At its Wednesday night meeting the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) discussed a public comment submitted by Ricardo Zarate ’13, which urged the group to take a stance on Question 1, Maine’s referendum on the same-sex marriage ban.
After prolonged debate, BSG decided not to take a stance on the issue.
Some members, such as At-Large Representative Sam Vitello ’13, argued that there was precedent for such an endorsement, citing last year’s letter supporting the Occupy Bowdoin campus protests at UC Berkley and UC Davis in California.
Inter-House Council Representative Neli Vazquez also argued that BSG should follow President Mills’ lead in endorsing a “yes” vote, demonstrating BSG’s belief that “every student is equal.”
Vice President for BSG Affairs Chris Breen ’15 disagreed, arguing that the slim margin of the previous year’s deadlocked endorsement vote—which passed by one vote—showed that BSG has a tenuous history when it comes to making a stand on national political issues.
Vice President for Student Affairs Sarah Levin ’13 also took issue with the endorsement, arguing that taking a stance on any current political issue “was a slippery slope,” that could prompt petitions for endorsements on a variety of national issues.
Others—such as Class of 2016 Representative Michael Colbert—wondered whether BSG was qualified to take a stance on the issue, as it represents a diverse student body with many political viewpoints.
In addition to discussions of Question 1, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Catherine Longley spoke to the assembly about the future of the proposed Longfellow Arts Building.
The Board of Trustees approved the proposal to convert the vacant Longfellow School—located behind Coles Tower on South Street—into a studio arts building.
Currently, the studio arts programs are spread throughout the campus and the town of Brunswick. While the drawing studios are located on-campus in the Visual Arts Center, the sculpture and woodworking studios are located at Fort Andross. Digital media and dance programs occupy other off-campus buildings in the town of Brunswick, and the college’s printmaking studio is located behind Burnett House.
Longley said that the Longfellow Arts Building would provide a home for studio arts and dance courses with numerous studio spaces, a dance space for both practice and performance, and a digital media center.
The tentative schedule provided to BSG predicted renovations would be completed by July 2013, and the building would be ready for use in the fall of 2013.
The assembly also authorized $350 to spend on an election viewing party in Jack Magee’s Pub and Grill on November 6. The proposal passed unanimously.