During the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) meeting on Wednesday evening, Representative At-Large Jacob Russell ’17 proposed the creation of an Ad Hoc Committee for Off Campus Safety and Town Relations in light of recent concerns surrounding student safety.

Due to time constraints, BSG was not able to vote on the committee’s creation. If approved, the committee will be open to all members of the student body who wish to participate. Russell specifically mentioned his desire to include students who live off campus and members of sports teams in the committee. Members would be responsible for meeting with municipal leaders such as the town manager and generating proposals to be brought before BSG for approval. 

The renewed attention to safety both on and off campus comes after a number of incidents that occurred last year, including gropings and a sexual assault at Mayflower Apartments. Many students also reported cat-calling and other forms of verbal harassment when walking or exercising in Brunswick.

The assembly also discussed the possible creation of a BSG-organized workshop in response to students’ concerns about cat-calling. The workshop would provide students with tools to deal with harassment, specifically in off-campus settings.

Representative At-Large Leah Matari ’20 spoke up in support of the proposal, citing her own experiences with verbal harassment blocks away from campus. She hopes that, if established, the Committee for Off Campus Safety and Town Relations will work closely with the Brunswick City Council, the town manager and the Brunswick Police Department (BPD) to foster better understanding between the municipal organizations and Bowdoin students. 

“I think that students will feel more safe walking into town if students are aware that BPD is aware of the kinds of cat-calling that all the women and girls have to deal with,” Matari said.

Russell acknowledged that though the school does not have the ability to control the behavior of Brunswick residents in town, even the effort to reach out could help improve the relationship between the town and the College. 

“I think just having a presence and working with the police and making that relationship more positive is an important step, because right now it’s going in a direction that is not looking super positive,” Russell said. 

BSG will vote on the creation of the Ad Hoc committee at their next meeting on Wednesday, October 26.     

In addition, Vice President for Facilities and Sustainability Carlie Rutan ’19 shared plans to meet with Vice President and Interim Head of Finance and Administration Matthew Orlando to discuss the cost of installing more overhead lights around campus and to create a survey to send out to the student body to gauge student opinion on which areas are too dark.