Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) approved two resolutions this week: one supporting Arabic instruction at Bowdoin and another urging the Language Media Center to purchase Arabic and Swahili instructional tapes.
These were important first steps in the process of filling current gaps in the academic curriculum. This page has made its case for Arabic language instruction twice already, so we shall spare the dead horse and refer readers to the editorials from Oct. 19 and April 6 for our full arguments. Needless to say, we commend BSG for passing these resolutions swiftly and unanimously.
We also applaud the student representatives for passing two resolutions instead of one. The bills complement each other: the Arabic resolution is vague and the language tapes one is quite specific. The latter advocates a quick suture that will help seal the gap while more permanent procedures can be weighed. And while some may worry that the former is too general and too replete with caveats to effect any change, we recognize that bringing Arabic instruction to Bowdoin will be a process?one involving several stages. A BSG resolution is the first stage; now that it is complete, it is up to the administration to take the baton and keep up momentum.
This next stage will be crucial, for it will not only reveal the College's commitment to closing this curricular gap, but it will also reveal the student body's interest in having it closed?there is no doubt that the second will dictate the first. So we urge students and professors to speak up if they think a more comprehensive mechanism for Arabic instruction is in order. Tell your BSG representative, send an e-mail to the Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs, or write a letter to the editor. The Orient and BSG can argue and petition all we want, but real change will likely occur in proportion to the breadth and pitch of community support.
The editorial represents the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient's editorial board, which comprises Steve Kolowich, Anne Riley, Anna Karass, Adam Kommel, Mary Helen Miller, and Joshua Miller.