“15 Villainous Fools,” Maggie Seymour ’16 and Olivia Atwood’s ’17 two-woman clowning adaptation of Shakespeare’s play “The Comedy of Errors,” was recently picked up by the People’s Improv Theater (PIT) in New York City. The show will be performed at an Off-Off-Broadway venue for two months this summer starting in July.
The 75-minute performance tells the story of two sets of identical twins and their adventures following a boat crash. There are 15 characters in the play, with Atwood and Seymour acting as half each.
"It's just a whole Shakespeare classic dilemma,” said Atwood. “It's a comedy so by the end everything gets sorted out and everybody gets married.”
Seymour’s became interested in Shakespeare during her sophomore year at Bowdoin after taking an acting class with Sally Wood, who made Shakespeare’s voice accessible and understandable. Then, when Seymour was studying abroad in London fall of her junior year, she had the opportunity to see a production of “The Comedy of Errors” at the Globe Theatre.
“It was amazing. The control of the language, the accessibility of the show and the sheer joy that everyone was having was something I was very passionate about and wanted to explore,” said Seymour.
Through “15 Villainous Fools,” Seymour is able to find an intersection between her love of Shakespeare and clowning, a term used to describe physical theater that is rooted in actors finding their inner child or inner joy.
During an improv class Atwood and Seymour were in together, Seymour enlisted the help of Atwood for her honors project, which ultimately became “15 Villainous Fools.” It was first performed at Bowdoin on November 20, 2015 and then put on twice more as part of Seymour’s honors project. The duo further reworked the play and put on one more show for Admitted Students Weekend last April.
"We were revamping the show for the summer tour,” said Atwood. “Having another show at Bowdoin was another really good test run.”
Then, last summer—with the help of Axis Fuksman-Kumpa ’17 as a technician—Atwood and Seymour took “15 Villainous Fools” on tour, participating in fringe festivals. Fringe festivals are week to month-long theater festivals held in various venues across the country.
“It's a place where people mount their shows,” said Atwood. “Most people do one fringe festival per summer. We decided to do five.”
Atwood received a Micoleau Family Fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts from Bowdoin, which helped fund the tour, and both Atwood and Seymour contributed their own money to finance travel expenses. Over the summer, the duo performed “15 Villainous Fools” first in Portland, Maine before continuing on to San Diego, Washington D.C., Rhode Island and New York City.
"The hardest one [to get into] by far is FringeNYC. The application is impossible. You have to submit a cover letter, resume, a video or trailer of your shows, reviews if you have them,” said Atwood. “It's a super selective process. We ended up getting up waitlisted and then we got in. That is the reason this play was discovered.”
Atwood and Seymour performed five shows during FringeNYC over the course of a week, four of which were sold out.
"We got stellar reviews and having a nearly sold-out run is pretty impressive with 200-plus shows at the festival” said Atwood.
The success of the “15 Villainous Fools” at the festival caught the attention of the PIT and in December, after Atwood met with the artistic director, the PIT picked up the play. It is slated to begin the first week of July.
Unlike last summer, Atwood and Seymour will stay in New York City all summer to perform their show at the PIT, allowing them more stability and the benefits of having a homebase venue. The duo will be performing 13 shows as of now.
“We’ll be moving in New York in June to start rehearsing in the space, meeting people, starting to market more in the area, building up toward opening night and trying to sell out all the houses if possible,” said Atwood.
Currently, Atwood and Seymour are working on revamping their image, working on graphics, marketing and creating a more professional-looking website. In the summer, the duo will start to focus more on the logistics of the show and figuring out lights, costumes and more.
“Baseline [the show is] the same feel, but I think in a lot of ways it's going to be different just because we won’t be travelling,” said Seymour. “I think we're putting in a lot of work reimagining it but also cleaning it.”
Looking ahead, neither Atwood nor Seymour is sure what will happen with “15 Villainous Fools,” but the prospect of the show being optioned to go off-Broadway is exciting.
While Atwood was attending the National Theater Institute the summer after her first year at Bowdoin, she received a piece of advice from a speaker and often thinks back to what he told her.
“He said that if there isn’t a space for me in theater, I can make a space for myself,” said Atwood.
"I think the ultimate goal is to keep doing theater because that's what we both love to do,” she added. “And we're going to do whatever we can to keep making that happen.”
Editor’s Note: Olivia Atwood ’17 is an associate editor of the Orient but was not involved in the production or editing of this article.
Two top administrative positions filled
Four positions remain open
Elizabeth McCormack will join the Bowdoin faculty as dean for academic affairs effective July 1, replacing the Jennifer Scanlon, who has held the interim dean position since the summer of 2015. McCormack will also teach physics. Matt Orlando has become senior vice president for finance and administration effective January 4. He previously served as vice president and interim head of finance and administration and treasurer. Both positions are part of the President’s Senior Leadership Team.
Former Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd, who held that position at the College from 2006 until 2015, was also named president of Sarah Lawrence College. She will begin that position in July.
The College is still in the midst of hiring processes for four positions in the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs. They intend to fill the positions held by Interim Dean of First Year Students Melissa Quinby, and Interim Assistant Deans for Upperclass Students Michael Pulju and Abbey Greene Goldman. Additionally, Bowdoin is planning on hiring a dean of students to replace Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs Kim Pacelli, who announced in December that she will leave Bowdoin at the end of this academic year.
McCormack is currently a professor of physics at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, where she has taught since 1995. She has served as chair of the faculty, director of the Center for Science in Society, director of the STEM Posse Program, dean of graduate studies and as an associate provost, where she worked to support faculty across campus.
“There was an amazingly thorough process that engaged a number of faculty and staff, and she clearly differentiated herself from a really great group of candidates that we looked at, talked to and thought hard about,” said President Clayton Rose. “She brings a record of accomplishments as a teacher, and a scholar, and an administrator and as someone who’s been deeply engaged in the liberal arts for a long time.”
McCormack is excited to join the faculty at Bowdoin.
“The tradition of excellence and the engaged liberal arts model is what attracted me,” she said.
She expects ensuring equitable academic access to be one of the challenges in her role at the College.
“The [challenge] is equitable access, finding ways to brings students in from all different walks of life, but once they are here supporting their success,” said McCormack. “This involves supporting faculty to create inclusive learning environments [and] understanding how students learn best.”
The Office for the Dean of Academic Affairs is responsible for overseeing faculty, including hiring, mentoring and tenure. The office also supports special academic programs and leads faculty discussion on teaching and innovation.
McCormack is also looking forward to teaching physics at Bowdoin.
“As someone who has gotten into campus leadership from faculty, my heart with always be with and my lens will always be through the perspective of a teacher, faculty member, and a colleague,” she said.
At Bryn Mawr, McCormack taught a gender information science and politics course with the English department. She hopes to teach a first-year seminar at Bowdoin that discusses women in science and technology.
“As a woman scientist myself, but also having taught at a women’s college, I’m pretty excited about and interested in the issues young women face today not only as scientists, but as intellectuals engaging with the world today,” she said.
Orlando will continue at Bowdoin as the senior vice president of finance and administration and the treasurer, the equivalent of the chief financial officer of the College, after a national search. He held this position in the interim after Katy Longley left in June.
“[Orlando] has been a member of the Bowdoin community for a long time and many, many of the folks here know him well,” Rose said. “The search was interesting—we did a national search, engaged one of the leading search firms, we looked at a number of candidates, and a number of really good candidates, and it was not a foregone conclusion going into the search that this was Matt’s job. This was a job he earned in an amazing competition with a number of other really well qualified candidates.”
Orlando will oversee capital projects and the campus master plan.
“Most of these ideas involve funding, whether that comes through donor funding or operating revenues,” Orlando said. “We do have finite resources. We are blessed with a really big endowment, but the dollars in the budget are all spoken of to some degree. We’ll have to figure out how to make room for these new incremental costs within the budget.”
Orlando is excited to take on a larger role at the College.
“I think that it will be a really exciting chapter in the history of Bowdoin. I know it sounds cliché, but I genuinely believe that and am excited to be a part of it,” he said.
Elite school, wealthy students
Percentage of students receiving aid remains flat while comprehensive fees and aid packages steadily increase
Despite having a significantly larger endowment and spending more on financial aid, Bowdoin is not admitting significantly more students who receive financial aid. This has been the status quo at Bowdoin for the past 15 years. In 2002, roughly 40 percent of the student body received aid. In 2006, it was still 40 percent. As of the fall of 2016, 44 percent of the student body receives financial aid, meaning that over the past 15 years, the percentage of the student body receiving financial aid has increased by only 4 percentage points.
A study from the Equality of Opportunity Project republished in the New York Times last week laid bare the socioeconomic composition of the Bowdoin student body. The report shows 20 percent of the Bowdoin student body comes from the top 1 percent of the income spectrum (family income greater than aprox $630,000 per year,) which is more students than there are in the bottom three income quintiles combined. 69 percent of students' family incomes fall in the top quintile of the national income distribution, meaing their family made more than aprox. $110,000 per year. Only 3.8 percent of students come from the bottom 20 percent (families who made less than aprox. $20,000 per year).
The study also revealed that the financial composition of the student body did not change significantly over the period it addressed (between 1998 and 2009). According to data from the College’s common data set and Office of Institutional Research and Consulting, the percentage of students receiving financial aid remained at roughly 45 percent of the student body from 2008 to 2015.
Since 2008, Bowdoin’s endowment per student has increased at an average rate of 3.8 percent per year reaching $1.5 million per student in 2015. Its average financial aid grant has increased at an average rate of 3.2 percent per year, but the College’s comprehensive fee increased at a similar average rate of 3.2 percent per year.
These numbers raise significant questions about the effectiveness of the College’s need-blind admissions policy (which has been in place for over 15 years) in actively creating socioeconomically diverse classes. They also indicate that the school’s ever increasing comprehensive fee is at odds with this mission.
Bowdoin regularly talks about diversity as a priority and socioeconomic diversity is a big part of this. The College has made real steps over this period, such as eliminating loans as an aspect of financial aid packages in 2008 under former President Barry Mills and dropping the application fee for first-generation and financial aid-seeking applicants in 2016.
President Clayton Rose confirmed this mission and his desire to build more socioeconomic diversity, but argued that maintaining a roughly steady level of financial aid recipients itself has taken work.
“The steady state of students who are attending elite schools who come from the low economic strata suggests that there’s been some real work that’s kept that number at that level and I think that our experience bears that out. I think we’ve worked really hard to make that happen and a number of our peer schools, perhaps all of them, have as well. And I think the fruit of that is that we’ve been able to keep that steady.”
Both Rose and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Whitney Soule defended the College’s need-blind admissions policy.
“I would say that being need-blind is a huge opportunity for this college,” said Soule. “To put the emphasis on going out to find the students who have the qualities that we’re seeking and look at them as people and to be going through a recruitment and selection process that is separating them from need. And I think it’s an incredibly important value.”
Soule also said that the need-blind process actually does create socioeconomically diverse classes.
“We are not placing investigation or emphasis on [socioeconomic diversity] on a particular application. How much does the student need? But by being need-blind, it naturally is setting our admit decisions across the array of the socioeconomic strata.”
While the College does enroll students from across the socioeconomic spectrum, the newly published data indicate that it enrolls a disproportionate number of students from the high end of the income spectrum.
Rose emphasized the structural factors that prevent Bowdoin from creating socioeconomically diverse classes.
“Our challenge—and we know this is true and the study reinforces it—our challenge and every school’s challenge is that the number of low income students that apply to elite schools is lower than it should be.”
Soule added that often, students lower on the income spectrum are not thinking about and not prepared for elite schools like Bowdoin.
“If you think about the country at large and much of education ... there’s public funding in every state that educates most of our young people,” she said. “And the disparity of the quality of education, across resources—that also plays out in preparation for higher ed and who’s thinking about going to a school like Bowdoin and how we find those students.”
Soule and Rose both emphasized that admissions outreach and recruiting has a big effect on who applies to Bowdoin and is the primary tool the school uses to attract lower income students. The more lower-income students that become aware of Bowdoin, the more that apply and the more the College is able to admit.
Every year, Bowdoin sends its 14 admissions officers across the country to meet with prospective applicants at high schools and college fairs. Last year, they visited 450 schools. Sending them to areas of socioeconomic diversity is a priority.
Admissions employs various methods to attract lower-income students including partnering with community based college-prep organizations so that more lower income students are aware of Bowdoin and traveling with groups of admissions counselors from other peer schools like Pomona and Swarthmore.
Soule said that for the past three years she has abandoned the practice of taking a two-week trip to New York City where she would hold a series of information sessions with students at specific schools, many of them private. Instead, for the past three years, the admissions team has held a few information session nights and invited students from across the city.
She says this gets prospective students who are lower on the income spectrum in the room with a more diverse range of applications and helps them see themselves in the context of a more diverse Bowdoin rather than the more limited applicant pool that might show up to an information session at any given school.
“What it does is it brings a lot of people into a room, often with a lot more kids and their parents from all over the city from different boroughs and from completely different kinds of high schools. And when you sit in that room and look around at the people who are interested in Bowdoin, that’s what our prospect pool is, so that’s been really effective.”
This is a strategy Soule hopes to employ in other cities in the future.
The steady increase in the cost of college is a factor that works against its ability to provide access to lower-income students. As the cost of college goes up, so does the amount of financial aid required to send a student to Bowdoin. If rate of growth of financial aid grants does not exceed the rate of tuition growth, the financial aid dollars available to distribute will only cover roughly the same number of students.
Addressing the increasing cost of college is a priority for Rose.
“We’re going through serious exercises to understand our budget, to take out whatever fat—fat isn’t even the word because there’s no fat in it—but really making tough choices about where we’re going to spend our money,” he said.
Currently, roughly 64 percent of the budget goes to payroll and 36 percent of the budget goes to operations. Rose said touching payroll is not an option and that the focus of his budget review will be on the 34 percent that is dedicated to operations.
According to Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Matt Orlando, the budget office has implemented a new practice this budget season that requires departments to justify every expenditure in their budgets and presumes a 0 percent growth rate rather than the traditional 2-4 percent increase.
Orlando said the practice is aimed at slowing the growth of departmental budgets and identifying areas of spending that may no longer be priorities.
Still, some of the increasing cost is tied to inflation—around 2-3 percent currently—and is likely inevitable.
Bowdoin’s performance in admitting students from lower on the income spectrum does not compare poorly to its peer schools.
Jordan Richmond ’16, who worked on the Equality of Opportunity project as a predoctoral fellow with Stanford economics professor Raj Chetty, said that one of the study’s key findings is that across the board, the percentage of poor students at elite schools has remained the same over the course of the study, from 1998 to 2009.
Despite expressing support for a socioeconomically diverse class, Rose believes that a student body that reflects an equal distribution across the income spectrum of the country is not realistic and is not Bowdoin’s mission.
“The idea that we should look like the country—I think that’s unrealistic in that not every student is prepared for Bowdoin and many students from low-income backgrounds are engaged in educational experiences in junior high and high and grammar school which leave them ill-prepared. Our job is to find all those great students, if we can, that have the ability to do the work here and get them to apply to Bowdoin,” he said.
“The real thing, I think, to take away from all of this is that how you interpret your results totally depends on what you think the goals of a college are and what our model of education should aim to accomplish,” said Richmond.
Gideon Moore contributed to this report.
College caps off-campus housing for '17-'18 year
The College will not allow more than 200 students to live off campus next year, after 217 students lived off campus this academic year. The cap marks Bowdoin’s first attempt to regulate off-campus housing numbers. The College was one of only two NESCAC schools that did not regulate off-campus housing, despite having the second-highest percentage of students living off campus.
The change comes in response to the steady upward trend in the number of students living off-campus. Over the past three years, the College has seen a 56 percent increase in the number of upperclass students living off campus. Today, nearly a third of Bowdoin seniors—and about 12 percent of the total student body— live off campus, according to Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster.
The College’s decision to limit off-campus housing also stemmed from cultural and financial factors. Housing for the academic year costs $6,356; the College loses that money when students choose to live off campus and beds are left empty.
Foster said limiting the number of students who live off campus also allows the community to address the meaning of Bowdoin as a residential college.
Students who signed leases before January 12, the day Foster informed students that a limit would be enforced, automatically have permission to live off campus during the 2017-18 academic year. All other students must apply for permission from Residential Life (ResLife) before signing a lease.
The new limit will serve as a placeholder while the College develops a new housing policy and considers the condition of and possible improvements to existing upperclass housing, according to Foster. The College plans to solicit feedback from the campus community to inform this process.
Aside from Tufts, Bowdoin is currently the only NESCAC school without an off-campus housing policy in place. Williams, Trinity and Bates are among the schools that cap the number of students allowed to live off campus, while schools such as Wesleyan and Connecticut College do not allow students to live off campus.
Some students were frustrated by the timing of the policy. Sophomore Lenoir Kelley had already begun talking to a landlord about off-campus housing for her senior year, which is not an uncommon practice among sophomores.
“[My friends and I have] been kind of frustrated that the school has suddenly implemented this policy, and we just feel like it’s a little bit of an overreach on ResLife’s part,” she said.
Kelley is concerned that her friends may not be able to live in the house they had planned on for senior year, despite having already made moves to sign a lease with the landlord. At the same time, she felt the College has been receptive to students’ feelings.
“I’m happy that they’re considering students’ feedback and hopefully moving forward with some alternative on-campus housing options because honestly, for upperclassmen, there are not a lot of great options.”
Lisa Bossi ’87 and her husband, also a Bowdoin alum, have been renting to Bowdoin students for about nine years. She is concerned that the change in policy will make it more difficult to find tenants.
“That is the one concern that we have as landlords, that the timing of this is going to be disruptive for students to make plans,” she said. “We really love the idea of having students in our neighborhood, and the neighbors also really appreciate really good tenants. It’s a really nice way for students to get to learn about certain responsibilities they won’t learn living on campus, and they very often end up with their first reference for their next apartment. So it’s been a really nice situation, and we’re hoping that this new rule doesn’t break the fluidity of the word of mouth.”
Some students choose to live off campus for social reasons. Jodi Kraushar ’17, who currently lives off campus, said she prefers the off-campus social space.
“As I got older ... I was feeling like it would be really nice to have my own space ... and I think that’s a really great benefit of living off campus, especially as a woman, in a house with other women, and we can just sort of have spaces that feel really comfortable for ourselves,” she said. “I don’t think there [is] really any upperclassman housing that’s conducive to that kind of social setting like ours is.”
She believes that the regulations of Bowdoin’s social scene encourage some students to seek alternative living arrangements.
“I think there have been policies like alcohol policies [and] party registration policies that have made students feel like Bowdoin is even more confining and maybe hand-holding than they want,” she said.
Kraushar hopes the College will improve senior housing, but she acknowledged the difficulties involved in this task.
Professor of Cinema Studies Tricia Welsch, who has worked as a College House advisor for 15 years, thinks that restricting the number of students living off campus would be beneficial for both the College and the surrounding community. She believes that the upperclassman practice of living off campus detracts from the College’s social climate.
“The plan was for the College House system to be a real center and hub for academic and extracurricular life, and while it works that way for students who are first years and sophomores ... the seniors really aren’t coming back into life at Bowdoin anymore, not in the way that they used to do,” she said. “I think increased numbers of students living off campus really diminishes that sense of possible community.”
Welsch lives next door to a house rented annually by students and says that college students do not tend to make the best neighbors.
“I made a lot of noise when I was a student too. It’s what you do. You’re not a good neighbor because it’s not your time to be a good neighbor,” she said. “I do think that at least some students try very hard to be good neighbors and want to be good neighbors ... but you know, they’re not homeowners. They don’t live like permanent residents live, and it’s not just quiet. [There] is trash, upkeep of buildings. It’s all kinds of things.”
Welsch commended the College for taking steps to regulate the number of students living off campus and believes such steps will ultimately be better for relations between the College and the town.
“Most of the places that are desirable around campus are historic homes where people are attached to the College in one way or another or have a long-standing interest in the College and seeing it thrive. The idea of making an adversarial relationship out of that is not good,” she said. “If the College now can do something that will limit that, that’s good for the College as well, the College as an institution in this town.”
College examining snow swastika incident
The Office of Safety and Security is investigating a bias incident after a student reported a swastika and the satanic image “666” stomped into the snow near Osher Quad. The student noticed the images on Saturday, January 21 after returning to campus from Winter Break, but the images were not shared with the Office of Safety and Security until Wednesday night.
The swastika was approximately three feet by three feet, while the “666” was approximately three feet by one-and-a-half feet, according to Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols. The student destroyed both symbols after taking a photo.
President Clayton Rose informed the Bowdoin community of the bias incident investigation in an email to all students and College employees Thursday afternoon. Anyone with information on the incident should contact Security at 207-725-3314.
Jono Gruber contributed to this report.
Students pleased with new gender-neutral bathroom
Over Winter Break, the College converted the women’s bathroom on the second floor of the David Saul Smith Union into a gender neutral restroom. The renovations included installing new paneling to prevent anyone from seeing any part of the person in any of the stalls. All cracks in the stalls were covered up. The bathroom is designed to be inclusive for students who identify as transgender or gender non-binary.
Discussions for the bathroom started last year, according to Director of Student Activities Nate Hintze.
“For me it started last year when [the Latin American Student Association] brought trans activist Bamby Salcedo. In a conversation with her I asked ‘What can I do to support our trans students?’” Hintze said.
Salcedo suggested the College create gender-neutral bathrooms.
Hintze started working with Katy Longley, former treasurer of the College, Director of the David Saul Smith Union Allen Delong and Director of the Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity Kate Stern to create a multi-stall gender-neutral bathroom on the second floor of the Union in addition to the single stall gender inclusive bathroom on the first floor.
After speaking with Facilities, Hintze said the process was very quick. The women’s room was converted because the paneling was already in place and Facilities only needed to create new panels and to cover all the cracks in the doors. Elongated panels and bristles covering the cracks in doors make it impossible to identify the gender of an individual in a stall.
“The concern really is privacy so the thoughtfulness really went into reconstructing the panels and doors,” Stern said.
“We covered every crack in the door so you physically cannot see who is in the bathroom next to you unless they’re washing their hands next to you,” Hintze said.
Several students voiced their support for the creation of the bathroom.
Justin Weathers ’18 said that he has no problem with the bathroom. Because its use is optional, he doesn’t see it affecting his everyday life.
“It doesn’t bother me. I assume they’re all stalls so no one is paying attention to you,” he said. “It’s opt-in. If you don’t want to use the gender-neutral bathroom you don’t have to use it.”
A women’s bathroom is still present on the first floor of the union by the C-store.
Weathers said that although he does not know many people who may have expressed the need for such a bathroom, he is glad there is a space for those who desire it.
“I’m happy that those people have a bathroom that makes them feel comfortable.”
Caroline Watt ’18, who has used the bathroom, says she likes it.
“I kind of like it. For the fact that the lines will be less long—less of a wait.”
However, some students expressed concern about the fact that only the women’s bathroom has been converted.
Hannah Karlan ’19 says that she fears only women will use the space because it is right next to a men’s room.
“I’ve been in there a few times and I only noticed girls in there,” said Karlan.
Hintze says the College does plan to convert the men’s bathroom as well.
“Ideally, we would do the men’s bathroom at some point as well just so they were both gender-neutral so we wouldn’t have a men’s bathroom and a gender-neutral bathroom,” he said. “We’re figuring out how to work through the urinals. We wanted to do one and do it perfectly and then figure out how we can do that with the other bathroom as well.”
Stern and Hintze both said that the move was made to help trans and nonbinary individuals at Bowdoin.
“Many of our students who are either transgender or gender-nonbinary don’t go to the bathroom unless they’re in their room,” said Stern.
She said that trans students and gender-nonbinary students might feel more comfortable not having to decide which bathroom to use.
“It’s really making sure that our small trans population feels really comfortable on this campus,” Hintze said.
Stern said that there is a desire by those in the trans and gender non-binary community for more inclusive spaces, although she is unsure what the College’s next steps will be.
Man barred from campus over vulgar fliers
On January 13, Brunswick Police Department (BPD) issued a criminal trespass warning barring Vincent Liu, a resident of Brunswick who has no affiliation with the College from campus. Liu was found distributing politically charged fliers containing violent and vulgar language as well as Bowdoin’s logo and address. He has not been on campus since being issued a warning and the Office of Safety and Security does not see Liu as a threat.
The flier suggested violence as a solution to political issues, such as gun violence and terrorism. It included a polar bear logo, listed an address that seemed to be on the College’s campus and seemed to be from members of the Bowdoin student body. The contents of the letter were not bias-related, and—though disturbing to many—did not imply a direct threat.
“There was some specific wording that would lead anyone looking at the flier to believe that it was written and approved by Bowdoin students,” said Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols.
Nichols declined to disclose the specific text of the flier.
A Brunswick business called the Office of Safety and Security on January 12 with the impression that a Bowdoin student was passing out fliers downtown, according to Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols.
After Security received the phone call about the flier distribution, a man matching the description of the individual was caught on security camera footage leaving the same fliers on the David Saul Smith Union information desk. On January 13, a security officer on patrol noticed the individual walking on campus and was able to identify Liu because of the security footage. Security called BPD, who issued Liu the criminal trespass warning.
“There was no direct threat in any way shape or form to Bowdoin College or any member to the campus or any member of the community of Brunswick,” Nichols said. “Had there been, we obviously would have informed the community of that fact.”
New interdisciplinary class tackles public health
In response to growing student interest in public health, Associate Professor of History David Hecht is teaching an interdisciplinary course entitled “Public Health and the Liberal Arts” this semester. The course exposes students to lessons in public health through a variety of academic fields from mathematics to romance languages.
“This class is part of a larger initiative of the College on public health and liberal arts,” Hecht said. “I’ve been working with a group of faculty for a little over a year now to brainstorm ways that we could capitalize on the large student interest in the subject.”
Although Bowdoin rarely offers interdisciplinary classes, Hecht knew that the course had to be an interdisciplinary one from its inception.
“Interdisciplinary was the logical place for the class,” said Hecht. “We do not have one person on campus who specializes in public health. It made sense to then bring in expertise from around the College.”
The class’ lecturers reflect its interdisciplinary nature. Bowdoin professors from departments as varied as romance Languages, environmental studies, and mathematics are all scheduled to speak over the course of the class. Hecht also invited six guest speakers from outside of the College, whose lectures will be open to the general public.
“I wanted to make sure that we had representation from across the College,” Hecht said. “I had no particular designs on a specific department.”
Students interested in taking the class had to fill out an application, which included a short essay detailing what they hoped to get out of the class, why they were interested in public health and their previous experience with public health. They were also required to discuss an unusual assignment that had prepared them for taking the course.
A total of 18 students were selected from the 36 who applied. About half of the students in the class are on the pre-med track.
“There are people in the class who are philosophy majors, anthropology majors, government and legal studies majors,” said Dhivya Singaram ’17, who is enrolled in the class.
“You can tell that there are going to be a wide range of experiences and skillsets that contribute to our learning, and I know that the professors geared the class to us building off of each other’s expertise and applying it to the study of public health,” she said.
Both Hecht and the students taking the class acknowledge that many aspects of the class are still being tested, but they all hope that similar classes are offered in the future.
“I think that sometimes Bowdoin doesn’t like to focus on pre-professional because they want to be very open to everything, but sometimes it is good to have something very specific to help students decide if that’s something that they want to do,” said Michael Walsh ’19. “Even if it’s not a class on public health, there should be classes that are focused on more specific professions.”
Hecht said that lessons from the class could help inform future public health courses at Bowdoin.
“At the moment this is just an experimental one-time thing,” said Hecht. “But we are hoping that one of the results of this class is that it helps us think about how best we can create public health programming for students and faculty in the future.”
Professors pen letter to Trump on climate change in opposition to 'alternative facts'
Two Bowdoin professors helped write a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to act on the issue of climate change. The letter, defending scientific fact, was ultimately signed by over 700 physics and astronomy professors at colleges and universities across the nation. It outlines three points—major areas of climate change scientific consensus—that its writers encourage the Trump administration to value in policy creation.
After Trump’s election in November, Paul Nakroshis, an associate professor of physics at the University of Southern Maine, contacted Mark Battle, associate professor of physics, about writing a letter. Battle then recruited Professor of Physics Madeleine Msall and the three contacted colleagues at every institution that offers an undergraduate physics degree.
“We decided to not just have it come from the National Academy of Sciences, but let’s have it come from people and communities all around the country,” Msall said. “There are small and big colleges all across the nation, and the people who teach there are connected to a set of community resources. We decided to use that platform to say, ‘Look: physics teachers, people who are at academic institutions, recognize the truth of this research and want it to be used in policy.’”
The letter argued three points central to climate science: “climate scientists have confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt that our planet is warmer now than it was in 1850,” “the human use of fossil fuels is driving this warming,” and “climate change is an economic and existential threat to our country and to human and animal life on our planet,” according to the letter.
“Our hope was that the administration would make use of the scientific information available to them to fuel infrastructure projects or carbon taxes,” Battle said.
The professors were concerned both by Trump’s individual rhetoric on climate change and the words of his close advisors. His nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, has said that climate science is “far from settled.”
However, Battle and Msall said the letter’s ultimate goal extends beyond the issue of climate change and relates to the larger question of the role of science in policy creation.
“It’s not just climate change—it’s about using good data with a breadth of understanding, not just arbitrary policy agendas that direct legislation,” Msall said.
“The Trump administration is cracking down on multiple areas that conduct research, not simply scientific, and essentially saying that only they have the answers. What we really want to put on the record is a strong sense for scientific consensus as a basis for directing government policy.”
Battle said he was concerned by Trump’s science-related actions in the president’s first few days in office, particularly the restriction placed on government agencies disseminating scientific information.
“I’m deeply disappointed by the action to remove all mention[s] of climate change from the White House website,” he said. “I’m also concerned with the decision to keep the five federal agencies that do the most work on issues of climate change from communicating with the press or social media, but instead to funnel their information through an appeals process. It’s not particularly unusual to have a directive for agencies to speak with one voice, but what is extraordinary is that it’s not a blanket order—it’s just the five agencies that are focused on climate change research.”
Wednesday, the Trump administration asked the EPA to take down its webpage about climate change.
“They seek to subordinate the importance of scientific facts to partisan issues,” Msall said.
In addition to the open letter, the professors have been tweeting from an account with the handle @Physics4Climate.
News in brief: No charges for students after court summons
Three Bowdoin seniors, Liam Ford, Kevin Kearney and Daniel Wanger, who received court summons for disorderly conduct by the Brunswick Police Department (BPD) on October 23 will not face charges. The District Attorney’s office issued no complaint for their summons, meaning they were effectively dismissed, according to BPD.
The students were issued summons after BPD had visited their property on Garrison Street and issued warnings multiple times earlier in the semester.
News in brief: Former professor Huntington dies at 97
Charles E. “Chuck” Huntington, professor of biology emeritus and former director of the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island, died on January 2, 2017, surrounded by his family. He was 97 years old.
Huntington earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Yale University in 1942. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve during World War II and was released to inactive duty in 1946 as a lieutenant, at which point he returned to Yale, earning his doctorate in biology in 1952.
Huntington began teaching in the biology department at Bowdoin in 1953 after being introduced to the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island in the Bay of Fundy by Ray Paynter ’47, a fellow graduate student at Yale.
“Chuck fell in love with the place,” said Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Natural Sciences Nat Wheelwright of Huntington’s relationship with Kent Island. “[When he started teaching at Bowdoin] he wandered out to Kent Island to figure out what to study, and there he found these small birds that are relatives of albatrosses called Leach’s storm petrels. They’re about the size of a robin, and they nest in burrows in the ground and so Chuck decided to essentially dedicate his life to learning about the biology of Leach’s storm petrels.”
Huntington ended up studying Leach’s storm petrels for more than half a century. His work with the Leach’s storm petrel may be one of the most detailed and longest running studies of a single animal population in the field of biology.
“He single-mindedly continued returning to Kent Island summer after summer and would reach into these holes, pull the birds out, put bands on them,” said Wheelwright. “If they already were banded, [he] would look into his records to see how old they were and who they had been mated with through their entire life, so it was a really detailed, long-term focused study of survival, reproduction, longevity in one population of birds.”
Wheelwright noted that Huntington continued to return to the island until only a few years ago when he became unable to do so because of his health.
“He never lost his attachment to Kent Island,” Wheelwright said.
Huntington served as the director of the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island for more than 30 years.
“He was a very kind man,” said Wheelwright. “He would drop everything if somebody said there was an interesting bird to see in Freeport or Bangor.”
Editorial: Class discussion
The Bowdoin student body is disproportionately wealthy, with a fifth of students hailing from the top one percent of the income spectrum, according to a study by the Equality of Opportunity Project republished in the New York Times last week. The study indicates that socioeconomic diversity at Bowdoin remained largely the same between 1998 and 2009, and data published in the Orient this week shows that the percentage of students receiving financial aid between 2008 and 2015 has remained at roughly 45 percent, despite increased spending on aid.
The data shocked some of us, but others felt it matched their perception of Bowdoin. This discrepancy is important and shouldn’t be downplayed, as it demonstrates students’ varying levels of consciousness regarding wealth on campus. As students at Bowdoin, we spend surprisingly little time discussing class—both amongst ourselves and with administrators, faculty and staff—considering the dramatic impact that socioeconomic status has on every Bowdoin student’s experience, from buying textbooks to navigating social life.
There are also institutional questions that need to be addressed. Of critical importance among these are Bowdoin’s admissions policies relating to class and increases in the overall cost of Bowdoin.
Need-blind admissions are an improvement over need-based admissions but this 1990s policy is outdated and there are other ways of improving our admissions practices. If Bowdoin is committed to educating a more socioeconomically diverse student body, there are enough qualified low-income applicants to allow for such change. In order to achieve that goal, the College would need to go beyond need-blind admissions, which is the most progressive admissions policy regarding socioeconomic class that we know of. By further developing an admissions system that actively seeks qualified low-income students, Bowdoin could distinguish itself as a leader on the issue of class equity in elite higher education.
Since 2008, there has been a 3.2 percent average year-to-year increase in comprehensive fee, accompanied by a 3.16 percent average year-to-year increase in average financial aid gift size. These roughly equal increases cancel each other out and keep the number of students receiving aid flat. If Bowdoin wants to substantially increase the socioeconomic diversity of the student body, it needs to either increase gift size faster than the comprehensive fee or stabilize the comprehensive fee. We acknowledge the efforts the College is making to investigate the budget, but the budget (and comprehensive fee) will almost certainly increase again this year. To achieve a more socioeconomically diverse campus, we encourage the community to focus on the budget and hold the College accountable to keeping the comprehensive fee stable or significantly increasing financial aid spending.
Class affects every student at Bowdoin, and we should more thoroughly investigate how it influences our experiences here. This goal requires efforts from students and administrators alike, working together to bring issues of class to the forefront of conversation and taking steps to ensure that the reality of the student body reflects the College’s goals regarding socioeconomic diversity.
This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of Julian Andrews, Harry DiPrinzio, Dakota Griffin, Meg Robbins and Joe Seibert.
- 1 days ago
Holding Fast: The importance of considering the ambiguity of Obama's legacy
On January 10, 2017, former President Barack Obama delivered his farewell address to the nation. It was a classic showcase of the rhetorical skill that brought Obama to the national spotlight years ago, which served him well in his two terms as president. But tension lay at the heart of his message between his attempt to frame the successes of his presidency and his rather urgent call to action to save our democracy in the face of Trump’s presidency. The tension between his promise of change and his ability to keep those promises raises questions about how his presidency will be remembered, especially in the face of the uncertainty surrounding the new administration. I know I am painting with broad strokes here, but I believe Obama will be remembered for his largely successful domestic policies, failed foreign policies and dangerous expansion of executive powers.
As far as domestic policy goes, I believe his record on the economy will be remembered as quite successful. Our recovery from the 2008 recession has been long and slow, but it has been much stronger than recoveries in most other developed countries and employment has rebounded to higher levels. How much of this should be credited to Obama’s leadership is certainly up for debate, but as presidents usually receive blame or praise for the state of the economy when they leave office, I think Obama will be well-remembered on this score.
Obama’s single greatest accomplishment in domestic policy was the Affordable Care Act. Healthcare reform was one of Obama’s central campaign promises in the 2008 election, and whatever you think of the law, everyone can agree that he did accomplish something significant. Twenty million people gained insurance as a result of the law, many of whom would have previously been denied coverage due to preexisting conditions. But the law remains deeply controversial, mostly because of the structuring of the heavily regulated individual exchanges and individual mandate that requires everyone to purchase health insurance. As premiums rise and competition in the state exchanges decreases, it is possible that some of Republicans’ worst fears will come true and the law will end up costing taxpayers more than originally promised. That is, of course, only in the unlikely event that Republicans don’t pull the plug on the law before it gets that far.
In foreign policy, Obama came into office with a fairly promising agenda. He intended to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and reorient our priorities away from spreading democratic values through unilateral military action. Throughout his presidency, Obama remained deeply suspicious of military intervention and even used the mantra “Don’t do stupid shit” as a sort of guiding philosophy for his foreign policy.
While no one will disagree with the wisdom of that statement, it is an open question whether this skeptical attitude really helped him develop coherent foreign policy positions in response to international conflict. If we look at his policies in the Middle East, it seems he has not fully succeeded in this regard. There are still American troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan—granted, there are far fewer than when he came into office. We have engaged in bombing campaigns and supported various factions in civil wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen, all of which are far worse off than they were eight years ago. Obama’s skepticism toward increasing military commitments may be wise, but that doesn’t change the fact the U.S. is today just as involved in military conflicts with no clear aim and no end in sight.
Of course, it is unfair to blame Obama for things out of his control, such as the rise of ISIS and foreign civil wars that would have happened regardless of his actions. But the president does have considerable power to shape the strategic objectives of American foreign policy and take actions consistent with those ends. I believe his main problem was a lack of clarity in his view of America’s place in the world. He rejected the idea that America is endowed with a certain moral authority to enforce democratic values around the world, but his actions in response to the Arab Spring and Ukrainian uprising show that he was just as willing as his predecessor to use American power to shape the world in our image. And despite his skepticism of “nation-building,” our troops are committed to that very task in Afghanistan for years to come.
Finally, the Obama administration has continued to expand the powers of the “Imperial Presidency,” which refers to a president’s executive powers that have grown unchecked for the better part of the past half-century. His ordering of extrajudicial drone strikes, expansion of National Security Agency surveillance capabilities and liberal use of executive orders are a legacy that even Democrats have expressed concern with. Especially now that all of these tools have been handed to Donald Trump, a man whose lack of respect for rule of law and restraint are, shall we say, not exactly encouraging.
All things considered, I believe President Obama had his share of successes and failures, but his inability to bring about much of the change he promised leaves his legacy in an ambiguous position. And although many will remember him more kindly as the Trump presidency wears on, I think it is wise to reflect critically on Obama’s accomplishments before donning our rose-colored glasses.
- 1 days ago
Letter to the editor: Controversial art display
We live in a society where very little is sacred and every element of the human condition is on display or exploited for pure shock value. It seems that either destroying or entirely laying waste to previously taboo barriers and boundaries has become an accepted practice in today’s curriculum. This sentiment was recently on display in the most recent installment of The Bowdoin Orient, and I challenge anyone to read Nell Fitzgerald’s article, “Provocative Student Art Brings Menstrual Blood, Trump’s Face in View” and not be repulsed. I cannot fathom how offended I would be to stumble upon photographs of women’s used menstrual pads while visiting a Bowdoin College men’s bathroom. It begs the question: who validates these graphic and visually repugnant pictures as art? Presumably this was sanctioned by the Bowdoin College Visual Arts Department, so I am assuming there was both consent and possibly encouragement to pursue this project. I strongly doubt any individual who witnessed these horrifying pictures ever drew the sympathetic connections regarding “period angst” that the artist had hoped. Both this project and its presumed objective have failed miserably and has likely fostered antipathy and gall towards its intended subject rather than empathy. Repulsive and disgusting.
Michael W. McCullom ’86
- 1 days ago
Finding a community at 24 College
My first semester at Bowdoin was rife with new experiences. I learned how to write a college-level paper, how to best manage my time and how to live in temperatures below 40 degrees. But built into the routine I constructed for myself was another new commitment, one that occupied my Tuesday afternoons and Thursday evenings, introduced me to a circle of friends that I would never have found otherwise and opened up a new opportunity for me to carve out a role for myself on this campus. And it all centered around the little house at 24 College Street.
I have never before been a part of a queer community like the one at Bowdoin. In just a few months, I have been able to spend time with others who share what has become an integral aspect of my identity. I don’t know why, but I have always been drawn to other queer people and, even on a subconscious level, have found it much easier to get close to others who aren’t straight. Maybe it’s the “gaydar.” Or maybe it’s just human nature to want common ground, to seek out groups of people in which one can feel like they belong. I don’t know why my sexuality and gender identity have such a habit of influencing whom I connect with, but they do.
Lately, many people have pushed back against the liberal collegiate phenomenon of “safe spaces.” Claims that “political correctness culture” has created a generation of young adults that are fragile, easily offended and unprepared for the so-called “real world” have been touted by everyone from journalists and authors to college administrators, such as the University of Chicago’s administration in their letter to incoming freshmen this past fall.
While I recognize the concerns that lie at the heart of these criticisms, I personally believe that in some ways, they are missing the point. Yes, healthy debate and exposure to opposing opinions and viewpoints is crucial to the personal growth and development that a college education is designed to promote, but homophobia and transphobia aren’t opinions. Homophobia and transphobia are not harmless beliefs that just so happen to be “controversial” or “unpopular” on college campuses. Homophobia and transphobia are hate, and it’s wrong to blame queer students for refusing to cater to those who propagate this hate.
My own, albeit limited, experience has led me to believe that critics of “safe spaces” often exhibit a fundamental misunderstanding of what exactly this phrase means. In order to explore its actual meaning, I will refer to our safe space for the LGBT community on Bowdoin’s campus: the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity at 24 College Street. During the time I have spent in that house, for club meetings, Thursday night “quinners” (queer dinners) or simply visiting with friends and peers, I have not, in fact, been coddled or blinded to the harsh realities of the outside world. That was never the intention of the Center. Instead, I have found a group of people that I can trust, that I can relate to, and with that I feel comfortable sharing parts of myself that I would be scared to share with others. I have found people who share my passions, my interests, my dreams and hopes for myself and for the world. I have found my queer community.
This is what a safe space is meant to be. By spending time at 24 College Street, I am not cutting myself off from others or isolating myself from opposing viewpoints. I have straight friends, too, and I love that I can associate with people who have different perspectives from my own, but who still possess a fundamental respect for me and my identity. Therefore, 24 College Street functions instead as a safe place away from those who do not respect my identity.
There’s no rule that dictates that queer students must subject themselves to homophobia, transphobia and abuse. There’s no principle that states that queer students have to agree with their oppressors in order to be “well-adjusted.” We know we can’t always avoid people who hate us. But we can find places and people that will help us step away, at least for a little while. We can create communities and spaces for ourselves, and we can help each other heal, grow stronger, strategize and work towards a better world without hate. Not a world without opposing viewpoints, or a world where no one is allowed to express their opinions, but rather a world where bigotry is not shrugged off as a personal belief, where prejudice is not mislabeled as harmless ideology and where hatred is allowed to be challenged as freely as it can be expressed.
Ari Mehrberg is a member of the Class of 2020.
- 1 days ago
Culture of gratitude limits Bowdoin's potential progress
When Bowdoin students were confronted with Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast in his series “Revisionist History,” the most frequent response I heard—aside from justified criticisms of Gladwell’s journalistic ethics—was one of incredulity. How could Bowdoin be criticized for its financial aid policies—the same policies that receive so much praise for their generosity? In conversations and in social media, it appeared that it was almost sacrilegious to criticize Bowdoin for not giving more as this contrasted with the prevailing attitude on campus. But the reality of the situation is a little more complicated: as “Inside Higher Ed” reported in July, Bowdoin does not give as many Pell Grants as some of our peer schools, including Amherst and Williams. Further, we do not necessarily have the financial diversity that campus attitude would have us believe: a recent New York Times report listed schools where there were “more students from the top 1 percent than the bottom 60 percent”—out of the 38 schools in the U.S. where this is true, Bowdoin is listed as No. 25.
I see the response to Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast as part of the larger problem of Bowdoin’s culture of gratitude. It is one which I see created by the administration and socially enforced by students. Bowdoin drills into us a need to be thankful. Administrators make a point to remind us that not every school does so much to ensure the well-being and happiness of its students—look at all of the resources available to us! This is then reinforced by perks—from lobster bakes to the abundance of talks we have been treated to this semester.
We begin to offer stock responses whenever someone begins a complaint. Criticisms of the unappealing options at the dining hall are often met by others’ reminders of how Bowdoin has such good food generally—after all, we’re ranked as the second-best school for food in the country. Obviously, this is a light example. But the attitude extends to issues of much greater importance—individuals are often loath to criticize Bowdoin’s various services or responses to campus issues, or when they do criticize them, frequently feel the need to qualify their statements by stating how generous Bowdoin is for what it does have. Overall, the prevailing attitude seems to be: what is the point of complaining when things are so good for us?
And, generally, things are good. I am grateful for Bowdoin’s various resources, care for our well-being and all of the various perks. I would not want to see them go away. However, like every other college in the country, Bowdoin isn’t perfect. There is room for improvement on a number of meaningful issues—the diversity of faculty, our role in the environment and our role as a social agent, just to name a few. But this culture of gratitude frequently prevents important change from taking place and breeds complacency. Even more importantly, this attitude frequently stifles even the discussion of potential change. When we reinforce the idea that Bowdoin has done so much for us, it often appears silly to desire improvement.
The logic behind these arguments isn’t sound. Just because we are doing well in some areas does not mean that we cannot still do better. A reminder of the benefits we have at Bowdoin is important—but ultimately so that we can continue to improve upon them. Speaking out isn’t shameful, it’s productive to a better school and society. In this column, I will aim to address not only larger issues on Bowdoin’s campus and beyond, but also ‘the little things.’ Above all, I will advocate for changes, even when they may seem trivial. While this may be seen as irritating complaining—and I wouldn’t necessarily argue with this characterization—I believe that we need constant reminders that we should never be satisfied with the status quo, whether it’s at Bowdoin or in society at large.
Rachel Baron is a member of the Class of 2017.
- 1 days ago
Coping with the gendered complexities of social anxiety disorder
The privilege embedded in masculinity is indisputable. However, the societal expectations that accompany masculinity often complicate the realities of those who suffer from social anxiety disorder. When society applauds men for boldness and assertiveness, those who are burdened with social anxiety are often unable to reap these benefits.
Social anxiety disorder is a mental health issue that affects 40 million Americans — and women are diagnosed with anxiety disorders at nearly twice the rate of men. This statistic has proven highly controversial, as anxiety appears to be a gendered disorder. Much of the literature on anxiety thus seems to be narrated in the perspective of the female experience. I have read countless articles that attempt to explore how anxiety complicates intimate relationships. These articles are often fraught with phrases such as, “He might leave you…” and “If he loves you he will love your anxiety.” (The fact that these articles appear to center on helping women retain their romantic partners rather than deal with their anxiety is disconcerting.) These articles unjustly impose gender expectations onto a mental disorder. Their main point: social anxiety is female and she simply cannot take care of herself.
The gendered nature of social anxiety often presents challenges to those who identify as male. Masculinity is (often unfairly) predicated on the capacity to assert oneself with confidence and authority. My experience growing up as a male with social anxiety is laden with such reminders to “act like a man”—I still don’t know exactly what that means. When I was 16, I had a lovely exchange with an employee at a very popular restaurant. I would like to preface this with the fact that ordering food triggers my anxiety, regardless of the venue. This spot just so happened to be a Ghanaian restaurant (this detail is crucial, as one should know that Ghanaians are often quick to give unsolicited advice to other fellow Ghanaians). My heart was palpitating as I walked up to the middle-aged woman behind the counter and began to recite an order—one I had rehearsed religiously. With furrowed brows she asked me to repeat myself louder. I was accustomed to this response, as I am seldom ever heard the first time. As I timidly attempted to do so, the woman demanded that I alter my behavior to fit one that she considered to be belonging to a man—meaning that I should speak confidently and commandingly. Who did this woman think she was? My reaction was twofold: utter shock and confusion. The terror on my face was palpable; the woman must have realized that her statements were transgressive. As she handed me my meal, with a side of nervous laughter, her mood had softened. This was not the first time that I have been reminded to “be a man;” with each instance, however, I often feel compelled to be more masculine. This dilemma characterizes the unfair pressure to adhere to the rules of masculinity that are seemingly antithetical to symptoms of social anxiety.
The inherent shyness of many who suffer from social anxiety aligns with the female gender stereotype. This does not mean that females do not suffer greatly from the disorder, but the burden that males with social anxiety face is twofold: the disorder itself as well as the struggle to assert notions of masculinity. To be a person who both identifies as male and as a person with anxiety is seemingly paradoxical in the views of our society. Our culture embraces women who speak softly, yet shuns men who do the same. Gender stereotypes and mental disorders are intrinsically, yet unfairly, tied, altering the male and female experience of each disorder. In our growing awareness of mental health, we must recognize that the nuances of gender complicate our understanding of social anxiety disorder.
Maurice Asare is a member of the Class of 2019.
- December 9
Background Noise: Writing by the water: making time for passions
One of the most difficult parts about job interviews thus far has been explaining what I did this summer. “What did you do this summer?” is a typical interview question. If you’re an underclassman who has never visited Career Planning, I advise you to “do something this summer” so you can talk about it later. I’ve been asked about summer employment many times, not only by HR representatives, but by family, friends and enemies.
“Did you have an internship this summer?” Usually, they are holding a beverage and we are at some sort of function—mixer, birthday, barbeque.
“Sort of,” I say. “No.”
“Huh?” they ask. “What did you do this summer?”
I twist my hair around a finger and remember this is a nervous habit. Then, I explain how I spent nine weeks on a Canadian island with a small group of biologists. I quickly mention the lack of showers, Wi-Fi and toilets. I tell them I was writing a collection of short stories.
“About what?” they ask. “About birds?”
“No,” I say. “About other things.”
Usually, they nod and I wonder if I should have left the toilet part out. People don’t like to talk about toilets—outhouses especially. Rarely do I elaborate on my writing—my failures, my triumphs. Instead, I change the subject or chew or pretend to be late to something else.
I have trouble telling people I like to write. I’ve always equated the public expression of an interest with the embarrassment of potentially sucking at that interest. So for a while, when anyone asked what I wanted to do—tomorrow, next week, in ten years—I would say I didn’t know. After nine weeks of writing stories, though, I couldn’t keep up the feigned apathy. I wanted to write and I had written. I’d spent six days a week working nine to five—sort of—without any other obligation. Occasionally, I counted tree swallows or baked bread. Once, I helped lift whale bones across the beach. But I would always return, dutifully, to my laptop—my lifeline, my unrelenting tyrant.
I didn’t know if I was going to produce anything decent, or even half-decent. I have a hard-drive full of clumsy stories dating back to elementary school, hundreds and hundreds of stories—including correctly formatted screenplays (feature length) that are blatantly all about me. Still, I’d never spent an extended period of time focusing on one thing. On the island, writer’s block was a recurring fear—along with herring gulls and spiders. I changed opinions on sentences and paragraphs daily. Word by word, I picked apart my stories, splitting them into crumbs. I would write and rewrite and erase and regret, and I would send it all to my boyfriend, in hopes of constructive criticism and/or lavish praise.
The only thing I could bank on was time. I couldn’t screw up time, mostly because I didn’t have a Time-Turner nor access to television. At Bowdoin, I was (am) a calculated time-waster, but on the island, I could be prudent and productive. Improvement meant practice, over and over and over. I was more than lucky to have time—so much time—to write. I didn’t want to waste my first big chance.
Of course, I’ve said things like this my whole life, inspiring myself via popular Goodreads quotes—To live is the rarest thing in the world! —but never internalizing nor following through. On the island, I wrote without distraction, story after story—at least for a while, until my boyfriend mailed me a flash drive of Season 3 of “The Office” and “Zootopia” in Spanish (which I watched, twice, even though I don’t speak Spanish). All good things must come to an end, I suppose.
I won’t pretend I returned transformed. I threw up eight times on a lobster boat. I showered with a plastic bucket next to a muskrat’s home. Naturally, I have a greater appreciation for 21st century amenities and clean socks. But I’m grateful I allowed myself to pursue something I love. Fiction writing rarely seems like a practical endeavor, but practical endeavors are rarely fulfilling. I almost spent my summer as an email-marketing intern for an insurance company. Maybe, I would have networked. Probably, I would have plucked my eyes out. I’m not surprised at the role fiction writing has continued to play in my life, but I’m pleased I’ve allowed myself to embrace it.
Soon, we have vacation; later, graduation (for some, summer break). I have four months left at Bowdoin—which seems at once too few and too many. Four months to cram in everything I haven’t done and everything I should have done and everything I want to do. The big island voice is back, screaming, “Don’t waste it!” There is so much to be anxious about. Sometimes, it’s nice to have something all your own. The small thing you love can be a very big thing—take time for it, make space for yourself. It’s easy to push off quixotic ambitions, but I urge you to welcome them.
- December 9
On Second thought: Kristof and Riley debate proves underwhelming
Well, you can’t fault them for trying.
And we must commend President Clayton Rose and the council of faculty, staff and students for organizing Monday night’s event, “Up For Discussion,” which brought Nicholas Kristof and Jason Riley to campus to discuss free speech and political correctness in higher education. Between this event and talks this fall by Dr. Noam Chomsky and Dinesh D’Souza, Bowdoin has clearly taken a step in the right direction towards ensuring that a wide range of political views get airtime on campus. This development, coupled with the absence of teeth-gnashing in response to any one speaker, warrants praise in itself.
Nevertheless, Monday’s discussion fell flat. And I was not alone in leaving Pickard Theater feeling, at best, underwhelmed. The discussion, moderated by Associate Professor of History and Environmental Studies Connie Y. Chiang, had the potential to turn fiery, yet it was anything but. On point after point, Kristof and Riley, rather than squaring off, simply agreed with one another. Hardly Lincoln-Douglas.
From trigger warnings to ideological diversity, Kristof and Riley, though at times disagreeing on the specifics, generally arrived at a consensus: inclusion must come second to academic seriousness; college campuses desperately need greater ideological diversity; discomfort is not sufficient grounds for silencing speech.
So, what went wrong? Kristof and Riley certainly disagree on something. Kristof, just this year, published a seven-part series in The New York Times called “When Whites Just Don’t Get It,” chronicling white Americans’ racial naiveté and its damaging effects on the African-American population. As for Riley, in his most recent work, “Please Stop Helping Us,” he blamed liberal economic policies for holding back the black population while simultaneously chastising that population for its lack of moral integrity, and claiming things like, “Black culture today not only condones delinquency and thuggery but celebrates it.”
For all their disagreements, how did Kristof and Riley remain so harmonious? To begin, the terms of the debate were poorly articulated. Political correctness, thus termed, has very few fervent supporters because the term itself has become derisive. Those who defend the practices and attitudes called politically correct defend them not as politically correct but rather as inclusive. Asking a proponent of safe spaces to defend political correctness is like asking a defender of income redistribution to defend state-sponsored theft. When thus framed, both disputants were able to skirt the issue. If asked to defend inclusion, neither would have gotten off so easy.
Secondly, by framing the debate between an avowed liberal and an outspoken conservative as between “political correctness and free speech,” the event coordinators insinuated that the cause of political correctness would be defended by the liberal, while that of free speech by the conservative. This division in itself is misleading; those charged with so-called political correctness tend to fall on the left, but political correctness is not necessarily an inherently liberal issue. And while some of the more vocal defenders of free speech fall on the right, freedom of speech is a truly bipartisan issue.
Yet more detrimentally, the whole debate relied on a flawed premise. To frame a debate as between political correctness and free speech assumes a degree of antagonism between the two. This could not be further from the truth. Certainly there are high-profile cases where the two come into conflict on college campuses. But arguably these instances are misapplications of both ideals. When a college chooses to disinvite a speaker or to implement Orwellian speech codes on the basis of inclusion, it is in fact electing to exclude persons or viewpoints. Some may claim that these measures are part of social justice work, but they in fact undermine the very end that social justice aims to promote: the protection of fundamental civil rights for all. The derisive tone behind the term, is fueled in part by an awareness of this contradiction. Conversely, when a proponent of free speech decries protests of a speaker as hostile to free speech rather than challenging those protests on substantive grounds, he undermines the principle underlying freedom of expression, that unfettered debate is the most reliable path to important truths.
The two principles, far from being opposed, are mutually supportive: proponents of inclusivity rely intimately on the freedom of expression for minority views to be heard; good-faith proponents of free speech defend that right for the very purpose of uplifting marginalized populations. As the American Civil Liberties Union writes on its website, “the defense of freedom of speech is most necessary when the message is one most people find repulsive. Constitutional rights must apply to even the most unpopular groups if they’re going to be preserved for everyone.” The protection of every citizen’s fundamental civil rights: this is true social justice work.
An ongoing lawsuit at the University of Kentucky illustrates how true social justice work and free-speech in practice go hand in hand. In August, the university, citing privacy concerns, filed a lawsuit against the student newspaper over documents obtained by the paper regarding an alleged sexual assault by a former professor. The paper is challenging the suit. Here, as is true in the abstract, the protection of free expression and the protection of marginalized populations—in this case, victims of sexual assault—are working in concert.
Now, there were certainly other issues with the debate at Bowdoin. Kristof, while leaning to the left, remains a vocal critic of the intellectual hegemony of academia. So while Kristof and Riley disagree on a great many things, campus politics appears not to be one. Additionally, neither disputant appeared to have taken the time to familiarize themselves with the specifics of the debate at Bowdoin, which has centered around the tequila and gangster parties. Lastly, Professor Chiang’s method of questioning seemed to manifest the very tendency towards tentativeness in racial discussions that both disputants openly criticized.
So by all means, keep the discussion flowing. But next time, let’s make sure it has somewhere to go.
- December 9
An open letter to MacMillan House and allies of Bowdoin
The following letter regarding the Gender Bender party was written by several members of Gender Matters, with additional input from other students. The letter was emailed to members of Mac House on Wednesday, a couple hours before they announced their decision to change the theme of the party. We, as the authors of the letter, have chosen to publish in order to bring our side of this discussion to the general public, as we feel understanding our reasoning and intentions will help guide dialogue moving forward. We look forward to being able to have productive and meaningful conversations with the members of Mac and other students more broadly in the future.
To the people of Mac House,
This is a letter written collaboratively by members of Gender Matters and other concerned students. We would like to be very clear and up front here: we are telling you that you must change the theme of the party. This is not a debate. This is us, as trans/nonbinary/genderqueer identified students telling you that this party theme makes us profoundly uncomfortable, and invalidates our very identities. To borrow a quote from your statement on Facebook, “We recognize that true allyship means listening to and acting upon the concerns of queer students on campus.” So now it’s time to listen and act.
Much of our discomfort revolves around the manner in which this party was planned. We understand that your party planners met with BQSA [Bowdoin Queer Straight Alliance] about a month ago to discuss how this party might impact and be perceived by the trans community. Some members of BQSA have expressed that they voiced many concerns at this meeting, and were promised that the party would proceed after a more involved public discussion which never came to fruition, until you as a house hastily organized a discussion for tomorrow and asked for concerned students’ attendance. I know many of us will not be attending this discussion for a number of reasons; the last minute organization means that many of us already had plans at that time, and furthermore, attending such a discussion as a trans person is, plainly put, blatant tokenization. None of us wish to speak on behalf of the whole community, but even speaking to our own concerns in a public forum is a stressful and deeply personal experience.
Of course, the crux of this situation lies in why such a party would be detrimental to the trans community in the first place. None of us are professional educators, and there already exist numerous resources which would help to explain why this is an inappropriate party theme (or at least, an inappropriate “straight” party theme), but to sum it up in a few words: parties are environments where people don costumes and personas for the purpose of levity and comedy. By appropriating trans identities as a party theme, you are very clearly making a statement that these identities are costumes and not the actual lived experiences of members of our community. Gender is a social construct, yes, but mere recognition of this fact does not give license to turn it into a punchline. If this party really were, as your Facebook statement postulated, an attempt to create discussion and disrupt gender norms, we should have been involved in the planning, and we can guarantee that we would not have chosen a party as the stage for this discussion.
Indeed, parties like the one you are planning to host do not disrupt the gender norm, but are in fact integral in enforcing it. By restricting the visibility of non-normative gender expression to a party, you are making a statement that this expression is essentially unusual. Party themes are, by nature, supposed to be extraordinary.
We understand that members of your house have their own opinions and have been considering many of these same points, but you must understand that regardless of intention, this party has made us uncomfortable and that by continuing through with this theme you are directly invalidating us and our experiences as trans and queer identified students. The way you’ve presented the party conflates gender identity and expression with dressing up in a costume, which perpetuates alienation, tokenization and erasure of trans identities.
However, having said all this, we appreciate (based on the many emails and Facebook posts exchanged on Wednesday) that you do care about these issues. We would be happy to work with you some time next semester to organize an event which would achieve the goals you claim to be striving for with this party, but we would like to be much more heavily involved in its production. Public discussion surrounding this issue is important and necessary, but a party is far from the correct venue for this discussion.
Sincerely,Paul Cheng ’17, Rose Etzel ’19, Ari Mehrberg ’20, and Jamie Weisbach ’16(Members of Gender Matters)
- December 9
Editorial: A system of the same
Earlier this week, MacMillan House advertised a party planned for tonight called Gender Bender. The posters read: “dress as a woman, dress as a man, dress in between, dress best as you can.” Upon creating a Facebook event for the party, MacMillan quickly received criticism: students on campus addressed how the events’ posters implied a gender binary and how the event brought a sensitive conversation into the insensitive environment of a campus-wide party.
One of the major criticisms was the lack of partnership with Gender Matters, a new discussion group and supportive space for trans/genderqueer/non-binary students to come together to share common experiences and seek support from one another. No member of MacMillan House openly voiced knowledge of this student group.
Due to the sensitive nature of the topic, prior to advertising the party, members of MacMillan discussed the event and met with the Bowdoin Queer Straight Alliance (BQSA). Following that meeting, MacMillan planned to host a panel to explore issues of gender before throwing the party. This programming, however, fell through. Although the House’s intent was not malicious, without this fundamental part of the programming the planned campus-wide was still hurtful and offensive for some. The House should have canceled the party as soon as the plans for the panel failed to come to fruition.
In recent years, students have criticized the College Houses for being predominantly white spaces. In addition to racial homogeneity, however, College Houses consistently attract clusters of applicants who are members of similar campus groups and who socialize with similar people.
The Office of Residential Life’s website describes members of College Houses as “thoughtful leaders in the broader campus community.” In order to be leaders of the greater campus community, however, there must be representation of the student body as a whole in the College Houses. While Bowdoin makes efforts to diversify the overall campus, the College still needs to work to diversify existing spaces, such as the College Houses. This begins with diversifying the makeup of the College House system.
The fact that relevant student communities were overlooked in the planning of the party highlights the lack of social diversity within College Houses. It is important to recognize that for the panel and party to have been properly executed, the makeup of MacMillan—and all College Houses, for that matter—must be representative of all identities that make up the student body.
College Houses seek to be the “living rooms” of Bowdoin’s campus—but if the College House system is not diverse, how can the Houses be truly welcoming spaces? The current social stratification on campus is exemplified by the homogeneity in College Houses. As we move forward in conversations like these, it is important to be mindful of who the conversations include.
This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of Marina Affo, Julian Andrews, Steff Chavez, Meg Robbins and Joe Seibert.
Behind the Name tag: Hidden hobby: from hard drives to hot rods
Crystal Hall, associate professor in the digital humanities, has fond memories of participating in the Brunswick Memorial Day Parade. She rode alongside her father and Rene Bernier, laboratory instructor/support manager and Science Center manager, as they gave rides in their World War II Jeeps to veterans. These experiences piqued her interest in cars, and as soon as she was old enough to hold a screwdriver, she began helping her dad in his garage.
Hall began seriously working on cars when she was 13.
“We restored my Jeep before I got my learner’s permit so that we could go off-roading with it,” she said.
Hall is currently in the process of creating a hot rod from a 1934 Dodge, a car of particular sentimental value as it is the same type of car her grandfather drove. She has restored one and half cars with her dad, but the ’34 Dodge will be the first hot rod she has built.
Creating a hot rod is the process of drastically improving old cars—different from restoring cars, which is taking an old car and bringing it back to working order.
Building a hot rod can be time-consuming and frustrating. For Hall and her father, it is more like a jigsaw puzzle.
“The biggest challenge with the hot rod is that you have a completely blank canvas to work with,” said Hall. “My father and I are very meticulous about history and historical accuracy and being very precise in our work, but there isn’t a blueprint for how to make this hot rod, so it’s really challenging our creative side.”
As a professor whose main focus is working with computers, working with cars allows Hall to clear her mind and get her hands dirty. Unlike coding, where the products are on a screen, the results of restoring cars are tangible and immediate.
“It’s satisfying to code, but it’s a completely different satisfaction to clean something, paint something and put something together,” said Hall.
Through her work restoring and building cars, Hall has noticed improvements in other areas of her life. She credits these improvements to the intelligence her dad has shared with her.
“Watching him think and problem solve and the different ways he approaches problems has helped me to be more flexible and open to different ways of solving problems,” said Hall. “When you are coding, that’s the best thing you can ask for.”
Another benefit of creating a hot rod is having the ability to build it exactly to one’s needs. With the ’34 Dodge, Hall is planning to install a Corvette engine and transmission as a nod to her dad’s favorite type of cars. She is planning on picking a Porsche color for the car as a nod to her long-lasting infatuation with Porsches.
“That’s where the amalgamation of parts and pieces of different places comes into play,” Hall said. “We’re picking from the things we really like and the flexibility of being able to put them together.”
Hall and her father plan to begin the assembly process of the Dodge in September and hope to have it up and running by next summer. They went on a road trip to retrieve the car parts and plan to go on another one when the hot rod is finished.
“I have a feeling hot rods are in my future for a long time,” said Hall.
Bottom of the Barrel: Ellis "La Forza" Palmieri '17 joins us to uncork a taste of Italy
Senior year is all about friendships—and crippling stress but I digress—so what better way to start our first wine column of the year than to invite our dear friend and housemate Ellis “La Forza” Palmieri ’17, co-captain emeritus of the much-vaunted Bowdoin Rugby Football Club, to join us. Ellis spent all of winter break in Italy, and that mere fact alone means he already knows more about wine than either of us.
With our internationally travelled friend on the mind, we selected a Bell’Agio Chianti 2015, proudly bearing both the wicker-basketted bottle oft associated with wines of its kind and the candles used at the Cub Scout Spaghetti Dinner fundraisers at which Will used to work. A wine that displays its national and regional origins so proudly is perfect for this, we thought, seeing as such a wine must truly try its best to represent its roots well. We hoped to impress La Forza with our eye for fine Italian vintages, knowing that his potential disappointment in it would leave us in the lowest of spirits.
This wine smells of dust despite its young age. Smelling this wine dims the lights of whatever room you’re in to the luminosity of a single lit taper. All sounds take on the din of quiet conversation. Suspense lingers on every sniff. The taste reveals the wine to be a heavy hitting red, reminiscent of certain boxed varietals found in regions across our great nation. Tasting reveals a change in equation. Nuance is not on the table. Justin was quick to note that the wine tastes like what he imagined wine tasting like when he was at the table with his parents at various Italian eateries. You’d think the buttery grapes would glide you to the hill towns of central Tuscany. However, upon second and third sip, it appears your journey has been redirected to somewhere of a different tone. Tuscaloosa, perhaps? Or could we be detecting notes of Happy Valley, Pennsylvania? The mouthfeel left by the bev was vinous, to say the least. Seconds after the garnet liquid passes down your throat the taste of what one can only identify as wine lingers.
With that, we’ll leave you with this:
The Palmieri Review
Many thanks to Big Billy Schweller and JJ “Drama” Ramos for the feature in this week’s article. As they’ve already informed you, I spent my winter traversing the wine country of my homeland experiencing only the finest of this succulent red fruit. The aforementioned journey across Italy became a sort of spirit quest to reestablish my innate connection to the grapevine.
If I learned anything from my dear mother (Hi Mom!) who was more than generous, and more than quite insistent, that I partake in the tasting of fine Italian wines, I would say that the Chianti proves underwhelming among the ranks of its peers. While the Chianti is able to pose as a good wine to the lesser-versed wine drinkers that sit to my right and left, the true Italian wines of Amarone and Brunello are the heavyweight fighters when it comes to Italian wines. To settle the long standing family debate over which carries more weight, I’ll use this credible and well established wine forum to be the first to publish the final verdict—Amarone is a better wine than a Brunello. Chianti is nice if you like grape juice, but the real wine drinkers won’t go wrong with an Amarone.
Tonight's Soundtrack: "Why Do Fools Fall In Love?"-Frankie Lyman & The Teenagers
Justin: "This wine would gain a full star rating if I had an Italian delicacy to pair it with. RIP to the ball Scamorza left home over break 1/21/17-1/22/17."
Will: "I can't say I'd buy this wine to drink again, but I can say I'd buy this wine to keep a few bottles in my room for the aesthetic."
An Autistic's guide to autism: How autism awareness has changed the way schools educate students
When I was four years old, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. The diagnosis was fairly new at the time—it had only been a diagnosis under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV) for seven years at that point—so my mother and father had to bring me to a specialist in order to diagnose me. Neither of them had ever heard of autism before, let alone Asperger’s. While they were glad to have a reason as to why I didn’t behave like other children, they still didn’t understand how they could help me overcome the challenges I faced.
Even with my diagnosis, there were few resources available to parents to help them understand their autistic children. The spectrum model of autism was a recent phenomenon at this time, and of the few people who knew about autism, many still thought of it as describing a very narrow set of characteristics. Awareness for autism in general was almost non-existent, especially in a sparsely populated state like Maine. My parents had to work hard to find resources to help me.
One of their biggest hurdles was acquiring educational accommodations for me. The local elementary school I attended didn’t have a special education program to speak of. Although my Individualized Education Plan (I.E.P.) entitled me to academic accommodations, my elementary school was reluctant to provide the services I needed to succeed.
Looking back, I think I understand why the school made it difficult for me to receive accommodations. While I remember that the school’s reluctance was in part due to poor administration, I feel that the problems stemmed in large part from a lack of understanding as to why I needed what I was asking for.
For instance, when I was young, one of the things that worked best to calm me down was chewing on something. Gum wasn’t allowed at the school, and my parents didn’t want me chewing on my own clothes. Instead, I chewed on straws, which were available in plenty at the cafeteria. The number of times an administrator stopped me in the hallway to tell me to take the straw out of my mouth, and the number of times I or someone else had to then explain that I had been given permission to do so, went beyond young Benjamin’s ability to count. Small incidents like this were typical, and symptomatic of the larger issues I experienced at the school. Administrators and teachers alike didn’t understand that, while my behaviors may have been odd, they were effective ways for me to function in a school environment.
Since then, autism awareness has improved exponentially. The schools I work with now are all eager to learn more about how they can help their autistic students and many already have strong programs designed to help students on the spectrum. If today’s level of autism awareness and education was around when I was a child, I don’t feel my parents would have had nearly as much trouble getting me the accommodations I needed.
Speaking of parents, autism awareness has also resulted in more resources for parents with children on the spectrum. Public schools, universities and other non-profit organizations are providing a number of services to parents that didn’t even exist when I was a child. While the state of education for autistic children is far from perfect, it is certainly better than it was when I was four. A lot has changed in 15 years.
- December 9
The WOMEN OF ’75: Studying and being studied
The women coming into Bowdoin in the Class of 1975, the first coeducational four-year graduating class, were met with sparse representation in the classroom with respect to their peers, faculty and studies.
“In my Biology 101 class, there were only two women [out of] 50 or 60 kids,” said Amy Pearlmutter ’75 in a phone interview with the Orient.
“The first few years, it felt like both the five or six women faculty members and the women students were extremely visible—a sort of fishbowl effect,” said Helen Cafferty, a German professor who arrived at Bowdoin in 1972.
By the time the first coeducational class graduated, there were nine female faculty members at the College.
“All of my professors [except one] were male,” said Patricia Pope ’75, who transferred to Bowdoin from Smith College. “But at Smith College, all of my professors were male too. I thought that was ironic.”
Though the Twelve College Exchange brought women into Bowdoin’s classrooms in previous years, the male-dominated faculty reacted in a variety of ways to the influx of a class that contained 65 women.
“A few of the professors were a bit leary,” said Debrah Burk ’75 in a phone interview with the Orient.
“I had a professor where all of the examples were always ‘he’ and ‘him’” said Christa Cornell ’75.
However, Cornell said that she also had positive experiences with professors.
“Professor [John] Rensenbrink was one of my favorite professors, in government, and I think he really opened my eyes in a lot of ways to how the system was sexist,” she said. “He was very, very open to changing the system and how to get rights for all.”
Several women of the Class of 1975 interviewed for this series said that the classics department was less welcoming to women than it was to men.
A March 9, 1972 letter to the editor in the Orient from football player Jed Lyons ’74 expressed his perspective: “First they demand their own field hockey team, then they insist upon private locker rooms, equal representation on the Student Council and admission to Classics 12 [...] Where will it end?”
The ways that Bowdoin institutionally prepared for women in the classroom focused on making few changes until the administration could see what students needed, like other aspects of the coeducation process.
An August 1970 Memorandum from the Ad Hoc Committee on Coeducation to President Roger Howell wrote “the goal should be no net increase in faculty,” and recommended that “some departments will have to shrink in order that others (presumably those whose course offerings are most relevant to women undergraduates) are permitted to expand.” It also recommended that the faculty’s Committee on Curriculum and Educational Policy (CEP) closely monitor the curriculum.
In August of 1976, a Special Committee on Coeducation released a report that there were no large shifts in specific department enrollment due to the addition of women.
“You know, it was an interesting time in terms of integrating into the academic side of it,” said Helen MacNeil ’75 in a phone interview with the Orient. “We had a lot of professors who were really bending over backward to make sure we got whatever support we needed, and there were some feminist female professors who were adamant that we all excel far beyond the guys ... in some cases I thought, like ‘Really? Can’t we just do our best?’”
Ultimately, the largest change that would occur to the curriculum directly related to coeducation was the creation of a women’s studies program, and later, major. This was also reflected in a national trend of the recognizing of the new field of women’s studies.
The first women’s studies program that received official approval was at San Diego State University in 1970. The field rapidly expanded in the 70s and 80s. By 1987, Amherst, Hamilton, Trinity, Wesleyan and Williams—colleges that, like Bowdoin, were historically all-male and became coeducational in the 60s or 70s—all had either a major, interdisciplinary major or minor in women’s studies.
Since 1974, Bowdoin had offered women’s studies courses on an “ad hoc” basis, according to a Women’s Studies Program Committee report published in 1987. These were classes offered in other departments that explored themes of gender and feminist theory.
“On campus there was this feeling that we needed to have some women’s studies courses and women’s focused courses in the curriculum even though we didn’t have a program yet,” said Cafferty, who was one of the first professors to teach an official women’s studies class at Bowdoin—a class on German literature with a focus on women.
In 1980, the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) was proposed by the Bowdoin Women’s Association and Women’s Resource Center Committee. Its creation was tied to a desire for an academic study of women.
The WRC proposal in the December 22 Orient said: “We feel it is essential for all members of the Bowdoin Community—students, staff and faculty—to have access to the existing and growing body of diverse and exciting scholarly and creative work by and about women ... We feel that the proposed Resource Center will be a place for the Bowdoin community to develop a critical approach and explore meta-traditional ways of learning, thinking and knowing.”
A women’s studies program was not formally created until 1988 despite a demonstrated institutional desire for a program as expressed in the 1981 Report of President Willard Enteman’s Commission on the Status of Women.
This use of the Women’s Resource Center as a place of scholarly learning and seminars carried on through the creation of a women’s studies major in 1993.
The 1987 proposal to the CEP by the Women’s Studies Program Committee, chaired by Cafferty, asked for a formal women’s studies program and a minor in the department, and urged the WRC to “institute faculty seminars and workshops to aid faculty in developing women’s studies courses and in redesigning their courses to include a gender component.”
Part of the 1990 proposal for a major in women’s studies stated “a Women’s Studies major will confirm Bowdoin’s commitment to coeducation.”
Over time, the name of the major has changed. In 2005, the department became the Department of Gender and Women’s studies, and last year it became Gender Sexuality and Women’s studies, to encompass the former Department of Gay and Lesbian Studies.
Overall, the academic study of women and gender has become more centralized into the department and less focused in the WRC. In 2009, the women’s studies faculty members moved their offices from the WRC to the Boody-Johnson house.
Cafferty said in the early years of coeducation at Bowdoin, “women faculty [were] peeking out in the wilderness.”
“There’s a sense of normality now, at least from my ancient perspective, compared to the beginning,” she said.
Editor's Note, December 11, 3:29 p.m.: The original version of this article incorrectly identified the professor in the photographs. This article has been updated to reflect that the professor is Matilda Riley, not Melinda Riley.
- December 9
Passion for fashion: Hugh Mo '17 runs Instagram style blog
Born and raised in Queens, New York, Hugh Mo ’17, grew up in a world filled with urban streetwear and constantly evolving trends. In June 2016, he developed a blog, @_mostyle_, where he has since built a base of 11.2 thousand followers, establishing himself as a prominent “fashion influencer” within the massive and wide-reaching network of Instagram.
Initially, Mo’s posts focused on the aspects of fashion that he had encountered online, at home in New York City and abroad in Australia. After returning from his time abroad, Mo found himself re-entering the online world of fashion through sites such as Grailed—a one-stop-shop for men’s fashion, and Facebook—which served as a huge resource for Mo.
While his blog includes many different aspects of fashion, he has a particular love for and interest in sneakers.
Mo’s favorite parts of directing and developing his blog include the connections and friends he has made, as well as the chance to make inroads into the industry in which he hopes to one day be an influential member.
“I started a Facebook group to engage with the community of ‘fashion influencers,’ making friends with people as far as Singapore and Australia,” said Mo. “I just wanted to start something on my own—meeting companies, talking to people in the fashion world, getting closer to the industry that I can see myself working in.”
Specific brands that Mo highlights in his blog are St. Laurent and Fear of God—which he describes as the most visible brand among celebrities. Hoping to spice up his blog, he wants to include female fashion trends and advice for men on a budget.
“We’re trying to incorporate women’s fashion into my blog,” said Mo. “Personally, I think it’s getting a little sterile with just me in it. More collaboration content will make my page more interesting.”
“I love fashion and the idea of the business side of fashion. Trends are always moving, always changing,” said Mo.
Mo’s original and unique style had caught the attention of friends and other Bowdoin community members before his Instagram received thousands of followers. It was these people who suggested that he share his passion and creativity with the rest of the world.
Mo started the process of taking his style to the web with WordPress but later transitioned to Instagram.
Once he returned to Bowdoin for his senior year, Mo found a photographer, Darius Riley ’19, who could help him gain more influence in the Instagram world of “fashion influencers.”
“I wouldn’t be where I am right now without my photographer,” said Mo.
Riley met Mo through a mutual friend and he offered up his photography services to help with Mo’s new blog.
“I had no true prior experience, just watching videos and playing with the camera,” said Riley.
One of the elements that sets Mo’s blog apart are the distinctly “Maine” backgrounds. On Thursday afternoons, Riley and Mo venture around campus or into Brunswick, searching for spots that work with the photoshoot that they’re planning for that day. On these photoshoot outings, Riley brings his camera and Mo comes prepared with a bag of outfits that he has scrupulously planned out for his upcoming blog posts.
“I always ask him, ‘What do you want to focus on with this outfit?’” said Riley. “I feel like I have a lot of creativity. The only constraint is the focus for the next post.”
Riley’s favorite aspects of photographing for Mo center around his goal as a photographer: to capture what he sees with his naked eye. Using the app Lightroom, Riley edits his photos to bring about what he defines as the truth in the photo, an element that the camera is not always able to capture.
“I love editing. Showing Hugh the before and after pictures, even seeing them myself is just…woah, it’s always so amazing...making [him] stand out, even when the picture may seem simple,” said Riley.
Follow @_mostyle_ on Instagram to discover and explore Mo’s style blog.
Darius Riley ’19 is a photographer for the Bowdoin Orient.
- December 9
Exploring maine: Looking at nature as an antidote for the cold winter season
This week was the first snowfall in Brunswick, always the most welcomed. December has a way of wiping everything clean, as if the very environment is preparing for the New Year’s proverbial clean slate. This New Year feels shaky; our next semester and my final semester at Bowdoin will begin as our country begins a new chapter, a slate that feels dirty before it’s even arrived.
The Maine winter changes our ability to interact with our environment and marks an enormous (if oft-despised) part of what makes this place what it is. The cold and the snow are some of the most common topics any non-Mainer will raise with a Bowdoin student, and we’ve all probably spent about a cumulative week of our Bowdoin experience bemoaning the weather—because it was 25 degrees last night, and I wear a coat when it’s 65.
On Monday as the snow fell like a slow exhalation, I went to the Commons to take a walk. Not yet icy but already sparkling, the paths are familiar and new again. Stopping with my friend by the pond, he threw dead branches against the slushy ice to watch it splatter with satisfying cracks.
The pine branches are dressed in layers of crystal, the bare twigs of deciduous trees white-capped like tiny waves. Shake them hard and the snow will explode into flurries before trembling down to settle on the ground.
My Maine winters come in contrast to 18 years of Brooklyn winters, with their rare moments of stillness amongst the grey slush and the immediate sweat upon stepping from the cold streets into the heated subway cars. New York winters are ice skating in the parks and scurrying to coffee shops; they are as cozy and crowded as the city can be. They’re also grimy.
My Maine winters have been wearing sweaters and two coats and at least two hand-knit scarves to hustle across campus and burst into a building to finally feel the blood rushing back into my face. They have been running out onto the frozen ice at Simpson’s Point with the same giddy feelings that bubble while swimming there in the summer. They have been waking in the dark of 5:30 a.m. to drive to Popham and watch the sun stretch up and out over the untouched swathes of snow reaching the foam on the beach.
Winter is also the exploration of inward places, the mornings spent watching snow through the window and just staying inside, the nights doing homework huddled under blankets because your off-campus house has “horsehair” insulation (which doesn’t seem to do much insulating at all). Winter is both the squirrels conserving energy in their drays and the dogs ploughing wildly through the snow on the quad.
Finding the ways to connect and commune with this place in its literal darkest times has brought a stability and cyclicality to my time at Bowdoin. Also, after visiting Texas in July and realizing that oppressive heat makes it just as impossible to be outside for longer than five minutes as the cold does, I’m trying to see even the temperature as an equal part of the whole season.
No matter the season, and even no matter the turmoil of that particular season, I think nature can be an antidote—even if that antidote is best taken from inside a cozy house. The ingrained symbolism of seasons is not lost on my cosmological sentimentality as fall becomes winter, which looks forward to spring.
This winter will be marked by uncertainty and fear and radical changes. I want it to also be marked with the reaffirmation of the determined beauty of the natural world, and as much good, old-fashioned playing in the snow as my toes can take.
- December 9
Tapped out: Curl up this cold winter season with a wonderfully warm beer
Are you freezing, dear Reader? Do you have the sniffles, have small ice blocks instead of toes, forget the last time the temperature was above freezing (actually, I remember—it was early October) and almost die on a regular basis from slipping on black ice on a busy street? Do you also not feel inclined to an ice-cold pint of beer, as perfect as it usually is?
Here is the tale of how I stayed in and made mulled beer, because I felt too cold to drink normal beer. In the touristy parts of Moscow, you can find numerous little stalls that offer traditional Christmas drinks or mulled wine; sweet, hot, festive—it’s really pretty nice. But do not despair—wine is not the only hot beverage option; I learned that Peter I (Russia Tsar from way back when) and his generation used to drink their beer hot. This fun fact got me started on a fascinating online search for hot beer drinks, during which I discovered the existence of mulled beer. It’s a traditional drink not only from 1700s Russia, but also all over the older European world. For example, take the famous English drink called Wassail. Making it involves pouring hot beer with spices over a bowl with some sugar on the bottom, letting it sit and “infuse,” then topping the whole thing with thin slices of bread. While beer-soggy bread didn’t appeal to me, I was curious enough about the idea of mulled beer to make a version at home.
Here’s the basic recipe:
- 1 mugful of beer
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- Lemon and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.) to taste
Put everything together in a small saucepan and heat it up, but make sure not to boil the mixture for too long, unless you want non-alcoholic mulled beer. Channel your inner Martha Stewart—pour the heated beverage into a crystal chalice, garnish with cinnamon sticks, candied orange peels, floating rose candles, etc., as desired. Post a picture of your dreamy mulled beer on social media venue of choice, labeled #foodporn and #whoneedsmulledwine.
I used a cheap Russian beer with an alcohol percentage of 13 percent (in case I accidentally over-boiled), which tasted remarkably similar to one of those 40s that you can buy at 7/11. I added lots of lemon, honey and cinnamon, then stirred. The mixture turned out to be gorgeous—the white foam from the heated-up beer was sprinkled with specks of cinnamon, resembling whipped cream, and the beer turned a slightly darker golden. Very appealing, especially when poured into a clear glass. The smell was also lovely, with the beer creating an unusually toasty, grainy undertone to the traditional holiday scents.
The beer I started out with was not wonderful, and the spices did not quite cover up its unappetizing taste. If I do this again, which I surprisingly might, I would do it with a very malty beer, like Baltika #9. I was prepared for this to be completely disgusting; however, the aftertaste was unexpectedly nice, with the lemon and beer balancing out the sweetness of honey and making it very drinkable. My biggest complaint was that the mouthfeel was very flat, with all the carbonation gone out of the beer—leaving the drink more like tepid soda. But even so, and with the less-than-stellar beer I used, I preferred this mulled beer to the mulled wines that I’ve had, which so far have been sickly, stickily sweet. I do think that every beer can’t be made into mulled beer; for example, an already distinct-tasting IPA or a light, clean-tasting lager both seem like a disastrous combo with spices and honey. But with a beer that is already not very carbonated and tastes malty, fruity or creamy—perhaps mulled beer could make a comeback in 2017 from its long hiatus since the 1800s.
So, in conclusion, I would recommend this to others. It might not be your cup of mulled beverage, but I think it’s worth a try. At any rate, it’s a good way to procrastinate on your schoolwork and acts as a nice-smelling, warm thing to clutch in your hands after a cold day (or while dealing with estranged family members). Whether accompanied by beer or not, I hope you fly through finals and have a wonderful winter break; I’ll see you on the other side, on the same continent (hopefully).
Tonight’s Soundtrack: “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme” by Simon & Garfunkel—not the right spices, but it doesn’t matter because their voices are so cozy.
Tonight’s Toast: A Poem on the Underground Wall of a beer bar summed it up pretty well—“In Heaven there is no beer; that’s why we drink ours here.” I’m not sure about the non-existence of heavenly beer, since I’ve never been there, but I do believe in drinking in the moment. Here is to beer in 2017.
Conclusions on mulled beer:
* To be fair, I feel that the flavor could be improved if I experimented with a
different beer and more spices.
- December 9
Talk of the Quad: The broken container
Last year, I was in Paris during the terrorist attacks, and I don’t know how to tell that story. Similarly, I don’t know how to tell the story about Trump’s recent election. But there seems to be a strange and shivering thread between the two events. Both violent, painful, chaotic. Yet Paris was somewhat contained. This election is not—the common mantra being, “We just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
We tell stories to make meaning of trauma—to contain pain so we can better examine it and give it value. But sometimes we are in such distress that the container cracks. We can no longer write or speak in the same way, we can no longer contain the pain or carry it comfortably.
Paris: the cherry glow of sirens, the bitter cold, windows slamming shut, a vacant Eiffel Tower. Alternatively: my friend who calmly held my hand, the family member who made a quiche, a café filled with people drinking champagne the next day.
Either it becomes a story of horror and fear, which you’ve already heard, or a story of healing and bravery, which feels mawkish and insincere.
I think we dislike narratives which exist in gray, uncertain space. We want them to have logic, to land on one side of a binary—tragedy or comedy, conflict resolved or broken open, a character whose biggest desire is fulfilled or wrenched from them completely. Climax, falling action, resolution.
But trauma, especially when it first occurs, isn’t a neat and tidy narrative. Sometimes there is no narrative at all.
The New Yorker recently featured a piece in which 16 writers weighed in on the election. As my friend Marie Scarles observed, “There are so many different versions of why Trump won, and so many ways for us to imagine the future. Should we pay more attention to poor whites? To Muslims? To women? To LGBTQ? To racists? To immigrants? All seem urgent, but none can be held as the be-all-end-all.”
We are searching for a straightforward answer, an immediate ending so this can be over and done with.
After the election, hunched over my carrel in H-L and unable to write, I got a text message from my father: “Trauma turns us into animals, which means story-telling turns off. We revert to fight, flight or shock.” But sometimes, maybe our storytelling tendencies shutting down is a good thing. Maybe it allows us to survive. Narratives can be healing, but they can also be dangerous.
By attending to many different perspectives, perhaps a new story will eventually arise, something both nuanced and messy, something which contains many strands. Perhaps it will be a story of hope but a particular kind of hope, which Rebecca Solnit describes as “an ax you break down doors with in an emergency … [it] should shove you out the door.”
For now, we are living in uncertainty. The story is that there is no story—at least no singular one—which means there is no singular conflict, no one resolution. I wish I had a coherent story to tell about Paris, but I don’t. For me, the container is still broken open, as it is now for America post-election. This means we must listen to each other, and listen carefully.
Raisa Tolchinsky is a member of the Class of 2017.
- December 9
Talk of the Quad: My armor of tears
When my little sister Taye was two, I would try to hold her and she would respond with small teeth in my flesh. When she was five, she was ordered to the principal’s office almost every week. When she was 14, she would puff up her chest and demand, “Say that to my face.” I idolized her ability to stand up against mini white supremacists that pulled their eyes back and stuck out their teeth. But even the greatest fighters are not invincible. As I watched her mature, her skin became so thick from such micro-aggressions that she drew pictures on her arm with a knife to make sure she could still bleed. We both squeezed our eyes shut at night and prayed to wake up white.
The sky dripped rain the day my little sister died, I remember vividly. It was the end of my first year at Bowdoin. She hung herself next to a short dress from T.J.Maxx and a forgotten kimono.
Feeling endless sorrow, I now fight for Taye. So many people argue that people of color are thin-skinned, but I argue the depth of people of color’s emotions has built armor. Thick skin is not in spite of emotions, but because of emotions. I watched as peers with emotions as deep as wells courageously made themselves vulnerable by picking up microphones, speaking at Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) meetings, sitting on panels, holding up “Can we talk?” signs after the “tequila” party—making noble attempts to harmonize a microcosm of humanity.
I wrapped myself in armor out of my grief for my sister. However, I learned quickly that having thick skin means people want to see you bleed. By the end of my sophomore year I took on a public fight with the former president of BSG to instate a multicultural representative and by the end of my junior year my voice—my freedom of speech—was marked “unbecoming of a Bowdoin student” and I was abruptly silenced. At the end of that year, I told a faculty member that I felt like someone had violently cut holes through my body and I didn’t know how to stop the bleeding. I was ashamed because I thought the holes were a manifestation of thin skin.
When I saw the reactions rising on Asian Student Association’s Facebook albums: “#ThisIs2016,” I was thrilled that different micro-aggressions towards Asians were being validated. When I held up my sign, “I guess you’re pretty… for an Asian,” I looked into a dark lens that would soon be viewed by over 7 million people. Anonymous eyes scrutinized my face before typing out, “they lied”; “you’re not pretty”; “you’re lucky someone even thinks you’re attractive”; and “most Asians are pretty, just not you.” I heard Taye’s voice, “Say that to my face.”
But I surprised myself: I cried.
I’m beginning to believe that the tears on my cheeks are not a sign of weakness. My emotions give me the strength to step into situations that those who have thin skin may never dare to take on. The courage that’s necessary to take a stand and the inevitable repercussive stabs hurt like hell. And even though the greatest fighters are not invincible, they leave legacies. My sister’s legacy gifted me the emotions that have helped me construct an armor of thick skin. So make me bleed the Niagara Falls. My tears only make me stronger.
Kiyoko H. Nakamura-Koyama is a member of the Class of 2017.
- December 2
Politics, process and practice of medical leaves at Bowdoin
We talked to over 15 students and 12 administrators about health at Bowdoin. Many of our peers have found frustration in the complexity and obscurity of who has not only the power, but also the judgment to make these decisions. Moreover, how does Bowdoin support a student whose health concerns cannot necessarily be solved with a medical leave?
Austin Goldsmith ’18 was two weeks into her first year at Bowdoin when she got her first concussion during a volleyball game. Her struggle to make it to classes led to several meetings with former Dean of First Year Students Janet Lohmann, who suggested Goldsmith take a medical leave—an option in which Goldsmith was not interested.
“[Does] a strong word from Lohmann make [my leave] involuntary? Does that mean it’s not my decision? ... What power or autonomy do I have?” said Goldsmith in a phone interview with the Orient. “As much as the [Bowdoin Student] Handbook gives you information, it’s so unclear and it’s so vague.”
According to Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster, medical leave cases are considered on a case-by-case basis. However, the deans have displayed a pattern of strongly recommending a voluntary medical leave to students.
Approximately 10 to 20 students are on voluntary medical leave each semester, according to Kim Pacelli, the senior associate dean of student affairs. However, many students feel pressured by the deans’ recommendations and question whether these leaves are elective in practice or if the College is making the decision for them.
Read stories of eight students' experiences with medical leave and mental health at Bowdoin.
The Handbook states students may “request a voluntary medical leave in the event that the student believes that physical and/or mental health concerns are significantly interfering with the ability to succeed at Bowdoin [or to recover].”
Only if a student is presenting a “significant threat” to themselves or others while on campus, the deans, in consultation with the health care provider, may force a student to go home. The Handbook classifies this as an involuntary medical leave. According to Pacelli, no students are on involuntary medical leave this semester. These leaves, Pacelli noted, are “pretty rare.”
In the case of voluntary medical leaves, occasionally a student may enter the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs knowing he or she would like to request a leave. However, some students question whether a leave will benefit their health, resist postponing their graduation date or feel hesitant to go through the process of readmission upon return. Many times, students feel the conversation with their dean is what ultimately guides their decision.
Former Dean of First Year Students Janet Lohmann claimed to be “a fan of the leave.”
“My goal is that I want students to be successful at Bowdoin,” said Lohmann. “If I feel that students are limping along and compromising their success merely for the sake of being here, then really I want [the student] to be able to perform at the level [the student is] capable of.”
The administrators who spoke with the Orient on this subject shared this sentiment.
Many students who spoke with the Orient felt this pressure from their deans as well.
“[The deans are] very pushy. They’re like ‘this is what we want—we want you to do well. Bowdoin is four years of your life and we want you to get the best time with it, not struggling to get through it, for reasons beyond your control,’” Goldsmith said. “That was the biggest message I got. We want you to have the best experience possible.”
While unsure how her concussion would progress, Goldsmith knew she would be happier to remain at school, rather than leave for the year and re-matriculate the following fall, as is asked of first years taking a medical leave their fall semester.
“[Lohmann] could have been right… She was coming from ‘oh we’ve seen this before and we’ve seen this go both ways.’ I’m sure she’s seen a lot of more people do poorly than do well,” continued Goldsmith. “[But] she didn’t know me the way that I knew me.”
Goldsmith did not take a leave that fall semester.
“CAN THEY MAKE ME LEAVE?”
A conversation between the student and his or her dean often plays the biggest role in influencing the student’s decision to take a leave.
Prior to this type of conversation, Pacelli noted that she looks at the student’s academic performance—which includes class attendance (a red flag when a student misses three weeks of classes), completion of work and any additional comments from faculty. She also looks at his or her conduct—whether the student has been in any disciplinary trouble with the College.
However, considering the case-by-case nature of each student’s mental or physical health problems, the dean’s advisal “should have the recommendation of the [medical] provider,” according to Pacelli. “They always do.”
A Bowdoin student’s medical provider includes Bowdoin Counseling, the Bowdoin Health Center or a medical professional unaffiliated with the College.
“I think sometimes our office gets a bad rap of—and an unfair one—that we’re looking to send everybody on med leave all the time. I don’t think that’s accurate,” Pacelli said.
Though the dean’s office may rely on a health care provider for this recommendation, the student’s health information is only shared with the student’s permission under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In the case of a concussion, the Health Center informs the student’s dean of how many days of brain rest the student requires so that the deans may share that information with the student’s professors.
Counseling or the Health Center can share a student’s health information with the student’s dean or parents only in the cases deemed “a significant threat to the health or safety of a student or other individuals.” Such a threat, as outlined in the Handbook, would warrant an involuntary medical leave.
Many students under voluntary medical leaves, however, still feel confused as to whether the decision is their own.
“I really felt a lot of pressure from the administration. I remember scanning the Handbook with my dad, being like can they make me leave?” Goldsmith said.
Megan Retana ’19, who is currently on a medical leave, echoed Goldsmith.
“There was initially a lack of clarity in what they could offer me, what additional help they could give me and what the policies were,” said Retana in a phone interview with the Orient.
Following a hospitalization for mental health reasons in the spring of her first year, Retana agreed to take off the rest of the semester and this current fall semester per the evaluation of the Counseling Center and her dean. The final decision was negotiated in a phone call in June between Retana’s mother and Assistant Dean of First Year Students Khoa Khuong, according to Retana.
“My mom had been advocating for me to go back in the fall because we both thought I could do it and then they [said] no,” said Retana. “Counseling was concerned about my well-being while I had a different opinion on what that was or what would help me.”
While both Retana and her mother wanted her to return in the fall, Retana agreed to take the fall semester off because the deans told her they believed this was the only way Bowdoin’s Readmission Committee would allow her to come back to campus.
The readmission process requires a short application, in which the student must prove their readiness to re-enter life at the College. This requires documentation from the student’s health care provider. The committee—comprised of members of the dean’s office, Residential Life and Admissions and advised by the directors of Counseling and the Health Center—then determines whether the student is healthy enough to come back to campus.
According to Retana, the decision to leave felt involuntary though it is recorded as voluntary because she did, under this pressure, consent to the leave.
“[The problem] was more in terms of lack of transparency, or clarity, or organization on their part because...they didn’t [initially] tell me [in the spring] that I had to take [the fall] semester off,” Retana said. “Had they offered those things in the first place, I wouldn’t have been upset.”
She said although she ultimately appreciated her time off, she wished the process was clearer.
“I wanted to make my own decisions but at the same time I’m grateful to the school for stepping in because I’m so grateful for this semester off,” Retana said. “But I do wish there had been more consistency throughout the process.”
“EDUCATIONAL NOT THERAPEUTIC COMMUNITY”
The College views its role of “stepping in” as necessary in preventing a student’s health from impeding on the rest of his or her life at Bowdoin.
“Bowdoin is an educational community, not a therapeutic community,” said Foster. “So if somebody really needs the time to regain their health ... it’s oftentimes better to seek the care that you need in order to fully regain your health so you can be here and be successful.”
Director of Counseling Services Bernie Hershberger, whose office is independent of the dean’s, said it does not push students to leave against their will.
“If it’s better for the student to stay on campus then that’s going to be the first priority and that’s what we’re going to push for. It’s not that often that a student would want to go, and so we’re not going to push that unless it aligns with their deepest desire,” he said.
Uma Blanchard ’17, who has struggled with a concussion since the end of her sophomore year, was skeptical of Counseling’s relationship with the dean’s office because she had heard rumors that the two offices communicate with each other about students often.
“I began to see a counselor off campus—I felt safer seeing someone who wasn’t connected to the dean’s office and wasn’t feeding me the Bowdoin line, which I feel is pretty much always the same which is ‘you should go home’,” said Blanchard.
Many students said it was difficult to fight the College’s push to leave even when their own medical providers felt that going home was not the best solution.
Following a conversation with her first-year dean, Jacqueline Colao ’17 decided to take a gap year a day and half into her pre-orientation trip because of a persistent concussion she sustained in high school. Upon returning to campus and still feeling the effects of her concussion, Colao chose not to take any medical leaves. Instead, beginning her sophomore year, she decided on a reduced course load for four semesters.
“[Bowdoin is] very good about letting people take time off, but that’s the go-to solution,” said Colao.
“My neurologist [said] that it was better for me for my healing process to be at school taking two courses than it would be for me to take time off because you still need your brain to be working in a certain capacity. You can’t just sit around, that’s not good either,” Colao noted.
Getting approved to take two classes—which makes a student part-time—is not easy. However, students may petition the Recording Committee for a reduced course load. The student must submit a one-page statement—as well as supporting documentation from a medical professional, faculty member or Director of Accommodations Lisa Peterson—about why he or she requires this alteration.
The Recording Committee is made up of several professors and two students. Because there are no health professionals on it, the committee relies on a rating system from the Health Center to determine the severity of a student’s medical condition.
Professor of Government Allen Springer, who is the Chair of the Recording Committee for this academic year, explained, “The Health Center will provide a rating for people to tell us that a. There is a concern and b. How confident they are it’s a serious concern. Quite honestly we take those ratings very seriously and we’re not in a position to second-guess medical professionals about whether or not medical factors should be taken into account in making a decision.”
This rating is the only metric considered by the Recording Committee, and, in addition to reports from the Health Center, takes into account doctor’s notes from outside practitioners.
Blanchard’s petition to take two classes her junior spring—which was substantiated by letters from her counselor and her parents indicating Blanchard’s home doctors’ recommendation that she remain at school and take a reduced course load—was denied. The committee’s decisions are final and do not include any face-to-face interaction between the student and the committee.
“I was a little unclear why the Recording Committee ... was able to make what was a medical decision for me. It would not have been good for me to go home because I would not have been able to use my brain,” said Blanchard.
On the other hand, Colao’s request to take two classes—supported by letters from her neurologist, Hershberger and her dean—was accepted. However, still struggling with her concussion sophomore spring, Colao did not want to go through the process of petitioning again because her concussion made the process particularly exhausting for her.
Additionally, Colao felt the committee would not be amenable to recurring requests.
“I asked multiple times why you have to petition the Recording Committee to only take two classes,” Colao said. “I was never given a clear answer on that, I was just told that’s not a thing that Bowdoin does.”
Lohmann confirmed that Bowdoin does not allow students to continually take only two courses. While students may successfully petition to take two classes, this accommodation is restricted to temporary medical issues with a clearly defined recovery period.
“We don’t really do half-time status,” Lohmann said. “We’re a residential liberal arts college. We expect students to be fully engaged in living in the college.”
Pacelli shares this position. “This is supposed to be a full-time experience and a full course load is three or more credits,” she said. “If all you can do is two credits then maybe it’s better to think about med leave.”
Pacelli said that finances do not play a role in the Recording Committee’s decision of whether to allow a student to take two courses.
Further, taking two classes does not reduce the cost of tuition aid. However, if a student takes a medical leave in the middle of a semester, he or she is not reimbursed after the fifth week of school. The Student Aid Office only covers eight semesters of aid, though a student may appeal for a ninth semester of aid with the support of the Office of Student Affairs. Pacelli noted that “[the deans] can and do step up.”
Colao’s recovery period continued for the next three semesters; she took three classes during each one. Her sophomore spring proved to be especially demanding as she struggled to balance her academics with her recovery.
“The only way I was able to stay here [my sophomore spring] and take three classes was I was able to only do school and nothing else,” Colao said. “So I ate meals by myself because talking to people at meals would bring up my symptoms ... I would nap every day for a couple hours. I never went out. I barely talked to people. Literally all I did was schoolwork.”
“I think it would be helpful to delve into more solutions about how we can get people to stay at Bowdoin and be successful while still dealing with whatever issue that caused them to think about taking time off,” Colao said.
Blanchard echoed this sentiment.
“I felt very strongly last semester that there is this notion that if you’re not totally healthy then you shouldn’t be here,” Blanchard said. “For the first time I thought ‘wow Bowdoin doesn’t want me to be here right now, because I am not perfect.’ ... I think that’s definitely a common experience."
Arts & Entertainment
NYC-based alt-pop duo Cults to perform this weekend
Over 500 students have purchased tickets to see the band Cults in concert tomorrow. Tickets went on sale at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, and within 30 minutes, the first 100 tickets were sold. As of now, seating is “limited,” according to Entertainment Board (eBoard) co-chair Brendan Civale ’17.
Over the past four years, Cults, an American indie band, has risen to prominence in the alternative music scene. The group is best known for its hits “Go Outside” and “You Know What I Mean,” which it will perform in Pickard Theater at 10 p.m. tomorrow.
This will be the second concert hosted by eBoard this year; the first concert featured Louis the Child, performing to a packed audience in Smith Union in October. The Winter Concert will not be the last concert, however—the 152nd Ivies weekend in April will feature more artists, which are yet to be announced.
Co-Chairs of eBoard Civale and Arindam Jurkhan ’17 were very pleased with the positive student reception on campus. With this event, eBoard sought to replicate the success of last year’s BØRNS concert which sold out in four hours and also bring a different style of live music to campus.
“For Ivies, we ask students what kind of artists they want, and it’s usually hip-hop, rap, EDM or some loud party music,” said Civale. “But we also want to appeal to a lot of people on campus who might want a slower, indie act. We knew how well BØRNS did last year, so we wanted to bring a performer that had a similar vibe.”
Despite Pickard’s limited space, eBoard insists it is the only place that the concert can take place for financial and security reasons.
“It’s the only venue on campus where you can sell tickets,” said Civale. “Also, crowd control for the administration and security is much easier there. In [David Saul Smith] Union, there are 40 entrances and exits; in Pickard, there are two [entrances].”
Students are generally pleased with eBoard’s decision to host another concert after Winter Break.
“It’s a really great idea to do a concert in the winter because otherwise, Bowdoin doesn’t get a lot of musical acts until Ivies in April,” said Christina Moreland ’17, who will be attending Saturday’s concert. “BØRNS was very successful last year. Everyone really enjoyed it, so I’m glad the eBoard has decided to continue the new tradition.”
To the Crossroads: The Beatles vs. Migos and the triumph of trap
Though I’ve never really paid much mind to the hype and buzz surrounding the award show season, this year something happened at the Golden Globes that drew my attention. While accepting an award for his show “Atlanta,” Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, gave a shout out to the trap group Migos. In a later interview, Glover continued to praise Migos, touting the band as “the Beatles of this generation.”
Reactions to this comparison have been varied, ranging from my mother’s “who are the amigos?” to my falling out of my chair crying in a giddy fit of assenting laughter. The comparison confused a lot of people, and rightly so—the Beatles are rock and roll legends, remembered as the progenitors and patron saints of pop music by pretty much every suburban parent in the world. Migos, on the other hand, has only been relevant for about four years. Regardless, this isn’t the first time the comparison has been made. Back in 2014, Complex Magazine ran an article on its website documenting the memeification of the claim that Migos is better than the Beatles. It seems like ever since Migos erupted onto the scene with “Versace,” people have been (with varying degrees of sincerity) comparing the hip-hop trio to the Beatles.
However, up until this point, nobody with the musical clout of Grammy-nominated musician and famed George Clinton impersonator Donald Glover had ever publicly made the comparison in earnest. Gambino’s endorsement gave credence to what had previously been a tongue-in-cheek Twitter meme. Therefore, I think it deserves some serious discussion.
Comparing the groups based on their musical prowess is tricky, since members of Migos are not, strictly speaking, musicians. Whereas the Beatles performed and recorded with live instruments, Migos’ tracks are primarily composed of electronically produced eight-bar loops. Instead of judging the music on its technical merits, I would suggest a comparison rooted in the phenomenological experience of each artist. What is important is not the theoretical proficiency or instrumental virtuosity of the artist, but the subjective, emotional response of the listener. I don’t know about you, but personally, I get more goosebumps during “Bad and Boujee” than I do during the entire “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album. So, Migos: 1, Beatles: 0
Moreover, although neither group is exceptionally innovative musically—the Beatles’ rock was derivative (an opinion shared by the musicologists at Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College London) and Migos has yet to revolutionize the trap scene—each group has had a profound impact on popular culture. The Beatles’ influence is fairly evident in the fact that people still foam at the mouth over their music. They have five feature-length films, dozens of albums and members that have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame multiple times. Their clout is almost unquestionable; but that being said, it came over the course of decades. For a group as new as it is, Migos wields a considerable amount of influence. The group has spawned a multitude of internet memes, created the infamous “dab” and has been at least partially responsible for the proliferation of trap music in American culture. What’s more impressive is that Migos did it, for the most part, without the support of a record label. Migos: 2, Beatles: 0
This is the aspect of Migos’ fame that I find the most admirable. The majority of the group’s music has been released independently. The trio has had one major label release, with another upcoming, but a lot of its most popular music, i.e. “Versace,” “Fight Night,” “Handsome and Wealthy,” “Look At My Dab,” etc., has been released on mixtapes. It is common for artists in the Atlanta-based trap scene to operate in this fashion, so what I’m about to say about Migos also applies to many of its peers. When I look at Migos, I don’t see just another hip-hop outfit rapping about guns, drugs and the mistreatment of women. What I see is the re-appropriation and commodification of black body politics. Hip-hop record executives—the overwhelming majority of them rich, white men—have profited for decades off the commodification of black stereotypes, selling stories of life in the ghetto to kids in the suburb. Migos sidestepped the middlemen, making its paper selling hood dreams directly to those same suburban kids while still staying relevant in the streets. The Beatles don’t have shit on that. Migos: 3, Beatles: 0
Student-curated exhibit gives snapshots of American photography
Art History students dug into the College’s archives to curate a photography exhibition that opened on Wednesday. Each student in Assistant Professor of Art History Dana Byrd’s “Snap, Shoot, Instagram: A History of Photography” class presented collections of photos inspired by a specific theme in the history of photography on the second floor of Hawthorne-Longfellow Library.
The class’s concentrations ranged from the evolution of photographic technology to the representation of women and indigenous peoples. Although Byrd has taught the course three times, this is the first time she has incorporated a curation project.
“[Students] translated ideas that may be deeply involved with theory into something that anyone walking by a case can begin to understand by looking at the objects,” she said.
After selecting their themes, students worked with Special Collections Education and Outreach Librarian Marieke Van Der Steenhoven to explore the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections and Archives and selected between two and five books, photographs or other items relating to their theme.
Many students had never used Special Collections before taking the course, and Van Der Steenhoven hopes that the exhibition will encourage those students to come back and to invite others in.
“One of the things that I find really exciting about Special Collections here at Bowdoin is that our collections are incredibly diverse and they are here for the students to use,” she said.
Special Collections houses over 50,000 rare books as well as the manuscripts of more than 300 families and individuals.
“Getting to go through all the different sources was really interesting, and to see the sheer volume of objects in the collection is really impressive,” said Ethan Bevington ’19.
After looking through the artifacts in the Special Collections reading room, students wrote labels and texts for the pieces they chose to display. Some students found the process of consolidating all of their research into a paragraph under 200 words to be challenging.
“You don’t want to leave anything out, but you don’t want to make it too long so that people are nervous to read it,” Emily McColgan ’17 said. “You have to find a balance.”
Byrd hopes that students’ descriptions and curatorial work will teach visitors to the exhibit about the history of photography and encourage them to consider the art form in new ways.
“It’s nice to kind of see the texture of the real object, to look at different historic photo processes as they change over time, to look at different sizes: all of the sort of things you lose by looking at a digital image or a JPEG,” Byrd said.
The opening of “Shoot, Snap, Instagram” also featured a ‘selfie station’ of enlarged reproductions of photographs from the college archives as they relate to the various themes relating to the history of American photography.
The exhibit will be on display until the end of the semester in May.
- December 9
Live from Brunswick: Bowdoin Night Live! satirizes Gladwell, ResLife
With topics ranging from Noam Chomsky to Malcolm Gladwell, Bowdoin Sketch Comedy presented a series of sketches satirizing the Bowdoin experience this week at Bowdoin Night Live! Held in Kresge Auditorium, the club’s final show of the semester provided a unique outlet for comical social commentary on the College and its institutional policies.
Tom Capone ’17, the leader of Bowdoin Sketch Comedy, described the creative process of the show as one deeply connected to Bowdoin students’ experience on campus.
“We spend the entire semester paying attention to what is going on on campus, reading the Orient, trying to be as involved in as many different parts of the community as possible and finding things that either should be made fun of or lend themselves to comedy,” said Capone.
The group is selected through a long audition process aimed at finding a diverse group of students with both comedy writing and acting talent. Only about three or four of the 40 students who auditioned last spring and this fall made the cut. Each of the ten club members wrote two or three sketches, but only the best eight were produced and performed.
The idea of writing, acting and producing sketch comedy at Bowdoin arose from the senior thesis of Simon Brooks ’14. Since then, Bowdoin Sketch Comedy has become a chartered student organization with scheduled performances each semester.
One of the highlights of this winter’s Bowdoin Night Live! was a video satirizing Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast that criticized Bowdoin Dining Services. The sketch, called “The Return of Malcolm Gladwell,” was a play on Gladwell’s generalization of Bowdoin students representing the ‘one percent.’
“I’m kind of hoping that Malcolm Gladwell actually sees it,” he said. “If he were to get angry at it or respond to it that would be the best reception that we could get.”
Callye Bolster ’19, a member of Bowdoin Sketch Comedy, wrote a sketch based on her own frustrations with the interplay between the Office of Residential Life and College Houses regarding parties and alcohol. Bolster, a member of Reed House, said she wanted to address the stress involved in hosting campus-wide parties.
“There are just all of these mixed messages about what we’re supposed to be doing,” she said. “Having the police come to nearly all of our parties that we’re supposed to throw but then constantly getting in trouble … I thought I’d write a skit just making fun of how confusing the process is.”
Capone and the rest of the club believe that while Bowdoin’s improv groups—Office Hours and Improvabilities—provide a great source of light humor on campus, sketch comedy is riskier in its content, which can edge on making students feel uncomfortable.
“It’s more difficult to digest something that cuts close to the truth, but that’s the form that I’m the most interested in and the group has worked the most to produce,” Capone said. “[We] touch very briefly on subjects that are not explicitly stated within the skits but implied and hopefully point out the absurdities of things that happen on campus.”
- December 9
Arctic Museum sled takes center stage in Fickera's '18 dance installation
Gina Fickera ’18 was surprised that, as a junior, she had never been to the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum. Though historic, the museum is often under-utilized by students, so Fickera took it upon herself to showcase its treasures in a site-specific dance piece she choreographed as part of her independent study.
Using the Inuit sled that Peary and MacMillan used in their expedition to the Arctic as the centerpiece of her independent study, Fickera aimed to encourage a more diverse audience to frequent the space.
Fickera decided to focus on the sled because of the ability to translate the language people use to describe the sled’s movement into dance. In the video of her performance, the dancers are seen sliding across the floor and falling to mimic the sliding and curved nature of the sled.
Advised by Professor and Chair of the Department of Theater and Dance Sarah Bay-Cheng, Fickera explored how site-specific dances can reject the confines of the traditional concert stage.
“The location itself becomes an integral part of the experience of artistically telling a story,” said Fickera.
After narrowing down from a list of 10 spaces by recording herself at each spot, Fickera decided to stage her dance in Hubbard Hall.
“[I did] whatever the space told me to do and [noted] how my body naturally responded to that space.”
Hubbard was ultimately the most appealing to Fickera because of its aesthetic, Inuit artifacts and history and culture in relation to Bowdoin.
“Working in a site-specific setting allowed for a deeper exploration of new choreographic possibilities and takes into consideration all interdisciplinary actions of a location that make it uniquely itself,” said Fickera.
The goal of her study was to explore postmodern movement artists through improvisation and the choreography was mainly improvisation-based. Dancers Melissa Miura ’19 and Joy Huang ’19 accompanied Fickera.
According to Fickera, museums have collaborated with performers since the 1960s.
“These performances blurred the line between theater, dance and art gallery installations,” she said.
The main difference between traditional and contemporary stages is the use of space. Because the traditional stage contains a fourth wall and a concealed audience, Fickera said that working in the Arctic Museum was a disorienting but exciting experience.
“I knew I was growing as a dancer,” she said.
“We generated some movement on our own and from there we strung the pieces together,” said Fickera.
Early one Sunday morning, two hours before the museum opened, they teamed up with Andres Aguaiza ’17 to film the sequence.
The video will be featured on the museum’s website and may be submitted into several film festivals. It will also be performed with the sled on stage in the Dance Department’s Concert next spring. According to Fickera, her independent study was an opportunity to give back to Bowdoin and to the museum.
“Now that I’ve had this experience, I believe that museums and dancers mutually benefit from each other,” said Fickera.
- December 9
New dance group offers inclusive space, bridges various styles
Noticing the need for a more community-oriented and diverse dance group on campus, Arah Kang ’19 and Joy Huang ’19 decided to create ReFRESH, a group dedicated to exploring movement through various styles of dance. Kang and Huang came up with the idea over the summer and ReFRESH began offering classes at the beginning of the semester.
“We wanted [it] to be a very inclusive dance community,” said Kang.
Last year, both Huang and Kang were part of dance groups on campus. Huang continues to perform with Vague, a jazz dance performance group. Kang was a member of Intersection, an Afro-Latin dance group. ReFRESH joins eight other dance groups on campus. They noted that the other dance groups on campus are audition and performance-based and wanted to create a group where anyone could come, regardless of experience.
“There is a lot of talent from students on campus who aren’t necessarily in the dance groups and we reach out to them,” said Huang.
ReFRESH offers dance classes once a week for an hour. At the beginning of the lesson, the instructor—a Bowdoin student—creates a 30-second combination. The rest of the class is spent working on the combination and free-styling. So far, they have offered classes in contemporary, hip-hop and bachata dance, all taught by different students at Bowdoin.
“We thought it would be cool for us to start something where you could have peers teaching peers and different styles,” said Huang.
Huang and Kang have used this semester to gauge interest in the group and develop their method. The turnout of the classes has been steady so far although they are hoping for more participants next semester.
“The biggest challenge is just getting enough people to come to make it a good community,” said Huang.
Sarena Sabine ’19 has been attending ReFRESH classes since they started. Part of her high school dance team, Sabine ultimately decided not to pursue dance at Bowdoin during her first year. She found that she missed the community aspect of dance and the range of genres, so she began to look into new dance groups on campus. ReFRESH provided just what she was looking for.
“Every week, there’s a new piece, a new song and a new style of dance,” said Sabine. “Different people bring in their talents, and collectively we have been able to try out a bunch of things.”
Huang and Kang have also created multimedia concept videos with the group. In one video, they projected various colorful images onto themselves and danced to “Breezeblocks” by alt-J. In the future, they are hoping to explore the intersection between various types of artistic mediums by creating more videos.
Huang and Kang ultimately want to create a safe space where people feel comfortable to go, learn a new dance style and hang out with other people who are passionate about dance.
“Dance is such a great source of joy and a stress reliever, especially in an environment like this class,” said Sabine. “It’s been a great addition to the Bowdoin dance community.”
- December 2
Curtain Callers bring music to the morbid in 'Heathers the Musical'
Exploring suicide, sexual assault and gun violence in a suburban high school setting, Bowdoin’s student-run musical theater group Curtain Callers will perform the satirical, dark comedy “Heathers the Musical” this coming weekend.
The musical is based on the 1988 film “Heathers,” a cult classic set in a fictional Ohio high school. Unlike the movie, the show is focused primarily on the relationship between Veronica and J.D., two nerdy outcasts.
“It’s a high school comedy-drama gone so wrong,” said director Holly Hornbeck ’18.
The play centers around Veronica, who is invited to become friends with a group of popular girls at school, all named Heather. As the “Heathers” start to compromise Veronica’s image as the friendly girl, she devises a plan with the rebellious J.D. to kill the cool kids.
“Veronica is super satirical, ironic and ‘girl power all the way,’ so I have some rock-out, strong numbers. I love playing this character who’s just a really strong woman,” said Phoebe Smukler ‘17, who plays Veronica.
This year, “Heathers” will be performed in Kresge Auditorium, a location that allows the show to use more advanced audiovisual equipment. In the past, the Curtain Callers have put on performances such as “Sweeney Todd” in Chase Barn, which is not ideal due to its small size and lack of equipment. Hornbeck hopes that performing in Kresge will revamp the Curtain Callers’ image.
“It’s going to be a way bigger production than Curtain Callers has put on,” said Hornbeck.
Hornbeck decided she wanted to perform “Heathers” because of its popularity and cult following, and received enthusiastic responses when she told people she was considering directing it.
“I wanted an edgy show, I wanted a funny show, but I didn’t want to put on a show like ‘Rent’ because that was too much to live up to,” said Hornbeck.
The show also presents sensitive subject matter such as sexual assault and homophobia in a comical way and discusses the daily, relatable struggles of suburban high schoolers.
“The show does say a lot about, no matter who a person is and how they portray themselves, everyone does have inner insecurities and deeper issues,” said Hornbeck. “I think that the show itself takes these characters that seem so one dimensional, but then you are able to see their deeper struggles within their relationships and friendships.”
The show’s intense, violent topics are presented in such a nonchalant way that Hornbeck and Smukler hope that it will bring about discussion and draw awareness to the fact that these subjects are difficult to discuss.
“It’s satire and it’s dark … It’s definitely an imperfect show, but I do still think it has value as a satirical, dark comedy,” said Hornbeck. “You’ll be able to see the characters go on a journey and mature. It’s a coming-of-age story. I think it’s going to strike exactly the right tone.”
The musical will be performed this Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium. Tickets are free and not required in advance.
- December 2
Visiting artist Lily Bo Shapiro '12 joins student dancers in annual winter dance concert
Both experienced and novice dancers will debut their semester’s work this weekend at the annual December Dance Concert. Featuring a wide variety of repertory styles, the concert will also showcase the abstract work of visiting artist Lily Bo Shapiro ’12.
Senior Lecturer in Dance Performance Gwyneth Jones hopes that students will come to see their peers perform and recognize that the dance department includes dancers of all levels.
“I think that’s a pretty terrific thing to realize,” she said.
According to Nick Walker ’16, a dancer in the Modern II: Repertory and Performance class, energy between movements can differ, even within a single piece. He is dancing in a four-movement piece with five other dancers.
“The first and the third [movements] are just slower, more thoughtful, and then the second and fourth are a little more energetic,” he said.
Walker has taken three dance classes at Bowdoin and noted that his performance this year features the individual dancers’ creations more prominently than in the past. He and his peers were able to choreograph much of the routine.
Lucia Gagliardone ’20, also a dancer in Modern II, will make her dance debut this weekend. She said she thinks the dance, which involves partner and group work, offers the audience a different perspective of dance and interaction.
“Movement in an ensemble is really about trusting each other and working together,” she said, “There’s not a hierarchy. It’s all about the ensemble.”
“I do think that it’s an art form that is often taken for granted. I hope more people will start to love it too by seeing it,” Gagliardone said.
Students will share the stage with Shapiro, whose visit comes as part of an ongoing effort by the dance department to bring alumni to campus to perform for and connect with the students.
“[It’s a nice way] for students to see that alums are dancing outside of Bowdoin,” said Jones, who also produced this year’s concert. “And I think when you have exposure that’s also more personal—like they’re going to get to work with her—I think it’s … something you’ll remember for much longer.”
“It feels really good to come back to Bowdoin with a purpose or with a job: to be teaching, to be performing, to come back and have a really specific engagement with students and faculty and community,” Shapiro said.
Shapiro said that alumni and other guest artists can demonstrate the opportunities and possibilities that dance can open up to students.
“There are ways that dance or performance or art making can continue in one’s life or as a career, as a life practice,” she said.
The other three pieces in the concert come from the Making Dances class and the Modern I and Modern II: Repertory and Performance classes. Two of these classes, Making Dances and Modern I, are introductory-level, and their performances feature students who may have never danced before an audience.
Shapiro also encouraged students to participate in and attend live performances on campus.
“It’s important for the students to have opportunities to perform,” she said. “It’s also important for folks to go see live performance … It’s ritualistic, it’s religious, it’s spiritual, it’s community oriented, and I really do think that live performance can change lives.
- December 2
Large-format bird illustrations take flight in Hawthorne-Longfellow
For the past year, a nearly 200-year-old, hand-colored edition of John James Audubon’s “The Birds of America” has been on display in Special Collections. A small crowd gathers on the first Friday of every month for a ceremonial page turning. Should the page-turning continue each month, it won’t be until the year 2052 that every page will have been displayed.
The book, which depicts one species on each page, is so large that it requires two librarians to turn the pages. Once a month, Special Collections holds this ceremonial page-turning in the Reading Room. The 12th page-turning event will take place on Friday at 12:30 p.m. and will feature a short presentation by biologist Justin Schuetz ’94.
Schuetz believes that the fusion of artistic and scientific talent represented in this rare edition of “The Birds of America” will draw a wide range of Bowdoin faculty, staff, students and community members to the page-turning.
“Some people will come because of an interest in art and art history. Others will come because of an interest in book making, and I suspect there will be some bird watchers there,” he said. “What Audubon does uniquely well is put all those people together in one room and have them see something that is interesting to all of them.”
Much like “The Birds of America,” Schuetz’s career and passions straddle the worlds of art and science. After graduating from Bowdoin, he earned a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University as well as a Masters of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute. A selection of his photographic work was displayed at Bowdoin during the 2015-2016 academic year.
According to Special Collections Education and Outreach Librarian Marieke Van Der Steenhoven, a group of bird enthusiasts from the surrounding communities has consistently attended the page-turnings since the event debuted in January of this year.
“There is starting to be a community around the page turning. I think it’s a fun way to come in and see something totally different and have an excuse to stop studying for a minute,” Van Der Steenhoven said.
The event on Friday will reveal the bird to be on display for the month of December. Schuetz plans on discussing the biology of the species and the way in which that biology is depicted in Audubon’s art. Attendees of the event will receive a complimentary pin featuring the species of the month and will have the opportunity to explore a selection of books about birds that will be on display in the reading room.
Van Der Steenhoven hopes that the page-turning will help expose members of the Bowdoin community to Special Collections.
“I think that this department is a hidden treasure of the College,” she said.
- November 18
Guerrilla Girls visit builds on campus' social justice conversations
An anonymous woman in a gorilla mask visited campus last night to speak to students about the discrimination found in the art world and beyond. The speaker, a founding member of the Guerrilla Girls—an New York City-based collective of anonymous female artists devoted to combating sexism and racism in the art world—goes by the pseudonym “Frida Kahlo” in order to preserve her anonymity.
Formed in 1985, the Guerrilla Girls are known for their protests of social inequality through humorous multimedia and speaking engagements. Primarily in the form of witty, provocative posters using dry humor and statistics, the Guerrilla Girls generate discussion about the lack of diversity found in major institutions in the United States, such as household name museums and Hollywood.
In her talk, “Kahlo” discussed her experience working as a part of the Guerrilla Girls—what she called the “conscience of the art world”—and described their various projects, including a projection on the Whitney criticizing wealth in the art world that proclaimed: “Art is sooo expensive.”
“We didn’t do it at the Whitney. We did it on the Whitney,” said Kahlo of the projection.
Much of what the Guerrilla Girls aim to do is bring awareness to the gender inequality of art in museums and galleries; one poster they made in 2011 states that less than 4 percent of the artists in the modern art section at the Metropolitan Museum of Art are women, although 76 percent of the nude images in the museum are of women.
“In general, it’s a lot easier to be a male artist than a female artist in terms of being respected and being critiqued,” said June Lei ’18, head of Bowdoin Art Society (BAS). “If the Guerrilla Girls did not do what they did, like in the ’80s, I think we would live in a very different world today in terms of the arts and the way our culture is represented. They’ve done some really important things.”
Through their striking imagery and biting social commentary, the Guerrilla Girls have created major change in the global art society and sparked a new wave of activism.
“I think there’s a whole generation of artists now who are training to be artists and are rejecting the conventional idea of an artist as someone who produces expensive works of art for rich people,” said “Kahlo.” “Now, art students are rejecting that. And they want to use their skills to improve circumstances in the art.”
Lei came into contact with “Kahlo” during the summer of 2015 while interning at the Brooklyn Museum. She said that the issues the Guerrilla Girls address are beneficial for all Bowdoin students and emphasized the importance of engaging arts, not only as a solution, but as an avenue to a more equal society.
Following the For Freedoms initiative—a project that brought the works of the only artist-based super political action committee (PAC) to Bowdoin earlier this year—Lei hopes that the Guerilla Girls’ visit will serve to further bridge the gap between art and social activism on campus.
“I think the arts at Bowdoin can often times feel very removed. My hope is that people see the work of the Guerrilla Girls in the public sphere and they see that it’s a socially relevant thing as a way to get engaged and channel what they are feeling in their experiences of politics and social injustice,” said Lei. “And that they can then use those experiences and create something that speaks to other people.”
Beyond pushing for social change within museums, the Guerrilla Girls also use their hard-edge humor to spark discourse on civil commitment and social change at universities and colleges across the country.
“Last year, there was this whole conversation surrounding race on campus and so that’s really a nationwide student movement that’s happening,” said Lei. “I think that there’s a certain value to bringing in the big leagues and someone who knows what they are talking about and has a lot of experience with this.”
Kinaya Hassane ’19, who organized the program with Lei, thinks that bringing “Kahlo” to speak on campus can also help address issues that are especially salient given the presidential election.
“[The Guerrilla Girls discuss] broader politics and broader issues of gender and race, and I think now that’s especially relevant, given the fact that we have elected Donald Trump as our president,” said Hassane.
“I’m an art history major, so the issue of representation in art has always been important to me,” said Hailey Beaman ’18, creative director of the BAS. “Hearing that there are people who are so impassioned about that issue and have been for so long is really inspiring as a young person hoping to go into the art world in some capacity.”
For Kahlo, the work she’s done over the past 30 years can be summed up in one phrase: “It’s righteous fun.
Women's hockey dominates at Frozen Fenway
On January 12, the women’s ice hockey team left the comfort of Watson Arena for the prestige of Fenway Park, where they played in the first-ever match between two NESCAC women’s teams at Frozen Fenway, a series of outdoor hockey games at the park.
The Polar Bears decisively beat conference-leader Connecticut College (11-4-2, 7-3-0 NESCAC) in a 3-0 shutout despite challenging ice conditions, securing Head Coach Marissa O’Neil’s 100th career win.
Participating in Frozen Fenway was historic for not only Bowdoin’s program, but the NESCAC as well. As a result, the biggest challenge going into the game was the team’s mindset, according to captain Kimmy Ganong ’17. To help prepare, the team worked with Dr. Tiff Jones, a sport and psychology consultant hired by Bowdoin this year.
“We met with [Jones] a few times leading up to Fenway just to get the mindset of what it’s going to be like playing at Fenway and playing in such a big arena,” Ganong said. “So she did a lot of work with us on that and helped us be on the ice and not get caught up in the ice or not get distracted by fans.”
O’Neil agrees that the team’s mental preparation was extremely important leading up to the game, but she didn’t want to take away from the players’ excitement for the event.
“It’s a huge game, it’s a conference game, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” O’Neil said. “We weren’t trying to dampen the mood by just saying ‘You need to focus on this.’ You need to have perspective on it. It’s an incredible opportunity, so we wanted [the team] to enjoy that excitement and enjoy being with one another.”
The most visible challenge the team faced was playing outside. On the day of the match, it was warm and rainy, which led to an inch and a half of water on the ice, quite similar to current campus conditions.
“It was like playing on a pond, but the pond wasn’t frozen,” said Ganong. “You can find pictures online that show our goalie standing at the net and there are just rings of water [on the ice]. It was definitely something we had to adjust to because our ice here is always frozen.”
According to O’Neil, the ice conditions actually helped the team relax before and during the game.
“They play better when they can be playful and not overthink too much so [the ice quality] sort of helped in their mental preparation,” she said. “I think the absurdity of trying to pass in puddles helped calm their nerves.”
Ganong believes that the main reason that the Polar Bears won the game was due to their ability to adapt to the conditions.
“The game was a lot slower and the ice was wet,” she said. “You had to almost lift all your passes so that they wouldn’t get stuck in the water. The ice was bumpy, but we all did it. We all adjusted and I think that is a big reason we won.”
The turning point in the game, according to O’Neil, was the team’s first goal.
“[Connecticut College] had us on our heels at times and there were a lot of momentum shifts,” O’Neil said. “But we scored on a low-angle shot that really seemed to be a turning point for our team.”
“We had great goal-tending by Kerri St. Denis [’19] up to that point, but in terms of momentum, the table just kind of turned when we scored that first goal. Then our kids led just a relentless pursuit the rest of the way,” she said.
While O’Neil’s 100th career win is a notable accomplishment, it didn’t overshadow the team’s success, according to O’Neil.
“I never focused on that and same with our players with their individual achievements,” she said. “It’s all about our team and always will be. But it was pretty incredible that it just happened to be on that night.”
Although the excitement surrounding the game is over, Ganong believes that this will still be a landmark event in the women’s hockey program.
“I do think it gives more notice to Bowdoin and for the future players that may come here, just hearing that we played at Fenway and we won, I think it’s really, really special for the program and for Bowdoin athletics as well,” she said. “To have a women’s team play there and to have teams from campus come down in support of us and have alums from years past come—all in all, it was just great for the College.”
The team will travel to Wesleyan this weekend for a pair of NESCAC games on Friday and Saturday.
Editor's Note, Friday, January 27, 4:50 p.m.: An earlier version of this article stated that Dr. Tiff Jones was hired by the College as a sports psychiatrist. The article has been updated to clarify that she is a sport and psychology consultant.
Siwady '19 swims at short course world championships for Honduras national team
Last month, Gabriel Siwady ’19 represented Honduras in the 13th International Swimming Federation (FINA) World Swimming Championships in Windsor, Canada and recorded the fifth best time among college students in the 1500-meter freestyle.
The international short-course (25 meters) championship is held every two years and hosts some of the world’s best swimmers from more than 150 countries, including Olympians Lilly King and Tom Shields of the United States, as well as Katinka Hosszu of Hungary and Chad Le Clos of South Africa.
Siwady has competed at junior international championships as a part of the Honduras national team since he was 15. This was his first time competing at the senior level.
Eight swimmers represented Honduras in different events, all of whom Siwady previously met back home or at other international championships.
“Honduras is a very weak country in athletics, we don’t have the best swimmers in the world,” he said. “We don’t excel that much, but I was able to still perform well, despite that.”
He participated in two events: the 1500-meter freestyle and the 200-meter butterfly. In his stronger event, the 1500, he beat his personal record with a time of 16:32.62.
“If you train hard and you prepare well, in the moment you can accomplish your goals if you think about them everyday,” Siwady said.
Though Siwady has been swimming competitively since he was five, the international stage can still be daunting. However, he embraced the high stakes and elite competition.
“I like that [the meet] has all the elaborate introductions,” Siwady said. “They play music when you are about to step on the starting blocks. I just liked seeing people from other countries, seeing fast Olympic swimmers who broke world records.”
Siwady believes his experience competing at the junior international level mentally prepared him to feel comfortable and succeed when competing at the senior level.
“My first time [was in 2013], so I wasn’t used to competing at a global stage so I was little more nervous,” he said. “I had prepared well and performed well in that one too, but the whole experience was very new to me. This time around I really knew what I was doing, where I had to go and who I needed to talk to before my race.”
Siwady plans to continue representing Honduras during his time at Bowdoin and hopes to compete on an even more competitive stage.
“I’m thinking about participating at the Olympics,” he said. “It depends on how I am with jobs after college, but it is a good objective to have.”
Women's swimming and diving marches, races in solidarity
On Saturday, as hundreds of thousands of Americans gathered to participate in Women’s Marches across the country, the Bowdoin women’s swimming and diving team took a moment during their division meet to show solidarity with the movement.
At the end of the meet, all female-identifying members of the four NESCAC teams—Bowdoin, Colby, Wesleyan and Trinity—were invited to partake in a mixed relay. Instead of competing as separate colleges, swimmers and divers from all teams lined up and completed their final event together. Using a variety of strokes for varying distances, the women forewent competition and swam in sync with one another for nearly five minutes before concluding the meet.
“I think it was just really cool that we got participation by almost all of the women at the meet,” said women’s captain Isabel Schwartz ’17. “It was really powerful to see everyone lined up behind the blocks, giving each other high fives at the end of the relay and seeing everyone try to swim together.”
The four teams also chose to begin the meet with a small-scale march from the locker rooms onto the pool deck. Instead of walking out as separate teams, the women entered together, led by the teams’ captains and followed by an integrated group of swimmers and divers from all the teams.
Once gathered on deck, the captains read a statement about the march and then had a moment of silence to honor the events of the day.
Colby women’s swimming captain Cat Padgett ’17, who spearheaded the event, first suggested it when athletes, including Padgett herself, realized the Saturday meet conflicted with the women’s marches. Determined to participate in some capacity, Padgett and her sister—a Wesleyan swimmer—reached out to other NESCAC captains and together, with the endorsement of their coaches, planned the event.
Bowdoin’s women’s team captains, Erin Houlihan ’17 and Schwartz, were excited about organizing and participating in the march as a united group of female athletes.
“It was really important to find a way to participate that was particularly meaningful [to me],” said Houlihan. “I am definitely passionate about a lot of the issues, but swimming is also really important to me. It was really cool to be able to stand up for what I believe in with all these other female athletes.”
While the captains coordinated logistics, both Schwartz and Houlihan made it clear that the event was both team-driven and garnered the support of their parents and male teammates.
“The men’s team gave us a lot of positive feedback,” said Houlihan. “[They] were lined up along the pool cheering and when we finished the relay almost everyone jumped in [the pool].”
The unity and solidarity of the swimmers throughout the entire meet was deeply felt by all.
“It’s always cool when there’s something bigger than swimming out there, when four teams who are normally competing come together at a meet to do this one thing,” said Houlihan. “It means swimming is important to us but there are things that are also really valuable besides competition.”
Indoor track and field season opens with early success, sets high expectations for next meets
Over break, both the Bowdoin women’s and men’s indoor track and field teams started off their seasons strong at a pair of home invitationals.
In the first invitational, the women’s team placed first, edging out Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) by half a point in a tight, seven-team field. The men placed second behind WPI, and the following week again took second place, losing only to MIT, but placing higher than Tufts for the first time in five years. The women’s team placed fourth at the competitive second invitational.
“I think that the way the men and the women are covering all the events this year has been different than in some years past,” said Head Coach Peter Slovenski. “It is much better for the team when we have good athletes in all events, which we are not always able to do.”
There were a wide array of standout performances between the two invitationals, including sweeping the 4x400 relay at the first meet. At the second invitational, Joseph Staudt ’19 broke his own field house and Bowdoin record in the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.30 seconds.
Helping round out the women’s roster this season is a massive group of first years—19 in all—led by Morgen Gallagher ’20, who placed first in the long jump during the team’s first meet.
“Our entire first-year class has really been stepping it up this season,” said captain Pamela Zabala ’17. “I think it is a testament to their hard work during preseason.”
Even though Bowdoin is a relatively small school compared to its competition, Slovenski is confident that the teams will find success in the postseason. He believes that both teams can win the Maine State meet on February 3-4 and two weeks later follow it up with top 5 finishes in the New England DIII track championship. He also hopes that several individual athletes will qualify for nationals along the way.
That being said, their success is dependent on recovering from and preventing injuries.
“A big priority for the teams’ success is to have people who are healthy stay healthy and getting some of key members back from injuries up to competitive form,” Slovenski said.
This Saturday at 1 p.m., the Polar Bears are hosting another invitational, this time facing the Coast Guard Academy and Husson University. Both teams are feeling very confident.
“It will be a good tune-up,” said captain Matthew Jacobson ’17. “I feel confident that we should get the win, but it is mostly a tune-up for the state meet. Some guys will run some different events to work on some different technical things and get mentally and physically prepared for the bigger meets. It will be a fun meet.”
highlight reel: 12/9-1/26
Making a racket.
The women’s squash team (4-6) is currently ranked 21st by the College Squash Association (CSA). While the team has faced some challenges this season, it is currently on a three-game win streak as it looks to turn the season around heading to Providence to face No. 10 Brown this weekend. The men’s team (3-7) is currently ranked 25th by the CSA and also has a tough weekend ahead of it. The team will face No. 21 MIT at home today and travel to No. 17 Brown on Saturday.
Over winter break, Jack Simonds ’19 was named NESCAC Player of the Week for men’s basketball after scoring 44 points between the team’s last two wins over Maine-Presque Isle and Williams. In the games, Simonds averaged 6.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and shot 53 percent from the three-point range. The team currently has a record of 9-8 but is 1-4 in conference play. As a result, the team is ranked 10th in the NESCAC. It will travel to Colby on Saturday for its next NESCAC matchup.
Locked in for lax.
On Monday, the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association ranked Bowdoin men’s lacrosse 11th in the nation in its Division III Preseason Poll. Setting the stage for a competitive in-conference season, the Polar Bears are joined in the top 20 by five other NESCAC teams, including Tufts at No. 2 and Amherst at No. 9. The team finished last season with a 12-5 record and advanced to the NESCAC semifinals.
Queen of the court.
Chamique Holdsclaw will be on campus on February 1 as part of Bowdoin Athletics’ Leadership and Empowerment through Athletics Principle (LEAP) Initiative. Holdsclaw is a women’s basketball Olympic gold medalist who has been heavily involved in mental health and wellness activism after an astounding career that included three consecutive NCAA championships at the University of Tennessee and six WNBA All-Star honors. Her documentary “Mind | Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw,” will be screened at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Kresge Auditorium, followed by a panel discussion at 8:30 p.m. also in Kresge Auditorium.
- December 9
Women's basketball extends win streak to seven
Women’s basketball is still undefeated after a decisive 68-41 victory over Endicott last night. With a 7-0 record, the team is currently ranked No. 14 by D3hoops.com, No. 11 by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) poll and No. 4 in the NCAA Northeast regional ranking.
The team continued its dominance last week with a 60-38 win over Colby (4-3) last Saturday and a 103-33 annihilation of the University of Maine-Farmington (UMF) (1-6) on Tuesday.
“Colby always gives us a tough game, so Saturday was great in that we got the win,” said captain Rachel Norton ’17. “But we also saw areas we need to focus in on. We had a nice start, but ultimately we’re trying to build on it every day. We can be more consistent and tougher in our rebounding game, and every day we are trying to improve our defensive rotations and pressures.”
The team’s dominating performance over UMF was also a record-breaking one—the Polar Bears’ 58 points in the first half is a Bowdoin record for points in a half and the team’s total of 103 now ranks second in points for in a single game.
Last year’s offense largely focused on Shannon Brady ’16, who led the team with 16.8 points per game—which was 7.8 points ahead of the next highest scorer—but this season has featured much more parity. Kate Kerrigan ’18 leads the team with 10.6 points per game, followed closely by Lauren Petit ’18 with 8.0 points per game and captain Marle Curle ’17 with 7.0 points per game.
“Team chemistry is a huge factor in the success we have had,” Head Coach Adrienne Shibles said. “The team is a close-knit group—very selfless and we are all on the same page with regard to values and what we feel like is important.”
Norton said that the Polar Bears have great team chemistry on and off the court and have fun playing with one another. In addition, the team’s depth has been a key factor in its early success.
“We have a very deep bench which allows fresh legs to get in often without seeing any drop in our play,” she said.
Despite losing the program’s leading rebounder in Brady, this year’s team has dominated the glass on both sides of the ball, grabbing 41 offensive rebounds over its last two games. Still, Shibles sees room for improvement.
“[Rebounding] is something we have to improve on to achieve our potential as a team,” she said.
After their victory over Endicott, the Polar Bears now face one of their toughest opponents with a home game against Bates. Despite its lack of experience, the team is confident that if it sticks to its game plan it will not be phased.
“They have all the pieces but they lack the depth that we have,” said Shibles. “We’re two very different teams. I think it will be whoever plays to the strengths more will end up victorious in the game.”
After the Bates game, the team’s next competition will be in California over winter break where it will play against Claremont McKenna and Pomona-Pitzer.
“We’re playing two strong teams out there, which will only help us going forward. We’re an incredibly close team, so we can’t wait to make the trip together,” Norton said.
Bowdoin hopes to continue its win-streak and improve its performance, and Norton said that there are obvious end goals, like a NESCAC Championship. The team has no doubt it can reach these goals. Still, complacency remains a worry, and the team will continue to make a deliberate push to stay focused on the present and on what it can control.
“We have gotten into a mode where we don’t like opposition. Our biggest opposition is ourselves. We go into every game focusing on how can we get better,” Shibles said.
The Polar Bears look to continue their dominant performance at Morrell Gymnasium on Saturday at 3 p.m.
- December 9
Women's ice hockey works to preserve unbeaten record
After tying with Saint Anselm (8-1-2) on Saturday and defeating University of Southern Maine (3-6) on Tuesday to stay unbeaten with a record of 3-0-2, the women’s ice hockey team is preparing to play the University of New England and Norwich—which is ranked 6th by the D3hockey.com poll—this weekend.
Head Coach Marissa O’Neil believes the challenge Norwich presents will push the team to come out and play well despite pressure from upcoming final exams.
“I think Norwich is a team that brings out your best hockey,” O’Neil said. “Since the start of their program, they’ve been a top team in the country and so I think that sort of trumps everything else. I think our kids will get up to play them.”
Captain Kimmy Ganong ’17 believes that the team’s previous performances are evidence that Bowdoin has a chance of doing well against Norwich.
“I think [that] our past few games this year, like beating Holy Cross and tying with Saint A’s, [have shown that] we’re a good team and we know we can hold our own against these really good out of conference teams,” Ganong said. “So I think just we need to keep that in mind and go into the game knowing that it’s going to be a battle and it’s going to be hard.”
Captain Madeline Hall ’17 agreed with Ganong that the team does have the potential to do well in Saturday’s game if the team focuses on playing its own game.
“I think that if we just focus on not focusing on who we’re playing, but rather focus on us as a team, I think we’ll definitely give them a run for their money,” Hall said. “We definitely can win. I don’t think it’s necessarily a matter of whether we can win or not, but whether or not we can kind of put the pieces together and show up and actually play the game we know we can play.”
In order to win, Hall believes that the team needs to play a full game and keep up its intensity, no matter the score. In both of its ties, the team was up 2-0 before losing its lead.
“That’s definitely an important piece—not changing our mentality or how we’re playing at all based on the score,” she said. “Always play like it’s 0-0 and definitely playing the whole 60 minutes. [We have to be] focusing on each period at a time, but not wasting the first 20 minutes to get our legs going. Making sure that when minute one starts in the first period, we’re actually going all out right there.”
Though O’Neil is not disappointed by the team’s performance thus far, she said it will continue to work on playing in different situations throughout the season.
“We’re not looking to peak in the early season so we’re building our story right now and it’s good to learn this lesson early,” O’Neil said. “If we can learn it when we’re tying, we’re happy with that. We learn from your losses and you want to learn from your losses, but we’re okay with not having any right now.”
Looking forward, the team will play at Fenway Park on January 12 against Connecticut College as a part of Frozen Fenway, a series of outdoor hockey games and skating events at the park.
“The spectacle of it people have thought about—it’s a once in a lifetime experience,” O’Neil said. “I know a lot of people at school are excited about it and I think it’s a really cool event that I hope will bring out a lot of Bowdoin alums and a lot of family and friends in the New England area. It’s pretty special.”
With the amazing opportunity comes added pressure, and Hall believes the team needs to stay focused on the fact that it is a NESCAC game and not get too carried away by the experience.
“Given that it is a conference game against Conn, that definitely has an impact on our seating and standing within the NESCAC, it’s an important game” she said. “It’s going to be really important to focus ourselves and not get too hyped so that it distracts us from actually playing well.”
- December 9
Swimming and diving performs well going into winter break training
Having competed in two meets so far, the women’s and men’s swimming and diving teams have gotten off to solid starts this season. In addition to performing well as a group, Bowdoin has had a number of notable accomplishments on an individual level.
This weekend, Gabriel Siwady ’19 will be representing Honduras at the International Swimming Federation (FINA) World Swimming Championships in Windsor, Canada. The Polar Bears also swept NESCAC Performers of the Week last week as Sterling Dixon ’19 and Karl Sarier ’19 earned honors for their strong performances in the teams’ season opener against MIT and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Siwady made the Honduras National Team after placing first in events at a national level. Although he has competed for Honduras multiple times before—including at the Junior World Championships in 2013—this will be the first meet where he will represent his country at a senior level.
The World Swimming Championships draw the top talent from more than 172 countries around the world, which is the most exciting aspect of the meet for Siwady.
“Just the experience of getting to swim with the best in the world and being there and having a good race—I know that whatever happens, it’s something that I won’t forget,” said Siwady.
Last weekend, the Polar Bears competed against Colby, Bates and the University of Maine-Orono (UMO) at the two-day Maine State Meet, hosted by Bowdoin. At the men’s meet, Bowdoin finished second overall with 814 points, behind Bates’ winning total of 1030 points. In a close race on the women’s side, Bowdoin took third place overall with 792.5 points, where Bates once again clinched first place with 976.5 points, followed by UMO followed with 873 points.
Men’s captains Tim Long ’17 and Michael Given ’17 were very impressed with the team’s performance at the Maine State Meet.
“It was really cool to see that our teammates were setting meet records, especially this early in the season,” said Given. “In regards to [Sarier’s] races, it’s a little scary to know that he’s only getting better.”
In addition to echoing Given’s praise of the athletic performances, Long spoke highly of the team’s camaraderie.
“We did an especially good job off the water cheering for each other,” he said. “There were always people behind the lanes, motivating each other, pushing each other on.”
Women’s captains Erin Houlihan ’17 and Isabel Schwartz ’17 were enthused with the results of the meet but are more excited about the team’s prospects after winter break. Since the team has only been in season since November 1, they have had little time to make significant progress, especially with increased academic pressure at the end of the semester. Over winter break, however, swimmers and divers use the hiatus from classes to practice, usually completing two pool sessions each day for over three weeks.
“We definitely have a more flexible schedule approaching finals because most of our training happens over winter break,” said Houlihan. “Over break, our coach expects us to be focused 100 percent on swimming.”
Head Coach Brad Burnham agreed with Houlihan, saying the teams’ current goal is maintaining fitness levels until they are able to focus on training over break.
“These are the most intense academic weeks of the year, so we just try to keep them moving,” he said. “Winter break for us is a chance to eat and sleep and get in really good shape, but also to learn how to swim fast, make the right choices and prepare for competition.”
The teams’ winter break schedule consists of roughly two weeks of training on the Bowdoin campus and one week of training in Coral Springs, Florida. In Florida, the team will also compete in the Coral Springs Invitational—a small meet against three other schools—to get swimmers ready for competition in the spring. Swimmers and divers face some of the toughest training on the Florida trip, but it also serves as a great opportunity for them to unwind and bond during downtime.
“That week that we’re in Florida the practices are really intense, and it’s not uncommon to fail a set,” said Schwartz. “But you get to go outside in the sun, and you’re able to bond with your team by playing football on the beach and staying in a hotel room instead of just grabbing a meal and swimming in the pool.”
After Florida, the team aims to beat Bates at the January 13 meet in Lewiston.
“Bates is always the team we compare ourselves to because they train very similarly to us and have some of the same philosophies,” said Long. “Meets against them are always intense, close, and emotional, and we plan to come out on top.”
- December 9
Curling keeps eyes on Nationals qualification as season progresses
Bowdoin’s curling team is enjoying a strong season, with a mix of veteran leaders and first years. The team attended a tournament, or “bonspiel,” at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY this past weekend.
In a round-robin style tournament, the Polar Bears won the first three rounds, setting a new best record in club history and advancing them to the semi-finals of the championship bracket.
The curling team has found success despite the graduation of two skilled senior members last year, due to a high level of interest from the first-year class. The first years’ energy and dedication to the game has impressed the older members.
“With the compensation that we’ve gotten from the freshman class and the energy we’ve gotten from just everyone in general … we’ve been able to make up for [the loss of the former seniors],” said Max Sterman ’17, who has been playing for the curling team throughout his time at the College.
For the most part, the curling team is self-guided, with organization provided by the upperclassmen. Its official coach, Douglas Coffin, helps run the Belfast Curling Club in Belfast, Maine. He provides the team with advice on both on-ice strategy and organizational set up. However, the team attends tournaments without Coffin. Despite this challenge, the players uphold their rank as second in the region.
“Everyone is very excited to play … in some ways we get in the minds of other teams because we’re so excited to play and we’re very happy on the ice that they sometimes wonder why they’re not as happy,” Sterman said.
Bowdoin’s curling team has been around for seven years. Curling is an emerging sport at the collegiate level, and with the high interest from the first year class, the Bowdoin curling team hopes to have skillful members who can potentially move up through the ranks and lead the team in the future.
“Our team is pretty young, which is nice because then we can build on that and really become really a top tier competitive team,” said Kylie Best ’19, the only team member who had previous curling experience before coming to Bowdoin.
Current members expressed that last year’s seniors not only helped the team on the ice, but also provided an understanding of how to better manage the team.
With the influx of new first years who needed training, the upperclassmen felt challenged when it came to arranging positions in the team and accommodating the first year members.
“There’s a little bit of pressure of who’s going to be in charge just because we have so many valued and experienced curlers and only so many spots,” said captain Cole Hamel ’18.
As of now, the team’s ultimate goal is to play hard through the remaining three tournaments in order to qualify for the National bonspiel.
Teams ranked in the top 16 nationally get to attend the tournament, which will be held in Utica, New York this spring. Bowdoin’s team, which is currently ranked eighth in the country, qualified for Nationals last year.
“Our record at Nationals last year was not as great as we would have liked it to be. But at the same time that was our first time going to Nationals, all of us. So we gave ourselves a little bit of leeway there,” said Best.
After winter break, the team will attend a tournament in Belfast, Maine, on their home ice. More experienced team members hope to step back a bit in the home tournament to let the first-years get some performance time to practice. The second tournament will be held at Yale.
Hamilton is the only other NESCAC school with a curling team, making them Bowdoin’s greatest rival.
Despite the challenges faced by the team in training and accommodating the freshmen, members feel the team has a lot of potential for growth. For them, having fun and enjoying the game is just as important as winning and competing for the top brackets and the national championships.
“I think we’re succeeding with that challenge because we’ve been hearing … stories of kids on the team. Their roommates would talk about how our teammates … [are] obsessed with curling. To us, that means we have succeeded so far in probably the biggest challenge this season so I think I would like that to continue,” Sterman said.
“We know we’re all there to have fun and that’s the point of curling,” Best said.
- December 9
The relegation zone: Remembering Chapocoense: the tragic loss of the Brazilian underdogs
Last Tuesday, the Brazilian club Chapecoense was on the way to Medellin, Colombia to cap off a remarkable season with the first leg of a two-leg tie against Colombian giants Atlético Nacional in the Copa Sudamericana final, the South American equivalent of the Europa League. The moment was supposed to be the culmination of a wild ride that saw the tiny provincial squad fighting their way up the from fourth division of Brazilian soccer in 2009 to battling—and beating—some of the continent’s best sides in this season’s Copa. Instead, the fairytale ended in tragedy when the plane carrying the team crashed into the mountains near Medellin.
Of the 77 passengers on the charter flight from Bolivia to Medellin, 71 were killed in the wreckage, including coaches, technical staff, journalists and 19 of the team’s players. It appears that the plane ran out of fuel over Colombia, with the pilot radioing in a “fuel emergency” moments before crashing, corroborated by the absence of an explosion post impact.
Newspapers and investigators have raised serious questions about the airline Lamia’s fueling protocol in the wake of the crash. The distance between their Bolivian origin and Medellin was slightly outside the plane’s range, and as such, the plane also lacked the 30 minutes of additional fuel aviation experts say is a necessary precaution. Further, the pilot reportedly waved off a refueling stop in Cobija. Lamia’s reputation as a cut-rate charter operator raises further questions about the procedures and is particularly disturbing because the Argentinian National Team flew on the same doomed plane just two weeks before.
Hailing from Chapecó, a small provincial city of 210,000 in the south of Brazil, the Chapecoense had only been a professional side since the mid-1970s. Even before the Copa success, Chape had earned comparisons to Leicester City, the Premier League club who rose from similar lower league obscurity to capture last season’s title.
The club rose through the ranks in Brazil on the back of investments in training facilities and infrastructure and sound management that is rare in Brazilian soccer. This season, Chape was on track to finish a club record ninth in the league before the tragedy. Like Leicester, they found success on the back of journeymen like top scorer Bruno Rangel and captain Cléber Santana, most famous for brief stints at Atlético Madrid and Mallorca in Spain. The story of lovable underdogs clad in green and white punching above their weight and slaying giants like Argentina’s San Lorenzo earned them the admiration of fans continent-wide.
On Monday, the South American Football Confederation, CONMEBOL, declared Chapecoense the winner of the Copa Sudamericana, after Atlético Nacional asked them to award Chape the title to honor the victims of the crash. Other outpourings of support have come from Brazil’s top clubs, who offered to loan players to the club for next season in order to help get them back on their feet.
As tragic and gutting as such an incident may be, the crash will not spell the end of Chapecoense. Albeit to a lesser scale, Manchester United lost eight players to the Munich air disaster in 1958 and eventually rose to even greater heights. Part of what precipitated Chape’s meteoric rise from fourth division obscurity to competing for a major continental championship was their grit and determination, along with sound management. If history is any indicator, the club and its future squad will pull on those same traits to ensure that it and the memory of those lost do not go gentle into that Brazilian night (to paraphrase a better writer than myself).
Arsenal’s Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista played under Chapecoense manager Caio Júnior and was obviously stricken by the crash. On the verge of tears, he said, “If you think you want to do something, just get out there and do it, because we don’t know what tomorrow brings.” I don’t mean to end on too sentimental a note, but his words seem especially sage in the wake of tragedy. Go out and do something you’ve been putting off today.