In the weeks since a police officer killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, our country has been embroiled in a critical conversation about the racism, police brutality and systemic violence that Black Americans face every day. With Americans taking to the streets in all fifty states to protest police brutality, we, the members of the Orient’s editorial board, stand in solidarity with Black students and activists.
To begin writing this editorial, we, senior members of Orient staff, all wrote down our honest reasons for joining the Orient. Some of us joined because we thought college journalism sounded important and glamorous. Some of us joined because we thought the upperclassmen on the Orient were important and glamorous.
Facing backlash from lawmakers and the public, wealthy colleges have begun to announce that they will not accept the stimulus money they had received under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Harvard University announced its decision to relinquish funds on Wednesday; Yale, Princeton, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania soon followed suit.
On February 5, Samantha Simonetta filed a federal sexual harassment lawsuit alleging that former Allegheny College Head Football Coach B.J. Hammer ignored reports of sexual misconduct and discrimination while Simonetta was a kicker on Allegheny’s football team in 2018.
The Offer of the College is a sort of mission statement for Bowdoin. And, though its meaning holds up through the years, it has undergone several revisions since it was written in 1906. This week, we made some changes of our own to reflect the new reality that we face as a College.
As nearly 10 million Americans have now lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country is in the midst of an economic crisis and small businesses are particularly vulnerable. Restaurants and retail businesses like the ones that dot Maine street of downtown Brunswick will be hit the hardest.
Since the College’s official decision on March 11 to move classes to a remote learning format, the Bowdoin academic landscape has changed. Nearly every facet of our academic experience has shifted and not necessarily for the better—our classrooms, our meeting times and even our course material look markedly different than they did three weeks ago.
On Thursday, Dean of Student Affairs Janet Lohmann sent an email to campus updating students on the College’s ongoing efforts to monitor the spread of COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus. In her email, Lohmann pointed students towards a new FAQ page on the College’s website with information about the virus, preventative measures and travel-related advisories.
This week, Harvard professor Anthony Jack visited campus to lecture about the systemic difficulties of being a first-generation or low-income student, especially of students whose educational backgrounds do not align with norms at elite institutions like Bowdoin, because of an extremely inequitable educational system.
With New Hampshire and Iowa behind us, it may seem like the primary season is in the rearview. The media often becomes fixated on the candidates who win these primaries, creating the impression that the race has already passed its most important threshold.
Most college public relations departments don’t undermine college journalism by actively censoring publications or by restricting access to information or people. They undermine college journalism by raising minor but constant complaints about our choice of words, our interpretations of facts or our presentation of information.
On Monday, the faculty introduced a motion to revise the “Exploring Social Differences” (ESD) distribution requirement. The proposal aims to strengthen the requirement and rename it “Difference, Power, Inequity.” On a campus where bias incidents seem to recur every four years, preparing students across all academic disciplines to discuss and analyze social differences is essential.
Students connected flights, caught trains and hitched rides to arrive back on campus last week for the start of the spring semester. Despite the College’s relative proximity to various transportation hubs, returning to campus can often be costly and complex.
It is time for the state of Maine to be a leader. Individual towns throughout the state of Maine—Portland, South Portland, Bar Harbor and, most recently, Brunswick—are already setting an example. Each has recently passed a resolution declaring a climate emergency, putting them in the company of cities such as San Francisco and New York City.
Take off your parking brakes! Thirty days from now, new parking restrictions will take effect on a number of Brunswick streets, including Columbia Avenue, Belmont Street, Longfellow Avenue, Noble Street, Pine Street and Union Street. The restrictions, passed by the Brunswick Town Council at its November 18 meeting, are not unprecedented—the Council placed similar restrictions, specifically aimed at Bowdoin students, on Park Row in 2014, and the College revoked student parking privileges to the lots at the Maine Street College Houses the same year.
Last night, actor Patrick Dempsey, H’13 sat down with Marcus Williams ’21, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) chair of diversity and inclusion, for a conversation serving as the keynote address for No Hate November. Though the topic at hand was a dialogue on dyslexia, many of the audience’s questions focused not on the implications of living with the disability, but rather on clarifying what it actually is.
This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of Bowdoin’s Africana Studies program, the John Brown Russwurm Center and the Black Student Union (BSU, formerly the African American Society). A celebration is in order. Throughout the next few days, students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors will have the opportunity to participate in programming that provides a multi-faceted and community-wide recognition of this milestone.
Two days, one night—that’s about how long prospective students on an overnight visit spend getting a taste of Bowdoin’s campus. It’s also about how long the College’s first Joseph McKeen Visiting Fellow, Arthur C. Brooks, will be spending at Bowdoin after he arrives on Thursday.
Yesterday, the College’s Board of Trustees commenced the first of its three meetings that will take place this year. Among the Board’s 40 members is James “Jes” Staley ’79 P ’11 whose ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein have landed him in the pages of newspapers nationwide.
Twelve Bowdoin housekeepers wrote an op-ed this week detailing the realities of the work they do to clean Bowdoin’s spaces. The letter paints a picture of Bowdoin as an employer that is, frankly, shameful. The College presents itself as an institution guided by the principles of the Common Good.
In solidarity with the largest global youth strike in history, Bowdoin Climate Action (BCA) organized a climate rally on the museum steps earlier today. While this once would have been a rare sight on our campus, instances of student activism are becoming increasingly frequent and visible.
Last year, frustrated by unrealistic platforms and uncontested elections for Bowdoin Student Government’s (BSG) executive committee, we published an editorial titled “BSG, do better.” Members of last year’s BSG executive team replied, assuring us that the incoming BSG officers have the opportunity to do just that.
Congratulations to everyone for making it through the first week of classes. It’s finally the weekend! Tonight, hundreds of students—predominantly first years and sophomores—will descend upon the College Houses. And tomorrow, it will happen again. To those first-year students planning on attending house crawl: this may be your first time drinking.
In an email to the College on Thursday afternoon, President Clayton Rose detailed a string of bias incidents that occurred over the last week. While four bias incidents were reported in the past week alone, it is anyone’s guess as to how many others remain unreported.
This week, like many other weeks this semester, we’ve encountered questions about the Orient’s editorial decisions. We are always learning and striving to do journalism better, and we welcome feedback. We want to take a moment to answer some of the questions that we come across, in the hopes that transparency on our part can build trust with you, our readers, and foster a stronger dialogue.
In his inaugural address, President Joseph McKeen said, “It ought always to be remembered, that literary institutions are founded and endowed for the common good, and not for the private advantage of those who resort to them for education.” How far have we strayed from this purpose?
This weekend, students will have the opportunity to elect officers for next year’s Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) executive committee. Sort of. Only three of the officer positions are actually contested this year—the chairs of diversity and inclusion, facilities and sustainability, student organizations, student affairs and the treasury will win by default.
“Although you may believe that having a cat in residence will help you, we have determined that authorizing the cat as a reasonable accommodation is not necessary in light of the evidence of your long history living in residence without such an aid and your excellent academic accomplishments.” That was the message that a student received via email from the Office of Accessibility, denying their request for an emotional support animal on campus.
While we were all away on Spring Break, news broke of a particularly salacious college admissions scandal. From photoshopped athlete photos to fake diagnoses of learning disabilities, the extent to which some parents would go to get their children into college shocked many of us.
A week from now, the student body will scatter across the globe for spring break. Some will head home, whether that is as close as down the road in Brunswick or as far as China. Others will set off on vacations, to cities across the country and around the world.
Almost exactly three years ago, on February 20, 2016, a group of (mostly white) Bowdoin sophomores infamously gathered in a room in Stowe Hall, donning sombreros and drinking tequila. Although this story is a familiar one to Bowdoin seniors, it might not be to first years.
The Bowdoin women’s basketball team has danced its way to the number one seed in the NESCAC tournament, and the music doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon—though it may be changing tempo. Taylor Choate ’19 told Orient columnist Ian Ward this week that “in the postseason, everything’s different.
According to an article in this week’s edition of the Orient, many seniors are dissatisfied with the resources provided by the Career Planning Center (CPC). In the Orient’s biannual approval ratings survey, more than a third of seniors reported disapproving or strongly disapproving of the CPC.
This week, Middlebury’s Board of Trustees voted for a plan that will divest the college’s endowment from fossil fuels within the next 15 years. Our neighbors in Vermont will also be switching to 100 percent renewables by 2028 and have pledged to reduce their energy consumption on campus by 25 percent.
In the biannual Bowdoin Orient Student Survey, published in this week’s issue, 34.61 percent of students indicated that they disapprove or strongly disapprove of the Brunswick Police Department (BPD). This is by far the highest disapproval rating of the individuals, departments and organizations listed on the survey.
When students return to campus in January, the first phase of the Lived Name Initiative will be launched. Created in cooperation with Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Information Technology and the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, the project is aimed at streamlining the process through which students change their names across platforms such as Polaris, Workday and new OneCards.
Right now, as we write this editorial late on a Thursday night, we’re still basking in the warm, sleepy feeling that follows Bowdoin Thanksgiving. In one of our favorite Orient traditions, we all crammed into the Pinette Dining Room in Thorne Hall—too many chairs to a table, elbows and knees bumping against each other—and dug into Bowdoin Dining Service’s holiday best.
Last Friday, the Orient reported that transphobic language was found in a bathroom in Smith Union. While the Bias Incident Group has convened about the issue since, reaction on campus has been muted. In light of the Trump administration’s memo about defining gender as immutable and assigned at birth, this silence is deafening.
This year, in an email to the campus community, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) Chair of the Treasury Harry Sherman ’21 released the first issue of the SAFC Digest, a monthly publication outlining major budgetary decisions of the Student Activities Funding Committee (SAFC).
In 1773, a group of people, upset that they were not being listened to by their government, dumped the modern equivalent of a million dollars’ worth of tea into the Boston Harbor. Almost 150 years later, a group of women fighting for voting rights picketed outside of the White House six days a week for the summer of 1917.
Last night, we watched Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katie Benner ’99 interview former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. McDonough’s talk was edifying, but maybe the most impressive moment of the evening was when he turned a simple student question about his Irish heritage into astute thesis on the value of immigrants in America, both historically and in the present.
If you have not experienced it (actually, you’re in the middle of experiencing it), you have probably heard the stories. Drinking games in class on Thursday and Friday (bad). Students sprinting across Brunswick Quad with stolen beers, pursued by the rightful owners of said beers (depends on the brand of beer).
As students solidify plans both for the coming summer and, in the case of graduating seniors, for their careers, the College provides invaluable resource, whether in the form of the Office of Career Planning, the Office of Institutional Fellowships and Research, or through informal information networks.
The Offer of the College (a document whose sanctity on campus falls somewhere between the Constitution and this newspaper) offers you these next four years as the best ones of your life. We’ve helpfully annotated it for you, so you can understand what it really says.
Last spring, the Orient’s editorial board argued that institutionally supporting international students should be a top priority for the college. Since then, we have welcomed to campus a class with a seven percent international student population, the largest percentage of any class currently enrolled at Bowdoin.
On Wednesday, conservative economist Larry Lindsey ’76 H’93 gave a talk moderated by President Rose in Pickard Theater. The event with Lindsey, an outspoken right-wing pundit, and the discussion that has followed provided a model for the sort of productive and respectful discourse that can and should arise from events that challenge our campus’ political consensus.
Since Bowdoin’s annual Cold War party was disrupted by the Brunswick Police Department (BPD), students, in the pages of the Orient and at the Bowdoin Student Government’s public comment session, have voiced frustration, confusion and dismay about a perceived increase in BPD’s enforcement on campus.
As this week’s Orient story on political activity and activism at Bowdoin makes clear, much of our campus is slow to take to the streets regarding just about anything. This week has been no exception. As students around the nation mobilize in response to the February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, our sleepy Brunswick campus has remained sleepy.
The Equity in Athletics Data Analysis shows that between the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years, Bowdoin’s annual athletic recruiting expenses grew 162 percent, from $30,966 to $81,018, an increase made possible by the NESCAC’s elimination of its cap on recruitment spending.
As the faculty experiments with alterations to Bowdoin Course Questionnaires (BCQs), we encourage students and the College to think more broadly about the role that these evaluations could play in the Bowdoin academic program. The latest changes, which will be implemented in a pilot program this spring, aim to mitigate the influence of students’ implicit biases on their answers by rewording questions to eliminate vague or imprecise language.
As the Board of Trustees prepares to make its pilgrimage to Silicon Valley, we think that its members and the Bowdoin community should consider the implication of this trip. As President Rose noted in an interview with the Orient, the culture of Silicon Valley has given rise to both good and bad.
Bowdoin’s Office of Residential Life (ResLife) should be commended for considering and acting upon student suggestions for changes to the housing policy aimed at revitalizing the on-campus social scene. However, without recognizing the limitations and potential pitfalls of turning Ladd House into a senior-only living space, this latest change is not likely to significantly alter the role of upperclassmen in the campus social scene.
This past week, Bowdoin students had the opportunity to hear from two of Bowdoin’s most prominent alumni, U.S. Senator George Mitchell ’54 H’83 and Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson ’07. Both men expressed their grave concern for the current state and direction of American politics and society.
The recent programming surrounding No Hate November has brought questions of class-consciousness and income inequality at Bowdoin into the campus spotlight. Class markers—in the clothes we wear, in our choice of weekend activities and in our classrooms—are constant symbols and reminders of the economic disparities that exist within our small campus.
The results of Tuesday’s national, state and local elections have brought hope to those Americans who, this time last year, were distraught with the state of the nation’s politics. The contrast is stark to the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency, when many on Bowdoin’s campus came together in opposition to the new president, fueled by a sense of anger, frustration and acute injustice.
In our best form, the Orient works to facilitate constructive dialogue through storytelling—sharing people’s perspectives, reporting events that impact our community and publishing op-eds from named contributors are different avenues through which we pursue the cross-pollination of ideas.
Last week’s discussion between Frank Bruni and Arthur C. Brooks missed the mark. Déjà vu? A bit. Although the discussion proved markedly more substantive than last year’s “debate” between Nicholas Kristof and Jason Riley, ultimately the night suffered from many of the same problems that year’s discussion had.
Tomorrow night is Epicuria. Along with Ivies Weekend, this event holds a distinct place in the mythology of the Bowdoin community. But before we don our togas, we should consider the night soberly. On the one hand, Epicuria manifests much of what has been and continues to be successful about the College House system.
On Thursday morning, Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster announced the recommendations of the committee charged with reviewing the College’s off-campus housing policy. Although the College aims to use these recommendations to “serve as the basis for a clear and transparent off-campus housing policy,” the recommendations themselves are neither clear nor transparent.
If the true test of character is what one does when no one is watching, then the past few months of summer break have presented Bowdoin with plenty of opportunities to prove its mettle. From the fall of the last mortarboard at graduation to the first day of classes this fall, seemingly every headline presented a fresh opportunity for shock, awe and uncertainty.
One in four Bowdoin students uses the College’s Counseling Service. However, Bowdoin cannot adequately meet the needs of these 462 students. Counseling Service can’t provide weekly one-on-one sessions, instead offering bi-weekly meetings and group sessions to most students.
The sun is shining and the tank is clean. Yes, it’s that time of year again—the long awaited Ivies week(end). Droves of students flood Salvo to update their mandatory Ivies uniforms: fanny packs, overalls, velvet track suit, jorts, obnoxiously bright neon… everything.
During the whirlwind of first-year orientation, students sit down with their pre-major advisor, which for many sets the tone for their relationships with faculty and academic experience and can significantly shape their academic experience. While some advisors provide necessary support and helpful academic guidance, other advisor-advisee relationships fall flat.
For 22 years, Bowdoin has been celebrating Asian Heritage Week. This month, we’re celebrating Asian Heritage Month, which has doubled the number of programs held at Bowdoin. The month of May is nationally recognized as Asian/Pacific Heritage Month and intends to celebrate the important histories and cultures of diverse Asian communities and Asian American individuals.
As part of the Free Flow project to make tampons and pads accessible to the Bowdoin community, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) is sponsoring free dispensers in several women’s, men’s and gender-neutral restrooms. Since the dispensers and trash receptacles were installed over break, tampons from the containers in the men’s bathroom have been found in the trash over 10 times.
In the wake of the study published by the New York Times earlier this year about economic diversity and class mobility at colleges in the United States, the Orient interviewed a number of students on campus about their experiences with class and how it has impacted their time at Bowdoin.