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.