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BSG considers changing bylaws to allow any student to introduce legislation

April 21, 2017

At its Wednesday meeting, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) discussed a revision to its bylaws that would allow any student to introduce legislation for discussion by BSG. The change would make BSG more accessible to students, according to BSG President Harriet Fisher ’17.

There is currently no clear bylaw in place regarding legislation proposed by students who are not members of BSG. BSG will vote on the proposed revision in two weeks.

The revision was introduced by Class Council Representative Spencer Shagoury ’17 and Representative At-Large Ian Culnane ’20 with the goal of promoting greater transparency within BSG and increased civic engagement among the student body.

“My hope is that it is now even easier for students to come forward about frustrations, who have concerns or have ideas about how we can change our campus or just bring something forward, and even if it’s not written in the way that we write legislation on student government, then we could workshop it when they arrive with something,” said Fisher.

According to Fisher, the idea originated from the student government conference which Bowdoin hosted two weekends ago.

“At the student government conference, we saw there were so many other schools that had students bringing things directly to them and then working through them. And so we’re hoping to kind of model it after schools like Middlebury and Colby that are seeing a lot of students come forward to bring legislation,” she said.

This Monday, BSG—along with the economics department—hosted a talk titled “Mobility Report Cards,” by Jordan Richmond ’16, a predoctoral fellow at Stanford University who worked on the Equality of Opportunity Project study about colleges and inequality that was publicized in the New York Times in January. Last Friday, Assistant Professor of Sociology Theo Greene facilitated a What Matters discussion entitled “Class: Why Don’t We Talk About It?”

“What I found very interesting was that Jordan Richmond was also of the opinion that Bowdoin does not do enough to enroll students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, and it’s not that those students don’t exist, so much as [that] Bowdoin has not put the resources in the right places to find those students,” said Representative At-Large Ural Mishra ’20. “So the BSG next year should definitely make more of an effort to push Bowdoin.”

Vice President for Student Affairs Ben Painter ’19 announced that his committee was discussing ideas for an event on socioeconomic class for next year that would include members of the Brunswick community.

Painter also discussed the possibility of restructuring BSG in order to better represent the student body, such as adding a vice president for diversity and inclusion.

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