To the editor: An opinion piece by 12 of Bowdoin’s 54 housekeepers and the lead editorial in Friday’s edition of The Bowdoin Orient remind us that housekeepers do critical and challenging work at the College. But much of what is asserted in the paper is inaccurate or drawn from experiences that occurred years ago.
Two weeks ago, at an on-campus event highlighting the authors Richard Ford and John Banville, President Clayton Rose introduced Ford, saying that “he has been awarded too many prizes to count.” While Ford’s resume boasts impressive prizes including the Pulitzer, it hides a part of his character that Rose chose not to highlight.
Throughout my childhood I was reminded that I should never bite the hand that feeds me. I should just smile, sit quietly and accept what I received without further questioning it. As some people have put it: “At least you got something, why should you complain?” This philosophy dominated my life back home in Romania, where one had to adapt, to tacitly accept the wrong-doing of others, with the hope that one day it would get better.
To the Editor, The day following a 16 year-old female’s indictment of the devastation wrought by white western men at the United Nations General Assembly Climate Change Action Summit, Bowdoin hosted a conversation by two proud members of another flank of that canon—the part reserved for great important self-awarding white male writers (Richard Ford and John Banfield).
As the leaves change color and students trade their flip-flops for Bean Boots, professors begin handing back assignments. Essays and exams return marked up, commented upon, praised and constructively criticized. Concurrently, the school approaches its Credit/D/Fail deadline.
Twelve Bowdoin housekeepers wrote an op-ed this week detailing the realities of the work they do to clean Bowdoin’s spaces. The letter paints a picture of Bowdoin as an employer that is, frankly, shameful. The College presents itself as an institution guided by the principles of the Common Good.
Things have changed. The housekeeping department isn’t like it used to be. I have to struggle to get out of bed to come to work. I loved coming to work. But now everything is so different.
To the Bowdoin Community, In the first faculty meeting of the year, I had the pleasure of announcing that Bowdoin now has an active chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). I am writing here to offer a bit more detail about our mission, to invite those who are eligible for membership to join us and to invite all members of the Bowdoin community to consider the AAUP as a partner and an ally.
On August 3, 2019, a situation that has become a mainstay of American culture took place in Colorado Springs. A police officer shot a young black male. Nearly two weeks after the fatal shooting, the family of the victim forced Colorado police to release body camera footage of what happened.
I was a sophomore at Bowdoin when Donald Trump was gaining momentum in the presidential election in spite of his xenophobic rhetoric. Anxiously dreading a near-fascist regime in the event of a Trump presidency, I talked with my mother about getting reacquainted with Nigeria, my mother’s native country.
This newspaper recently reported on the connection between Bowdoin trustee James Staley ’87 P’11 and billionaire sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. The reporting makes no conclusions about Staley’s possible implication in criminal activity, but leaves the reader with the clear impression that further investigation is warranted.
In solidarity with the largest global youth strike in history, Bowdoin Climate Action (BCA) organized a climate rally on the museum steps earlier today. While this once would have been a rare sight on our campus, instances of student activism are becoming increasingly frequent and visible.
Ever since I came to Bowdoin in the fall of 2018, I have been asked endless questions about my background. Some of my classmates knew a bit about Romania, while others had no idea that it is even a country.
Last year, frustrated by unrealistic platforms and uncontested elections for Bowdoin Student Government’s (BSG) executive committee, we published an editorial titled “BSG, do better.” Members of last year’s BSG executive team replied, assuring us that the incoming BSG officers have the opportunity to do just that.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the Democratic primary is the sudden success of South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. He came out of nowhere (sorry Indiana) to become a formidable fundraiser and top-tier candidate. However, the obsession with Mayor Pete demonstrates that liberals have learned nothing from the endless missteps of the Democratic Party in the 2016 cycle.
This past year, the Bowdoin Labor Alliance (BLA) exposed the vast distance between low-wage workers at the College and an administration indifferent to their needs. Leadership at the College prioritizes the financial bottom line over its obligation to our community members, even when we, as a wealthy liberal arts college and “non-profit,” have the luxury of making financial decisions that reflect our core values.
Congratulations to everyone for making it through the first week of classes. It’s finally the weekend! Tonight, hundreds of students—predominantly first years and sophomores—will descend upon the College Houses. And tomorrow, it will happen again. To those first-year students planning on attending house crawl: this may be your first time drinking.
“It was in losing the fear of death that I began to understand faith and hope.” DeRay McKesson ’07 writes these words in the first chapter of his book, “On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope.” He describes a time when he pulled into his driveway only to find an unfamiliar car at his curb.
On the Friday of Ivies, amid the eclectic outfits and wild antics of Reed brunch, my senior friend placed her hands on my shoulder, looked me dead in the eye and said, “We’re going to stay in touch next year, okay?” Making her demand from under the brim of an oversized yellow bucket hat, it was hard to take her seriously.
Dear Editor, It is now firmly established that human activity is the cause of global warming. The temperature’s rise is extraordinarily rapid and is accompanied by acidification of our oceans, which threatens the habitability of the Earth.
In an email to the College on Thursday afternoon, President Clayton Rose detailed a string of bias incidents that occurred over the last week. While four bias incidents were reported in the past week alone, it is anyone’s guess as to how many others remain unreported.
On Maine’s southern border with New Hampshire, a large blue sign stands at the north end of the Piscataqua River Bridge. “Welcome to Maine—the way life should be,” it reads. For decades, motorists have passed this landmark on their way north, and it’s become an iconic part of the state’s brand.
This week, like many other weeks this semester, we’ve encountered questions about the Orient’s editorial decisions. We are always learning and striving to do journalism better, and we welcome feedback. We want to take a moment to answer some of the questions that we come across, in the hopes that transparency on our part can build trust with you, our readers, and foster a stronger dialogue.
There are three weeks left in my undergraduate education in neuroscience at Bowdoin, and I have yet to take an ethics class on scientific practice. In most science programs across the globe, students are in this same situation: having learned the wonder of our craft, but never considered its philosophy and consequences for more than two lectures.
It’s well known that the American people hate Congress, and it’s no mystery why. Congress is an increasingly dumb and dysfunctional organization that seems incapable of improving our nation. Lice and colonoscopies have polled consistently higher than Congress in recent years.
On Monday, President Clayton Rose hosted Governor John Kasich for a discussion of current issues. Pickard Theater was packed almost to capacity, and yet the event was largely inconsequential to campus life. I left with more questions than answers, partly because Kasich never actually answered a question but mostly because he offered little in terms of conservative thought—Kasich is a moderate.
It’s 4:15 p.m. in January and I excitedly hurry out of my last class of the week, ready to kick up my feet, watch some Netflix and forget about work until Sunday night. As soon as I exit Sills Hall, the icy wind begins to freeze my body to the core.
We would like to thank the Orient Editorial Board for publishing last week’s piece entitled “BSG, do better.” We hear you. Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) works for all students, and we strive to be a platform where students can share their ideas and concerns about campus.
As recent alumni, our lives continue to be shaped by what Bowdoin taught us: the value of critical thinking and connection to place, and a desire to work towards the Common Good in our own ways.
In his inaugural address, President Joseph McKeen said, “It ought always to be remembered, that literary institutions are founded and endowed for the common good, and not for the private advantage of those who resort to them for education.” How far have we strayed from this purpose?
In my two years at Bowdoin, I have thought about my home state more than ever before. Surrounded by people from different regions of the country and around the globe, I have the opportunity both to engage with diverse perspectives and to critically consider my own.
Living at the country club that is Bowdoin College, I often forget just how much suffering there is in this world. Deep in the stress and sleep deprivation we all experience as Bowdoin students, I consistently fail to recognize that my life is charmed beyond measure and that my experience at this school is, for the most part, one wonderful experience after another.
This weekend, students will have the opportunity to elect officers for next year’s Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) executive committee. Sort of. Only three of the officer positions are actually contested this year—the chairs of diversity and inclusion, facilities and sustainability, student organizations, student affairs and the treasury will win by default.
To the Editor, I wanted to publicly thank all the Bowdoin students who are spending their Saturday mornings this month teaching Brunswick’s youngest schoolchildren how to play soccer. I’ve seen firsthand all the smiles these student-coaches are bringing to kids’ faces as they play.
PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES Nate DeMoranville ’20 After three years of public service, it is with great excitement that I run for President of Bowdoin Student Government. In this position, I will strive to bridge the divides of this campus by working with students to help other students.
Thinking back to the beginning of my first year, I remember feeling like half of my class entered college with commitments to significant others back home—myself included. As the months went on it seemed like more and more people were breaking up with their partners from home and joining the “single community” here on campus.
“You all belong here.” It was a statement repeated over and over again as the class of 2022 filled the seats of Morrell Gymnasium on August 25, 2018. As various faculty speakers made their way to the podium to offer welcoming remarks to the incoming class, I remember a feeling of exhaustion as students finally allowed ourselves to sit back into our chairs to relax.
In September of 2018, I wrote an article about why the black kids sit together in the classroom. I argued for academic reform to engage students across difference. Crucially, my conclusion was this: “when we as students present ourselves as a unified front to the administration, how can they tell us that this system works?” Student activism was only one part of my proposed solution to self-segregation.
“Although you may believe that having a cat in residence will help you, we have determined that authorizing the cat as a reasonable accommodation is not necessary in light of the evidence of your long history living in residence without such an aid and your excellent academic accomplishments.” That was the message that a student received via email from the Office of Accessibility, denying their request for an emotional support animal on campus.
To the Editor, As members of the Residential Life Head Staff, we collectively live in all of Bowdoin’s residence halls and communicate regularly with Bowdoin’s hardworking housekeepers. We deeply respect our housekeepers and commend the Orient staff and contributors for their ongoing attention to the living wage movement.
After months of conversations with workers to formulate Bowdoin Labor Alliance (BLA) demands, and Orient reporting on Bowdoin’s compensation program, we lament that only public pressure could generate a response from the College. We are deeply troubled by the College’s effort to mischaracterize student and worker demands, malign the Orient’s reporting, reject Maine Department of Labor standards and silence workers’ voices.
In 2013, Josh Katz, a graphics editor for The New York Times, published an online dialect quiz entitled “How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk.” After you answer a series of questions about what term you might use for a specific concept and how you might pronounce a certain vowel, the quiz compiles your answers and shows you a heat map of what areas of the United States correspond to the linguistic features of your speech.
Whether you view the Constitution as tantamount to scripture or as nothing but a hypocritical piece of parchment, it seems Americans can agree that in these decisive times it is a deeply unamendable document. Yet, during the Progressive Era of democratic zeal that swept our nation from the late 1890s to the early 1920s, many viewed the Constitution as too easily amendable; when this era of reform was finally snuffed out by the economic euphoria of the Roaring Twenties, our Constitution was left four full amendments longer.
While we were all away on Spring Break, news broke of a particularly salacious college admissions scandal. From photoshopped athlete photos to fake diagnoses of learning disabilities, the extent to which some parents would go to get their children into college shocked many of us.
In high school, I used to think one’s age was indicative of one’s grade. For me and my friends, class year was an indicator of maturity, academic ability and social value. Your grade was a defining characteristic of your identity in high school, and as such, it was easy to tell by looks and personality what grade you were in.
A week from now, the student body will scatter across the globe for spring break. Some will head home, whether that is as close as down the road in Brunswick or as far as China. Others will set off on vacations, to cities across the country and around the world.
For a long time during my freshman year, I stayed up until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning on a daily basis and slept for only a handful of hours at a time. If I managed to wake up for a morning class, I almost always fell asleep at my desk.
To the editor, We have been concerned about misperceptions and incorrect or incomplete information published here, and circulating elsewhere, about Bowdoin’s compensation program for our housekeepers. I want to take the opportunity to set the record straight about our compensation, the importance we place on this issue, and our substantial, ongoing efforts to make sure our housekeepers are compensated appropriately.
Growing up in Orono, Maine, I was never far removed from Maine’s paper industry. On some days, when the wind was right, the acrid scent of the paper mill in Old Town would waft down the Penobscot River and into my house.
Disclaimer: We, the authors of this response, are willing to speak our minds about the deceptive practices of Bowdoin College revealed in last week’s issue of the Orient. We understand that making such public statements, even anonymously, poses risks for those employed by the College.
Almost exactly three years ago, on February 20, 2016, a group of (mostly white) Bowdoin sophomores infamously gathered in a room in Stowe Hall, donning sombreros and drinking tequila. Although this story is a familiar one to Bowdoin seniors, it might not be to first years.
The Bowdoin women’s basketball team has danced its way to the number one seed in the NESCAC tournament, and the music doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon—though it may be changing tempo. Taylor Choate ’19 told Orient columnist Ian Ward this week that “in the postseason, everything’s different.
In the weeks leading up to February 20, the deadline to declare a major, I’ve been a listening ear to my indecisive friends. Art history major or government and legal studies and visual arts double major with a History minor?
There are two homeless shelters within walking distance of campus. Many Bowdoin students, maybe even most, don’t know they exist. Tedford Housing operates both shelters, one on Federal Street and the other on Cumberland Street, which together provide safe and temporary housing for six families and 16 individuals.
When President Trump tweeted “Little Rocket Man,” along with an image of Kim Jong-Un, the idea of donning a full Elton John outfit (any of them work) and bellowing “I’m a rocket man,” came to mind—not the image of an existential threat of nuclear fallout.
Climate change is our Cold War. While Boomers lived in constant fear of Soviet nuclear annihilation, we suffer daily from the thought—the truth—that the life we now live is set to slowly deteriorate. Every morning we wake up to a new report telling us how many more years of inaction we have left before the Amazon turns into the Sahara; thus, every evening, our existential dread builds.
The January 2019 economic report proved that little can stop the steam of the American free enterprise system. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had its best January since 1985, rising 7.2 percent; 304,000 jobs were created and wages rose 3.4 percent, the highest in a decade.
Bowdoin College prides itself on its connection to community. Visit our website and you’ll see countless references to Brunswick and to Maine, touting the College’s close relationship with its Midcoast host and the state it sits in.
According to an article in this week’s edition of the Orient, many seniors are dissatisfied with the resources provided by the Career Planning Center (CPC). In the Orient’s biannual approval ratings survey, more than a third of seniors reported disapproving or strongly disapproving of the CPC.
Dear Editor, I am writing to express my deep appreciation to President Clayton Rose, Coach Doug Welling and the entire Bowdoin community for the profoundly moving memorial service held for Henry Zietlow ’22 on Saturday. Henry was clearly deeply loved by his teammates and friends, as well as his coaches and professors.
Dear Editor, We were concerned with last week’s editorial, “Midd divested. Will we?” We believe divestment would severely limit Bowdoin’s ability to address climate change and lead toward the Common Good. Bowdoin’s divestment would be inconsequential to the fossil fuel industry at great cost to our endowment.
This week, Middlebury’s Board of Trustees voted for a plan that will divest the college’s endowment from fossil fuels within the next 15 years. Our neighbors in Vermont will also be switching to 100 percent renewables by 2028 and have pledged to reduce their energy consumption on campus by 25 percent.
On Monday, Bowdoin’s Administration announced plans for the construction of two new buildings, Barry Mills Hall and the Center for Arctic Studies. Fitted with “state-of-the-art academic facilities,” President Rose is confident that these additions will “play a significant role in enhancing Bowdoin education.” The Bowdoin website, in their announcement, included a map of campus indicating the location of the new buildings.
In the biannual Bowdoin Orient Student Survey, published in this week’s issue, 34.61 percent of students indicated that they disapprove or strongly disapprove of the Brunswick Police Department (BPD). This is by far the highest disapproval rating of the individuals, departments and organizations listed on the survey.
In her recent inaugural address, Maine’s new governor Janet Mills laid out an ambitious plan to bolster the state’s economy, combat the opioid crisis and address climate change. She also sent a strong message of unity to her audience, proclaiming, “We are one Maine, undivided, one family from Calais to Bethel, from York to Fort Kent.” With this one sentence, Governor Mills did more than set a new course from the divisive LePage era.
We, members of the Bowdoin Labor Alliance, write this statement to publicly express our solidarity with federal workers struggling during these long weeks without pay due to the government shutdown. Workers should not be exploited as political pawns; they are our friends, relatives, community members and peers.
David Brooks wrote in his January 10 column in the New York Times that what is needed now in the age of the “tribal emotionalism” of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders is a third story—one that does not break the world into the “simple narrative” of the “virtuous us and the evil them (the bankers),” but instead focuses on a remoralization of the market.
On November 23, 13 U.S. federal agencies came to the agreement that climate change is real and is an imminent danger to national security and the economy. They predict costs in the billions of dollars due to heat-related deaths, agricultural loss, rising sea levels and damage to infrastructure.
Which of the distribution requirements do you have left to complete, and which of those will you leave until senior year? We both have Inquiry in Natural Sciences and International Perspectives left, but one of us is a first-year and the other is a junior.
Dear Editor, I applaud the recent efforts of Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) to further examine the benefits of ranked choice voting over a traditional plurality electoral system. This is an important step towards making our elections more representative of the student body.
When students return to campus in January, the first phase of the Lived Name Initiative will be launched. Created in cooperation with Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Information Technology and the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, the project is aimed at streamlining the process through which students change their names across platforms such as Polaris, Workday and new OneCards.
To whom it may concern: As a military Veteran, I find it very disgraceful that you would refer to people in the military as “non-traditional” students! As a former military person and someone that has gone back to school within the past six years, it was very hard for me to go back to school and deal with generational difference.
As a documentary and irony enthusiast, I spent Black Friday watching “Waiting for John: An Island Cult Worships American Materialism.” The 2015 documentary centers on the John Frum movement on Tanna, an island in the archipelago of Vanuatu.
Dear Editor, I had the privilege of hosting Professor Ilan Stavans on campus last week for the annual Harry Spindel Memorial lecture. While I appreciate coverage of the lecture in the Orient, I am concerned how the article emphasizes a singular, and rather alarming, interpretation of the lecture rather than a more complete account of general content.
Right now, as we write this editorial late on a Thursday night, we’re still basking in the warm, sleepy feeling that follows Bowdoin Thanksgiving. In one of our favorite Orient traditions, we all crammed into the Pinette Dining Room in Thorne Hall—too many chairs to a table, elbows and knees bumping against each other—and dug into Bowdoin Dining Service’s holiday best.
Last Friday, the Orient reported that transphobic language was found in a bathroom in Smith Union. While the Bias Incident Group has convened about the issue since, reaction on campus has been muted. In light of the Trump administration’s memo about defining gender as immutable and assigned at birth, this silence is deafening.
Dear Editor, I write in response to the Orient’s recent coverage of visiting lecturer Helen Andrews’ talk last week. While I am glad the reporter attended the talk and even stayed to ask Ms. Andrews follow-up questions after the lecture, I’m disappointed that the Orient’s subsequent reporting on its content was inaccurate, incomplete and disingenuous.
In retrospect, I should have known that “The Wicker Man,” billed as a relaxing, post-midterm movie screening for my Human Sacrifice course, would be anything but. When shots of pagans openly copulating in a graveyard and a cake in the shape of a young sacrificial victim popped up in the first 15 minutes I was certainly not relaxed.
This past summer, as I was inspecting storm drains in a neighborhood of Sabattus, Maine, an elderly man approached me from his driveway. His name was Marcel, and though he was initially only curious about what I was doing, our conversation soon blossomed into a discussion about his life.
Last year when I went on West Trek with Career Planning, almost every executive, most of who were white, described Silicon Valley as a “meritocracy,” where people are judged by ideas, not by privilege. But my privilege got me into those companies’ office.
Dear Editor, The Federal Department of Health and Human Services’ draft redefinition of gender as binary, immutable and defined by genitalia at birth (resorting to genetic testing in the inevitable instances of ambiguity) is intellectually bankrupt, scientifically baseless, unworkable and cruel.
Something that not many people know about me is that I’m a sexual assault survivor, but not in your typical college campus rape story. From the age of five to about 14, I was repeatedly raped and molested along with three of my other cousins and to make matters worse, I’ve suffered another assault and attempted assault from two other people.