A tradition ends: 1912-2002: The Bowdoin
Responding to pressure from administrators, the Bowdoin
Orient ended over 89 years of financial independence a week ago Tuesday,
when the editors closed out the Orient's checking account at Fleet Bank
in Brunswick. The bank account was the last vestige of the Bowdoin Publishing
Company, once a legally-incorporated, tax-exempt, non-profit organization.
Throughout the history of the Company, the bank account
was used to collect money that the Orient earned-both money from subscriptions
and money from advertising. The SAFC and its predecessor, the Blanket
Tax Committee, also traditionally supplemented the Orient's income through
grants from the student activities fund.
The savings in the bank account were intended as a safety
net in the event of a lack of funding from the College.
Director of Student Activities Burgie Howard had for several
years been expressing his desire for the Orient to shut down its bank
account, but the decision was officially made in May of last year, when
the Orient received its 2001-2002 budget allocation from the SAFC.
In the budget allocation, chair of the SAFC Kate Donovan
'02 informed Orient editors that the Fleet bank account would have to
be closed out and those funds "relinquished" to the SAFC.
Because the SAFC did not grant the Orient the full amount
requested to meet this year's operating budget, the Orient was forced
to use its money from the bank account. Additional money from the account
went toward a much needed computer upgrade, the primary funds of which
were received from the Office of Planning and Development. The remaining
money from the Fleet account now sits in an on-campus agency account,
which does allow the Orient to save some money from year to year.
The story of the Bowdoin Publishing Company began June 10,
1912, when its constitution was adopted at what was then called a Students'
Meeting. The Company was established to consolidate and manage the finances
of both the Orient and the Quill, and it later managed the finances of
the Alumnus Quarterly upon its creation in 1927. The Quill broke off from
the Bowdoin Publishing Company in 1930, to be directed by its own student
management; the Alumnus followed several years later, leaving the Orient
as the only publication served by the Company for the rest of its existence.
The Company first started to file with the federal government as a tax-exempt, non-profit organization in 1968, and continued to do so each year until 1989.
The checking account, however, remained in existence until last week.