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Opinion

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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The influence of hurricanes on presidential politics

In today’s world, natural disasters are inherently political. They drastically disrupt and change the lives of countless Americans, and it is often the government’s job to provide support and aid in response. This responsibility falls squarely into my choice definition of politics: “Who gets what, where and why.” Because the need for government action is often so sudden, and so concentrated, there is relatively little room for partisan squabbling in the wake of a catastrophic event.

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50 shades of awkwardness: struggling with social anxiety

My experiences with social anxiety disorder have often resulted in a fair number of awkward moments. Social anxiety, for me, arises in almost every social context, although there are some exceptions. Nevertheless, in an attempt to grasp onto the unreachable heights of social acceptability, during conversation I often begin to overcompensate.

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Editorial

Setting the right tone

If the true test of character is what one does when no one is watching, then the past few months of summer break have presented Bowdoin with plenty of opportunities to prove its mettle. From the fall of the last mortarboard at graduation to the first day of classes this fall, seemingly every headline presented a fresh opportunity for shock, awe and uncertainty.

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@mycolumn

Corporate feminism undermines the larger goal of equality

Because I inherited my mother’s aversion to makeup, I was an easy target for Glossier’s stunningly effective marketing scheme. Rather than use Kendall Jenner’s heavily contoured and enviously symmetrical face for ads, the brand instead tends to recruit “everyday” women to model its minimalist line of makeup on its Instagram account.

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Un-social media: disconnecting to reconnect

This summer I went off-the-grid. It wasn’t in an exotic, adventurous way; I didn’t backpack across the Himalayas or return to Bowdoin with a foreign lover in tow Eat Pray Love style. I lived in New York City and had constant access to all of life’s essentials (and those not as much so, like a Starbucks on every corner), I merely deleted all social media accounts and lived my life as if no one was watching.

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Responding to Counseling’s Orient ad

In the May 5, 2017 issue of The Bowdoin Orient, Bowdoin Counseling Service published an ad featuring the headline “Everything is Awful and I’m Not Okay: Questions to ask before giving up.” The list, which was discovered to be ripped off from a Tumblr post, poses a list of 16 pithy questions that, apparently, one should consider before following through with whatever “giving up” is a euphemism for (self harm?

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Counseling ad attributes poor mental health to poor self-care

I am incredibly grateful for Bowdoin Counseling Service. Without their initial consultation, I never would have been referred to my current off-campus therapist. I would still be stuck in the same negative thought patterns that were not my own, that inhibited me from living the full life that I wanted to live, that placed blame for everything not perfect in my life on me alone and that comprised my disease.

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Editorial

Increase counseling resources

One in four Bowdoin students uses the College’s Counseling Service. However, Bowdoin cannot adequately meet the needs of these 462 students. Counseling Service can’t provide weekly one-on-one sessions, instead offering bi-weekly meetings and group sessions to most students.

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The failed state of the union: a stable American system still reinforces top-down inequality

This column is a response to the piece “The state of the union remains strong through Trump’s first months.” In their column, Ezra Rice and Francisco Navarro write hopefully about our ability to preserve the American system through Donald Trump’s four years as president: “Though millions of Americans remain worried for the future, we can be reassured by the power of our American system and be certain that the state of our union remains strong.” To me, this positive regard for our system ignores the ways our status quo was failing the majority of Americans before Trump; it also conflates the prosperity of the American people with the stability of our government.

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Wealthy students: put aside jargon, listen in discussions of class

Class has occupied a larger space in conversation at Bowdoin this year, or at least people want it to. Symbols and experiences of class, wealth and intergenerational mobility have been built up, broken down and disseminated to the campus through efforts from the McKeen Center for the Common Good, the Orient, Inter-Group Dialogue, The Office of Residential Life and other organizations.

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Sons of Liberty

Checking millennial privilege: remembering the contributions of our ancestors

Fortune favors us: the American millennial. We were born in the luckiest place, at the luckiest time in history. Our generation, both the largest and best educated in history, is provided and expects welfare programs, a developed and robust economy, public transportation, emergency health care, rule of law, accountability of our leaders, economic mobility, constitutionally guaranteed individual rights and on average eight decades of life.

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Editorial

Support the staff

The sun is shining and the tank is clean. Yes, it’s that time of year again—the long awaited Ivies week(end). Droves of students flood Salvo to update their mandatory Ivies uniforms: fanny packs, overalls, velvet track suit, jorts, obnoxiously bright neon… everything.

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Holding Fast

McKeen’s address prompts evaluation of the moral focus of a Bowdoin education

In Joseph McKeen’s inaugural address, delivered at the opening of the College in 1802, this one line has stood the test of time and continues to influence Bowdoin’s self-image to this day: “…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.” But in the two centuries that have passed since McKeen delivered his address, we have become disconnected from the original meaning of the “common good.” I think the typical way we handle the topic of the common good today is to sidestep the full moral implications of the term. 

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‘Get Out’ confronts the intersectionality of race and mental health

The other weekend, I was talking with my best friend from Bates College when the subject of the surprise hit thriller “Get Out” came up in conversation. He asked me, “What did you think?” I gave the usual response, saying it was “so good” and “so funny.” He disapproved of the response and retorted, “No, but what did you really think about it?” Honestly, I had to put a great deal of thought into my response.

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Zero Chill

Bowdoin’s government department must be revamped and modernized

Bowdoin’s Department of Government and Legal Studies has an incredible reputation. But it is clear to me that its highly ranked status has in fact impeded the department’s motivation to improve. Bowdoin’s government department was the only department that escaped criticism in the 2013 National Association of Scholars (NAS) report—a report in which the major criticisms of Bowdoin were that it is accepting of different gender and sexual identities, that it emphasizes multiculturalism and that it does not focus enough on traditional American and Western political values.

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Why the March for Science matters

The scientific method has long been held the hallmark of experimentation in the natural world. Asking a question, formulating and testing hypotheses then collecting and interpreting data allows us to draw educated conclusions about phenomena from ant ecology to particle physics to neurogenesis.

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Editorial

Baseline advising

During the whirlwind of first-year orientation, students sit down with their pre-major advisor, which for many sets the tone for their relationships with faculty and academic experience and can significantly shape their academic experience. While some advisors provide necessary support and helpful academic guidance, other advisor-advisee relationships fall flat.

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Holding Fast

The nuclear option illustrates partisan hypocrisy

Last Friday, the U.S. Senate finally filled the Supreme Court seat left vacant by Antonin Scalia’s death last February. Everyone knew it would be a contentious fight to determine his replacement, but I don’t think anyone expected the precise turn of events that have brought us to this moment.

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Out Loud

Acknowledging the presence of transphobia

Two weeks ago—on Transgender Day of Visibility, as it so happened—our community was made aware, through an Orient article and editorial, of the incidents that have occurred in some men’s bathrooms on campus in response to the Free Flow initiative’s placement of menstrual products in bathrooms for all genders.

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BCA ending divestment campaign, pivoting to local politics

Since its inception in the fall of 2012, Bowdoin Climate Action (BCA) has been dedicated to pursuing the goal of climate justice, on our campus and beyond. Thus far, our endeavor to further that goal has largely manifested in the form of a campaign to divest the College’s endowment from the top 200 oil and gas companies. We are proud of the campaign we’ve run, but for now, it is time to shift the tactic.

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Editorial

The model minority myth

For 22 years, Bowdoin has been celebrating Asian Heritage Week. This month, we’re celebrating Asian Heritage Month, which has doubled the number of programs held at Bowdoin. The month of May is nationally recognized as Asian/Pacific Heritage Month and intends to celebrate the important histories and cultures of diverse Asian communities and Asian American individuals.

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Insidious threat of climate change demands urgent attention

By now, sentences like “Our planet and human civilization teeters precariously on the edge of an unfathomable ecological abyss” are banal and, at worst, elicit an ironic smile. We have good reason to believe that climate change might destroy the foundations of our political and economic systems in a matter of decades, but for some reason it doesn’t feel urgent.

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