Protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
To the Bowdoin Community:
On October 19, four Bowdoin students headed to Washington, D.C. for Econference
2001, a national conference on social and environmental activism.
"We, the undersigned members of the Bowdoin College Community, are deeply and profoundly concerned about Climate Change. We want to see a national energy policy that aims at the reduction of carbon dioxide and other green house gasses .Please support the development and consumption of renewable energy sources, such as photovoltaic and wind rather than continue subsidies to fossil fuel production and distribution. Please also support increases in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and eliminate the loophole that allows Sport Utility Vehicles and other light trucks to use more gasoline than cars. Please support public transportation initiatives. Lastly, please oppose the opening of new oil drilling or coal mining sites across the nation, especially those in ecologically sensitive areas, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve."
The implications of oil exploration and drilling are profound. The native
Gwichin people have made it crystal clear they oppose drilling. These
natives (whose name actually means "Caribou people") have lived
peacefully for 20,000 years on the northern Alaskan plain, and depend
entirely on the fall caribou migration for food as well as cultural sustenance.
They are the voice of a minority people who will most adversely and most
certainly be affected by drilling.
Compiled by the Sierra Student Coalition
To the Bowdoin Community:
Representative of how sheltered my life is, I witnessed my first crime
tonight. My friend's laptop was stolen from his library carrel, and I
was the only witness. Around 8:00 two teenagers passed me in the library,
greeted me, and passed around the corner. They were tense, and upon their
overly friendly greeting, I knew that something was wrong. After they
passed, I quickly followed. I saw one sit at a carrel, which I found out
later was my friend's. He was playing with something as the other stood
guard. I immediately ran downstairs and reported the behavior to a member
of the library list. He was asked if I wanted him to go up to kick them
out. I replied that would be great, but by the time he went upstairs,
the two guys and the laptop were gone. A half hour later, my friend ran
past me frantically asking if I had seen his laptop.
Later that evening, I talked with the library employee. He admitted that
he thought I was a bit paranoid at first and did not understand my concern.
He also admitted that he did not know what to do. As a senior, I have
seen many library goods disappear. Carrels are a student's personal space,
and a simple bathroom trip always leaves a laptop exposed.
There needs to be a review of security efforts in the library. Library employees should have a procedure when someone is suspected or attempting to steal from the library. This is not a new issue and should have been reviewed and prepared for ages ago. Perhaps the sixth webcam should be placed at the entrance of the library and not at the drink line of Thorne hall.
Tiffany Mok '02
To the editor:
We, the undersigned alumni of the Bowdoin chapter of the Alpha Delta
Phi Society, were extremely disappointed to read the following statement
in the Winter 2001 edition of the alumni magazine:
"Mills pledged Alpha Delta Phi during his first weekend on campus.
Being the studious sort, he never lived at the house...."
In our experience as members of the Alpha Delta Phi who lived in the
house and as recognized scholars in the Bowdoin community and beyond,
it was quite possible to be both studious and to live at the house. In
fact, some of us found it easier to accomplish our studies in front of
a crackling fire in a communal living room than it was in the clamorous,
unpredictable setting of a dormitory.
While perpetuating negative stereotypes about fraternities was no doubt
a valuable tactic in garnering support for their abolition, the war is
now over. For good or bad, Bowdoin has succeeded in eliminating Greek-letter
fraternities, sororities, and societies. It is time to stop vilifying
the organizations that formed the backbone of Bowdoin's social system
for over 150 years. It is time to stop vilifying the people-all of them
Bowdoin alumni-who joined these organizations and found them a valuable
and integral part of the Bowdoin experience.
The anti-fraternity offensive is over, and Bowdoin has won; it is now
appropriate for Bowdoin to be magnanimous in victory, remembering that
the people on the other side are Bowdoin alumni just as much as those
who never set foot in a fraternity house. Such continued anti-fraternity
spin is unseemly.
The Bowdoin chapter of the Alpha Delta Phi is proud to count among its
members three of Bowdoin's distinguished presidents: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain,
Roger Howell, and now Barry Mills. It is doubtful that in Chamberlain
or Howell's day it would have seemed important to offer ironic commentary
in a Bowdoin publication on the nature or tenure of their fraternity membership.
It is most unfortunate that Bowdoin, which purports to educate its students in the liberal arts, should present such a one-sided view, biased in favor of its interests, without even acknowledging the existence of another point of view. This sort of bias has no place in a community which claims to be intellectually honest.
David Clodfelter '89, Cum Laude, High honors in history, J.D. (Cincinnati)
To the Editor,
We, the V-Day Bowdoin College 2002 Committee, are writing to inform the
community about the reasoning behind the perhaps shocking or controversial
"vagina facts" in Smith Union. V-Day is a global movement to
stop violence against women and girls. We are raising money for the Sexual
Assault Services of Southern Maine and for the women suffering in Afghanistan.
Additionally, our goal is to raise awareness in the community about these
issues and empower the women and girls of Bowdoin and Brunswick through
a celebration of their womanhood. The centerpiece of the V-Day movement
is a production of Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues," which
will be performed in February.
Before the production we are seeking to raise money and awareness through
various campus activities, including outreach tables, a coffee house,
and informative posters around campus. It has come to our attention that
some members of the community have expressed discomfort with the "vagina
facts" in the union. Those facts are part of an effort to generate
positive energy around this sensitive topic.
V-Day is about stopping violence in creative ways. Empowering women and
celebrating their bodies is one of the best methods of preventing violence
and supporting its victims.
We hope that women and men will recognize the importance of creating
a vocabulary that includes the word vagina, in order to promote discussion
pertaining to sexual violence. We respect the discomfort some members
of the community may feel, but hope that everyone will allow themselves
to be open minded and respectful towards this cause, which deeply effects
If you are interested in being a part of this movement or have questions or concerns please contact Barbara Condliffe at email@example.com.
Allison Milld '04, Barbara Condliffe '04 & Rebecca Bogdanovitch '04
To the Editors:
In his column, "Education not Legislation" (November 6), Todd
Buell suggests that the answer to the problems posed by Hate Speech is
education in what Aristotle deems "moral virtues or what we call
right from wrong". Buell's suggestion, while on face a logical alternative
to legislation that impedes free speech, falls victim to the same problem.
He suggests that the problem with hate crime legislation is that the
constitution is meant to protect everyone's speech, "even those whose
hateful opinions we find rightfully reprehensible," and that hate
crime legislation targets opinions that the government disagrees with.
The problem is that his suggestion-education-also targets opinions that
go against the norm. Education in the form that he suggests-essentially
an education in what the educator believes is right-also silences people's
By educating a community to believe that a certain type of thought is
correct, an institution puts its imprimatur on one set of beliefs in a
manner not unlike that of a hate crimes statute. An institution such as
Bowdoin-engaging in an education campaign against discriminatory expression
would silence voices-not educate them.
If teaching the correct way to think or legislating is not the answer,
then what is the answer to the problem of offensive speech? I believe
the answer lies in discussions on discrimination and bias, which would
allow people to voice their opinions, rather than just receiving an official
college sanction for sharing a belief that makes people uncomfortable.
Although punishments may solve the problem in the short run by signaling
that the college is taking action to remedy the problem, they do little
to eradicate the fundamental problem in the long run. Only by airing differences
in an open forum can we understand why others think the way they do and
help them understand the position we are coming from.
Although replacing education and sanctions with discussions would mean
that institutions took no official stance against hate speech, this is
not necessarily a bad thing. In his dissent in Abrams v. US, Supreme Court
Justice Holmes wrote that "the ultimate good desired is better reached
by free trade in ideas-that the best test of truth is the power of the
thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market...."
The Holmesian marketplace of ideas, achieved through discussions, would
show people with fringe ideas what the mass accepted without putting an
institutional stamp on ideas.
Consider one example from this school year where institutional sanction
most likely did hardly anything, and where open forums could have potentially
done more. Recently, the student body received a letter from the school
stating that there had been two bias-incidents on campus, one directly
targeting Jewish students.
As a Jew, I was angry and saddened by the events. Yet a letter from the
school saying that Bowdoin does not tolerate this behavior most likely
did nothing and certainly did not make me feel more comfortable. Those
who committed these speech acts probably knew the institution did not
agree with them. What they probably didn't know was why their view was
hurtful to me.
If the College held a moderated discussion instead of sending a letter to the student body, students could voice their opinions about how these events affected them, and the dialogue about the event could have deterred a future occurrence. People need to argue and get upset about events in order to come to a common agreement. Only when popular opinion puts pressure on the behavior we seek to eradicate, will an environment exist that is safe and does not hide dangers like skeletons in the closet.
Jessica Zolt-Gilburne '05