One year since the Meeting in the Union, the College has adopted and addressed many policies and practices in response to student concerns. However, an overarching sentiment exists among administrators and students that while progress is being made, it will be made slowly and there is still work to be done.
The meeting was a student-organized demonstration that took place February 13, 2015. It brought to the forefront several social justice issues that impact members of the Bowdoin community, as well as the intersectionality between those issues. After the meeting, an Open Letter to the Community was delivered to former president Barry Mills, outlining 19 calls to action regarding race and diversity on campus.
Race and diversity issues continue to permeate the lives of Bowdoin community members. “Race is a dividing line in our society, on campuses across our country, and at Bowdoin. Those of color in our community experience Bowdoin differently than those who are white; the difference can be profound and occurs in every aspect of our lives here,” wrote President Clayton Rose in a December 3, 2015 campus-wide email.
“It can be daunting—it’s a lot to take on,” said Associate Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion Leana Amaez. “We’re asking institutions that were built 200 years ago for a very different population to reimagine themselves, and that takes a lot of intentionality and examination of where are our traditions, where are our policies, where are our practices not meeting the needs of students today, where are they not reflecting the diversity of our world, where are they creating barriers to inclusion and equity.”
Amaez and the rest of the office of student affairs have been heavily involved in several efforts that directly address concerns raised in the open letter. Notably, additional programming during first-year orientation will specifically address race and bias; Bowdoin’s intergroup dialogue programming is expanding; and divisions of the College are adopting hiring and retention best practices in order to increase diversity among faculty and staff.
Residential Life (ResLife) has also taken steps towards educating their staff on how to facilitate conversations on difficult subjects by doubling the amount of training on race, gender and sexuality, as well as working with College House officers to improve the inclusivity and accessibility of College House programming. Additionally, ResLife has added a question specific to diversity to the College House application.
A year after the Meeting in the Union, the event continues to have a profound impact at the College, both on an institutional level and for many people individually.
“I think that was the first time I’ve really seen the activist boundaries being crossed in everyone working towards general betterment and getting many pieces together at once which I thought was really, really, cool,” said Maddie Lemal-Brown ’18. “I really liked the Meeting in the Union part; [it was] electrifying.”
One of the meeting organizers, Claudia Villar-Leeman ’15, had several negative racial experiences during her time at Bowdoin.
“For pretty much my entire Bowdoin career,” said Villar-Leeman, it felt [like the majority of campus] was either ignoring or kind of willfully oblivious to a lot of these issues because a lot of these issues are painful to talk about or uncomfortable to talk about.”
Participating in the event has allowed Villar-Leeman to now look back at her time at Bowdoin with positivity.
“I was very encouraged that students were giving voice to their concerns in a really clear and powerful way, and that the message for me is that our students were really hurting as a result of the institution and its failures in certain places to live up to the Offer of the College,” said Amaez.
“That’s an important message, and an important check that can be hard to hear and sometimes painful, because I think my colleagues across the board are well-intentioned, they really care, so to hear that they might be might be missing the mark and that people might be in pain as a result is really hard, but really important for us as a community.”
Director of Residential Life Meadow Davis said that she has seen a shift in campus conversations towards topics of diversity.
“A couple years ago it was all about alcohol, it was all about the hookup scene,” she said. “Now I’d say three quarters, a huge percentage, of people who are applying to ResLife are saying, ‘We need more conversations about diversity. We’ve had great conversations and we appreciate it—here’s how we want to do more.”
Emily Jacques ’17, one of the organizers of the meeting, agreed, saying that she has seen a substantive change in campus discussions on race in the time since the meeting, both as a result of the meeting and other incidents.
“My first year you could avoid these sorts of conversations if you wanted to, but now it’s more present,” she said. “The stuff that’s been happening with locals in cars or the stuff on Yik Yak—I feel like the campus community is definitely more aware of various issues of injustice.”
Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster echoed Davis and Jacques’ sentiments.
“[The meeting] was really about the notion of inclusion and what that means,” he said. “Do all members of our community feel that this place is theirs? And the answer to me was no, they don’t. That’s what we should aspire for. That means a ton of work, not work that we can do in a day or a week or a month, or a year, but over many years.”
But for students who only spend four years of their life at Bowdoin, this long-term institutional approach can be frustrating. Michelle Kruk ’16, one of the organizers of the meeting and an author of the letter spoke to these concerns.
“I know that the College wants to be very thoughtful about the way that it’s handling certain issues, especially with race,” she said. “But I think that we’re capable of working on both a short-term solution and a long-term solution at the same time. I think that we have enough energy.”
Another organizer, Lemal-Brown, still believes that many discussions fail to reach the larger community in both academic and social settings.
“Last semester I know I was a little disappointed that my professors were not talking about race,” she said. “My [sociology and philosophy] classes were places where it should have been brought up.”
“I know that I was very frustrated with the aftermath of the sailing party—meaning that Bowdoin still [falls back on] discussing things which tend to become conversations in closed rooms by separate groups,” Lemal-Brown said.
Ashmead White Director of Athletics Tim Ryan acknowledged the role athletics play in the racial climate on campus, both in its hiring and recruitment, and how the department addresses incidents such as the recent bias incidents involving the sailing and lacrosse teams.
“We certainly look at the events that have taken place and try to balance the learning opportunity,” he said. “Thinking about it along the lines of apologizing, educating and trying to leverage the learning opportunities associated with people making mistakes, then thinking about the ways in which we are able to positively impact the community. I think that approach was consistent in both the lacrosse and sailing incidents.”
Ryan also said that athletics is placing an increased emphasis on diversity in recruiting both students and coaching staff.
While the majority of the calls to action in the letter were accepted and acknowledged by College officials, some feel that there are certain demands that have not or should not be met.
For instance, following the meeting, members of Bowdoin Climate Action (BCA)—who played a large role in organizing the meeting—made a demand to former President Barry Mills to appoint a liaison to the Board of Trustees to communicate about the potential for divestment from fossil fuels. BCA does not feel their demand was adequately met, as Mills appointed himself the liaison, knowing he would be stepping down at the end of the year.
“When we asked [the trustees] who to follow up with, as one does in official meetings, they shut us down and didn’t respond. Attempts after that to figure out how to move forward were similarly not moved forward,” said BCA member Allyson Gross ’16.
From an administrative standpoint, Foster disagreed with the necessity of a call to action that asked the college to “consider a student’s racial and socioeconomic background when making decisions about disciplinary action,” and “uphold consistent disciplinary policy for all students, regardless of parental interaction with the institution.”
“We try to consistently and thoughtfully uphold [community standards],” he said. “I think we do that, whether we’re dealing with the son or daughter of a trustee or whether we’re dealing with a first generation college student. I would say [we do] a very good job of being clear about our community standards and expectations and being thoughtful. I’ll stand behind the good work of the Judicial Board.”
The work of campus activists has not gone unnoticed by the administration, and the calls to action presented in the open letter have led to a real effort to shape the College into a place that is both diverse and inclusive. A year after the meeting, its message has not been forgotten.“Powerful,” said Davis. “That’s how I would sum it up.”
Rapper Childish Gambino to headline Ivies Concert
Childish Gambino will headline this year's Ivies Concert, along with the indie-pop duo Phantogram and the DJ mash-up artist Milkman, according to the Entertainment Board (E-Board). Ivies, which will take place Saturday April 28, is the biggest show the E-Board plans each year and is both eagerly anticipated and widely attended by students. The E-Board's primary considerations in selecting the acts were the results of a student survey conducted last semester.
Satellite investment office established in New York City
Bowdoin has established a second investment office in New York City, College officials confirmed this week. A statement sent to the Orient did not disclose the date of the opening, though a February 22 article published on the website of Foundation and Endowment Intelligence suggests that it occurred earlier this year.
Snowe will not seek re-election, King undecided
Maine senator cites lack
United States Senator Olympia Snowe shocked the Maine political scene on Tuesday when she announced that she would not seek re-election in November. Her decision prompted a flurry of speculation as to who would run for her seat. The senator made her announcement in a written statement, citing "an atmosphere of polarization and 'my way or the highway' ideologies" as the motivating forces behind her decision.
Committee proposes chem-free changes
A committee charged with examining chem-free housing published recommendations this week for how to improve the system. If adopted, the proposed changes would alter the residential and social landscape for first year students. Under the current system, Hyde Hall is a chem-free living space and all incoming first year students who elect to live chem-free are placed there. The College, however, has no strict definition for the term chem-free.
Class of 2012 gift to fund financial aid over next four years
The Class of 2012 senior gift is one that promises to keep on giving to the College's financial aid program. Current seniors and members of the development office have begun the process of creating a class gift that will have an immediate impact on the Class of 2016. The gift will take the form of a new scholarship for financial aid. It is yet to be determined if a single student will benefit or if the funds will be divided among multiple students in the next academic year.
BSG delays vote on use of force at student protests, to discuss C/D/F
Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) touched upon a number of issues this week, ranging from the assembly's stance on the Northwestern University Associated Student Government's statement against police force during college protests to Bowdoin's credit/D/fail and add-drop systems.
Downeaster funding, Brunswick expansion threatened by new bills
The Downeaster expansion is being threatened by transportation bills now in Congress that could reduce funding. The bills awaiting votes in Congress would prohibit Maine and other states from using the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program to fund the train line, which is currently accounting for close to $6 million of the Downeaster's $15.1 million annual operating budget.
Carter ’13 joins Cumberland County Dem-Committee
Junior Elisabeth Carter attended the Brunswick Democratic Caucus with no intention of becoming a local representative, but by the end of the Sunday meeting she was one of the 12 members of the Cumberland County Democratic Committee.
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.
College debuts new, efficient steam turbine system
Bowdoin's new steam turbine-generator, installed last summer, is officially up and running. The College finished commissioning and testing the turbine in early February, according to John Simoneau, facilities project manager. Since February 17, the earliest date for which data is available, the turbine has generated 71,032 kilowatt hours, or 18 percent of the campus' total electricity.
Editorial: A chem-free solution
The recommendations for revising the housing system are a good first step, but clustering chem-free rooms and adding a ninth College House should come next.
On Wednesday, Dean Foster sent a school-wide email with the findings of the Chem-Free Housing Review Committee. After gauging the opinion of the community, the committee found that stigmatization, social rifts, and de facto racial, cultural and ethnic segregation have resulted from the current system. The committee put forward several recommendations aimed at eliminating the stigma attached to chem-free students.
The Cold, Hardt, Truth: GOP threatened by conservative division
The race for the Republican nomination has intensified in recent weeks, but it doesn't look like the GOP is moving any closer to the finish line. With each passing election, it's becoming increasingly clear that there is no candidate in the Republican field that can appeal to all the major voting blocs that make up the party's base. And this is a big problem for Republicans.
As I Please: Santorum's refusal to separate church and state is frightening
Last weekend, Rick Santorum offered his latest nugget of wisdom. He made a variety of statements, which included the fact that he does not "believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute."
Southpaw: Santorum: clueless and alienating
"I don't believe in an America where separation of church and state is absolute...To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes you makes you throw up." (February 26, "This Week with George Stephanopoulos") "And the Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country, the United States of America. If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age?" (August 29, 2008, Ave Maria University)
Despite popular perceptions, humans can be part of nature too
The idea of nature, of a pristine wilderness characterized by its separation from man, is a widely accepted notion. We are told—and believe—that to "experience" nature, we must step off of the paved road, away from the comforts of civilization. Some environments are more "natural" than others like, say, New York City, but true nature is inherently separate. Bill McKibben perfectly defines our concept of nature in his book, "The End of Nature," as "the separate and wild province, the world apart from man."
- February 24
Editorial: Student research
Applications for Bowdoin-funded grants and fellowships are due next week, and the competition for awards to conduct research in the library's archives or on Kent Island is intense. While students of all disciplines are invited to apply for summer research grants, the applicants most likely to be successful probably take the lion's share of their classes in Druckenmiller.
- February 24
Half-Assed: J Street seeks to depolarize Israel
The question of how young American Jews will relate to Israel in their adulthood is one that haunts the thoughts and plans of many older American Jews.
- February 24
Your Foreign Correspondent: GOP’s perception of Europe is inaccurate
Lately, the Republican presidential candidates have taken it upon themselves to collectively portray Europe as a nightmarish fantasy world. Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have all made allegations that Europe is in the chokehold of socialism, burdened by large welfare systems and high taxes, an anathema to their vision for America.
- February 24
Middle Eastern stereotypes damaging to global society
If learning extends to the world beyond the classroom, it is sad to see that certain stereotypes endure when Americans pursue their studies abroad. As a Moroccan student at Bowdoin, I was deeply dismayed in realizing the persistence of American misconceptions about the Middle East so patent in Sam Frizell's Talk of the Quad piece "The far side of the strait" (February 17).
- February 17
Editorial: Mind the gap
With the conclusion of Early Decision II admissions, 224 high school seniors have accepted a place in the Class of 2016. And after March 23, the target date for sending out regular decision letters, about 260 more will join them as the next incoming class takes shape. The rush of getting accepted to college might be enough to get many high school seniors to accept their spots in the Class of 2016 almost as soon as they rip open their fat envelopes. But amid all the excitement, consider what sending that letter back really means.
It's a date! Emma Lewis '14 and Tim Hunt '14
Brought to you by the Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention, "It's a Date!" sets up brave Bowdoin students on blind dates in order to report the hilarious, unexpected and awkward parts of their rendez-vous.
Good Brews, Everyone!: In fruit beer, look for subtle flavors and stay away from Sam Adams
I'm not especially proud of myself this week. After a solid four years spent unrelentingly mocking my male roommate for not drinking beer and opting for the sweeter pleasures of Twisted Tea, I decided it was only fair that I review the most effeminate of beers: fruit beers.
Dear Doctor Kinsey: Channeling Kinsey, Class of 1916, for answers on sex and love
It feels like a given for our generation: we're entitled to explore and discuss sex as we please. Although it's easy to forget why we do so, it remains valuable to remind ourselves of what we stand to gain by sharing our experiences in bed and in love. After all, not talking about sex—refusing to acknowledge it—is probably the oldest form of sexual repression. Silence keeps us feeling alone and in the dark, whereas responding to the variety of sexual experiences and identities that surround us is reassuring (maybe others have the same questions we do) and liberating (if they did, maybe we can too).
Bowdoin's 'toxic' son
Robert Friedland is a man addicted to risk and profit. His life has taken him from a first year classroom at Bowdoin, to a cell in federal prison, to a commune with Steve Jobs, to a gold mine in Guyana, to the Forbes list of billionaires. This career trajectory may be unorthodox, but his desire to accrue wealth is undeniable. In whatever endeavor he chooses, Friedland has repeatedly shown that he is not afraid to seize opportunity, no matter how hazardous.
- February 24
Bursting the Bubble: Diving into Denmark: juniors explore Copenhagen
When deciding where to study abroad, students often find themselves asking tricky questions, like, where can I spend a semester that would make traveling easy? Where can I find a vibrant nightlife and a welcoming culture without a language barrier? Last spring, 13 members of the class of '13 arrived at same answer: Copenhagen, Denmark.
- February 24
Coppin' a meal: Rich and buttery, ‘Millie cookies’ make for an indulgent dessert
My great-grandmother used to make these cookies, which is how my family came to call them "Millie cookies." The recipe, however, sounds like something out of Paula Deen's kitchen. The cookies require two sticks of butter and the dough is so rich that you don't even need to butter the cookie sheet to prevent sticking. They've become less popular in my house since the late '90s—when my parents realized cholesterol was a thing—but these cookies were a constant part of my childhood.
- February 24
Talk of the Quad: Stuffed animals
Squirrels and crows may be the most conspicuous creatures on campus, but the College boasts a bevy of beasts far more majestic—albeit less lively. A regal walrus and black-crowned night heron are among the many taxidermy specimens in Bowdoin's collection, and while scores of students weave around the iconic polar bear in Buck every day, other animals lie just off the beaten path.
- February 24
Talk of the Quad: A meal from home
- February 17
Seeking creature comfort, animal lovers bypass ‘no pets’ policy
There is a gecko in the Tower. His name is Queso.
- February 17
Good Brews, Everyone!: In Budweiser taste-off, Bud Heavy beats out Light and Platinum
It was Sunday night, and I had yet to review any beers. Even worse, I had absolutely no clue what to write about for this article.
Arts & Entertainment
‘Top Girls’ tackles Thatcherite struggle
This year marks the 40th anniversary of women at Bowdoin and the Department of Theater and Dance has not missed the opportunity to comment on the challenges women have faced breaking into various fields. "Top Girls," directed by Assistant Professor of Theater Abigail Killeen, tracks one driven woman's struggle to ascend the ladder of an employment agency in early-1980s Britain. The play, written by Caryl Churchill, premiered last night and will be performed again tonight and tomorrow.
‘Pillowman’ to bring dark humor, puppetry to stage
Zach Perez ‘12 will direct Martin McDonagh’s dystopian play as part of an independent study under Roger Bechtel
Featuring interweaving secret police investigations and puppetry sequences, senior Zach Perez's production of Martin McDonagh's "The Pillowman" will run Wednesday and Thursday.
Artist on quest for impossible to lecture
Renowned conceptual artist and documentary filmmaker Lenka Clayton is presently trying to send a handmade letter to every household in the world.
The Hum and the Beat: ‘Kindred’ sees Burial at his most accessible
William Bevan, the electronic solo artist also known as Burial, has attracted much critical acclaim, but his music has always struck me as too detached and too unfeeling. His 2007 release "Untrue" lacked the emotional truth that characterizes the strongest and most poignant electronic works. Bevan's DJ stints around London and the four EPs to his name have taken strange and innovative stabs at redefining exactly what electronic music can be, and the result has often been far from accessible.
NES-thetics: Video games warrant preservation
For many of us on the verge of adulthood, "Halo 2" online gameplay reminds us of an earlier time—our childhood. "Halo 2" was more than a game, it was a social event, a cultural touchstone that connected millions of people through a shared experience. In the same way children of the '70s can recount the staggering impact of their first time seeing "Star Wars" or "Jaws," someone who grew up in the new millennium can recall the first time they booted up "Halo 2" over the fledgling "Xbox Live" service and battled someone on the other side of the country. It was a pivotal moment of the emerging digital age, a precursor to the always-on connectivity that defines the modern social experience.
Facts on Fiction: ‘Art of Fielding’ changes landscape of contemporary literature
One of the most underrated episodes in the history of "The Simpsons" is a little ditty from the fourth season entitled "Duffless." Although it's one of the most disjointed of the show's entire run, the episode is both touching and poignant as it depicts a month-long struggle Homer undertakes in an attempt to overcome his alcoholism. It's also damn funny.
Art Smarts: Spose of ‘I’m Awesome’ fame takes stage tonight
Rapper Spose will perform tonight at the Pub as the debut act in the WBOR Spring Concert Series. Spose, who came to national renown when his single "I'm Awesome" reached the Billboard's Top 40 in January 2010, has released two full-length albums and is set to release a third, "The Audacity!," on April 17.
- February 24
NPR’s ‘From the Top’ to record in Studzinski Hall
The sounds of Studzinski will hit the airwaves next week when National Public Radio's "From the Top" records a new installment of their program featuring Allen Wong Yu '14 on piano.
- February 24
Maine’s Poet Laureate responds to Longfellow
Taking the stage in blue jeans, a button-up shirt, tie, and brown New Balance shoes, Maine Poet Laureate Wesley McNair introduced his audience to an oft-neglected element of Longfellow's poetry.
- February 24
‘History Boys’ explores educational methods, sexual identity
A group of unruly and existentialist British schoolboys take the Pickard stage this weekend in Masque and Gown's production of "History Boys."
Messina propels men’s hockey into NESCAC championship weekend
After outlasting Trinity 2-1 on Saturday, the second-seeded men's ice hockey team will take on third-ranked Middlebury tomorrow in the NESCAC semifinals. Trinity scored the first goal of the match 1:54 into the first period, but goaltender Steve Messina '14 stopped the next 31 shots to keep the Polar Bears in contention.
Ludy OT goal keeps women’s hockey alive
Thanks to a goal by Stephanie Ludy '13 with 21 seconds left in overtime, the women's hockey team is heading to the NESCAC semifinals for the third year in a row. The third-ranked Polar Bears will play second-seeded Amherst tomorrow after a 3-2 victory over Williams last Saturday.
Women’s basketball ousted by Tufts in NESCAC semis
The experience and fortitude of the women's basketball team will be put to the test today in what could be Bowdoin's final game of the season. After getting ousted from the NESCAC playoffs in a 55-40 loss to Tufts in the semifinals, the Polar Bears (19-7) will face the University of Southern Maine in the first round of the NCAA D-III tournament at 6 p.m. tonight in Ithaca, N.Y.
Curling prepares for home bonspiel
After winning a national championship in its first season last year, Bowdoin's club curling team is looking to repeat its early success. More than halfway done with its season, which ends in April, the team has its sole home competition this weekend.
Athlete of the Week: Mac Routh '12
Due in large part to the efforts of captain Mac Routh '12, the men's swimming and diving team had its best ever-finish at the NESCAC Championships this past weekend. Routh broke three individual school records and was a member of relay teams that broke four more, and on Tuesday, was named an All-NESCAC performer.
The Mudville Nine: 26 Seconds: LeBron becomes latest education spokesman
LeBron James, as part of his partnership with State Farm Insurance Company, has started supporting the company's 26 Seconds campaign to help raise awareness about the number of high school dropouts in the country. The operation calls young people to action to address a hard-hitting statistic: every 26 seconds in the United States, a student drops out of high school.
Records fly as men’s swimming posts best-ever finish at NESCACs
Ten school records fell on the way to the men's swimming and diving team's fifth-place finish at the NESCAC championships last weekend at Williams, marking the team's best ever performance in the 12-year history of the meet. Captain Mac Routh '12 posted the best Polar Bear finish by winning the 50 butterfly, while taking second in the 50 backstroke and fourth in the 100 fly. He set new Bowdoin records in all three events.
Weekly Roundup: Wesleyan, Amherst beat women’s squash at nationals
The women's squash finished 20th in the nation at the College Squash Association Team National Tournament at Harvard last weekend. It was a weekend of rematches, as Bowdoin faced three teams that it had defeated in the regular season.
Weekly Roundup: Millett, Horowitz shine for track at Open New Englands
Although the men's and women's track teams did not send many athletes to the Open New England Championships last weekend at Boston University, those who competed posted high finishes against their regional opponents. Captain Elsa Millett '12 finished third in the 400-meter dash with a time of 55.82 while Olivia MacKenzie '13 earned a third-place finish in the 5000 meters with a time of 17:40.88. Anna Ackerman '12 earned an eighth-place finish in the 3000-meter run with a time of 10:12.93. Annie Huyler '12 placed seventh in the heptathlon with 3,219 points.
Weekly Roundup: Eusden leads Nordic skiing to 10th place at championships
The Nordic ski team completed its season at the Eastern Intercollegiate Skiing Association Championships much in much the same way it has performed all season: near the bottom of the pack, finishing 10th out of 13 teams. Head Coach Nathan Alsobrook said that the carnival was "as much an odyssey as it was a ski race. The sky was dumping snow all through the race and the wind was howling," which led to "very slow and sloppy conditions."