President Barry Mills and Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) have reached a tentative compromise regarding the creation of a Community Response Committee (CRC), which would consider how Bowdoin might respond to "humanitarian issues" in the world. Mills had opposed the creation of a permanent committee, while BSG recently passed a resolution calling for one.

In a meeting with BSG officers on Tuesday, Mills proposed that the legislative body create the CRC itself. According to several BSG officers, the president offered to provide vocal and financial support to the committee, and agreed to hear any recommendations that the CRC might have.

Mills's proposal satisfied a number of officers, including BSG President DeRay Mckesson '07 and Vice President of BSG Affairs Dustin Brooks '08, who said that a committee administered by the student government could be just as effective as one administered by the College.

"I think this compromise could turn out to be a very good one," Brooks said. "The idea of a student-led committee, acting as a campus-wide committee that includes staff and faculty, is a great idea. It's a great place for student leadership to be exercised."

The CRC is the latest incarnation of an idea inspired by the College's Committee on Darfur, a group that Mills appointed last spring to examine whether Bowdoin invested in companies doing business with the Sudanese government, which was complicit in the Darfur genocide.

In October, BSG suggested that the College create a permanent committee to identify human rights causes and recommend appropriate institutional responses. Due to resistance from Mills and uneasiness within BSG over what some officers felt was too broad a mandate, the representatives reworked the idea and came up with the CRC, which would address "humanitarian issues" rather than "crimes against humanity."

While he agreed that the new language is also broad, Mckesson is optimistic about the CRC.

"The committee will have to take a stand on why [an issue] matters to the community," he said.

"Is that potentially an awkward position? Yes. Is it a difficult decision? Yes. But does that mean that the committee shouldn't exist? No."

Mills has been staunch in his opinion that the College should not be responsible for creating such committees as have been proposed.

"I am not in favor of paternalistic substitutes for activism," he told the Orient this week.

Mills added that a student-led committee would be more "appropriate" than one that is delegated by the College, because it would be a "true measure of concern" among student activists.

"I think that this will test whether there is enthusiastic concern about an issue," said Mills, who has questioned the activist spirit of Bowdoin students in the past.

In addition to his comments about College-mandated activism, Mills supported his argument against a College-formed CRC by citing the findings of peer evaluators, said several BSG officers. According to Vice President for Planning and Institutional Development Scott Meiklejohn, the reaccreditation team that assessed Bowdoin in the fall found that a superfluity of committees may be overextending the faculty.

Unlike committees administrated by the College, faculty members would volunteer to be on the CRC rather than being appointed.

Mckesson said that he understood Mills's point of view, but disagreed with his interpretation of the report.

"The report highlighted the lack of a clear faculty governance model, and committees are clearly a part of that," Mckesson said. "But I think it goes beyond committees, I think it's the whole system."

Neither Mckesson nor Brooks was worried that a potentially overextended faculty would be reluctant to join the CRC.

"I think that faculty members interested in particular areas of advocacy wouldn't mind giving up an hour a week," Brooks said.

The representatives will vote on the formation of a student-led CRC Wednesday.