BSG recalculates number of signatures needed for referendum on boycott
UPDATE (Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 1:05 p.m.): The petition submitted by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) received enough signatures to prompt a student referendum. Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) sent the referendum to students today at noon and students will have until Wednesday, May 6 at noon to cast their votes.
In order to pass, one-third of the student body will need to vote on the referendum and two-thirds of all voters must vote in favor. If the referendum passes, it will be submitted to the administration as a representation of the voice of the student body.
The referendum reads as follows:"Do you support a resolution boycotting Israeli academic and cultural institutions as detailed below?
It is resolved that the Bowdoin student body endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions. It is also resolved that we support the protected rights of students and scholars everywhere to engage in research and public speaking about Israel-Palestine, as well as their right to speak out in support of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.
This boycott will remain in place until Israel:
1. Ends its occupation and colonization of all Palestinian lands and dismantles the Wall;2. Recognizes the fundamental rights of the Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and3. Respects, protects and promotes the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194."
Students have three voting options, "in favor," "opposed," and "abstain."
On Thursday, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) revised the number of signatures that Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) must obtain on its petition calling on Bowdoin to participate in an academic and cultural boycott of Israeli institutions in order to prompt an official student referendum on the issue.
SJP appeared to have reached its goal of one-fifth of the student body by its initial Wednesday deadline with 361 signatures before BSG amended the necessary number to 383 in order to account for students studying abroad. BSG has extended SJP’s deadline to 5 p.m. today.
According to BSG’s constitution, student-initiated petitions require the signatures of one-fifth of the student body to bring an issue to an all-student referendum. A two-thirds majority of at least one-third of the student body is required for a referendum to pass.
BSG realized that Bowdoin’s total enrollment was 1,915 earlier this week when it became clear that students abroad were not included in the base enrollment number.
“They were given the number of 360 for the number of people they needed to sign, leading up to [Wednesday]...that number came from Bowdoin’s website and was verified by BSG. But essentially we started to question, ‘What about people studying abroad who sign it but aren’t actually counted in the denominator as far as the 20 percent,’” explained BSG President Chris Breen ’15.
SJP members expressed frustration about the decision.
“We were completely in the dark, I would say, in terms of figuring out how it would be determined how much longer we would have to do this,” said SJP member Sinead Lamel ’15.
Juniors Zachary Albert, Rachel Snyder and Evan Eklund submitted an op-ed to the Orient on April 9 expressing their opposition to SJP’s petition and urging BSG to reject the resolution.
“A lot of the people who are signing are minimally informed, and those signatures don’t mean anything because they don’t know what they’re signing. But they are about to mean everything,” said Snyder.
Earlier this week, members of J Street U Bowdoin, a student organization that labels itself “the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans,” emailed all those who had signed the petition and shared a link through which students could unsign the petition.
Sasha Kramer ’16, one of J Street U Bowdoin’s leaders, said that many students thanked the group for enabling them to take their names off the petition.
Leah Kahn ’15, acting on behalf of a separate group of students but not any specific organization, forwarded a separate email sharing the same link with petition signers.
While no group was able to provide an exact number, Lamel estimated that around 60 people unsigned the petition following the emails.
According to Christopher Wedeman ’15, another SJP member, a decision from Bowdoin to take part in an academic and cultural boycott of Israeli institutions would mean the College would neither take part in events funded by Israeli universities or organizations, nor invite scholars to speak on campus as representatives of these institutions—though Israeli academics would still be welcome to speak on campus independent of their organizations.
However, some students expressed concerns about the boycott.
“[The petition] is antithetical to the mission of Bowdoin College... This is fundamentally not in concert with what Bowdoin is, should be, or has been set out as,” said Matthew Liptrot ’16.
At press time, SJP needed 24 signatures to reach their new goal. The online petition currently lists a number eight below that recognized by BSG, since some students wished to sign but had issues with the petition website.
“If there’s then a referendum, BSG will run that right away,” said Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster.
—John Branch contributed to this report.
College approves financial accounting course for spring ’15
At Monday’s faculty meeting, the Bowdoin faculty voted 55 for and 21 against, with three abstentions, to approve a new financial accounting course that will be offered next spring in conjunction with the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. The experimental class, combining in-person and online instruction, will be administered on a trial basis for 50 students and used to evaluate whether this type of program fits in the Bowdoin curriculum.
Proposed by the College’s Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee (CEP), the course’s two 25-student sections will feature dual instruction from Tuck and Bowdoin faculty—Associate Professor of Economics Greg DeCoster will lead class meetings on campus and Tuck’s Professor of Accounting Phillip Stocken will conduct weekly online sessions. DeCoster will make assignments and create the grading rubric, while Stocken will grade students’ work.
“We are delighted to launch this experiment in learning with Bowdoin,” said Robert G. Hansen, senior associate dean at the Tuck School of Business, in an interview with the Bowdoin Daily Sun. “Both of our institutions have a time-tested approach to education that relies on active student-faculty engagement in an intimate and small-scale environment.”
At the faculty meeting, President Barry Mills tentatively estimated that the new course would cost the College roughly $60,000—substantially cheaper than the Fullbridge Program, a business preparation program offered over the past two winter breaks that aimed to increase students’ financial literacy at a cost to the College of roughly $160,000.
“Accounting is really a language and an essential part of finance,” said Mills in an interview with the Bowdoin Daily Sun. “We’ve taught accounting in the past at Bowdoin, but this exciting collaboration allows our students to take advantage of the expertise at one of the nation’s distinguished business schools, to learn from highly skilled faculty at both institutions, and to use technology in ways that fit well within our liberal arts model.”
Bowdoin economics faculty and Tuck professors will collaborate throughout the semester to adjust the syllabus and content when necessary, and CEP will review the course at the end of the semester.
Endowment returns 19.2 percent, named Endowment of the Year
The College’s endowment generated an investment return of 19.2 percent in fiscal year (FY) 2014, again earning Bowdoin a place in the top five percent of returns among peer colleges and universities, according to Cambridge Associates (a firm that tracks educational funds’ performances across the nation). The endowment had a market value of $1.216 billion on June 30, up from $1.038 billion at the close of FY 2013.
The return, which is heavily dependent on the health of the economy, was three percentage points higher than it was last year.
The endowment’s strong performance earned Bowdoin the “Endowment of the Year” award from Institutional Investor—a global finance magazine—in a category of nominees that included Williams, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Richmond. U-Penn generated a return of 17.5 percent in FY 2014, while Williams and Richmond have yet to release their returns.
“Looking at year-to-year performance and winning [Endowment of the Year] is very exciting,” said President Barry Mills. “But the real story is in the three-, five- and ten-year returns, because that tells you with some certainty what you can expect over a long period of time, which allows you to think about how you operate the College. So it’s incredibly impressive that we are year-in and year-out in that very highest category, but what’s even more impressive is that when the markets fall, we don’t lose as much as other people do. That is phenomenal.”
Mills also stressed that excellent returns on the endowment still mandate strict financial prudence with regard to strategic planning.
“We’re not running an investment fund, we’re running an endowment to support the College—you have to match the way the College operates against the strength of the endowment, and that’s what we’ve done,” he said. “It’s a complicated balance, because in these colleges and universities, everybody wants to spend every nickel they have.”
Strong returns on the endowment are more important over the long-run in order to preserve capital and sustain the operations of the College. To cover a proportion of each year’s operating expenses, Bowdoin annually withdraws about five percent of its endowment based on a 12-quarter lagging average to compensate for particularly rough years, such as 2009’s 16.99 percent decline on investment returns. According to a release published on the Bowdoin Daily Sun, at the close of FY 2014, the endowment’s three-, five-and 10-year annualized returns were 12.3 percent, 13.8 percent, and 10.4 percent, respectively.
Now that the weaker returns of the financial crisis have cycled out of the 12-quarter lagging average, funding from the endowment for each year’s operating budget will likely increase “over the next to two to five years,” according to Mills.
“You could use that money for debt service, if you needed a capital project—I think some of our students might say that our upperclass housing might need some improvement… There’s additional academic programing we could enhance, so we could spend the money on that. There are plenty of places to spend the money. My hope would be the first place people would think is to understand what our financial aid commitment ought to be, and continue to grow it,” said Mills, acknowledging a commitment throughout his tenure to increasing the affordability of a Bowdoin education.
The endowment’s continued strength, thanks to the impressive performance of the College’s investment committee, is also central to minimizing increases in tuition and fees each year. Since the 2011-2012 academic year, Bowdoin’s comprehensive fee has increased annually by just 3 percent, a rate lower than at most peer institutions. The comprehensive fee for FY 2014-2015 is $59,568, but Mills emphasized that the actual cost of educating a student for a year at Bowdoin is actually closer to $80,000. Financial aid from the endowment is one of the key means of managing that discrepancy.
“The 80 [thousand dollars] I think is going to increase. The question is going to be, ‘What are we going to do with the 60?’ That’s why the endowment is so important, is to close that gap,” said Mills. “I think what you’re going to see is that at colleges that have very healthy endowments, more and more and more families in higher and higher income brackets are going to be supported, because these colleges are just so expensive… but, you’ve got to balance your checkbook.”
The Bowdoin Daily Sun release also reported $24.1 million in endowment gifts during FY 2014. Approximately 45 percent of the endowment can be used only as financial aid. In his last year as president, Mills is embarking on a final fundraising campaign for endowment gifts dedicated to financial aid with a goal of around $100 million.
“I came to Bowdoin fourteen years ago, when our endowment was less than 400 million dollars,” said Mills. “Having an endowment the size that we have today has clearly allowed us to support our students and families in ways that we couldn’t in the past on the financial aid front. It’s allowed us to grow our academic program, it’s allowed us to improve our facility…and so as I’ve said often, it isn’t about the money. But without the money, it’s very hard to create a sustainable program for the College.”
Harpswell burglary raises campus security concerns
Students received a blunt reminder of the Bowdoin bubble’s vulnerability last weekend when burglars entered a Harpswell Apartments unit and stole thousands of dollars worth of electronic equipment.
On Saturday evening around 8 p.m., seniors Anthony Todesco, Jack Donovan, Brian Golger and Peter Yasi were in their living room watching television and using their computers, according to Todesco. They opened the unit’s sliding glass door “for a couple of hours” due to the room’s heat.
“There were people outside circulating around because it was a Saturday night, so they would have been able to see inside,” said Todesco. “We had a couple of TVs right by the door and we were on our laptops, but it was just students out there, at least as far as we knew.”
Around 10:30 p.m., the students shut their sliding door and pulled the shade down. Both the front and back door were closed and locked and the four roommates were asleep before midnight.
“At one point during the night I thought I heard some shuffling around or doors opening, but I didn’t think much of it—I just thought it was my roommates,” said Todesco.
The next morning, the students awoke to find that a television and two Apple MacBooks had been stolen from their living room sometime during the night. With each computer worth approximately $1,500 and the TV worth several hundred dollars, the total estimated value of the stolen property is close to $4,000, according to Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols.
“It wouldn’t surprise me at all if a number of apartment doors were checked and that was the one that was unlocked,” said Nichols. “We’ve run into that before, when suspects will literally walk down the length of an apartment complex checking doors as they go.”
“If there is a crime of opportunity, people will take it,” said Molly Soloff ’15, who lives in a neighboring unit at Harpswell Apartments. “I think it’s a lesson to be more cautious. We live in an incredibly secluded part of campus.”
The students whose apartment was burglarized contacted the Office of Safety and Security and the Brunswick Police Department (BPD) and were able to provide the computers’ serial numbers, which will be added to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database of stolen properties.
If the burglars attempt to connect to the Internet using the laptops on College WiFi or if the serial numbers are checked against the NCIC’s records, Security or the police will be notified.
“We have those Find My Mac apps, and we could actually see that one of the computers was turned on at one point somewhere in Portland” said Todesco, referring to a tracking service included with Apple’s iCloud software. “But I don’t know that the police can really do anything with that since it’s not an exact location.”
“That laptop could have already been sold on the street,” said Nichols. “Most laptops stolen here from campus are sold very quickly on the street for whatever [the burglars] can get for them.”
Also on Sunday morning, a masked man displaying a knife unsuccessfully attempted to rob a resident of Union Street. According to Nichols, the BPD believes that this was an isolated incident and that there is no threat to the campus. Both events follow a summer of relatively little crime.
“I’ve been here nine years now and it was probably the quietest summer we’ve had since I’ve been here, in terms of significant incidents,” said Nichols.
Brunswick not exempt from New England opiate epidemic
A look into heroin and prescription addiction in Brunswick, where 95 percent of local crimes are drug related
They are among Brunswick’s stay-at-home moms, its career criminals, its 50-year-old businessmen—even its high school students—and they all have at least one thing in common. They are Brunswick’s heroin and prescription opiate addicts.
The opiate addiction epidemic has gained national attention in the past year as the number of fatal heroin overdoses has skyrocketed, particularly in New England. In January, Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont dedicated his entire State of the State address to the problem. In March, Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts declared opiate abuse a public health emergency.In his own State of the State speech in January, Maine Governor Paul LePage called drug use a “troubling epidemic,” and said that 927 babies in the state—more than 7 percent of all newborns—were born addicts in 2013.
LePage had been hesitant to approve the distribution of nalaxone—an overdose reversal drug—fearing that it would give addicts a false sense of security. Last week, after intense criticism from lawmakers, health professionals and the media, LePage finally approved a bill that allows family members of addicts to receive the potentially life-saving drug.
Everyone the Orient interviewed for this article—a substance abuse counselor, the director of the outpatient behavioral health at Mid Coast Hospital, Brunswick police officers, a defense attorney, and a psychologist—said that Maine’s opiate problem is not unique to certain cities, ethnicities, ages, or socioeconomic levels. Addiction exists everywhere, Brunswick included.Addiction
The most common path to heroin addiction begins with medicinal or recreational use of prescription painkillers like Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet. These powerful drugs are often prescribed to patients following surgeries and can quickly lead to dependence.
“One of the fastest growing populations for addicts in the opiate world is adults who have had surgeries, weren’t recreational drug users, and now are breaking into their neighbor’s house going through their medicine cabinets because they’re desperate for drugs,” said Geno Ring, a licensed substance abuse counselor who works both with Bowdoin students and at Brunswick High School.
“Nothing on their radar prepared them for this happening in their lives. They’re married. They’ve got kids. They’ve got careers—and all of a sudden they’re spiraling out of control,” said Ring.
Yet it is not only adults developing opiate dependence through prescribed drugs. Sixty-seven percent of teens receiving treatment for opiate addiction were prescribed painkillers in the previous year, according to the American Society for Addiction Medicine.
Director of Outpatient Behavioral Health at Mid Coast Hospital Eric Haram said that failing to dispose of unused pills also poses a risk, since teenagers will often find them and use them for recreational purposes. Most teenagers fail to realize the risks involved, or simply feel invincible, but Haram said everybody is vulnerable when it comes to opiates.
“Nobody chooses to be an addict; nobody wants to have track marks all over, be losing their kids, be losing their teeth…Black teeth are a tough thing to see in the morning at the jail,” said Brunswick defense attorney Chris Ledwick ’95.
“Opiates always produce physical dependence. It’s not one of those things that doesn’t happen to people—it’s simple biology,” added Haram.
Ledwick said that in the last five years, about 70 percent of the drug cases he had seen were based on legal drugs and prescription pills.
“Anyone who goes into a surgery comes home with 50 pills for getting a tooth pulled. It’s crazy,” he said. “So you can have a grandparent with 500-pill bottles in their houses, and the nephew, grandson, stepson, they know about it and that’s how they get hooked on this stuff.”
The progression from occasional recreational use of painkillers to addiction can be rapid.
“The way it usually works for people is that they’re using this once or twice a month at parties, and then it’s once a week, and then it’s three to five times a week, and then they’re an addict,” said Haram. “I’ve heard that story thousands of times in the last few years.”
He said the number of patients he sees has doubled to 800 in the past seven years. In the past year, about 200 of those patients were Brunswick residents.
Responses to the rise in painkiller addiction have included reducing availability and reformulating pills like Oxy 30 to make them more difficult to abuse. An unintended consequence of these changes has been a spike in the use of heroin—a cheaper, more accessible and often more potent alternative.
“It’s a demand issue no matter how you put it,” Haram said. “When you restrict access to pain medication, you haven’t reduced the volume of addiction; you haven’t reduced the demand in a community for that high.”
Since heroin is an illegal substance with an established social stigma, newspapers and politicians tend to devote more attention to it than painkillers. But from a treatment and public health perspective, Haram said, there is no difference.
“Opiates are opiates,” Haram said. “There’s social stigma associated with [heroin]—did you get that Oxy from your mom’s medicine cabinet or did you get heroin in the alley—so it sounds much graver.”
The likelihood of an accidental overdose from heroin and prescription painkillers is the same, according to Haram.Treatment
Brunswick is home to one of the country’s most effective addiction treatment centers. The Addiction Resource Center at Mid Coast Hospital, which Haram oversees, has won national awards for improving patient outcomes using science-based approaches. According to Mid Coast’s website, the Center’s approach has reduced wait times from 11 to two-and-a-half days and improved its treatment completion rate from 60 to 94 percent.
Treatment for opiate addiction generally includes detoxification, followed by counseling and the controlled use of medications like Methadone or Buprenorphine (often referred to by the brand name Suboxone). These medications act on the same parts of the brain as heroin and can reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
The Center uses BASIS-24, a computerized outcome measurement tool, to evaluate its effectiveness. Patients are asked questions halfway through treatment and every 90 days thereafter. Their responses receive scores in six categories—depression and functioning, emotional lability, psychosis, relationships, self-harm and substance abuse—as well as an overall score. The scores of Mid Coast’s patients are then compared to the scores of similar patient populations around the country.
Mid Coast performs in the top two percent of treatment centers nationally, which makes it competative with well-known counterparts like the Cleveland Clinic, the Hazelden Foundation and the Caron Foundation.
“People pay 40 grand up front for going to places like this,” Haram said. “We’re a publicly funded, community hospital and can produce those same kind of outcomes, but treatment where I work might cost four grand.”
Despite a sharp increase in the number of addicts over the last decade, public funding for Maine’s Office of Substance Abuse—which funds treatment centers like the one at Mid Coast—was lower in fiscal year 2012 ($26.7 million) than it was in fiscal year 2006 ($29 million). In the same time period, the number of Mainers seeking treatment for opiate abuse increased from 3,023 in 2006 to 4,697 in 2012, according to the Maine Office of Substance Abuse.
Haram’s primary problem has been meeting the demand for treatment.
“The number of beds, the number of detox, the number of outpatient slots—just the number of treatment slots in general—gets cut every year,” he said. “Certain medicines that are available to treat opiate dependence that are FDA [approved]—this administration has reduced access to those medications specifically.”
Providing access to treatment became even harder this January, when cuts to Maine’s Medicaid program kicked in. Haram says that about 15 percent of his patients, or roughly 100 people in the greater Brunswick area, lost their health care coverage.
“Typically what happens is those people drop out of treatment and return to street use,” Haram said.Law Enforcement
The opiate addiction epidemic has caused problems for the Brunswick Police Department (BPD) as well. Detective Richard Cutliffe, who works with BPD and the Drug Enforcement Agency, estimated that 95 percent of all crime in Brunswick is drug related. He said that other than marijuana, heroin is now the most commonly used illicit substance in town.
There have been several arrests for trafficking heroin in Brunswick over the last year, including that of Angel Quinones of Connecticut last May. Sergeant Marty Rinaldi of BPD told the Bangor Daily News at the time that Quinones was “a substantial dealer in the area.”
Brunswick’s central location offers one explanation for these trafficking arrests.
“We live on the Route 1 corridor. You’ve got I-95 and you’ve got Route 1. So anybody who’s traveling to bring their drugs anywhere, you’ve got to come through Brunswick,” said School Resource Officer Aaron Bailey, who works for BPD at Brunswick High School.
Once drug offenders enter the legal system, however, district attorneys attempt to differentiate between career criminals and addicts who are simply desperate to continue funding their use.
“When someone’s on probation for a year or two and fails a drug test, the old response used to be to throw them in jail for 30 days… Their life falls apart, and they start using drugs again,” Bailey said. “Probation has been a little ahead of the curve, especially in Cumberland County, about looking at other ways to deal with it, like having graduated sanctions.”
LePage and law enforcement are concerned that recovering addicts will abandon their treatment programs and either abuse or sell synthetic opiates meant for medical use like methadone and Suboxone, a pattern experts call diversion. This has been cited as a reason for limiting access to these drugs; Haram said that he spends around half his time working to prevent it.
“Making people show up to count their medicine, by doing observed urines, by controlling the size of the prescription, that they can only get it at one pharmacy—these are all strategies we use to prevent diversion,” he said.
Diversion mitigation plans are required by law, but Haram said Mid Coast’s is “way more robust than most.” He meets on a weekly basis with Brunswick, Bath and Lincoln County Police to discuss drug and crime issues.
“The first question at every meeting: Have you arrested anybody who had medicine that we prescribed? And month after month after month after month the answer is no,” Haram said.
According to Ledwick, however, these synthetic opiates are a major problem, particularly in Maine’s prisons.
“Suboxone is the big thing right now…We’re really struggling with it right now, almost more than Oxy’s in this region. If you talk to anyone in [the Maine Department of Corrections], that’s the bane of their existence,” he said. “People melt them onto the pages of the letters they send in; they melt them into the glue of envelope, and [inmates] can reactivate them once they’re in there. It’s very easy to hide...You can fit a lot of those strips inside a body. And people get pretty creative with that.”
Ledwick explained that the accessibility of drugs like Suboxone in prison makes it a place where recovering addicts are likely to relapse.
“There used to be this notion that at least if they’re in jail, they won’t be able to do drugs. And that’s just not the case anymore, especially in Cumberland County,” he said. “A lot of my clients will tell me there’s more readily accessible drugs in the jail than there are on the street.”
That is just one of the reasons that people like Ledwick and Haram think that the criminal justice system alone cannot end the opiate epidemic.
“We won’t arrest ourselves out of this problem,” Haram said. “It really is both a public health problem and a public safety problem. We need to expand treatment while at the same time getting smarter about law enforcement strategy.”
Bowdoin Climate Action allies with Bowdoin Democrats
Liberal groups create partnership based on common beliefs
At the Bowdoin Democrats’ first meeting of the semester, junior co-presidents Andrew Miller-Smith and Alana Weinstein announced that the group is partnering with Bowdoin Climate Action (BCA) to work on climate related issues.
The decision —made by Miller-Smith, Weinstein and vice-president Allyson Gross ’16—is part of an attempt to drum up student engagement on a campus that is regularly less politically engaged in the spring semester, according to Miller-Smith.
“The big thing about this semester is that there are no elections going on, and traditionally the College Democrats have been very active in the fall, in election season, and then gone quiet in the spring. We wanted to change that,” he said.
821 students participate in bone marrow donor drive
Representatives from Delete Blood Cancer DKMS collected DNA samples via cheek swabs from 821 students in Smith Union yesterday to check for possible matches with cancer patients in need of bone marrow.
The organization worked with Dave Caputi, head coach of the football team, Andrew Lardie, associate director for service and leadership at the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good, and student volunteers coordinated through the athletic department.
“This is the best college I have ever done. The leadership, the administration…very few school administrations get behind a bone marrow drive like this one has,” said Donor Recruiter of DKMS New England Michael Guglielmo. “What an amazing campus.”
SJP responds to Mills’ rejection of the Israeli academic boycott
In response to a statement issued by President Barry Mills on December 24 in which he expressed his rejection of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has written a petition lambasting Mills’ position and voicing support for the boycott. The petition has 52 signatures at the time of publication, including those of two Bowdoin professors.
“Many people say ‘we can’t mix academia with politics. We can’t blur these lines. We can’t use the classroom to discuss political issues,’ but the problem is these classrooms in Israel are built on political issues. They’re the consequence of political ideas,” said Zohran Mamdani ’14, a founder of SJP. “We can’t separate the two. We can’t privilege Israeli academic freedom over Palestinian human rights.”
Members of the American Studies Association (ASA)—an academic group with more than 4,000 individual members—announced the boycott on December 16 to protest Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
Portland becomes first city on East Coast to legalize marijuana possession for recreational use
Despite winning nearly 70 percent of the votes, recreational use is still illegal under state and federal law
A Portland ballot measure legalizing the possession of marijuana for recreational purposes passed with nearly 70 percent of the vote on Tuesday. Under the referendum, Portland residents above the age of 21 may possess up to 2.5 ounces of pot.
Marijuana use is prevalent at Bowdoin, according to a survey administered in February. According to the Orient's 2013 drug survey, 73 percent of respondents from the Class of 2014 have smoked marijuana on campus at least once, a significant increase from 32 percent in their first semester at Bowdoin, according to another Orient survey from 2010.
The new measure makes Portland the first city on the east coast to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, and comes on the heels of last year’s successful legalization campaigns in Colorado and Washington. The city’s vote echoes a similar situation in Denver, where voters approved legalization by a much tighter margin in 2005 before Colorado’s statewide referendum.
News from abroad: McLaughlin ’15 on Nairobi terrorist attacks
In response to the African al-Qaida affiliate al-Shabab’s horrific four-day siege on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall last week, the Orient contacted Clare McLaughlin ’15, who is studying abroad in Kenya this fall term. She and one other Bowdoin student currently in Kenya, Elizabeth Brown ’15, were confirmed safe through their respective off-campus study programs on the day of the attack, according to Bowdoin’s Office of Off-Campus Study.
The interview with McLaughlin was conducted via email in a question-and-answer format, and the following questions and responses have been condensed for brevity.
Do you know where the Westgate mall is and have you been there?
Endowment surpasses $1 billion; returns 16%
Bowdoin’s endowment exceeded $1 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2013 for the first time, according to a report published Wednesday on the Bowdoin Daily Sun. The endowment was valued at $1.038 billion on June 30, up from $902.4 million at the close of FY 2012.
The College’s investment committee—led by Senior Vice President for Investments Paula Volent—generated a return of 16 percent on the endowment in FY 2013. This rate surpasses the overall mean return for all college and university endowments of 11.6 percent this year, and is in the top 5 percent of peer returns according to Cambridge Associates, a firm that tracks educational funds’ performance across the nation.
“Into the future, to the extent we want to stay a stable institution that is affordable to the middle class, it’s all about the endowment growth,” said President Barry Mills. “What is an endowment for? It’s money that is there in good times and in bad times to support the program of the College.”
BPD intervenes at College House events
Officers of the Brunswick Police Department (BPD) on patrol in plainclothes and unmarked vehicles addressed two unrelated incidents at College Houses last weekend, issuing one warning for disorderly conduct and one summons for possession of alcohol by a minor.
On Friday, September 6, a BPD alcohol enforcement detail noticed a student, who appeared to be underage, holding a red Solo cup on the porch of Helmreich House. The officers confirmed that the female sophomore was underage and in possession of hard alcohol.
According to Captain Mark Waltz, BPD “warned her for drinking in public and for furnishing a place for minors to consume” before issuing a summons for possession of alcohol by a minor—a civil infraction.
Year in Review: Highlights from the 2012-2013 Academic YearSummer
The College lost a valuable faculty member when Visiting Assistant Professor Leslie Shaw died unexpectedly on August 29 following complications from surgery. Shaw, who taught anthropology at the College since 1998, “set a high bar for service, excellence and collegiality,” wrote Dean for Academic Affairs Christle Collins Judd in an email to the Orient. In addition to her teaching and research, Shaw served as the adviser to the Native American Students Association at Bowdoin.September
The men’s rugby team was required to forfeit two matches after the Office of Student Affairs found the team had violated Bowdoin’s alcohol and hazing policies on September 15, the night of the annual Epicuria party at Ladd House. The Office of Residential Life placed Ladd House on social probation until November 1, and both the president and vice president of the house stepped down from their positions. Four underage students were transported to Parkview Adventist Medical Center for over-consumption of alcohol on the night of the event.October
The Bowdoin Daily Sun reported a 2.6 percent return on the endowment for fiscal year 2012, with the endowment standing at $904.2 million as of October 12. Despite a projected return of 7 percent, the endowment performed well in comparison to peer institutions.
Survey finds 68 percent of Class of 2011 employed
Results from a December survey administered to graduates of the Class of 2011 show that 68 percent of respondents are employed part-time or fulltime, 26 percent are attending graduate school, and 3 percent are still seeking employment. Over 220 alumni responded to the survey.Compiled by the Office of Institutional Research, these statistics are nearly identical to those from last year’s “one-year out” survey of the Class of 2010, which found that 67 percent of respondents were employed, 15 percent were attending graduate school, and 3 percent were seeking employment.
While these statistics suggest widespread success among recent graduates, Nyle Usmani ’12 pointed out that these surveys include non-career-oriented jobs and part-time jobs, and therefore might be artificially high.
“The statistics don’t lie. Most people leaving Bowdoin will find themselves at a good place. But in my case, I’m still fighting to be at a good place and I’m unemployed…it’s not happening the way that I imagined.”
Survey shows drug use increases as students age
Recreational drug use among Bowdoin students tends to increase as graduation approaches, with current juniors and seniors reporting significantly higher incidences of drug use than they did in the fall of 2010, according to Orient surveys from 2010 and 2013.
The survey results showed that the number of seniors who have smoked marijuana at least once at Bowdoin increased to 60 percent up from 46 percent during the fall semester of their sophomore year.
Seventy-three percent of respondents from the Class of 2014 have smoked marijuana at least once, a large increase from 32 percent in their first semester at the College in 2010.
BSG releases report on fall semester progress
Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) released a “Fall Semester Report” this week summarizing completed, ongoing, and cancelled projects from the first half of the year. The report, compiled by the seven members of BSG’s Executive Committee, also specifies the status of BSG’s long-term goals. This is the first time in recent memory that BSG has published such a report. “A lot of our work was preliminary; I think this semester is going to be a lot more active-looking,” said Brian Kim ’13, BSG’s vice president for student organizations. “For example, Dani’s GRE test prep program, which took forever to get off the ground, now is actually getting off the ground, which is awesome.”
Parkview proposal revives conflict with Mid Coast
The debate over the future of Parkview Adventist Medical Center came to a head on Wednesday, when over 300 community members attended a public hearing to discuss a proposed “acquisition of control” agreement between the hospital and Central Maine Healthcare Corporation. Central Maine Healthcare is a non-profit parent organization that oversees a healthcare delivery system comprised of Bridgton Hospital, Rumford Hospital, and Central Maine Medical Center, based in Lewiston.
White ’77 discusses role as Romney’s ‘wingman’
Bob White ’77, Bowdoin trustee and chairman of the Romney-Ryan campaign, spoke last night in Daggett Lounge about life on the campaign trail, preparation for presidential debates, and his years of experience as Mitt Romney’s right-hand man. White has worked alongside the former governor since Romney began his career at Bain & Company, and has advised all of Romney’s political races. The two have been close friends for years, and Romney jokingly refers to White as “TQ,” short for “The Quail,” in reference to the bobwhite species of the bird. “As Mitt says, I’m his wingman,” said White in his address at the Republican National Convention. White is also involved in the politics of Bowdoin. He served on the College’s presidential search committee in 2000, and supported the supported the nomination President Barry Mills for the position. “I felt, given the set of opportunities and challenges facing the College, Barry Mills was uniquely qualified,” explained White in an interview with the Orient.
Ladd House on probation for Epicuria pre-game
The Office of Residential Life (ResLife) has placed Ladd House on probation until November 1 as part of the response to last week’s Epicuria party. Both the president and vice president of Ladd, where the campus-wide toga party took place, voluntarily stepped down from their positions this week. Ladd faced disciplinary consequences for what Director of Residential Life Mary Pat McMahon referred to as “an unregistered pre-event with hard alcohol prior to Epicuria.” Under the terms of the probation, Ladd House cannot host registered events with alcohol before November 1.
Deans rule men’s rugby violated hazing policy
The Office of Student Affairs determined that the men’s rugby team violated Bowdoin’s alcohol and hazing policies in light of events at an off-campus house and at the annual Epicuria party last Saturday, September 15. Tim Foster, dean of student affairs, announced the ruling in an email to all students yesterday evening. On the night of the annual campus-wide party, which is hosted by the men’s rugby team, four underage students were transported to Parkview Adventist Medical Adventist Center due to over-consumption of alcohol. The two first years and two sophomores who were transported to Parkview were all “tied directly or indirectly to Epicuria and the rugby team,” Foster wrote. Two of the students were transported from Ladd House, where the party took place.
One transport, no arrests during Ivies weekend
A vomiting University of Southern Maine student shut down the C-Store, and Bates students and Bowdoin alumni caused Security some headaches, but for the most part, Bowdoin's biggest party weekend of the year ran smoothly, according to College officials. Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols called the event "as a whole, a successful Ivies," noting that "the Brunswick police had virtually no interaction with any Bowdoin students." One Bowdoin student was transported from Coles Tower due to overconsumption of alcohol and energy drinks last Friday. According to Nichols, one transport is "fairly typical for a standard weekend, so we were pleased," given Ivies' potential for more
‘Consent is Sexy’ Week fights sexual misconduct
ASAP, which acts as a unifying organization to combine the efforts of multiple campus groups, was formed in 2008 under the direction of Davis. "There were so many groups working in different ways on the spectrum, from healthy relationships to sexual violence, that we decided to create this umbrella group," said Davis. In its first year, ASAP was made up of groups such as Bowdoin Men Against Sexual Violence (BMASV), V-Day, and Safe Space. The alliance has since grown to include 16 organizations, ranging from the Bowdoin Outing Club to the Spirituality Circle.
College reaches longtime goal of gender parity among faculty
This year is the first in Bowdoin's history that the faculty is composed of an equal number of men and women.
Spring Gala nearly forgotten, BSG intercedes
The annual Spring Gala almost fell off this year's social calendar after the event was left without a overseer. In past years, an ad hoc committee comprised of students has collaborated with the Office of Student Activities to plan the event, but this year no such committee was formed, an oversight that was not caught until two members of Bowdoin Student Government discovered that financing for the event had not been secured.
Baxter, Ladd, and Helmreich lead in damages for first semester
A total of $7,899 in damages to student residences occured in fall 2011. According to the report compiled by Lisa Rendall, associate director of housing operations, Baxter House accrued $3,193 or 40.4 percent of the damage costs.
IT and library satisfaction survey debuts for College students, staff
Problems with printers? Cross-referencing crises? The Measuring Information Service Outcomes (MISO) Survey offers participants a chance to vent library and IT woes. Created at Bryn Mawr College in 2004, the MISO Survey collects student, faculty and staff opinions on both library and IT services from numerous campuses, allowing each college to compare its performance point by point to peer institutions. This is Bowdoin's first year using MISO; it is one of 30 participating colleges.
Women’s soccer coach Maren Rojas departs
After five years of heading the women's soccer program, Maren Rojas has stepped down from her position as head coach. She recently accepted an assistant coach position on the Boston College women's soccer team, and left for Massachusetts on Wednesday. Nonetheless, Rojas attributes her decision to leave to more than just the offer from Boston College.
NFL’s Tagliabue to headline Anything But Straight
As part of an ongoing campaign against homophobia in sports, Paul Tagliabue, former commissioner of the National Football League, will visit campus on Monday. Tagliabue, who has a strong history of supporting gay rights, will deliver the keynote address at the third annual "Anything but Straight in Athletics" event. Created in 2010, the annual event is aimed at supporting the Bowdoin LGBT athletic community and eliminating homophobia in sports. One of the founders, Ben Chadwick '11, was an openly gay member of the men's lacrosse team.
Town joins College in week-long diversity series
On Sunday, students returned to campus for the start of a diversity awareness week aimed at stimulating conversations about difference and identity in the Bowdoin and Brunswick communities.
Brunswick children prepare for Skate With Polar Bears Food Drive
Bowdoin will host the annual Skate With the Polar Bears Food Drive on Sunday, inviting children from the greater Brunswick community to come for a free skate with the men's and women's hockey teams. The two-hour event will take place in Watson Arena starting at 12:15 p.m.
Website will allow students to track shuttle vans
Students will soon no longer have to guess whether the shuttle is worth the wait. In the next few weeks, Information Technology (IT) will finalize and launch a website that allows students to track the location of shuttle vans in nearly real time. The service has been in development over the past month and will be accessible online through the student gateway.
Transport numbers consistent with past years’
Thirteen Bowdoin students have been transported to Parkview Adventist Medical Center due to over-consumption of alcohol since September. According to Tim Foster, dean of student affairs, this number shows that "we are tracking almost identically to last year," when 12 students had been transported by the third week of November. Yet this year, the numbers rose quickly. In September alone, six first year students were transported to Parkview for alcohol-related reasons. The head proctors of each first year dorm sent an email to the entire class of 2015, in an effort to curb the heavy drinking.
Study Abroad numbers comparable to last year's
Between September and May of this academic year, a projected total of 215 students will study abroad in 46 different countries. Eighteen juniors will remain abroad for the entire year. The OCS has reported that this year an estimated 47.1 percent of the Class of 2013 will study abroad, a marginal increase from 46.8 percent of the Class of 2012.
Quinby House on social probation after transports
Quinby House is on social probation after allegedly providing hard alcohol to two first years. The house will be unable to host events with registered alcohol through October 30.
Calnan ’11 is Woman of the Year finalist
Michaela Calnan '11 was announced as one of the nine finalists for the 2011 NCAA Woman of the Year award on September 14. A record 471 collegiate players were initially nominated for the honor, and the top 30 contenders were named in August before the top three finalists from each division were chosen, Calnan among them. The final Woman of the Year will be announced next month.