The Bowdoin Project: What Bowdoin can do to disprove the NAS findings
The National Association of Scholars announced their study of Bowdoin roughly a year and a half ago. Since that day, most of us could have guessed its overarching conclusions. It is therefore instinctive to treat the release of the NAS study with disinterest: it offers no new perspectives, it continues the NAS’s record of omitting basic facts and including blatantly false statements, and it does not develop a unique and convincing argument.
To be sure, there are topics in the report that call for closer examination. But most students and faculty seem to have come to the inescapable conclusion that the NAS is not an open-minded, civil or constructive debate partner. I believe that this conclusion is fair, and I have posted a lengthy justification of this point on my website.
But this conclusion comes with two caveats, both of which implore us to take action.First, we should give the NAS every opportunity to change their tone and rhetorical tactics. The association has been around for over 25 years, it rakes in extensive funding from many conservative foundations, and many of its members are well regarded scholars who publish in high-profile journals and newspapers. Their resources put them in a position to influence policy-makers and the general public.
Klingenstein’s article gives an inaccurate account of Bowdoin curriculum
Last week, Thomas Klingenstein published an article in the Claremont Review of Books discussing President Barry Mills and Bowdoin College. In his article, which was covered in the April 15 edition of the Orient, Klingenstein charges that Bowdoin is "antiseptically" liberal and that President Mills endorses this bias. Though the article is meant to criticize the widespread "liberal tilt" which he sees as plaguing all of higher education, Mr. Klingenstein makes his case through a personal attack on President Mills and Bowdoin College. We found his comments about Bowdoin to be both condescending and factually incorrect.