Members of Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) fervently debated whether or not to sign a letter in defense of student protests on college campuses at their weekly meeting Wednesday.
The letter on student protests up for discussion has been sent to various colleges throughout the country by the Northwestern University Associated Student Government in response to crackdowns on "Occupy" movements at UC Berkeley and UC Davis earlier this year. By signing, higher educational institutions would demonstrate their support for "free speech and peaceful assembly," according to the letter.
President Derek Brooks '12 assured BSG members that signing the letter would not imply an opinion of the Brunswick Police Department, but rather signify opposition to the injustices described in the letter.
Responses varied throughout BSG. While some agreed with the sentiment of the letter, the majority of representatives said they would be inclined to give their support if BSG attached its own statement. Though the letter was introduced at last week's meeting, Leah Greenberg '13 motioned for BSG to postpone voting in order to give representatives one more week to reconsider their viewpoints. While six of 19 members present voted against tabling the issue, BSG will return to the letter next week.
Bowdoin Cable Network videotaped the discussion on student protest, and it will be playing on the network throughout the week.
Representatives also discussed reforms to the first year council system, but ultimately rejected proposed changes. The BSG executive team brought its final proposal to BSG, which outlined a first year council election system based on the first year dorms. Each of the eight dorms would elect a spokesperson, and then the chosen group would vote internally to allocate representatives to serve on the Entertainment Board, Student Activities Funding Committee, and BSG.
Because these changes would require amendments to the student constitution, they needed to first pass through BSG with a two-thirds majority. However, there were only five voting members present in favor of these changes while 11 opposed them, and two abstained. Many of the representatives in opposition of the changes worried that it would alter the atmosphere of orientation.
BSG unanimously approved three separate funding requests. A unanimous vote granted the Ad-Hoc Committee $22,000 dollars for the Spring Gala.
In addition, Chase Taylor '12, representing the Facilities Committee, was given $2,207 to improve the Yellow Bike Club. Finally, Committee on Student Affairs representative Allen Wong '14 was allocated $150 for the Uncommon Hour reception.
Near the end of the meeting, Entertainment Board representative Chris Lord '14, announced that the performers for the Spring Concert have been decided, and will be released to the Orient next week.