Matthew GutschenritterNumber of articles: 52
Number of photos: 25
First article: September 13, 2012
Latest article: May 2, 2016
First image: September 28, 2012
Latest image: February 12, 2016
Behind the money: Paula Volent has tripled Bowdoin's endowment in 15 years
The slow and unsteady growth of faculty diversity
Talk of the Quad Beneath the birches and the pine
Interactive Construction update: Longfellow School transformation under way
Interactive 'Mules are sterile:' A look at the 91-year rivalry between Bowdoin and Colby
More shifts coming to Bowdoin's leadership team
Meiklejohn to take over as SVP for finance and alumni relations; Soule to take over as dean of admissions and financial aid
Following the departure of Rick Ganong '86 at the end of June, Scott Meiklejohn will take over as senior vice president for development and alumni relations and Whitney Soule will replace Meiklejohn as the dean of admissions and financial aid. The moves will coincide with the departure of Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration & Treasurer Katy Longley '76, who announced recently that she would be leaving the College for the Jackson Laboratory.
Meiklejohn began his career at Bowdoin in the development office in 1997 and has been the dean of admissions and financial aid since December 2009.
“There is no one better equipped than Scott to take on this critical role for Bowdoin,” said President Clayton Rose. “He knows our alumni, donors and trustees, and he understands Bowdoin’s values, traditions and aspirations. I am very excited about our partnership and the work ahead.”
Soule, who is currently the director of admissions, will join the College's leadership team. She joined the admissions office in 2008.
“Whitney is among the most talented and respected admissions professionals in the nation,” Rose said. “She has demonstrated a deep understanding of what it takes to attract, admit and matriculate gifted students who will thrive at Bowdoin and who make our community stronger year after year.”
Ganong began his role in development in January 2014, replacing Kelly Kerner who had been in the job since January 2012. He is leaving in order to pursue business interests beyond the college.
Longley to leave Bowdoin for Jackson Laboratory
S. Catherine "Katy" Longley '76, senior vice president for finance and administration & treasurer, will leave Bowdoin at the end of June after 14 years working at the College. She will start a new role as the vice president and chief financial officer at the Jackson Laboratory.
Headquartered in Bar Harbor, the Jackson Laboratory is a nonprofit research institution with a mission to "discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in our shared quest to improve human health."
President Clayton Rose announced Longley's departure in an email to faculty and staff this morning.
"Katy stands out as a gifted leader who has an uncommon dedication to her position and to her alma mater," Rose wrote. "For fourteen years, Katy has also been a valued financial and policy advisor to the Board and to two presidents. And Katy has been a terrific partner for me during this past year. Like many of you, I value greatly her counsel, her wisdom, and her friendship."
The College will conduct a national search in the coming months to find Longley's replacement.
Fall semester start moved up one day
Classes will start on a Wednesday and Orientation will be one day shorter
Beginning this year, fall semester classes will begin on a Wednesday instead of a Thursday. Orientation for first-year students will still begin on the Tuesday of the previous week, which means that Orientation will be one day shorter.
This fall, Orientation will begin on Tuesday, August 23 for first years and classes for all students will begin on Wednesday, August 31. While the official calendar for the 2016-2017 academic year is expected to come out later this week, the change is expected to affect other aspects of the calendar as well.
Residences halls will open for upperclass students on Monday, August 29. Convocation and the lobster bake are expected to take place Tuesday, August 30.
The change was approved today at the faculty meeting after being proposed at the January 25 faculty meeting.
“The proposal is to allow students a chance right away to see what they think their schedule looks like, to start their courses,” Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Jim Higginbotham told the Orient after the proposal was first made to the faculty.
Under the old schedule, only 237 students were able to have their full schedule of classes during the first week of class. If classes had started on Wednesday, 1,565 students would have been able to attend all of their classes.
The extra day increases the number of classes students can attend before the add-drop deadline.
Activist Mckesson ’07 to run for Baltimore mayor
DeRay Mckesson ’07 has run for office before. While his campaign to become mayor of Baltimore will be his first run for public office, Mckesson was president of the Bowdoin Class of 2007 three times and president of the Bowdoin Student Government twice.
Mckesson is currently one of the most well-known faces of the Black Lives Matter movement as well as Campaign Zero, a policy-focused campaign to end police violence. He filed his papers to run in the mayoral race just before the deadline on Wednesday night and announced his candidacy in a post on Medium.
“In order to achieve the promise of our city and become the Baltimore we know we can become, we must challenge the practices that have not and will not lead to transformation,” Mckesson wrote.
Running for mayor of Baltimore appears to have been on Mckesson’s mind over ten years ago when he was still at Bowdoin.
In a 2005 article about Mckesson, the Orient wrote, “After a summer’s work at the Juvenile Division of the Baltimore City State Attorney’s Office, DeRay has seen the myriad problems facing his Maryland hometown. Ultimately, he would love to work in government as an elected executive official—perhaps eventually as the mayor of Baltimore.”
He talked about the possibility of running for mayor in an article in New York Magazine in November, but Wednesday’s announcement still came as a surprise to many.
Mckesson was the last candidate to announce his campaign before the Democratic primary on April 26, which is widely expected to determine who the next mayor will be.
Mckesson’s announcement struck an optimistic tone, but he emphasized that traditional politics have not been successful at improving the city of Baltimore.
“I have come to realize that the traditional pathway to politics—and the traditional politicians who follow these well-worn paths—will not lead us to the transformational change our city needs,” Mckesson wrote.
He said he would release a full policy platform soon but referenced transparency and accountability as well as safety, job development, job access, grade-level reading, transportation and college readiness as issues he would focus on.
Mckesson joins a crowded field of roughly a dozen candidates, including a former mayor, a state senator and two city councilmen. While he is widely known around the country for his activism, Mckesson faces an uphill battle as a non-traditional candidate.
According to the Washington Post, he would be the first political outsider elected mayor of Baltimore in modern history.
“It is true that I am a non-traditional candidate — I am not a former mayor, city councilman, state legislator, philanthropist or the son of a well-connected family. I am an activist, organizer, former teacher and district administrator that intimately understands how interwoven our challenges and our solutions are,” wrote Mckesson, who was born and raised in Baltimore and moved back roughly a year ago. “I am a son of Baltimore.”
After graduating from Bowdoin in 2007, Mckesson worked in the Minneapolis Public School System before leaving his job to become a full-time activist.
He’ll have to rely on his abilities to energize and organize voters that have made him so successful as an activist.
As of press time, Mckesson had raised over $40,000 from over 650 donors through the online fundraising site crowdpac.com.
If his campaign is successful, Mckesson will join a host of other Bowdoin alumni—including current Mayor of San Francisco Ed Lee ’74—who have held elected public office.
Students approve BSG Multicultural Rep in landslide
1,155 students supported the position; 100 were opposed
Students voted to approve the addition of Multicultural Representative to the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) by an overwhelming 1,155 to 100. The Multicultural Coalition will now hold an election to select the representative who will serve on the BSG beginning next semester.
BSG unanimously passed a resolution on December 2 supporting the creation of the Multicultural Represenative position. Because the addition of the position required a amendment to the BSG constitution, it had to be put to a vote amongst the entire student body. One-third of the student body needed to vote, and two-third of voters needed to vote in favor in order for it to pass. Both benchmarks were easily reached.
The Multicultural Representative will join BSG representatives from E-Board, Athletics and the McKeen Center.
Bias Incident Group to create formal response to bias incidents
Group to more clearly define what a bias incident is
In response to recent bias incidents on campus and student disappointment in the lack of response, the College’s Bias Incident Group will create more formal systems for defining and responding to incidents of bias.
“We have a very well-honed process for informing the campus and getting the process in gear [in response to sexual assaults] and it feels—and it is—a less well-oiled machine with respect to issues of bias,” said President Clayton Rose.
Rose pointed out that there are important differences between sexual assaults and bias incidents, but the College should have formal systems to respond to both.“So the Group concluded—and I agreed, wholeheartedly—that it would be a good thing to look at what we can do to enhance the process and the procedures and make it a better-oiled machine,” Rose said.
Discussion about bias incidents was sparked following multiple bias incidents in Brunswick over the summer and as recently as this month. October’s “gangster” party brought attention to the presence of on-campus bias incidents and debate over what a bias incident is.
Part of the Bias Incident’s Group work will be to more clearly define what a bias incident is, according to Christina Moreland ’17, one of the two student representatives on the Bias Incident Group.
“I think the majority of students on this campus don’t know exactly what a bias incident is defined as,” Moreland said. “And I am still somewhat unclear on that... So I think really fine-tuning that and making it more specific is very important for a start.”
“You have to have a starting point for what are you going to put in the box and what stays outside of the box and so forth,” Rose said.
Both Rose and Moreland noted that the Group’s response to on-campus and off-campus bias incidents will have to be different.
“We likely will have—at least in some aspects of bias incidents—student conduct issues and we need to gather facts and can’t rush to judgment and can’t be seen as prejudicing a process. That doesn’t mean we can’t be faster and more systematic, we can,” Rose said.
Following the “gangster” party, many students shared previously unreported bias incidents, highlighting that fact that many more bias incidents occur than are formally reported to the Bias Incident Group.
According to Moreland, encouraging more reporting is part of the work the Group needs to do. There is an online, anonymous reporting system, but Moreland said many students don’t know about it and it can be hard to find.
The Group has not yet begun to create the new policy, but the College already has similar policies that can serve as models.
“I don’t know exactly what that strategic response or that systematic response will be,” said Moreland. “The idea is we need to have something because in other situations on campus, for example hazing, there is a response that the school will take. So if we can have that for hazing, why can’t we have it for a bias incident?”
“These things should be living policies, not static,” said Rose, who added that there will be opportunities for the Bowdoin community to provide input on the Group’s new policies. The Bias Incident Group was created in the 1980s and is comprised of Rose, Moreland, Elina Zhang ’16, James R. and Helen Lee Billingsley Professor of Marine Biology Amy Johnson, Assistant Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures Carolyn Wolfenzon, Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster, Associate Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion Leana Amaez, Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols, Director of the Counseling Service and Wellness Programs Bernie Hershberger, Senior Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs Scott Hood, Special Assistant to the President for Multicultural Affairs Roy Partridge and Director of the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity Kate Stern.
Polar Bears win 3 NESCAC championships in one day
Field hockey, men's soccer and women's volleyball all won the NESCAC title
It was a banner day for Bowdoin Athletics, as three out of four teams playing in NESCAC championship games brought home the title. The Polar Bears had never won more than two NESCAC titles in a season.
The field hockey team was first to win, beating Middlebury 2-1 on Howard F. Ryan Field to capture the team's first NESCAC championship since 2011. Men's soccer edged out Wesleyan 1-0 in OT at host site Middlebury to win the team's second NESCAC championship in a row. Women's volleyball beat Williams 3-2 at home to win Bowdoin's third NESCAC championship of the day. Women's soccer was the only team in a championship to lose today, falling to Williams 2-0.
The teams had made history before the games even began: It was the first time since 2004 that one school was represented in all four of the NESCAC's fall championships.Field Hockey
The field hockey team has been in the NESCAC championship match every year since 2010, but this year's title win is their first since 2011. The Polar Bears snapped Middlebury's three-year NESCAC championship streak with the 2-1 victory.
Rachel Kennedy '16 scored the first goal of the game and Emily McColgan '17 scored the game winner 19 minutes into the second half.
The team improved to 17-0 on the season. They will play their first game of the NCAA tournament later this week.Men's Soccer
The men's soccer team clinched an automatic spot in the NCAA tournament with their victory. The win was Head Coach Scott Wiercinski's second NESCAC championship in three years as the team's coach.
Captain Andrew Jones '16 scored in the first sudden death overtime to break the scoreless tie and give the Polar Bears a 1-0 win.Women's Volleyball
The women's volleyball team rallied from two sets down and won the last three to defeat Williams 3-2. The win was the Polar Bear's second NESCAC title.
Head Coach Erin Cady is in her first season with the team. Captain Christy Jewett '16 had a team-high 17 kills.
The team will have a bid to the NCAA tournament when the bracket is announced tomorrow morning.Women's Soccer
The second-seeded Polar Bears lost 2-0 to top-seeded Williams, who improved to 16-1-1 on the season. Bowdoin (12-5-1) will have to wait until tomorrow afternoon to find out if they receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.Women's Rugby
Yesterday, the women's rugby team won its fourth straight New England Small College Rugby Conference championship with an 88-0 win over Tufts.
The team will host a Division II playoff game on Saturday.
The slow and unsteady growth of faculty diversity
Twenty-five years ago this week, a group of 50 students blocked the entrances to the College’s administration building for four hours in protest of the lack of faculty diversity at Bowdoin. At the time, Bowdoin had just nine faculty members of color.
Since then, the College has emphasized the need to improve the racial diversity of its faculty, embarking on several initiatives toward that end. Results have been mixed: the number of professors of color on campus has increased, but that growth has been slow and uneven, and lagged behind many of Bowdoin’s peers.
Last year, there were a total of 32 minority members of the entire 235-person faculty, good for 13.6 percent of Bowdoin’s faculty, according to the College’s Common Data Set.
Many of the same obstacles that Bowdoin faced in creating a diverse faculty in 1990 still challenge the College today.
Randy Stakeman, associate professor of history and Africana studies emeritus, was the associate dean of academic affairs from 1991-1994 and at times in the 1980s and 1990s the only African-American professor at Bowdoin. He listed four challenges to creating a diverse faculty: the departmental hiring process, conscious and unconscious biases, the demography of specific fields and the unattractiveness of Bowdoin’s location.
“None of these is an excuse not to pursue faculty diversity, nor to throw up your hands at the impossibility,” Stakeman said in a phone interview with the Orient. “They are simply obstacles to be overcome.”
“Those all remain challenges, but we have worked towards mitigating some of the effects of those challenges,” said Interim Dean for Academic Affairs Jennifer Scanlon.Current Innitiatives
Scanlon said that the biggest challenge for Bowdoin now is addressing people’s implicit biases.
“That is inherent in our culture, people of color exhibit unconscious bias, white people exhibit unconscious bias, it is part of the water that we swim in, the air that we breathe. But that doesn’t excuse it in any way. So we have to make sure that we employ principles but also talk honestly and openly about these things," Scanlon said.
Today, the College’s efforts to create a racially diverse faculty are a part of each faculty search. The Faculty Diversity Committee has five members, one of whom sits on the search committee for every faculty opening.
The representative from the Faculty Diversity Committee is involved in a search from the time a position opens up until after the new faculty member is on campus. He or she is tasked with providing an outside perspective on the search committee and ensuring that candidates from a range of backgrounds, subfields and graduate programs are considered.
“It’s not just about the pool of candidates,” said Scanlon. “It’s also about our ability to fairly read applications and CVs and think long term and clearly about what fit means, what excellence means, what success means in a broader way.”
The College has also hired Romney Associates, a consulting firm, to help search committees think about how they can be conscious of diversity during every step of a search process.The Maine Problem
While Bowdoin has changed its hiring process to include a member of the Faculty Diversity Committee in every search to recruit more broadly and to educate the committee about potential biases, it cannot do anything to change its location.
Bates, Bowdoin and Colby had three of the four lowest percentages of minority faculty in the NESCAC in 2014.
“Maine is overwhelmingly white. Maine is overwhelmingly rural. We are in a small town,” said Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History Brian Purnell. “If you are black, or you are Hispanic, or from another country—if you are used to a vibrant, bustling metropolis, this world will be small, it will have limited options for you to pursue yourself, and it is quiet.”
Marilyn Reizbaum, the Harrison King McCann professor of English, was part of a 1992 Subcommittee on Diversity and the ad hoc committee in 2008 that issued a report on increasing faculty diversity. She cautioned against seeing location as an impenetrable problem.
“I think [Bowdoin’s location] can be a concern, but sometimes it is an excuse— a self-fulfilling prophecy and productive of circular reasoning,” Reizbaum wrote in an email to the Orient. “Bowdoin is a desirable place to work and can be very attractive. There can be a directed address by the college to the diverse needs of a diverse community, which will be welcoming to faculty who are being recruited.”
Indeed, Purnell emphasized that despite Maine’s relatively homogenous nature, his personal experience as an African-American professor at Bowdoin has been largely positive.
“I feel supported in my work, I feel like I’m able to raise a happy healthy family, I’m able to teach my children about race and class in America, and difference, so I flow well here. That might not be the norm for everybody, but it is for me,” Purnell said.
“It’s a slow process, but I don’t know, this is the question I would have: what are the other schools doing differently to get there faster?” said Staci Williams Seeley ’90, who was president of the African-American Society during her senior year and President of the Alumni Council from 2010 to 2012. “And the answer can’t be ‘Maine is a white state.’ Vermont is a white state, Connecticut, there are places where there are NESCAC schools where there is far more progress. For a good opportunity, for the right opportunity, the right scholar is going to come along.”Other Approaches
Bowdoin has a program for Target of Opportunity Hires, which allow departments to hire outside of the normal openings if talented minority candidates come along.
“I would still maintain that we should have a target of opportunity process, but the hardest work should take place on the part of the faculty and that is hiring a diverse faculty pool through the regular search process,” Scanlon said.
The College is also part of the Consortium for Faculty Diversity (CFD), which sends post-doctoral fellows to schools around the country. Bowdoin currently has five CFD fellows, but according the Scanlon, the goal of the program is bigger than increasing Bowdoin’s faculty diversity.
“My thought about the CFD program is that it is a larger institutional commitment—that there are many people of diverse backgrounds who are not that familiar with the small liberal arts college,” Scanlon said.
Bowdoin usually does not have openings to offer CFD fellows full-time offers, but hopes that they will end up in a small liberal arts college.
“The CFD program is not as narrow as diversifying the faculty at Bowdoin, it is also about diversifying the professoriate,” Scanlon said. “It’s a commitment that Bowdoin makes that applies to Bowdoin, but it’s also larger than Bowdoin.”
Yale announced earlier this week that they would invest $50 million in an initiative to fund new minority faculty hires in all of the University’s schools. It joins other large universities that have made high-profile financial commitments to faculty diversity in recent years, including Columbia in 2012.
“We’re not Yale,” Scanlon said. “We don’t have $50 million, so we have to find our own ways, our own Bowdoin ways, to keep this alive and to educate people about the importance of diversity among the faculty, and have people feel like it’s a community effort.”
“I think we should always be on the lookout for new approaches and keep an eye on how other institutions are doing their searching and trying to retain faculty,” said William D. Shipman Professor of Economics John Fitzgerald, who has been at the College since 1983 and was the chair of the ad hoc group on increasing faculty diversity in 2008. “It’s an ongoing process. I don’t think there’s an end goal and I don’t think there is a silver bullet. It’s a matter of trying to continually improve how we operate.”Long-Term Commitment
According to Bowdoin’s Office of Institutional Research, 14 out of 119 tenured faculty in 2014 were minorities. The percentage of tenured faculty who are minorities has increased gradually over the past 10 years, but has been consistently below the overall percentage of minority faculty.
Part of the reason for this may be that while diversity is considered in the hiring process, it is not part of the tenure process.
“Tenure is based on excellence in teaching, distinction in scholarship and service to the College. So those are the sole criteria,” said Scanlon.
The fluctuations in faculty diversity are likely due to professors who are not brought to Bowdoin for the long term.
“The big concern is getting people who are tenured at the College. You can always have full time faculty and staff that come in for a year, maybe two, but if you’re not tenured, they’re not going to really have any vested interest in staying at the college for an extended period and that’s what it seems that Bowdoin still needs to work on,” said Karen Hinds ’93.Faculty Diversity Matters
Minority faculty members have been an important part of the student experience at the College.
“People bring a lot more when they’re trying to learn than just going from tabula rasa to informed individual,” said Purnell. “Some people have to work through more stuff than just mastering the material. It helps to have a mentor for some people… I think that’s a role that some minority students want, or need.”
“I certainly felt very cared for and nurtured and attended to by faculty of color, that they considered mentoring students of color, black students in particular to be part of the deal, part of their job. And they did it with a lot of skill and care and attention and time,” said Seeley.
In addition to personal mentoring, minority faculty serve as role models for students.
“I think it’s the same with when you see a woman in front of the classroom. It really encourages you—especially if you’re interested in academia, but really interested in any position of power, I think it’s so important to just have representation at the head of the classroom,” said Elina Zhang ’16.
Michelle Kruk ’16 agreed about the importance of the perspective that minority faculty can bring to students of color.
“They’ve been able to speak to me in a way that others haven’t,” Kruk said. “I’ve had faculty of color—not just at Bowdoin, but even in high school—who have seen that I’m not getting something, and then they’ll use an example from their life experiences, or from the experience they know will resonate with me, and then I’ll be like, ‘oh shoot, I got it, this is what this means.’”
The diversity of the faculty also impacts what kinds of courses the College can offer.
“Having faculty who are diverse in certain departments, it definitely encourages a diversity of students to pursue those disciplines, and that was really really important to me. I also think that it creates a more diverse course load—for example, when you bring in these new faculty members, they will teach courses that aren’t in the typical canon,” said Zhang.
Faculty also feel that diversity is also important for the College as a whole.
“It makes the college be part of the evolving diversification of the US. In part, to teach students an enhanced perspective is one of the objectives of the college, and a diverse faculty allows us to do that,” Fitzgerald said.
“People bring different things to the table, people bring different questions to what it means to learn and how to learn and what it is we need to learn. And so the richest intellectual environment will be one that is more diverse,” added Scanlon.
While some argue that a focus on diversity leads to lower standards, Rose doesn’t see it that way.
“This issue is not one of surrendering any of those standards. This issue is of doing the work to find the really great teachers and scholars of color and then to consider them in a real and robust way in the process,” Rose said.Here Having Been There
The protest on November 2, 1990 was organized by the Coalition of Concerned Students, a collection of students from different groups which included the African American Society, the Latin American Students Organization, the Bowdoin Women’s Association, the Bowdoin Jewish Organization and Bowdoin Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders. They demanded action by recently-inaugurated President Bob Edwards and wanted a more diverse student body, a more diverse faculty and a gay and lesbian studies program.
The Coalition wanted a response to their demands by November 2, but after Edwards released a memorandum on October 31 that the students from the Coalition deemed “unacceptable,” they decided to protest. The demonstration was the culmination of discussions that started between the various groups earlier that year and were also catalyzed by the departure of one of Bowdoin’s two African-American professors, Gayle Pemberton, that summer.
Edwards met with five student representatives that day and released a statement with a plan that satisfied the students enough for them to stop the blockade.
Hinds (then Karen Edwards) was one of the students who met with Edwards that day, and said that faculty diversity important for the same reasons today that it was in 1990.
“Bowdoin needs to represent what’s going on around the globe,” Hinds said in a phone interview with the Orient. “And yes, Bowdoin is located in Maine and yes, it’s a difficult place to attract people to because of location and the weather and everything else that goes along, but if you’re a higher education environment you need to represent what’s going on in the world.”
In the fall of 1992, “The Report of the Subcommittee on Diversity” was released, which provided recommendations about recruiting more diverse students, improving the minority student experience and creating a more diverse faculty. The report listed Bowdoin as having the lowest percentage of minority faculty members amongst 16 other peer schools.
In 2014, Bowdoin had ninth highest percentage of minority faculty members in the NESCAC out of 11 schools, according to their respective Common Data Sets.
The report also set goals for gender diversity among the faculty and for the racial diversity of the student body. Last year, the faculty was 50.2 percent women; 15 years earlier, 37.4 percent of the faculty were women, according to the Office of Institutional Research. This year, 31.5 percent of students are minorities; 15 years earlier, 13.3 percent of students were minorities.
“We’ve definitely been slower [to diversify the faculty than the student body]. There’s a whole admissions office; there are mechanisms in place that have been in place for some time to increase student diversity,” said Scanlon.
One of the goals stated in “The Report of the Subcommittee on Diversity” in 1992 was that “The percentage of faculty members of color should equal that of minority holders of Ph.D.’s.”
In 2013, 22 percent of doctorate recipients in the life sciences, physical sciences, social sciences and humanities were minorities according to the National Science Foundation.
“Pinning it to the number of PhDs, that’s arbitrary,” said Stakeman. “You have to take advantage to get every possible diverse faculty member you can.”What Does Success Look Like?
While “The Report of the Subcommittee on Diversity” in 1992 set specific goals, the College no longer uses numbers as benchmarks.
Zhang said that faculty diversity should reflect the diversity of Bowdoin students.
“The faculty demographic should be matching the student demographic, and it’s definitely not,” she said.
Others emphasized more intangible benchmarks of success.
“In a sense, you never achieve success. There is no number that you can get to or point to that is the kind of break even mark that you can say, ah, we have 10 faculty of color, it just doesn’t work like that. What you’re trying to do is create a campus and a faculty in which there are many many diverse viewpoints. How many diverse viewpoints should there be on the faculty? You can’t answer that question,” said Stakeman.
“We’re doing our work. That doesn’t mean we’re satisfied, that doesn’t mean we’re resting on our laurels— we’re in fact doubling down on the work that we have to do. Whatever the numbers say or don’t say, we’re doing the work we’re doing, not in response necessarily to a set of numbers, but in response to what we clearly know we need to do,” said Scanlon.
Scanlon suggested that no one measure will indicate when Bowdoin has achieved the level of faculty diversity it desires.
“We’ll just have a richer community, and we’ll know that we'll have a richer community, and we’ll find it less hard to do the work that we’re doing, and it will become a natural part of who we are and what we do,” Scanlon said.
Public health initiative to combine medicine and humanities next semester
The College is planning a new initiative in public health to combine medicine and the humanities and better prepare students for changing medical professions. The program is intended to appeal to students who are interested in any health profession, whether they intend to go to medical school or not.
“We have a lot of faculty and students who have interests in public health, but we don’t have a curriculum about it,” said Assistant Professor of History David Hecht.
According to Dean for Academic Affairs Jen Scanlon, the liberal arts are good preparation for medical school and other medical professions.
“We take great pride in preparing students for health professions and in doing so not just in one particular way,” Scanlon said.
Scanlon approached Hecht about the concept, and he will spend the next few months working with other faculty interested in the medical humanities to determine what form the initiative will take.
Hecht and Scanlon said the initiative will likely start next semester and possibly include course clusters, lecture series or symposia.
“[The initiative will look at] medicine from a science, social science and humanities perspective and bring students together to think across disciplines and across these kinds of boundaries,” Scanlon said. “It’s really a lot about the kind of boundary crossing that we’re able to do in a liberal arts environment.”
Part of the impetus for the initiative is the change in both medical schools and the medical profession.
“Medical schools are changing in terms of what they think constitutes a good prospective medical school student and also what constitutes a good physician,” said Scanlon. “[We want to] think and talk about preparing our students for health professions careers and the compatibility of that with the liberal arts more broadly.”
Hecht believes that the courses will appeal to both humanities students interested in public health and medicine as well as pre-med students hoping to study some of the social implications of their chosen profession.
This semester, Hecht plans to talk to faculty, staff and students to gauge interest in the program.
Inauguration: Q&A with the Inauguration panelists
ANDY SERWER ‘81
What’s the most valuable lesson you learned at Bowdoin?
I really learned to think independently for the first time. I learned to think about thinking.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing Bowdoin today?
I think it’s very clear. How do you go from good to great? And where do you go from here? I mean the place is in good shape, great shape, and so how do you make it even better? And in a way, it’s almost easier if you come in, like if Clayton was coming in in a turnaround situation, it’s like oh this place stinks and fire everyone, do this, and there’s like five logical things to do. It’s harder because the place is in such great shape.
What is the one thing you think every Bowdoin student should do before they graduate?
I’m going to say climb Mount Katahdin. I’m going to say something besides that, but I really believe, climb Mount Katahdin. I really do. Because I really like doing that. That’s super cool. It’s just a little bit hard, but you should do it. I think I’m just going to leave it at that. Some people say have dinner at a professor’s house, but I’d rather climb Mount Katahdin.
RUTHIE DAVIS ‘84
What’s the most valuable lesson you learned at Bowdoin?
To follow your passion, to try different things, and really figure out what you’re passionate about. By the time you graduate you’re pretty clear on the areas that are your favorite, because you’ve sampled many things.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing Bowdoin today?
I feel like Bowdoin is doing great, and I feel like I just want to make sure that it continues its unique flavor that is very down-to-earth. The people here, as much as they’re really talented, smart, it’s getting harder and harder to get into, I’d like to think that they stay well-rounded, nice people, down-to-earth people, not elitist, just cool, you know?
What is the one thing you think every Bowdoin student should do before they graduate?
I’ve definitely gone across the campus in boxer shorts many times - that would be a fun thing to do. That’s kind of like a joke answer, but I would always encourage people to, in your college career at some point, do something that no one’s ever done before. Whatever it is. It could be in any area - do something that no one’s ever done before.
SHELLEY HEARNE ‘83
What’s the most valuable lesson you learned at Bowdoin?
That knowing is not the same as thinking.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing Bowdoin today?
In a day and age where there’s so much pressure to follow the trends and the fads, how do you keep your eye on really producing real leaders? Versus what’s the latest correct or current thing versus what really is going to matter... Don’t get sidetracked by all the latest. It’s really sticking to core values.
What is the one thing you think every Bowdoin student should do before they graduate?
Well, I would say something like swim naked off of Bailey’s Island, but... it is really important before you leave this campus to do something that gives back to the community. Not to the Bowdoin community, but to the community surrounding Bowdoin... That kind of being in touch I think is absolutely critical for every student to have that. We’ve got to share this grace.
GEORGE MITCHELL ‘54
What’s the most valuable lesson you learned at Bowdoin?
I think here I felt part of a community, and for the first time in my life, had faint stirrings of self-esteem and confidence in my ability to deal with people and issues. So for me, the small size, the warmth of the atmosphere, the welcoming attitude were the most important things.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing Bowdoin today?
I think it’s a challenge that faces not only Bowdoin, but every institution of higher learning, indeed, educational facility. It’s that the rapid change through which the world is going, what we call the information or technological communications transformation, will, I think, be seen by future historians as impactful on human history as was the industrial revolution. And keeping pace with that, making sense of the tremendously difficult issues confronting our country and the world, preparing people to be able to deal with those challenges, which can’t be foreseen.
What is the one thing you think every Bowdoin student should do before they graduate?
Oh gosh, I graduated so long ago that I can’t remember. I guess my answer would be to make sure you do graduate. That you study hard enough and get the grades so that you actually do make it out the door.
ADAM WEINBERG ‘87
What’s the most valuable lesson you learned at Bowdoin?
Probably persistence, in all honesty. I was an ice hockey player here, I was a pretty serious student involved in lots of things, but what I learned at Bowdoin was what it meant to really work hard and to persevere, and to sometimes work through failure to find creative ways to problem-solve, and a passion for succeeding.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing Bowdoin today?
I think the challenge for all of the liberal arts colleges is how to make sure we stay relevant in a rapidly changing world. Look, Bowdoin is in a fortunate place: large endowment, beautiful facilities, phenomenal students, incredibly talented and engaged faculty, but the world’s changing rapidly on us, and the question is how do we continue to make sure that the education we’re giving you is going to prepare you to be as successful in the world (however you define that) as my generation was.
What is the one thing you think every Bowdoin student should do before they graduate?
Make great friends. My Bowdoin friends remain some of my closest friends in the world.
KEN CHENNAULT ‘73
What’s the most valuable lesson you learned at Bowdoin?
To be intellectually curious and to make a difference in the community.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing Bowdoin today?
I think the biggest challenge facing Bowdoin is [that] you have this great liberal arts college, and the world is transforming at an incredible pace, and how does Bowdoin figure out its role in a fast changing world?
What is the one thing you think every Bowdoin student should do before they graduate?
Try to meet five people that they have no relationship with, and in their last year, really try to develop a relationship, because one of the things that I find is that even at a place like Bowdoin and in any community you can be too insular and it’s always good to get out of your comfort zone.
NESCAC drug and alcohol survey shows improvement in bystander intervention
Students satisfied with College’s drug and alcohol policies
The results of the NESCAC Alcohol and Drug Survey show Bowdoin in line with other peer schools in the majority of categories, though Bowdoin students are significantly happier with the College’s alcohol and drug policies. Bowdoin also had a noticeable increase in students’ willingness to intervene when friends are intoxicated.
The survey was first conducted in the spring of 2012, and the NESCAC plans to run it every three years. In 2012, Bowdoin coordinated the survey and analyzed the data; this year, it was coordinated by Tufts.
For Associate Director of Health Promotion Whitney Hogan, the best—and most surprising—statistics this year were those surrounding bystander intervention.
“The biggest surprise, and it was a pleasant surprise, were the statistics around bystander stuff,” she said. “Those were much higher than I thought they were going to be. I thought that they were very, very hopeful. I believe Bowdoin is a place where students feel compelled to step up and step in.”
The percentages of students who answered “yes” to questions about specific scenarios surrounding “a sense of responsibility to step in with an intoxicated friend,” were significantly higher than in 2012. For example, in 2015, 97 percent of students said they would intervene with a friend who is about to drive a car as compared with 87 percent in 2012.
Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster pointed to the bystander intervention statistics as a high point in the survey.
“One of the things you’ll see screaming through the data is the changes between 2012 and 2015 where students are intervening when they’re concerned about someone else, and that is just so very important,” said Foster.
“The highlight of my fall has been the bystander statistics,” Hogan said.
Hogan credits the trends in those numbers in part to changes in programming that came following the 2012 survey.
“Since 2012, every upperclassman leader every single year has gone through active bystander training where the message is that Bowdoin is a place students look out for one another,” she said. “I think that’s clearly shown in the statistics.”
Foster also highlighted data showing that Bowdoin students tend to be happier with administrative policies than students at other schools. For example, 96 percent of survey respondents agreed that administration encourages responsible drinking, compared to 81 percent at peer schools.
“People seem to feel that the policies and the general college approach to dealing with alcohol is right-minded,” he said. “I feel good about that. I think the key thing for me is...that we have found a good balancing point between focusing on student health and safety.”
Though Hogan will not be distributing the full results of the survey, some results will inform continued programing of both Peer Health and the Alcohol Team (A-Team).
According to Hogan, student leaders in those groups will use the statistics in one-on-one conversations with students, during the yearly alcohol summit, alcohol use screenings and on posters throughout campus.
“Sometimes people may be surprised by these statistics and sometimes they may just be what people were expecting,” said Jillian Burk ’16, a student leader on Peer Health and member of the A-Team. “But it’s just something to have in the back of your mind—what the culture and the social life is like here at Bowdoin—and whether or not there are areas for improvement.”
Student responses to the statistics will drive changes in Peer Health and the A-Team going forward.
“Through students’ responses to the data, that often shifts what we want to do in the future,” said Hogan. “There’ll probably be some changes to programs in the spring but even more next fall.”
Taylor indicted for alleged on-campus rape
Logan Taylor, who resigned from the College this summer, was indicted on a single count of gross sexual assault by a Cumberland County grand jury according to the Bangor Daily News.
At a dispositional conference on August 13 at the Cumberland County Courthouse, the original complaint against Taylor was dismissed without prejudice. Because the dismissal was without prejudice, the District Attorney’s office was able to continue to pursue the charges.
When Taylor resigned from Bowdoin this summer, the College halted its own investigation into the alleged sexual assault.
For more on the alleged incident and initial investigation: bowdoinorient.com/article/10311.
This article was updated at 8:00 p.m. to reflect that charges were not technically refiled.
Behind the money: Paula Volent has tripled Bowdoin's endowment in 15 years
Volent first came to the College in 1981 as a curatorial assistant at the Museum of Art
Stanley Druckenmiller ’75 called her work phenomenal and former President Barry Mills described her as world class. When it was announced on Tuesday that Bowdoin’s endowment returned 14.4 percent last year and is now valued at $1.393 billion, President Clayton Rose credited its continued success to Senior Vice President for Investments Paula Volent and her team.
“What Paula has done is unbelievable,” Rose said.
Volent has been overseeing the College’s endowment since 2000, but she first arrived at the College long before she even considered a career in finance.
On January 2, 1981, the Lewiston Journal ran an announcement that Paula Volent—a recent graduate from the University of New Hampshire—had been hired as a curatorial assistant at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (BCMA). She’d just finished her undergraduate degree in art history and chemistry and was planning on working in the art world.
“One of the stories of my life is that there’s lots of transitions; lots of opportunities came up, and I was open to taking advantage of some of the serendipity,” Volent said.
After working at the BCMA, she went on to graduate school in art conservation at NYU, worked at the New York Historical Society, the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts and the LA County Museum of Art and opened her own paper conservation studio in Venice, California. While running her own business, she thought that she should have some financial knowledge.
“I realized running my own business...that I didn’t really have the skill set to read a balance sheet or the finance skills,” Volent said. “So I started taking a couple of finance classes at UCLA at night, and I was very good at it.”
Her professor suggested that she go to business school and become a museum director.
“I thought it was crazy,” Volent said. “But it sort of stuck in my mind. So I did apply.”
At the same time she was accepted to Yale School of Management, Volent was also offered a fellowship at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C, to work on contemporary works of art. She deferred her admission to Yale and went to work in D.C., but eventually made her way back to New Haven.
However, shortly after she arrived at Yale to start her first semester, her daughter was born. Volent took a semester off and went knocking on the door of the Yale Investments Office.
“I thought if I was going to work at a not-for-profit institution like a museum, I needed to learn about endowments,” Volent said. Chief Investment Officer David Swensen was on the other side of that door at Yale, and he gave her a shot.
Swensen is often noted as one of the top investors in the world; he’s mentored a handful of successful proteges—Volent among them.
She started off in his office as an intern after only one semester of business school.
“I didn’t know all of this nomenclature about finance. It was all mysterious to me,” she said.Volent ended up working in that office for a few years.
“I fell in love with finance and endowments,” Volent said.Return to Bowdoin
Nineteen years after she was originally hired as a BCMA curatorial assistant, Volent returned to Bowdoin in July 2000 as the associate treasurer.
“I really wanted to come back to Maine because I love the geography of Maine and the place,” Volent said.
It’s been 15 years since Volent arrived at Bowdoin for the second time. Though her title changed to Vice President for Investments in 2002 and Senior Vice President for Investments in 2006, her responsibilites have remained largely the same. Volent is charged with managing the College’s endowment with the help of the entire endowment office and the College’s investment committee.
Under her watch, the endowment has grown from about $465 million to $1.393 billion. Volent has seen the endowment through the dot com bubble and the recession and consistently posted returns above the national average. In Fiscal Year 2014, the endowment was named Endowment of the Year.
Although the switch from art conservation to endowments may seem an about-face, Volent finds the jobs similar.
“People always say, ‘what a big switch you made from doing art history and art conservation to finance,’ and I really feel like the intellectual curiosity and sort of excitement every day in going into my job is similar,” she said.
Volent lives in Cape Elizabeth and makes the commute in to Brunswick.
“I love Bowdoin. I’m very loyal to Bowdoin. I think it’s one of the very best places,” Volent said. “Working with Barry Mills has been one of the highlights of my life, and I think it’s going to be really exciting to work for Clayton.”
She’s seen the College through three presidents—Bob Edwards, Mills and now, Rose.
“I think Bowdoin keeps getting improved,” Volent said. “When I first came to Bowdoin in 2000, especially on the investments side, people didn’t really know what Bowdoin was, and now we’re very well known. Barry did an amazing job. I think Clayton is going to bring the College to the next step for thinking about higher education in the future.”
Volent is still heavily involved in the arts. She’s on the advisory committee for the BCMA and the investment committee for the American Institute for Conservation.
“I don’t do any art myself, really, because I don’t have time,” Volent said, “But I would like to slow down and get back into that. As an art conservator, you have to be proficient in studio art because you’re actually going to fill in damages on a work of art. At one point I did a lot of my own.”
But for now, the endowment keeps Volent busy—she flies back and forth to Bowdoin’s satellite investment office in New York City weekly, and often travels across the country and around the globe for meetings with investment managers.
“Being in investments is really interesting. One day you’re thinking about what’s going on in China and the next about global politics, and the next minute you’re diving deep into the balance sheet of a company,” Volent said. “I’m really always looking for the best investments for Bowdoin so we can support financial aid and grow the endowment.”
Endowment returns 14.4%, valued at $1.393 billion
The College’s endowment generated an investment return of 14.4 percent in fiscal year 2015 (FY15), making it the third consecutive year that the endowment has generated double digit returns. On June 30—the end of FY15—the endowment was valued at $1.393 billion.
The mean return for all college and university endowments in FY15 was 1.8 percent according to Cambridge Associates, a firm that tracks endowment returns nationwide. The College’s three-, five-, and ten-year annualized returns are 16.5 percent, 14.7 percent and 10.5 percent respectively. The College’s returns are significantly higher than the mean annualized three-, five-, and ten-year returns for all college and university endowments, which are 9.9 percent, 9.6 percent and 6.6 percent respectively.
The endowment generated an investment return of 19.2 percent in FY14 and 16 percent in FY13. Last year, Bowdoin was recognized as the “Endowment of the Year” by Institutional Investor. The College’s endowment is managed by Senior Vice President for Investments Paula Volent. Since she began managing the endowments in 2000, its value has tripled.
The endowment’s growth is significant because it is the primary resource that allows Bowdoin to offer its students financial aid. Of the total endowment balance, approximately 46 percent is restricted to financial aid spending.
“The most important result of the growth of the endowment is financial aid, period,” said President Clayton Rose. “The trustees and the college and [President Barry Mills] and others have placed a deep premium on having the best financial aid capabilities that we can have.”According to Rose, about 85 percent of the total budget each year goes to either financial aid or faculty and staff compensation.
“Having a strong endowment means we’re able to hire, retain and provide competitive compensation for all the folks that work here,” he said. “When we start to think about challenges, or difficult times, [because] we have 85 percent focused on financial aid or people, that’s the place we’d have to start thinking about making changes, and that would be deeply unpleasant for everyone.”
Bowdoin’s endowment’s return is one of the best in the country—Bloomberg Business cites it as the best among schools so far this year—a result Rose credits to the work of Volent and her investment team.
“We’re the beneficiaries of quite remarkable investment management, skill and dedication,” Rose said.
Rose is a trustee at one of the largest philanthropic endowments in the country, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), and therefore has a background in this type of work.
“I’ve been around this business for a long time, and I’m deeply involved with a very good investment management team at HHMI, and wthat Paula [Volent] has done is unbelievable,” Rose said.
Bowdoin evaluated in Obama's College Scorecard
Bowdoin is one of over 7,000 schools in President Obama’s College Scorecard, an online database that includes information including average costs, graduation rates and future salaries. Obama released the Scorecard on Saturday, two years after he announced his original plan for a federal college rating system.
When the plan was originally announced in August 2013, Obama intended it to be a rating system, the results of which would be tied to federal aid. Instead, the new system provides information about each school in seven different categories but does not explicitly rate them.
“I think a ranking would have been a very unfortunate outcome. I think it’s arbitrary and relies on decisions about how you’re going to weigh what data and value decisions that are implicit or explicit in the rankings,” said President Clayton Rose. “The goal of helping families and students figure out what the right college is for them by giving them good information that they can compare across schools is great.”
Much of the data, including the average annual cost and the median earnings ten years after enrollment, are based only on students who received federal financial aid. Currently only 20 percent of Bowdoin students receive federal aid.
“I think in many ways it’s trying to deal with this real problem we’ve had in society of students going off to schools... where they were made promises about their employment opportunities and therefore incurred huge amounts of debt with a sense that when they got to the end of it there would be jobs where they would make X and that would allow them to cover their debt,” Rose said.
Neither President Rose nor Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Scott Meiklejohn believe that the Scorecard offers a full picture of Bowdoin’s affordability or value.
“Single data points and snapshots and average and median figures are useful, but only if viewers of the information understand exactly what they are looking at. Most of what appears on the Scorecard is a set of data for the 20 percent of Bowdoin students ‘who borrowed federal loans to help pay for college.’ It is not intended to provide a full picture of diversity or affordability or accessibility at the College,” wrote Meiklejohn in an email to the Orient.
“This squishy notion of value—and we need to be very careful about what value means—I don’t think it gets after that...the notion that it paints a full picture of the Bowdoin experience and the Bowdoin opportunity, no, but that’s not what it’s intended to do,” Rose said.
Rose does not believe that the new Scorecard will have a noticeable affect on Bowdoin’s application numbers.
“I think we’re pretty transparent with all the kinds of data that are in there. If you just think about the other NESCAC schools or other schools that students look at when they’re thinking about coming here, the data’s pretty transparent,” Rose said.
The Scorecards also include retention rates, student body demographics, standardized test scores and popular academic programs.
Correction (September 21, 2015 at 10:20 a.m.): The article has been updated to reflect that data on median earnings are calculated ten years after enrollment, not graduation.
Bowdoin and BPD continue independent investigations into alleged on-campus rape
Logan Taylor ’17 was arrested on a charge of gross sexual assault, a Class A felony, on Sunday morning. Taylor allegedly raped a female student in a campus residence hall the previous night. Taylor has been issued a criminal trespass order and is barred from all College property, according to a campus-wide Safety and Security Alert sent by Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols.
Taylor was initially held in lieu of $1,000 bail, but it was increased to $5,000 at a hearing Tuesday. As of 6:30 p.m., Taylor was still being held in Cumberland County Jail. His court-appointed attorney Andrei Maciag was assigned to the case today and was not prepared to comment.
The Brunswick Police Department (BPD) and the College are each currently conducting independent investigations.
In accordance with Bowdoin’s Student Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence Policy, the College’s investigation will be led by an independent investigator. In this case, the investigator is a consultant with a law firm in Portland, according to Senior Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs Scott Hood.
The investigator’s report will be presented to the advisor to the Student Sexual Misconduct Board Benje Douglas, Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students Meadow Davis, Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster, the complainant and the respondent.
If the investigator’s report recommends that there is sufficient basis to convene a Sexual Misconduct Panel, the Chair of the Student Sexual Misconduct Board (the Dean of Student Affairs or his designee) would convene one from members of the Student Sexual Misconduct Board. The Panel would consist of three members: the Dean of Student Affairs (or his designee), one faculty member, and one student who is a member of both the Judicial Board and the Student Sexual Misconduct Board.
Both the complainant and the respondent would have an opportunity to appear before the Panel. The Panel would first determine by majority vote if the respondent is responsible by a preponderance of the evidence (“more likely than not”). If found responsible, the Panel would determine the respondent's sanction by majority vote.
The convening and decision of the Sexual Misconduct Panel are not dependent on criminal proceedings. According to Hood, the College does not plan to get in touch with the student body about the incident outside of updates to the Safety and Security Alert if and when Taylor is released.
The Office of the Dean of Student Affairs declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.
The alleged assault was first brought to the attention of BPD after a female student called Bowdoin Safety and Security for a ride from the area of the Swinging Bridge on Mill St. in Brunswick early Sunday morning. The security officer called the Brunswick Police Department at 2:34 a.m. after the student reported concern about Taylor’s welfare, according to BPD Sergeant Paul Hansen.
After speaking with the female student, the officers learned of the allegation of sexual assault which allegedly took place earlier that night in a Bowdoin residence hall.
The female student was taken to the hospital and officers with the BPD began a search for Taylor. He was located in Topsham around 5 a.m. by the Topsham Police Department, who turned him over to the BPD. After talking to BPD, Taylor was officially arrested Sunday morning at 10 a.m. and sent to Cumberland County Jail.
Detectives at the BPD will pass on the results of their ongoing investigation to the District Attorney’s Office. Taylor is scheduled to appear in court on July 21.
This is an ongoing story that will be updated as more information becomes available.
By the numbers: the class of 2019
521 students have accepted spots in the class of 2019. That number includes early decision and regular decision applicants. The class size is expected to decrease slightly over the next six to eight weeks as some students accept waitlist offers at other schools or choose to take a gap year. The target class size is 500 students.
53.1 percent of accepted students chose to enroll at Bowdoin, a new record. This percentage is called the "yield" and includes students accepted early decision.
46 percent of the class of 2019 will receive need-based financial aid (roughly).
$9 million of financial aid will be given to the class of 2019 next year (roughly).
>30 percent of the class of 2019 self-identify as multicultural.
46 states are represented in the class of 2019.
25 countries are represented in the class of 2019.
402 high schools are represented in the class of 2019.
Data from The Bowdoin Daily Sun.
Boycott referendum fails
Eighty-five percent of student body voted; only 14 percent of voting students were in favor
The referendum calling for a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions failed with 228 students (14 percent) voting in favor, 1,144 opposed (71 percent) and 247 abstaining (15 percent), according to a campus-wide email from Bowdoin Student Government President Chris Breen '15.
Students had from Saturday, May 2 at noon until today at noon to vote; 1,619 students voted (85 percent of the student body).
One-third of enrolled students needed to vote in total, with two-thirds of voting students voting in favor, in order for the referendum to pass. If it passed, it would have been sent to the administration as a representation of the voice of the student body.
Over the past few days, supporters on both sides of the referendum actively lobbied students. While no official student organization took a stance against the boycott, an informal group of students headed up the opposition. Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) advocated the boycott.
Both sides hung posters stating their case around campus. Members of SJP were first seen taking down, and then writing "false" next to certain statements on posters opposing the boycott. Sponsored advertisements appeared on Facebook for a page titled "No Bowdoin Boycott" which linked to the website nobowdoinboycott.com. It is unclear who created the website or funded the Facebook advertisements.
Around a hundred students packed into Jack Magee's Pub on Monday night for a 90-minute open forum about the referendum.
More information on the referendum: bowdoinorient.com/article/10301
More information on the proposed boycott: bowdoinorient.com/article/10179
BSG election results: Mejia-Cruz ’16 wins presidency
Michelle Kruk ’16 wins VP for Student Government Affairs and Luke von Maur ’16 wins VP for Student Affairs
Mills announces Judd's departure
Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd will become the Senior Program Officer in the Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities Program after nine years at the College
Dean For Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd will leave the College at the end of August to join the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York City as the Senior Program Officer in the Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities Program, according to an email from President Barry Mills. President-elect Clayton Rose will be tasked with naming Judd's replacement and he "expects to be able to announce his plan in the near future," according to Mills' email.Judd took over as dean for academic affairs in July 2006 after 13 years as a professor of music at the University of Pennsylvania. During her tenure, Judd continued to teach courses in the music department in addition to her responsibilites as dean.
Under Judd's leadership, the College hired nearly 40 percent of its current faculty, developed new professional policies for faculty, and launched new programs including the Digital and Computational Studies Initiative.
“I have the opportunity to work at an amazing institution with a really strong sense of who it is, to support an incredibly talented faculty…and to work with an incredibly diverse student body,” Judd told the Orient in 2013. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”
In her new role at the Mellon Foundation, Judd "will play a key role in maintaining and strengthening the relationship of the Foundation with higher education leaders, in its grant-making activities in higher education, and in meetings and policy discussions regarding liberal arts colleges and research universities," wrote Mills.
Women’s swim has five compete in nationals
The women’s swimming team had four top-20 finishes at the Division III Championship last week in Shenandoah, Texas, though they did not qualify for the finals in any event.
It was the first time since 2012 that the team was represented at nationals and the five swimmers were the most that the team has sent to nationals in over a decade.
“This was a surprise for us,” said captain Patty Boyer ’15. “We didn’t really expect to get to go to NCAAs, we didn’t expect to swim fast enough to even have a chance at qualifying, so that in itself was a surprise. What was also a surprise was how well we did considering we hadn’t planned for this to happen.”
“There was a lot of energy. It was a really good place to be. Everyone wanted to do well and everyone was fast and it was just fun,” said Mariah Rawding ’18.
The team competed in four relays and Rawding competed in three individual events. Rawding finished 18th in the 100 breaststroke (1:04.89), 21st in the 200 breaststroke (2:21.60) and 32nd in the 50 freestyle (23.90).
Rawding, Boyer, Bridget Killian ’16 and Sophia Walker ’17 finished 19th in the 200 freestyle relay (1:35.94) and 21st in the 200 medley (1:46.94). Killian, Rawding, Lela Garner ’16 and Walker finished 18th in the 400 freestyle relay (3:29.51) and 17th in the 400 medley relay (3:54.48).
Because none of the five swimmers had ever been to nationals, they did not have experience training during the four-week stretch after the NESCAC championships.
“Everyone did a really great job considering we weren’t really sure how our training was going to pay off,” Boyer said. “I think we are all, and should be, happy for how we swam, and for staying close to how we swam at NESCACs.”
The new training schedule proved to be the biggest challenge for the team.
“You have to really commit to it, that’s the hardest part,” said Rawding. “I think the mental part over the four weeks was really hard.”
“You can swim a race and go really fast and never be able to make that time again,” Boyer said. “Being able to do it twice in a row, five weeks apart with whacky training is a really great accomplishment.”
After a preliminary race, the top 16 finishers qualified for the finals. No Bowdoin swimmer qualified for the finals.
“It was right on what I expected us to do, we swam very close to the times we did at the conference meet,” said Head Coach Brad Burnham. “I think we were hoping to finish in the top 16, to be All-American. That would have made it really great.”
“Our goal was to make it back to finals,” said Boyer. “We were positioned going into the event to be in them [based on qualifying time], but because of not dropping enough time or other teams getting faster, we didn’t make it back, so that was disappointing. Overall I think we have things to be happy about.”
“Individually, I wanted to go a little faster,’” said Rawding.“Overall I was happy.”
Killian—who set a school record in her leg of the 400 freestyle relay (52.09)—Garner, Rawding, and Walker will have the chance to qualify for nationals again next year.
“Now that they understand what the meet is like and the interval between the conference championships and the nationals and what kind of training we need to do, I think we’ll be prepared for next year,” Burnham said.
Talk of the Quad: Beneath the birches and the pine
In 1915, David Endicott Putnam won the Camp Becket Honor Emblem, an award given to campers based on the strength of their character.
Two years later, Putnam, who would come to be known as the “Ace of Aces,” left his job as a counselor at Camp Becket to fight in World War I. In September 1918, his SPAD XIII plane was shot down over France and Putnam was killed. The U.S. Army posthumously awarded him the Distinguished Service Cross. He was 20 years old when he died.
At the dedication of the 9/11 Museum last spring, President Obama spoke about the Man in the Red Bandana, Welles Crowther. While everyone else ran down the stairs, Crowther, a former volunteer firefighter working in the World Trade Center, ran deeper into the building to help get others out. Welles had been a Becket camper and was a quintessential example of one of the camp mottos, Help the Other Fellow.
This summer, I’ll be on staff at Becket, just like Putnam was nearly a century ago. But a funny thing happens when I tell people what my plans are for the summer.
“Really? Oh, that’s nice,” my friends’ parents say. “Nice” lingers, as if they’re not sure if it was really what they meant. My friends ask if it’s going to be my last summer or say I’m too old to be a camper. The Career Planning Center insists that I get an internship.
I get defensive when I tell people that I plan to return for my thirteenth consecutive summer at camp and my fifth on staff. The overachiever inside of me has an urge to justify why I’m not applying for a competitive internship program or a research grant.
I want to tell them about David Putnam and Welles Crowther. But the truth is I’m not going back to camp this summer simply because I think that Becket will make me more like David Putnam or Welles Crowther. Nor do I have any illusions about my ability to turn my campers into national heroes in four weeks, although mature, thoughtful fourteen-year-old boys would be a good start.
Every Sunday afternoon, my phone lights up with the weekly edition of “Jobs and Events I May Be Interested In.” In fact, many of the jobs do interest me. I think I’d like being a White House Intern or a Future Global Leader or a Google Journalism Fellow.
I’d also like to sit in a rocking chair on the porch of the library overlooking the lake and have to put a sweatshirt on because the sun is quickly descending behind the birch trees. I’d like to watch as my campers try to navigate a twenty-five foot, hundred-year-old canoe back to the dock. I’d like to remind them to hang up their wet life jackets.
If I get to be surrounded by the Bowdoin Pines for nine months of the year, I want to be surrounded by the birch trees of the Berkshires for the other three. I want my clothes to smell like a campfire and my arms to be covered in mosquito bites. I want to relive the best days of my childhood and share them with my campers, despite that fact that many people do not consider it the best preparation for my impending adulthood.
My friends and I are stuck in a tug of war between what we want to do for the summer and what we’re told we should do. We’re lucky if nothing is pulling on the should end of the rope. We’re even luckier if the want and should ends are the same.
I hope the Offer of the College is wrong. I hope my time at Bowdoin is not the best four years of my life, but I do hope that the summers in between my years at Bowdoin are the best of my life because they are the last summers of my youth. After college, summer is just a season.
My friends have good, fun, relaxing, boring, warm summers. They sell vacuums and ice cream and stocks. They study Arabic and physics and poverty. They sit on the beach and in cubicles and on subways.
Walking around campus at the end of August, you need more than two hands to count the number of people who ask, “How was your summer?”
I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say they had a terrible summer, but I don’t see people’s eyes light up when they talk about their summers either. It seems that few people have a story they’re excited to tell.
Two years ago, my summer story was about a camper whose family life was so turbulent that nobody could make the trip to see him on visiting day. He pulled me aside before boarding the bus home on the last morning. He looked up at me and said, in an expression of emotion jarringly earnest for a pubescent boy, “you’re like the good big brother I’ve never had.”
Last year it was a story about helping a group of campers—campers who are much cooler than I was or will be—build a cabin that will house hundreds of campers over the next few decades.
When I return to Bowdoin in August, I hope I have another story. I hope my eyes light up when someone asks me about my summer. I hope the excitement I feel to be back at Bowdoin will be matched by the sadness I feel that summer is over.
Matthew Gutschenritter is a member of the Class of 2016.
Video: Final say: Steven Cerf, Peter Coviello and Jarrett Young '05
Cerf, Coviello and Young share some final thoughts about their time at the College.
George Lincoln Skolfield, Jr. Professor of German Steven Cerf, Professor of English Peter Coviello, and Assisstan Dean of Student Affairs Jarrett Young '05 will be leaving the College at the end of the academic year. The Orient sat down with them to hear some of their final thoughts about their time at the College.
Approval ratings: Spring 2014 approval ratings survey results
The Orient has circulated approval ratings surveys amongst the student body each fall and spring since 2010. This spring, 330 students responded to the survey.
BSG election results: Breen ’15 wins presidency
Fisher '17 wins VP for student organizations; Rujiraorchai ’17 wins VP for academic affairs
Full BSG election results were announced earlier this evening on the BSG website and in a campus-wide email.PresidentChris Breen ’15: 403 - WINNERDavid Levine ’16: 379
Vice President for Student Government AffairsCharlotte McLaughry ’15: 712
Vice President for Student AffairsJustin Pearson ’17: 686
Vice President for Academic AffairsMatthew Goodrich ’15: 365Chrissy Rujiraorchai ’17: 381 - WINNER
Vice President for Student OrganizationsHarriet Fisher ’17: 413 - WINNERRyan Herman ’17: 279
Vice President for the TreasuryRyan Davis ’15: 703
Vice President for Facilities and SustainabilityBridgett McCoy ’15: 680
Turnout:Class of 2014: 93Class of 2015: 227Class of 2016: 226Class of 2017: 284Total: 830
Changes at Children’s Center stir emotions
Since 2011, the Center has had three different directors and three different administrators oversee it.
Two weeks ago, the Orient published an article titled, “Beyond the waitlists, Children’s Center serves youngest in community.” After receiving more than 30 online comments, the Orient chose to take a closer look at recent changes at the Center.
The Bowdoin College Children’s Center is a “big recruitment attraction for the faculty,” according to Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Katy Longley. The Center is owned and run by the College, with an operating budget comprised of tuition paid by parents and additional money provided by Bowdoin.
The Center has faced a period of upheaval in recent years. Since 2011, the Center has had three different directors and three different administrators have overseen the Center. The leadership and oversight changes have caused staff and families to reconsider their affiliation with the Center.Between two directors
The period of change and turmoil began in the Center when Kris Gould, who had served as the director of the Center since April 2003, retired in October 2011.
During her tenure, Gould reported to Bill Torrey, the former senior vice president for planning and development. Torrey stepped down from his role at the College in the spring of 2011; Gould said that his departure was one of multiple reasons that she decided to retire a few months later.
At the time of Gould’s retirement, Margaret Hazlett, former senior associate dean of student affairs, began overseeing the Center. Heather Stephenson, a teacher at the Center, took over as interim director, while Hazlett, a consultant, and a search committee of parents, faculty, and Human Resources (HR) representatives looked for a candidate to fill the director position.
During the interim period, F.R. Vance, a teacher at the Center from 2009 to 2011, raised concerns about fire exits not being shovelled. Not satisfied with Stephenson’s response to his concerns, Vance wrote about them in a daily blog post he compiled for his students’ parents.
Vance claims he was called into a meeting with Stephenson and Hazlett, in which they reprimanded him for the posts.
Stephenson declined to comment on this incident.
Two other former teachers the Orient interviewed, both of whom wished to remain anonymous, said that they were not supported by Hazlett during the interim period.
According to a current teacher at the Center (who wished to remain anonymous in order to “keep an even keel”), the shovelling issue has been resolved.
“Other than that [incident] I had a great time at Bowdoin, really I did. I liked the students, I liked the faculty, and I liked the staff,” Vance said. “I had great teachers to work with. I did have a good time teaching there until the end.”A new vision
In the spring of 2012, the search for a new director came to a head when parents and staff of the Center spoke with finalists for the position. With the advice of those parents and staff members, the search committee hired Martha Eshoo in May.
Although the search committee was hoping for a director who could work full time at the Center, an exception was made for Eshoo. Currently, Eshoo works at the Center three days a week. In her time away from the Center, she is an instructor at Wheelock College in Massachusetts, a job she has held since the 1980s.
“We thought that the plusses and strengths that Martha would bring to the Center outweighed not having her there full time,” said Hazlett in a phone interview with the Orient. “Many of us thought it was great that she was staying engaged in the classroom, that that would help bring more best practices and more current practices to the Center.”
One of Eshoo’s first initiatives as the new director of the Center was to introduce a play-based curriculum. The Center was using an integrated approach—a combination of best practices among different early education philosophies—when Eshoo became director. The play-based curriculum is just another added component.
Eshoo said that her curriculum looks at two strands of things: “That children are playing in ways that are not interrupted and that children are playing repeatedly so they can go deeper and deeper into their play.”
“Our belief and what research shows is that when children are playing, their brains are actually growing and being creative,” she said.
Although Eshoo said she updated parents and staff on the shift to a play-based curriculum through meetings and weekly newsletters, not everyone felt fully informed.
Staff noticed changes in educational methods and philosophies after Eshoo became director.According to a current teacher, Eshoo replaced some of the Center’s methods with more Waldorf methods than had been used in the past. Waldorf is an alternative educational philosophy.
The change “was so quick, so fast, that your head was spinning... because these were things that we were taught in college and that we’ve been developing the appropriate practice for years—that all a the sudden wasn’t quite what was in the vision,” said the current teacher at the Center.Some parents were also aware of the new methods.
“A lot of the staff and the leader herself are affiliated with the Waldorf School. There’s nothing wrong with Waldorf, but it’s a very specific educational philosophy that is not at all in the mainstream,” said Laura McCandlish, whose son attended the Center from August 2012 until April 2013, in a phone interview with the Orient. “They’re not saying that they’re a Waldorf School, but in all intents and purposes they are...So either become a Waldorf school or don’t. It would help parents to know what they’re signing up for. I think teachers too.”
Eshoo said she feels differently. “We absolutely do not use the Waldorf approach,” she said. “I have noticed in the young toddler room, which is the room that our children are in, that it’s a play-based curriculum, and all that means is that they will take the best ideas from Montessori, Waldorf...there doesn’t seem to be any strict adherence to any single philosophy,” said Allison Cooper, an assistant professor of romance languages at the College whose twins have attended the Center since June 2013.
Cooper is a member of the parents advisory committee made up of representatives from each classroom that meet monthly with Eshoo. Cooper is very happy with her children’s experience at the Center and said she was surprised by the negative comments on the original Orient article.“I saw the comments...and they were a real surprise to me because they did not remotely reflect our experience at the Children’s Center,” said Cooper.
Although Eshoo says that the Center is a place open to all children, even those with behavioral problems, McCandlish believes her family was pushed out.
“If your kid was any kind of outlier in terms of behavior, like too physical, or too passive and quiet, like if your kid did not conform to [the] ideal, they really did not make you feel like it was a place for [your child],” said McCandlish. “It made all the parents feel bad. We just felt like it was a very top down approach. And basically our hours [at the Center] were cut in half. We were told we could bring him only for a half a day but still pay the same rate.”
Eshoo said that tuition rates cannot change within a contracted year.
McCandlish’s son now attends the Little Schoolhouse in Maine, where she said a few other Bowdoin families send their children. She said her son is much happier there.
“We’ve since moved to another daycare in Brunswick and our child is thriving. The teachers worked with us to resolve all development challenges,” McCandlish said. “I just feel like I wish we had been there last year because then we would have avoided all this.”
Jackie Sartoris, whose son attended the Center from 2009 to 2013, had a similar experience. She said she reluctantly pulled her four-year-old son from the Center after she was routinely asked to pick her son up early because he was not remaining still and silent during nap time.
“Our interactions with the Center for the last several months of 2013 left our family feeling judged rather than welcomed, and we strongly felt that neither our concerns nor our generally good-natured child were valued by the director,” wrote Sartoris in an email to the Orient.
Natasha Goldman—a research associate and lecturer in the art history department—switched her son to Family Focus, another childcare option in Brunswick in 2013, after the Center denied her request to change his lunch seat because he wasn’t eating his meals.
“Many families are very happy [at the Bowdoin Children’s Center],” Goldman said in an email to the Orient. “It just wasn’t the right fit for our child any longer.”
During this academic year, one family has withdrawn its child from the Center. Of the 45 families with children in the Center, 33 have an affiliation with Bowdoin, while 12 are community families. Last year, there were also 33 Bowdoin families at the Center. This has been the average since 2006, according to Longley
Eshoo stressed the fact that she has an “open door” for any parent or staff member who wishes to share a concern about the Center with her.Staff turnover
Of the 17 staff members working at the Center before Gould left, four remain. One current teacher at the Center estimated that nine of the 13 who left did so because of the shift in directors.
“The changes were too quick, too fast, too much and it was too hard to work that way,” said the current teacher. “I stayed because, I think, I believe in what I do, I love what I do and...I’m very proud to be Bowdoin College affiliated.”
Longley stressed that turnover statistics can be deceiving, and said that according to HR, five of the 13 staff members who left did so under the interim director or had planned their departures before Eshoo’s arrival.
“[Bowdoin] has a lot of employees, we have turnover in every department and turnover results from a lot of different things,” she said.
Many employees leave to take another job, move to another state, or go to graduate school, according to Longley. She urged people to be wary of making the assumption that higher turnover rates are a direct indication of a poorly run Center.
Laura Toma, an associate professor of computer science who had two children enrolled in the Center from 2010 to the spring of 2013, said that the staff turnover was one of the main reasons she decided to move them to a different school.
“Every few weeks or so, we got an email through the parent grapevine that some teacher left and that was quite disconcerting,” said Toma. “I don’t know anything specifically, but that told me that teachers weren’t happy.”
Stephenson, a teacher and the former interim director, would not comment directly on the changes that have occurred since Eshoo took over.
“I can, having gone through four different directors, say there’s change every time new staff arrive or a new director arrives,” Stephenson said. “Change is good. It helps you see new philosophies, draw information from other staff. New staff, new directors bring new ideas and new energy.”
Stephenson would not comment on specific staff members at the Center, past or present.
Hazlett was not surprised about turnover that took place as the directorship changed hands. She expected to see similar results, regardless of whether Eshoo or another candidate filled the role.
“When there’s a change at the top it also provides for other people to stop and think: Does this provide me an opportunity to assess? Do I want to keep doing what I’ve been doing X number of years?” said Hazlett.
When asked about reasons for staff turnover, Eshoo said she would only talk about the program and its philosophy.
Currently, there is one position open for an educator at the Center for the upcoming school year and a few openings for casuals, who substitute for staff members that are sick or on vacation.Speaking up
Vance, who went to HR after speaking with Hazlett and Stephenson about the blocked fire exits, believes he would have been fired for speaking up, had he not been planning to retire three months later. Two former employees said that they were insufficiently supported by HR.
“They assured me [the snow issue] would be taken care of and they had no idea this was happening,” Vance said in a phone interview with the Orient. “HR doesn’t really protect employees, they’re just for the administration.”
Director of Human Resources Tama Spoerri declined to comment for this article and stated that HR never comments publicly about personnel matters.
“I think, if you talk to teachers that are there, you’re not going to get the truth,” said Vance.
The Orient contacted four current teachers, of whom two were willing to speak. The other two did not respond to interview requests. One Bowdoin staff member with a child at the Center was unwilling to talk because she feared that her comment would be used against her child. One former teacher was unwilling to speak to the Orient because she was traumatized by her experience.
“I wanted to say something for this article because I know that families with children still at the Center who are unhappy really can’t speak up comfortably. When somebody has your child, they have your whole heart,” Sartoris said. “Hopefully, some good can come from sharing our experience. The Center has been an essential asset for Bowdoin families and the community, and it needs to be again. “Accreditation
According to Longley, the Center was accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) on July 31, 2008, which was valid until July 31, 2013. This accreditation is voluntary. After a site visit in early 2011, the Center was told the infant nap room would need a number of changes before the Center could renew its accreditation in 2013. Gould said that when she left Bowdoin in October 2011, a decision had not been made about whether or not to fix the infant nap room and renew accreditation.
After Gould left and Hazlett created a search committee to look for a new director, the Center requested to postpone renewal of its accreditation for one year passed its “valid until date.” That would provide the new director with a year to adjust to the Center and ensure the infant napping room was fixed before spearheading the renewal process.
“It’s a really intense process and I wasn’t going to ask the acting director who was also serving as a teacher to take on this monumental task. So we did ask for a postponement so we could get the new director on board,” said Hazlett. “I did know we had to make a decision about the infant room and that played into whether we were going to continue with accreditation or not.”
The Center could have renewed accreditation during the first half of 2013, but instead the College decided to take advantage of a policy that allows the Center a year of non-accreditation while going through the renewal process, rather than the full, initial accreditation process. As of July 31, 2013, the Center is technically not accredited, but its accreditation has not been denied or revoked. According to Longley, as of April 1, 2014, the NAEYC received the Center’s renewal materials and Longley is confident renewal will be granted before July 31.
According to Longley, the Center is currently licensed as a Child Care Facility by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
Interactive: A guide to the 2014 housing lottery
Video: In Focus: Bowdoin a cappella
No treble in paradise: a look at the auditions, rivalries, and inner workings of Bowdoin a cappella
Throughout the school year, students flock to campus venues to hear their favorite a cappella groups perform. Whether the event is the large holiday concert in Pickard or a more intimate, laidback gathering in Ladd House, the performances are well attended almost without exception. However, there is a lot more to the world of a cappella than belting out your favorite Macklemore song in the chapel. There are logistics involved: organizing auditions, obtaining recording funds and the ongoing effort to dispel the prevalent notion of tense rivalries between groups.
The A Cappella Council, spearheaded by Noah Gavil ’14, works to facilitate communication between the six groups to ensure that these logistics run as smoothly as possible. Although the groups perform together three times a year, their contact is otherwise fairly limited, and the Council has recently been working to change that.
“This year, for the first time that I remember, we had a big meeting between all the other groups to work through some of the kinks,” said Kevin Miao ’14 of the Longfellows. “In the past, it was much more fragmented and there wasn’t much communication.”
One of the most important aspects of this communication occurs during audition period. At the beginning of the year, each group goes around to the first year bricks to do “dorm sings,” making sure not to overlap too closely with anyone else. Interested students then sign up for auditions later in the week.
“People kind of do their own thing with auditions, but it’s mostly a variation of the same thing,” said Gavil, who added that after the first wave of auditions, leaders from each group consult to create a schedule for callbacks. This way, if someone gets a callback from two groups, they can attend both.
“There’s a big draft through all the groups where we talk about who wants whom,” said Erica Nangeroni ’14 of the coed group BOKA. “If we have someone we really can’t make a decision on we say, ‘Hey, you got into a couple groups; you have a few minutes to decide which one you want to be in.’ It’s a little high pressure.”
As a side note, Nangeroni added, “We tend to have more girls audition than guys. The general trend is that boys are pulled a little bit more towards all-male groups and girls are pulled more towards coed group.”
“There have been occasions where someone has been in two groups, but it is somewhat discouraged,” said Gavil. “They are always in one group first and then if they want to be in another group, they can audition in later years.”
The lack of overlap in groups could feed the idea of their being rivalries amongst them, but Gavil, a member of Ursus Verses, maintains that this is not the case.
“It’s all artificial to me—it’s sort of funny,” he said. “I think any rivalries are not real rivalries—they’re not like Seahawks and 49ers—and I think what is cool is that all the groups definitely have their own vibe, and their sort of type of repertoire and type of presentation.”
Meddiebempster Michael Yang ’14 agreed, highlighting the difference in presentation between the two all-male groups. Where the Meddiebempsters (Meddies) are more “barbershop and tongue-in-cheek,” according to Yang, the Longfellows have a slightly more modern style in terms of song choice, arrangement and choreography.
“We sing completely different things,” said Miao. “The kinds of kids who are attracted to the Longfellows aren’t necessarily attracted to what the Meddies bring to the table and [vice versa].”However, just because such rivalries do not exist does not mean that they never did.
“I know that my freshman year, some of the Meddie/Longfellow seniors—I don’t even know who—just personally didn’t like each other, and that grew into a group thing,” said Yang.
“We have been trying to get rid of the perception of rivalries. I’ve loved a lot of Longfellows…As long as both groups are good, then that is a great thing,” he added.
Nangeroni expressed similar sentiments.
“When I was younger, there were more rigid rivalries so to speak,” she said. “I think there was just a little bit more contention when I was an underclassman, and I can’t really say why.”
She added that Thursday night’s Bursurka—a joint concert with BOKA and Ursus Verses—is a good way to dissolve the notion of rivalries.
“I think the [idea] stems from the fact that there are two male groups, two female groups and two co-ed groups, and automatically people think that all of them are going to be butting heads,” she said. “Bursurka is a good opportunity for us to show the campus that the coed groups are here to work together and we’re just here to have fun with each other.”
“There’s always a friendly rivalry,” said Margaret Lindeman ’15 of Ursus Verses, “but I think it more comes from the fact that every group wants to make really good music. So we’re always pushing ourselves to perform better and be as good as we can be, not by putting other groups down, but by doing the best that we can.”
One aspect of the a cappella community that has always been strong is alumni relations, particularly with the Meddies and Longfellows, who hold frequent reunions.
“We have really tight alumni connections,” said Yang. “I know alums from ’06-’07 pretty well even though I never went to school with them, because they visited here sometimes. I’ve been added to the email thread list of recent alumni from 2001 on, and there’s a Facebook group too.”
Although the alumnae networks in the all-female groups may not be quite as established, the leaders say that their alumnae remain an important part of their identity. Over Spring Break, Miscellania did a weeklong tour of New England and New York, where they were able to touch base with several alumnae.
“We’ve done relatively informal reunions in the past, but I think it would be great to do a bigger, official reunion, too,” said Paige Gribb ’14 of Miscellania. “We’ll have our 45th anniversary in 2017, so that will definitely be cause for celebration.”
Above all else, the singers all seem to agree that a cappella has been a defining part of their Bowdoin experience, and many of them hope to continue singing after graduation.
“[A cappella] has helped me with my personal confidence in terms of singing,” said Nangeroni. “It’s honed my leadership skills but also my public speaking skills. After college, I know that I want to keep singing. I don’t know when or where, but I know that I need some sort of outlet, because it’s been a great way to just relieve stress and I enjoy it so much.”URSUS VERSES
Founded 2001 * co-edbehind the name: Ursus means bear in Latin, and verse is a musical term for a line of wordsMUSICAL STYLE: Pop music, ranging from hip-hop to folkMOST POPULAR SONGS: “Leaving Town” by Dexter Freebish, “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus, “Intro” by the xx and folk song “Down to the River to Pray”TRADITION OR EVENT THEY’RE ASSOCIATED WITH: Bursurka with BOKA CLAIM TO FAME: The song “No More Crazies” from their 2012 CD was featured on the Best of A Cappella CDRECORDINGS: Three CDs signature PERFORMANCE ATTIRE: Semi-casual gray scale
BEHIND THE NAME: Ursus means bear in Latin, and verse is a musical term for a line of wordsMUSICAL STYLE: Pop music, ranging from hip-hop to folkMOST POPULAR SONGS: “Leaving Town” by Dexter Freebish, “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus, “Intro” by the xx and folk song “Down to the River to Pray”TRADITION OR EVENT THEY’RE ASSOCIATED WITH: Bursurka with BOKACLAIM TO FAME: The song “No More Crazies” from their 2012 CD was featured on the Best of A Cappella CDRECORDINGS: Three CDs SIGNATURE PERFORMANCE ATTIRE: Semi-casual gray scaleMISCELLANIA
Founded 1972 * ALL WOMEN
BEHIND THE NAME: Created the year women were first admitted to Bowdoin; wanted the name to match the Meddiebempsters; looked in a dictionary and chose Miscellania
MUSICAL STYLE: Range of classical choral music and current pop
MOST POPULAR SONGS: Depends on the audience, but currently “Royals” by Lorde
TRADITION OR EVENT THEY’RE ASSOCIATED WITH: ValJam with the Longfellows and Meddielania with the Meddiebempsters
CLAIM TO FAME: They were on Maine Public Broadcasting Network with the Meddiebempsters a couple of years ago.
RECORDINGS: Several CDs are out, most recently Little Black Dress, and another in the works for this year or next
SIGNATURE PERFORMANCE ATTIRE: Black dresses
IF THEY COULD PERFORM ANY SONG, WHAT WOULD IT BE: “Scarborough Fair” by Simon and GarfunkelTHE LONGFELLOWS
Founded 2004 * ALL men
BEHIND THE NAME: Named after Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, class of 1825
MUSICAL STYLE: Pop, contemporary a cappella and traditional American choral pieces
MOST POPULAR SONGS: “Hey Juliet” by LMNT
TRADITION OR EVENT THEY’RE ASSOCIATED WITH: ValJam with Miscellania
CLAIM TO FAME: Semi-finals at the International Championships of Collegiate A Cappella 3 years ago; made the Top 30 on the show Sing Off two seasons ago; sang the national anthem at a Celtics games
RECORDINGS: A new EP is on the way, and they have previously recorded three CDs.
SIGNATURE PERFORMANCE ATTIRE: Black suitsBOKA
Founded 1994 * co-ed
BEHIND THE NAME: It stood for Bowdoin’s Only Co-ed A Cappella, but the Best of College A Cappella CD acronym caused confusion, so the C was changed to a K
MUSICAL STYLE: Pop, with a little bit of indie
MOST POPULAR SONGS: A mashup of “As Long As You Love Me” by Justin Bieber and “Wide Awake” by Katy Perry
TRADITION OR EVENT THEY’RE ASSOCIATED WITH: Bursurka with Ursus Versus
CLAIM TO FAME: Low-key concerts for friends in college houses
RECORDINGS: The last CD was recorded 3 years ago, and another one is due this spring
SIGNATURE PERFORMANCE ATTIRE: Jewel tones
IF THEY COULD PERFORM ANY SONG, WHAT WOULD IT BE: “No Scrubs” by TLCBELLAMAFIA
Founded 2007 * ALL WOMEN
BEHIND THE NAME: Randy Nichols said that the group was pretty in crime so they decided to incorporate it into the group’s name.
MUSICAL STYLE: Mostly folk with some higher energy music.
MOST POPULAR SONGS: A mashup of “Girl On Fire” by Alicia Keys and “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem ft. Rihanna
TRADITION OR EVENT THEY’RE ASSOCIATED WITH: PrezJam with the Meddiebempsters
CLAIM TO FAME: They perform in many elderly homes in Brunswick and for the Portland Review.
RECORDINGS: One currently out, with another coming next year.
SIGNATURE PERFORMANCE ATTIRE: Seasonal. They wear sweaters and try to coordinate.
IF THEY COULD PERFORM ANY SONG, WHAT WOULD IT BE: “Elastic Heart” by SiaTHE MEDDIEBEMPSTERS
Founded 1937 * ALL men
BEHIND THE NAME: The original story is that someone was blindfolded while throwing darts at a map of Maine, and one dart struck Lake Meddybemps.
MUSICAL STYLE: Founded on barbershop, but they also do jazz arrangements and modern pop songs
MOST POPULAR SONGS: “Mood Indigo” by Duke Ellington and “Goodbye, My Coney Island Baby” by Les Applegate
TRADITION OR EVENT THEY’RE ASSOCIATED WITH: PrezJam with Bellamafia, and their annual tour
CLAIM TO FAME: They’ve sung at the White House, in Korea and in California
RECORDINGS: Decades of CDs, including Christmas with the Meddies
SIGNATURE PERFORMANCE ATTIRE: Khakis, white shirts, blue blazers, and Bowdoin polar bear ties
IF THEY COULD PERFORM ANY SONG, WHAT WOULD IT BE: “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot
Interactive: 14.8% acceptance rate for Class of 2018; up 0.3 percentage points
Regular decision acceptance letters for the Class of 2018 were sent out via email last Friday. Of the 6,048 Regular Decision applicants, 756 were admitted, for an acceptance rate of 12.4 percent. Overall, 1,032 students were admitted for a total acceptance rate of 14.8 percent (including Early Decision applicants.) Last year, the Orient reported a 14.5 percent acceptance rate.
Applications for the Class of 2018 went down 1.6 percent from last year, when there were 7,052 total applicants to the Class of 2017. This year, 6,935 total students applied.
According to Dean of Admissions and Student Aid Scott Meiklejohn, despite the slight decrease in applicants, the Class of 2018 was drawn from “exactly the same pool” as in previous years.
“Numerically, it was a hundred fewer, but it didn’t make much difference in admitting the class,” he said.
Applications from the South and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States as well as foreign countries increased, while those from New England and the West decreased. Those from the Southwest and Midwest remained roughly the same.
Applications from multicultural students also increased 10 percent, and there was a six percent increase in the number of high schools sending Bowdoin at least one applicant.
Meiklejohn expressed enthusiasm for the increased number of high schools, saying it demonstrated Bowdoin’s “increasing geographic reach.”
There were 524 women and 508 men admitted, a figure consistent with Bowdoin’s current gender ratio. According to Meiklejohn, the ratio of public to private schools also remained consistent. Currently, 58 percent of Bowdoin students attended public high school; 42 percent went to private school.
The target size for the Class of 2018 is 495 students, the same as for the Class of 2017, and admitted students must submit their decisions by May 1.
Annual fund, alumni participation rate up in FY ’13
The College raised $46,158,280 in total and had a 59 percent alumni participation rate in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 (July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013), according to Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Rick Ganong ’86.
Fundraising at the College is broken down into two components, annual giving and capital or planned giving. In FY 2013, $10,591,756 was raised for the annual fund and $35,566,523 was raised for capital projects. Annual giving contributes to the College’s annual budget and is comprised of multiple funds, including the Alumni Fund, the Friends Fund, the Parents Fund, and the Polar Bear Athletic Fund. Capital or planned gifts are used for financial aid, buildings, the endowment and long-term projects.
In FY 2012, $10,477,227 was raised for the annual fund and $19,706,360 was raised in capital/planned giving, which gave a combined total of $30,183,587. In FY 2011, $9,845,668 was raised for the annual fund and $26,090,320 was raised in capital or planned giving.
“[The annual fund] doesn’t move around that much, we try to grow that every year...and then capital gifts, that’s lumpy. You might take in 15 [million] one year and 35 [million] the next,” Ganong said.
For FY 2014, the annual fund goal has increased to $10,897,000. As of February 24, the College has already raised $5,839,453 in annual funds.
The annual fund accounts for roughly six percent of the College’s annual operating budget. In FY 2013, 9,654 of the 16,350 alumni in the solicitable alumni base donated to the Alumni Fund or the Polar Bear Athletic Fund, constituting a 59 percent alumni participation rate. The solicitable alumni base does not include all living Bowdoin alumni, as some alumni choose to be put on a “do not solicit” list.
According to Ganong, the alumni participation rate impacts the College’s bond rating, U.S. News and World Report ranking, reputation, brand and annual budget.
Bond rating agencies use annual giving and alumni participation as factors when determining the College’s ranking, which affects the interest rate at which the College can borrow money.
Ganong also spoke to the impact of alumni participation’s on rankings.
“Like it or not, a lot of people look at those ratings and those are important to us,” Ganong said.
In FY 2012, the alumni participation rate was 58 percent and in FY 2011 it was 56 percent. The goal for FY 2014 is a 60 percent alumni participation rate, or roughly 10,000 alumni donors, according to Director of Annual Giving Brannon Fisher.
“Because the graduating classes are so large now, what really moves the needle, believe it or not, will be this year’s graduating class,” Ganong said. “Unless you had a really, really bad time at Bowdoin, there’s no way that you can’t send ten dollars. That’s like a six-pack, or a really nice trip to Gelato Fiasco. So we’re really hoping our graduating seniors had a great four years, they’re going out into the world with very fond thoughts of Bowdoin, and they want to contribute to our alumni fund.”
The role of alumni
The Office of Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) has two components. Alumni Relations employees plan, set up and run all alumni and fundraising events, including reunions and events at Bowdoin Clubs around the country. Development consists of officers who solicit gifts from donors, and in total, about 55 people work in DAR.
“It’s really kind of a neat process to see occur,” Ganong said. “We’ll hold an event, we’ll solicit and we’ll thank. Those are the three engines that are running here.”
DAR also collaborates with other groups, including the Office of Communications and Public Affairs and the student phone-a-thon callers.
“We’d like to think that we don’t have to employ student callers. … We would love to be able to inspire our alumni base and parent base to wake up on July 1 and send a check to Bowdoin College—that doesn’t happen,” Ganong said.
Recently, the Office of Communications and Public Affairs has increasingly used social media to communicate with potential donors.
“That’s really part of this whole giving process, just cultivation and awareness, keeping people informed about Bowdoin,” Ganong said. “If you look at a duck, swimming on the water it looks really smooth, but underneath there’s the feet doing crazy things. It’s a little bit like Bowdoin DAR, it looks really smooth on the surface but there’s a lot going on underneath.”
Bowdoin’s most recent capital campaign, “The Bowdoin Campaign,” surpassed its $250 million goal between 2004 and 2009, by raising a total of $293 million, the largest capital campaign in the College’s history. The capital campaign before that raised $136 million from 1993 to 1998.
“If we want to continue to compete with [Williams and Amherst]...we need to keep our financials healthy,” Ganong said. “So I think a capital campaign is something that would certainly help to do that and we need to think about that and we are.”
Last fall, Amherst celebrated its successful $502 million “Lives of Consequence” capital campaign. Williams raised $500 million from 2003 to 2008 during its most recent capital campaign. In 2010, Colby completed Maine’s largest capital campaign ever, raising $376 million in five years.
“The quick answer is yes, we’re thinking about it, we’re talking about it. Do we have a timeframe and a goal? No,” Ganong said. “We’re going to be spending a lot of time in the next several months thinking about another capital campaign.”
Interactive: John Brown Russwurm House: a window into Bowdoin's past
In 1826, John Brown Russwurm became the first African American to graduate from Bowdoin College. Nearly 200 years later, the House named in his memory is a thriving center for academic, social and cultural events on campus.
The son of an English merchant and an unknown black slave, Russwurm was born in 1799 in Jamaica. He and his father moved to Portland, Maine in 1812, where he attended Hebron Academy. In 1824, with the support of his stepmother and her second husband, Russwurm enrolled at Bowdoin.
After graduation, he led an illustrious career as an abolitionist, serving as editor of “Freedom’s Journal” (the first newspaper owned and operated by African Americans) in New York for several years before emigrating to Liberia in 1829, following his controversial support of African American colonization of Africa. He served as editor of “The Liberia Herald” for several years and became governor of the Maryland section of the colony in 1836, holding this post until his death in 1851.
Interactive: Coles Tower renovations to begin this summer
Coles Tower is getting a long overdue makeover. This summer, the College will spend $2.8 million to renovate the building, which turns 50 this year. Four floors will be renovated each year for the next four years. The completed project will cost approximately $5 million, according to Katy Longley, the senior vice president for finance and administration and the college treasurer. The College will partner with Harriman, an engineering firm in Auburn and Massachusetts-based Consigli Construction Company, which has an office in Portland. Consigli worked with the College in 2007on the Art Museum and in 2004 on the Chapel.
Interactive: Grégoire Faucher '16 converses with LePage in State of the State
Grégoire Faucher ’16 had no idea he was going to be one of the stars of Governor Paul Lepage’s State of the State address before he walked into the State House on Tuesday night.
Faucher first met LePage last fall when the governor visited professor Christian Potholm’s Maine Politics course.
Following the visit, LePage invited the class to Blaine House, the governor’s residence to discuss how to keep young people in Maine through adulthood.
Approval ratings: Approval ratings remain high across the board
Registrar's rating soars in latest survey
Video: Longfellows perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Celtics game
Video courtesy of Chris Cameron '15.
Interactive: 'Mules are sterile:' A look at the 91-year rivalry between Bowdoin and Colby
“We see them in our sleep.”
This is how Ben Smith, Coach of the 1998 U.S. women’s hockey team, described the team’s Canadian rivals in an interview with the New York Times leading up to their Olympic matchup.
It’s fair to guess that some Bowdoin hockey players may spend tonight similarly fixated on an opponent from the North, though the rival in question is Colby, not Canada. Today the Polar Bears will defend the first of last year’s decisive victories over the Mules. The rivalry between the two teams is a classic grudge match, and this year’s games continue a long and storied tradition.
Video: Film Studies: Coach Dave Caputi
Storify: Students react to Red Sox World Series victory
Video: Behind the Scenes: Campus Food Trucks
Video: Common Good Day 2013
2014 and 2017 Class Council election results
Results reflect highest turnout in a class council election
2014 Class CouncilVoter Turnout: 390 (74%)President:Simon Brooks (155 votes) - WINNEREmma Johnson (33 votes)Alex Tougas (74 votes)Neli Vazquez (125 votes)
Vice President:Chris Lord (265 votes) - WINNER
Treasurer:Martin Bouroncle (237 votes) - WINNERChelsea Bruno (109 votes)
Video: Q&A with 2014 and 2017 Class Council presidential candidates
Special thanks to Allen Wong '14 for moderating the panel.
Approval ratings: Approval ratings for Mills, deans drop; BPD improvesThe College’s 96 percent approval rating remained unchanged from the fall, according to the latest installment of the Orient’s semi-annual survey.Approval of the Office of Student Affairs has reached a three-year low of 76 percent. In May 2011, approval was 87 percent and in May 2012 it was 83 percent.“The NAS report has done nothing but strengthen my positive opinion of Bowdoin,” said a sophomore male in response to the survey. “Sure, the school is not perfect, but no one expects it to be.”The survey was distributed to all students via email; this spring’s installment garnered 248 responses.President Mills’ approval rating decreased from 94 percent in the fall to 89 percent.“[I’m] disappointed by Mills’ response to the NAS report, [but] generally approve of his job as president,” said a male junior.The survey has been administered for the past three years to track student opinion of various notable organizations and individuals at the College.The faculty, historically one of the survey’s most popular groups, received a 98 percent approval rating, unchanged from their approval at this time last year.“So far, my favorite part about Bowdoin is the professors,” wrote a male first year. “They are excitedThe College’s 96 percent approval rating remained unchanged from the fall, according to the latest installment of the Orient’s semi-annual survey.Approval of the Office of Student Affairs has reached a three-year low of 76 percent. In May 2011, approval was 87 percent and in May 2012 it was 83 percent.“The NAS report has done nothing but strengthen my positive opinion of Bowdoin,” said a sophomore male in response to the survey. “Sure, the school is not perfect, but no one expects it to be.”The survey was distributed to all students via email; this spring’s installment garnered 248 responses.President Mills’ approval rating decreased from 94 percent in the fall to 89 percent.“[I’m] disappointed by Mills’ response to the NAS report, [but] generally approve of his job as president,” said a male junior.The survey has been administered for the past three years to track student opinion of various notable organizations and individuals at the College.The faculty, historically one of the survey’s most popular groups, received a 98 percent approval rating, unchanged from their approval at this time last year.“So far, my favorite part about Bowdoin is the professors,” wrote a male first year. “They are excited
The College’s 96 percent approval rating remained unchanged from the fall, according to the latest installment of the Orient’s semi-annual survey.
Approval of the Office of Student Affairs has reached a three-year low of 76 percent. In May 2011, approval was 87 percent and in May 2012 it was 83 percent.
“The NAS report has done nothing but strengthen my positive opinion of Bowdoin,” said a sophomore male in response to the survey. “Sure, the school is not perfect, but no one expects it to be.”
Class council and BSG election results
BSG At-Large RepresentativesBSG At-Large Representatives (Fall):
Ryan Davis (210 votes) - WINNEREmily Gower (260 votes) - WINNERNick Tonckens (96 votes) Luke von Maur (169 votes)
BSG At-Large Representatives (Spring):Chris Breen (112 votes) Ryan Davis (174 votes) - WINNEREmily Gower (231 votes) - WINNER Nick Tonckens (93 votes) Luke von Maur (145 votes)
Interactive: A guide to the 2013 housing lottery
The interactive map above highlights housing options for upperclassmen. Hover over a location to see what rooms are available in that building and a list of pros and cons. Full blueprints of each building are also available.
BSG election results: Nelson '14 wins presidency
Computer system experiences slowdown
Recent problems with email and computer processing speed derive from the College’s data storage systems, according to Chief Information Officer Mitch Davis.
Davis alerted students and faculty to the problem by email last Friday and explained that addi- tional storage would be added to solve the issue.
The new storage systems have been installed and the data transfer process began on Wednesday night. The process is expected to be completed by Monday, though Davis believes that the alleviation of the problem should begin im- mediately.
Interactive: Construction update: Longfellow School transformation under way
Less than three months after the project began, electrical and mechanical work is beginning on the new Longfellow Arts Building. On schedule to be completed by August 2013, the project is will transform the old Longfellow Elementary School into a new hub for art studios, offices and gallery space. The building is currently 38,000 square feet but will be expanded to 44,000 square feet and will include a digital media lab, a woodshop, a printmaking studio, a dance studio, gallery spaces, faculty offices and studio space for drawing, painting, sculpture and other visual arts classes.
Amtrak Downeaster arrives, right on schedule
When the Amtrak Downeaster rolled into Brunswick Station yesterday afternoon, its arrival marked the first time in 53 years that a passenger train arrived in Brunswick. The catalyst for the expansion of Amtrak service to Brunswick was a $38.3 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration, part of the $8 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Magnitude 4.0 earthquake shakes Bowdoin
At approximately 7:12 p.m. on Tuesday, October 16 there was a magnitude 4.0 earthquake 45 miles southwest of Bowdoin. Check out the Twitter response from The Orient as well as Bowdoin students and alumni.
Interactive: Students disperse across globe for study abroad
This fall, 106 Bowdoin students are studying abroad in 29 different countries. A total of 240 students plan to study abroad this year.
Students, faculty and alumni to participate in annual Common Good Day