BCA demonstrates at Senator King's office against Tillerson support
In its first demonstration at the office of a politician, Bowdoin Climate Action (BCA) brought about 15 students to the Augusta, Maine office of Senator Angus King on Friday to express disapproval of King’s vote to confirm Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Members of BCA also urged King to reject Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), reject all of Trump’s appointees and support a democratic filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
Although King was not present in his office, members of BCA spoke to staffers and presented them with a letter addressed to King.
The letter was signed by the Bowdoin students who attended the demonstration on Friday. BCA leader Emily Ruby ’19 read it aloud and handed it to Teague Morris, a director of constituent services for King.
The letter expressed disapproval for King’s support of Tillerson. It noted King’s demonstrated support of climate justice. It also outlined Tillerson’s involvement in funding climate denial and lying about climate change realities as a former CEO of ExxonMobil.
“Senator King has always portrayed himself to be a climate leader and has aligned himself with the values of climate justice,” said Isabella McCann ’19, a leader of BCA. “To see him vote in favor of Rex Tillerson on Wednesday was a surprise and a disappointment.”
The letter from Bowdoin students highlighted King’s connection to Bowdoin as professor emeritus and Brunswick resident. It urged King to use his unique position as an Independent to “challenge Trump’s racist agenda” and uphold “the values that Mainers hold so dear.”
“Senator King has been supportive of our work in the past in terms of our general mission and he has interacted with us,” said Julia Berkman-Hill ’17, a leader of BCA. “He sent a video to us in 2014 where he said he thinks it’s appropriate that students are the leaders of the climate movement and that our generation is going to be the one to inherit the crisis.”
Staffers responded with a statement that King’s press team had prepared for the Bowdoin students about his vote for Tillerson.
“With respect to Mr. Tillerson’s nomination, and particularly in the wake of the President’s hasty executive order to severely restrict immigration last weekend, Senator King believed it was important to immediately install a critical moderating influence and counterweight to the more compulsive forces within the administration,” read King’s statement.
“Like those who voice their opinions today, Senator King still harbors concerns regarding Mr. Tillerson’s past connections to Russia, as well as climate change contributing activities that occurred at ExxonMobil during his tenure,” the statement continued. “But, on balance, those concerns were outweighed by Senator King’s belief that there needed to be a strong and serious leader at the helm of the state department, someone who could offer the president a forceful thoughtful and measured judgment on the critical issues we face.”
Although this is BCA’s first trip to the office of a politician, some of its members spoke to candidates of both parties on the campaign trail last year in the hopes of pressuring them to address the climate crisis.
BCA will be organizing a phone bank this week to call senators to reject the appointment of Scott Pruitt in particular and all of Trump’s nominees.
“Now more than ever it’s imperative that students get involved in political activism and pressuring their representatives,” said McCann.
“In a Trump era, our representatives are our first line of defense against his racist xenophobic sexist and climate-denying agenda,” she added. “We plan on interacting with our representatives and the political scene in the coming weeks in a way that pressures our community to resist Trump’s agenda.”
The WOMEN OF ’75: Studying and being studied
The women coming into Bowdoin in the Class of 1975, the first coeducational four-year graduating class, were met with sparse representation in the classroom with respect to their peers, faculty and studies.
“In my Biology 101 class, there were only two women [out of] 50 or 60 kids,” said Amy Pearlmutter ’75 in a phone interview with the Orient.
“The first few years, it felt like both the five or six women faculty members and the women students were extremely visible—a sort of fishbowl effect,” said Helen Cafferty, a German professor who arrived at Bowdoin in 1972.
By the time the first coeducational class graduated, there were nine female faculty members at the College.
“All of my professors [except one] were male,” said Patricia Pope ’75, who transferred to Bowdoin from Smith College. “But at Smith College, all of my professors were male too. I thought that was ironic.”
Though the Twelve College Exchange brought women into Bowdoin’s classrooms in previous years, the male-dominated faculty reacted in a variety of ways to the influx of a class that contained 65 women.
“A few of the professors were a bit leary,” said Debrah Burk ’75 in a phone interview with the Orient.
“I had a professor where all of the examples were always ‘he’ and ‘him’” said Christa Cornell ’75.
However, Cornell said that she also had positive experiences with professors.
“Professor [John] Rensenbrink was one of my favorite professors, in government, and I think he really opened my eyes in a lot of ways to how the system was sexist,” she said. “He was very, very open to changing the system and how to get rights for all.”
Several women of the Class of 1975 interviewed for this series said that the classics department was less welcoming to women than it was to men.
A March 9, 1972 letter to the editor in the Orient from football player Jed Lyons ’74 expressed his perspective: “First they demand their own field hockey team, then they insist upon private locker rooms, equal representation on the Student Council and admission to Classics 12 [...] Where will it end?”
The ways that Bowdoin institutionally prepared for women in the classroom focused on making few changes until the administration could see what students needed, like other aspects of the coeducation process.
An August 1970 Memorandum from the Ad Hoc Committee on Coeducation to President Roger Howell wrote “the goal should be no net increase in faculty,” and recommended that “some departments will have to shrink in order that others (presumably those whose course offerings are most relevant to women undergraduates) are permitted to expand.” It also recommended that the faculty’s Committee on Curriculum and Educational Policy (CEP) closely monitor the curriculum.
In August of 1976, a Special Committee on Coeducation released a report that there were no large shifts in specific department enrollment due to the addition of women.
“You know, it was an interesting time in terms of integrating into the academic side of it,” said Helen MacNeil ’75 in a phone interview with the Orient. “We had a lot of professors who were really bending over backward to make sure we got whatever support we needed, and there were some feminist female professors who were adamant that we all excel far beyond the guys ... in some cases I thought, like ‘Really? Can’t we just do our best?’”
Ultimately, the largest change that would occur to the curriculum directly related to coeducation was the creation of a women’s studies program, and later, major. This was also reflected in a national trend of the recognizing of the new field of women’s studies.
The first women’s studies program that received official approval was at San Diego State University in 1970. The field rapidly expanded in the 70s and 80s. By 1987, Amherst, Hamilton, Trinity, Wesleyan and Williams—colleges that, like Bowdoin, were historically all-male and became coeducational in the 60s or 70s—all had either a major, interdisciplinary major or minor in women’s studies.
Since 1974, Bowdoin had offered women’s studies courses on an “ad hoc” basis, according to a Women’s Studies Program Committee report published in 1987. These were classes offered in other departments that explored themes of gender and feminist theory.
“On campus there was this feeling that we needed to have some women’s studies courses and women’s focused courses in the curriculum even though we didn’t have a program yet,” said Cafferty, who was one of the first professors to teach an official women’s studies class at Bowdoin—a class on German literature with a focus on women.
In 1980, the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) was proposed by the Bowdoin Women’s Association and Women’s Resource Center Committee. Its creation was tied to a desire for an academic study of women.
The WRC proposal in the December 22 Orient said: “We feel it is essential for all members of the Bowdoin Community—students, staff and faculty—to have access to the existing and growing body of diverse and exciting scholarly and creative work by and about women ... We feel that the proposed Resource Center will be a place for the Bowdoin community to develop a critical approach and explore meta-traditional ways of learning, thinking and knowing.”
A women’s studies program was not formally created until 1988 despite a demonstrated institutional desire for a program as expressed in the 1981 Report of President Willard Enteman’s Commission on the Status of Women.
This use of the Women’s Resource Center as a place of scholarly learning and seminars carried on through the creation of a women’s studies major in 1993.
The 1987 proposal to the CEP by the Women’s Studies Program Committee, chaired by Cafferty, asked for a formal women’s studies program and a minor in the department, and urged the WRC to “institute faculty seminars and workshops to aid faculty in developing women’s studies courses and in redesigning their courses to include a gender component.”
Part of the 1990 proposal for a major in women’s studies stated “a Women’s Studies major will confirm Bowdoin’s commitment to coeducation.”
Over time, the name of the major has changed. In 2005, the department became the Department of Gender and Women’s studies, and last year it became Gender Sexuality and Women’s studies, to encompass the former Department of Gay and Lesbian Studies.
Overall, the academic study of women and gender has become more centralized into the department and less focused in the WRC. In 2009, the women’s studies faculty members moved their offices from the WRC to the Boody-Johnson house.
Cafferty said in the early years of coeducation at Bowdoin, “women faculty [were] peeking out in the wilderness.”
“There’s a sense of normality now, at least from my ancient perspective, compared to the beginning,” she said.
Editor's Note, December 11, 3:29 p.m.: The original version of this article incorrectly identified the professor in the photographs. This article has been updated to reflect that the professor is Matilda Riley, not Melinda Riley.
Professor Emeritus Mayo leaves legacy in community, chemistry lab
Professor Emeritus Dana Mayo, who taught chemistry at Bowdoin for over 25 years, died in his home in Topsham on Saturday. Mayo was internationally known as a leader in infrared (IR) spectroscopy, a researcher in oil pollution and a pioneer in the development of microscale lab techniques used in teaching chemistry. He was known at Bowdoin as a community member through and through.
Mayo came to Bowdoin in 1962, attracted by its location in Maine. He went on Outing Club trips in the 60s and 70s with his colleague and friend Samuel S. Butcher, also a professor emeritus of chemistry. The two, along with Professor Ronald Pike of Merrimack College, worked together to develop microscale techniques for undergraduates.
“Our kids were nearly the same age, so that kind of bonds people together,” said Butcher in a phone interview with the Orient. “He was a very easy person to get along with.”
Mayo came to Bowdoin following seven years of service in the U.S. Air Force and two years as a fellow at MIT’s School for Advanced Study. He earned his Ph.D at Indiana University.
“One thing that really stands out in my view, in terms of contribution, was the microscale [lab technique development]. That impacted chemistry far beyond Bowdoin,” said Butcher.
The new laboratory techniques were designed to use smaller quantities of chemicals in order to reduce health risks, environmental damage and cost.
“[Mayo] was excited while finding new ways to do dozens and dozens of reactions that had been carried out for a long time at a large scale. And all of those had to be boiled down to something much smaller,” said Butcher. “He was very inventive in doing that. He brought a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm.”
Designing lab experiments to create only a drop of a chemical—as opposed to a tablespoon—was, according to Butcher, something previously only done in research lab settings.
“It was a tremendous job to come up with those methods and applications, make adjustments, and also convince other chemistry lab instructors that indeed it could be done,” said Butcher. “When we started, I think a lot of chemistry faculty just threw up their hands and said, ‘How can you do this with 18-year olds?’ They just thought it was impossible.”
His microscale organic chemistry curriculum was adopted by more than 400 colleges and universities in the United States.
“[He was] someone who devoted himself entirely to the benefit of his students, of his colleagues, of the faculty and making Bowdoin a better college,” said President Clayton Rose in a phone interview with the Orient.
Mayo’s work was recognized not just at the College itself but beyond Bowdoin as well.
With his team of Butcher and Pike, Mayo won the first Charles A. Dana Award for Pioneering Achievement in Higher Education in 1986 and the 1987 American Chemical Society Health and Safety Award. With Pike, he also won the 1988 James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievements in Teaching Chemistry by the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society. In addition, Mayo individually received a National Catalyst Award from the Chemical Manufacturers Association in 1989.
At Bowdoin, Mayo and Butcher were awarded the Bowdoin Prize, the College’s highest honor, according to Rose. The two are the only non-alumni who have received the award.
Mayo’s wife, O. Jeanne d’Arc Mayo, former Bowdoin physical therapist and athletic trainer, survives him, along with his two sons, a daughter and seven grandchildren.
The WOMEN OF ’75: Competing against tradition
The Orient article announcing Bowdoin’s first-ever women’s sports team is a tiny blurb titled “Hockey Jockettes” tucked away on the third page of the October 15, 1971 issue. It announces the creation of the field hockey team, which was coached by Sally LaPointe—the wife of Bowdoin’s Lacrosse Coach Mortimer LaPointe—on a voluntary basis.
Celeste Johnson ’75 and Stephanie Monaghan ’75, members of Bowdoin’s first coeducational class, both played on this first field hockey team, which was as "ad hoc" as Bowdoin’s first coeducation committees.
“I think they kind of never thought about the idea that girls need uniforms, so we ended up being given the boys’ soccer uniforms,” said Johnson in a phone interview with the Orient.
Women in their class also had options for getting involved in Bowdoin’s “physical education” and “free play” programs. According to Edward Coombs, the acting director of athletics, Modern dance, tennis and swimming, were popular with women during the fall of 1971. In terms of participation in Intramural and Intercollegiate programs, he chose to “adopt a ‘wait and see’ policy,” he wrote in his annual report to Shirley Gray, Chairman of the Committee on Physical Education-Athletics.
Women were also welcome to play in the interfraternity “White Key” teams. A November 1, 1974 Orient article called “Out of the Kitchen: Females Possess the Key” reports on women participating in the interfraternity sports.
“I can’t think of anything where we got told that we were asking for too much,” said Johnson. “It would probably be Sally [LaPointe] pushing the envelope for trying to get us more.”
Bowdoin’s Athletic Department was more prepared for the arrival of women than some other areas of the college, such as health services.
The 1971 annual report of the Committee on Athletics budgeted $9,000 to providing private showers and facilities for a women’s locker room. These changes would be made in time for the incoming Class of 1975. A later request would add hairdryers to the locker room, but the College purchased salon-style over-the-head hair dryers that the women found completely inconvenient.
“There was one time when I was changing in the locker room and a male coach walked straight through the women’s locker room,” said Christa Cornell ’75, who ran recreationally at Bowdoin, in a phone interview with the Orient. “So I went to protest—I had to protest a lot of things.”
Cornell said she spoke to the head of the Athletic Department and his reply was that the coaches are used to the old locker room layout and that she should be careful in case he does it again.
Although the 1971 Report saw no need for an increase in the size of the Athletics staff, the June 1972 report of President Howell’s special Commission on Athletics did see a need.
The President’s Commission wrote that “it is evident that the present staff will not be able to meet the needs of a steadily increasing number of women students.” At the time, the Athletic Department’s female staff consisted of Sally LaPointe in a voluntary coaching position and June Vail, an instructor of modern dance and the wife of an economics professor.
The Commission also designated a $5,000 fund for women’s sports for the 1972-73 year.“The women students have been most reasonable in their requests. It is imperative that maximum flexibility be built into any programs so that the interests of the women students can guide the scope and direction of those programs as they evolve,” stated the Commission’s report.
A March 13, 1973 memo to President Howell from Coombs and Dean of the College LeRoy Greason claims that the Commission’s recommendation to add a woman to the Athletics’ staff full-time “has not yet been implemented,” citing “budgetary considerations” and “a desire to wait for a clearer sense of direction in programs of particular interest to women.”
A September 21, 1973 Orient article counts LaPointe as a new member of Bowdoin’s staff, as Coach of the Women’s Athletic Program, shifting her coaching from volunteer to a formalized position.
Later that semester, an Orient article reported on the seven Bowdoin women’s sports teams, most of which were organized informally and faced challenges such as having only a few opponents—the team would play against the Brunswick Women’s Recreational Center and Brunswick High School. Director of Admissions Dick Merserau was voluntarily coaching the women’s basketball team at the time.
In 1976, the College hired Lynn Ruddy as an Assistant Coach. During that school year, a September 17 Orient article reported that 42 percent of women were involved in athletics. In this article LaPointe cited Title IX as a reason for the growing number of female athletes at Bowdoin, since they arrived at the College with athletic training from secondary school.
It is important to note that although Title IX, part of the U.S. Education Amendments, was passed in 1972, LaPointe and Ruddy claimed it did not greatly affect the operation of the Athletics Department at Bowdoin. In an Orient article on October 8, 1976, Ruddy said this was because much of Title IX deals with athletic scholarships, which aren’t awarded at Bowdoin.
“Here, Title IX is irrelevant,” said Ruddy.
However, Monaghan saw things differently.
“Title IX had gone through, so the College was scared to death about doing something wrong,” she said, referring to the College’s eagerness to accommodate women in athletics.
At the end of that academic year, LaPointe wrote to President Howell in a 1976-77 report that “the female population has risen to over 500, we are trying to handle twelve intercollegiate programs with two full time people while there are twenty-one intercollegiate programs for men with nine full time coaches and a few part timers. I have never felt the need for increasing the help for the women as I have this year.”
In 1979, the women’s indoor track team echoed this need. Team members wrote to the Athletic Director and Deans of the College asking for a separate coach for the women’s track team who can “devote his or her time to their needs.” Today, there is still one head coach for the men’s and women’s teams. However, the team has three other assistant coaches—including Ruddy, hired in 1976, who now coaches high jump and sprint—as well as volunteer coaches.
But in the years between 1971 and today, women have helped to shape a strong athletics department. LaPointe went on to coach for 20 years at the College and died in 2007.
Now, women play 16 varsity sports and three club sports at the College. However, the legacy of an all-male institution lives on. A November 11 Orient article reports that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) found a decreasing gap in the salaries of male and female head coaches throughout the league, although that gap still exists.
Sports for women at Bowdoin today take on a different role, in a balanced gender ratio college setting, than the early teams. For the first coeducational classes, women’s teams were an important refuge from the overwhelmingly male environment of the College.
“When we were out there playing field hockey, we were just elated to be able to have this opportunity to come together around a goal … it was just all us [women],” said Johnson. “As soon as the game was over, we were back in the world where it was the 10-1 ratio again … There was a lot of happiness and camaraderie … I think that was something that we really all cherished.”
Julia O’Rourke ’19 contributed to this report.
The WOMEN OF ’75: Health care and carelessness
The issue of inadequate health services at a college that had served exclusively male students for 165 years became apparent when women began matriculating in fully coeducational classes starting in 1971. The women found that the infirmary was not ready for them and its shortcomings were only addressed after years of student discontent.
“They had no concept of female care,” said Christa Cornell ’75, a member of the first four-year coeducational class, in a phone interview with the Orient.
Patricia “Barney” Geller ’75 was also frustrated with the level of care provided.
“I ended up flying home...for [what I found out was] a yeast infection,” said Geller in a phone interview with the Orient. “It was absurd.”
Administrators of the College had been aware that Health Services needed to accommodate women at the advent of coeducation but did not anticipate the specific needs of women.
A 1970 plan presented to the Governing Boards entitled “Coeducation: A Proposal for Implementation” was a follow-up to the Pierce Report of 1969, the document that marked a serious shift in the College’s attitudes toward education. The plan, written by Chairman of the Committee on Coeducation Edward J. Geary, suggested few structural changes for health care for the first two years of coeducational classes.
“It is expected that there would not be more than one or two female in-patients at any one time and that it would be far less expensive to put them into one of the local hospitals than to use the third floor of the infirmary, with a full complement of nurses,” wrote Geary.
A November 9, 1970 report to the staff from Dean of Students Paul Nyhus emphasized a need for Counseling Services to address “the problems they encounter in relation to dating, contraceptives, abortions, etc.” Nyhus continued, “It would appear that there is more traffic in this area than can be handled by one woman faculty member as an addition to a full-time teaching load.”
However, it would be several years until Bowdoin addressed these problems.Women on campus were confused about the availability of birth control through the infirmary, according to a December 3, 1971 Orient story reported by Jo Dondis, an exchange student from Wellesley College.
“There isn’t a College policy on birth control,” said Associate College Physician John Anderson—one of two physicians at the time, both of whom had attended Bowdoin as students—to the Orient, adding that although it was not illegal for the infirmary to give prescriptions, he had some reservations about prescribing it. He said the infirmary referred most women seeking birth control to local gynecologists.
“[They] really weren’t terribly comfortable with that female stuff,” said Celeste Johnson ’75 in a phone interview with the Orient. “So the school made the decision to send us to the gynecologist in town.”
Later that academic year, in February, female students had a meeting about coeducation organized by Assistant Director of Admissions Dick Mersereau and Miranda Spivack, an exchange student from Sarah Lawrence College. Women voiced complaints about the infirmary and the relegation of women to the third floor. Nyhus responded to the complaints at the meeting.
“Concerning the use of the infirmary, it is run by the doctors,” said Nyhus. “In this case the coeds should talk directly to the doctors.”
The Ad Hoc Committee on Coeducation in 1972 reported that the infirmary and Counseling Services were: “inadequate and not what the women ... expected to be provided this year.”
“The infirmary problem seems most critical. Apparently women students are not able to obtain even routine examinations of a gynecological sort,” continued the Ad Hoc Committee’s report.For the short-term, the College had decided to pay for women’s referrals instead of making changes at the infirmary.
On May 15, 1992, the end of the first year with a full coeducational class, Spivack wrote a letter on May 15, 1972 to Dean of the College LeRoy Greason lamenting the situation of women at the College, mentioning the fact that the infirmary was not friendly to women and that there was only one counselor on staff.
“Your concern about Counseling and Health Services are also shared by others,” wrote Greason in a May 19 response letter. “Next year the policy of the infirmary will be modified, and a part-time woman counselor will be added to the counseling staff.”
Then, that fall, Jane Boyden, a part-time counselor, was added to staff, as reported in an October 9, 1972 Orient article.
The 1972-73 academic year also saw the creation of an educational series on sex, an apparent continuation of lectures from the previous year that had been received poorly by students. An editorial cartoon in the Orient (from September 4, 1971) mocked the previous year’s lecturer on family planning, depicting him as a sly rabbit smoking a cigarette and surrounded by baby rabbits.
The first lecture in the series (given by the same physician mocked in the Orient the past year) was about contraception. Other lectures included a lesson about pregnancy, an open question and answer session and a panel with religious leaders and one feminist professor discussing morality and birth control.
Orient reporter Evelyn Miller ’73 described the pregnancy film shown during one lecture as “a piece of propaganda concerned with convincing womankind of the joys of pregnancy and childbirth” in an October 9, 1972 article.
Over time, the infirmary became more clear about the services it provided.
An October 12, 1973 Orient article by Ellyn Bloomfield ’76 titled “Infirmary Adjusts to Coeds; Ups Gynecological Services” said that women could receive routine gynecological examinations at the infirmary, as well as venereal disease examinations and birth control prescriptions. The infirmary could also be used to give referrals to local gynecologists.
In May 1974, a group of women wrote a proposal on gynecological services asking for a part-time gynecologist.
“The infirmary is used to handling male-oriented medical problems ... There have been cases of misdiagnosis of vaginal infection and other related complications ... Many students sense that the infirmary is reluctant deal particularly with birth control and related concerns because of their own traditional or moral values,” they wrote.
“Most coeducational colleges recognize the need for such care not only for birth control but also for matters of general health. Due to the lack of this service the Bowdoin Women have created an unnecessary burden on the Brunswick Family Planning Center.
This should not be regarded as an extra service, but rather as a normal health facility provided by a coeducational college,” continued the proposal.
A letter from “Concerned Black Women” supported the proposal.
“If Bowdoin is to continue admitting women to this institution the necessary changes in the medical facilities must be provided to meet the growing demands,” they wrote.
As the Bowdoin Women’s Association (BWA)—started by Geller and Liza Graves ’76 in 1972 to build community and draw attention to women’s issues—gained a larger presence on campus, it created programming to fill in the gaps of what the College provided.
BWA organized a birth control panel, a breast cancer self-examination lesson, a talk about birth control as a shared responsibility, a speaker about sexual assault and a women’s career day in the 1975-76 school year.
Finally, for the 1977-78 school year, six years after the first coed class matriculated, Bowdoin hired a part-time nurse practitioner, Mary Lape, to give gynecological exams and advice on birth control. This was more than two years after the Bowdoin women’s group initially sent a formal request for a gynecologist.
Now, the health center is staffed by mostly women and offers routine gynecological exams, STI screening, vaginitis diagnosis and treatment, counseling and prescriptions for birth control, emergency contraception, pregnancy counseling and evaluation of other gynecological problems. The counseling staff now includes both men and women, several of whom draw from feminist psychology in their practice.
“It took some time for the College to get those things in order,” said Interim Dean for Academic Affairs Jen Scanlon, whose 2011 gender and women’s studies class created a website to commemorate 40 years of coeducation.
“We had to fight for practically everything,” said Geller.
Isabelle Hallé ’20 contributed to this report.
The WOMEN OF ’75: In and out of Greek life
Dr. Patricia “Barney” Geller ’75, one of 65 women who matriculated at Bowdoin as part of the first four-year coeducational class in the fall of 1971, said she was a “hippie” who went to Bowdoin because she heard it was “really liberal back then.” Geller recalls that Bowdoin felt like a “golf club for boys” when she first set foot on campus.
“I was so not a fraternity kind of girl,” she said in a phone interview with the Orient. However, by the spring of her first year, Geller would end up becoming one of the first women in the U.S. to become chapter president of a nationally affiliated fraternity.
According to Geller, many of the nine fraternities at Bowdoin offered women the status of “eating members,” which meant that they could eat in the fraternity, but could not attend meetings or vote. Geller moved her dining plan over to Psi Upsilon (now Quinby House), a fraternity that she found to be especially welcoming to women.
Psi Upsilon was unique at Bowdoin in its treatment of women—it was the only national fraternity that allowed women to pledge and be initiated. In the 70s, women’s status at fraternities was ambiguous, and the Bowdoin Women’s Association, which Geller co-founded, published yearly guides for women explaining in detail what type of membership was possible at each fraternity.
According to a 1996 report by David Simmons ’96 on the history of fraternities at Bowdoin, fraternities could be divided into three categories by the late 70s: local fraternities that granted women full membership (housing, voting, office), national fraternities that gave women these rights in the local chapters but not in the national organizations and national fraternities where women were only social members.
Geller began working in the fraternity’s kitchen washing dishes as a campus job. From there, she became a social member and then a full voting member. She moved into the house and was the only woman living there at the time.
Professor of Government Allen Springer wrote in his September 1984 report on the status of women in Bowdoin fraternities that the decisions to allow women as members of some of the fraternities during the initial years of coeducation were met with some alumni resistance.
However, others were more supportive—often for reasons other than social inclusivity.
“Some [houses], already facing financial pressures caused by declining fraternity populations and escalating costs, saw women as a needed source of new members,” wrote Springer.
While election proceedings were happening during the spring of her first year, Geller was working downstairs in the kitchen.
“Someone came down and said ‘forget the dishes, we just elected you president,’” said Geller.“I think they kind of wanted to make a statement: we want a full-time woman, we want to show the school that we welcome women and support women’s leadership,” she said. “So I went upstairs and led the meeting.”
“The next day two men were coming from the national chapter. I think they were freaked out, but they went with it,” she said. “I’m sure there were phone calls to their attorneys, but they went with it.”
Geller ended up serving two terms as president of Psi Upsilon, where she made lifelong friends.“I felt that I had a home away from home within a larger school,” she said. “There used to be houses full of people and dogs, you had dinner with 60 to 90 people who all knew you ... and there was a sense of coming home.”
She said that other fraternity members referred to her as “Mama Psi U,” due to her tendency to call the men out for making messes and being crude.
“They could be piggish, but I could call them on it,” said Geller.
As president, Geller spearheaded some changes in the fraternity, including making rush more inclusive for women and changing the fraternity’s hazing rituals.
“I’d like to say we changed the world, but we didn’t,” said Geller, who had a passion for social justice before college and while at Bowdoin. “We were a fraternity.”
Geller stressed the heavy drinking and party culture of Bowdoin during this era.
“It was the Wild West," she said.
Geller said sexism existed within the fraternity and in Bowdoin as a whole and manifested in a variety of ways.
In August of 1984, 48 percent of fraternity members and 37 percent of independent students said they felt there are fraternities “where women students are unwelcome, and where women students feel uncomfortable,” according to a report on the status of women in fraternities submitted to the Student Life Committee by Dean of Students Roberta Tansman Jacobs and Associate Professor of Sociology Liliane Floge.
“In terms of harassment, the piece you don’t get there is that there was no language for that then,” said Geller. “There was tons of date rape but they didn’t even call it date rape.”
More than ten years after Geller graduated, the 1986 New England Association of Schools and Colleges’ Accreditation Report for Bowdoin wrote that “the widespread feeling among women students [is] that much of the problem of reported student-student sexual harassment is attributable to activities which take place in some of the fraternities.”
The report continued: “Even—if possible—more worrisome, is the suggestion that much of what happens—including allegations of general harassment, victimization and acquaintance rape—is not reported, since it involves as victims women who are members of the fraternities and whose sense of loyalty to the group makes it difficult for them to reveal to outsiders problems they consider internal.”
“Even when you’re with the people you love, they’re also capable of ... being disrespectful,” said Geller.
In 1987, President Leroy Greason gave a talk to members of fraternities in the Chapel in which he said that the fraternity system “is a system that guarantees women second class citizenship in those fraternities whose national organizations do not recognize women.”
Then, in an April 1988 report (known as the Henry Report) by the Committee to Review Fraternities, Bowdoin recommended that fraternities should be coeducational by 1991.
“Almost all reported cases of alcohol abuse and sexual harassment occur in fraternity houses,” reported the 150 page document, which had 53 recommendations on improving fraternities.However, the Henry Report did not specify any action to be taken against houses that failed to admit both men and women by 1991.
Finally, in February of 1992, President Robert Edwards proposed measures to expel any student who refused to comply with the coeducation policy in all fraternities, aiming to close the “loophole” of the Henry Report.
Although many students protested these measures, citing a violation of their freedom of assembly and an overly “politically correct” campus atmosphere, the Orient’s Editorial Board endorsed the abolition of single-sex Greek houses in a February 14 editorial, writing that “single-sex fraternities nonetheless represent an institutionalization of discrimination on the basis of sex. This is one of their defining characteristics.”
It was only May 27 of that year, after an initial rejection of Edwards’ full proposal in March, when the Governing boards finalized a permanent ban on single-sex fraternities—they would have to halt further initiations by July 1, 1992 and disband by July 1, 1993.
“The final decision was in no way easily reached or broadly supported,” wrote Michael Golden ’94 in a September 11, 1992 Orient article.
In fact, President Edwards’ administration received many passionate letters from former students and parents in response to this ban on single-sex fraternities. Four wrote in favor of the policy, 78 wrote against it and six wrote asking for more information.
Six months after being established through a report issued by Bowdoin’s Reaccreditation Committee on Residential Life, the Commission on Residential Life released a report in March 1997 that the Board of Trustees approved unanimously. In this report, the Commission recommended phasing out all fraternities during the next four years, and also envisioned the creation of a house system and some construction projects and renovations.
“People had tears in their eyes when we voted on this Saturday morning, not because they didn’t think it was the right thing, but because of the recognition that Bowdoin had outgrown these institutions was a substantially sad one,” said George Calvin Mackenzie ’67 as reported in a March 7, 1997 Orient article by Zak Burke ’98.
“I had so much more fun there ... something really got lost when they got rid of fraternities,” said Geller, whose son Sam Packard graduated in 2012. “What I don’t think my son got that I had was that sense of community.”
“I’m a feminist,” said Geller. “I don’t like ... the overdrinking or the abuse of women—but that stuff still goes on.”
“When they went in there and cleaned up all the houses, they made it like it’s another dormitory,” said Geller. “Bowdoin has yet to figure out a way to recreate that sense of community.”
This is the second article in a series about the experiences of women from the first four-year coed graduating class at the College. The next article will be about the Bowdoin infirmary and healthcare for women.
Editor's note, October 29, 4:15 p.m.: This article has been updated to remove an unconfirmed statement about a former College President.
The WOMEN OF ’75: 'And we'll send our daughters to Bowdoin in the fall'
This is the first article in a series about the experiences of women from the first four-year coed graduating class at the College. This series will explore various aspects of coeducation, take a look at what some of the pioneering women of Bowdoin have done since graduation and see what’s next for women at Bowdoin today.
Click here to meet the women of '75.
On September 28, 1970, a notice from the Dean of Students was posted on bulletin boards around campus. It announced a resolution that the Governing Boards—Boards of Trustees and Overseers—of Bowdoin College approved just three days earlier:
“[...] that Bowdoin College undertake a program for the admission of circa 300 women to courses of study leading to the baccalaureate degree [over a period of four years], substantially as set forth in a report of September 1970 prepared by President Howell.”
“This was kind of a closed world and I could now go in and see what a New England men's school was like,” said Joyce Ward ’75, who was one of the nine female applicants accepted early decision for the first four-year coeducational class at Bowdoin, in a phone interview with the Orient. “It was like having a door open to see something that a woman my age would never have been ever able to see before.”
In that fall of 1971, 65 women would enter into Bowdoin as first years. Fourteen of them were legacies, all but two of them were from the Northeast, 26 of them had gone to private school and nine were women of color.
They would join 254 first-year men, making about a one to four ratio of women to men in their class, and about a one to 10 ratio for the College as a whole. The ratio of women to men would increase gradually over the next 20 years.
“There were so few of us [women] that it was almost like we didn’t have time to make friends with each other,” said Celeste Johnson ’75 in a phone interview with the Orient. “We had to go out and be ambassadors on behalf of all the other women.”
The notice on the bulletin boards came after the 1969 Report of the Study Committee on Underclass Campus Environment, also known as the Pierce Report. The Pierce Report cited a 1968 survey that showed 81 percent students in favor of some coeducation, and outlined the main arguments for (and one against) coeducation.
The report’s reasons for supporting coeducation mostly focused on the benefits for male students at the College. The benefits of coeducation included an increase in diversity of thought, an increase in student involvement in the humanities and in extracurricular activities and an improvement in men’s social abilities—having a “civilizing” effect on fraternities and helping them not view women as “sex objects.”
This report cited a desire to increase the size of the College from 900 men to 1200 or 1500 students so that it could compete with other liberal arts schools and offer a wider variety of courses.
According to an October 2, 1970 Orient article about the Board of Overseers’ approval of coeducation, the discussion about coeducation happened at the same time as a more urgent conversation about the “financial plight” of the College. President Roger Howell stressed that it was “economically imperative” that Bowdoin grow its student body to at least 1200 students.
“Coeducation was viewed not as an end in itself, but rather as a means of achieving economic stability,” wrote Michael Cary ’71 in the Orient.
The Pierce Report heavily cites the March 1969 Princeton Report “The Education of Undergraduate Women at Princeton,” and this document along with other records in the office correspondence of Howell show that the administration was keeping a careful watch on the progress of similar schools. By the time the report was published, it had been no more than a year since Yale and Princeton released plans to go coed and several other men’s schools—Hamilton and Williams in particular—had announced a coordinate college program with a women’s school.
“It was in the air,” said Interim Dean for Academic Affairs Jen Scanlon, whose 2011 gender and women’s studies class created a website to commemorate 40 years of coeducation. “It was in the air in the late 1960s and early 1970s that women’s worlds were exploding. And the academy was one of those places, so there were many, many schools that started to go coed at around the same time.”
Bowdoin educated female students in years prior to 1971, but they were there as part of the Twelve College Exchange program, or were transfer students. In fact, months before the first four-year female students arrived on campus, the first woman, Sue Jacobson ’71, graduated from Bowdoin after transferring from Connecticut College.
As Bowdoin began matriculating women, it formed the Ad Hoc Committee on Coeducation, as well as many committees and subcommittees for three phases of coeducation.
“I don't know that they were prepared for girls, so that made it a little challenging,” said Tawana Cook Purnell, who matriculated with the class of ’75 and transferred to Spelman College after her sophomore year at Bowdoin, in a phone interview with the Orient. “And they looked at us as though we were sort of seductive aliens.”
A February 1972 Orient poll prompted students to indicate if they preferred for Bowdoin to be an exclusively men’s college; be a men’s college accepting women as transfers; continue with the present schedule for coeducation; or progress to fully coeducational (50 percent women).
The poll revealed dissatisfaction with coeducation: “The largest body of student opinion wants faster progress toward full coeducation; the next largest group wants no coeducation at all,” wrote Richard Patard ’74 in an Orient article published on February 4, 1972.
Satisfaction with coeducation also fell along fraternity lines. According to the poll, two-thirds of independent men (that is, not a member of a fraternity), favored full coeducation, while only around 42 percent of fraternity men did.
One male respondent wrote: "They're dumb, but they are good tools. The girls have preserved my sanity, bless their dumb little hearts."
"I don't really feel that this place is co-ed; it is still a men's college with some women around,” wrote an anonymous first-year man in the 1972 Orient poll.
The history of women at Bowdoin is only a small piece of the timeline of Bowdoin, which was chartered in 1794.
“We have a long past—hundreds of years—and women have been present only for  years,” said Scanlon. “You wouldn’t expect a lot of the people we talk about to be women, because it’s recent. But even so, I think that we don’t say enough about our alums who are female. I think most people probably couldn’t name any.”
In upcoming issues of the Orient, we examine how the women of the class of ’75 navigated fraternities and social life, health services, athletics, safety and the classroom.
Julia O’Rourke ’19 and Katie Miklus ’16 contributed to this report.
Talk of the Quad: If you give a polar bear a rake
Another start to a fall semester is marked by another free T-shirt: grinning polar bears wearing overalls and wielding instruments of manual labor.
Common Good Day gets groups of students (teams, first-year floors and the rogue individual volunteer) together with faculty and staff for an afternoon of volunteer service in the greater Brunswick community. After a morning of pump-up talks and student musical performances in Farley Field House, participants lend about three hours of labor to local nonprofits and municipal organizations. The hope of the event is presumably to promote student engagement with the McKeen Center for the Common Good and long-term service.
It is a noble pursuit to strive for community engagement and service in the student body of a college. At Bowdoin, time is a scarce resource and service is not work that can be done in a day; it requires time and planning and critical thinking and reflection.
A major part of Bowdoin’s brand is its public commitment to the common good. As Joseph McKeen, Bowdoin’s first president, stated in his 1802 inaugural address: “Literary institutions are founded and endowed for the common good, and not for the private advantage of those who resort to them.” Today, this commitment is restated in the Offer of the College, and understood as Bowdoin’s guiding philosophy. It can be easy to overlook, then, Bowdoin’s status in the world and the ways that, as an elite institution, it furthers private interests and privileges those already likely to succeed in a capitalist society.
As the 2013 National Association of Scholars report reminds us, Bowdoin is overwhelmingly liberal. That’s true. The problem with this liberalism, though, is that it is often surface-level, and focuses on doing small good deeds as opposed to transforming a system that roots itself in injustices and reproduces inequalities. Edward Abbey, the American essayist, wrote: “The conservatives love their cheap labor; the liberals love their cheap cause.”
Common Good Day is a great example of this “cheap cause.” It is the supposedly selfless donation of time to support organizations in need of help: a small, musty historical society, a farm with immigrant workers an hour away, a food bank. We dip our toes into service, shake a hand or two, snap some photos and accept gratitude. But, are the organizations benefitting as much as Bowdoin is?
Without the surrounding rhetoric, Common Good Day is simply a safe group-bonding activity. It’s good for the College and it’s good for the students who walk away feeling as if they’ve done something meaningful. At best, it provides organizations with one afternoon of extra help that they wouldn’t have had otherwise. At worst, it burdens the organization and leaves students with a savior complex. Either way, it doesn’t create a meaningful impact unless it’s surrounded by comprehensive education and critical reflection, and followed up with continued service. In fact, the McKeen Center’s Alternative Break programs do this by holding weekly seminar discussions leading up to a seven-day service immersion program, and following the trip there is a debriefing conversation.
Although it’s easy to slip on an ethically-produced polar bear T-shirt once in a while, promoting the common good as a brand is hollow.
While we’ve written “common good” seven times in this article (now eight), the words themselves mean little. They can be used to justify almost any action. (Consider Bowdoin’s promotion of military service during WWII.) Go beyond the rhetoric and consider what the common good means at Bowdoin, as it’s imagined from the Ivory Tower. Consider, too, what it might mean after you’ve left Bowdoin. Interrogate whether it means anything to you at all.
Emily Weyrauch and Eliza Graumlich are both members of the Class of 2017.
Professor Brock Clarke goes on tour to promote new novel
Professor of English Brock Clarke has been on sabbatical since the start of the fall semester, going on tour to promote his newest book, “The Happiest People in the World.”
Clarke described “The Happiest People in the World,” released in November 2014, as a “sort of literary spy novel for people who don’t like spy novels. I don’t like spy novels.” The book is chock full of labyrinthine plot lines, characters with multiple identities and dramatic irony.
According to Clarke, the novel’s complexity increased as the book developed. It started, in January 2011, with a first-person narrator, but as Clarke realized the implications of all the secrets harbored by various characters in the book, he created an omniscient narrator to provide the perspectives of multiple characters.
“I begin with a very specific idea of what the book’s going to be like and then the book sort of confounds that at every turn, until I get over my original impression of the book and give in to what the book is demanding of me,” said Clarke.
He added that this process of gradual transformation took place when he was writing his other books as well.
Clarke sees the act of completing a novel as less concrete than one might imagine. At one point when he felt that “The Happiest People in the World” was complete, his editor made a suggestion that resulted in Clarke’s adding a completely new first chapter to the book.
“There is essentially nothing in it that, removed from context, makes any sense,” wrote J. Robert Lennon in a glowing review of “The Happiest People in the World,” published in The New York Times.
In response, Clarke said, “Those are the kind of books I like. They don’t have any logic in them except their own logic. They don’t lean on the world for the logic of their book. So I took that as total praise.
“It’s sort of a book for people who like satiric literary fiction but also like their satire to have a little more emotional quality than most satire has,” said Clarke. “For people who like Muriel Sparks novels, but who also like Coen brothers movies, that’s how I think of it.”
Although “The Happiest People in the World” is about a cartoonist who ends up running from terrorists, Clarke said he resists connections to the recent attacks on the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
“It’s difficult to talk about my book in the context of those cartoons, because the cartoonist [in the book] doesn’t draw the cartoons for any kind of political purpose, and the people who burn down his house don’t do it for a political purpose—they’re not Jihadists and he’s not a politicized cartoonist,” he said.
Clarke was on tour with “The Happiest People in the World” from mid-October to mid-December, from Miami to San Francisco, reading mostly at bookstores. A day in the life of a touring author is hectic, between travel time and appearances. Clarke said he used his small pockets of free time for writing, radio interviews and taking walks outside.
Although touring requires a significant amount of what can only be described as schlepping around (“There’s a lot of sitting on airplanes”), for him, going on tour is a dream come true.
“I don’t know how I could complain about it at all,” said Clarke, who had always aspired to be a novelist, and grew up thinking “I’d love to publish a book some day, I would love to have someone give a shit about it.”
One strange phenomenon Clarke noticed in giving public readings at bookstores is the type of intimacy that the reader often assumes with the author. Some audience members presume a pre-existing rapport with Clarke, wanting to banter and acting as though they knew him really well.“It’s flattering, but also a little unnerving,” said Clarke.
At a typical reading, there are around thirty audience members. They are fans of Clarke’s work, as well as people who have read the reviews and heard the hype. Clarke said there are occasionally stray knitters, sitting in the bookstore with their balls of yarn, who otherwise don’t care about the book. Regardless of the interest of the audience—or even its size, which can range from two to 80—Clarke is happy to have the forum to speak and sees the whole experience as “a dream.”
Clarke will be returning to Bowdoin in the fall of 2015 and is excited to continue working with his students.
Rickey Larke ’15 to premiere ‘SurvIvies’ film next Friday
Rickey Larke ’15 has never attended Ivies. But that hasn’t stopped him from creating a 45-minute documentary about the notorious spring music festival.
Captain of the track team, Larke has missed Ivies every year because of a NESCAC meet. Larke, an Africana studies and government and legal studies double major with a cinema studies minor, has had aspirations of creating a film since his sophomore year when he took a documentary course with Visiting Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies Sarah Childress.
“I wanted to make a film that would make people forget about their homework, all these lofty ideas and serious themes we always talk about at Bowdoin,” said Larke. “I wanted to make a fun film, and Ivies is the perfect subject.”
For an independent study, Larke created a documentary, “SurvIvies” (inspired by Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols’ iconic name for the event), that was about the creation of a film about Ivies (it’s “pretty meta,” he said). The film begins 50 days before Ivies and ends on the Sunday of Ivies.
“It’s kind of an exploration of me trying to make this film, getting all my equipment, getting everything together, getting people to agree to film their Ivies, that’s half of the film. And then the other half is just the weekend,” said Larke.
Larke set his sights high: he wanted to explore Ivies not just from one perspective, but through several different lenses. And high-quality ones, too.
Larke rented three GoPro cameras from Bowdoin and attached them to volunteers who would take them around for the entirety of their Ivies experiences: Alex Marecki ’14, Nick Benson ’17 and Regina Hernandez ’17. Larke filmed the creation process as well as the festivities with a DSLR camera until he left for his meet on Saturday, when Destiny Guerrero ’14 volunteered to film the concert.
“You see it from the perspective of the kid in the crowd, crazy, pushing everyone,” said Larke.
“Then you see it from the perspective of the kid in the crowd getting pushed around for what appears to be no reason, so it’s really interesting in conversation with one another.”
One challenge Larke faced was financing. Larke bought his own DSLR camera, lenses, microphones, lighting equipment and personal GoPro camera for the process. To do so, he got multiple jobs on campus and saved up his earnings.
Larke also had to collect release forms for students who were filmed—he estimates probably about 70 in total. Although some students were understandably reluctant to have their weekends filmed, Larke explained that there are no illegal or immoral activities taking place on camera.
“All the drinking [other than myself] is from water bottles and solo cups, it’s not from cans or handles or things like that,” said Larke. “No one’s smoking in the film. No one’s doing all these crazy things that you would expect to be in the film—not explicitly.”
The conception of Ivies as “some crazy bacchanal of debauchery” is something Larke wanted to examine in his film. In order to understand Bowdoin’s—and his own—identity, Larke had questions he wanted to explore in this film.
“Is Ivies an outlier of our character as a community, or is this our true essence?” asked Larke. “Is this us really showing who we are, or is this us performing who we’d like to be?”
After creating “SurvIvies”—which he is still fine-tuning before its release on December 12—Larke is tired, but excited to create another film in the future, most likely after he graduates. He is fascinated by the idea of capturing the same event from multiple perspectives and comparing how people experience it.
Although Larke produced the entire film, he is extremely grateful for everyone involved and those who supported him throughout the process. He thanks Childress (his adviser for the independent study), the entire cinema studies department, Assistant Professor of Government and Legal Studies Ericka Albaugh, Associate Professor of English Guy Mark Foster, Associate Professor of Africana Studies Brian Purnell as well as everyone he interviewed and each student who agreed to be filmed.
“SurvIvies” explores an event experienced by most Bowdoin students and Larke is not going to show the film to the outside world.
“Bowdoin students should see it because it’s for them, it’s about them, it’s for their eyes only,” he said. “The purpose is holding a mirror up to Bowdoin.”
“People have this idea of Ivies as being crazy, everyone’s just blackout drunk—but that’s not the case! There’s way more footage of people Snapchatting than drinking,” said Larke.
“I think people will be surprised,” he added.
The film will be shown Friday, December 12 in Smith Auditorium in Sills Hall at 7 p.m.
Talk of the Quad: Poop culture
In an age when the Internet allows universal anonymity, we begin to expect privacy as an unalienable right. When confidentiality is not an option, many people find anxiety in taking a stance—or a squat. In reality, we are much more than icons on computer screens. When it comes down to it, people are all people. And everybody poops.
We are all united in this reality. Any two humans share on average 99.9 percent of their genes, meaning most Homo sapien physiology is identical. Pooping is a unifying characteristic of humanity: all genders sit to poop (or hover if you are a hypochondriac). We all eat and so as a result we all poop. And that’s okay. It’s great, even. So why can taking a seat at the porcelain throne be so stress-inducing?
One hypothesis is that many Bowdoin students seek to project an image of perfection, even at the cost of their own well-being. The counseling staff at Bowdoin is acutely aware of this—Director of Counseling Services, Bernie Hershberger, says he especially enjoys aiding students with perfectionism anxiety.
For some odd, socially constructed reason, we seem to think it is vulgar and uncivilized to poop. Thus, to be perfect, we must never poop. As a means of striving for this ideal, we make every attempt to conceal our “indecent” behavior from our peers. Though we have not spoken to Hershberger about whether poop anxiety is often brought up in counseling sessions, we noticed that when prompted, most of our friends immediately gushed over their awkward restroom escapades. And yet, most students would never bring up poop anxiety on their own in a conversation for fear of deviating from the cultural norm.
A 2011 study at Emory University showed that chimpanzees who frequently fling feces have more developed motor cortexes and connections to a section of the brain used by humans for speech processing. Simply put, smarter monkeys throw more poop. Meanwhile, our human society finds it impolite to discuss such a dirty matter. It is possible that we attempt to hide our digestive measures as a means to separate humans from animals. However, if our closest living evolutionary relatives embrace poop as a means to display intelligence, I am not opposed to flaunting the existence of my own bowel movements (though I will still stick to speech over throwing feces as my preferred form of communication).
A great source of human anxiety is the desire to fit in. Given that everyone and their RA hides the fact that they poop, we tend to deny the existence of our excrement. Everyone has read “Everybody Poops,” by Taro Gomi—an important contribution to the literary canon of defecation. Some people, though, are loath to identify themselves as poopers. This is the great contradiction: we accept the generalization that pooping is part of the human condition, but singling one specific person out is, for some reason, embarrassing. Pooping has become taboo.
Despite this personal acceptance of pooping as a biological actuality, it can be stressful to be sitting on the can in my signature leopard-print slippers only to have another dorm resident come in to brush her teeth or do her hair. There’s no hiding. I’m being outed as a pooper. Although my bathroom guest will not say anything, we will both know. And it causes an unnecessary and unspoken power dynamic between the two of us that would be completely rectified if only people were to talk more openly and casually about pooping.
That’s the thing about this physical process—it is much less social than other bathroom activities. A casual chat over mutual urination or a recap of the day’s events while popping a pimple is normal. But something about that basic human communication while a mass of processed food is travelling out of a bodily orifice into a shared toilet makes people shut right up.
Whether they talk about it or not, many people actually enjoy the process of pooping primarily because they find time for solitude on the peaceful potty. Whether it takes one minute or an hour to process the day, pooping is a sacred time to digest it all.
However, we cannot always afford the luxury of a private toilet at the College. In fact, for many of us, our “movements” tend to be in relatively public places.
What to do when you sit down to do the deed and another lonely pooper wanders in with the same intention? In a multi-stall bathroom with two (or more) students waiting to poop, anxiety can mount. Who will release the Kraken first? Sometimes, overwhelmed by the tension in the room, the only option is to flush the toilet, zip up your pants, and find a different, less populated bathroom.
Thus, it is crucial to find your own favorite place to do the do. We all have beloved personal pooping places. However, we are unable to disclose our favorites here, for fear of the overpopulation—or worse, toilet clogging—of the most serene pooping sanctuaries. We can say, however, that you cannot select your pooping bathroom: it must choose you. Much like Olivander’s wands, when you come across the right one, you will know.
While this article presents poop anxiety with jest, we hope the absurd nature of hiding our body’s actions permeates through the humor. We all do it, and hopefully through lighthearted discussion, we can replace awkwardness with pooping solidarity.
Doerr '95 named National Book Award finalist
Author of All the Light We Cannot See, Doerr speaks to his inspiration for the book and discusses his Bowdoin days
Last week, Anthony Doerr ’95 was named a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction for his 2014 novel “All the Light We Cannot See.” The novel follows the converging stories of a blind French girl and a German boy who gets recruited into an academy for Hitler Youth during World War II.
“It was an effort for me to try to humanize all sides of the floor,” said Doerr in a phone interview with the Orient. “I realize that…horrific things were happening done by some German citizens, but it’s a little too simplistic to say all Germans were evil and all the Allies were good.”
Doerr said he struggles to succintly summarize his work.
“For me it takes every word of a book to tell that story," he said.
Doerr's time at Bowdoin—during which he dabbled in science, film, and Russian classes in addition to English and History—sparked a lifelong curiosity for learning about people and the world around him.
“Bowdoin taught me how to be a lifelong learner…using inquiry, using questions, following your curiosity, positioning you to be a curious person for the rest of your life,” he said.
Although Doerr majored in history, he was always secretly writing stories and keeping a private journal during his time at Bowdoin. Unable to imagine a financially secure future as a fiction writer, Doerr studied history as a more “legitimate” option.
“I felt like fiction writing wasn’t something you could make money in,” said Doerr. “My parents were paying for me to go to school…and I thought I should at least pursue something I might be able to teach.”
“I just didn’t know any novelists. I didn’t understand that that was a path that was really readily available to me,” said Doerr.
However, Doerr’s academic pursuit of history allowed him to explore various forms of research while honing his writing skills. He “fell in love” with the Civil Rights Movement, World War II and post-World War II history.
“All my research was mostly books, reading transcripts of interviews, learning to research on paper…now I do most of my research on screen,” he said. But to Doerr these skills “become really relevant as a fiction writer.”
Doerr is grateful for his professors at Bowdoin, who he describes as “world-class, brilliant people.”
Doerr took Latin American history courses with Roger Howell, Jr. Professor of History Allen Wells, who remembers him fondly.
“He was a wonderful student,” said Wells. “I would always save his [essays] for the very bottom of the pile. It would be my reward to get to—sort of like a bowl of ice cream,” said Wells, who knew Doerr as Tony.
“It was because he wrote so well, he was very analytical, he came at the topics and the readings in a different way than most students, so I always liked that,” Wells added.
Wells thoroughly enjoyed “All the Light We Cannot See,” which he read at the end of the summer and into the school year.
“It took me to a different place and a different time,” he said. “It wasn’t the kind of heavy depressing story that I have come to associate with...that period. I think the characterizations are just beautiful.”
Although Wells acknowledges that he is “not an English professor,” he said, “it is just beautiful writing…he really made that period come alive for me.”
Brock Clarke, a professor of English and fiction writer himself, also gave high praise to Doerr.“The book is terrific—swift, uniquely able to handle Big Subjects, but to do so intelligently, idiosyncratically, movingly. I’m not at all surprised that the book has gotten such acclaim, such wide readership. It deserves it,” wrote Clarke in an email to the Orient.
Doerr said he is excited to go with his wife, fellow Bowdoin alum Shauna Eastman ’94, to the National Book Award event in New York City on November 16, where he will get to mingle with other finalists. He is especially excited to meet two-time finalist Marilynne Robinson, who Doerr said, “has always been an icon to me.”
“Everybody’s interesting if you ask them the right questions and focus deeply enough on their lives," he said. “The world inspires me.”
Doerr is currently working on projects ranging in subject from the Panama Canal to Constantinople to space travel.
“My problem is almost that there’s too much inspiration in the world sometimes,” he said.
Visiting printmaker collaborates with students on memorial portrait installation
This week, esteemed printmaker Lisa Bulawsky visited Bowdoin to spend time in the studio teaching and collaborating with the Printmaking I classes. After a week of instruction and group discussions, the classes will install a set of portrait prints that memorialize figures known and unknown.
As part of the Marvin Bileck Printmaking Project, which brings a guest artist to campus for one week every semester, Bulawsky came to Bowdoin from the Sam Fox School at Washington University in St. Louis where she is an associate professor. She gave a lecture on September 29 and has been working with each of the two sections of Printmaking I with Assistant Professor of Art Carrie Scanga.
For Bulawsky, working with students at a small liberal arts college has been a change of pace from working at a larger university.
“I know there are a lot of environmental studies and earth and oceanographic science students, so it’s great,” said Bulawsky. “Most of the students I work with back at Wash U. are art students, that’s their major.”
“As you’re working she’ll step over your shoulder and tell you, ‘by the way I love your strokes here’ and, ‘just add a little bit of texture here and there,’” said Lizzy Takyi ’17, who has not yet declared a major. “It’s so great to have her here.”
“It’s been really fun because everybody’s really fresh to printmaking,” said Bulawsky. “There’s a lot of amazement about the processes and the way things turn out.”
With Bulawsky, the students are learning a new technical process: collagraph, in which texture is built up on a plate with different media.
“It’s a different perspective in terms of techniques,” said Karla Olivares ’17.
Bulawsky is leading the students in a conceptual project about memorialization and contemporary memorials, exploring the theme of how to honor both public and private figures.
“The students have been intentionally working on something that would be aesthetically and conceptually unified,” said Scanga. “This week they’ve all been working on their puzzle piece of this larger installation project.”
Subjects of the portraits include Martin Luther King, Jr., Bob Marley, and the last code-speaker of the Navajo language.
“I have talked to a few people about who they specifically have been honoring and I’ve just been blown away by the thoughtfulness,” said Bulawsky.
Although Printmaking I is an introductory visual arts class, and usually begins at the point of technique or art history, this project requires students to think more critically about the ideas behind a piece.
“We’re starting at the point of concept, which is an upper-level way of thinking about art,” said Scanga.
“I've found this melancholy about how it feels to have a story behind the art, and not just do it because it’s your project,” said Takyi. “That’s what she’s bringing to this project.”
“We have been starting our classes with conversation,” said Scanga, who added that the students were assigned to read an article on public memorials before Bulawsky first arrived. “The neat thing is that those discussions get nicely woven in with the technical aspect of what we’re doing.”
“This project is very much in line with the kinds of things I make work about, said Bulawsky. “I make work about how our individual and cultural memories define who we are and create our identities.”
Bulawsky said she is fascinated by this idea of memory.
“[Memory is] who we choose to remember as a culture and who we choose to remember as individuals, who gets commemorated and monumentalized and who gets forgotten,” she said.
“It’s been so inspirational to learn from her directly knowing that she’s been doing this for so long,” said Takyi.
“Hopefully the outcome will be as great as the process has been,” said Scanga.
The 36 students from the classes—as well as Bulawsky—will be installing their portraits in the Fishbowl Gallery of the Visual Arts Center Friday at 11:00 a.m. The installation process—the creation of a spontaneous and vernacular memorial—will be focused on the performative act of placing the image. Each piece will be accompanied by a small description of the person honored in the print.
52 Harpswell makes space in first-year residence halls
As the Office of Residential Life opens new upperclassman housing at 52 Harpswell Road and reviews the floating chem-free floors introduced last fall, it expects positive results. Thirty-five upperclassmen now reside at 52 Harpswell, freeing up space in first year bricks where some sophomores and juniors lived before. The new dorm was once an assisted living facility, Stevens Retirement Home, but was converted into chem-free College housing this summer.
In past years, the fourth floors of both Osher Hall and West Hall were shared between first years and upperclassmen. With the addition of the living space at 52 Harpswell, however, first years “were able to reclaim those floors,” said Associate Director of Housing Operations Lisa Rendall.
“We like the idea of having all first-years on a floor, and not a mix of upperclassmen and first years, so that students can have that true first-year experience,” said Rendall.This change means an additional 20 open beds for first years in Osher and West and allows Residential Life to redesignate quints as quads and many quads as triples in the first-year bricks.
Because of the additional space, there are more vacancies than there have been in the past.“That’s awesome for the first-year class because we have some flexibility if we need to make changes,” said Rendall.
Rendall reported no other changes to upperclass housing.
Last fall, Bowdoin switched from its former system of having one chem-free first-year dorm to having chem-free floors in all of the different residence halls used by first years. This also meant that each floor in a dorm was affiliated with a different College House. Now, in the second year of this system, the floors have switched house affiliations, but the model is still the same.
“Last year we heard really great feedback about how there was no stigma about what dorm you lived on or what floor you lived on,” said Associate Director of Student Affairs Meadow Davis.Because of this feedback, the designation of house affiliations and chem-free floors will likely continue changing each academic year.
“My guess is that we would continue to flip them around so that people make that choice [about chem-free living] and then decide if they tell people or don’t tell people,” said Davis.While College House residents reported difficulty building unity between house affiliates because of their disjointed locations on campus last year, there have been fewer complaints from the students—mostly sophomores—that are now living in the College Houses this year.
“What we’ve heard this year is that because the residents living in the houses, [the floating-floor system] was their only experience, they are doing a great job of thinking about and attracting affiliates from all of their different places,” said Davis.
Additional prestigious national fellowships awarded to students
Bowdoin students are receiving “tremendously competitive” national fellowships and grants this spring, according to Director of Student Fellowships and Research Cindy Stocks. In total this spring, 17 students won a total of 20 national fellowships that required institutional endorsement.
Lonnie Hackett ’14 was awarded both the Davis Projects for Peace and Samuel Huntington Public Service Award. Hackett is a biochemistry major who started Healthy Kids/Brighter Future, a non-profit organization working to bring medical services and health education to children in need in Zambia, at the beginning of his junior year.
“My junior year we treated about 1400 kids and trained 80 teachers,” said Hackett.
The grants will allow Hackett to scale up his organization.
“We hope to be able to screen all 10,000 children living in this compound and train 80 teachers not only on health education but also as community health workers,” said Hackett.
Sam Burnim ’14 was awarded the St. Andrews scholarship, which will awards him funding to study at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and get a masters in health systems and public policy.
“Neither one of my parents went to college—I hadn’t heard about fellowships in general until coming to Bowdoin—so it was a really awesome opportunity,” said Burnim.
Viola Rothschild ’14 received a Fulbright Study/Research Grant and will be going to China next year to look at how the local governments of the Zhejiang province and Guangzhou city are responding to the influx of African immigrants. Rothschild, whose mother is from Beijing, visited the area “quite a bit” growing up and studied in Beijing the fall of her junior year.
Sam King ’14, Duncan Taylor ’14, and Yoni Held ’14 were all awarded Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Grants. King will be working in Sri Lanka, Taylor will be located in Panama, and Held will be teaching in Bangladesh.
King studied in Sri Lanka the fall of his junior year, said that he looks forward to returning for ten months this year.
He said that when he was notified of this grant, it was “a moment of pure elation.”
Taylor similarly said he was “ecstatic—caught off guard” when he received the news earlier this week.
When he is not teaching in Panama, Taylor will work at a baseball camp for kids.
Maya Little ’15 was awarded the Critical Language Scholarship for Chinese, a full scholarship that will allow her to study in a Chinese city for two months.
“I would really like to go into academia or diplomacy after graduate school so I'm definitely very lucky to be studying through [the Critical Language Scholarship] this summer because I think it can really help me realize those dreams,” wrote Little in an email to the Orient.
Evan Bulman ’16 was awarded the Boren Scholarship for undergraduate students. He will be studying Arabic in Jordan at a Middlebury language program next year, funded by the National Security Education Program. As part of the program’s requirements, Bulman will work in the federal government in the national security area for a year after graduation.
“I was shocked but really excited. It is a big honor and I’m excited to be going to Jordan,” said Bulman.
Hannah Sherman ’15 won the Harry S. Truman Scholarship which provides juniors who have an interest in public service with funding for grad school.
“Another part is becoming part of this network of people working all over the world in different aspects of public service,” she said. Sherman is interested in working in Latin America with women, and her application for the Truman discussed starting microfinance projects to provide loans for female farmers.
Two Watson Fellowships, two Fulbrights, and one Udall Scholarship have already been awarded to students this spring.
Trustees elect Jes Staley ’79 to lead presidential search
Trustees elect Jes Staley ’79 to lead presidential search
In the week since President Barry Mills announced his 2015 departure, the Board of Trustees has begun assembling the search committee to vet his replacement. They have chosen Jes Staley ’79 P ’11, a current member of the Board and chair of its investment committee to lead this search effort.
Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Eli Orlic will be staff liaison to the committee. The Board will announce the full committee membership during its meetings on May 8, 9 and 10.
“It will be a group representing the many constituencies of the Bowdoin community that will move forward with great confidence in the strength of our College and in our ability to identify Bowdoin’s next leader,” wrote Chair of the Board of Trustees Deborah Barker in an email to the Bowdoin community.
Staley, their choice as chair of the search committee, graduated from Bowdoin with a degree in economics. He was the former CEO of J.P. Morgan’s Investment Bank and CEO of J.P. Morgan Asset Management and is now a managing partner at BlueMountain Capital, a private investment company in New York City.
“I appreciate deeply the importance of this search. We are all—faculty, students, staff, alumni, and parents—part of an extraordinary College,” wrote Staley in an email to the Orient. “And making sure that the Search Committee reflects the desires of all of Bowdoin’s constituencies is clearly a priority.”
Thawing campus gears up for next week’s Ivies
A new policy for this year’s Ivies limits the number of guests that each student can register to two, down from last year’s three, and raises the price of their entry to $30, an increase from the $20 charged in the past two years.
Students are held accountable for any problems that occur with their guests.
“Pick wisely who you decide to bring along. Every year pretty much guaranteed, we’ll have situations where guests misbehave and we’ll have to remove them from campus,” said Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols, who will be helping supervise his ninth Ivies this year.Security will begin to increase its staffing on Wednesday to account for raised levels of student activity.
“An increased volume of alcohol certainly lends towards a higher-risk environment for us to deal with,” said Nichols.
“It takes probably twice as many or maybe three times as many scheduled officers to get the job done. I would say that for the day of the concert, every single officer is working at least one and often two shifts.”
Security currently employs 16 patrol officers.
The rain location for the Saturday concert is inside Farley Field House, although due to space concerns, guests would not be allowed entrance in the event of rain. Student Activities will notify students on the Friday of Ivies if the location is changed.
“Having the concert in [Farley Field House] just isn’t the same as having it outside on Whittier Field,” said Nichols. “The rain plan will only be instituted if we have no option other than to go inside.”
Security is adding extra lighting at the Whittier Field pathway so that students can attend Pinestock on Saturday night through the field, without the need to walk through Bowker Street or other town residential areas.
Although alcohol-related transports are not usually numerous at Ivies, injuries requiring hospitalization do occur.
“People have stepped on glass and received some pretty bad cuts and have had to go to the hospital. We encourage students not to use glass, that would be helpful,” said Nichols.
The planning of Ivies involves careful coordination between Security, Student Activities, Dining Services, Facilities Management, Bowdoin Student Government, and the Department of Athletics, and these bodies have been meeting regularly. Nichols said that it is important that students themselves cooperate with the plans and behave in safe ways.
Security will send out a notice to the College Neighbors Association explaining the schedule of Ivies, and Student Activities will send out flyers to all residents near Whittier Field. Security also coordinates with the Brunswick Police Department (BPD) and students can expect that more BPD officers will be on patrol on the streets near campus during Ivies.
“Students are accountable for their conduct throughout Ivies just like they always are at Bowdoin. I want Ivies to be a good memory for every student,” said Nichols.
More information from Security and general information will be emailed to students on Friday and Monday.
Correction, April 18: An earlier version of this article stated that the "Survivies" email will be sent out a week from Friday. The article has been corrected to indicate that the email will be sent out today (Friday) and Monday.
Alleged burglar apprehended, held at Cumberland County Jail
On Sunday March 30, Robert Carroll, a transient with theft convictions was arrested on a “probation hold.”
Carroll has been seen going through unlocked vehicles near campus in recent weeks. The Brunswick Police Department (BPD) believes he has been living in a shed on McLellan Street without permission.
Three unlocked vehicles belonging to Bowdoin students and staff entered and rummaged through on March 14 and 29 at Pine Street Apartments and Whittier Field. There may be a connection between Carroll and these events.
The Office of Safety and Security has been working closely with BPD on these security issues.
Although there were no witnesses to the three alleged theft attempts on campus, BPD has spoken to witnesses who allege that Carroll has made similar attempts in neighborhoods near campus.
“Some of that activity was in proximity to these three instances on campus. So he’s certainly what I would personally consider a suspect or a person of interest in those three vehicle break-ins,” said Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols.
“He may not be the person responsible, but there are indications that lead me to believe that he poses a potential threat, at least for theft, on campus,” said Nichols.
Carroll will be held at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland for the immediate future, and will be served with a trespass order barring him from all Bowdoin property upon his release.
“If he is even just seen on Bowdoin property, he will be arrested and charged with criminal trespassing. I think that’s going to be a productive step,” said Nichols.
Carroll may also have been involved in a break-in at Brunswick Apartments on March 23.
“There are physical similarities to the suspect that was seen there that night. But that has not been proven and certainly we don’t have a positive ID on the burglary suspect at this point,” said Nichols.
Nichols said that students, faculty and staff should keep their vehicles properly secured. The cars broken into were all left unlocked by their owners.
Break-in at Brunswick Apartments raises campus alert
Students returning to campus from Spring Break received an email alerting them to a break-in that occurred in a Brunswick Apartments residence at 3:30 a.m. last Sunday. An intruder entered the first-floor apartment through an unlocked window and encountered a female student.
The student had returned early from break before her two roommates. She woke up when she heard the intruder attempting to enter through her bedroom window.
“I lay in bed frozen, both from fear and from an attempt to go unnoticed by the intruder,” wrote the junior, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons, in an email to the Orient.
The suspect then moved to a different bedroom, slid it open, and climbed into the apartment. The student heard footsteps leave the other bedroom and enter the hall.
“Suddenly, the doorknob to my bedroom door turned squeakily and my door creaked open. In the doorway, from what little illumination the kitchen light provided, I saw a hooded man,” she wrote. “Praying it was a drunken student, I tentatively whimpered ‘hello’.”
The intruder slammed her bedroom door and ran to the kitchen, where a light was on.He then ran straight across the building entry hall into the next apartment, which happened to have a “bricked” door, where a male sophomore was asleep in his bedroom.
“I was sleeping in bed at like 3:40 a.m., and I suddenly wake up and hear something in my kitchen, and I assume it’s my roommate,” said the male student, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons.
“And then I’m like wait, 3:40 a.m., why would my roommate be coming back from Spring Break at that time?” he said.
Hearing the commotion, the student got up just in time to see the intruder flee out of a window in his apartment’s kitchen, across the parking lot toward Longfellow Avenue.
After receiving calls from both students, Bowdoin Security arrived within a minute, and the Brunswick Police Department (BPD) soon thereafter. They searched the area but were not able to find the intruder.
Based off descriptions given by each of the students—who both had obscured views of the intruder due to the darkness—the suspect is a male between 5’10” and 6’ who was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt with the hood up on the morning of the incident.
Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols arrived later that morning, continuing the search with Security while an officer remained posted at Brunswick Apartments until daylight to ensure the safety of the residents.
On Maine Street, Nichols encountered a man, who was then questioned by the BPD, who fit the description given by the male and female Brunswick Apartment residents. The man was released, and Security said that they did not believe he was involved.
Nichols then entered the 7-Eleven store on Maine Street and questioned the clerk about any suspicious activity earlier that morning. He obtained video footage from 2:15 a.m. of a suspect matching the description.
This image of the suspect has been shown to the residents of the apartments in question as well as BPD and Security. Security will not release the image to the community until they are more certain that it is the intruder, according to Nichols.
“We don’t know precisely who’s involved in this, we do have some information we’re investigating right now in regards to the identity of the person that I can’t divulge at the moment,” said Nichols. Security believes the suspect is not a student.
“Whether this person was looking to break in to steal something or perhaps it was a homeless person looking for a warm place to stay—we don’t know for sure,” said Nichols.
Another security email was sent to Bowdoin students just days before the attempted burglary. Nichols reported that in the late afternoon or early evening of March 14, someone entered an unlocked vehicle at the gate to Whittier Field and another at Pine Street Apartments—belonging to a Bowdoin staff member and a student, respectively.
At Whittier, the staff member was out walking his dog; when he came back, he saw that his vehicle had been rifled through, according to Nichols.
Though the glove compartment and other areas were overturned as if the intruder was looking for cash, there was nothing reported missing from the vehicle.
Nichols noted that the Pine Street incident was “pretty much identical.”
The security email identified Robert Carroll as the alleged suspect. He is a transient who is suspected by the BPD of squatting in buildings on private property and has allegedly been seen going through unlocked vehicles in neighborhoods near campus. Although there were no witnesses to the theft attempts involving these Bowdoin community members, Carroll is a suspect because of the proximity of the events.
“A very simple precaution is to lock your vehicle and not leave anything in the vehicle that is of value and might be of interest to a thief,” said Nichols.
He pointed out that no windows were broken in either the Brunswick Apartments break-in or the unlocked car entries.
“Keep your doors and windows locked. That goes a long way toward preventing these types of crimes,” said Nichols.
According to Nichols, swipe-card locks will be added to the Brunswick Apartments entrances this summer.
“We’re going to be increasing our patrols down at Brunswick Apartments, which is something we usually do when there is an uptick in activity,” he continued.
Nichols said that events like these help to raise awareness.
“I think that in and of itself makes the campus safer,” he said. “If something doesn’t happen for a year or two or three, it’s very easy for people to become lackadaisical in their approach to their personal safety.”
Nichols encouraged students to report any suspicious activity or people to Security.
“We will take whatever action necessary to make sure that this campus remains safe,” said Nichols.
Correction, March 28 at 10 a.m.: The article previously stated that Nichols questioned the initial suspect he encountered; it has been corrected to show that BPD actually did the questioning.
Correction, March 31 at 4:15 p.m.: The article has been updated to clarify that Carroll is a suspect, and has not been charged with any crimes. The car break-in and squatting allegations are only allegations, made by Bowdoin Security and BPD respectively.
BSG condemns proposed electricity rate hike
At the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) meeting on Wednesday, Hugh Ratcliffe ’15 discussed the Central Maine Power (CMP) rate increase that will effectively punish Bowdoin for its renewable energy efforts.
“It’s going to cost the College roughly $280,000 per year,” said Ratcliffe.
The College plans to install an array of solar panels at the former Naval Air Base, the originally intended to pay them off within a decade. If this new rate increase goes into effect, it would be closer to 40 years.
The solar panels would actually “ease the burden on CMP [...] and we’re being punished for it,” Ratcliffe said.
“They’re losing profits because their business isn’t operating as smoothly as it should, and they’re blaming that on renewable technology,” he said. “They’re trying to basically eliminate that factor so they don’t have to deal with what is basically competition for their business.”
Ratcliffe asked BSG for an official statement to increase media coverage of this issue and to “send a clear political message that this is not what Maine students and citizens want.”
Vice President for Facilities and Sustainability David Levine ’16 and the Facilities and Sustainability Committee drafted a proposal for this purpose that was debated.
There will be two public hearings to discuss the rate changes, one on April 2 at the Maine Public Utility Commission’s office in Hallowell, and one on April 3 at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. BSG President Sarah Nelson ’14 stressed the importance of rallying students to attend the hearings.
BSG also discussed a potential campus “blackout” in April in which lights to non-essential facilities would be cut for a 5-10 minute period of time in order to show solidarity and support for renewable energy creation and use.
In other business, Representative-at-Large Chrissy Rujiraorchai ’17 presented an initiative to upload past course syllabi onto Polaris so that students can see approximate assignments and materials required for classes in which they have interest.
Rujiraorchai also brought up an idea for a website where Bowdoin students can buy used textbooks from each other. BSG plans to discuss this with the textbook center.
Director of Programming Emily Serwer ’16 discussed next Wednesday’s Health Center lunch. The event will be for students with questions about the proposed changes to the Health Center’s structure and how these will affect students. It will be in Mitchell North Dining Room in Thorne Hall, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Vice President for the Treasury Megan Massa presented the new Student Activities Funding Committee’s (SAFC) operating budget form, which will streamline the budget proposal process.
Nelson reported that Bowdoin alumna Ellen Baxter ’75 will speak at the College on Friday about issues of homelessness in New York City.
Daniel Cohen ’15 announced that he had been live-tweeting the entire BSG meeting, to positive reactions from other Bowdoin Twitter accounts.
“Bowdoin College has favorited two of my tweets already. I’m pretty excited about that,” said Cohen.
A representative from the Inter-House Council announced results from College House applications this year. The 313 applicants included 20 upperclassmen, with every House receiving more applications than it has beds. Block interviews will continue until next Thursday.
David Vazquez of the Entertainment Board (E-Board) confirmed that Sean Paul is not performing at Ivies, and that last week’s posters using all of the E-Board’s official logos had been a prank by an unknown student.
There was a discussion about an email service proposed by Representative-at-Large Kiyoko Nakamura-Koyama ’17. The service would inform students on a weekly basis about any events on campus that provide free food for attendees. Objections to the service included the fear of inbox-oversaturation and food as a bribe for attendance. This idea will be discussed further within the Academic Affairs Committee.
Women's Resource Center photo shoot and exhibit to celebrate women’s bodies
On Sunday, the Women’s Resource Center (WRC), will begin taking photos for “Celebrating Women, Celebrating Bodies,” an exhibition of nude photos designed to celebrate the diversity of women on campus and their bodies. The display of the photos will open on April 3. At the time of publication, the WRC reported that 78 groups of women had signed up and they were expecting about 200 participants.
The event, which is organized by WRC student directors Laurel Varnell ’14, Sophie Janes ’16, Calla Hastings ’14, Anissa Tanksley ’14 and Neli Vazquez ’14, is the second time that the WRC has sponsored a nude photo shoot. Two years ago, the WRC directed a shoot and exhibition that consisted of about 50 women and provided the framework for this year’s project.
The participants can choose how much of their bodies they expose. They are encouraged to use objects, sheets, or undergarments to make themselves feel more comfortable.
“People brought a lot of props: pots, pans, someone brought their mountain climbing belt, someone brought a longboard,” said Janki Kaneria ’14, who posed last time and is helping the WRC this year. “It was not only about feeling good in your body but also communicating and expressing yourself which people did in a lot of fun ways.”
“They have complete agency over how they want their body to look and how they want to be portrayed. It’s not anyone else telling them what to do,” said Varnell.
Additionally, the women can review their photos before they are exhibited, and to choose not to have them hung.
“It’s a very intimate and respectful experience,” said Tanksley, who posed for the previous project.
The only rule set is that each woman’s head must be in the photo.
“What we’re trying to avoid is disembodying women,” said WRC Director Melissa Quinby. “We don’t sell this as a naked photo shoot.”
According to the student directors, they have worked to create a comfortable environment for participants, to give each woman the experience that she chooses, and keep the event free of misogyny or objectification.
“That’s a cool thing about this photo shoot versus photo shoots you see in other places where it’s...the photographer that gives direction to the participants. This way it’s really the opposite: [the women] are able to dictate exactly what they want,” said Varnell.
With “Celebrating Women, Celebrating Bodies,” the directors are focusing on creating a “body-positive atmosphere.” They have chosen to adopt a no-Photoshop policy and not edit the photos, according to Varnell.
“I think in this day and age, you forget that pictures you see in magazines have gone through pretty significant editing,” said Varnell. “It’s really powerful to be able to see a woman completely as she is.”
“You can choose to see the exhibit as the naked form, but I think it goes so much further beyond that,” said Tanksley. “It is women...celebrating themselves and the nature of their body.”
Planning for the shoot began first semester, and photos will be taken from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Sunday. The living room of the WRC will be converted into a photo studio, with all the windows covered. Offices and bathrooms will serve as changing rooms, and access to the door will be limited to WRC directors, ensuring that no one walks in accidentally.
Participants get a chance to write about their feelings before and after they are photographed, and these narratives will be hung anonymously with the photographs in the exhibition.
“We really want to reiterate the fact that these are real women. It’s not just a body—these are the women behind the pictures. This is their story of empowerment,” said Kaneria.
Maura Allen ’14 participated in the last exhibition, and plans on participating again this year with the rugby team.
Although in middle and high school Allen said that she was “one of the more bashful people that I knew,” this experience was a way to show herself “that I had really changed a lot since then.”
The past exhibit featured many athletic teams who photographed as a group. However, the student directors tried to reach out to the broader campus community for this year’s project.
The WRC aims “to show the diversity of women’s bodies on campus and bring to light that there is more than one type of woman, one type of body, and to have that be portrayed in a beautiful, artistic way,” according to Tanksley.
“Celebrating Women, Celebrating Bodies” will be displayed in the Lamarche Gallery of David Saul Smith Union. There will be an opening for the photos on April 3 at 8 p.m., and the glass windows will be covered during evening hours to ensure privacy.
A look inside the J-Board selection process
In an email to all students on January 16, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Lesley Levy invited students with “sound judgment and insight, maturity and a strong sense of integrity” to apply for the J-Board. Though more than 40 students apply to the J-Board every year, the application and selection process remains a mystery for those who do not participate in it.
Applications for the 2014 to 2015 school year were due on January 30 and 50 students applied—13 more applicants than in 2013. New members will be announced as early as next week. Applicants are nominated by themselves or by other members of the Bowdoin community, often a coach, professor, or friend.
The initial application asks applicants to provide personal information, such as hometown, class year, and extracurricular commitments.
Brackett to resign post as Registrar next month
After 14 total years at the College, Brackett plans to take time off from work to bike the Underground Railroad route.
College Registrar Jan Brackett will leave her position this January 2014, after 14 years at Bowdoin. Her tenure at the College included a seven-year stint as Coordinator of the Women’s Resource Center in the ’90s before her return to Bowdoin in 2006 as the Associate Registrar, which led to her eventual promotion to Registrar.
In the Office of the Registrar, Brackett has guided Bowdoin through the transition to an online registration system. Without her, there would be no Polaris.
“She has been a key player throughout her time in setting up and establishing that online system,” said Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd.
Summit leads discussion of alcohol on campus
A-Team members share stories with underclassmen; 4 alcohol-related transports to date this fall.
During the two-hour Alcohol Summit organized by the Alcohol Team (A-Team) last Friday, approximately 60 first years and sophomores discussed alcohol-related issues with members of the A-Team and Peer Health.
According to an Orient article from April 2011, the A-Team launched the event in spring 2010 in response to a high number of transports preceding Ivies that year, and has presented the summit every year since.
As of last weekend, there have been four alcohol-related transports on campus this fall. This is the lowest number in recent years—the first two months of the school year brought seven transports last year, 12 in 2011, and 13 in 2010, according to a November 2012 Orient article.
Portrait of an artist: Daniel Eloy '15
Daniel Eloy ’15 is the type of person who will tell you his opinion about pretty much anything. When he met me in Smith Union, he had just rushed from the art studio; half-wearing a scarf, he immediately slumped into an armchair. His voice was barely audible over the rambunctious conversations in the Union, but his words had weight (and marked lack of pettiness) so I leaned in to catch everything.
Most recently, Eloy proposed and executed the much-discussed “We Stand With You” photo-installation in response to this fall’s bias incidents. His work involved taking and editing portraits of 544 students.
“I just wanted people to look at them and feel like there was a sense of community here even in the face of bias and hate,” said Eloy.
Professors turn research and lesson plans into newly published books
Several Bowdoin professors can finally breathe easy after publishing books that represent years of research and effort.
In February 2013, Associate Professor of English Guy Mark Foster finished a collection of short stories—his first foray into fiction—entitled “The Rest of Us,” which explores issues of sexual and racial identity.
“The stories all center around characters who are black and ‘sexually different.’ Some characters are gay, some characters are bisexual, and some characters are heterosexual, but their sexualities play a large role in their navigating their racial identities within a white-dominated culture,” said Foster.
Bowdoin students, faculty support Dempsey Cancer Center
On October 12 and 13, a team of 15 Bowdoin students and faculty members participated in the Dempsey Cancer Center Fundraising Challenge in Lewiston.
Each team member raised at least $150 for the Dempsey Cancer Center before cycling, running or walking in races of various distances.
In total, the event had 4,000 participants and raised $1.1 million for the charity.Although this is the first time an official Bowdoin team has attended the Dempsey Challenge, individuals from the College have participated in years past.
Eveningstar Cinema meets crowd-sourcing goal; lives on
With one screen, one schnoodle and one Seed & Spark webpage, Barry Norman, the owner of Brunswick’s Eveningstar Cinema, has been working nonstop to keep his independent movie theater alive.
Using the new independent movie crowd-funding site Seed & Spark, Norman reached his goal of $46,000 in donations from 263 supporters all over the world on Tuesday.
With the industry’s increasing pressures to convert from 35mm to digital film, Norman recently purchased a digital projector, leaving the company with a huge bill and not enough money to pay it off.
Dancers twirl away from the classroom
The heart of dance at Bowdoin has moved further from department classes and toward the various campus clubs instead.
Although enrollment for dance classes this fall remains consistent with that of previous years, students voiced waning enthusiasm for the classes this semester.
Students say that this is most likely due to Assistant Professor of Dance Charlotte Griffin’s sabbatical this year.
“[Griffin] is just an amazing addition to the department. The department as a whole is strong, but she has brought a new wave of professionalism and enthusiasm and created passion for dance at Bowdoin,” said Allie Frosina ’14.