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Letter to the Editor: A response to President Zaki’s statement

October 27, 2023

This piece represents the opinion of the author .

To the editor,

As an alum, I was deeply disappointed by the lack of any public statement by President Zaki in the immediate wake of the October 7 terrorist attacks in Israel. No one expected President Zaki to provide an in-depth analysis of the crisis or share her personal opinions, but a simple and direct statement condemning heinous terrorist acts within a few days of their occurrence—and maybe a word of comfort—was certainly in order. At a time of global strife, it was a missed opportunity to speak with moral clarity.

President Zaki has since said her hesitancy to issue a statement was out of concern it would be misconstrued. How can condemning attacks on civilians be misconstrued? The lack of any initial comment stands in sharp contrast to hundreds of other higher ed institutions that published appropriate condemnations. Notably, it also breaks with President Rose’s many thoughtful and perceptive statements during difficult times in the past, such as in the aftermaths of the social justice protests in 2020 and the January 6 insurrection. These comments offered a hopeful message and an unflinching commitment to working toward a better world. Bowdoin’s promotion of intellectual fearlessness and the common good must start with the school’s leadership. Walking on eggshells is the wrong approach.

Artur Kalandarov ’20


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