Millions of Americans will learn about Alex Cornell du Houx '06 on national television soon?though they won't read about him in Bowdoin Magazine, which recently pulled a piece on Cornell du Houx and his political opponent Dan Schuberth '06 amid controversy.
A crew from NBC's flagship news broadcast, "Nightly News with Brian Williams," will be on campus Monday and Tuesday to report on the political activist's upcoming deployment to Iraq in the U.S. Marine Corps, Cornell du Houx said.
Cornell du Houx, who is director of development for the College Democrats of America, said the NBC crew will "follow [him] around" and will likely join him in a government class and at the gym.
When contacted by the Orient, a "Nightly News" desk assistant was unable to provide additional details. However, Bowdoin College Democrats Co-President Frank Chi '08, who was familiar with the situation, said the crew will include contributing correspondent Jonathan Alter. Alter is also a senior editor and columnist at Newsweek magazine.
Producers have already interviewed Cornell du Houx three times by telephone, and he has received some preparation as well.
"I've been in touch with Bowdoin's communications office to discuss ways to create a positive message," Cornell du Houx said.
News of Cornell du Houx's deployment has not always been cast in a positive light.
In comments widely reprinted in Maine media and Internet blogs, College Republicans National Secretary Dan Schuberth '06 questioned Cornell du Houx's "logic and motivation" for serving. After first standing by his comments, Schuberth later apologized in a letter to the Orient.
The Orient learned yesterday that the Office of Communications and Public Affairs was set to publish long-planned interviews with Cornell du Houx and Schuberth in the fall issue of Bowdoin Magazine, but decided to pull them at the last minute. The College's alumni and parent publication reaches over 24,000 people.
The interviews initially appeared on the magazine's web site, but were removed from the site and pulled from the magazine before the magazine went to print.
Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs Scott Hood said in a phone interview late Thursday evening, "It was a decision made by the editor," not any administration officials.
"President Mills was told that the magazine was pulling it. He did not tell anybody to do anything," he said.
At press time, the old version of the publication with the interviews could still be found and downloaded via Bowdoin's search engine. In that version, an editor's note mentions that Cornell du Houx learned of his deployment shortly before the magazine's press time. Alix Roy '07 conducted the interviews with the two students before Schuberth's remarks emerged.
Magazine Editor Alison Bennie said the piece, which contains a photo of the two students standing back to back, "really set them up one-against-the-other."
"It suggested a kind of head-to-head debate," Bennie said, and was no longer a good idea.
"It wasn't in the interest of the College to give more attention to what had deteriorated into an acrimonious relationship," Hood said, noting that additional coverage is not in the students' interests.
As for the television coverage, this is not the first time that Bowdoin has been featured on NBC in recent years. Katie Couric, host of the "Today" broadcast, conducted numerous interviews with James Miller when he was Bowdoin's dean of admissions. Last year, a crew from MTV visited the College to interview students about sexual habits.
Cornell du Houx said he's not necessarily excited about the upcoming television interviews, but said, "It's beneficial because it highlights the fact that the College Democrats and the Democratic Party support the troops."
Cornell du Houx will leave for his deployment less than two weeks from today?on December 1.
Correction: A version of this story posted online and printed in the November 18 Orient mistakenly reported that Frank Chi '08 is co-president of the Maine College Democrats. Chi is president of the Bowdoin College Democrats and communications director for the Maine College Democrats. The Orient regrets the error.