The Bowdoin Student Athlete Advisory Committee (BSAAC) and the Athletes of Color Coalition (AoCC) collected responses from over 450 student-athletes this past week in a survey emailed to all athletes about issues of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
Disrupting ideas of activism and allyship, the Athletes of Color Coalition’s (AoCC) “The Art of Activism” interactive virtual event created a space for meaningful conversations and communicated the challenges faced by all BIPOC students, not just athletes, this past year.
Throughout the semester, athletes and coaches on all varsity teams, along with rowing and men’s rugby, have designed action plans to address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). The plans, which are works in progress, show commitments to educating their teammates, but some athletes feel that more concrete steps are needed to fully address issues of DEI within their teams.
The Department of Athletics released its Building and Supporting an Inclusive and Diverse Athletic Community Action Plan on October 15 in an aim to address bias reported within the department. The action plan is broken up into three sections—Access to Information, Ongoing Evaluation, and Education and Action.
On Sunday, the Athletes of Color Coalition (AoCC) released a list of demands for diversity reform in the athletic department. These include mandated race education for teams and an athletics-specific bias reporting process. The AoCC began circulating a petition, which invites community members to express support for these demands.
For many athletes, the community they find in their team is one of the most rewarding aspects of their Bowdoin experience. For some athletes of color, though, their teams have not been a supportive community. Instead, bias incidents have continued to arise, and discussions about race have fallen by the wayside.