To the Editors:

We write to inform your readers of a disturbing incident of bias that took place near campus during Parents Weekend, and to ask members of our community to report any similar incidents to Campus Security.

On the afternoon of October 30, a parent and two siblings of a current Bowdoin student were crossing the street at the intersection of Bath Road and Federal Street when a vehicle approached them at a high rate of speed. Startled, the three family members hesitated in the crosswalk, at which point the driver of the vehicle stopped and shouted a string of racial epithets at them before speeding away.

The family members, who are African-American, described the driver as a white male in his early 50s with blonde graying hair. He was driving a dark blue Jeep or other small sports utility vehicle. There is no evidence to suggest that the driver is a Bowdoin employee.

President Mills convened the Bias Incident Group to review this matter. The Bias Incident Group, which consists of faculty members, students, staff, and administrators drawn from the College community, responds to anonymous defacements, graffiti, or other hateful expressions against individuals and campus groups when disciplinary action is not possible.

While it is clearly unrealistic to believe we can insulate our campus or ourselves from the bigotry that exists in the world, it is important that we state our condemnation of despicable acts of hostility and prejudice when they occur. There can be no other response from the College than unequivocal condemnation of this act and of the perpetrator, and full support for the family members who were verbally assaulted.

The Bias Incident Group encourages free expression of opinion, but we deplore acts such as this that are vicious in nature or recklessly indifferent to the feelings of others, and that attempt to silence others and breed fear in this community. And because it is important for the College to know when these acts occur, we urge members of our community to report incidents such as these to Campus Security, regardless of whether the person reporting the incident is able to identify the perpetrator or perpetrators.


Members of the Bias Incident Group:

Barry Mills, President (Chair)

Nadia Celis, Assistant Professor of Romance Languages

Tarara Deane-Krantz '12

Timothy W. Foster, Dean of Student Affairs

Bernard R. Hershberger, Director of the Counseling Service and Wellness Programs

John C. Holt, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of the Humanities in Religion & Asian Studies

Scott W. Hood, Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs

Scott A. Meiklejohn, Interim Dean of Admissions and Assistant to the President

Randy Nichols, Director, Office of Safety and Security

Justin Nowell '12

H. Roy Partridge, Special Assistant to the President for Multicultural Affairs

Wil Smith, Associate Dean of Multicultural Student Programs

Kate Stern, Director of the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity