Year in Review: 2014-2015 Year in Review
The summer months at Bowdoin were marked by construction and technological changes on campus. The Brunswick Town Council voted to approve parking regulations in late August. These regulations included a two-hour parking limit and restricted overnight parking on Park Row, following the College’s elimination of 63 student parking spaces in February 2014. Students expressed frustration and concern over these new parking bans, wondering if their mobility would be hampered.
The College also underwent many renovations, such as the installation of solar panels on the roof of Sidney J. Watson Arena. The panels have been operational since August 29 2014, and are the state’s largest solar panel project. The College also added solar panels to Farley Field House, Greason Pool and 52 Harpswell, which will supply power to the South Campus Loop, which includes Osher Hall, West Hall, and Moulton Union, starting in October. 52 Harpswell, Coles Tower, and Hubbard Hall also underwent summer construction to boost energy efficiency on campus.
Information Technology adjusted the printer system on campus while students were away. Up until the fall semester, students could easily print any items in the queues at public printers, even those that did not belong to them. The updated system requires students to enter their usernames and only allows them to print their own documents. Students were happy with the improvements in terms of electronic security, but expressed frustration at not having known these changes were taking place.September
Bowdoin’s endowment generated a return of 19.2 percent, reaching an all-time high of $1.216 billion at the end of fiscal year 2014. The performance of Bowdoin’s endowment led Institutional Investor, a global finance magazine, to name it “Endowment of the Year.”
Roughly 90 students travelled to New York City to participate in the People’s Climate March. The students joined over 100,000 others at the event aimed at pressuring world leaders to address climate change.
The Orient spoke with DeRay McKesson ’07, who had been organizing protests in Ferguson, Mo. following the non-indictment of the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in August. McKesson later came to campus in April to talk about his work as an organizer and social media activist. He also made headlines this week in an interview on CNN during protests in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray.October
Four students from Bowdoin Climate Action (BCA) met with members of the College’s Board of Trustees during their fall meeting to discuss BCA’s proposal for the College to divest from the top 200 publicly-traded fossil fuel companies within five years. The students gave a 25-minute presentation followed by about 20 minutes of questions and discussion with the trustees in attendance. According to President Barry Mills, the Board concluded that divestment was not viable for Bowdoin at the time, and BCA continued to focus on their goal.
Anthony Doerr ’95 was selected as a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction for his 2014 novel “All the Light We Cannot See.” In April, Doerr won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the book.November/December
Beloved professor Richard Morgan ’59 died in November at 77 after 45 years on the faculty. In addition to being a revered constitutional scholar, Morgan was a distinguished faculty member and occupied the office at the top of Hubbard Hall’s tower, a testament to his stature at the College and a cherished space for generations of students who attended his office hours.
The fall sports season brought success for the men’s soccer team and the field hockey team. Men’s soccer won its first ever NESCAC championship, defeating both Middlebury and Amherst in upsets, propelling them to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2010. The field hockey team made it to the NCAA Division III Championship game for the second year in a row, but lost to The College of New Jersey 2-1.
Registration for the spring semester saw a substantial increase in demand for computer science courses, leaving many students and prospective majors or minors shut out of classes. While professors agreed to add more sections and allow class sizes to go over previously set limits, many students were concerned that this would be a recurring problem.
Following the non-indictment of the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, student leaders held a number of events, including a campus-wide vigil and a die-in in the dining halls. At the final faculty meeting of the semester, the faculty surprised President Barry Mills by announcing an endowed scholarship in honor of he and his wife Karen Mills and their commitment to financial aid. The scholarship was funded by over 175 current and former faculty who, together with an anonymous alumni donor, created the “Bowdoin Faculty Scholarship in honor of Barry and Karen Mills” which will provide roughly $5,000 to a student each year as part of their financial aid package.
During the last week of fall classes, Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster emailed the entire campus to announce that the College would take disciplinary action against students who dressed up as Native Americans at an off-campus party known as Cracksgiving.January
In January, the College launched a search for a director of the new Student Center on Multicultural Life, which will be located at 30 College Street and will open for the 2015-2016 school year. President Barry Mills sent a campus-wide email recommending that the College begin the spring semester after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in future years so that students can observe the holiday without feeling the pressure of missing classes.
At the end of the month, the Board of Trustees announced that Clayton S. Rose will succeed Mills as the College’s next president. Rose is a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School and a former businessman at J.P. Morgan. Although some people expressed concern that another white male would be the leader of Bowdoin, most were excited and confident that his impressive academic background—which includes a doctorate in sociology—will serve the community well during his tenure at the College.
The month ended as Winter Storm Juno dumped over two feet of snow on campus, causing the College to consider cancelling all classes for the first time since the 1970 Kent State shooting. The campus suffered only minor electrical damage despite 50 mile per hour winds.February
A group of students organized a Meeting in the Union to discuss issues of race, gender, sexuality, class and climate at Bowdoin; about 200 students gathered to hear speeches about each topic. During the speech on climate, Bowdoin Climate Action (BCA) announced their plans to escalate action calling for fossil fuel divestment if a trustee was not appointed as a divestment liaison by March 6. The group organizing the meeting also released an open letter to the community, which they delivered to the office of President Mills, during the gathering.
Ladd House canceled their annual Inappropriate Party, citing concerns over the possibility of cultural appropriation and offensive attire.
Wil Smith ’00, one of the College’s most well-known and well-loved recent alumni, passed away after a long battle with colon cancer. Smith is most know for attending Bowdoin and playing varsity basketball at 28 while also caring for his young daughter, Olivia. Smith served as both the director and associate dean of multicultural student programs at Bowdoin, and was working as the dean of community and multicultural affairs at the Berkshire School at the time of his death.March/April
Students living in the off-campus residence known as Crack House were informed that a January inspection of their home yielded eight fire and life-safety violations.
Associate Professor of Government Michael Franz, in conjunction with his class, “Quantitative Analysis in Political Science,” conducted a scientific, campus-wide survey to gauge people’s opinions on various issues relating to Bowdoin. Sixty eight percent of respondents replied, stating that they believed political correctness “is a problem at Bowdoin currently.” Mounting concern for the administration’s strong stance on being politically correct stemmed in large part from the decision to punish 14 lacrosse players for dressing as Native Americans at an off-campus party and the cancellation by Ladd House of the annual Inappropriate Party.
The Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) held its annual election for the executive committee, which concluded on April 13. BSG chose to push back the closing of the polls twice due to the 13-year-old voting system crashing multiple times as a result of increased voter traffic. Apart from this extension, questions about election procedures were raised concerning the selective release of margin numbers before the poll closed and campaign financing as it related to the purchasing of advertising posters by the candidates.
Compiled by Olivia Atwood, Sam Chase, Matthew Gutschenritter, Meg Robbins, Nicole Wetsman and Kate Witteman.