The Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) is planning to issue a statement on a question Maine voters will face in November regarding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation at this Tuesday's meeting, according to BSG President DeRay Mckesson '07. BSG should not issue a stance on this or any other political issue initiated at the local, state, or national levels. Such action would simply fall outside of its mandate. This should be the case no matter the content of the question, and even if the concluded opinion is widely shared.
It is hard to forget how BSG stepped beyond its mandate in wrongly issuing an opinion on behalf of the student body almost three years ago regarding the Iraq war, and for BSG to continue on that dangerous path would be unwise. Unfortunately, Mckesson has expressed a general philosophy in favor of BSG tackling such high-profile issues initiated beyond Bowdoin. Students voted for candidates to represent them on issues regarding campus policies and activities. Thus, if BSG reacts to local, state, and national issues, then candidates should expect voters to demand to know their political affiliations and vote accordingly. This would not be a healthy addition to the BSG election process.
Opponents might argue that a loose interpretation of article 1, section C of the BSG constitution provides the implied power for BSG to make such proclamations. It is our view that "legislative issues facing Bowdoin College" refers to strictly internal administrative matters. BSG is not elected to represent the student body on every issue facing the world, and should not pretend it is within its mandate.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient's editorial board. The editorial board consists of the editors-in-chief and the managing editor.