In the midst of the most recent attempt to address diversity on campus, members of the Bowdoin community came together to witness an equally important kind of difference on Monday. It is essentially an unspoken fact that secular college communities are overwhelmingly pro-choice-a recent campus survey found that ninety percent of Bowdoin students were. Given this, it is refreshing that Bowdoin students had the opportunity to come in contact with a different viewpoint, regardless of the nature of the topic.
Olivia Gans's visit exposed Bowdoin to an underrepresented perspective on a controversial issue. The speaker, a pro-life activist with the American Victims of Abortion, told the Kresge auditorium audience about her experiences and views. Not only was Gans's lecture significant for its contribution to ideological diversity on campus, but the reaction of those in attendance is also notable for a maturity many in the adult world should envy. While both sides of the issue were clearly prepared for a heated exchange, the atmosphere at Kresge was one of thoughtful engagement. The sizable contingent that opposed Gans was respectful of her views, and some even expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to hear her.
This type of event contributes to the variety of perspectives critical to the success of a liberal arts education. A campus would indeed be quite boring if students were only presented with ideas that supported, rather than challenged, the majority opinion. It is our hope that campus groups will continue to invite controversial and thought-provoking speakers to campus-and that the college community will continue to engage them in respectful dialogue.