Eyewitness testimony is one of the most persuasive forms of evidence used in America’s criminal justice system. It is also one of the most unreliable and contributes to the grave injustices that plague our nation. False eyewitness testimony has led to innocent people like Jarvis Jay Masters being stuck on death row for decades.
In my photography class a few weeks ago, we were discussing a chapter from novelist Anne Lamott’s book “Bird by Bird.” Titled “Looking Around,” this chapter argues that in order to write or, more broadly, engage with any form of art, you have to learn to love and revere the smallest details of both yourself and the world around you.
I am the creator of the art installation outside of the Bowdoin chapel, titled “God’s Body God’s Choice.” This is a pro-choice piece for VART 3503 and the prompt was “Small but Mighty.” Important context for my art is represented in my artist’s statement below.
Cheng Xing ’23 Hello hello, I am Cheng Xing, and I am running for the position of the President of the Class of 2023. Having served as the Treasurer of our class and on the board of the Student Activities Funding Committee, I have learned several important principles regarding student leadership roles and communication on the behalf of the student body.
Coughing, sniffling, sneezing—this is the current soundtrack to the College’s dining halls, classrooms and study spaces. Since the pandemic began, it has become harder to decipher whether these cacophonies are due to Covid-19, “the Bowdoin flu” or simply allergies.
After more than six decades of unconditional aid to and diplomatic protection of Israel, I guess support for Israel has become a reflex reaction for U.S. officials. The spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council, John Kirby, probably not remembering why he has to be an apologist for Israel, said in reaction to Israel’s offensive against Gaza last month: “We remain unwavering in our commitment to Israel’s security and will continue to work to strengthen all aspects of the U.S.-Israeli partnership.” He further reiterated Israel’s right to self-defense against Gazans.
With just one class who experienced a pre-pandemic Bowdoin remaining on campus, it is easy to take for granted some of the newer cultural changes on Bowdoin’s campus. Often, older students might regularly complain about the “good old days”—literally just Ivies—but it is important to understand that these post-pandemic changes have ushered in the normalization of a new type of Bowdoin student: those on a non-traditional collegiate path.
To the editors, While I appreciate your interest in and coverage of the College’s Digital Excellence Commitment (DExC), your editorial reveals several misunderstandings about the program and how the College is supporting the computing needs of our THRIVE students.
Early in the 20th century, America’s cities were booming. The era of electrification brought new jobs and opportunities to hubs like New York, Chicago and Boston. Unfortunately, America’s rural areas didn’t see the benefits of these modern technological advancements; in fact, only ten percent of rural households had access to electricity by 1930.
To the Editor: Just this past Sunday, I woke up to the chapel bells. The church bells wake me up every Sunday, serving as a reminder that I’m a foreigner in this land. No matter how many years I’ve been living here, no matter how many friendships I’ve made, no matter that I speak a colonizers’ language better than my mother tongue, the bells tell me that I do not belong.
Although I’ve discussed the idea of two Maines being the difference between northern Maine and southern Maine, in my experience there has been an attempt to create two Maines in my own hometown. Where I’m from in central Maine, Orono, is thought to be a fairly bougie part of the region, which may seem like an oxymoron.
Throughout my time at Bowdoin, I have encountered a lot of ignorance regarding the Appalachian region I call home. Bowdoin’s well-educated students, staff and faculty consciously (and unconsciously) overgeneralize and dehumanize the entire region as all-white, poor, uneducated, rural and conservative.
As the first sophomores to live in the newly renovated Boody-Johnson House, we arrived in August 2019 to stiff couches, blank walls and a clinical gray color scheme. As Burn affiliates, we’d dreamt of purple wallpaper, massive bean bags and painting our names in the basement.
About a month ago, I had started reading articles about OpenAI’s Dall-E. OpenAI is an artificial intelligence research lab, and Dall-E is an image-generating program. When prompted with specific details, it produces a new image. For instance, drawing random images like “an astronaut playing basketball in space in a minimalist style” are in this program’s reach.
Alexis de Tocqueville, author of “Democracy in America,” had the insight that people living in the democratic age suffer from a paucity of time. He wrote how life “is so practical, so complicated, so agitated, so active” in “centuries of equality,” that “little time remains to them for thinking.” “Private life,” he described, “[is] so agitated, so filled with desires and work, that hardly any energy or leisure remains to each man for political life.” As the second quotation points out, what causes this lack of time and leisure (loisir, in the French, means free or spare time), is work.
To the editor: Usually, I am happy when my experiments work. If they do, it affirms my initial assumptions and supports the story that I constructed around the available data. This is called hypothesis testing. But with Covid-19, I’m not sure I need to test the idea that masks prevent transmission, and I’m not sure I need to test my concepts of common sense.
On Tuesday, April 19, President Clayton Rose announced his plans to leave the College following the 2022-23 academic year. Rose, Bowdoin’s 15th President, will depart after an eight-year tenure. This transition is a vital opportunity for the College to reflect on the meaning of the presidency and broaden its view of what a college president should embody.
The Penobscot Nation made a bid for tribal sovereignty in 1833. Tribal leaders traveled to Boston, which had power over Maine land at the time, to meet with state politicians. In her book “The Name of War,” historian Jill Lepore said, “The Penobscots’ claims were largely ignored, but while the delegation was spurned at the State House, it was welcomed in the theater district.
What will seem like illegible rambling will, hopefully, embody some of the turbulent currents hidden underneath language. Like any good free-write session, its prose will upset the preconceptions about language that are ingrained in us since our first experiments with language—when well-intentioned teachers taught us how to use periods and what words go with which other ones.
When I went from having an iPhone 8 to iPhone 13 last semester, ‘the moment’ finally felt relevant. Never have I owned such a nice camera. Having the capability to record cinematic moments felt extremely enabling, but to what end?
The Offer of the College promises students that while at Bowdoin, they will be able to “count … Art an intimate friend.” Although the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (BCMA) holds a prominent place on campus, the College’s investment in other aspects of the arts is lacking.
Pornography reflects consumer desires because titles and genres are crafted to attract the largest viewership. The distinction of race as categories implies fetishization because it is recognized enough that porn sites made accessing it easier. Fetishization is the objectification of a person based on some aspect of their identity.
As of 2013, the median family income of a student from Bowdoin is $195,900, and 69 percent of students come from the top 20 percent of household incomes in the U.S. This means that for over two thirds of the student body, in the four years they are at Bowdoin they will feel they share a space with students who come from a class background similar to their own.
In my six years of advocating for Carbon Fee and Dividend legislation to address climate change, I’ve come across a lot of very thoughtful concerns about the impacts and effectiveness of carbon pricing schemes. Some of these have made me really have to think and research about whether Carbon Fee and Dividend is the bright spot of hope for a safe future that I thought it was.
Social acceleration theory, coined by German sociologist Hartmut Rosa in his essay “Capitalism as a Spiral of Dynamisation,” offers a possible explanation for an inherent flaw in capitalism. “Even if [capitalism] runs smoothly,” she argued, “it leads to a limitless game of escalation that throws even the winners into misery for it commits all their energies to that single telos—the struggle to maintain competitiveness.” The implications of capitalism in its accelerated contemporary state are felt throughout late-modern society in the ‘misery’ felt in all sectors of society as the complications of an unhealthy system.
Before he became the second governor of Massachusetts, and before his son named a college after him, James Bowdoin II was a financial magnate who started a war so he could steal Wabanaki land. In this reading of his life, Bowdoin was not just complicit in continuing what Penobscot scholar Donald Soctomah refers to as “the world’s largest genocide”—he and his business partners, supported by the British military, provoked a deadly war against Wabanaki people.
By now we have all heard about Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs Janet Dean Lohmann’s intentions for the upcoming Ivies. In its last issue, the Orient reported the details of meetings that Dean Lohmann held with several different student groups on campus to vet her plan with students and receive any feedback.
Can machines have emotions? Can machines feel? A purebred computer or cognitive scientist may tell you so. One of the most influential figures in the field of computer science, Marvin Minsky, certainly believes so. If machines are capable of thinking, then they are capable of feeling—of having emotion.
On Friday, February 25 the best of what Bowdoin can be was on full display. Professors Laura Henry, Page Herrlinger, Reed Johnson and Mira Nikolova guided students, faculty and staff—all packed like sardines into Searles 315—in grappling with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Paul Richard LePage could potentially be Maine’s governor again. Lepage is the man who vetoed Medicaid expansion seven times and who bragged about an evidence binder of racially-targeted crimes that he falsely claimed showed more than 90 percent of the drug dealers arrested in the state were Black or Hispanic.
When I first heard about the new MacBook initiative, I was thrilled. As a member of the first group of students to receive and benefit from the school-wide iPad initiative, it was heartwarming to hear that future Polar Bears would have access to the same, and more, technology they needed to succeed in their education.
As Cady Heron says in Mean Girls, “in girl world, Halloween is the one time of year a girl can dress like a total slut, and no other girl can say anything about it.” The sexualization of Halloween has become somewhat of an unsaid expectation among celebrants, so much so that Spirit Halloween offers an online costume category called “sexy women’s Halloween costumes.” The category features their “No Rules Referee,” “Say Ahhh Nurse” and “Lieutenant Misbehave” costumes.
Rich people can claim that money doesn’t bring happiness. Poor and working class folks know that it can and does. Their understanding is backed by extensive social science research that overwhelmingly demonstrates a strong association between life satisfaction and access to material resources, particularly in the lower two thirds of the income distribution.
Frantz Fanon wrote “Concerning Violence,” the opening chapter to his final book, “Wretched of the Earth,” in 1961 against the backdrop of the Algerian War of Independence. What Fanon invoked against the cacophony of overlapping voices—endless unique hermeneutics of the social and historical phenomenon of decolonization—was the existence and centrality of violence in this specific social process.
To the Editor: As Shakespeare would say: what’s in a name? That which we call a handcuff party by any other name would still perpetuate unsafe power dynamics. Sitting in my new seat of community-level sexual violence prevention work, I opened The Bowdoin Orient and was chagrined to see that “champagne shackles” has resurfaced.
In June 2021, nearly fifty women sued MindGeek, Pornhub’s parent company. These women, citing their own experiences, accused the conglomerate of profiting off of videos that had been created and uploaded to the site without their consent, an act which some states have made illegal.
It’s not uncommon for those from out-of-state to have their opinions about Maine shut down for the simple reason that they are “from away.” In the eyes of Mainers who are especially territorial, no matter how long your residency here has been, if you’re not born here, you will never know what you’re talking about when you speak on any aspect of Maine.
Over my last four years at Bowdoin, I have come to understand two consistently contradictory narratives that exist on our campus surrounding the issues of mental health and wellness. I’m sure everyone on this campus has heard statements such as, “our institution is not doing enough for our mental health or doesn’t care,” or its counterpart, “the institution has plenty of mental health resources and programming,” and we all hold our own ideas and opinions about how we feel about these statements.
Free associative writing brings out something in us that we never really found before, but it takes a lot of nonsensical rambling to actually get anywhere. It does so in the same way that talking nonsense with hometown friends can lead to world shattering epiphanies—ones where you realize where you really are.
The Claremont Institute presents the Henry Salvatori Prize each year to an individual “who has distinguished himself or herself by an understanding of, and actions taken to, preserve and foster the principles upon which the United States was built.” In December 2021, Professor Jean Yarbrough received the prize.
I was thirteen the first time I found someone I love unconscious, overdosed on the floor. I have since realized that no one is immune to addiction—anyone can lose their life. Every one of the 100,000 fatal overdoses in the United States last year was someone’s mother, father, sister, brother or child.
This week, DataMatch, an online, survey-based matchmaking service created by students at Harvard College has taken the campus by storm. Nearly half of the on-campus population (42.6 percent) has created DataMatch profiles as of Thursday evening, the highest proportion among all 40 participating institutions.
As a Bowdoin student from central Maine, I have begun to realize that, in many ways, Maine is like two different states. To the Bowdoin students who are used to the liberal and welcoming politics of Brunswick and the greater Portland area, there is confusion as to how someone like Paul LePage was able to become the leader of such a seemingly open-minded state.
As rain continues to fall in New England in January, and as global climate negotiations fail to meet necessary targets, the future of our climate may not look bright. But the good news is that we still have a chance to enact policies that will help the climate, the people and the economy.
I never received the birds-and-the-bees talk from my parents, but one day in elementary school, I remember mysteriously finding American Girl’s “The Care and Keeping of You” on my bed. The book detailed the oddities and awkwardness of puberty: growing body hair, periods and buying bras.
As we begin a new semester with more takeout containers and freezing walks to Farley, we want to take a moment to recognize those that keep this campus alive. The staff members and faculty that keep our campus running are also putting themselves and their families at risk when coming to work.
Walking around the Oakland Museum of California’s history gallery brought to my attention the idea of frontiers. I had recently read Michael Pollan’s “Botany of Desire,” and, in it, he describes the life and times of John Chapman (a.k.a.
The immigrant experience offers new windows to peer into the living conditions of the most hegemonic empire to ever exist. Sociology majors should recognize this as the concept of the “outsider-within.” I am, however, very hesitant to call myself an outsider in any sense of the word, especially when those who live outside of the so-called West, with a capital “W,” outnumber those within.
On November 19, Joe Biden pushed his expansive, unapologetically progressive domestic agenda through the House on a party line vote. By Christmas, universal pre-K, price controls for prescription drugs and an unprecedented investment in renewable energy are likely to be signed into law, along with new funding for child care, elderly care and affordable housing.
Content warning: This article contains references to sexual violence. With the future of Roe v. Wade in doubt, the pro-choice movement could learn from the political strategies of anti-choicers. If the recent Texas and Mississippi abortion cases brought before the Supreme Court can teach us anything, it should be that now is the time to radicalize the pro-choice movement.
To the editor: PeaceWorks members were glad to see the article you posted in early November about the work we’ve been doing since 9/11/01. It’s good to feel connected. The title, though, got our attention: “Local Group Fights for Peace.” Actually, we prefer to say that we “Work For Peace.” Splitting hairs?
I’ve just read the article the Orient published about us last Friday: “No coach, no problem: fencing club is going strong.”I have objections. I’m Joanne. I can be found bossing new fencers around Buck 213, carrying more fencing equipment around Smith Union than my knees and back think I can handle or generally making a nuisance of myself badgering people about fencing.
In March 2020, Bowdoin asked us to be flexible. Today, we do the same. Having more flexibility in course options—half-semester courses, 1.5 credit lab courses, optional J-terms, etc.—will give students more ways to reach the 32 credits necessary to graduate without sacrificing their mental or physical health.
Throughout my time at Bowdoin, there have been many moments when I faced immense challenges, stress and grief that have felt incredibly overwhelming. I know I am not alone in these thoughts and feelings. We have all gone through a lot in our time as students at Bowdoin and continue to struggle and hurt for many reasons, and in many ways, within this institution.
I remember my first year, I found it strange that meritocracy was used as a criterion for students to belong at Bowdoin. Meritocracy is the basic idea that those who succeed earn their fate via merit, while those who don’t succeed earn their failure due to lack of hard work and skill.
Some time ago, a liberal arts education grew laborious: the labor of academic work, the labor of extracurriculars, the labor of planning one’s future. As students of Ancient Greek know, the word ‘school’ comes from a Greek word antithetical to labor: schol?, meaning “leisure.” We lose a great deal of wisdom by ignoring this etymology.
This week isn’t going well for the Biden administration. The President’s approval rating is in freefall. West Virginia Senator and Democrat Joe Manchin won’t budge on his $1.75 trillion cap for infrastructure spending, and (unlikely) rumors are floating that he’s prepared to switch parties if the budget deal goes south.
Voting yes to reject the CMP corridor is not the environmentally friendly solution that you’ve been sold. In 2018, Massachusetts passed a law to expand clean energy for the state. To achieve this, the state made an agreement with HydroQuebec to supply hydropower: this required crossing state boundaries, so an independent arrangement was made with Central Maine Power (CMP).
It is time to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour to ensure that more low-wage workers have enough money to cover basic living expenses. Federally, the minimum-wage is currently $7.25 per hour and has been like that for the past ten years.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (AOC) viral Met Gala dress sucked. Every year, uninvited celebrities spend $35,000 to attend the Met Gala, an event inspired by fashion and decadence. This year’s theme was titled “American Independence,” and routinely, Hollywood stars, fashion designers and models pulled out all the stops.
To the Editor: Recently, I have been receiving emails from Bowdoin’s development office inviting me to donate to the recently established “Leaders in All Walks of Life Fund.” This is a “commemorative fund that supports financial aid for women students” and celebrates 50 years of women at Bowdoin.
To the Editor: President Biden set the ambitious goal of reducing US carbon emissions to 50 percent by 2030 and net zero by 2050. According to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, this is in line with the necessary global emission reductions needed to keep warming to 1.5 degrees for a relatively safe future.
The Bates Student published an article on October 13 concerning unionization efforts among the college’s staff. Later that day, Mary Pols, Bates’ media relations specialist, requested that the story be taken down due to “misleading statements and reporting inaccuracies.” The Student subsequently took down the article and republished it with significant alterations, including several additional comments from Bates administrators that reflected the college’s position in a more positive light.
By now, I’m sure most sophomores (and Bowdoin students in general) have heard the words, “your major does not matter.” For some people, this can be true. But for others, this saying comes off as incredibly naive.
Progressives are trapped between nostalgia for the past and a deep disgust with it. The left’s legislative heroes—Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mark Pocan, Ayanna Pressley—appropriate the language and rhetoric of a bygone era of American politics for their progressive agenda.
Bowdoin groundskeeping has assisted in creative uses of Bowdoin spaces by placing tables and chairs throughout campus, especially on Main Quad. The hallowed ground at the College, Main Quad’s well-manicured lawns and picturesque buildings create a beautiful landscape that is arguably unrivaled on Bowdoin’s campus.
Despite the rationale behind terminating extended unemployment benefits, there is little evidence to prove that it will lower unemployment. In response to the COVID-induced economic recession, the federal government increased unemployment benefits. Under the Unemployment Insurance Extended Benefits program, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) offered a $600-a-week federal bonus to the unemployed on top of existing state-level benefits.
Why would a 78-year old Bowdoin Polar Bear have the audacity to agree to write an opinion piece for the Orient, one of the nation’s finest college newspapers? Well, my family legacy gives me some Bowdoin credit: my great-grandfather; grandfather; son and granddaughters all call Bowdoin their alma mater.
Joe Biden is a progressive icon. There, I said it. You’re cringing, I know. The typical Bowdoin student’s reaction to Joe Biden is an oxymoron: hard-lined apathy. If you’re politically aware, then you’re haughtily unimpressed by the President’s so-called accomplishments.
On August 26, 2021, Bowdoin College announced they would raise the minimum wage to $17 an hour for hourly workers ten months earlier than the expected date. According to Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Matt Orlando, the accelerated raise in minimum wage reflected changing labor conditions in Maine.
Most people and businesses use surveillance technology unawares, largely a result of how surveillance has “crept” into technology. What I propose to call Surveillance Creep operates in three phases. First, a company decides to collect information about its users.
In the fall of 2019, behind closed doors, Bowdoin’s Board of Trustees reviewed Trustee Jes Staley’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and unanimously decided that there was “nothing in Jes Staley’s actions or behavior that warranted the Board taking any action.” I am calling on Bowdoin’s Board of Trustees to reconsider this decision.
To President Rose, members of the College, and the Class of 2025: One year and 110 days ago, the Class of 2020 received our diplomas and raised a toast to the culmination of our Bowdoin journey, watching our names roll across screens like movie credits.
I think every sophomore has had this conversation with a junior or senior about a million times: “So, if you had to give it a number, what percentage of the real ‘Bowdoin experience’ are we at right now?” When faced with this question myself, I threw out 70 percent as a ballpark estimate.
Content warning: This article discusses sexual violence on Bowdoin’s campus. In April 2021, Safe Space distributed a survey to gauge the student body’s opinions on sexual violence on campus, the administration’s response to instances of sexual violence and continued sex education at Bowdoin.
To our readers: In the three years we have spent working on the Orient, the two of us have seen many opinions printed in these pages. A crucial aspect of any newspaper, the opinion section showcases the perspectives of students, staff, faculty and community members.
Over the past three years, I have witnessed a change in discussion about labor, unionization, workplace ethics and the like. While unions might have been a hard topic to approach a couple of years ago, it is becoming more common to hear them brought up in conversation, though people are not always in favor of them.
I am sure that I am not the only one who felt that returning to college after more than a year away from school was daunting. As I packed my things and prepared to drive to Brunswick once again, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the memories of isolation and confinement from last fall.
By the end of my first year of college, I suffered from chronic pain in my wrists, neck and back—pain that curtailed my activities as an athlete, musician and student. For some of you, this may sound familiar: a late night cram-session hunched over a laptop coupled with an hour of scrolling on social media and texting friends can do a number on your body.
I originally posted sentiments expressed in this op-ed several weeks ago as an anonymous comment to Emily Ha’s op-ed “Rename the Orient.” At the time, the semester was at a particularly strenuous point for me, exacerbated by the emotions around the March 16 Atlanta shootings and the ongoing anti-Asian violence around the country.
This piece is the third in a series written by members of the Bowdoin Outing Club (BOC) Student Officer Team and individuals within the BOC student leadership. Our goal with these pieces is to share the work we have been doing to examine racism in outdoor recreation and the BOC’s role in creating more inclusive outdoor spaces.
When we began our time at Bowdoin, none of us could have imagined it would end like this. This is not the Bowdoin we signed up for—we never thought we would finish the semester in little Zoom boxes, eating take-out from the dining hall or living at home again.