Bowdoin cuts Cambodian exchange program after six years
Earth matters: Art Museum exhibits African art in new collection
Cornell professor examines racial bias in Dove beauty campaign
Post-election verbal harassment claims not deemed bias incidents
Dance department hires choreographer with interdisciplinary inspiration
Bowdoin cuts Cambodian exchange program after six years
Bowdoin has decided to end its partnership with the Harpswell Foundation—an organization that seeks to empower young women in Cambodia through education—at the end of this academic year in order to allocate money elsewhere. Senior Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs Scott Hood confirmed the change.
Both the Bowdoin and Harpswell students involved with the program have expressed disappointment since hearing the decision, noting that the exchange brings a unique global perspective to campus and provides access to education that is otherwise unattainable for women in Cambodia. Juliet Eyraud ’16, a former tutor for the program, created a petition that gathered 250 student signatures encouraging the administration to continue its partnership with the Foundation and sent it to President Clayton Rose over Winter Break.
Since 2011, the program has brought two Cambodian women to the College each year on full scholarships provided by the College. They have received support from the Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT) and the Office of Off-Campus Study.
Hood was not involved in the decision-making process and had no knowledge of the petition that Eyraud sent to Rose. Hood noted that the exchange has been re-evaluated by the College on a yearly basis since the relationship began in 2011 under former President Barry Mills. According to Hood, Rose wanted a chance to evaluate the program himself. Rose could not be reached for comment.
In a phone interview with the Orient, Executive Director of the Harpswell Foundation Alison Pavia called the decision “very disappointing” from the Foundation’s perspective, but both Pavia and Founder of the Harpswell Foundation Alan Lightman said they respect the result of the College’s cost-benefit analysis.
Hood stressed that the decision was primarily a budgetary one and not a reflection of the Cambodian students’ contributions to campus. The College, Foundation and students all emphasized that the exchange has been valuable for all parties.
Though not given as a reason for ending the relationship by Hood, Lightman said the College has expressed concern with the Harpswell students’ English proficiency over the course of the partnership.
Lightman said that Cambodian students who have spent a year at Bowdoin have gone on to pursue important projects in Cambodia, such as investment management and teaching English to young Cambodian students. He believes that the Bowdoin community has benefited from the exchange program as well. He has appreciated Mills’ and Rose’s support of the partnership.
“These Cambodian students have suffered enormous hardships and obstacles to get where they got,” Lightman said in a phone interview with the Orient. “And they come from a war-torn country, they come from poverty, and I think their life stories—I hope their life stories have been inspiring to the Bowdoin students and community.”
Harpswell Scholar Keavatey Srun, who was on campus for the 2014-2015 academic year, described her experience at Bowdoin as “life-changing” in a Skype interview with the Orient.
“In the United States I learned to be open-minded, to step out of my comfort zone and to experience new things, meet new people and learn to communicate, learn to ask for help,” Srun said.
Another Harpswell Scholar, Sopoan Keo, who spent the 2015-2016 academic year at Bowdoin, was saddened and surprised by the College’s decision. Keo lived in Howell House, participated in an Alternative Spring Break and joined the Asian Students Association (ASA) during her time on campus.
“I feel I lost something significant,” she said in a Skype interview with the Orient. “You probably might meet a lot of privileged people at Bowdoin … but the girl who got the scholarship or the girl who’s living in Cambodia right now, most of them are underprivileged … And if they could get a scholarship to go to Bowdoin like me, I think it would be the best experience for their life.”
Theo Hurley ’20, a tutor for the Harpswell Harpswell students currently on campus, echoed Keo, saying that the Harpswell students bring a valuable international perspective to campus that would not necessarily be represented on campus without the help of the Foundation.
Both Keo and Srun, however, experienced issues adjusting to a new environment—in particular the language barrier and living away from home. According to Eyraud, though Harpswell students take classes in English in Cambodia, the style of education differs from that of the classes at Bowdoin.
“English is not my mother tongue, it’s my second language, so it was a bit hard for me to catch up with the lessons,” Srun said. “So I would often go to office hours and also had a tutor to help with my lesson and also my English. Though it was challenging, I was very grateful that I had so many people around me to have and support along the way so that I could get through it better.”
“I think definitely a lot of Harpswell students struggle in class, but that’s to be expected, especially … for any first-year student—that’s not that unusual. Obviously the language barrier poses the greatest challenge,” Eyraud added.
As a result, the College re-evaluated the implementation of the exchange program every year to “ensure a more positive experience for the students,” explained Christine Wintersteen, director of International Programs and Off-Campus Study and the administrative liaison of the partnership between the Foundation and the College. This reevaluation has resulted in an increase in English tutoring and the inclusion of Harpswell students in first-year orientation programming among other changes, according to Wintersteen.
Eyraud said she has noticed that Harpswell students’ English has been better upon coming to campus each year during her four years with the program. English for Multilingual Students Advisor Lisa Flanagan also noted that the students have showed tremendous improvement between their first and second semesters at Bowdoin.
Still, she noted that the first semester in particular takes a toll on the students psychologically.
“[In] some ways it may be almost cruel to have put them in an environment where they are so outmatched,” Flanagan said.
She also said that a school like University of Southern Maine with a dedicated English language bridge program could provide an additional layer of support that Bowdoin does not offer.
Despite the outcome, Lightman is grateful for Wintersteen and Flanagan’s dedication to the program.
Though both Harpswell and Bowdoin students said they hope the partnership will be renewed in the future, there are currently no plans for reinstatement of the program.
After delivering her petition, Eyraud met with Rose to discuss Bowdoin’s commitment to making campus more diverse on a global scale. She cited the importance of having socioeconomic diversity within the international student population at the College.
“It would be awesome if Bowdoin could have a more global campus… [but] President Rose and the admissions team might find that it’s really hard to do without the help of NGOs,” Eyraud said. “If there are students that have similar backgrounds to the Harpswell students that have little access to this type of education, they’re going to need just as much funding.”
News in brief: Town to sell Mere Point lot after rejecting petition
On Monday, Brunswick Town Council voted (7-2) against a citizens’ petition that called for the town to hold a referendum on whether to reverse the council’s previous decision to sell a waterfront property on Mere Point Road. The petition proposed that the property be converted into a community park in an effort to preserve public access to the coastline. The petition gathered over 1,100 signatures, the most in town history.
Brunswick will move forward with the sale of the property, as the council originally decided in a contentious 5-4 vote last September. The town had acquired the property last year after its previous owners failed to pay property taxes for nearly a decade.
Soxna Dice, a principal organizer speaking on behalf of the petitioners, feared for the town’s loss of public waterfront access. At the town meeting on Monday, she argued that a park at Mere Point would be accessible for all citizens, such as school groups on field trips, clammers and the elderly. According to Councilor Stephen Walker, there is currently scarce public access to the waterfront for Brunswick residents.
Though questions were raised concerning the council’s legal obligation to meet the petition’s demands, the council’s major concerns included the cost of converting the property into a park as well as the quality of the property itself and its accessibility for the elderly.
During its deliberation, the town council considered the merits of the property as a public park. Objectors found contention with the potential cost to the town. Not only would Brunswick be unable to collect the tax revenue on the waterfront property, but the town would also be obligated to front the costs to convert the land into an accessible park. According to Dice, the petitioners did not propose a budget for the park, arguing that that responsibility would fall to the town if the referendum passed.
Though the Council is moving forward to sell the property, councilors on both sides of the vote expressed commitment to expanding public access to the waterfront in the future.
Post-election verbal harassment claims not deemed bias incidents
Since the November election, students have reported four separate incidents of verbal harassment with potentially political overtones to the Office of Safety and Security. None have been deemed bias incidents by Security nor has the Brunswick Police Department (BPD) charged any individuals. Three of the four incidents involved Brunswick community members and all seem consistent with other informal reports of harassment received by the Brunswick Human Rights Task Force.
According to Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols, a bias incident “is fairly obvious when it occurs,” such as when a slur pointed at a particular person is used. In cases when inappropriate language is involved, Security examines the context and intent to determine if it is a bias incident. This semester there has been one formal report of a bias incident when a community member called a student a racial slur at Joshua’s Tavern on October 30.
Of the four incidents of verbal harassment since election day, Nicholas identified only one as related directly to the election. On November 12, a female student was jogging on Maine Street when a group of teenagers in a car proclaimed their support for President-elect Donald Trump and made a comment that directly referred to language used by Trump in an Access Hollywood tape where he bragged about sexual assault.
Since then, the female student has met with BPD, as have all those who reported harassment—with the exception of those a part of an incident that exclusively involved Bowdoin students. This incident was investigated by Security and passed on to the dean’s office for further review.
According to Nichols, although none of these instances have been deemed chargeable offenses, he still believes it is important communicate with the police to help identify a vehicle or individual in case the same person is involved in a similar incident again. That way, BPD can take informal action in the future.
“I can assure you if there’s another incident involving our students with this individual that the matter would be taken to the next level,” Nichols said.
Nichols did not feel the number of bias incidents was abnormal.
“Variations of this happen on a regular basis almost every year,” he said. “We have incidents, they happen out in the world, and whether it’s a racial epithet that’s thrown out from a vehicle or a misogynistic statement or some other type of offensive interaction with people of the community, that’s not that unusual.”
Brunswick Town Council and Brunswick Human Rights Task Force member Jane Millett echoed Nichols’s sentiment in a phone interview with the Orient, saying that reports of harassment have been steady since the task force’s creation.
Furthermore, there has not been an increase of reports on BPD’s electronic reporting platform, according to Councilor Sarah Brayman, who leads the task force. If anything, Brayman has heard only anecdotal stories of harassment and encourages people to anonymously report via the BPD’s platform to help the task force mobilize.
Brayman also questioned a direct link between local incidents of harassment and the national political climate.
“But the task force is aware … I think that we all can see that rhetoric has gotten ramped up and it’s been ramped up for months now throughout the election cycle,” she said.
Going forward, the task torce will hold additional meetings and continue to share a message through community organizations about the importance of being an active bystander to help make Brunswick a safe and welcoming environment for all. Brayman also said she will continue to research national networks the town can join to gain more tools to deal with such incidents.
Millett believes individuals should learn to be active bystanders.
“We felt like people should do that strongly and not really hesitate,” Millett said. You have to evaluate every situation individually, but whether or not you say something to a person in authority or whether or not you intervene immediately is going to be dictated by the individual and also by the circumstances.”
News in brief: Roux Center plan moves forward
Last week the Brunswick Planning Board unanimously approved an initial sketch plan for the College’s new Roux Center for the Environment. The sketch includes a footprint of the site and the floor plans for the buildings Vice President and Interim Head of Finance and Administration Matthew Orlando hopes that the final design done by early April so the College can begin the bidding process.
“[The architect] Tim Mansfield has been in hundreds of planning boards all over the place, and our [Director of Capital Projects] Don Borkowski does a great job putting together the full package, so [the board] was very impressed with the organization and the comprehensiveness of it,” Orlando said.
Earlier this year, the Programming Committee—led by Interim Dean for Academic Affairs Jen Scanlon—met with the architects on a monthly basis to go over updated designs and make suggestions on the initial sketch plan. According to Orlando, President Clayton Rose set the goal to make the building not limited to the scientific study of the environment, but rather a space for interdisciplinary exploration.
“The idea is to have the classroom space in there flexible enough so it can accommodate all sorts of disciplines and not just be focused on scientific research,” Orlando said.
Orlando also hopes that the building will be able to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the highest level of sustainability certification awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council.
“That is a challenge to achieve any time you’re talking about laboratories and scientific research being conducted in the building, so we’re still hopeful that we can hit the platinum goal, but it will be a challenge,” he said.
The College will go back to the planning board in February to share any variations from the sketch plan, which will also be subject to the board’s review.
“There will inevitably be a little bit of shifting here and there. We’re still in the design phase of the building, so we have not approved a final design yet so things could certainly be shifted,” Orlando said.
Students issued court summons for disorderly conduct
The Brunswick Police Department (BPD) issued disorderly conduct court summonses to three senior Bowdoin students living in a house on Garrison Street after responding to neighbor complaints of loud music coming from the off-campus house on October 23.
BPD last issued a disorderly conduct summons to a Bowdoin student in 2010 and has issued 11 since 1998, according to BPD Commander of Support Services Mark M. Waltz.
Prior to issuing the summonses, BPD gave two warnings to the residents of the off-campus house on Garrison Street; one in August and the other early October for loud noise and music complaints. In a phone interview with the Orient, Waltz said BPD typically gives warnings before issuing a summons.
“[The evening of October 23] wasn’t the first interaction that house has had with the police department,” he said.
The three students will appear before the West Bath District Court on December 6 where they could be formally charged for disorderly conduct by the district attorney’s office.
According to Waltz, BPD notifies Bowdoin about situations involving off-campus housing, even though such incidents fall outside the jurisdiction of the College’s Office of Safety and Security.
“The enforcement role falls on us in these situations because of the fact that it’s not College property,” Waltz said.
Echoing Waltz’s statement, Senior Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs Scott Hood also said that the College would not get involved in police matters or the court summonses since BPD was responding to a call outside of Bowdoin Security’s jurisdiction.
“Adjudicating something like that is between the students and law enforcement, the DA [and] the police,” Hood said. “But if the College becomes aware of behavior by a student on or off campus that’s problematic, then it falls within the academic honor or social code.”
More specifically, Hood said that if a community member were to call Security with a complaint about off- campus housing, the neighbor would be referred to BPD. However, he emphasized that Security can assist in situations dealing with off campus housing when called by BPD.
“When [students] live off campus, they are subject to the same rules that anyone in the community is subject to … and if there are people who feel that those standards or that the law is being violated, they call the police,” he said.
During the month of October, BPD responded to 68 disturbance complaints in Brunswick, most of which were called into BPD by neighbors or community members. Of the 68, Waltz attributed about five of those calls to Bowdoin students living in off-campus housing. Last weekend, BPD responded to a complaint of loud music coming from off-campus housing on Weymouth Street. According to Waltz, students living on Weymouth Street have not yet been cited for anything.
Over the past several years, the College has seen an increase in students choosing to live off campus. In the past, the former “Crack House” was consistently on BPD’s radar. There are now at least three off-campus housing addresses that have received repeated complaints, which Waltz said is unusual.
As a result, Waltz said that BPD could increase its use of Brunswick’s disorderly house ordinance, which fines the landlords after the third citation declaring a property disorderly. After the first fine, the dollar amount of the fine increases with each citation. BPD gave its second-ever ordinance to an off-campus residence on Carlisle Avenue earlier this semester. According to Waltz, both Garrison and Weymouth Streets are being considered for disorderly house paperwork, though none has been completed or submitted.
To avoid these types of situations, Waltz said that Bowdoin students should get to know their neighbors and set expectations.
“A lot of these things can be resolved with open communication,” he said. “People don’t want to have the police involved in their lives, so [students should] take the time to get to know their neighbors and work out these different things.”
Faculty consider guidelines for unexpected students at meetings
In the upcoming weeks, the faculty will continue conversations about situations when students attend monthly faculty meetings unannounced and ask to address the faculty about student concerns without prior approval. These conversations could lead to formal guidelines for how to manage these situations, according to Bion R. Cram Professor of Economics Rachel Connelly, chair of the committee on governance and faculty affairs (GFA).
This conversation about procedure was sparked last spring after a group of students unexpectedly attended a faculty meeting and asked to speak about issues of racial inclusion on campus following the “tequila” party. Though GFA was surprised, the students were allowed to speak for about five minutes after a quick caucus, according to Connelly. Little precedent exists for dealing with these situations.
Currently, guidelines do exist for GFA to formally add students to the meeting’s agenda if the students give advanced notice. Students from BSG and the Orient have also historically attended faculty meetings on a more regular basis, although they listen rather than present.
“I think the faculty really appreciated hearing from those students,” said Connelly. “Our conversation about [this] is not that that was necessarily a bad thing, but rather that we should have a policy about such things.”
Connelly said that the faculty generally supports hearing students speak about issues important to them at the meeting. Despite this support, she suggested that the faculty meetings are not always the first path that students should take in engaging with faculty since the meeting tend to be very procedural.
“Faculty meetings in general are not good places to have conversations—they tend to be fairly stilted,” Connelly said. “We can do a lot better than that as a go-to path.”
Connelly believes that the faculty meeting would be a viable option if students could not find other venues or exhausted other options, such as reaching out to student representatives on faculty committees.
“We don’t want to draw big generalizations when the circumstances are all so very different,” she said.
Professor of Cinema Studies Tricia Welsch spoke in support of the GFA initiative at the faculty meeting on Monday and echoed Connelly’s desire to look at situations on a case-by-case basis. “It looked like we were moving in the direction of some guidelines,” Welsch said. “I think that’s far more flexible and useful to us over a long run where circumstance might change quite a lot.”
Like Connelly, Welsch said that the agenda-driven faculty meeting might not be the best forum for discussing big ideas. When students spoke last spring, Welsch felt there was inadequate time for faculty to respond or reflect. She did think, however, that President Rose’s town hall discussion about issues of race was impressive, moving and well-attended by faculty.
Connelly said that the teach-in last year worked well as an example of faculty-student collaboration on big ideas.
“It was certainly a place where faculty and students were in constant conversation,” she said.
Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) President Harriet Fisher ’17 said she is excited that communication between students and faculty as well as the role of the faculty meeting are both being discussed.She added she would like to see students use BSG as a platform where students can share their experiences with faculty.
Going forward, GFA will continue to talk with faculty about the presence of students at faculty meetings.
Connelly is unsure of the specific steps that would need to happen for GFA to finalize a new procedure, as the faculty handbook generally outlines the way meetings are run, but does not go into specific details.
“We’re in pretty grey area,” she said.
BCMA to display multimedia portrait of DeRay Mckesson ’07
New media artist R. Luke DuBois will unveil a multimedia portrait of activist DeRay Mckesson ’07 at his upcoming exhibit “Now” at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (BCMA) on March 31.
The multimedia portrait will combine interview footage of Mckesson answering questions written by Bowdoin Student Government and the African-American Society with some of Mckesson’s preexisting tweets.
Co-Director of the BCMA Anne Collins Goodyear said that the museum wanted to commision a piece for DuBois’ upcoming show that would resonate with the Bowdoin community, but DuBois was the one who chose Mckesson specifically as a subject.
“From everything I have seen of DeRay Mckesson, he is someone who promises to be a really important figure for many many years to come in terms of drawing attention to important topics, framing ways of thinking about them and thinking through new approaches to interacting with one another,” Goodyear said.
She added that this commission is a unique opportunity for the Museum, which has previously only acquired contemporary art and has never before commissioned a piece.
“It’s very special to commission a work of art because commissioning always implies some type of a conversation between the artist and the institution or the individual that’s doing it,” Goodyear said. “That’s what makes this work special.”
Though the portrait was commissioned before Mckesson’s announcement of his decision to run for mayor of Baltimore, Goodyear is excited that the portrait will also contribute to questions about today’s political discourse and in particular, conversations about the Black Lives Matter movement and its political platform.
“It will both give us an opportunity to connect with some of [Mckesson’s] private thoughts, the question on what his perspective is, and what has made him the political activist that he is,” Goodyear said. “The portrait will very consciously share his public face which has evolved through the medium of Twitter.”
Goodyear has worked with Dubois before. In 2014, Goodyear helped the National Portrait Gallery commission Dubois to create a portrait of Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. As Dubois told the New York Times in 2014, the portrait was an “abstracted visualization of their search engine turned on them.” It combined video interviews of the founders and imagery of real-time Google searches on the same screen using software Dubois wrote himself.
Meanwhile, the BCMA has a long history of displaying portraits. Two of the original pieces from James Bowdoin III’s private collection were portraits of Presidents James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, the latter of which is the portrait on the two dollar bill.
“The Museum, which of course is part of a college, is able to participate in a conversation about what political activism looks like today, what the Black Lives Matter movement looks like, what it looks like to give even-handed and equal consideration to all citizens,” Goodyear said. “And, by extension, I think that [we participate in] this question of what does it look like for the US to welcome many different points of view into our political discourse.”
Creating community through arts and crafts
After its open house earlier this week, the Craft Center met its goal of having over 100 student members. Under the new leadership of Assistant Director of Student Activities Laurel Varnell ’14, the Craft Center has been transformed from a resource primarily used by community members, faculty and staff to a student-centric space and creative outlet with student managers and instructors.
For Varnell, part of making the Craft Center more accessible and inclusive to students was reducing the dues from $25 a semester to $10 a semester, which gives students use of all materials, 24/7 OneCard access to the building and a reduced class fee.
According to student manager Sofi Lopez ’18, the increase in membership has not only created an income for the Craft Center but has also helped to build a community “It’s just about being a really inclusive space for people to have fun and have an outlet from this often times stressful environment that we’re all in here at school,” Lopez said. “And just to be able to connect with that part of us that has been there since childhood that just likes to do things and create things and just have fun.”
Varnell believes that the student-led classes act as opportunities for students to relieve stress and learn or perfect crafting skills.
“I think a big reason why people who would be members but aren’t is because a lot of people are scared that if they don’t think of themselves as a creative person or if they don’t have a million ideas at all times for crafts that they won’t find a use in the Craft Center,” Lopez said. “We really want to help people understand that that’s not the case. I led a finger painting night last semester. You don’t need any skills for that.”
The Craft Center is also the only space on campus that has pottery wheels, which members can be trained to use during open pottery hours on Sundays.
“For students that have done pottery—throwing on a wheel—in high school, this is their only option in college to do [that]. So that’s something that I didn’t realize coming into it, and I have tried to expand the pottery studio,” Varnell said.
The Craft Center has also begun to partner with other student organizations, such as the College Houses and the Women’s Resource Center, on campus-wide crafting events to attract more members. One of Varnell’s future goals for the Craft Center is to partner with a sports team.
“Not only can you have experiences with the Craft Center by going and taking classes and being a member but by also having art and creativeness everywhere,” Varnell said.
Varnell’s long term goal for the Craft Center is to continue to hire more student managers and instructors as more students get involved as members.
“I think that the Craft Center has always been a space for students to just express themselves creatively,” Varnell said. “I think trying to create different ways that students can express themselves [gets] them away from their academics but is still stimulating in millions of other ways, like doing any sort of craft can be.”
Earth matters: Art Museum exhibits African art in new collection
At the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, a video plays on a loop of South African artist Berni Searle’s bare feet walking across surf, stone and salt in the Canary Islands. At the end of the film, we see the artist meld into the Earth itself. The video serves as the opening to the Museum’s new exhibit, “Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa,” and shows how humans use feet to connect and form a relationship to the Earth.
Last week, the Museum welcomed both its and the state of Maine’s first major collection of African art, which explores the Earth as a connective thread between the medium of artwork and important themes of political geography and climate change in contemporary and traditional African art.
The exhibit is on loan from the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. The collection’s curator, Karen Milbourne, started to assemble the collection in 2009 when she began to ask questions about how contemporary artists approach issues of climate change and politics using new mediums. Rather than commissioning artwork for the collection, Milbourne used both the Smithsonian’s permanent collection of African art and reached out contemporary artists. She explained her role as gathering different viewpoints from African artists to answer universal questions about belonging to the Earth.
The collection represents 17 different countries across the African continent and houses about 50 pieces of varying, multimedia artwork. Since the collection’s inception, it has been on display at the National Museum of African Art in 2013 and the Fowler Museum at the University of California Los Angeles in 2014.
The work in the exhibit dates to circa 1800 in conjunction with the first Europeans entering central Africa in search of natural resources to fuel the industrial revolution, Thomas Jefferson and the British House of Lords abolishing international slave trade and increased personal travel.
“All those things are happening at this time period, and it changed how people saw here and there, mine and yours, and the ancestors…you see it in the arts,” Milbourne said.
To help realize the exhibit’s complicated themes, Milbourne divided the exhibit into five distinct sections: the Material Earth, the Power of the Earth, Imagining the Underground, Strategies of the Surface and Art as Environmental Action.In the Material Earth and the Power of the Earth, the artists use earth as their medium to question notions of identity and define not only what Earth means, but how people choose to connect to it.
“Depending on who you ask you’re going to get a lot of different answers,” said Milbourne. “You ask some artists and [Earth] may be a particular earthen material, so it really lays out what are the materials that everyone of us consider to be the earth. Would it be mud?”The exhibit then moves to Imaging the Underground, which examines the space and location of the Earth, the divine and political geography.
“If you think about the underground, it’s something you can dig, dig, dig and dig, but you’re never going to get to the bottom of it,” Milbourne said. “Earth is something you can feel it, you can see it, you can touch it, but you cannot see through it and you cannot fully understand what’s at the bottom of it, much like the divine. You’ll find that for many cultures that the underground earth is a way of concretely or materially expressing the relationship things that are bigger than ourselves.”
In this section, the Museum installed a video by the South African artist William Kentridge in the excavated, lower level of the Museum. In the animation, a wealthy businessman presses on French press coffee maker, which turns into a tunnel with skulls, bones and traditional African art objects. The mineshaft then opens up into the floor plan of the Brooke’s slave ship, which, according to Milbourne, calls in question all that has been excavated from the African continent and global entanglement.
“That’s one playful way we’ve tried to literalize some of the thinking about surface and penetrating down, and connecting with the themes of the exhibition,” Co-Director of the Museum Anne Collins Goodyear said.
In the final section, Art as Environmental Action, the artists examine climate change as a contemporary issue and challenge viewers to be mindful.
“It’s intended to draw attention to the fact that artists are not decorators and artists are not passively documenting the world around them, but are the very individuals who…create works of art to draw attention to sustainable practices,” Milbourne said.
Collins Goodyear and her husband Co-Director Frank Goodyear both believe that the themes of the exhibit not only appeal to the academic interests of Bowdoin students, but also the greater Brunswick and Maine community, given the increase of African immigrants in Midcoast Maine over the last 20 years.
“Sometimes we like to think about Bowdoin as this ‘small college in Maine,’ but of course despite the fact that we may occupy a relatively small piece of territory, we know that intellectually the shadow that this place casts is tremendous,” Collins Goodyear said. “We have an opportunity with the nature of our collections to juxtapose the historic with the contemporary and to look across the globe at what art means today and what it has meant historically.”
According to Goodyear, the exhibit also relates to the Museum’s goal of posing challenging and thought-provoking questions.
“The exhibition asks this universal question: what is one’s relationship to the land, what are our connections to this place, how do we feel a sense of belonging to this place, what does it mean when groups are either forced and volunteer to leave one area and go someplace else,” Goodyear said. “It’s really the mission of this museum to pose challenging questions and to develop exhibition that allow artists to have a response to some of those questions.”
Art Society to publish collegiate art history journal
For the first time, Bowdoin Art Society will accept submissions from universities in the United Kingdom (UK) for its online database and journal, the “Bowdoin Journal of Art,” which will make the publication the only international collegiate journal for undergraduate students studying art history.
“If you published an essay that contributes new insights in a particular field of art history, it’s an incredible opportunity to have your work shown to a larger audience,” President of the Bowdoin Art Society Tom Rosenblatt ’16 said.
Bowdoin Art Society published its first edition of the Journal last spring after noticing the lack of opportunities for undergraduate art history students to publish and share their work. According to Rosenblatt, Dartmouth College had previously published a similar journal, but discontinued about five years ago due to lack of student interest.
Despite the five-year gap, the “Bowdoin Journal of Art” received over 30 submissions from students at a variety of schools last year, including Bowdoin, Stanford, Colgate and Middlebury. This year, Bowdoin Art Society sent emails to the top 180 American universities and 20 UK universities inviting art history majors and minors to submit. According to Arianna Cameron ’16, the head of the Journal and coordinator and social media manager of the Bowdoin Art Society, the Journal has already received 50 submissions, including five from the UK. The submission deadline is the end of December.
The Journal allows for students from different backgrounds to contribute their ideas to the field of art history, as well as see what other undergraduate students are learning through the online platform of the Journal.
Cameron and Rosenblatt both hope that the Journal will connect art history students. According to Rosenblatt, one of the problems with the “Dartmouth Journal of Art” was the lack of accessibility as a physical publication not reproduced in an online medium.
“I think it would be interesting to see the different writing styles, just compare the way British students are writing compared to American students,” Cameron said. “I think it would be really cool for students from both countries to be able to use each other essays in their own work, and I think it would maybe…show how the different cultures go about assessing art and about writing essays in general.”
The Journal also relates to Bowdoin Art Society’s larger mission to promote the arts community at Bowdoin and to contribute to developments in the international art scene. The Journal accomplishes both of these missions, as it brings together an international body of students and promotes both Bowdoin and undergraduate work.
“Until you’re a respected member of academia, you’re not going to be able to be published,” Rosenblatt said. “In my mind, students can still produce substantial, interesting things. Anyone reading the paper should note that it was a student who produced it.”
In addition to accepting submissions from the UK, the Bowdoin Art Society is developing the group’s process of putting the publication together , including editing the email inviting students to submit and revising the process for selecting the committee to peer review and select the essays.
“Our goal this semester is to just really improve what we have already,” Cameron said. “The whole journal is extremely new. It’s a really new thing. It’s the only one in the country. This is our second go at it, and I already think it’s doing so much better than it did before.”
Both Rosenblatt and Cameron are excited about the changes to the Journal and it’s future. “I’m really looking forward to expanding not only the Journal of Art, but also Art Society and really incorporating the two in this bigger mission to represent both works of art and essays of undergraduate students not only at Bowdoin, but at universities around the world,” Cameron said “I think it’s something that’s been neglected so far, so I think it’s really cool that we’re doing this.”
BellaMafia to take break, reevaluate after semester
BellaMafia, one of Bowdoin’s two all-female a cappella ensembles, will take a break this semester to reevaluate its future as a group on campus, a situation President of the A Cappella Council Max Middleton ’16 called unprecedented.
At the a cappella recruitment concert last weekend, in which Bowdoin’s remaining five a cappella groups performed, Middleton announced that BellaMafia would not be holding auditions for new members this semester.
BellaMafia informed Middleton of its decision to take time off earlier that week. Members of BellaMafia declined to comment to the Orient.
According to Middleton, the group reached the decision because several members graduated this past spring and other members on campus are unable to commit to the group for personal reasons.
“The leadership of the group just felt like it would be better… as a group if [they]took a semester to regroup, rethink, reorganize and then come back,” Middleton said. For the A Cappella Council, the situation is uncharted territory.
“As far as I know, in my tenure...there’s not really precedent for a whole group taking time off,” Middleton said. “That said, there definitely is precedent of individuals taking time off within groups.”
BellaMafia formed as a group in 2006 after more female students began expressing interest to join an a cappella group.
Currently, Middleton cannot predict how BellaMafia not auditioning new members will impact the audition numbers for Bowdoin’s other female a cappella group, Miscellania, and two co-ed groups, BOKA and Ursus Verses. So far, the groups have not seen major changes, as students can audition for multiple groups.
“Our policy has been in the past, for a student body of this size, the fact that we’re able to support six a cappella groups is remarkable,” Middleton said. “You look at other schools...it’s an insane a cappella group to student ratio that we’ve got working here.”
Dance department hires choreographer with interdisciplinary inspiration
After Assistant Professor of Dance Charlotte Griffin’s unexpected departure from the College this summer, the Department of Theater and Dance hired New York choreographer and now Visiting Artist Laura Peterson to teach advanced modern dance students and bring an interdisciplinary eye to projects in the department.
According to Chair of the Theater and Dance Department Paul Sarvis, Griffin left Bowdoin for a job at the University of California, Irvine, where she will conduct research and teach classes. Speaking on behalf of Griffin, Sarvis said that Irvine’s proximity to Los Angeles pushed Griffin to leave Bowdoin this past summer.
“It was abrupt because [Griffin] was very happy at Bowdoin…but she was approached by UC Irvine and invited to apply for a position there,” Sarvis said. “I think it’s being in the greater Los Angeles area where there is a population of young dancers who are available to recruit…and that’s the one issue about our location in Maine. There’s not an army of young dancers in Portland who are chomping at the bit and wanting to be in your dance. I think that was the determining thing.”
Peterson, who was hired during an informal search for a one-year visiting artist, met the dance department’s criteria of excellent artistic work, a terminal degree, intellectual engagement, a strong teaching record, and a willingness to live in Maine. A formal search to permanently replace Griffin will take place this school year.
“What we wanted to do because of Charlotte’s absence is generate some excitement and get a cutting-edge New York choreographer to come and teach,” Sarvis said.
In particular, Sarvis noted Peterson’s commitment to the disciplines of dance, sustainability, architecture and the visual arts. During her time at Bowdoin, Peterson hopes to collaborate with the Department of Visual Arts.
“One idea I had is what if we could get some of the visual arts students to come into a [dance] class, we could work together on something and that would be really interesting,” Peterson said. “Modern dance is modern art and that it is a visual experience…. Dance doesn’t exist in a vacuum.”
Sarvis said that the department was looking forward to potential collaborations with the visual arts department.
“We are particularly excited by her engagement with visual art...we’re really enjoying the company of our visual arts colleagues, we thought that would be, especially, kind of piquant syngery,” he said.
Peterson also said she was excited to work with students who have a wide range of academic interests, as she had previously only taught undergraduate students in Bachelor of Fine Arts programs, where students tend to only study dance.
“[The students] just have a wide variety of ideas and interests and it can really make a classroom vibrant in a different way,” she said.
In her classes, Peterson wants to teach contemporary dance as it relates to contemporary issues and how dance is related to other art forms. In her technique class specifically, she wants her dancers to fully comprehend what it means to be aware of their bodies, the music and the space they’re using.
Peterson will also choreograph an audition-based piece set on Bowdoin dancers for the December Dance Concert.
Peterson also said that the ability to choreograph for a small group is unique for a dance program.
“I’m just going to try to make the dance for the people right there and stay true to whatever concept is arising through our process,” she said.
For the rest of the Bowdoin community, Peterson hopes to portray contemporary dance as a serious intellectual pursuit.
“[Dance] can have this really full sense, and that’s something I think is really important to share with the community here, the idea of fully-developed dance and contemporary dance,” she said. “There’s a ton of jazz dance, there’s a ton of commercial dance on television and in videos, and modern dance is as physical [as those styles] and might have a different intellectual structure…[modern dance] is more of an abstract art form.”
Cornell professor examines racial bias in Dove beauty campaign
One need not be a scholar to know when an ad campaign has not succeeded. But when it comes to evaluating the histories that underlie problematic messaging, a professor who studies race and gender can offer invaluable insight.
Noliwe Rooks, an associate professor in Africana Studies and Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies at Cornell University, delivered a talk Monday evening in Kresge Auditorium about the intersections of beauty, race and popular culture in examining Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty and its use of black women’s bodies as a marketing tool. Rooks’ lecture, sponsored by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, also touched on the value of beauty in society and its impact in politics and policy making.
Rooks focused on specific images from the Real Beauty campaign, an ad campaign launched in 2004 with the intention of reflecting what women truly wanted to see in advertising. One image in particular showed a black woman, a Latina woman and a white woman lined up in that order under a “before and after” banner to demonstrate a transformation from rough to smooth skin after using the product. But as Rooks pointed out, the image also suggested that a transformation from dark to light skin was desirable. Although Dove claimed that race was not supposed to be a part of the visual narrative, the company eventually cancelled the advertisement.
“The demise of the overall campaign was especially telling in regards to its disconnecting the meaning of beauty from race and history,” Rooks said. “It’s puzzling they did not catch something so simple as an advertisement where large-boned black woman became white and thin after using the product.”
Rooks spoke to the negative effects the campaign had on presenting black bodies.
“The campaign never gave any thought to broadening the message to include different races, nor did it pay attention to how we read and understand bodies that are raced,” she said. “They used black women’s bodies only to denote the ability to overcome a variety of imperfections…. By the end of the campaign, black skin became another imperfection to overcome or be washed away.”
In the past recent years, Dove has moved away from ads explicitly about body image to those that generally empower women. Rooks began her lecture by showing the Real Beauty Sketches, a more recent Dove ad. In the video, a group of women describe both themselves and another woman in the group to a sketch artist. The women then spend time comparing the two sketches to see the differences between their perceptions of themselves and a stranger’s perception of their beauty.
Rooks attributed the video’s success to both the warm, feel-good emotions it elicited and its wide dissemination. One month after release, it had garnered more than 114 million views, making it the most viral ad of all time. It was uploaded in 25 languages and has been viewed in 110 different countries.
“[The video] was a cultural phenomenon that spoke to women, and was profitable at the same time,” she said. “It tells us that beauty is internal and personal and race-neutral and individual and should not have power in women’s lives. Many of us, fatigued with hearing and seeing the opposite, desperately wanted to believe that all of this is true.”
Rooks went on to speak more generally about the role of beauty and race in society. According to Rooks, less conventionally attractive individuals are less likely to be viewed as smart, interesting, likeable, successful and well-adjusted. She went on to say that dark-skinned black women are considered 50 per cent less attractive than those that are lighter-skinned. Rooks then discussed the implications of the internalizing of these perceptions by young people.
Diamond Walker ’17, who attended the talk, found the argument that beauty is more than just aesthetics interesting.
“We understand how beauty works in a social setting, I’ve never thought about it an academic setting,” said Walker.
McCoy ’15 resigns from BSG Executive Committee
Kyle Wolstencroft '15 won internal BSG election to become Vice President for Facilities and Sustainability
Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) Vice President for Facilities and Sustainability Bridgett McCoy ’15 resigned from her position on BSG’s Executive Committee on February 12. Kyle Wolstencroft ’15, class of 2015 representative, won an in internal BSG election 14-9 against At-Large Representative David Levine ’16 and will replace McCoy.
McCoy said she stepped down because of personal reasons regarding her academic commitments.
“I’m a senior who is doing an honors project and I had to cut out some commitments, unfortunately, to make that work,” McCoy said. “Extracurriculars for me are supposed to be fun, and [BSG] was a lot of time commitment and something I could get out of.”
In addition to her honors project, McCoy’s other major time commitments include working an on-campus job and singing in a chamber choir, which is one of her classes this semester. As a result, her position on BSG was the only extracurricular she could leave without academic or financial ramifications.
“It was unfortunate that I had to leave this opportunity because it has an impact on students, but I decided that I just couldn’t make it happen with all my other things, and it was adding a lot of stress to my life,” McCoy said. “It was a personal decision about my academic commitments.”
McCoy also expressed an interest in pursuing activism outside of BSG.
“I wanted to give back to the school in a way where the time commitment is less rigid,” McCoy wrote in an email to the Orient.
BSG President Chris Breen ’15 supports McCoy’s pursuit of activism, but wishes she would have used BSG as her resource.
“I don’t really see any better way to work on activism projects than to be involved in BSG and to be in a position like the VP of facilities and sustainability,” said Breen. “I think that would be a very good position to advance those goals and motives.”
Although she resigned on Thursday, McCoy remained involved in BSG before its internal election to replace her.
“I just tied up some loose ends—there were a couple of things like getting movie tickets that just needed to happen that I just did, so that the person who’s following me doesn’t have to do it,” McCoy said.
Breen hopes to maintain the continuity of projects of the Facilities and Sustainability Committee between McCoy and her successor.
“It kind of puts the BSG in a tough position in terms of replacing someone with such a limited time span left this year,” Breen said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to finish up the projects—a lot of people in that committee were spearheading some of those, so I think we’ll be in good hands with the people who are in the committee.”
According to the BSG Constitution, vacancies in the Executive Committee are be filled through an internal election.
The bylaws regarding resignation were added to the Constitution in 2007 when a class representative became the first member in the history of BSG to resign, according to a January 2007 Orient article.
The last time a member of the Executive Committee resigned was in 2008 when both Vice President of BSG Affairs Kata Solow ’10 and Vice President of Student Affairs Tony Thrower ’09 stepped down, according to a January 2008 Orient article. Solow left her position as vice president to assume the new role of BSG policy director, and Thrower resigned to pursue other interests.
Volent remains highest-paid non-president in the NESCAC
Senior Vice President of Investments Paula Volent remained the highest paid Bowdoin employee for the 2012 calendar year. She earned $1,267,519 in total, according to the College’s most recently available Form 990 for the compensation of its top employees. Volent received a 45 percent increase from 2011 to 2012, and has been the highest-compensated employee at Bowdoin since the 2007 fiscal year, when the Orient reported that her salary surpassed that of President Barry Mills.
Consistent with past years, Mills was the second highest-paid employee in 2012, earning a base pay of $413,029 with $88,126 of additional compensation, for a total compensation figure of $501,155. His compensation increased by .26 percent between 2011 and 2012.
“If you look at my compensation, it’s a lot lower than a lot of other college presidents,” said Mills. “You’ll see that I receive non-cash compensations and imputed benefits, such as the house I live in.”
At other NESCAC schools, the president is traditionally the highest-paid employee. Compared to the presidential compensation at the 11 other NESCAC institutions, Mills’ pay once again ranked ninth, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Executive Compensation at Private Colleges database.
Only Connecticut College’s then-President Leo Higdon, who earned $418,916, earned less than Mills at a standard compensation rate. A. Clayton Spencer, who served as President of Bates College for less than year when she was appointed in 2012, earned $322,708.
“We do look competitively to see how we pay compensation compared to other places, and if our compensation is way out of line, then sometimes we make adjustments,” Mills said.
Williams was the only other NESCAC school where an administrator other than the president, Chief Investment Officer Collette Chilton, was the highest-compensated employee. In 2012, Volent surpassed Chilton as the highest-paid non-president employee in the NESCAC.
In 2012, Volent earned $1,267,519 compared to Chilton’s $890,960. Mills attributed the large increase in Volent’s pay to her ability to successfully grow the College’s endowment. At the end of 2012, the College’s net assets or fund balances amounted to $1,218,293,000.
“The increase in the endowment is certainly something we’re very, very proud of, and a big reason that our endowment is the success that it is because of Paula,” Mills said. “We make sure that she is compensated competitively with others in her field, and the success of our endowment is linked to our desire to pay her competitively.”
The remaining three of the top five compensated employees after Volent and Mills were, in order, former Secretary of the College William Torrey, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Catherine Longley, and Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Kelly Kerner.
Torrey, who left the College in 2011, had a 51 percent decrease of his compensation between 2011 and 2012. In 2012, however, his compensation of $365,309 once again reflected his 2010 salary.
“In some instances there are some people on that list who have left the college in those years, and in some instances their compensation could look higher because of long standing arrangements they may have had with the College when they left for many, many years of service,” said Mills.
Two professors were on the list of the 13 top-paid employees: Professor of Natural Sciences Patsy Dickinson and Professor of Art Mark Wethli. Dickinson remained the highest-paid professor in 2012, earning $217,651.
Mills stated that it is important that Bowdoin’s compensation for its employees, both in the administration and on the faculty, remain competitive.
BSG discusses library renovations, Chuck-A-Puck
On Wednesday, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) discussed potential library renovations and voted on two proposals: the amendments to Student Activities Funding Committee’s (SAFC) Club Funding Guidelines and the Athletic Council’s event, Chuck-A-Puck.
The meeting began with Associate Librarian Judy Montgomery and College Librarian Marjorie Hassen announing that Hawthorne-Longfellow Library will undergo gradual changes to its study spaces over the next couple of months.
“Is there enough quiet study space, enough collaborative?” asked Hassen. “These are the questions we need to ask as we think about changing spaces.”
The conversation about Hawthorne-Longfellow also focused on how to balance study spaces with room for books and collections. The discussion will continue with students’ input throughout the year.
Next, the BSG voted on proposed changes to the SAFC’s Club Funding Guidelines. The amendments passed with two members abstaining.
The two major changes are to section IV Traveling and section VII Conferences and Retreats. The first change allows SAFC to fund trips in the United States within 500 miles of the College, and the second change made a distinction between competitive conferences and tournaments, and non-competitive conference workshops.
BSG then unanimously passed the Athletic Council’s proposal for $512 to fund the event Chuck-A-Puck, which will take place during halftime at the Bowdoin-Colby hockey game. Participants will buy foam pucks for $1 and then throw them onto the rink at halftime. The person whose puck lands closest to the center of the rink will win a $50 gift certificate to the Bowdoin Bookstore. Proceeds will go towards Relay for Life.
In the upcoming weeks, BSG will vote on proposed revisions to its bylaws for campaign reform concerning College Copy Center funds.
BSG updates campaign bylaws, club funding guidelines
Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) brainstormed ideas for campaign reform in future BSG elections and possible changes to the Student Activities Funding Committee’s (SAFC) Club Funding Guidelines at its meeting on Wednesday.
BSG President Chris Breen ’15 opened the dialogue about the current bylaws for student elections with regard to social media and campaign spending. Currently, the bylaws state that candidates cannot provide gifts, hold election parties or send mass campaign emails using class, dorm and club mailing lists. They are also limited to $10 in advertising funding to spend at the Copy Center to print posters for their campaigns.
However, there are no explicit bylaws for campaigning through Facebook, such as purchasing ads or promoting a post. Both of these activities come with a price tag. President of the Class of 2018 Ned Wang purchased targeted Facebook ads during his campaign in early October. This opened the broader question of regulating campaign spending in the age of social media.
“This is about whether everyone in the election starts on a level playing field,” said Breen.BSG discussed several possible solutions and changes to the bylaws and will revisit the issue at a later time.
“The question is spending money at all during a campaign and we need to try to keep elections as simple as possible,” Breen said.
President of SAFC Ryan Davis ’15 then changed the conversation to introduce two possible changes to its Club Funding Guidelines.
The first falls under section IV: Travel. The current guidelines state that SAFC does not fund Zipcars or road trips outside of New England. Davis suggested that the limitation be changed to 500 miles outside of Bowdoin, but within the United States.
The second change is under section VII: Conferences and Retreats. Davis proposed to change the language that allows funding from “one conference per year” to “off campus leadership training,” which would encourage club leaders to gain more leadership experience while recognizing that conferences can be expensive. There is also a proposed distinction between competitive conferences and tournaments for clubs and groups that need to go to annual non-competitive conference workshops.
In the upcoming week, BSG members will communicate the proposed changes to various club members for feedback. Assuming it receives positive feedback, BSG plans to vote on the changes to the Club Funding Guidelines in the upcoming weeks.
Field hockey stays perfect with narrow win
The field hockey team kept its undefeated streak alive by beating No. 10 Wellesley College 1-0 on Wednesday night at Howard F. Ryan Field. The Polar Bears handed Wellesley their first loss of the season and improved their own record to 6-0 (4-0 NESCAC).
“It is a pretty big deal that we can play against Wellesley, who [is a] top ranked team,” said captain Colleen Finnerty ’15. “We can hold our own and show them how Bowdoin field hockey can play. It’s pretty incredible.”
Kimmy Ganong ’17 scored the lone goal of the game. Applying offensive pressure, she was able to carry the ball through the midfield and complete a pass to Emily Simonton ’15 at the top of the circle. Simonton played a through-pass over the stroke line back to Ganong, who directed the ball into the left corner.
“We did what we needed to do to get the ball, connect with a teammate,” said Assistant Coach Shannon Malloy. “That’s how we scored. We passed the ball and moved the ball really well, giving [Ganong] the opening to score.”
The Blue’s offensive was strong in the second half, pressuring the Polar Bear’s circle. “[Wednesday’s] game was the most defensive we’ve played all season,” said Finnerty.
“To be able to hold Wellesley to only seven corners and keep them from scoring on all seven of those corners was a team effort,” Finnerty said. “We counted on every single man that was on that field to keep the ball out of our net.”
Goalie Hannah Gartner ’15 played particularly well against Wellesley in her second straight shutout.
“All of her saves were incredible and were off direct shots off those corners—which a lot of times are the hardest balls to save with how many offenders are coming in at you,” said Finnerty.
“When our goalies make a save or our defense makes a stop, it adds a lot of confidence to the team as a whole,” Malloy said.
The team looks to stay undefeated and continue to dominate on its home turf tomorrow when it welcomes Trinity at 11 a.m.
“There’s a lot of pride at stake when you go out and play on your home field,” said Finnerty. “Everyone needs to come ready to play and fired up to win.”
The Polar Bears go back out of conference on Wednesday night when they travel to Husson University.