The Board of Trustees has agreed to hit a target on-campus student body population of 1,700 by the 2008-2009 academic year, according to Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Katy Longley at a faculty meeting on March 7. The current on-campus student body population is 1,666, up from 1,635 in the fall of 2001 when President Barry Mills was inaugurated.

Mills said in an interview with the Orient the targeted cap of 1,700 "has been known for years." The cap, however, has not been widely publicized.

He also said that the student body will not exceed that approximate cap so long as he is president.

Mills expressed a desire in 2001 to explore the possibility of expanding the student body to 1,800 in public statements, including his inauguration speech?though he never specifically called for a student body increase to 1,800. However, a study later indicated that it would not make financial sense to expand the student body to such a number given the size of the endowment and concluded that 1,700 should be the cap so student services and other resources would not be stretched thin.

Mills said growing the student body will allow for more students with different interests to come to Bowdoin.

"An increase by 50 or 60 students makes sense," and a slightly larger body could possibly allow Bowdoin to have an orchestra or a band, said Mills.

Mills agreed that 1,700 students was an appropriate cap. He said Bowdoin's infrastructure could be put at risk if the student body grows beyond that cap, and that the cap is necessary to ensure that Bowdoin can "act like a small school."

"Given the size of the endowment, it makes no sense [to go beyond 1,700]," said Mills.

Mills said in his 2001 inaugural address that expanding the student body "isn't an attempt to get more tuition into Bowdoin College."

In his recent interview with the Orient, he said, "We are not a tuition-based school...Tuition allows us to turn on the lights. Endowment allows us to be Bowdoin."

Asked how the slight growth of the student body might affect class sizes or the dining halls, Mills said it would have no effect.

"The dining halls are not overcrowded?I eat at them everyday," said Mills.

He also said, "Sixty-five percent of classes are small," and that in order to maintain a 10:1 student/faculty ratio, the College is looking to hire 12 new faculty members in the near future. He did not indicate in which departments such hirings could take place.

Mills also said the student body increase will have little or no effect on when students can or should study abroad.

"Bowdoin is among the most liberal of colleges in [determining] when students should study away," Mills said in regards to whether students should study away during the fall or spring of their junior year. "Bowdoin has maintained a laissez-faire philosophy."

As for how housing could be affected, Mills said, "What is driving the housing crunch is not the number of students, but the number who do not want to live off-campus."

Asked why he thinks that is, he said "People love our residential community." He also said it may be less attractive for students to worry about disrupting neighbors in off-campus housing situations.

"Bowdoin spent a ton of money on housing this year," Mills said in regards to the first-year dorm renovations and the newly-constructed East and West Halls.

Despite all of this, a significant housing crunch is expected for next year, according to Residential Life (see related story, page 1).

In regards to the prospect of having Harpswell and Pine Street apartments replaced in the near future, Mills said, "I suspect Harpswell and Pine Street down the road will be hard to maintain."