At its Wednesday meeting, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) sought to offer a response to the recent bias incidents on campus. The assembly unanimously passed a two-part proposal introduced by BSG President Sarah Nelson ’14 that condemned the incidents and sought to brand this month as “No Hate November”.
The proposal seeks to allow both BSG and the College—in Nelson’s words—to be “more proactive than reactive” in the future when dealing with dealing with bias events on campus. To Nelson, “No Hate November” is about changing the way that the College and the student body respond to bias incidents.
“This is something that really affects every single member of our community that deserves more attention than just an event that takes up a few hours one afternoon,” she said.
As envisioned by Nelson and the BSG Executive Committee, “No Hate November” would be an effort to “work in some of the infrastructure that exists on campus, but also [take] other ideas to mindfully program this month around community building on our campus and within the Brunswick community.”
BSG’s goal, according to Nelson, is to coordinate with the Dean’s Offices, the Offices of Multicultural Life and Student Activities, and student groups to create ongoing programing that can involve a large number of people. The proposal was intentionally slim on specific events.
“The month is not going to be a top-down event, but a bottom-up movement,” said Vice President for Student Government Affairs Allen Wong Yu ’14.
In his eyes, the proposal is “about getting the word out, and establishing the legitimacy of this month, and saying that as the representatives of the student body, we are behind this.”
Nelson added that she didn’t see this proposal as being for “concrete initiatives,” but rather for the “big picture,” saying that if BSG had more specific ideas in the coming weeks, they would come to the assembly separately.
Vice President for Academic Affairs Jordan Goldberg ’14 argued for the importance of collaborations with the Brunswick community and incorporating them into “No Hate November.”
“Given that at least one of the events that we know of occurred within the larger Brunswick community,” he said, “I would love to see some form of engagement with the town, because it seems like that’s the place where a lot of improvement could be made.”
Vice President for Student Affairs Robo Tavel ’16 reminded BSG members that efforts to promote cohesion and solidarity should happen on an individual level, asking his fellow members to “talk about it on the way to class, talk about it in the dining halls; I think that’s how you change attitudes about this issue.”
The assembly also unanimously decided to spend $200 to restart and fund the “Food For Thought” student lecture series through the the rest of the semester, and discussed updating the bylaws of the Student Activities Funding Committee in order to reflect current practices. The changes passed unanimously.