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.”
Snapshot: 9/11 flag tribute
On this day: On Monday, 2,977 flags were planted on Coe Quad as a tribute to the victims of the 9/11 attacks—among them ...
Architect imagines campus of the future
The recent renovation of the first-year brick entrances is just the first step toward a broader redesign of the entire College. The creation of a new entrance to Moulton Union and renovations to the Longfellow School are next on the agenda. Facilities Management will work with private architectural firms to develop the renovation. Stephen Stimson is one architect working with the College to design these renovations, who made several recommendations for improvement to campus.
District 66 candidates speak at Quinby House
Last night the three candidates running for the District 66 seat in the Maine House of Representatives spoke at a forum held in Quinby House. Democrat Matthea “Mattie” Daughtry, Republican Grant Connors and Fred Horch of the Green Party are vying to represent the district, which comprises most of the College.
In light of high damage costs in 2011-2012, College increases penalties
The College is cracking down on vandalism this year, implementing stricter disciplinary sanctions for alcohol-related property damage. The change comes after nearly 80 percent of Bowdoin students responded that the College should respond to alcohol-related property damage with stricter disciplinary sanctions in last spring’s alcohol survey.
Anonymous online forum seeks to broaden debate
Off-therecord.com, a new website billing itself as an anonymous online forum to debate controversial political and social issues, launched exclusively for Bowdoin community members on August 29.
Security warns campus of two local men
Just weeks into the new semester, the Office of Safety and Security has already sent two alerts warning the community about suspicious individuals.
Mills reminds entrepreneurs: education should be priority
In his convocation address, President Barry Mills urged student entrepreneurs to prioritize a College education over their own projects, a remark that caught the attention of Bowdoin entrepreneurs on campus and those taking time away from school.
- 1 days ago
Students, faculty and alumni to participate in annual Common Good Day
- September 7
Obituary: Remembering Leslie Shaw, professor of anthropology
Visiting Assistant Professor Leslie Shaw, who taught anthropology at the College since 1998, died unexpectedly on the evening of August 29 following complications from surgery. She was 57 years old.Shaw will be remembered for her tremendous spirit, influential work, and role as a mentor, colleague, and friend.
“Leslie quietly set a high bar for service, excellence and collegiality, qualities that we each hope to achieve with some measure of grace but which she embraced with seeming ease,” Christle Collins Judd, dean for academic affairs, wrote in an email to the Orient.
Shaw demonstrated a clear passion for her work that was evident to students and colleagues alike. Professor Susan Kaplan, chair of the sociology and anthropology departments, said Shaw brought quiet, but palpable energy to the departments.“She’d come into a room and she’d be a powerful presence,” Kaplan said. “Very quietly, not grandstanding.”
- September 7
New system to change College House affiliation
On Wednesday, Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster announced that the current system of affiliation between first-year bricks and College Houses will come to an end next fall, when each College House will instead be affiliated with floors from various first year bricks.
Editorial: Floor by floor
Bowdoin’s plan to change chem-free living will dramatically alter College House affiliations, but we should support its efforts to diversify the first-year experience.
Next fall will mark the start of a two-year trial program that will re-imagine first-year-College House affiliation. Each house will be affiliated with four or five floors from different bricks. Howell will remain a chem-free College House and will be affiliated with floating chem-free floors.
- 1 days ago
Whispering Pines: Forecast on climate change appears hazy
The debate about anthropogenic climate change can no longer focus on whether or not it is happening; this has been settled for some time now. As journalist and environmentalist Bill McKibben wrote in his July 19 Rolling Stone article, the U.S. “broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records” in June.
- 1 days ago
First years should discover legitimacy of stereotypes for themselves
Op-ed columns are usually just exercises in narcissism. So let’s cut through the bullshit. Today’s column is all about me. I’m a Bowdoin student and I’m important. I do things at Bowdoin and I’ll be doing things in the world one day.
- 1 days ago
After Troy Davis, students should continue fight against death penalty
As a fresh arrival to Bowdoin a year ago, I was struck by the passion exhibited for the case of Troy Davis, a man convicted of killing a police officer in Savannah, Ga. Davis was held on death row for 15 years and maintained his innocence throughout. Countless people across this country and around the world protested on his behalf, but all of these voices did not stop his execution, which went ahead on September 21, 2011.
- September 7
Editorial: The Offer of Bowdoin.edu
Anyone who wants anything has a choice: build or buy. Do it yourself, or have someone do it for you. In the field of web development, the choice can be particularly difficult. This week, the College and the Orient are launching new websites. Independently, we have both chosen to build.
- September 7
Romney’s campaign to court female voters is all about making appearances
Here’s the thing: while it’s impossible to deeply engage in women’s issues without a woman present, it’s entirely possible to have a woman present and still lack meaningful engagement with women’s issues.
- September 7
J-Board breaches honor and social codes
I hold that the members of the Bowdoin administration and of the Judicial Board are guilty of breaching the College’s Academic Honor and Social Code. Their crime is one of coercion. They use the implied threat of dismissal from the College to force students into signing an agreement and—by making them sign in groups—to use social pressure to prevent dissent.
- September 6
Half-Assed: Bookending Bowdoin: first years and seniors reign on campus
If you see a terrified person walking around the Bowdoin campus, it’s probably a first year or a senior. The first years have no idea what they’re going to do in this place; the seniors have no idea what they’re going to do once they leave.
- August 27
Editorial: A message to the Class of 2016
Orientation is dizzying and overwhelming—the days are long and laden with programming, you encounter a wide variety of people and remember very few names, and you travel constantly with your floor. It's a marathon meet-and-greet that will make the first few days of classes seem simple in comparison.
- May 4
Editorial: Staring at the Sun
The Bowdoin Daily Sun’s trivial posts reflect poorly on the College
On Tuesday, the Bowdoin Daily Sun posted an article lauding three Bowdoin students who secured internships at Goldman Sachs this summer. On Wednesday, the post was deleted from the site after drawing criticism for distastefully trumpeting the well-known fact that Bowdoin students often land prestigious internships, glorifying the financial industry, and neglecting to acknowledge two other students also interning at the bank.
King’s former students describe him as a measured statesman
When Roy Atkinson, a graduate student at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan, heard that Angus King was running for the Senate, he got in his car and drove roughly 900 miles to Brunswick.
Talk of the Quad: Hot Dam: the river gets a makeover
The tension in the room is stifling. I, along with fellow intern Matt Gamache ’13, am sitting in on a conference call with our supervisor at the Nature Conservancy in Maine. Visibly nervous, Kate is negotiating with staff from two other large environmental orgaizations.They’re blowing up a dam.
From bankrolling to lobster rolls: Luke’s Lobster ships Maine to NYC
When Luke Holden opened the first location of Luke’s Lobster in Manhattan’s East Village in 2009, he was still employed full-time at Cohen & Steers investment bank. The company has steadily expanded over the past few years and Luke said his immediate goals are to reach Boston and Philadelphia. The long-term plan is to see Luke’s outposts in San Francisco, Chicago, and L.A.
Talk of the Quad: Late for the Race
On Saturday morning, I decided to go for a short run before meeting a friend for brunch. I started off crossing Park Row towards Maine Street. Before I knew it, I was being stopped at the crosswalk at the end of Page Street.
Robbie Deveny ’13 works for catering company in Aspen, meets world’s VIPs
It is an honor to score an invite to the Aspen Ideas Festival, where participants like Katie Couric and retired U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal gather in the Colorado mountains for a week of debate on issues ranging from democracy to the societal roles of professional athletes.
Trip report: A bioluminescent midnight hike with the BOC
For most students, Sunday night means holing up in a favorite study spot to crank out work, but two weekends ago, 12 of us in the Outing Club took advantage of the waning moon to head to the Coastal Studies Center (CSC) for a moonlight stroll.
- 1 days ago
Samantha Garvey ’16 gets shout-out from Obama at DNC
When President Obama recalled meeting inspiring Americans in his address at the Democratic National Convention last Thursday, Samantha Garvey '16 had no idea she would be mentioned.
Garvey met Obama last January when she was named a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search, one of the country’s most prestigious science competitions for high school students, for her research on the defense mechanisms of mussels.
- September 7
Record harvest means Maine lobstermen get raw deal
Maine’s seafood celebrity, the lobster, made national headlines this summer when fishermen across the state brought in record hauls of the crustacean, leading to low market prices and frustration in the lobstering community.
- September 7
‘Conning Harvard’: New book on Adam Wheeler will hit shelves this month
After filing a Freedom of Information Act request, sifting through hundreds of documents, conducting countless interviews and even spending a night at Bowdoin, Zauzmer sheds new light on how Wheeler was able to game the system.
- September 7
Beer and boys: My first college party at Bowdoin
This brings me to the first lesson I learned about college parties: if you actually want to party, being cool and fashionably late is not always the way to go.
Arts & Entertainment
Snapshot: Dog Days are Over
Benh Zeitlin’s ‘Beasts’ is magical, but lacks coherence
“Beasts of the Southern Wild,” directed by Benh Zeitlin, is one of those films that demands a second viewing—if only so viewers can wrap their minds around it. In his first feature film, Zeitlin tells the story of six-year-old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) and her father Wink (Dwight Henry) as they struggle to confront what appears to be the unraveling of the universe.
Maine Pro Musica performs, brings Classical to campus
Maine Pro Musica, a thirty-two piece orchestra based in Rockport, Maine, performed at Studizinski Recital Hall last Saturday afternoon in the final show of their four-concert summer tour. Saturday’s program consisted of traditional classical works by child prodigies spanning several genres. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Overture to the Marriage of Figaro,” Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto, no. 3, op.37, and Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 4, op.90, were performed.
Pioneering photographer Day featured in exhibit
With the debut of a new surrealist photography exhibit, Wegman’s Weimaraners now have to share space with their artistic ancestors at the Museum of Art. On September 6, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art opened “Making a Presence: F. Holland Day in Artistic History,” chronicling the life and work of Boston photographer Fred Holland Day.
Cover band Suck My NESCAC to perform at Epicuria
Tomorrow night, the men’s rugby team will host Epicuria, its 23rd annual toga party at Ladd House. For the second year in a row, the event will feature Suck My NESCAC, a pop-punk cover band made up of seniors Hunter Rusack, Phil Cuddeback, Robbie Deveny, and David Raskin. I spoke with the band earlier this week about their tunes, their history, and their hopes for the future—especially tomorrow night’s performance.
- September 7
“Hello Nature” shows Wegman beyond Weimaraners
Indeed, though there is nothing awe-inspiring about the scale of Wegman’s work, the exhibit is compelling in its ability to create a narrative that explains the artist’s lifelong fascination with nature. Wegman’s work is playful but incredibly sincere. There is a refreshing innocence to his exploration of nature; in its simplicity, his work captures a sense of childhood reverence for the wilderness.
- September 7
With profs. on sabbatical, Racer X tradition on hold
There was a notable absence in the line-up of bands during last year's Senior Week. Racer X, fronted by Bowdoin professors Vineet Shende and Aaron Kitch, was replaced by DJ Sex Ray Vision, leaving many students disappointed. Although the controversial change led to whisperings of money disputes and miscommunication amongst students, Shende attributes the band’s absence to simple miscommunication with a Senior Week coordinator.
- September 7
Boeding ’14 captures summer scenes
James Boeding ’14 spent this summer taking more photographs than most other students do in their lifetimes. As a recipient of the Visual Arts Department’s annual McKee Photography Grant, Boeding completed a series of photos entitled “The Weekender: Millerton to New York City.”
- September 7
Women’s Rugby sets sights on Nationals
After a 10-3 season last year, the women’s rugby team hopes to continue its success this season despite having graduated six seniors last spring.
- September 6
Alum turns from biology to New York art scene
When Ian Trask graduated from Bowdoin with a degree in biology, he was not the one to bet on to become an up-and-coming sculptor. He now regularly sells artwork around Brooklyn and Chelsea, and is preparing for his first solo show in New York this November.
Women’s soccer undefeated after sweeping first three games
The women’s soccer team emerged triumphant from their first conference match of the season last weekend, besting the Wesleyan Cardinals 1-0. On Wednesday, the team silenced Bates 3-0, improving to 3-0-0 (2-0-0 NESCAC).
Ex-investment banker Tim Ryan brings unique skills to leading the athletics department
When Jeff Ward stepped down this summer after 14 years as director of athletics, it fell to Tim Ryan ’98 to assume the position of interim athletics director.
A talented baseball and football player who went to Wells High School in Maine, Ryan says he chose Bowdoin because it was “the best academic school that [he] could get into and continue to play one or both sports.”
After first week, Volleyball undefeated at 5-0
With a 4-0 sweep of the Endicott Invitational last weekend and a victory over the University of New England (UNE)at home on Tuesday, the volleyball team shows no signs of slowing down.
In first scrimmage of the year, football loses star wide reciever
“I looked up and saw a defensive back [Jaibril Coy ’15] explode after his interception for 70 yards. He was in the end zone in a blink of an eye,” said Bryan Hurley ’15, one of the fans at the Bowdoin football team’s intrasquad scrimmage this past Sunday. Fans, players and coaches alike had the opportunity to assess the progress of the team at the preseason game.
Athlete of the Week: Melissa Haskell ’13
Senior volleyball Captain Melissa Haskell had a groundbreaking start to her final season at the Endicott Invitational this weekend. She left the tournament with a total of 30 kills, 14 aces and 32 digs, while helping her team establish their undefeated record.
- 2 days ago
Tennis teams start strong opening tournaments
Following deep runs into the NCAA tournament last year, both the men’s and women’s tennis teams hit the courts this past weekend for their first tournaments of the season.
In two weeks, the men’s tennis team will play in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Invitational at Williams College. The women's team’s next tournament is at the University of Pennsylvania September 21.
- 2 days ago
Field hockey starts season 2-0 on rookie and veteran efforts
Bowdoin’s field hockey team handled NESCAC rival Wesleyan 3-1 in Saturday's season opener.
Bowdoin’s next matchup is against non-conference Wellesley College on Saturday at 1 p.m.
- 2 days ago
Men’s soccer rebounds, defeats Southern Maine 8-0
After a 2-0 loss to Wesleyan in Saturday's season opener, the men's soccer team rebounded on Monday with an 8-0 win against the University of Southern Maine.
Bowdoin will face the University of Maine–Farmington in a home match at noon this Saturday.
- 3 days ago
Women’s rugby posts two shut-out victories in first tournament
In their first tournament, the women’s rugby team amassed 86 total offensive points, limiting three different opponents to zero tries and a single field goal.
The Bowdoin women’s rugby team cleaned up at last weekend’s Beantown Rugby tournament at UMass-Amherst, beating Williams, Amherst and Smith Colleges with scores of 59-3, 12-0, and 19-0 respectively.
The Polar Bears are now two-time defending Beantown champions and have won six straight matches at the tournament since 2010.
- September 7
Former Athletic Director went beyond coaching for 14 years
As the Fall athletic season builds momentum, the Bowdoin community adjusts to the departure of Jeff Ward—Bowdoin’s athletic director since 1998—who announced in early June that he would not return this fall.