The faculty will consider a motion at next Monday’s faculty meeting that would require President Clayton Rose to produce a written account of the process that led to Arthur Brooks’ appointment as the inaugural Joseph McKeen Visiting Fellow.
Brooks was the president of the American Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning think tank based in Washington, D.C., from 2009 until July 2019.
If passed, the motion would require Rose to present the faculty with a report detailing how the College is financing Brooks’s visit, how and why he was selected as a visiting fellow and whether any members of faculty were involved in the decision to appoint him to that position. The motion also requires Rose to “provide any and all details relating to the involvement, financial or otherwise, of any organizations or interests other than Bowdoin College, at any stage or part of these processes.”
The motion, introduced at the last faculty meeting on October 7, did not specify a timeline for the production or release of the report.
Associate Professor of Classics and Chair of the Classics Department Robert Sobak introduced the motion.
“I’m trying to better understand why faculty were neither consulted on the decision to create the fellowship nor on the naming of Arthur Brooks as the inaugural fellow,” said Sobak in an email to the Orient. “Hopefully my motion not only results in more transparency on this particular issue, but also prompts genuine collaboration going forward.”
Several students and some alumni also reacted with confusion and even anger at Brooks’s appointment in April of this year.
Scott Hood, senior vice president for communications and public affairs, declined to comment on the motion.
Brooks will visit campus from November 7-9 to participate in a series of moderated discussions and workshops with students and faculty. He will return for a similar two-day event sometime during the spring semester.
Brooks last visited Bowdoin on October 2, 2017 to participate in a moderated discussion with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni. The event, called “Talking Face to Face When We Don’t See Eye to Eye,” was the second in a series of events planned by a committee convened by Rose and designed “to encourage intellectual diversity and thoughtful dialog,” according to an article on the College’s website. The discussion was moderated by Gary M. Pendy Sr. Professor of Social Science Jean Yarborough and received mixed reviews from students.