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After discussion of “safe illicit behavior” and “community norms”, BSG to offer on input spring residential agreement

November 6, 2020

On Wednesday, the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) convened its weekly Zoom meeting to discuss preliminary recommendations for the Spring Residential Agreement. BSG divided its approach into four categories: community norms, COVID-19 intimacy, how to gather safely and safe illicit behavior.

Members of BSG broke into groups to tackle each topic, coming together at the end of the meeting to summarize their ideas. These will be used by the BSG Executive Team, which plans to write up recommendations for College administrators in charge of drafting the final residential agreement.

BSG Student Activities Funding Committee Chair Prithvi Gunturu ’22 addressed the group regarding community norms.

“Everyone has had different experiences with COVID[-19], whether that be financially, health wise, economically, security wise,” he said. “We should be aware that the decisions we take obviously are going to reflect our opinions … know that what we do will not only affect ourselves but each other, the Bowdoin community and, even larger, the Brunswick community.”

Safety, rather than prevention, was the COVID-19 intimacy group’s biggest concern, as reported by BSG Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair Brandon Cartagena ’21.

“[We discussed] being considerate with your roommates and being respectful … especially when engaging in any type of romantic or sexual relationship …  [and being] comfortable reporting sexual assaults even though there’s a rule that could get you in trouble about having someone in your room, so talking about the intricacies of that would be pretty important,” Cartagena said.

BSG Academic Affairs Committee Chair Patrick Bloniasz ’22 spoke regarding protocols for gathering safely, for example, socializing only in small groups, encouraging students to disinfect and clean spaces after gatherings and have critical conversations with people who may jeopardize others’ safety.

BSG acknowledged that behaviors such as drinking and smoking are a frequent part of college life. President of the Class of 2021 Wayne Harding spoke about being “pragmatic” surrounding these activities.

“Most of those illicit activities tend to be done socially, so hold your friends accountable because if they fail, you fail,” Harding said, summarizing a note from his committee.

Responsibility and empathy were the guiding principles of the meeting, as BSG recognized the importance of an approach to the Residential Agreement that will encourage student-to-student accountability.

BSG plans to meet with the administrative representative most closely associated with each category before sharing their final recommendations with the administration.


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