails a drug test, the old response used to be to throw them in jail for 30 days…Their life falls apart, and they start using drugs again,” Bailey said. “Probation has been a little ahead of the curve, especially in Cumberland County, about looking at other ways to deal with it, like having graduated sanctions.”
LePage and law enforcement are concerned that recovering addicts will abandon their treatment programs and either abuse or sell synthetic opiates meant for medical use like methadone and Suboxone, a pattern experts call diversion. This has been cited as a reason for limiting access to these drugs; Haram said that he spends around half his time working to prevent it.
“Making people show up to count their medicine, by doing observed urines, by controlling the size of the prescription, that they can only get it at one pharmacy—these are all strategies we use to prevent diversion,” he said.
Diversion mitigation plans are required by law, but Haram said Mid Coast’s is “way more robust than most.” He meets on a weekly basis with Brunswick, Bath and Lincoln County Police to discuss drug and crime issues.
“The first question at every meeting: Have you arrested anybody who had medicine that we prescribed? And month after month after month after month the answer is no,” Haram said.
According to Ledwick, however, these synthetic opiates are a major problem, particularly in Maine’s prisons.
“Suboxone is the big thing right now…We’re really struggling with it right now, almost more than Oxy’s in this region. If you talk to anyone in [the Maine Department of Corrections], that’s the bane of their existence,” he said. “People melt them onto the pages of the letters they send in; they melt them into the glue of envelope, and [inmates] can reactivate them once they’re in there. It’s very easy to hide...You can fit a lot of those strips inside a body. And people get pretty creative with that.”
Ledwick explained that the accessibility of drugs like Suboxone in prison makes it a place where recovering addicts are likely to relapse.
“There used to be this notion that at least if they’re in jail, they won’t be able to do drugs. And that’s just not the case anymore, especially in Cumberland County,” he said. “A lot of my clients will tell me there’s more readily accessible drugs in the jail than there are on the street.”
That is just one of the reasons that people like Ledwick and Haram think that the criminal justice system alone cannot end the opiate epidemic.
“We won’t arrest ourselves out of this problem,” Haram said. “It really is both a public health problem and a public safety problem. We need to expand treatment while at the same time getting smarter about law enforcement strategy.”
Peace Corps volunteer Daven Karp '12 evacuated from Ukraine
Karp challenges the conflict's portrayal in American media; plans to return as soon as he can
Daven Karp ’12 was evacuated from Ukraine on February 23 after protests throughout the country turned violent and the removal of President Viktor Yanukovych threatened further destabilization. Karp had been in Ukraine with the Peace Corps since September 2012, teaching English in Voznesensk, a small Russian-speaking city in the south of the country.
Protests began in Ukraine on November 21, when the president announced the government’s decision to abandon a plan to strengthen its connection to the European Union and instead ally itself more closely with Russia. The largest protests took place in Kiev’s Independence Square, and grew rapidly in the face of a severe government crackdown.
The evacuation process for the Peace Corps began on Thursday, February 20, a day when government security forces shot and killed dozens of protestors in Kiev, and violence spread throughout the city, according to The New York Times.
“All the volunteers went to one point where we waited in a safe house for a couple days,” said Karp. “On Sunday, we all drove actually to Crimea, a few days before it got taken over.”
Crimea, a peninsula on the southern coast of Ukraine, is currently occupied by thousands of armed men in unmarked uniforms, widely believed to be working for Russia. The uniformed men first appeared in Crimea on February 27 at Simferopol International Airport, where Karp had boarded a flight only four days earlier.
Karp said that since returning to the U.S. he has noticed that media coverage of the conflict does not reflect his experiences.
“In the American media you get one picture of the protest,” he said. “The conception is that Ukrainians wanted to go toward Europe and the president and his allies sort of steered away from that, and that was what sparked the uprising, but in my experience that has almost nothing to do with it.”
Karp said the real spark for the upheaval was the violent crackdown that began on November 30. The original protest was relatively small, according to Karp, until Ukrainians began to see the government as oppressive.
“It immediately turned into a protest against the regime, rather than in favor of Russia or Europe,” Karp said.
Karp said this was especially true in his city, Voznesensk, where demonstrations were originally in support of the government and its move to strengthen ties with Russia, but eventually changed into anti-government protests.
“The violence was the real trigger, and public opinion where I lived switched over the course of a week, as soon as the police and the interior ministry…started to crack down on the protests,” Karp said.
On Febraury 20, as Kiev descended into bloody chaos, protestors in Voznesensk took over the city’s administration building and pulled down a statue of Lenin, according to Karp. Despite the upheaval, he never felt endangered.
The other misconception Karp identified was the notion that Russian-speaking Ukrainian soldiers in the east and south would defect and side with Russia. One of Karp’s good friends is a major in the Ukrainian army, and the two spoke over the phone on Monday.
“He said he was with his unit and they were on the move, and he said, ‘We’re ready; we’re ready for war,’” Karp said. “This is coming from Russian-speaking Ukrainians from where I live…all of these Ukrainians—many of them even are ethnic Russians—they are firmly behind Ukraine and are willing to die for their country, for the Ukrainian flag.”
The Peace Corps has established a 45-day window in which volunteers will be able to return to Ukraine if the situation stabilizes. At the end of that window, if the situation is still considered unsafe, the volunteers’ commitments to the Peace Corps will be over.
“I’ll be back in Ukraine whether with the Peace Corps, or on day 46 as soon as Peace Corps would theoretically be disbanded,” Karp said.
Karp said his life is still in Ukraine, and he promised his friends, students and colleagues that he would return.
“I looked them in the eye and I promised them, I will be back as soon as I possibly can, whether it’s with the Peace Corps or just as a normal American civilian,” Karp said.
College complies with federal law, adjusts financial aid instructions
The College recently changed its online financial aid instructions to ensure that they comply with federal law, according to Director of Student Aid Michael Bartini.
The changes came after Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on February 3.
In the letter, Cummings alleged that 111 institutions were violating federal law by requiring applicants for federal aid to fill out forms in addition to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), or by failing to make clear that only the FAFSA was required.
Young to depart for Blake School in Minn.
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Jarrett Young ’05 will leave the College at the end of the academic year to take a position at the Blake School in Minneapolis. Kim Pacelli, senior associate dean of student affairs, notified the campus of Young’s decision in an email sent Tuesday evening.
Young, who has worked at the College for four years, will fill the role of Upper School Grade Dean at the Blake School, where he will also teach history.
“This is a great opportunity to merge two things I really love, which are classroom teaching and also working in student support,” Young said.
Talk of the Quad: Living humbly for a cause
Even after two years spent working towards a Bowdoin English major and thousands of hours curled in a ball in Massachusetts Hall reading Victorian novelists, African-American poets, French deconstructionist theorists and—my personal favorite—Indian writers writing in English, the passage that most resonates with me is still one I read in high school.
It doesn’t come from a novel that carries much intellectual cachet. It’s not old and dense like Joseph Conrad or Leo Tolstoy; it’s not postmodern and trendy like George Saunders or David Foster Wallace; it speaks more to naiveté than sophistication.
That’s part of what makes it so important, not just for me, I think, but for our generation. The novel is J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, published in 1951. It’s the quintessential book for angsty, disaffected teens, and although I was more happy-go-lucky and innocent than brooding and rebellious in tenth grade, I—like millions of high school students before me—was taken with its narrator, one Holden Caulfield.
Divestment: Bowdoin Climate Action stages protest on Quad
Members of Bowdoin Climate Action (BCA) constructed a makeshift “climate camp” on the Main Quad Wednesday night, in hopes of pressuring the College’s Board of Trustees to meet with the group next week to discuss divesting the endowment from fossil fuels.
Sarah Nelson ’14, who took over as president of Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) Wednesday evening, informed BCA at around 5:30 p.m. yesterday that it could not have a demonstration on College property without written permission, and asked the students to dismantle the camp by 7 p.m. In response, BCA agreed to lose its status as a chartered student organization in order to prolong the protest.
A statement on the website of the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs explains, “No person shall utilize the College’s property, including photographic reproductions of its property, for commercial, business, political or public purposes without express written consent.”
Boston tragedy weighs on College community
The terror and violence of Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon continued in the early hours of this morning, after one of the two suspects allegedly shot and killed a MIT police officer in Cambridge, Mass., according to a press release from the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.
The suspects then allegedly committed an armed carjacking in Cambridge; police officers pursued the stolen vehicle into Watertown, exchanging gunfire with the suspects, who reportedly threw explosives in their direction. One of the suspects received a severe injury during the pursuit and was brought to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the release.
After an hours-long manhunt, police were still searching for the second suspect in the bombings in the Boston suburb of Watertown as the Orient went to press. Residents of Watertown have been advised not to leave their homes, and law enforcement and media have swarmed the city.
Survey shows financial aid does not affect academic performance
Between the 2001-02 and 2011-12 academic years, the College increased its funding for need-based financial aid grants from roughly $10.4 million to approximately $27.2 million.
Financial aid and grade point average (GPA) have no correlation, according to a nonscientific survey conducted by the Orient, to which 395 students responded.
The survey asked students about their academic success as it related to their financial and work situations.
Crack House burglarized for second time, thousands of dollars in valuables stolen
A burglar stole thousands of dollars worth of property from 83 ½ Harpswell Road—colloquially referred to as Crack House—while its residents played lacrosse games at Middlebury and Williams last weekend.
Chelsea Fernandez-Gold ’13 discovered the theft when she went to the house to drop off something for her boyfriend, Max Rosner ’13.
“She walked in and the house was kind of disheveled and things were all over the place and she noticed that the TV was missing,” said Connor Handy ’13, a Crack House resident.
Student anxiety rises to highest levels
A record number of students sought the help of Counseling Services last semester, when counselors held 1,823 appointments with 291 students, compared to 1,282 counseling sessions with 259 students last fall.
Bernie Hershberger, director of counseling services, said that roughly 45 percent of students visit counseling during their time at Bowdoin, and, in any given year, 25 percent do so. Larger colleges and universities see approximately eight percent of their students in a year, according to Hershberger.
Of the 544 respondents to the Orient’s survey of drug use and mental health, 152 students reported that they had received counseling at Bowdoin since the start of the academic year. Twenty-six students reported seeking counseling elsewhere.
Karen Mills to step down as SBA administrator
Upated Feb. 18
Karen Mills, wife of President Barry Mills, announced this morning that she is stepping down as administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA).“After four years as Administrator of the SBA, I have let President Obama know that I will not be staying for a second term. I will stay on until my successor is confirmed to ensure a smooth and seamless transition,” Mills wrote in a message to SBA colleagues.As SBA administrator, Mills worked to support small businesses and entrepreneurs nationwide. President Obama appointed Mills to the position in January 2009, and elevated her to the cabinet in January 2012. Prior to joining the Obama administration, Mills served as president of the MMP Group, a private equity firm based in Brunswick. She is also a founding partner of the private equity firm Solera Capital.
Mills is considered a potential candidate for Maine’s 2014 gubernatorial race, but said she had not yet considered a future political career.
Divestment: 1.4 percent of College’s endowment invested in fossil fuels
In the past few months, divestment has evolved from a burgeoning movement on a handful of college campuses to a nationwide effort, though only three schools have agreed to divest their endowments from fossil fuels thus far. At Bowdoin, members of Green Bowdoin Alliance (GBA) have scaled up their efforts to push the College on the issue, and submitted a formal proposal last week that urges President Barry Mills and the Board of Trustees to divest from the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies within the next five years. In a joint statement provided to the Orient on Wednesday, Mills and Paula Volent, senior vice president for investments, wrote that approximately 1.4 percent of Bowdoin’s endowment is invested in these 200 companies. The College invests in them through large commingled funds that contain hundreds of other stocks. Divesting from fossil fuels would require a turnover of over 25 percent of the endowment, according to the statement.
Asst. women’s hockey coach charged with OUI after crashing SUV into Druckenmiller Hall
The Brunswick Police Department (BPD) arrested Holly Lorms, assistant coach of the women’s ice hockey team, around 10:45 p.m. Sunday night on suspicion that she had crashed her SUV while under the influence of alcohol, according to the Bangor Daily News. Lorms’ Lexus SUV veered off of Sills Drive, crossed a divider—narrowly missing several trees—drove over a portion of the Polar Loop parking lot, and crashed into the east side of Druckenmiller Hall. On Monday afternoon, dark black tire marks were visible on Sills Drive. A small section of bricks had been dislodged from the wall of Druckenmiller Hall. Lorms, Interim Athletic Director Tim Ryan, and women's ice hockey Head Coach Marissa O’Neil all declined comment.
Talk of the Quad: Bowdoin history: Bearly remembered
On January 13, Madison Whitley ’13, Orient co-business manager, spotted a hat in SeaWorld’s San Diego store that featured a polar bear with a striking resemblance to the College’s mascot. She tweeted a photo to @bowdoincollege, and by January 18 the College had started investigating SeaWorld for possible violations of trademark and copyright law. If SeaWorld did indeed steal the image of the Bowdoin Polar Bear, it also stole a part of Bowdoin’s soul. The College relies heavily on polar bear symbolism and metaphor. Any ensuing legal battle will be a struggle to reclaim the College’s primary means of representing itself, and a key component of its institutional identity.
Post-election, work begins for King, Equality Maine
Maine voters made history last Tuesday when they elected Angus King to the United States Senate and approved same-sex marriage. Both historic moments marked the culmination of hard-fought campaigns, but neither King nor marriage equality advocates had much time to rest after last week’s victories. King announced on Wednesday that he would caucus with the Democrats, after discussions with Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, fellow Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, and other members of Congress. The Boston Globe reported yesterday that King hopes for a seat on the Senate Finance Committee, an assignment that is not typically given to freshmen senators.
Obama, King elected, same-sex marriage passes
Students watching election results in Jack Magee’s Pub erupted in cheers when NBC News declared Barack Obama the winner of the presidential election on Tuesday night. The results of local races and ballot measures—two of which made national headlines—also prompted celebrations from most students in the crowd.
Maine approved same-sex marriage with roughly 53 percent of voters residents voting “yes” on Question 1. In Brunswick, over 67 percent of voters supported the measure. Maine, along with Maryland and Washington, became the first state to institute same-sex marriage by popular vote.
Jordan Lantz ’15 interned on Mainers United for Marriage’s campaign for a “yes” vote on Question 1. He said campaign staffers felt not joy, but relief when they heard the result.
76 percent of students to vote Obama, poll finds
Seventy-six percent of Bowdoin students will cast their votes for Barack Obama in next Tuesday’s presidential election, while 16 percent will vote for Mitt Romney, according to an unscientific poll conducted by the Orient. Two percent of students plan to vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson, one percent for Green Part candidate Jill Stein, and three percent remain undecided. The poll, which was distributed via email and digest post, received 719 responses between October 29 and November 1.
Kristof discusses global oppression of women
Nicholas Kristof spoke to a packed crowd at Pickard Theater last night about his 2009 book, “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.” The book—co-authored by his wife, Sheryl WuDunn—explores what Kristof refers to as “the central moral challenge of the 21st century,” combatting the oppression and effective enslavement of women and girls around the world.
‘Century bond’ sale raises $128.5 million
Bowdoin took steps to secure its financial stability over the next century when it sold $128.5 million worth of taxable bonds this past summer. The College will repay these bonds at a historically low interest rate of 4.69 percent, and the payment is due on July 1, 2112.
Cornell du Houx ’06 will not return to Maine state legislature
Alex Cornell du Houx ’06, Brunswick’s representative in the state legislature, announced that he would not seek re-election on June 29. Cornell du Houx’s re-election bid had been mired by allegations from his former fiancé, Representative Erin Herbig of Belfast, who claimed that he had stalked and threatened her in a temporary protection from abuse order.
Rep. Cornell du Houx ’06 denies former girlfriend’s accusations
State Representative Erin Herbig has received a protection from abuse order against her colleague and former boyfriend Rep. Alexander Cornell du Houx, who graduated from Bowdoin in 2008 and represents Brunswick. According to The Bangor Daily News, Herbig's court statement alleged that du Houx stalked her, secretly photographed her while she slept, and threatened to commit suicide after the couple broke up early this year.
Students possessing fake IDs charged for forgery
Two Bowdoin students were charged with forgery after they reportedly attempted to buy alcohol with fraudelent IDs on Saturday night. A clerk at Rite Aid suspected that the two Maine driver's licenses the students produced were fake, and contacted the Brunswick Police Department (BPD). The officer who arrived on the scene detained the two students in the parking lot and confiscated the IDs, which were of high quality and allegedly purchased online. The police have also charged a third student, whose ID was seized at Rite Aid in January. The two students apprehended Saturday were also charged with possession of alcohol by minors. In the past, the police have opted for the charge of possessing a fraudulent ID card, rather than the criminal offense of possessing a forged document.
Brunswick resident arrested with marijuana, guns
The Brunswick Police Department (BPD) discovered 126 marijuana plants, along with numerous semiautomatic weapons and ballistic vests, large amounts of cash, and dozens of illegal prescription pills when it attempted to arrest Brunswick resident Aaron Fickett on unrelated charges during a March 12 visit to his apartment. Officers Kristian Oberg and Matthew Swan were on a routine patrol when they happened to run the license plate of Fickett, 27. They found an outstanding warrant for his arrest, issued when he failed to appear in court for charges of carrying a concealed weapon and refusing to submit to arrest.
Snowe will not seek re-election, King undecided
Maine senator cites lack
United States Senator Olympia Snowe shocked the Maine political scene on Tuesday when she announced that she would not seek re-election in November. Her decision prompted a flurry of speculation as to who would run for her seat. The senator made her announcement in a written statement, citing "an atmosphere of polarization and 'my way or the highway' ideologies" as the motivating forces behind her decision.
Committee proposes chem-free changes
A committee charged with examining chem-free housing published recommendations this week for how to improve the system. If adopted, the proposed changes would alter the residential and social landscape for first year students. Under the current system, Hyde Hall is a chem-free living space and all incoming first year students who elect to live chem-free are placed there. The College, however, has no strict definition for the term chem-free.
BSG to launch Uncommon Hour based on TED talks
Common Hour's monopoly on Friday lectures will soon come to an end with the start of Bowdoin Student Government's "Uncommon Hour." The program is styled after TED talks, a series of lectures featuring thinkers who are behind breakthroughs in science and cultural studies.
Vassar College accidentally admits 76 students under ED II
Seventy-six would-be members of the Vassar College Class of 2016 had to put a cork in their festivities last Friday after finding out that the college had, in fact, not intended to offer them admission.
Faculty nix proposal to extend break 47-28
Thanksgiving break will remain an eat-and-run affair after the faculty voted on Monday to keep the College's time off for turkey a brief three days. Had it passed, the proposal would have extended Thanksgiving break—which currently starts on a Wednesday—to a full week.
Sexual allegations stir Colby
Controversy has enveloped Colby College in wake of allegations of sexual assault involving multiple members of its football team. The Colby administration has disclosed neither when the alleged assault took place, nor the details of it, but suspended three football players on November 11, just one day prior to the game between Colby and Bowdoin. The school did not explicitly state that the players were responsible for the alleged assault.
Faculty to debate extending Thanksgiving break
Fall break would be shortened by one day to allow a new weeklong Thanksgiving break
Students who hail from far-flung corners of the country and cannot travel home for the Thanksgiving holiday can take heart in a proposal put forward to the faculty on Monday.
Baxter wins ‘Do it in the Dark,’ alleges sabotage
"Let there not be light" was the refrain in Baxter House throughout the month of October, when the house was competing in the 10th annual "Do it in the Dark" Energy Conservation Dorm Competition. The motto paid off —Baxter House took away the prize, boasting a 40 percent reduction in energy use. Moore Hall won among first year dorms with a reduction of 26 percent, and Baxter and West Hall were winners for largest reduction between affiliates.
After robbery, Variety Deli increases security measures
The Brunswick Variety Deli increased its security measures following its September 29 burglary. During the early morning hours of that day, a burglar pried open the rear door of the deli, stealing change, cigarettes, and a safe containing $4,500.
Bowdoin Brief: Brunswick Variety Deli burglarized Thursday a.m.
Burglars allegedly pried open the rear door of the Brunswick Variety Deli early Thursday morning, stealing cigarettes, change, and a drop safe with a combination.
Bowdoin Cable Network adds online streaming
The Bowdoin Cable Network (BCN) is going online. BCN General Manager Lidey Heuck '13 confirmed that, starting this semester, the network's movie content will be made available on-demand on the Internet.