At its Wednesday meeting, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) discussed safety concerns and suggestions to provide students with entertainment and refreshments during Ivies Weekend.
BSG President Sophia Seifert '09 told the assembly that Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols would be present at next week's meeting.
"He historically comes before Ivies, and we discuss what preparations are being done by the College, and what concerns students have," Seifert said. "So I would love to hear questions, concerns and ideas."
BSG Treasurer Ugo Egbunike '09 said that he was concerned about the availability of the Bowdoin Shuttle.
"I've heard a lot of stories about someone walking back from somewhere very late at night and calling security; security asks if they're disabled and if they feel safe, and if they say no, and then yes, then they [are not] given a ride," he said.
Class of 2011 Representative Grek Tabak expressed concern that, at times, Security was overzealous.
"I am concerned about Security's policy of conducting investigations," he said. "For example, sometimes Security goes by rooms that they think they smell things coming from, and they go check those rooms often..."
When pressed by his fellow representatives, Tabak said that his room was not among those that had been "checked on."
Vice President for Student Affairs Carly Berman '11 said that in addition to questions of safety, the assembly would need to address the issue of refreshments.
"There is no Super Snack during Ivies this year, and so we would like to provide some sort of food or drink option, but we need to figure out what that is," she said.
Seifert later explained that Super Snack had been discontinued during Ivies at the request of the Dining Service.
"The reason that we have to have this outside is because students have been disrespectful in the past and have made a pretty big mess, and so really they don't want to deal with us," she said.
Addressing the question of snacks, Tabak suggested that BSG find a way to bring food to the revelers.
"You know what would be awesome," he said. "We should hire an ice cream truck."
To this Berman replied, "I don't know if that is the best idea...in terms of complications with school [vehicular] policy."
"Then we should have Randy [Nichols] drive it," Tabak quipped back.
After hearing this exchange, Class of 2009 Representative Caroline Burns had her own suggestion.
"Maybe BSG could have 100 pizzas delivered on the Quad at midnight," she said. "We could just let everyone know in advance that there is going to be pizza."
"That would be utter chaos," said " Vice President for Academic Affairs Sam Dinning '09.
"I think we should figure out what we want to be the real point of this," Dinning said. "If we just want to have fun, then we should hire an ice cream truck. If we want to provide a bunch of drunk people with food and water, then that is a different matter."
Tabak said that BSG's chief aim should be to make Ivies fun for students.
"I think we should just do something fun so that students see what we do," he said. "I am all for a moon bounce on the Quad Saturday. Maybe with beach balls."
Seifert said that BSG would figure out something over the next week, in order to put a funding proposal before the assembly at its next meeting.
"We are not doing a moon bounce," she said. "But if people want beach balls, then put that in a funding request...Fun things are great, but I think there really is a need for students to have water and food."
Before Spring Break at its March 4 meeting, BSG met with Director of Residential Life Mary Pat McMahon, Interim Director of the Queer Trans Resource Center and Women's Resource Center Kate Stern, and Associate Director of Housing Operations Lisa Rendall to discuss gender-neutral housing.
McMahon said she was interested in making the campus friendlier to non-heterosexual students and was glad that BSG had initiated the conversation.
"I am excited to talk about this...yet one of the fascinating things I've found, is that some [colleges] I've looked at have what we already have," she said. "So some of the places that claim to have gender-neutral housing actually have the exact same thing we have, which is that students can share suites as long as they live in different rooms."
Dinning said he was unsure how a new policy would deal with friends of the opposite gender wishing to room together.
"Beyond the issue of gender-neutral housing, I'm wondering what people should be able to do if just a guy wants to live with a girl," he said.
McMahon said that such situations would need to be handled carefully.
"I would be concerned, and this is from a long time working with students, I think that I would generally discourage students who are in a relationship from sharing a room," she said. "Personally my fear is people who say 'we are totally just friends,' then move in together, and that changes to be not the case."
Seifert asked why Bowdoin did not adopt a policy of gender-neutral housing when many other colleges did years ago.
"I know that this conversation has come up, and I am wondering why it had not moved forward, and why it didn't become an official policy in the past," she said.
Stern said that, in the past, students had not pressed for a housing policy change.
"It has never not worked for anyone, or at least we've never gotten that feedback," she said. "It hasn't been pushed for, because it has always tended to be theoretical."
Though no definite conclusions were reached at the meeting, Seifert said that BSG would move towards drafting specific policy proposals.
"This conversation spurred the creation of a working group, which will include BSG members, who will look closely at gender-neutral housing and propose a plan to the campus community," Seifert wrote in an e-mail to the Orient. "After gathering feedback, they will revise and work on getting that proposal made into official policy. Ideally, it would put something on the books for next spring's lottery."