With the week of February 21 coming to a close, all 11 NESCAC schools have now welcomed students back to their campuses for the start of the spring semester. While Colby brought students back to start their January term on January 8, most NESCAC schools made significant adjustments to their academic calendar in order to delay the start of their spring semester until early or mid February.
On Monday, all currently enrolled Bowdoin students were required to have completed an hour-long online course on diversity, equity and inclusion, titled “Personal Skills for a Diverse Campus.” The course, as well as additional versions that faculty and staff were required to complete by the same date, was created through a partnership between the College and education consulting firm DiversityEdu.
A second Dining Services employee tested positive for COVID-19 this week, Mike Ranen, COVID-19 resource coordinator, announced in an email to all students and employees on Thursday afternoon. Both employees work in Thorne Hall. Two additional employees were identified through contact tracing as having been in close contact with the second individual who tested positive.
The Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good has established the inaugural Winter Break Community Engagement Fund, which will distribute funding to around 25 or 30 students for service work at a non-profit or municipal organization between the end of the fall semester and the start of the spring semester.
As COVID-19 cases surge nation-wide, the Bowdoin community has not been immune. Confronting rising cases of the virus on campus, the administration and on-campus students are evaluating steps forward as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches. In a Microsoft Teams interview with the Orient, COVID-19 Resource Coordinator Mike Ranen said that he was not surprised about the recent positive cases on campus.
Bowdoin’s spring athletic teams will likely not compete during the spring semester, Ashmead White Director of Athletics Tim Ryan announced in an email to all student athletes on Thursday. Fall and winter teams will also not compete during the spring semester, with the possible exception of Nordic Skiing, given that it involves exclusively outdoor competition.
On Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours before the results of the U.S. presidential election were announced by major news outlets , four history professors—Geoffrey Canada Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History Brian Purnell, Professor of History Dallas Denery, Associate Professor of History Meghan Roberts and Associate Professor of History and Environmental Studies Matthew Klingle—gathered for the fourth panel in the department’s fall semester programming on the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, titled “The 1619 Project and Making Sense of the 2020 Election.” The panel began with a discussion about the legacy of Black women in American politics, with Roberts quoting from Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University Martha Jones’s 2020 book, “Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All.” Roberts noted that Stacey Abrams has devoted herself to political organizing in Georgia since her loss in the state’s 2018 gubernatorial race.
Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs Janet Lohmann shared the College’s 2020 Election Week events page in an email to all students on Tuesday. The programming, which includes professor-led conversations, yoga and meditation sessions, shuttles to the polls and watch parties on Election Day, post-election drop-in hours and the final installment of the history department’s “1619 Project,” includes 14 events—some in-person and some virtual—between October 27 and November 6.
For most Bowdoin students and faculty, the past week has been a time for brief conversations and announcements about how class structures and schedules may be impacted by the results—or lack thereof—of next week’s elections. But for Professor of Government Michael Franz and the 75 students in the two sections of his Campaigns and Elections class, next week will provide the culmination of two months of analyzing political data and studying election history.
On Tuesday, Lisa Rendall, director of residential and housing operations, sent an email to students with information about the Spring Housing Lottery, which, for the first time in Bowdoin’s history, will be conducted entirely online. The College had been planning to conduct the housing lottery online in April, before it was announced that most upperclass students would reside off-campus for the fall 2020 semester.
All Bowdoin students, faculty and staff now have institutional access to the Portland Press Herald through the Bowdoin library website. Marjorie Hassen, director of the College library, explained that there have been several requests in recent years from students and faculty for Bowdoin to establish institutional access to the Press Herald, but the paper has not had a model that would allow for institutional access until this fall.
In the lead-up to Election Day, the Bowdoin College Republicans have been focusing their programming away from organizing and activism and toward internal, issue-focused discussions. The club has elected not to endorse a candidate in any election, including the presidential race, which co-president Oron Steingrub ’22 called a “typical” practice.
While the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will certainly make this election unlike any other, the Bowdoin Democrats (Bowdoin Dems) are still offering interested students multiple opportunities each week to participate in Democratic organizing. Between thrice-weekly phone banks, twice-weekly group walks to the polls in Brunswick and in-person canvassing, Bowdoin Dems’ eight-person officer team has created ways for students, both remote and on-campus, to get involved as Election Day quickly approaches.
On Saturday, the Student Center for Multicultural Life hosted a retreat for first-generation (first-gen) first-year students living on campus. The event, which lasted the better part of the day, took place in Farley Field House, where the 26 first-year participants, six first-generation upperclassmen discussion leaders and staff and faculty who participated in a panel and delivered presentations were able to safely gather while maintaining social distance.
President Rose announced that the College will allow all seniors, juniors and sophomores to return to campus in the spring in an email to the campus community on Monday afternoon. First-year international students and students for whom home is not a conducive learning environment will also be able to apply to live on campus.
All students living on campus are required to disclose their departure plans to the administration by October 2, Dean of Students Kristina Bethea Odejimi announced in an email to these students on September 17. The announcement has heightened feelings of anxiety and uncertainty among students for whom returning home is not a possibility and who are still unsure whether they will have an opportunity to apply to stay on campus during the winter holidays or the spring semester.
On Sunday, students were notified that the College’s status had been moved from “orange” to “yellow,” allowing students living on campus to leave for essential needs, visit the College’s libraries, study in certain academic buildings and gather in common areas in both their own and other residence halls.
Dean of Students Kristina Bethea Odejimi reminded students about the College’s supplemental and emergency funding program in an email sent on Monday. The funding, which is available to students through the Office of the Dean of Students and does not have to be repaid, comes from donations from alumni, parents and friends of the College.
During their first full weekend on campus, many first years and their Residential Life (ResLife) advisors found ways to connect and build community that complied with the College’s Residential Community Agreement. However, in an email to the campus community on Sunday, Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs Janet Lohmann explained that some students had engaged in behavior that violated current College protocols.
This fall, the first-year athlete experience will look a little different than it typically does. Instead of splitting their first couple of weeks on campus between practices with their new team and in-person orientation programming, first-year athletes will, along with most of their classmates, adjust to a life on campus that includes regular COVID-19 testing and social distancing.
Sparked by the murder of George Floyd in police custody in late May, students, faculty, staff and alumni at predominantly white colleges and universities created Instagram pages to provide community members of color the opportunity to share their experiences with racism at their respective institutions.
In an email to the campus community on Wednesday, President Clayton Rose provided an update on the College’s plan for anti-racist work in the upcoming months. “I am writing to follow up on my message of June 11 about our work ahead on race and racism,” Rose wrote.
Editor’s note 09/07/2020 at 2:28 p.m.: A previous version of this article mistakenly reported that, under the formal resolution process, the determination of responsibility is done internally (within the Bowdoin community) and the decision about sanctions is done externally (outside Bowdoin).
Benje Douglas, director of Title IX and compliance, took on an expanded role on July 1 as the associate vice president for inclusion and diversity as well as the director of Title IX. Michael Reed, senior vice president for inclusion and diversity, and Janet Lohmann, dean of student affairs, announced Douglas’ new role in an email to the College community on June 26.
On the evening of June 23, the Office of Student Aid sent an email to all Bowdoin students who had submitted applications to receive financial aid for the 2020-21 academic year announcing that the Fall 2020 aid notification had been posted on the MyAid portal.
In wake of the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the fall 2020 semester, members of the Return to Campus Group held a virtual Zoom Town Hall on May 15 to address frequently-asked questions and present a series of potential scenarios for the upcoming semester.
On the evening of May 10, Benje Douglas, director of Title IX and compliance, held a virtual town hall via Zoom for members of the College community to discuss how the newly announced and highly controversial Title IX regulations will impact Bowdoin.
The spring typically brings a flurry of excitement for Bowdoin applicants to the Fulbright Student Program. Bowdoin students have fared well in the past—the College had 19 successful applicants in 2018-2019, second only to Williams College among American liberal arts colleges.
It’s mid-afternoon on a Monday, and my ability to focus is at an all-time low. I’m in my bedroom at home, sitting at my desk. On my laptop screen, an instructor from my abroad program is starting a remote class session from her home in southwest England.
The College received $34.9 million in donations during the 2018-2019 year, a $700,000 decrease from the $35.6 million received in 2017-2018, according to the Annual Giving Report. The report, prepared by the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, also shows alumni and friends, faculty and staff gave less this year than last.
On Saturday evening, Geoffrey Canada ’74, H ’07 addressed a packed, enthusiastic audience in Pickard Theater. His talk, titled “From the Afro Am to Russwurm: Years Later and Still as Important as Ever,” was the keynote address for this weekend’s Af/Am/50 celebration.
Last Friday, more than 50 students at the University of Maine Orono participated in a sit-in on the second floor of Memorial Union, a central hub of student activity on campus. The students were protesting in response to a three-part series published in the Maine Beacon, which revealed that Director of Government and Community Relations for the University of Maine System Samantha Warren had lobbied the state government to exempt students from a recently passed law granting workers paid time off.
This weekend, as alumni from the past five decades gather on campus to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Africana Studies program, the Russwurm African American Center and the African American Society, four students—Aisha Rickford ’20, Nate DeMoranville ’20, Marcus Williams ’21 and Marina Henke ’19—will be seeking to document their stories.
The College will spend an additional $1.6 million annually to increase wages for benefits-eligible hourly employees beginning July 2022. As President Clayton Rose announced in an email to the campus community on Monday, this will cover both an increase in wages for workers who currently make less than $17 an hour, which will be the College’s new minimum starting wage for hourly benefits-eligible employees, up from the current starting wage of $12.65.
The Bowdoin student body received an email on Thursday afternoon announcing stricter penalties for students who do not comply with the College’s prohibition of candles in all campus housing. Beginning today, consequences for having an open flame in campus housing may include a hearing before the Judicial Board, which may result in suspension or dismissal.
On Thursday night, Masha Gessen, a renowned Russian Jewish journalist, delivered this year’s Harry Spindel Memorial Lecture to a full and engaged audience in Kresge Auditorium. The lecture, titled “Jews and Borders,” delved into the idea of migration and dispersion as central tenets of Jewish identity, while also drawing attention to common experiences amongst different ethnic minorities.
At 3 p.m. today, students, faculty and staff will gather around five exhibit cases on the second floor gallery of Hawthorne-Longfellow (H-L) Library for the opening of “Tension/Tenacity: Africana Studies at 50,” an exhibition that explores the five-decade history of Bowdoin’s Africana studies program, the John Brown Russwurm African American Center and the Black Student Union (formerly the African American Society).
With one construction project complete, the College is moving forward with its plan to revamp housing for upper class students. Construction began in May on the new Harpswell Apartments, which will house 132 students in three buildings of four-, six- and eight- person apartments, and virtual renderings of the apartments are now available online.
The new Park Row Apartments opened just in time for students to return to campus for the fall semester. One of the four buildings received approval for occupancy from town officials on September 1, just hours before students were set to move in.
Most current Bowdoin students had not yet been born when Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster came to Bowdoin in the fall of 1996. Today from 4:30 to 8 p.m. in Thorne Hall, students, faculty, staff and guests will celebrate the myriad contributions that Foster has made to the Bowdoin community during his 23 years at the College.
At 9 p.m. on Tuesday evening, 50 candles illuminated the steps of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, each representing a victim of the terror attacks at the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Center in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15.
“Whenever you break the mold and you do something different or you stand for something, you’re going to get pushback. You’re going to get people who want to shun you and shut you out,” said Sophia Nelson during a moderated discussion with Assistant Professor of Government Chryl Laird in Kresge Auditorium on Tuesday evening.
Over the last few weeks, providers at Health Services have treated hundreds of students with flu-like symptoms. This noticeable uptick in flu cases would be unusual at most other points in the academic year, but according to Jeffrey Maher, director of health services, an increase in flu cases immediately after Winter Break is an annual occurrence.
At the start of next semester, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Information Technology and the Office of Inclusion and Diversity will launch the first phase of the Lived Name Initiative, an effort to better accommodate trans and non-binary students, as well as others who don’t go by their legal name.
Update Friday, November 9 at 5:28 p.m.: Today at 4:59 p.m., Michael Reed, senior vice president for diversity and inclusion, sent an email to the Bowdoin community on behalf of the Bias Incident Group (BIG) regarding “an anonymous act of defacement and transphobia” that took place in a women’s restroom in David Saul Smith Union.
On Tuesday evening, the Bowdoin Queer-Straight Alliance (BQSA) led a program in Daggett Lounge called “Allyship, A Campus Discussion.” Falling just two days before Yellow Shirt Day during OUTtober—a series of programming BQSA organizes to promote awareness of and allyship around the experiences of members of the Bowdoin community who identify as LGBTQIA+— this discussion brought a renewed level of thoughtfulness to a campus tradition.
After being unable to enter the country for the first few weeks of the semester, Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics Varun Makhija has finally received the H-1B visa that will allow him to travel to Bowdoin.
Two revisions to Bowdoin’s Alcohol Policy aim to ensure compliance with state and federal laws while affording more privileges to older students. The two primary changes address event registration and discussions around outdoor events. Before the revisions were made, the policy required all events to be registered with the Office of Residential Life by noon on Thursday, either one or two days before the event would take place.
At the end of August, Leana Amaez, former associate dean of students for diversity and inclusion and co-director of the Sexuality, Women and Gender Center (SWAG), left Bowdoin to accept a position as the director of pro bono services at Pine Tree Legal Assistance.
During Round 1 of course selection for the fall 2018 semester, there were 62 requests for 35 spots in Abnormal Psychology, reflecting a strong student interest in clinical psychology and an under-resourced department, according to Samuel Putnam, professor of psychology and chair of the department.
This year, 24 Bowdoin students have received a national fellowship or grant to pursue a range of opportunities, including teaching English in Germany or Nepal and funding for graduate school towards a career in conflict-resolution work around the world.
A petition calling on Bowdoin to reform its sexual assault policy has received over 800 signatures. The petition, written by Sophie Cowen ’18, Julianna Burke ’18, Amber Rock ’19 and Eleanor Paasche ’20, was announced last Friday.
Students and faculty came prepared with questions to a talk by Larry Lindsey ’73, H’93 on Wednesday night, challenging him on issues ranging from climate change to racism while President Clayton Rose moderated. Lindsey is an economist who served in the White House as director of the National Economic Council under President George W.
Amid ongoing efforts to improve Bowdoin’s handling of accommodations and disability, students, faculty and staff convened in Lancaster Lounge this week to hear four student panelists speak about their experiences navigating accessibility at Bowdoin, particularly accessibility in academics, and potential steps toward creating a more accessible campus.
With an email on Thursday, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) opened voting on a new constitution, which BSG voted to pass at its weekly meeting this past Wednesday. Should this constitution pass, it will be the first major BSG constitutional change in a decade.
This semester, Bowdoin has accepted two students into its guest semester program for students studying in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands seeking to continue their education following disruption by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Veronica Gutierrez Camacho and Leonardo Núñez, both third-year students at the University of Puerto Rico, arrived in Brunswick on January 18 braced for a new educational and physical environment.
On Tuesday evening, activist, organizer and educator DeRay Mckesson ’07 returned to campus as the keynote speaker for No Hate November. He delivered his address to a packed audience in Morrell Lounge in Smith Union. Mckesson, an active leader in the Black Lives Matter movement, has used social media, especially Twitter, to spread awareness about the movement, its nationwide protests and the systems of oppression that they seek to change.
At a town meeting on the evening of Monday, November 20, Brunswick residents commented on Bowdoin’s proposed plan to discontinue Pine Street in order to build a new athletic facility. If accepted, this plan would mean discontinuing the portion of Pine Street that runs between Bowker Street and Bath Road, adding a perpendicular extension between Pine Street and Bath Road through what is currently a wooded area.
Spurred by student and faculty efforts to bring more diverse perspectives to campus, guest speaker Henry Olsen shared a decidedly conservative viewpoint this Tuesday in a talk titled “The Once and Future New Deal Republican: Saving Reagan From Reaganism.” As a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C., Olsen focused much of his talk on arguments he advances in his new book, “The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism.” He argues that President Reagan’s core principle was human dignity, not human liberty, and that Reaganism is similar to both Roosevelt’s New Deal policies and President Donald Trump’s economic policies.
Tuesday is Election Day, and some Bowdoin students who come from out of state have chosen to register to vote in Maine. Those who vote in Brunswick next week will see local municipal elections as well as four state ballot measure referendums on the ballot.
This weekend, families and Bowdoin community members will have the chance to experience Ladd House’s transformation from College House to art gallery. Bowdoin Art Society’s fifth annual Fall Art Show gives students, both inside and outside the visual arts department, the opportunity to put their artwork on display.
As part of OUTtober, Bowdoin Queer Straight Alliance (BQSA) sent 13 students to Bates College’s first Maine Youth Summit and Queer/ Trans Conference last Saturday. Open to both college students and community members such as LGBTQIA+ youth, parents and college faculty and staff, the conference allowed Bowdoin students to immerse themselves in a large, diverse group of queer and trans people.
From sunsets on the Quad to scenic nature adventures and students abroad, Bowdoin’s official Instagram account has become an important element of the college’s communication strategy. Aware of the more than 10,000 students, parents, prospective students and alumni following the account, the Student Digital Media Team (SDMT)—a group of eight students comprised of sophomores, juniors and seniors employed by the Digital and Social Media team—works to make this portrait as genuine and encompassing as possible.
In a report released on August 29, the Ad Hoc Committee on Inclusion recommended that Bowdoin hire a Senior Vice President for Inclusion and Diversity (SVP-ID) as part of the College’s ongoing efforts to foster inclusion and diversity on campus.