Card access system will be reviewed
In a previous editorial,
it was stated that students could not use their ID card to access other
dorms after 2:00 a.m. This is incorrect. Students are actually stranded
an hour earlier than that.
Although students are able to access their own dorms at
all times, they do not have access to other dorms between the hours of
1:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. This is the original policy that was recommended
to Residential Life by an all-student committee. Since then, the policy
has not been questioned. Perhaps now would be a good time to do so.
It is unclear why students originally decided that locking
down the dorms would be a good idea, but it may simply have been that,
at the time, students were accustomed to Security or Facilities locking
entry doors after midnight.
Denying students access to all dorms other than their own
is undoubtedly a safety issue. A student walking from the library to his
or her room in Winthrop Hall after 1:00 a.m. would have no quick means
of escape if he or she felt in danger while walking along the Quad.
At the very least, this policy should be reviewed by Student Government. It certainly contains the potential for very dire consequences, and to simply accept it without question is to ignore the safety needs of the student body.
The faculty will vote Monday on whether or not to institute
a grading system that includes pluses and minuses. While the majority
of faculty support such a system, the majority of students do not.
Faculty members cite a number of reasons for their support
of a plus/minus grading system-that it would allow for better feedback
to students, that it would help us in getting into professional schools,
that it will let us "speak the same language" as other schools.
All of these reasons have some merit, but not at Bowdoin.
No number of logical reasons can make such a change a worthy one here.
Any set of reasons will inevitably point to one thing: that grades are
and should be important indicators of one's education.
If our intense four years here aim at simple certification
for jobs or graduate school, then grades might be the reason why we are
here: to act as formal endorsements of our ability to function within
the academy or some industry. But that is not why we are here.
Most students came here because Bowdoin promised us a wholesome
education that was an end in itself; the College claimed to encourage
us to grow intellectually in an uncompetitive and sharing environment.
Our current grading system supports such an environment, as much as any
grading system can, because it rightly devalues evaluation.
Bowdoin is the only school of its kind to de-emphasize of
grades using such a system, and if the Faculty does away with our current
system, it will essentially render Bowdoin to be academically identical
to every other small liberal arts college like Bowdoin.
Bowdoin has historically rested closer to the fringe of
higher education; it has been, in the past, described as "cranky,"
not afraid to stand alone in a culture that values sameness. Are we suddenly
afraid to be different?
But, as the survey showed, most faculty will say that their
reasons for desiring a change have nothing to do with being like others;
rather they think it allows for better feedback and fairer evaluation
for both internal and external purposes. Students, however, have made
it clear: we recognize the differences between our system and other systems,
and we do not want ours to change.
All too often in administrative decision-making, the opinion
of the students is sought and then looked on as nothing more than a simple
curiosity and thus ignored. There is a definite danger that faculty members
will vote for a change to a plus/minus system because they, rather than
the students, think that there should be such a change. But this would
be a mistake: a change in the grading system affects the students, and
only the students. And the students have said that they do not want the
In order to preserve our current grading system, a large
number of individual faculty members must actually vote against their
personal instincts and cast their votes on behalf of the student body.
We urge all faculty members to keep this in mind at the faculty meeting
A vote for a plus/minus grading system would not only undermine
the purposes of a liberal education, and specifically a Bowdoin education,
but it would undermine the values of the student body as a whole.
-BJL & NJL