White House report targets sexual assault on college campuses
Bowdoin already has many of the recommendations in place. Tufts risks losing federal aid after Title IX investigation into sexual assault mishandling.
The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault released a report on Tuesday that suggested a number of policies for preventing and addressing sexual assault. According to Meadow Davis, associate dean of student affairs and deputy Title IX coordinator, the College already has strong policies in place in the areas the report identified.
“The bottom line, I would say, is that we’re always looking for ways to make what we do better and stronger, and we will look through the specifics of this and what the best practices are and what they’re recommending,” Davis said. “In the overall spectrum, we have most of the programs and practices already in place, but this is a great opportunity to look and see what other schools are doing.”
The White House report called for campus climate surveys about sexual assault, heightened bystander training and prevention strategies, and improved responses when sexual assaults do occur. Davis highlighted Bowdoin’s health and wellness survey (which contains a sexual assault component), its numerous student groups and training programs for sexual assault prevention and advocacy, and the review process that takes place following any sexual assault case.
“At the end of all of our processes, we always give people the opportunity to check back in and let us know what parts of the process worked for them,” she said.
The report also recommended increased transparency of complaints and investigations for Title IX, the law barring sex discrimination in education. The report states that the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) will release all resolution letters resulting from Title IX lawsuits and the Department of Justice will post all federal court filings relating to Title IX complaints. Before 2011, the focus of the Title IX was on equality in athletics. However, following the “Dear Colleague” letter from the Department of Education in 2011—which clearly linked Title IX to sexual assault—many schools, according to Davis, had to scramble to meet the requirements, many of which are still unclear to some institutions.
“Before 2011, many schools didn’t even have sexual assault policies,” said Davis. “Though Title IX had been in effect since 1970s, the focus wasn’t on the sexual assault stuff. The framing of it in 2011 was that there’s also this piece…around sexual assault.”
On Thursday, the Department of Education released a list of the 55 colleges with open and ongoing Title IX investigations. Amherst was the only NESCAC school with an ongoing investigation, although on Monday the Department of Education concluded that Tufts University was not complying with federal regulations on addressing sexual assault following a previous investigation.
Tufts is currently in contention with the OCR over the results of a four-year Title IX investigation triggered by a student complaint filed in 2010. During the years of the investigation, Tufts made various changes to its sexual assault policies. In early April, the University entered into a voluntary agreement with the OCR stating that it would come to compliance with Title IX policies.
However, on April 26, Tufts withdrew its signature from the agreement.
Tufts rescinded the agreement after the OCR determined that the revamped policies—not just those that were in place at the time the Title IX complaint was filed—were not up to code. The Tufts administration denied that the University is currently in violation of Title IX, and said it believes that it made sufficient changes in the period since the complaint.
If Tufts does not improve its policies so that they meet the OCS’s expectations, it risks losing federal aid.
The OCR-Tufts agreement reflected a standard arrangement for solving violations, according to Davis.
However, Tufts is the first institution that has withdrawn from an agreement. Though the next steps following that retraction remain unclear, the OCR will work with Tufts in an attempt to remedy the issue.
Sluggish wireless prompts IT to complete update of all access points
Information Technology (IT) and Cisco completed an update of over 500 wireless access points and two controllers Thursday night in response to recent wireless issues, IT announced in an email to students Friday afternoon.
According to Chief Information Officer for IT services Mitch Davis, Bowdoin has been aware of various power related issues and inconsistences over the past few weeks and has been in conversation with Cisco regarding the problems.
"We were providing Cisco with logs of our equipment because they didn't know about it,” said Davis. “They’ve recently begun to see the inconsistencies and the problems and came to us with a new patch that was supposed to fix it."
Cisco estimated that the update, completed Thursday night, would take about ten minutes; however, according to Davis, it took closer to an hour.
“They didn't consider that there would be 2000 people using the network when we tried to do the update, so that slowed it down,” he said.
Davis said that he hopes students are proactive and report dead spots on campus to IT.
“It looks like the power problem is solved,” he said, “but I’m not convinced the whole problem is solved.”
Students can report wireless issues online through the Information Technology Advisory Council website, according to the campus email.
Cold snap leads to $20,000 damage in Memorial Hall
On the night of January 4 and 5, while the majority of students were home for break, sprinkler heads burst in Memorial Hall, flooding the east-facing stairway with water and causing about $20,000 worth of damage.
According to Jeff Tuttle, associate director of facilities operation and maintenance, the extreme cold caused the sprinklers to freeze and then pop. The first round burst around midnight on January 4, and a second group burst in the early hours of January 5.
Tuttle said that the cold winter weather is usually accompanied by a host of issues. However, while Facilities Management always expects a number of small problems, Tuttle said that the flooding in Memorial Hall was certainly abnormal.
A look into disordered eating at Bowdoin
Last week, the Orient circulated an anonymous survey to students investigating health and eating at Bowdoin.
Of the 538 respondents, 61 percent were female and 39 percent were male. Eighty-four percent of students said that they felt Bowdoin created a healthy eating environment, while 55 percent of female students reported that they think they need to lose weight, and 45 percent of female students were worried about a friend’s eating habits. Six percent of students reported that they had been diagnosed with an eating disorder.
According to Director of Health Services Sandra Hayes, issues of disordered eating are more complicated than a black-and-white diagnosis.
3 bias incidents spur inquiries, discussion
Students reported three bias incidents to the College over the past week, triggering a wave of responses that included a meeting of the Bias Incident Committee, investigations by the Brunswick Police Department (BPD) and Bowdoin security, and a forum for discussion with student leaders and faculty on the issues.
The incidents reported include two cases of malevolent racial symbols and language found on a whiteboard at Brunswick Apartments and a homophobic comment—which escalated to physical violence—made to a student outside Joshua’s Restaurant and Tavern.
According to Director of Security Randy Nichols, security is working with BDP on their investigation of the incident outside of Joshua’s and is investigating the bias incidents at the Brunswick Apartments internally.
Two students arrested in 24 hours for drunk driving
The Brunswick Police Department (BPD) arrested two Bowdoin students for drunk driving last Sunday, according to Bowdoin Security. The two students, aged 20 and 21, were charged with operating under the influence (OUI).
In both cases, Bowdoin Security was directly involved.
The first incident occurred at 12:40 a.m. on Sunday. According to Director of Security Randy Nichols, Bowdoin security officers and officers of the BPD were at the intersection of Coffin Street and Longfellow Avenue on an unrelated call.
Baxter House floods after pipe bursts
On Sunday at around 12:30 a.m, a student at a registered event in the basement of Baxter House broke a sprinkler pipe on the ceiling, which set off the fire alarm and flooded the room with about five inches of water.
“I saw someone jump up, and as soon as they made contact with the pipe, it snapped,” said Matt Friedland ’15. “There was a big hissing sound, and people were screaming because [the pipes] sprayed on them. Everyone freaked out and went upstairs.”
Assistant Director of Residential Life Chris Rossi and multiple Baxter House residents have confirmed that the responsible party has come forward; however, no name has been released.
Brunswick Police Department to change location
This coming October, the Brunswick Police Department will move to the new, 20,000 square foot station building currently under construction at the corner of Pleasant and Stanwood Streets. It is currently housed in a 4,000 square foot space in the basement of the Town of Brunswick Municipal Building on Federal Street.
According to Brunswick Police Chief Richard Rizzo, the department has been talking about a change for a long time.
“The police department has been in the basement of town hall since the police department was a police department,” he said. “If it’s not the worst police station in the state, it’s one of the worst.”
Phar\os claims opening slot at Ivies
Student band Phar\os won Battle of the Bands last Thursday and will open for Hoodie Allen in next Saturday’s Ivies concert.
The three bands competing were Treefarm, The Circus, and Phar\os. Ultimately, Phar\os—composed of David Raskin ’13, Connor Smith ’13, Rami Stucky ’14 and Simon Moushabeck ’16—came out victorious.
According to BMC co-head Nate Joseph ’13, this is the first year that there have been two rounds of competition.
BSG, E-Board to consider extending 3LAU's concert
Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) spent a large segment of its weekly meeting on Wednesday in conversation with Director of Health Services Sandra Hayes, addressing student concerns with the Health Centers.
Many members of BSG said that they had heard complaints from students who had not gotten appointments as soon as they would have liked.
Hayes says that the Health Center can usually make appointments for students within 24 hours. However, some students are unwilling to take appointments that would force them to skip class.
Clarke, Fletcher, Kaplan and Lichter promoted to full professor
Professor of English Brock Clarke, Professor of Art History Pamela Fletcher, Professor of Anthropology and Arctic Museum Director Susan Kaplan, and Professor of Natural Sciences John Lichter were all recently promoted from associate professor to full professor.
According to the Bowdoin Faculty Handbook, the primary criterion for promotion is that the professor demonstrates “continuing excellence in teaching and in scholarly or artistic work” during the time since the professor received tenure.
In order to demonstrate "continuing excellence," each faculty member must submit their course materials, a personal statement, and the body of work that they have completed since becoming an associate professor. Recommendations are solicited from former students and external experts in the faculty member’s field.
New museum co-directors outline objectives for future growth
Last night, the new co-directors of the Bowdoin Museum of Art, Anne and Frank Goodyear, discussed their hopes for the future of the museum with a small group of students and faculty at MacMillan House.
The Goodyears each spoke briefly about their education and current occupations—both are curators at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. and teach at George Washington University (Anne also serves as president of the College Art Association)—and then opened up the floor to questions and input from the audience, which was mainly composed of art history students.
Anne said they were excited to hear the student’s insights and ideas regarding the role of the museum on campus.
Divestment: Panelists criticize resistance to divestment
Bowdoin Climate Action (BCA) hosted a panel of advocates and experts to discuss divestment on Saturday night, after being postponed multiple times due to weather.
The panel was composed of 350.org founder Bill McKibben and Director of the Responsible Endowment Coalition Dan Apfel, who both conferenced in via Skype to join Unity College President Stephen Mulkey, Director of the Sierra Club Maine Glen Brand, and divestment coordinator for 350.org Maine Read Brugger—all panelists spoke critically about Bowdoin’s resistance to divestment.
McKibben said that Bowdoin, by not divesting, is acting in opposition to its values.
Green Bowdoin Alliance continues to push for divestment after College's released data
The Green Bowdoin Alliance (GBA) is continuing its efforts to convince the College to divest the endowment from fossil fuels, despite President Mills’ and Senior Vice President for Investment Paula Volent’s assertion that divestment would cost Bowdoin millions of dollars. Both sides of the divestment issue are arguing their case based on different, largely incomparable statistics.
Matthew Goodrich ’15 and Bridget McCoy ’15, who are leading GBA’s push to divest, say they are unwilling to accept the numbers presented by the administration without full disclosure of how they were calculated. Mills and Volent told the Orient last week that 1.4 percent of the endowment is invested in fossil fuels, primarily through exposure to an enhanced S&P 500 index fund. Based on data from the past decade of endowment performance, they estimated that if the College were to divest, annualized returns would decline by more than 5 percent.
“Over a ten-year period we would lose over $100 million,” Volent told the Orient last week.
BSG, E-Board to revive Winter Weekend; SOOC change its bylaws
On February 15, Bowdoin will celebrate the season with the revival of Winter Weekend, an old tradition of the College. Dani Chediak ’13, president of the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG), and Michael Hannaman ’13, co-chair of the Entertainment Board (E-Board) have been working together to organize an event to bring the campus together during the drab winter season. “This is actually a tradition from back when frats were at Bowdoin,” Hannaman said. “And what we’re trying to do is revive, but also redefine, what it is. We’re trying to make it about sports at Bowdoin, and College Houses and being outside during the winter.”
Fullbridge Program debuts with mixed reviews from participants
Over winter break, a group of Bowdoin students returned to campus early to participate in the Fullbridge Program, an intensive learning experience designed to give students practical business skills and expose them to a workplace environment. Fullbridge usually holds residential programs students on its main campus in Cambridge, Mass. and Bowdoin was the site of the company’s first external program at a college exclusively for that college’s students. The Fullbridge program covered topics ranging from financial statements to Microsoft Excel. “A lot of it was financial analysis,” said Daniel Mejia-Cruz ’16.
Rainbow Seven program aims to enhance LGBTQ dating scene
November is Date Month at Bowdoin, and dozens of students have participated in events ranging from “Screw Your Roommate” to “Date Night in Daggett” over the last few weeks. Two years ago, Simon Bordwin ’13 added a specifically LGBTQ event to what was then Date Week; this year, he is again seeking to make Date Month more inclusive with the launch of Rainbow Seven. Rainbow Seven is an online networking service that will allow LGBTQ students to meet other members of Bowdoin’s queer community. The process happens in several phases. Over Thanksgiving vacation, students sent their names to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assaults put spotlight on Amherst policies
Amherst College, still reeling from former student Angie Epifano’s account of her sexual assault and subsequent mistreatment by Amherst administration, was dealt another blow last week, with the release of former Amherst student Trey Malone’s June 2012 suicide note, which revealed yet another account of a student who felt his assault was mishandled by the Amherst administration.
Malone wrote about his struggles dealing with the alleged sexual assault, and said that “what began as an earnest effort to help on the part of Amherst, became an emotionless hand washing. In those places I should’ve received help, I saw none.”
Malone’s story, published last Thursday in the Huffington Post, echoed that of Epifano, who published an op-ed in The Amherst Student on October 17.
CPC hopes Fullbridge will complement liberal arts
This January, the Fullbridge Program—described on its website as “an intensive, transformative learning environment that prepares highly motivated undergraduates…for a successful transition to the working world”—will hold two sessions for Bowdoin students on campus over winter break. Fullbridge is a program that is designed to simulate the real world business environment and equip students with crucial skills for careers in the professional world. Fullbridge began as a residential program in Cambridge, Mass., and its sessions at Bowdoin will be its first program on an external college campus. President Barry Mills met with Fullbridge Director of Admissions Oliver Snider this past summer, and they began to discuss the possibility of holding the program at the College.
Classes at three Maine colleges available to Bowdoin students
Thumb through Bowdoin’s course catalogue, and you’ll find hundreds of courses ranging from multivariable calculus to interpretive dance. For students who find this list insufficient, however, there is another option. Bowdoin students can take courses at Colby, Bates or the Maine College of Art in Portland, though few students take advantage of the opportunity.
Yellow shirts allow students to choose labels
On Monday, hundreds of students wore yellow in support of the LGBTIQA community at the College. Organized by the Bowdoin Queer Straight Alliance (BQSA), Yellow Shirt Day is one of many events that took place as part of Coming Out week at Bowdoin. This year, the BQSA spray-painted the slogan “I AM __” on the shirts and provided markers for students to fill in the blank.
Sailing finshes in middle of the pack in its three regattas
Bowdoin’s sailing team competed in three events this past weekend—the Women’s Regis Bowl at Boston University, the Hood Trophy at Tufts, and the Chris Loder Trophy at the University of New Hampshire.
Students fight FDA stipulation with petition, ‘sponsor’ blood drive
At the blood drive on Wednesday afternoon, students were invited to sign a petition in protest of an FDA ban prohibiting sexually active gay men from donating blood. The event was Bowdoin’s first-ever “sponsor” blood drive, in which students had the option of donating in honor of someone who is prevented from giving blood under the ban.
Anonymous online forum seeks to broaden debate
Off-therecord.com, a new website billing itself as an anonymous online forum to debate controversial political and social issues, launched exclusively for Bowdoin community members on August 29.