Chabotar: bound to go down in academic fame
To the Editors:
In 1991 former President Edwards called Kent Chabotar, a 22 year veteran
public finance professor, at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government to
offer him the position of Bowdoin College Treasurer. Chabotar then paused
and then politely demanded an improvement to Edward's offer: he would
come to Bowdoin only if he were allowed to continue to teach part-time.
Each spring semester since then, Professor Kent Chabotar, or Kent as
many of his students know him, has taught a course - either the introductory
Government 215 or his senior seminar, Government 370 - on public policy
and fiscal administration in addition to his duties as Treasurer of the
College. Kent's bravado and expertise leaves no doubt among his students
that teaching is much more than a part-time pursuit - it is his true passion.
None of the 60 students who fill his Public Policy class each spring to
capacity can escape notice by slouching in their chairs and hiding in
the corners of Druckenmiller 16. Instead, Kent's uncanny ability to draw
intelligent participation from each member of the class makes for lively
discussion and distinguishes Kent as a master of the Socratic method.
As Treasurer, Kent is able to bring into the class a hands-on experience
and intimate familiarity that too often is missing from the halls of academia.
Perhaps most importantly, Kent's passion for teaching extends far beyond
the confines of the classroom. His tenaciousness in reaching out to students
and the honest interest and care he shows to their well-being and future
keeps students visiting him long after the final exam. It is a rare occasion
when Kent travels out of town with out stopping for dinner with a former
student and disciple of Government 215. Kent's reach into the student
body is by no means limited to those that take his classes, as he has
always been eager to take students on as academic advisees or in independent
study projects. Finally, as a long-time faculty advisor to student government,
Kent has most recently for the past two years led a weekend leadership
retreat for the E-9.
As the article in this issue explains, Kent will leave Bowdoin in June of 2002 after an 11-year tenure as treasurer that included 10 balanced budgets and a resurgence of fiscal discipline and vigor. If one judges a professor's success by his enthusiasm and efficacy in engaging students, then after Kent teaches Government 215 for the final time this upcoming spring, his name will undoubtedly rest among Nat Danes, Leroy Greason and the other famed professors who have left their marks on Bowdoin. The writers of this letter, on the other hand, seriously doubt that he himself will rest long before once again entering the classroom as a professor.
Steve Popper '03
To the Bowdoin Community,
On next Tuesday's ballot there is an important environmental question:
whether to enact the Coastal Protection Zone Amendments. This measure
will limit development in order to protect the health of Maquoit Bay.
I urge you to vote yes on this question.
Maquoit Bay is located a mere two miles from Bowdoin's campus. It is
a beautiful place and a precious natural resource. But more and more houses
are being built in the watershed area of the bay. If development in this
area is allowed unchecked, excess nutrients from numerous septic systems
could lead to explosive plant growth, which can cause a catastrophic depletion
of oxygen. This in turn could kill the marine life in the bay.
The Coastal Protection Zone Amendments will place reasonable limits on
the number of houses and septic systems that can pour pollutants into
the bay. The amendments are our best bet for preserving a healthy bay.
The Coastal Protection Zone Amendments were the product of a local citizens'
Task Force, and they are based upon the research and knowledge of a number
of Bowdoin scientists. The amendments were recommended unanimously by
the Brunswick Planning Board, and they were approved by the Brunswick
Town Council. The issue is on the ballot now because a group composed
largely of realtors and local property development interests has forced
a referendum. Many of the opponents stand to profit from development in
the watershed area.
Brunswick is your community now, and Maquoit Bay belongs to you. Help
protect it by voting Yes on Question 1 on Tuesday, November 6.
To the Editors:
My colleagues Ta Herrera and Rick Freeman did an excellent job of explaining
the importance and complexities of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in
last week's Orient. However, their stress on flaws in the Kyoto Protocol,
viewed from a narrow economic perspective, had two unfortunate effects.
First, they let President Bush off the hook for repudiating an international
agreement reached after years of arduous multilateral negotiations with
compromises on all sides. Perhaps Bush's unilateralism was intended to
gain bargaining leverage in future negotiations; but it sent a terrible
message -- play by our rules or we won't play -- which could set negotiations
back years. Fortunately, the National Academy of Sciences has responded
to Bush's "what me worry?" stance by strongly confirming that
human-caused warming is happening and is serious.
Second, Herrera and Freeman overlook what is arguably the Kyoto Protocol's
most important contribution, while misrepresenting key features as flaws.
In critiquing the Protocol's economic costs relative to its environmental
benefits, they fail to acknowledge that its signal "benefit"
is not about specific abatement targets or policy instruments. Rather,
it is building a new international governance regime and convincing industrial
nations to relinquish sovereignty for the sake of crucial, long term global
objectives. President Bush denied that responsibility.
Their contention that the Protocol "did not call for enough reduction of greenhouse gas emissions" ignores the obvious: the 2010-12 targets are just a first installment on larger reductions. They contend that "it tried to do it too quickly, thereby imposing higher costs..than were necessary." The point about costs is well taken. However, agreeing to substantial early reductions had diplomatic and symbolic importance justifying an economic efficiency tradeoff. Further, post-Kyoto negotiations were leading toward more cost-effective measures.
Finally, they contend that "it did not require any actions now or in the future by any developing nations." Leaving aside the added complications of bringing poorer nations into an already very complex process, it is not equitable to "require" them to take immediate action. In any case, the proceedings make clear that the Third World will be part of future mitigation strategy.