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Opinion

Relevant Politics

Marketing conservative counter-culture: a response to Steve Robinson ’11

On Monday, April 16, Steve Robinson ’11 returned to campus to give a talk entitled “Conservatism and the Liberal Arts: How Bowdoin Made Me Conservative.” During his time at Bowdoin, Robinson was outspoken about his conservative beliefs and penned a regular column in the Orient (similar to this one) that was well known for its controversial content and audacious headlines (all of which are archived on the Orient’s website).

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Editorial

Equalizing resources across disciplines

As students solidify plans both for the coming summer and, in the case of graduating seniors, for their careers, the College provides invaluable resource, whether in the form of the Office of Career Planning, the Office of Institutional Fellowships and Research, or through informal information networks.

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Letter to the Editor

Everyone’s included in Theater and Dance

To the Editor, I appreciated reading Jonah Watt’s call for more queer-inclusive spaces, but I don’t recognize the theater he describes as displaying “largely heterosexual relationships” at Bowdoin. Theater has been accused of many things throughout its 2,500-year history, but heteronormativity is not often the foremost complaint.

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Editorial

Dear future polar bears

The Offer of the College (a document whose sanctity on campus falls somewhere between the Constitution and this newspaper) offers you these next four years as the best ones of your life. We’ve helpfully annotated it for you, so you can understand what it really says.

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Vote Mohamed Nur for president

The editorial board formally endorses Mohamed Nur for BSG president. The board feels that Nur’s platform offers comprehensive solutions to a more varied set of campus problems than his opponent. He has set attainable goals and has proposed creative actions.

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Letter to the Editor

In support of Susan Rice

To the editor, I must make two points in response to the article in the most recent issue of the Orient concerning Susan Rice as an Honorary Degree recipient at graduation. First, the number of communications to the College disagreeing with the above action hardly constitutes a “backlash” of alums.

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The monster we know: the need for call-out culture

I spent the majority of my freshman year at the center of a complex and painful Title IX case. What is important about this case is not any salacious detail, but rather the immersive introduction it allowed me to the brutality many members of the Bowdoin community exhibit when their friend or teammate is accused of and found responsible for sexual violence.

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Relevant Politics

Performative nationalism on the U.S.-Mexico border

I wrote about the U.S.-Mexico border in this column a few weeks ago, discussing the potential environmental consequences of a border wall. In the time since my writing, the situation has developed. Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, the focus of my article, has been spared from construction due to immense public outcry and organizing from local activists.

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Editorial

International and ignored

Last spring, the Orient’s editorial board argued that institutionally supporting international students should be a top priority for the college. Since then, we have welcomed to campus a class with a seven percent international student population, the largest percentage of any class currently enrolled at Bowdoin.

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Fighting Islamophobia: a call for action

Earlier this week, Muslim communities across the U.K. and the U.S. prepared themselves for an escalation of violent threats inspired by “Punish a Muslim Day.” Anonymous letters arrived to the homes of Muslims in England and circulated throughout social media intended to strike fear among Muslim communities.

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Call-in culture and the landscape of sexual assault

The latest article of Polar Views attempted to acquaint its audience with phenomena that are already readily apparent. Given previous responses to this column and the bevy of articles written by women in the past year, it is worrying that these phenomena were addressed as if they were novel to the author and to his audience.

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Editorial

Not-so-scary Larry

On Wednesday, conservative economist Larry Lindsey ’76 H’93 gave a talk moderated by President Rose in Pickard Theater. The event with Lindsey, an outspoken right-wing pundit, and the discussion that has followed provided a model for the sort of productive and respectful discourse that can and should arise from events that challenge our campus’ political consensus.

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Rael on Lawrence Lindsey’s problematic history

In his book, “Conspiracies of the Ruling Class,” Lawrence B. Lindsey ’76 distorts history to make an elite argument for privatizing government look like economic populism. Lindsey, a supply-side economist who served as an economic advisor to President George H.W.

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Seeing structural oppression in shades of grey

Morality has a number of purposes. There’s a social purpose; it makes people’s behavior predictable and helps us to resolve conflicts peacefully. There’s also a critical purpose, which is often at odds with the social purpose; morality provides the basis for us to criticize society, government, culture and even morality itself.

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Editorial

You, me and the BPD

Since Bowdoin’s annual Cold War party was disrupted by the Brunswick Police Department (BPD), students, in the pages of the Orient and at the Bowdoin Student Government’s public comment session, have voiced frustration, confusion and dismay about a perceived increase in BPD’s enforcement on campus.

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Editorial

After Parkland

As this week’s Orient story on political activity and activism at Bowdoin makes clear, much of our campus is slow to take to the streets regarding just about anything. This week has been no exception. As students around the nation mobilize in response to the February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, our sleepy Brunswick campus has remained sleepy.

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BPD-Bowdoin relations hurt College House experience

As a senior, I went to last weekend’s Cold War party knowing full well that my friends and I would likely be the only members of our class in attendance. We did not care; we were just looking to enjoy ourselves, cheer on our friends’ band and reminisce about our own College House days.

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Editorial

Show us the money

The Equity in Athletics Data Analysis shows that between the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years, Bowdoin’s annual athletic recruiting expenses grew 162 percent, from $30,966 to $81,018, an increase made possible by the NESCAC’s elimination of its cap on recruitment spending.

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Building on BCQs

As the faculty experiments with alterations to Bowdoin Course Questionnaires (BCQs), we encourage students and the College to think more broadly about the role that these evaluations could play in the Bowdoin academic program. The latest changes, which will be implemented in a pilot program this spring, aim to mitigate the influence of students’ implicit biases on their answers by rewording questions to eliminate vague or imprecise language.

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Relevant Politics

Democrats, let’s learn from our mistakes

As we enter the second month of 2018, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on this year’s potential to shake up the American political landscape. Although the 2016 election may still be fresh in our minds, the upcoming midterm elections in November will be similarly momentous, defining the “second-half” of the Trump Presidency and either making or breaking some of his grandiose campaign promises.

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Editorial

Navigating the Silicon Future

As the Board of Trustees prepares to make its pilgrimage to Silicon Valley, we think that its members and the Bowdoin community should consider the implication of this trip. As President Rose noted in an interview with the Orient, the culture of Silicon Valley has given rise to both good and bad.

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Anu's Corner

Style at Bowdoin: a reflection of class and race

As spring fashion week draws closer, I have deeply reflected on our own Brunswick runway. Although there is a fundamental difference between fashion and style, Bowdoin’s culture around both is worth exploring. The collective style at Bowdoin is predictable; only a handful of students maintain a creative and authentic style.

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Editorial

Making the most of Ladd

Bowdoin’s Office of Residential Life (ResLife) should be commended for considering and acting upon student suggestions for changes to the housing policy aimed at revitalizing the on-campus social scene. However, without recognizing the limitations and potential pitfalls of turning Ladd House into a senior-only living space, this latest change is not likely to significantly alter the role of upperclassmen in the campus social scene.

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Aziz Ansari and the prevalence of sexual violence

I recently read the account, published on the website Babe.net, of a woman who claimed to have an uncomfortable sexual encounter with comedian Aziz Ansari. I won’t go into the specific details of the article—you are welcome to read it yourself—but the author states that Ansari repeatedly pressured her to participate in sexual acts despite her discomfort, ignoring obvious verbal and physical cues.

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Bowdoin football: there’s still time left on the clock

One would think for an opinion piece as provocative as “Bowdoin football: your time is running out,” that the author would have supported his argument with facts rather than anecdotal evidence and innuendo. Mr. Covell correctly points out that football participation rates are down across the country but fails to point out that 1.1 million young men and women participated in high school football in 2016, a participation rate nearly twice that of next most popular sport (track and field).

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Letter to the Editor

Respect is reciprocal

The past two “Polar Views” articles are troubling. The platform the author has created is crucial to deepening conversations in the Bowdoin community, and comparing experiences of oppression has an insidious nature which alienates us from the problems at hand—I don’t wish to contribute to the conversation in that manner.

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Editorial

Learning from our alums

This past week, Bowdoin students had the opportunity to hear from two of Bowdoin’s most prominent alumni, U.S. Senator George Mitchell ’54 H’83 and Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson ’07. Both men expressed their grave concern for the current state and direction of American politics and society.

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Polar Views

Culture as context: voicing my Polar Views

It is easy for a minority student to hate Bowdoin. From the classroom, to College Houses, to student clubs, almost everything is perceived through the perspective of a “traditional-student” population. I was tired of it, so I decided to start writing about my experiences from a different cultural lens.

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Letter to the Editor

Defending the football program

I read with interest my fellow football alum Daniel Covell’s piece in last week’s Orient that takes a very academic and somewhat drastic approach to addressing Bowdoin’s football woes. However, sometimes turning a program around simply comes down to the right leadership, and Daniel neglects to mention this fourth, rather basic option, that I believe has the best chance for success: •   Hire a dynamic hard-charging head coach who played NESCAC football and has a track record of building football programs from scratch.

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Anu's Corner

Why Bowdoin fails at activism

Highly selective activism—this is a term I have coined to describe Bowdoin’s advocacy. Our student body is proud of being a culturally sensitive campus that aims to uphold the common good. In my time here, there has been a lot of mobility and activism on campus surrounding issues regarding women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and, recently, DACA.

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@mycolumn

Reconciling the reputations of men whom we admire

Since the initial allegations of sexual abuse against Harvey Weinstein broke, many more high-profile men from different sectors have been accused of similar transgressions. At such a historic point in time, Americans have been forced to reckon with the reality that many of the men whose work we enjoy are in fact vile, reprehensible people.

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Criticizing ‘fuckboy’/‘softboy’ misses the point

An article titled, “The unintended impact of the ‘fuckboy’ and ‘softboy’” published in the last issue of the Orient, argues that the terms the Bowdoin community uses to describe opposite-sex relations creates an unfair binary for “the good guys.” In an attempted plea for empathy, the author claims that while not all men “care about ending rape culture,” he does, but he feels ostracized and at a loss for how to show commendable allyship.

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Editorial

Inequality in perspective

The recent programming surrounding No Hate November has brought questions of class-consciousness and income inequality at Bowdoin into the campus spotlight. Class markers—in the clothes we wear, in our choice of weekend activities and in our classrooms—are constant symbols and reminders of the economic disparities that exist within our small campus.

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Editorial

One year later

The results of Tuesday’s national, state and local elections have brought hope to those Americans who, this time last year, were distraught with the state of the nation’s politics. The contrast is stark to the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency, when many on Bowdoin’s campus came together in opposition to the new president, fueled by a sense of anger, frustration and acute injustice.

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Editorial

Bowdoin, thank you

Following this week’s power outage, Bowdoin students were reminded, once again, of how lucky we are to benefit from a team of campus employees, each one committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of students. All deserve our whole-hearted thanks.

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Collins’ anti-consumer vote demonstrates need for continued pressure

I write to urge Bowdoin students and Mainers to continue to hold Maine Senator Susan Collins accountable. Last week, Collins and Senate Republicans voted to repeal anti-forced arbitration rules, a practice wherein everyday consumers are required to waive their rights to class-action lawsuits and other means of accessing the courts, and instead are forced to settle their grievances with large companies through private arbitration.

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Refuting harmful views with logic, not labels

Last week, the Orient published an article profiling Evan McLaren, a former Bowdoin student who is currently the executive director of the National Policy Institute (NPI), a group dedicated to promoting white supremacy and the creation of a white nation-state.

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Editorial

Reporting on hate

We publish the profile of Evan McLaren, “Former Bowdoin student leads identified hate group,” with trepidation. McLaren’s white nationalism and white supremacy is abhorrent and antithetical to the core principles of our paper, our college and our nation.

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Editorial

Put a name on it

In our best form, the Orient works to facilitate constructive dialogue through storytelling—sharing people’s perspectives, reporting events that impact our community and publishing op-eds from named contributors are different avenues through which we pursue the cross-pollination of ideas.

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Polar Views

Reclaiming words: the struggle to find empowerment from pain

Being at a liberal arts college, I constantly hear about the politics of language, but I have never known of in-depth discussions on slurs and epithets. I was reminded of this last week when I attended the performance of queer disabled femme poet Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha who was asked at some point why she calls herself a “crip.” Her remarks that using ‘crip’ is part of a movement to subvert traditionally ableist language reminded me of the reclamation movement of ‘nigga,’ also known as the ‘N-word.’ This year, debates about the N-word have resurfaced in light of Bill Maher’s N-word joke on his talk show and the Instagram video of white sorority girls singing the N-word in the Kanye West classic “Gold Digger.” This debate often enters the social sphere through one question: why can’t white people say the N-word?

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The Orient replies to Dean Dorn

We welcome Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Education Charles Dorn’s response to the October 13 article titled “Administrative hires exceed those of faculty as needs change.” Dorn was kind enough to meet for 30 minutes with the Orient a few weeks ago as a source for this story.

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Editorial

Big names, small gains

Last week’s discussion between Frank Bruni and Arthur C. Brooks missed the mark. Déjà vu? A bit. Although the discussion proved markedly more substantive than last year’s “debate” between Nicholas Kristof and Jason Riley, ultimately the night suffered from many of the same problems that year’s discussion had.

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@mycolumn

Uncovering the liberal hypocrisy of doxing Neo-Nazis

“This is not us” became an oft-repeated mantra in the aftermath of this summer’s violence in Charlottesville set off by white supremacist protesters. My social media timelines were littered with posts by former high school classmates, many of whom attend the University of Virginia and wanted to distance the horrific events from the institution, the surrounding town and our home state.

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Editorial

Beneath the toga

Tomorrow night is Epicuria. Along with Ivies Weekend, this event holds a distinct place in the mythology of the Bowdoin community. But before we don our togas, we should consider the night soberly. On the one hand, Epicuria manifests much of what has been and continues to be successful about the College House system.

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Polar Views

#TakeAKnee : a commentary on patriotism in America

“I get it; you have the right to protest, but you don’t kneel during the national anthem. That’s just unacceptable.” My good-intentioned white male friend made this comment in Thorne dining hall two years ago in light of Colin Kaepernick’s decision to ‘take a knee.’ Simply put, I was shook.

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Editorial

Make the Orient your platform

We assume that every student has, at least once during their time at Bowdoin, rolled their eyes at something they read in the pages of the Orient. Some students, we suspect, have even felt alienated by the content of this paper.

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There’s no such thing as “female pronouns”

Recently you sat in a circle with a bunch of other students. You recognized some of them, but others were new faces. This group might have been a class or a club or a team. Whatever it was, the leader asked everyone to introduce themselves by name, class year and pronoun.

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Out Loud

Past progress distracts from ongoing struggles

“Don’t you think things are better now?” This is not an uncommon question I’ve heard, from people both inside and outside the LGBT community, but it’s always a difficult one for me to answer. Yes, the crowd in 24 College on Thursday evenings is exponentially larger than it had been a decade ago, and yes, I feel safer being out in the majority of situations at Bowdoin than I’m sure my predecessors felt.

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Damn the discourse: a liberal dose of mush

President Clayton Rose published an op-ed in TIME Magazine arguing for the importance of the liberal arts. Roughly, his argument is that today “intellectual engagement is too often mocked,” leaving us in a “distressing place… where facts are willfully ignored or conveniently dismissed” and where “Hypocrisy runs rampant and character appears to no longer be a requirement for leadership.” His proposed solution is one we’ve heard from him before: intellectual fearlessness, the notion that one “can consider ideas and material that challenge their points of view, which may run counter to deeply held beliefs, unsettles them or may make them uncomfortable.” I take issue with much of Rose’s argument, and what I find most troubling is his seeming inability to articulate, with substance, a goal, mission and role for the liberal arts that extends beyond banalities.

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Editorial

Improving off-campus housing policy

On Thursday morning, Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster announced the recommendations of the committee charged with reviewing the College’s off-campus housing policy. Although the College aims to use these recommendations to “serve as the basis for a clear and transparent off-campus housing policy,” the recommendations themselves are neither clear nor transparent.

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