The issue of academic bias in the classroom is not outside the scope of Bowdoin Student Government (BSG). The matter could have been discussed and addressed in a productive and timely manner. Instead, from the start, the dialogue took place in the context of the Academic Bill of Rights, which is an inherently partisan document. The text was written and is being promoted by radical conservative activist David Horowitz. The ultimate vote of 1-19 against the bill proves its unproductive nature, and because of this we question why so much valuable time was spent on the bill.
Equally as puzzling is why BSG would vote in favor of endorsing the creation of an academic bias incident group when measures are already in place for students to voice concerns about political discrimination in the classroom. It seems meeting privately with a dean would be more conducive to addressing this discomfort than the intimidating prospect of having the issues discussed in a full committee.
Just as troubling, if not more so, is the dissolution of a significant issue into partisan bickering. The result of this was reflected earlier this week when the Maine College Republicans put out an inaccurate and misleading press release saying "Bowdoin College Student Government Endorses the Academic Bill of Rights" even though it was in fact rejected. This parallels the trend of Republican groups across the nation pushing for the implementation of similar policy.
We commend the 10 members of BSG who had the insight last week to vote against an endorsement of creating such a group?a bureaucratic hurdle that would only hinder the ultimate purpose of facilitating the process for students to voice concern about academic bias. Their ability to recognize the publicity-driven and politically motivated force behind the bill attests to the very insight that makes them strong student leaders.
A September 30 editorial on this page argued against BSG stretching its mandate and taking political stances on issues beyond Bowdoin. The drawn-out process surrounding the Academic Bill of Rights only further illustrates this fact. It is time for BSG to move away from national politics and move toward addressing issues in which it can have a more constructive influence.
The editorials represent the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient's editorial board. The editorial board is comprised of James D. Baumberger, Drew Fulton, Bobby Guerette, Evan S. Kohn, and Beth Kowitt.