During its Wednesday night meeting, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) welcomed Associate Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion Leana Amaez to discuss how BSG can facilitate conversations and promote a positive climate with respect to difference on campus. 

“Your obligation is to the process, not to anyone … not to neutrality … it’s holding a process that allows for everyone’s voices to be heard,” said Amaez. “And that’s going to be more important in this context than ever before.” 

Vice President for Student Government Affairs Reed Fernandez ’17 asked Amaez for her advice on BSG’s role in promoting a diverse and inclusive environment on campus, especially in lieu of the presidential election and recent hate-related incidents across the country. 

Multiple BSG members brought up the recently announced merger between the Women’s Resource Center and the Resource Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity. Although Amaez is not scheduled to begin supervising the reconceptualized Center for Gender and Sexuality until July of this year, members raised questions regarding why the merger happened, what Amaez’s new role will look like and other impacts of combining the centers.

“We’re not looking to replace [specific offices] and only do something that’s intersectional … That’s not by any means the way we’re planning on approaching it,” said Amaez. “The idea was that those spaces need to be collaborative and at the table together, because sometimes they’re stepping on each other’s toes in ways that are counterproductive.”

Amaez added that hearing stories from students who identified with more than one student center was another reason for the merger. 

“People have been saying we program and talk about issues in way that pulls people’s’ identities apart … in a way that does not feel authentic,” said Amaez. 

BSG members responded positively to Amaez’s visit, saying that they had a better understanding of their role in promoting inclusivity on campus and were more encouraged to collaborate with Amaez. 

“I think BSG is very important for these kinds of issues on campus … I’m glad she came,” Fernandez said in an interview with the Orient. “I think it was a productive discussion.” 

In addition to inclusivity on campus and the merger, BSG members also discussed planning for Ivies, an upcoming student government event with other NESCAC schools, a “Human Library” event and new developments concerning tampon dispensers and picnic tables.