To the Editors,

The NAS report lowered the level of discourse to partisan mudslinging, but we ought to rise above it, as Bowdoin taught us to do. 

The promise of the liberal arts is an education that pursues a better understanding of the human good by way of deliberation on diverse ideas. Diversity is not the goal in and of itself. Rather than merely acknowledging that people live differently, we are supposed to be considering how to live best ourselves. Studying other cultures informs our answer to this question. 

Despite what the NAS reports, the liberal arts are alive and well in Brunswick. Bowdoin taught me how to think. I examined the roots of Western civilization and considered non-Western notions of the common good. These classes continue to inform every choice I make. My liberal education taught me how to examine my values, justify them, or change them in response to the requirements of reason. Similarly, Bowdoin can act as it teaches its students to do: reexamine its core values, define its core commitments and affirm the promise of the College by standing up for the liberal arts at Bowdoin and in general. Then, finally, we can put this partisan bickering to rest. 

Ben Stern ’09