What was your transition to Bowdoin like? Be careful before you answer, because this is a political question. Your race, your class and your background likely played important roles in your adjustment. This column is a transcription of my own transition as a low-income Black man, as well as a more general reflection of racialized space on campus.
Odds are you were just entering high school, or soon would, as the world got its first taste of the next big white rapper, Mac Miller, aka Easy Mac with the Cheesy Raps. “Blue Slide Park” dropped in late 2011 right as I was in my freshman year of high school.
In 2018, Bowdoin topped the Princeton Review’s list of colleges with the best financial aid. The College is without question committed to making higher education more accessible and prides itself on meeting students’ full demonstrated need.
If you’ve attended a campus event recently—anything from first-year move in to a senior networking and interviewing workshop—you’ve likely seen the new Bowdoin Votes tables, staffed by students eager to help their peers register to vote.
This fall, President Rose welcomed us back to campus with an email which included a section entitled “Our Commitment to Our Hourly Employees” in which he presented the College as an institution committed to its employees—a deceptive attempt to suggest serious introspection on the part of the College these past few months.
I can only assume that the Pine Street Apartments were named for the magnificent evergreens that surrounded them on three sides, sheltering residents from loud traffic. For years, many students chose to live there because of the beautiful and quiet environs.
I often struggle to follow—and rarely attempt to contribute to—conversations that veer into the nebulous realm of “gaming culture.” From my clumsy “Mario Kart” skills that cost me a middle school friendship to the non-committal nods I give in response to “Fortnite” references, it is safe to say that video games exist firmly outside of my comfort zone.
In April of 2016, in my junior year of high school, I came to Bowdoin on the first stop of a series of college tours that took me across New England. I don’t remember much from that inaugural visit, but I do remember one particular landmark: a small, red brick building on the north end of the quad.
Books are powerful objects, and the most formidable ones exceed the expectations of their own authors and immediate audience. One of the joys of studying and teaching literature is the opportunity to develop close relationships with those powerful objects, who become partners in lonely times or wise peers that you seek for advice.
We are writing out of a desire to contextualize the recent Orient article profiling the Peucinian Society. We cannot speak for all Peucinians and their experience in the society, nor are we trying to do so, but we would like to share our perspective as three dedicated and long-time members.
To the Editor,
I want to thank Harry DiPrinzio for his thought-provoking article in last week’s Orient concerning the financial challenges that confront many Bowdoin employees. A few factual errors aside, Harry’s article certainly rings true to me.
To the Editors,
I’m writing to comment on what the Orient reported in the article “Facilities workers struggle to make ends meet” as “forms of charity” to which Bowdoin has referred employees in times of economic hardship.
To the Editors,
I want to say thank you for your story on the economic conditions of Bowdoin’s facilities workers. Your reporter deserves great praise for thoughtfully taking on a challenging subject. After graduating from Bowdoin in 1994, I helped organize a union for teaching assistants in the University of California system while I was in graduate school.
In September I will have been here 10 years. I have always loved my job. For the last five years, I have been assigned Winthrop Hall. I love to be in a first-year dorm. I meet all my students and parents the first day and tell them, “I’m your Bowdoin mom.” The biggest reason that I am here is the kids.
The College knows that members of Bowdoin’s house- and groundskeeping staff regularly struggle to make ends meet, as we reported this week in the Orient. In addition, the Orient has learned that workers in dining make similarly low wages.
In 1954, Brown v. Board of Education determined that the racial segregation of schools is unconstitutional. Discussions of “affirmative action” in the context of admission into federally-funded programs emerged in the 1960s. In the subsequent decades, educational spaces across the United States began to admit African American students and students of other marginalized groups at a slow but steadily increasing pace.
When I decided to run for a chair position on Bowdoin Student Government (BSG), I did so trusting our representatives on BSG to be fair, to follow all the laws of the student constitution and to maintain the highest moral standards.
Author’s note: This is a piece for us by us. As an ally or a non-black reader, reflect on your role in our experiences. I encourage you to engage in dialogue, but understand that it is not our job to educate you.
The annual Delta Sigma/Delta Upsilon art competition took place on April 14 in Smith Union. While this event ostensibly served as a “way to continue the tradition of ‘non-formalized’ creativity that Delta Sigma/Delta Upsilon fostered during its time at Bowdoin,” the actions of the curators belied a more elitist vision of what works warranted inclusion.
Ben Franklin said nothing is certain in life except death and taxes. If I had to state a preference, I’d say death is better, because it only happens once and makes more sense.
I’m generally accepting of taxes because we need to finance and maintain quality roads, police and fire protection, schools and other shared services.
If you have not experienced it (actually, you’re in the middle of experiencing it), you have probably heard the stories. Drinking games in class on Thursday and Friday (bad). Students sprinting across Brunswick Quad with stolen beers, pursued by the rightful owners of said beers (depends on the brand of beer).
In a campus-wide email last week, President Rose announced that the College has reached carbon neutrality two years ahead of schedule. Bowdoin Climate Action is pleased to hear of the steps the College has taken to reduce emissions and reach this goal, and we are excited to engage in conversation around the College’s plan for 2030.
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).
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.
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.
While I was working on a problem set in my room during my sophomore year, my peers were hosting a “gangster rap” party on the other side of campus. I did not go to SuperSnack, but I received several texts about some students wearing suspicious, stereotypically “gangster” clothes—baggy pants, gold chains and even cornrows.
I was at the gangster party. I was the kid with cornrows.
I’ve thought endlessly about the night of the party and the various checkpoints at which I could have recognized something was wrong. I didn’t blink at the email invitation.
Chair of Academic Affairs
Ramya Chengalvala ’20
Hi! My name is Ramya Chengalvala, and I am a member of the Class of 2020. I am a co-leader of the South Asian Student Association and a photo editor for the Bowdoin Globalist.
In the last few weeks I have felt more Nigerian than I had ever felt before on this campus. I catch myself in my Calculus class slipping into my Nigerian accent, and everyone jokingly responds “What was that?” The more I fall back to my niche, the more hypervisible I feel in little old Brunswick.
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.
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.
Hi friends. My name is Mohamed Nur, and I’m running for Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) president. I have met incredible people at Bowdoin who inspire me every day to make the communities I enter better off than when I first found them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No one should be forced to go to school with their rapist, said Roxane Gay in front of a packed audience in Pickard Theater last Monday. At Bowdoin, like many other institutions of higher education and in work places around the world, survivors of sexual violence are forced to face their own perpetrators each and every day.
My first days in America held a unique experience. I attended an “urban” middle school in St. Paul, Minnesota. On the second day, school police announced during lunch that there would be a lockdown drill. At 1:45 p.m., our teacher locked the door and everyone knew the routine.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rape culture exists at Bowdoin, too. The pervasiveness of sexual assault and sexual harassment in Hollywood is a microcosm of rape culture that plagues the country. Still, one can feel far removed from the high-profile cases of sexual assault among entertainers without a local perspective.
After reading the recent opinion pieces by three seniors of color on the racially themed parties that were held on this very campus two and three years ago, I am struck by the lack of a white opinion on these events.
I do not remember the invasion of Iraq. I was three years old at the time, and although snippets of news broadcasts may have alerted me to the presence of conflict, I was understandably oblivious to the gravity of the situation.
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.
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.
Last week, the Brunswick Police Department (BPD), in effect, canceled the Cold War party. After noticing intoxicated minors quite openly carrying alcoholic beverages between Mac and Quinby, officers issued some warnings. To one particularly brazen student, they issued a court summons.
“To make hosts of friends… / Who are to be leaders in all walks of life; / And cooperate with others for common ends”
– The Offer of the College
If you haven’t seen Kevin Hernandez’s op-ed in the Orient from last week, stop now and go read it.
I’m on the sailing team but didn’t attend the “gangster” party two years ago. My absence wasn’t a conscious choice. In other words, it wasn’t out of protest but was instead due to the mundane yet gravitational pull of looming assignments.
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.
Author’s note: this is a personal account and not representative of the voices of the beautiful, strong and resilient Latinx students on this campus.
“Why do we have to make everything about race? It was just a party.” Okay.
I’ve already written an article about gun violence this year, yet I honestly don’t remember which mass shooting it was in response to. If my column is true to its name, the politics of mass shootings should pop up with saddening frequency, for every week it seems the topic is relevant.
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.
One of my mentors told me that Bowdoin’s student climate tends to change every four years, either in a positive or negative way. This academic year, I feel like the party scene at Bowdoin became weak and uninspired.
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.
February 14 is always a normal day until dinner time, when I notice Irene’s bowl of pink and red chocolate. A little too late in the day, I begin commemorating the day of love with the rest of the world.
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.
Author’s note: Although I use she/her/hers pronouns throughout this piece, we welcome non-binary students who have a connection to womanhood to participate in this photoshoot.
2018 marks the fourth iteration of the “Celebrating Women, Celebrating Bodies” photoshoot since its inception in 2012.
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.
“If black people hate it here so much, maybe they should just go back to their country.” A white girl in my high school allegedly made this remark while I was reciting an original poem about Trayvon Martin during our weekly assembly meeting.
A friend once told me that the thought of reunification with North Korea (to put it mildly because he used some other colorful metaphors) was, “stupid because it would ruin the economy that South Korea had worked so hard to achieve.
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.
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.
As a singer and songwriter, I naturally tuned in to this year’s Grammy Awards show on Sunday night in hope of seeing some wins by my favorite artists. I was shocked to see Alessia Cara take the award for Best New Artist, since her latest album was released in 2015 and she was even nominated for Best New Artist in other music award shows in 2016.
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.
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.
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).
Over Winter Break I spent a week in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas, along the Mexican border. I was there on a birding trip because, ecologically, the area is an extension of Mexican habitat—much of its native wildlife can be found nowhere else in the U.S.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sexual misconduct should not be weaponized as a mechanism to score points against political adversaries. To do so is insulting to the victims of an epidemic which we must address as a societal problem, not a partisan, political one.
Tax policy is not sexy. Seemingly the exclusive concern of policymakers and political junkies, changes to the federal tax code seem distant from the everyday concerns of college students like us, some of whom have never seen a tax return.
In 1889, Bowdoin students took part in the College’s first intercollegiate football game, losing to Tufts 8-4. Since that time, the program has had a few periods of modest success but has mostly endured prolonged periods of futility.
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.
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.
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.
What does it mean for this country if we recognize that our Constitution isn’t timeless? What are the consequences of accepting it as flawed? Whether we like it or not, these are questions we need to ask if we are to effectively advocate for gun control, an act of advocacy I believe to be necessary.
We, the education department, saw the November 10 “No Hate November” article and were disturbed to read about Salim Salim’s experience at a local elementary school last fall. We stand with Salim and all of our students.
A few weeks ago, while scrolling through “The Shade Room,” a news platform on Instagram, I came across allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, specifically his various acts of sexual harassment and assault towards his female colleagues.
Last year as a junior at Bowdoin, I made the mistake of complimenting a female friend on her outfit; that time, she accused me of “benevolent sexism.” As a first year, I made a similar tactical error by opening the door for a friend, a liberal self-proclaimed feminist, who disparaged me afterwards.
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.
On April 16, 2007, distressing scenes of first responders reacting to the Virginia Tech massacre played on our living room TV while my parents set the table so that we could enjoy the cake my mother made for my sister’s third birthday.
In the first semester of freshman year, I caught the common cold four times—practically every time the virus meandered throughout campus. Not one to get sick often, I couldn’t understand why I was having this problem.
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.
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.
I had a fun-packed Family Weekend at Bowdoin with my friends and family, but everything changed when the storm unleashed its wrath on Bowdoin’s campus. On Monday morning, October 30, I woke up to rain showers of epic proportions and winds that could lift one off the ground.
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.
In 2015, Clayton Rose cemented a very clear vision for his presidency: “If you think the same way, and think about the same things in the same way four years from now, something has gone wrong.”
Take a moment and reflect on President Rose’s words.
On October 19, President George W. Bush spoke at the “Spirit of Liberty: At Home, In the World” event in New York City, a forum hosted by the Bush Presidential Center promoting American values of freedom and security.
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.
On October 8, the Instagram account @nescacbarstool posted for the first time. The account’s debut was a video proclaiming that in the NESCAC, “we work hard but we play harder.” The clip is a montage of partying crowds at various schools and concludes with a sped-up video of a student vomiting into a trash can, red solo cup in hand.
I entered sophomore year a caricature. With sharpened angles and tunneled thoughts, I bore little resemblance to myself. A quick Google search let me know that I could eat at the Lobster Bake. It was only 129 calories for an entire lobster, minus the butter sauce, of course.
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.
Editor’s note: Shea Necheles is co-leader of Safe Space and is writing on behalf of the organization.
Every person who has experienced sexual violence has the right to share their story how they want, if they want and when they want.
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?