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Board of Trustees addresses Pickard Field renovations, affirmative action ruling concerns

February 17, 2023

Courtesy of Doug Cook
WE’RE ON BOARD: The newly released visualizations of the Pickard Field renovations. The Board of Trustees met over the weekend and discussed the Pickard Field renovations, work skills classes and the Harvard affirmative action case. Through conversations about accessibility, the Board learned about the College’s plans for creating a more accessible campus in all aspects of life.

From February 9 to February 11, President Clayton Rose met with the Board of Trustees and other College administrative bodies to discuss issues pertinent to Bowdoin’s immediate future at Babson College in Massachusetts.

Among the developments made during last week’s meetings was the Board of Trustees’ official approval of the Pickard Field renovation project, which members of the Bowdoin and Brunswick communities have debated over the past several months. Despite allegations that the project has negative environmental implications, Rose maintains that results from extensive dialogue among the resources committee, a team from facilities, and other qualified personnel within and outside of the College should assuage lingering sustainability concerns.

“[We’ve done] very extensive work to ensure that it is an environmentally sound project…. We would never take on a project that we thought was going to be problematic from that perspective,” Rose said in an interview with the Orient. “There’s been extensive reviews of [the project] by experts, both for us and for the town, and all passed with flying colors.”

With the approval of the renovation project, the College has released visualizations of the proposed changes to the complex on the Athletics website and social media.

Rose also spoke with the Trustees about expanding the Bowdoin curriculum to explore professional workplace skills, which he has addressed in previous faculty meetings. The Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee (CEP) is working to develop academic opportunities pertaining to finance, tech and consulting, as well as more industry-specific opportunities within the curriculum as opposed to through the office of Career Exploration and Development. The implementation of these curricular opportunities is not yet solidified, Rose noted.

“We see employers requiring certain skills and backgrounds and knowledge not simply to do the job but to get the job interview,” Rose said. “We want to make sure that all of our students have the opportunity to acquire those skills if they want to pursue those kinds of careers.”

The Trustees also discussed the progress of accessibility work at all levels at the College through new technologies and renovations. As the conversation about these issues has shifted in the last few years, the board had a conversation to get everyone up to speed.

“There was discussion about the work we’ve been doing around the physical plan we have, but also technology and the support around issues of neurodiversity,” Rose said. “This is an ongoing body of work that needs to get better and better, and we’re thinking very differently about it than we have even eight years ago when I arrived.”

Also discussed was the pending Supreme Court rulings on affirmative action in the cases  brought against Harvard and the University of North Carolina by Students for Fair Admissions, an anti-affirmative action legal organization. Bowdoin filed in August an amicus brief in support of the universities’ race-conscious admissions practices.

“I think it’s quite likely … that race as a factor in a holistic admissions process is not going to be allowed in some way,” Rose said. “We’ve got to wait to see what the opinion is. And then we’ll be in June, and we’ll be in motion for the next year in our admissions process. So we’re going to be fixing the airplane as we’re flying.”

The Board of Trustees reconvenes on the weekend of March 11.


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