Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) spent much of its Wednesday meeting in a closed executive session to discuss cultural appropriation and bias on campus. Members talked about the importance of continuing to address these issues, even in the absence of controversy, and contemplated how to better include faculty in the conversation, such as through expanding programs like the Bowdoin Intergroup Dialogue & Facilitation Training.

“We have a lot of first years on BSG this year,” BSG President Harriet Fisher ’17 said. “We just wanted to create a space where it is safe and comfortable for people to ask questions and speak openly and candidly.”

With Halloween and No Hate November both approaching, BSG felt it was important to address bias and cultural appropriation, as first year students do not have the context of events such as the “tequila,” “gangster” and “Cracksgiving” parties that occurred during the last two academic years. At each of these parties, some Bowdoin students dressed in costumes that stereotyped elements of Latinx, Black and Native American cultures. 

BSG discussed how to preemptively address issues of race on campus, specifically through Intergroup Dialogue, a program that pairs one white student with one student of color for a seven-week discussion program facilitated by a staff member. Currently, not all students who want to participate are able to due to a shortage of staff. Fisher said BSG plans to call on the College to train more faculty members.

She is happy with BSG’s progress from the meeting.

“I think the discussion went really well,” Fisher said.