Bowdoin students will have several opportunities to exercise their democratic rights in coming weeks. On Monday, the faculty may vote to forbid students from taking required classes Credit/D/Fail, and Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) is encouraging students to participate in this important curricular question by assembling peaceably outside Daggett Lounge. As the state caucuses approach, students registered in Maine will also have the opportunity to engage with national politics by helping Maine choose its favored presidential candidates.
While the decision to limit Credit/D/Fail will ultimately be made by the faculty, students who feel strongly about this issue should exercise their own ability to share their opinions with their professors. Though students are not empowered to vote on this matter, other paths of civic efficacy should not be ignored.
Some argue that giving students the Credit/D/Fail option for required classes discourages engagement with course material, effectively undermining the purpose of distribution requirements. While it is likely true that some students use Credit/D/Fail so that they can ?kick back? a little bit, others wholeheartedly believe that the option encourages exploration of more challenging courses within the required fields. Used in this way, Credit/D/Fail strengthens the liberal arts aim of the College.
Regardless of where students stand on this issue, they are most knowledgeable about how the grading option influences their academic choices. And while the proposed change in grading policy would not affect those currently enrolled, student input is crucial to this discussion. Because the students who will be affected are not here to speak for themselves, it is our responsibility to advocate for them.
Additionally, with the state?s Republican and Democratic caucuses coming up, students registered to vote in Maine should not neglect their responsibilities to the larger political sphere to which they also belong. Students should be mindful of these opportunities to exercise their membership in various political bodies, lest they lose the taste?and skill?for self-governance.
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, Cati Mitchell, and Joshua Miller.