In an effort to raise awareness of instances of discrimination on campus, the Office of Student Affairs has introduced a "Campus and Community Index" and made specific changes to the first year Orientation program.
"The Index is an electronic mechanism for people to report bias incidents," said Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster.
Since its official launch, four reports have been submitted and of those, two have been published. These posts are viewable only to those with a Bowdoin account.
The first published report of the year is about homophobic language that was scratched into the door of a room in Stowe Inn.
Foster added that these efforts are aimed at teaching students about instances of discrimination, harassment and bias, as well as bringing an end to these acts in the community.
The idea for a campus index came from two places: a NESCAC deans' meeting last December and a community meeting following the bias incident in Coles Tower in late April.
Foster explained that once a report is submitted online, an email is immediately sent to both him and Associate Dean of Multicultural Student Programs Leana Amaez. Then, depending on the nature of the incident, appropriate action can be taken.
The Index is meant to supplement the existing resources available to students who have experienced discrimination.
"We still have support systems and the same level of avenues of support available to students," he said. "This is just a chance for people to report things and inform people quickly."
In terms of Orientation week programming, Bowdoin has historically invited outside performers or speakers to discuss the subject of diversity.
"They've always missed the mark," said Amaez.
Similar to Middlebury's program called "Voices," Bowdoin added "Perspectives" to Orientation this year to showcase the incoming class' diversity.
"It was really interesting and kind of nice to hear the voices of people in the class that I may or may not get to meet," said Ashley Talbot '15.
George Ellzey '13, the summer intern who organized "Perspectives," directed and wrote it. "The mission is to celebrate diversity in the class, whether it's a minority student or majority student," said Ellzey.
Ellzey was approached by Amaez at the end of last semester to help revamp the diversity component of Orientation.
"People don't get into a dialogue about multiculturalism and diversity at Bowdoin," said Ellzey, "and 'Perspectives' lets them know that it's OK to talk about it."
The second major change was an activity called "Unpacking Differences and Building Community" led by Amaez and Associate Director of Residential Education Ben Farrell.
The goal of the three-part workshop was, according to Amaez, "for first year students to have the opportunity to meet one another and engage in conversations about diversity."
"If Bowdoin didn't care about diversity or this issue, they wouldn't want to revamp the Orientation program," said Ellzey. "To me, that's a big step for Bowdoin—making the effort."
The Campus and Community Index is accessible at the following address: http://www.bowdoin.edu/studentaffairs/community-index/index.shtml