This past Sunday, members of the Bowdoin community gathered on the steps of the Museum of Art to hold a candlelight vigil to reflect on recent events both near and far. Attendees reflected on a variety of sobering incidents varying in scale and proximity to the Bowdoin community, including nationwide student protests for racial equality, a sexual assault in Mayflower apartments and, most recently, the terrorist attacks in Paris. Students and administrators gathered to comfort others and be comforted themselves. It was but one example of the Bowdoin community finding a way to come together in a difficult, confusing time. 

After an occurrence of cultural appropriation that harmed students of color and others on campus, many—including those affected—performed public displays of protest and unity in the following days. A Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) meeting provided a platform for many to voice their sadness and frustration, and resulted in the General Assembly releasing a Statement of Solidarity. The next week, many students gathered in the Union for a protest that called attention to difficulties students of color face on campus. This month, BSG’s annual No Hate November initiative has provided outlets for support and education, including a photo display showing support to those affected by racial bias and an Uncommon Hour presentation today on racism by Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History Brian Purnell. Last Friday, dozens of Bowdoin students marched in solidarity with students of color across the country fighting forms of racism on their campuses. While large issues of racism cannot be immediately solved and there is much more work to be done, it’s encouraging to see many Bowdoin students work relentlessly to make change in our community.

The sexual assault and other troubling incidents of a similar nature have caused many on campus to reconsider their sense of security. Many members of the student body feel confused and vulnerable. However, the response has not been one of helplessness. Hours after Tuesday’s incident, a Facebook group called Bowdoin Safe Walk was created as a forum for students to offer and seek out rides or “walking buddies.” The group has over 1,500 members. That same night, Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols visited several off-campus houses on and near Potter Street to check on the wellbeing of students living there. The next day, BSG organized a community safe walk through campus and the surrounding neighborhoods. These responses have affirmed the strength and resilience of our community. The events that have forced us to reconsider our sense of security have also revealed the ways that members of the Bowdoin community can come together to support one another. 

The past few weeks have been trying in a way that few on campus remember in the recent past. It is necessary to view Bowdoin critically and honestly, and the administration’s handling of some of the recent events has at times left something to be desired. But at the very least, we should still be grateful for the movements at work here: the responses we’ve seen across campus have reaffirmed for us that Bowdoin’s community is something to be thankful for. 

This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of John Branch, Sam Chase, Matthew Gutschenritter, Emma Peters and Nicole Wetsman.