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Faculty letter of support for the right to protest and dissent

May 3, 2024

This piece represents the opinion of the author .

We, the undersigned, are Bowdoin faculty writing to express our support for the right of our students and faculty to protest and dissent.

Like many of our students and colleagues, we have been deeply disturbed by the mass slaughter of Palestinians. Many in our community have felt compelled to voice their opposition to the ongoing carnage, particularly given our complicity as U.S. taxpayers. Students and faculty are understandably devastated by Israel’s systematic destruction of educational facilities in Gaza, including all 12 universities, over 80 percent of schools, and the killing of 5,479 students, 261 teachers and 95 university professors.

In this current moment, we affirm our support for student activism and the right to free speech. We condemn the ongoing repression of student activism at our peer institutions, including mass arrests, suspensions and other retaliatory measures against students and colleagues. We affirm the university as a space of freedom of association and assembly, freedom of thought and expression and a site of dissent.

We note, with appreciation, that Bowdoin has not pursued these tactics against Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organizers and supporters. In keeping with Bowdoin’s commitment to the Common Good, we implore the College to continue to uphold the principles of free expression and campus democracy by honoring the results of the “Bowdoin Solidarity Referendum.” At Bowdoin, SJP has engaged thoughtfully in bringing these conversations to campus. We applaud these students’ determination and moral clarity as they have created spaces for civic engagement and meaningful activism. We stand with them, and students across the country, as they act for a more just world.

David Gordon, Roger Howell Jr. Professor of History

Meryem Belkaïd, Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures

Nasser Abourahme, Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern and North African Studies

David A. Collings, Professor of English

Oyman Basaran, Associate Professor of Sociology

Aviva Briefel, Edward Little Professor of the English Language and Literature and Cinema Studies

Meghan Roberts, Associate Professor of History

Katherine Dauge-Roth, Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures

Jay Sosa, Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies

Zahir Janmohamed, Visiting Assistant Professor of English

Jamella Gow, Rasuli Lewis Assistant Professor of Sociology

Judith Casselberry, Geoffrey Canada Associate Professor of Africana Studies

Túlio Zille, Assistant Professor of Government

Shu-chin Tsui, Professor of Asian Studies and Cinema Studies

Davis Robinson, Professor of Theater

Sakura Christmas, Assistant Professor of History and Asian Studies

Shreyas Sreenath, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Hakim Zainiddinov, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology

Rachel Sturman, Associate Professor of History

Lindsay Livingston, Assistant Professor of Theater and Dance

Aaron Kitch, Associate Professor of English

Brian Purnell, Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History

Doris Santoro, Professor of Education

Claire Robison, Assistant Professor of Religion

Jack O’Brien, Associate Professor of Mathematics

Davida Gavioli, Senior Lecturer in Italian

Samia Rahimtoola, Assistant Professor of English

Keona Katrice Ervin, Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies

Belinda Kong, Professor of Asian Studies and English

Morten Hansen, Assistant Professor of English

Guy Mark Foster, Associate Professor of English

Shruti Devgan, Assistant Professor of Sociology

Jill S. Smith, Associate Professor of German

Hanétha Vété-Congolo, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures

Salar Mohandesi, Marvin H. Green, Jr. Assistant Professor of History

Nancy Riley, A. Myrick Freeman Professor of Social Sciences

Bianca Williams, Matthew D. Branche Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Anthropology

Emma Maggie Solberg, Associate Professor of English

Jeffrey Selinger, Associate Professor of Government

Ángel Saavedra Cisneros, Assistant Professor of Government

John H. Kim, Assistant Professor of Asian Studies

Joshua Hartman, Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics

Vyjayanthi Ratnam Selinger, Stanley F. Druckenmiller Associate Professor of Asian Studies

Brock Clarke, A. Leroy Greason Professor of English

Robert Sobak, Associate Professor of Classics

Paige Milligan, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Arabic

Steph McIsaac, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

David J. Wright, Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics

Jens Elias Klenner, Assistant Professor of German

Karime Castillo, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Vineet Shende, Professor of Music

Elizabeth Stemmler, James Stacy Coles Professor of Natural Sciences

Ireri Chávez-Bárcenas, Assistant Professor of Music

Elizabeth Pritchard, Associate Professor of Religion

Nathalia Justo, Visiting Assistant Professor of Government

Jacob Muscato, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology

Guo Jue, Assistant Professor of History and Asian Studies

Danielle Dube, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Zihan Qin, Lecturer in Chinese Language

Angel Daniel Matos, Assistant Professor, Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies

Dharni Vasudevan, Stanley F. Druckenmiller Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Studies

David K. Hecht, Associate Professor of History

Elizabeth Muther, Associate Professor of English

Nadia Celis, Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and Latin American, Caribbean and Latinx Studies

William Lempert, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Batool Khattab, Lecturer in Arabic

Tracy McMullen, Associate Professor of Music

German Cardenas Alaminos, Assistant Professor of Theater and Dance

Fe McBride, Assistant Professor of Physics

Adanna Jones, Assistant Professor of Dance and Dance Studies

Jeannie Sellick, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion

Carrie Scanga, Professor of Visual Arts

Karem Said, Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Tricia Welsch, Professor of Cinema Studies

Vlad Douhovnikoff, Associate Professor of Biology

Cibele Freire, Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Aliosha Barranco Lopez, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Kristi Olson, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Anne McBride, Associate Professor of Biology and Biochemistry

Byron Villacis, Assistant Professor Sociology

Aretha Aoki, Associate Professor of Dance

Jim Higginbotham, Associate Professor of Classics and Curator for the Ancient Collection

Krista Van Vleet, Professor of Anthropology

Strother Roberts, Associate Professor of History

Mohammed T. Irfan, Associate Professor of Digital and Computational Studies and Computer Science


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  1. Class of ‘19 says:

    Thank you to these professors who are affirming the students’ rights to free speech and dissent. I’m disappointed not to see the names of many professors who I respected and admired during my time at Bowdoin though. History will remember those who stood for peace and justice, and those who didn’t…

  2. Sam Lewis ‘19 says:

    Professors, have you seen the following letter signed by nearly 200 (and rising) members of the Harvard faculty? It sounds like protesting at Bowdoin has shown the best of Polar Bears. That has not been the case elsewhere. To enforce viewpoint-neutral time, place, and manner restrictions is not to repress and retaliate.


    With respect,
    Sam Lewis ‘19

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