Bowdoin announced JB Wells as its 29th head football coach Wednesday morning. Wells joins the Polar Bears by way of Endicott College, where he was the first coach in program history and accrued a 75-48 record over his 12 seasons with the Gulls.
The announcement came directly after a 7 a.m. meeting in Kresge Auditorium where Wells introduced himself to the entire team.
Wells knows the NESCAC well, as he graduated from Trinity College in 1991 and started for three years as an offensive lineman for the Bantams. He also held assistant coaching positions at both Trinity and Bates during the ’90’s.
“This was really less of a football decision and more of a career decision,” said Wells. “I played in the conference, and the NESCAC means a lot to me. I’ve always seen myself as returning to the NESCAC in one of the positions, I just didn’t know where it was gonna be.”
For Wells, the decision to leave the Endicott program, which he built from the ground up, was not an easy one.
“I can’t thank Endicott enough for the opportunity I was given as a 31 year-old, unproven head coach,” he said. “They handed me a blank canvas and all the art supplies I needed to paint a picture and put my vision on that canvas. To see it come to life and see it succeed in the way that it did was remarkable. It was hard to leave.”
After Dave Caputi stepped down this fall after 15 years as head coach, Ashmead White Director of Athletics Tim Ryan sat down with the team and established a set of desired characteristics for its next coach. He then narrowed the applicants down to those which he presented to the selection committee.
The selection committee was headed up by Ryan. Also on the committee were team captains Parker Mundt ’16, Brendan Lawler ’16 and Dan Barone ’16, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications Jim Caton, Assistant Dean of Admissions Zakaree Harris, Assistant Director of Employment and Staffing Meredith Haralson, Associate Head Athletic Trainer Megan Thompson, Head Coach of Field Hockey Nicky Pearson, Head Coach of Baseball Mike Connelly and Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History Brian Purnell, who is the faculty liaison to the football team.
“Before we could even look at it, Tim Ryan sifted through upwards of 100 applicants,” said Mundt. “It came down to the final 12 or 15 guys who he thought were appropriate.”
Mundt said it was not difficult to decide on the top four candidates.
“In their cover letters, it was really quite obvious,” he continued. “Even just the language some of the guys were using, it was pretty clear that they were not fitting our standards. It was a really quick process.”
After narrowing it down to four, the committee closely evaluated the remaining candidates. Lawler, Barone and Mundt conducted phone interviews.
“A couple of the other phone interviews I had were 20 minutes long, very meat and potatoes, question and answer,” said Mundt. "And that’s not what I was looking for at all."
“My interview with [Coach Wells] was different, and I knew it was different,” said Mundt. “We had a conversation for an hour and a half, which was exactly what I wanted. I got a really good feel for what he’s about, and he got a feel for what we’re about here.”
But while Wells is still yet to move any of his possessions from his Beverley office to his Brunswick one, he has already turned his thoughts toward his new roster. He plans to leave Bowdoin’s base 4-2-5 defense relatively intact, including coverages and blitz schemes similar to those he employed while with the Gulls.
The offense, though, will have a new look next year. Tyler Grant ‘17 is the attack’s best returning weapon, having led the NESCAC with 893 rushing yards last season. He also had over 75 more carries than any other back in the league despite standing only 5’10” and weighing just 158 pounds.
“I’ve always been in favor of having a two-headed monster, two guys that can shoulder the load,” Wells said. “It makes them both better. So the scheme on running the football will be different. They ran a zone scheme and I’m more of a gap scheme kind of a guy. I love the traditional power play. I’m an offensive line guy, and it kind of speaks to my soul as a football player.”
“I’ve also had a lot of success in my career throwing the football. I look at guys like Seamus Power [‘16] and Danny Barone that stood out to me on film. I’d like to see us be a little more vertical in our passing game. We have to throw for more than one passing touchdown in the season.”
Wells takes over a Polar Bear squad that finished 2-6 last year and has an all-time record of 392-502-44. And while he plans to bring cultural changes to the program, a full overhaul is not to be expected.
“I heard one of the players allude to us making a turnaround,” he said. “Well, a turnaround says that you’re going in the wrong direction. I don’t think that Bowdoin’s going in the wrong direction, I think that we just need to get a little more in line, a little bit more focused and get everybody—everybody—headed in the right direction.”
According to Wells, heading in the right direction means an intense focus on oneself.
“One of my idiosyncrasies is that I will never mention an opponent by name,” he said. “They’re just ‘that team over there in Lewiston,’ or whatever. I don’t talk about those guys, because the focus should always be on us. Your opponents are just a sounding board for how good you can be.”
As the football team moves into this new era, all involved are focused on the future.
“There’s no magic wand you can wave as a college football coach coming into a program that’s historically been a 3-5, 2-6 team,” said Mundt. “We’re expecting to win this year, but it’s something where you’ll want to come back and see success later. I know they’re going to be winning five, six, seven or eight games a year. If you can set your guys up for success and in five years come and watch them win games, that’s awesome.”
“At the end of the day, it was ‘Can you be successful?’” said Wells. “And I wouldn’t be sitting in this seat if I didn’t think that we could. I left the program that I built from scratch and I was only going to do that if I could be at a special place.”
- 3 days ago
Snapshot: What a difference a day makes in Smith Union
On Monday afternoon, Smith Union was packed with students, faculty, staff and community members to welcome President-elect Clayton Rose to campus. Today, Smith Union was quiet as much of campus was closed and some classes were cancelled because of winter storm "Juno."
Photos by Hy Khong (Jan. 26) and Jono Gruber (Jan. 27)
- 3 days ago
Snapshot: Snowpocalypse 2015
Winter Storm Juno
- 4 days ago
Trustees elect Clayton S. Rose 15th president of the College
President-elect introduced to Bowdoin community on campus this afternoon
This morning the Board of Trustees unanimously elected Clayton S. Rose the 15th president of the College, effective July 1. President-elect Rose, who is currently a professor of management practice at the Harvard Business School (HBS), accepted the position shortly after the vote.
Prior to his time at HBS, Rose worked for 20 years in the financial services industry, serving as vice chairman and chief operating officer at J.P. Morgan in 2001 when he decided to return to academia. He enrolled in a doctoral program in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania in 2003, where he studied race in America and graduated with distinction in 2007. Rose's other academic credentials include a B.A. and M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. He is originally from San Rafael, Calif.
The College held a brief ceremony at 3 p.m. in David Saul Smith Union to introduce Rose to the Bowdoin community. President Barry Mills, Chair of the Presidential Search Committee and member of the Board of Trustees Jes Staley ’79, Rose and his wife Julianne were in attendance. Several hundred students, faculty, staff and Brunswick residents filled Morrell Lounge and lined the ramps of Smith Union to hear Rose speak.
Staley, representing the search committee, noted that the body tirelessly pursued the right candidate.
“We came from different backgrounds and ages,” said Staley. “The search committee clearly reflected the diversity of Bowdoin. The search committee worked incredibly hard. We poured over hundreds of résumés and discussed dozens of potential candidates.”
Staley said that the search committee was confident that Rose is the individual best-suited to guide Bowdoin into the future.
“The search committee was convinced that Clayton has thought deeply about the values of a liberal arts education and the challenges that lie ahead. He has the intellectual strength and quiet confidence to engage with our faculty as we consider the issues facing modern education—from technology to accessibility,” he said.
Rose’s candidacy came from Isaacson, Miller, the search firm Bowdoin employed in finding its new president, but Rose and Staley in fact worked together at J.P. Morgan.
“Jes [Staley] made it clear at the start of the process that he had a relationship with Clayton [Rose],” said Chair of the Board of Trustees Deborah Barker in an interview with the Orient.
Rose also facilitated a portion of a retreat for the Board of Trustees five years ago.
Rose began his first address to the Bowdoin community by acknowledging Mills’ accomplishments during his 14-year tenure. Resounding applause followed this recognition, demonstrating the esteem in which the Bowdoin community holds Mills.
Earlier in the afternoon during an interview with Orient, Rose explained the decision he made in 2001 to leave the world of finance and return to academia.
“In the business sphere you kind of think of things as a mile wide and an inch deep, and I wanted to flip that and see if I had the intellectual chops to be able to go a mile deep and an inch wide,” said Rose. “The issue that I wanted to go a mile deep into was the issue of race in America, so sociology was the natural academic platform to pursue that interest. I had never taken a sociology class in my life until I showed up at Penn to begin the program—it’s quite a remarkable and powerful discipline actually as I discovered.”
Rose also spoke to the pressures faced by today’s liberal arts colleges. He acknowledged that the public is becoming increasingly conscious of the value of higher education in terms of dollars and cents, but said that there is still a need for the liberal arts.
“It is essential to helping us grow, to shaping us, to creating fulfilling lives, meaningful lives for each of us, and then there’s the value it brings to society more broadly, an engaged and informed citizenry,” Rose said.
He added that a liberal arts education does not disadvantage students as they enter the job market.
“I actually see no tension, no tradeoff between a very high quality liberal arts education that’s dedicated to the notion of the individual and society,” Rose said. “The skills and tools that you develop in liberal arts education—critical thinking and the ability to communicate and understand the world—are incredibly important to whatever vocation someone is going to have. Those are deeply meaning and powerful skills.”
For more on today’s event, including student commentary, visit the Orient’s Twitter page. More coverage on President-elect Clayton Rose will be published in Friday’s edition of the paper.
- 4 days ago
Emails: Clayton Rose announced as 15th president of the College
Clayton S. Rose, Ph.D., a professor at Harvard Business School, will be the 15th president of the College, according to a community-wide email from Chair of the Bowdoin College Board of Trustees Deborah Jensen Barker ’80. Students will have the opportunity to meet President Rose this afternoon at 3 p.m. in Morrell Lounge. Read the full text of Barker's email below:
Dear members of the Bowdoin community,It is my privilege to report to you that following a unanimous vote of approval this morning by the Board of Trustees, Clayton S. Rose, Ph.D., has been elected president of Bowdoin College, effective July 1, 2015.Clayton, who earned his doctorate in sociology with distinction at the University of Pennsylvania, is currently a professor at the Harvard Business School. I join my colleagues on the search committee and on the Board who believe he is the ideal person to lead Bowdoin into the future. He is immensely qualified academically, combining a passion for the liberal arts and a dedication to teaching and learning with extensive leadership experience. He’s going to be terrific as Bowdoin’s next president.Clayton was the unanimous choice of a truly extraordinary Presidential Search Committee led tirelessly by Jes Staley ’79, P’11, to whom I and the entire Bowdoin community owe a great deal of thanks. The search committee received many, many nominations, suggestions, and ideas and carefully considered the qualifications of a truly impressive pool of potential leaders for Bowdoin. In the end, Clayton Rose was the clear choice, and all of us involved in this process couldn’t be more excited about his selection.I invite you to read the official announcement about Clayton’s appointment appended below, and to visit the Bowdoin website for more information on the search. I also invite you to gather this afternoon at 3:00 p.m. in the Morrell Lounge of the David Saul Smith Union with me, President Mills, Jes Staley, and Clayton and Julianne Rose, as we introduce Clayton to the campus community.The entire Bowdoin community—faculty, students, staff, alumni, trustees, and friends of the College—is responsible for the extraordinary success of this search. Because of you, Bowdoin is an incomparable institution that attracts the very best, and in Clayton Rose, we have found the very best leader for our future. My sincere thanks to each of you and especially to President Mills for his leadership, his unrivaled energy, and his total and unwavering dedication to Bowdoin.Sincerely,Deborah Jensen Barker ’80, P’16Chair, Bowdoin College Board of Trustees CLAYTON S. ROSE TO BECOME THE 15TH PRESIDENT OF BOWDOIN COLLEGEBRUNSWICK, Maine — Clayton S. Rose, Ph.D., of Brookline, Mass., has been elected president of Bowdoin College, effective July 1, 2015. The announcement was made today by Bowdoin Board of Trustees Chair Deborah Jensen Barker (Class of 1980) following the unanimous and enthusiastic recommendation by an 18-member Presidential Search Committee and a unanimous vote of approval this morning by Bowdoin’s Board of Trustees. Rose will become the fifteenth president of the 221-year old college.Rose, 56, is currently a member of the faculty at the Harvard Business School (HBS) who teaches and writes on the responsibilities of leadership and managerial values. He succeeds Barry Mills, who will step down June 30, 2015, after a highly successful presidency spanning fourteen years.“Clayton Rose is the ideal person to lead Bowdoin into the future,” said Barker. “He is immensely qualified academically, combining a passion for the liberal arts and a dedication to teaching and learning with extensive leadership experience. He’s going to be terrific as Bowdoin’s next president.”Rose was selected for the Bowdoin presidency following an eight-month international search conducted by a committee comprising Bowdoin trustees (several of whom are also current Bowdoin parents); faculty, students, administrative and support staff; and a representative from Bowdoin’s Alumni Council. Current Bowdoin Trustee James E. Staley, a member of the Class of 1979, chaired the effort.“Our search committee was a marvelously dedicated and eclectic group that worked hard and got along really well,” said Staley. “That said, with faculty, students, staff, alumni, trustees and parents, we never had a problem finding issues where people disagreed or had different points of view. We met many great candidates but in the end, the committee just rallied around Clayton because of his remarkable record of success throughout a varied career, his passion and vision for the liberal arts, and his ability to be embraced by very different communities.”Rose earned his undergraduate degree (1980) and M.B.A. (1981) at the University of Chicago. In 2003, following a highly successful 20-year leadership and management career in finance, he enrolled in the doctoral program in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania to study issues of race in America, earning his master’s degree in 2005 and his Ph.D. with distinction in 2007. He joined the faculty at HBS in 2007 and was named professor of management practice in 2009. He currently teaches an elective course that explores business engagement with society’s larger problems (“Reimagining Capitalism”), and has taught several others, including the required course on ethics (“Leadership and Corporate Responsibility”) and an elective titled “The Moral Leader.” He has also been engaged administratively at HBS, dealing with issues of community values and standards (including matters related to Title IX) and the school’s honor code, and has been part of a faculty group advising on improving the experience of women faculty and students at HBS. He has received awards at HBS for innovation in teaching and for service to the community.He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the nation’s largest private supporter of academic biomedical research, having joined in 2009. He previously served on the board of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.Rose is a native of San Rafael, Calif. His wife of 32 years, Julianne H. Rose, originally from Rosemont, Penn., earned her undergraduate degree in biology magna cum laude at Boston College and her M.B.A. at the University of Chicago. She began her career in finance, held elected office at the municipal level for many years, and is preparing to launch a business in the summer of 2015. “Bowdoin is an exceptional liberal arts college, with a rich history, distinct set of values, and a gifted, engaged and devoted group of faculty, students, staff and alumni,” said President-elect Rose. “I am honored and excited by the opportunity to lead this special institution, and Julianne and I are very much looking forward to becoming part of the Bowdoin and Brunswick communities.” Members of the Bowdoin community, including outgoing President Barry Mills and those who served on the Presidential Search Committee, expressed their enthusiasm for the appointment. “This is a terrific choice for Bowdoin,” said Mills. “Members of the search committee, led with great dedication for the College by Jes Staley, faced very high expectations from a Bowdoin community that always demands excellence. The committee has done impressive work. Clayton Rose is a wonderful person and an accomplished leader. He will be a great fit for Bowdoin and I am confident that he will lead the College into a very bright future.”Faculty representatives to the search committee said Rose’s teaching experience will be invaluable in helping him understand the needs of Bowdoin’s faculty.“Clayton’s thoughtfulness, ability to listen, and desire to engage with the issues that matter most to faculty will make him an effective partner,” said Bowdoin Professor of Government and search committee member Paul Franco. “Also, as someone who has moved from the corporate world to academia and is convinced that liberal education is the one thing needed in our increasingly utilitarian universe, Clayton will be a powerful spokesperson for the value of the liberal arts.”“Clayton has a deep knowledge of what we do at every level, from students and staff to faculty and trustees,” said search committee member Tess Chakkalakal, associate professor of Africana Studies and of English and program director of Africana Studies. “He also has a thorough understanding of the complex challenges, both financial and political, that liberal arts colleges face today. He is a reflective person who will consider multiple perspectives before taking action. He also has a true commitment to transparency and openness, which I believe will be appreciated by the faculty. Most importantly, he will listen to their concerns and be attentive to the differences among members of the faculty.”“Clayton Rose is quite thoughtful with a great sense of integrity and a passion for social justice,” said Assistant Professor of Biology and search committee member Jack Bateman. “He beautifully articulates the value of a liberal arts education, yet he understands the pressures facing the College now and in the future. Of all of the amazing individuals that the committee considered, in the end it was clear that Clayton Rose is the right choice to be our next president.”Student representative to the Presidential Search Committee Dustin Biron ’15 predicted that Rose “will be a strong presence in the life of the College,” while fellow student representative Oriana Farnham ’15 said she was impressed with Rose’s willingness to listen and his ability to ask thoughtful questions.“I was convinced that Clayton Rose is the right person to lead Bowdoin when we had a conversation about the Women’s Resource Center over lunch,” said Farnham. “He asked me many thoughtful questions about what issues and programs Bowdoin women care about. His questions helped me frame the salient issues on campus in a way I hadn’t thought about before, and I could tell that he was sincerely curious about and invested in student life and our campus culture. I think he will relate to students by finding out what they care about. He will find out by asking them directly and respectfully, and he won’t be afraid to challenge them a little bit by asking even more questions. I think he will learn from Bowdoin students, and we will learn from him, too. I’m really excited by that prospect.”Rose’s current and former colleagues echoed the enthusiasm of search committee members and trustees.“Clayton Rose has a powerful commitment to the liberal arts and to the value of that kind of education, no matter what a person goes on to do,” said Dr. Hanna Gray, the former president of The University of Chicago and the Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor Emerita of History at Chicago, who has known Rose since he was an undergraduate and has served with him on the HHMI board. “He sees the liberal arts as a way of enlarging and enriching the ways in which people can understand, help interpret, and help make a difference in life, whether it’s the life of the mind or the life of the world.” Clayton is an exceptional person,” said Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel Laureate in medicine, president of The Royal Society, fellow HHMI board member, and former president of Rockefeller University. “He has a very quick and perceptive mind, which allows him to get to the crux of matters quickly and to analyze them very effectively. He also understands people, their motivations, their strengths and their weaknesses. As a leader, he isn’t locked on ‘the transmit button.’ He listens, and that is particularly important in the leadership of an academic institution. He is an articulate, cultured and charming man with wide interests and breadth, and I believe he will be very effective as president of Bowdoin College.”In 2001, at the time of his decision to leave the world of finance to pursue his academic interests, Rose was vice chairman and chief operating officer at J.P. Morgan, the investment bank created in 2000 when J.P. Morgan & Co. merged with the Chase Manhattan Corporation. He previously served as head of global investment banking and head of global equities, among other positions at J.P. Morgan & Co. Clayton and Julianne Rose have two sons: Garett, a graduate of The University of Chicago and the University of Chicago Law School; and Jordan, a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Business School. Garett and his wife, Meredith, reside in Washington, D.C., and Jordan lives in New York City.Rose will be joining Bowdoin as the College prepares to begin its 214th academic year. Founded in 1794 when Maine was still part of Massachusetts, Bowdoin is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious liberal arts colleges. Today, Bowdoin enrolls approximately 1,800 students from across America and around the world who are admitted for their accomplishments and promise without regard for their financial circumstances. Approximately 45 percent of Bowdoin students receive need-based financial aid. Loans are not required, and the average financial aid grant is nearly $40,000 a year. Admission to Bowdoin is highly competitive. In 2014 the College received nearly 7,000 applications for about 500 spots in the Class of 2018. Bowdoin students study with highly accomplished and dedicated faculty in small classes (9:1 student/faculty ratio) and in world-class facilities that include modern and technologically advanced classrooms and laboratories, coastal research stations, a state-of-the art recital hall, two theaters, a renowned art museum, and a new facility for art and dance. With 31 varsity sports, many club teams, a well-equipped fitness center, and food that is consistently considered to be among the very best at any college or university in America, Bowdoin encourages health, fitness, teamwork, and competition. A Bowdoin liberal arts education and residential life experience instill principled leadership, lifelong learning, and service to the common good.Notable Bowdoin alumni include:Franklin Pierce (14th U.S. president)Nathaniel Hawthorne (writer)Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (poet)John Brown Russwurm (abolitionist and editor)Oliver Otis Howard (Civil War leader)Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Civil War leader)Robert E. Peary (Arctic explorer)Alfred Kinsey (sex researcher)Peter Buck (physicist; co-founder, Subway Restaurants)Thomas R. Pickering (U.S. ambassador and diplomat)George J. Mitchell (U.S. Senator and peacemaker)Leon Gorman (chairman, L.L. Bean)William S. Cohen (U.S. Sen. and Sec’y of Defense)Kenneth I. Chenault (chairman and CEO, American Express)Geoffrey Canada (educator and author)Stanley F. Druckenmiller (investor and philanthropist)Christopher Hill (U.S. ambassador and diplomat)Cynthia McFadden (NBC News)Joan Benoit Samuelson (Olympic champion)Reed Hastings (founder and CEO, Netflix) For more information about the appointment of Clayton Rose and Bowdoin College, visit bowdoin.edu.
- January 23
Search for director of center for multicultural life begins
The College will hire a director for the recently-approved Student Center for Multicultural Life by this summer. The director will work to develop and coordinate multicultural-oriented programs and events.
The idea of creating a new multicultural center with a new director began in fall 2013, when Dean Leana Amaez led a committee to reassess her position, its responsibilities, and how it could better serve the College.
“I began working on the center two years ago,” said Amaez. “We met with a group, came up with a proposal, gave it to Dean [of Student Affairs] Tim Foster and he said ‘This is fantastic, but it looks like another job.’”
Once Amaez returned from maternity leave last summer, the conversation picked up again and details were finalized during the fall semester.
The College’s Multicultural Life has traditionally been supportive of student-led programs and activism but Amaez and Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Director of the David Saul Smith Union Allen Delong explained that the College has been looking to have college-led programs.
“Bowdoin continues to evolve in this really beautiful way—if you look at the demographic of the student body and in some ways, you all have evolved quicker with our administrative structures,” said Delong. “We’re good, but we have students come to campus with a really sophisticated vocabulary in their own identities in a way where they didn’t when I went to college.”
The new Center and its director’s office will be located at 30 College Street and will share the space with the Student Center for Religious and Spiritual Life. However, the Center will host some events and programming at the John Brown Russwurm African American Center as well.
“Russworm has a historical place in the College and 30 College Street houses Multicultural life,” said Amaez. “The Center is comprised of two sister spaces.”
The director will serve to centralize and coordinate various programs from different organizations at the College such as the McKeen Center, the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, and the Schwartz Outdoor Leadership Center.
“Really, this position will serve as the hub on the wheel,” said Delong. “This person will be the central clearinghouse to ensure that if there are areas that we can improve, then we’ll do that.”
“I can’t tell you exactly how this Center is going to evolve,” said Foster. “But I have no doubt that when we look back on this a year, two, three years from now, we’re going to see a vibrant Center that’s offering lots of programing but also support for the community in ways that are going to be pretty exciting for the place.”
Amaez and Delong intend on posting the position publically and finish assembling the search committee of faculty, staff and students by next week.
“When I think about a year or two from now, I think the question will be ‘what did we do before without this person?’” said Delong.
- January 23
Mills proposes starting semester after MLK Day
President Barry Mills has recommended that the College begin the spring semester after the Martin Luther King Jr. Day when planning future academic calendars.
Mills sent an email to the campus community last Thursday detailing the recommendation. With the holiday scheduled to fall during winter break for the next four years, Mills’ proposed change to the calendar would begin in 2020.
Currently, the College begins the spring semester on the holiday three out of every seven years, falling on the final week of winter break in the other four.
Mills said in an interview with the Orient that he had been thinking about the change for a number of years. However, the political climate on campus played a role in the timing of his recommendation.
“As I was thinking about what we’ve seen over the last number of months, the feeling that people have towards Martin Luther King Jr. Day has really intensified and the day has taken on more than just being a national day of remembrance,” Mills said. “It’s a national day of service in a lot of ways.”
In a follow-up email to faculty and students, Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd reiterated the College’s policy regarding the holiday. Bowdoin’s course catalogue specifies that, as with major religious holidays, students are allowed to miss classes or exams for Martin Luther King Jr. Day observances.
This year, the College held several events for the holiday: a commemoration breakfast, a children’s event in Hawthorne-Longfellow Library, two panels in a course taught by Consortium for Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow in Government Cory Gooding, and a performance by civil rights activists and musicians Bernice Johnson Reagon and her daughter Toshi.
During the performance, Toshi playfully criticized the school for holding classes on the holiday, and called for a wider variety of programming for the holiday.
“A lot of holidays we have are so far off the mark from what we would like them to do, but this one has so much potential to bring up so many issues,” she said.
“I don’t know why you would bring students to school on MLK Day unless you were giving them the opportunity to express all of the different movements that are concerning them that they would like to give voice to,” she continued.
Ashley Bomboka ’16 was among the students who chose not to attend classes. She attended the breakfast, participated in a panel, and attended the concert.
“It was an educational experience—I’m learning a lot more about his work, his change over time, and the way that we’ve appropriated his life to fit our civil rights narrative,” she said. She added that her professors were “very supportive” of her decision not to attend class.Bomboka said she supported the recommendation from Mills.
“It makes sense to honor what [King] did and where he pushed us to go as a country—how he was able to be a role model for so many other activists,” she said.
Some students felt that the change was overdue.
“I’m pretty excited about it. I think it took long enough for it to happen,” said Michelle Kruk ’16, who helped organize campus responses to the non-indictments of the officers in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases last semester.
“I’m disappointed that it’s not going to happen during my time here, because I think the College tends to do what’s easy a lot of the time,” she added. “The better alternative would have been to just have the day off this year.”
Most of Bowdoin’s NESCAC peers without a winter term are given the day off already, including Amherst, Connecticut College, Hamilton, Trinity and Tufts. Bates holds themed workshops in place of classes, while at Wesleyan the day is used for enrollment for the spring semester.
Mills acknowledged that the policies of other colleges factored into his decision.
“A whole lot of other schools have decided to start the day after,” he said.
Ultimately, Bowdoin’s Calendar Committee will make the final decision.
“I decided not to declare this as some sort of edict, because the calendar is something that many people on the faculty and staff consider carefully, and any modifications to the calendar attract a lot of attention,” Mills said.
Mills said that while he would not support mandatory events in place of classes during the holiday, he did see the potential for College-organized activities on the holiday in lieu of classes.
“We sometimes forget that Martin Luther King Jr. Day has really been designated as a national day of service, so if everyone were back on campus and classes weren’t starting until the next day, one could see the McKeen Center organizing another Common Good Day where students reach out to the community,” he said.
The Calendar Committee will be meeting this spring to decide on future changes to the academic calendar.
- January 23
Administration falls silent on “Cracksgiving” appropriation incident
Bowdoin officials have no comment on several students being disciplined for dressing at Native Americans at an off-campus party
The administration has fallen silent on the incident of cultural appropriation that took place shortly before Winter Break at an off-campus party and developed into an embarrassing news story for the College, with dozens of news outlets reporting on it.
Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster and Jason Archbell, head coach of men’s lacrosse, both declined to comment for this story.
Ashmead White Director of Athletics Tim Ryan wrote in an email to the Orient that “the message conveyed by Dean Foster has been received across our campus community and we are all moving forward” before declining to comment further.
Ryan was referring to an email Foster sent to the student body on December 9 expressing his “frustration and disapproval of harmful behavior by students who should know better.” The full text of the email can be found on the Orient’s website.
The email was written in response to “Cracksgiving,” a party thrown at 83 1/2 Harpswell Road—a house rented by members of the men’s lacrosse team commonly known as Crack House. In spite of recent programs to educate the student body about the harmful nature of cultural appropriation, 14 members of the team dressed up as Native Americans at the party.
In the email. Foster wrote that “Bowdoin will not condone or tolerate behavior that divides our community and denigrates others, nor will we accept a plea of ignorance as license to avoid accountability.”
The College plans on taking disciplinary action against those who dressed up as Native Americans, according to Foster, who has not indicated what form this punishment will take.
Several members of the lacrosse team have recently decided not to return for the spring season, but there is no evidence linking their departure to this incident. The captains of the team refused to comment on both the party and the departure of their teammates.
- January 23
Professors, students begin to plan teach-in for environmental reform
A group of professors and students have begun to plan a day-long, campus-wide teach-in that will examine the intersections of climate change and society this coming fall.
The proposed event is intended to engage the entire College for the purposes of education and action. Organizers of the event also hope to offer a broad view of the complex causes and effects of climate change and propose viable options for action.
“Our goal at this point is to have an event in the fall that is high profile and substantive, and addresses climate change and social justice, and involves the largest possible segment of the Bowdoin population,” said Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy Mark Battle, one of the faculty members actively involved in the planning.
“We will structure it in whatever way is required to meet those goals,” he added.
While the group has received administrative support, specifically from President Mills, the proposed format of a day-long teach-in has yet to be approved. Typically, a teach in would involve the cancellation of all regularly scheduled classes on the day of the event.
The scope and ambition of this event has little precedent at Bowdoin. The teach-in is a commonly used format, but Associate Professor of Biology and Neuroscience Hadley Horch, who is also helping to plan the event, said that Bowdoin has not canceled classes for the entire school since an event following the Kent State shootings in 1970.
Horch explained that she would be willing to compromise about the format of the teach-in if certain changes needed to be made.
“A teach-in would be really symbolic and great and important, but I think there are ways of having these conversations on a Saturday or evenings,” she said. “I would love to see it be a teach-in, but it’s not a deal-breaker for me.”
Battle also stressed that the group is still in the planning stages and the content and structure of the event could change drastically between now and the fall.
In a campus-wide email sent on December 16, Battle initially indicated that the event would be held this spring.
Battle explained that following recent events in Ferguson, Cleveland and Staten Island, the scope of the event was expanded to cast a greater focus on the social impacts of climate change, causing the decision to delay until the fall.
“My vision is to have a community wide discussion about how climate intersects with society,” said Horch. “That means we need to understand the science of climate change and we have to understand the implications for different societies. How is it affecting people in different locations? Of different classes? Of different races? Of different countries?
“One of the great tragedies and challenges of climate change is that it affects everyone and it affects the disadvantaged more,” Battle added. “The wealthier you are the more you can insulate yourself from the effects of climate change.”
Sinead Lamel ’15, one of several students directly involved in the planning process and a member of the student group Radical Alternatives to Capitalism, explained how corporate control of resources is a significant factor in the climate issue and hopes for it to be addressed during the event.
“Our club, Radical Alternatives to Capitalism, thinks that climate change is a result of irresponsible corporate control of resources,” she said. “For example, deforestation happening all over the world and the burning of fossil fuels. We have the technology to not do that but there are certain corporations that are, for example, fighting wars for oil and pushing the car model.”
Battle also explained how in addressing social aspects of the climate issue, he hopes to speak to a desire he sees in the student body for more intense discussion of important issues.
“One thing that has become very clear for me [is that there is] the desire for substantive, difficult conversations about issues people feel have gone unaddressed for a long time, and you can’t separate any of these tensions on campus,” he said.
While the organizing group has received input from students and many members of the faculty, it is actively seeking more students and faculty wishing to get involved in the planning process.
They also intend to write an open letter to the campus in the coming weeks announcing a more formal plan and soliciting further community involvement.
- January 23
Martina Duncan ’97 named new registrar of the College
Newly appointed registrar Martina Duncan ’97 says she hopes to improve Polaris by considering feedback from students and faculty. Duncan worked in the Office of the Registrar during the initial implementation of the system and said she believes it can be improved further.
“We’re always going to continue building on our system’s functionality,” said Duncan. “Our goal is to understand what comes next and always make sure that Polaris is providing the kind of functionality to the campus that is needed.”
Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd announced that Duncan had been promoted registrar of the College in an e-mail sent out to students and staff on January 15. Duncan will officially transition from her current role as an associate registrar to registrar on February 2, taking over responsibilities from the Interim Registrar Jim Higginbotham, who is also a Classics professor.
Duncan’s appointment was approved by a search committee which was convened by Judd and comprised of faculty members Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Sara Dickey, Associate Professor of Biology and Biochemistry Anne McBride, Professor of Mathematics Adam Levy and Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs Kim Pacelli. The committee unanimously recommended Duncan’s promotion, according to Judd.
“[Duncan] has wide-ranging administrative, academic, and managerial experience; she has quickly become a valued member of the registrar’s office since her appointment as associate registrar a year ago; and she is an established and valuable member of the Bowdoin community,” wrote Judd in an e-mail to the Orient. “The committee was impressed by the depth and breadth of her experience, her problem-solving skills, and her commitment to maintaining and enhancing the excellent service the registrar’s office provides to the campus community.”
As registrar of the College, Duncan’s responsibilities will shift from chiefly academic-related duties to a focus on the student and faculty interactions with the Office of the Registrar.
“In my former position I focused more on the curricular side; now I’m trying to really learn more about the student side,” said Duncan.
“I really like working in an office that has such a great staff and I really enjoy working with all the faculty and students,” said Duncan. “I’m a Bowdoin grad so it’s nice to work in my alma mater and feel that what we do is really central to the campus.”
Due to some restructuring and shifting in the office based on the needs of the new program, no one has been appointed to take over Duncan’s former role as an associate registrar. The office recently hired Brett Bisesti as a systems specialist for the Banner program, the program that is the basis of Polaris.
- January 23
Delong, Hintze receive new campus roles
Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster announced on Monday a resuffle in positions that play a role in student life.
Former Director of Student Life Allen Delong will become associate dean of student affairs and director of the David Saul Smith Union, while former Associate Director of Student Activities Nate Hintze will become the director of student activities, effective immediately, according to Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster in a campus-wide email on Monday.
“A lot of it’s more representative of the duties I was already doing,” said Hintze. “[It’s] really exciting to be able to have a new title but be able to continue doing the fun things that we were doing in our office all along.”
As director of student activities, Hintze will be responsible for a range of student programming such as free bowling on Thursdays and hot dogs at the Colby hockey game. His new position will also include budgeting, attending meetings and other administrative tasks.
Hintze is also helping organize this year’s Winter Weekend, which he said will include horse-drawn carriage rides, sled dogs and a throne of ice.
Hintze will continue to work closely with the Office of Residential Life, College Houses and Bowdoin Student Government in his new role. He said that he enjoys hearing from students at his office behind the information desk in Smith Union, and that his door is always open.
“The spring is such a fun time because there are so many things going on, and we’re just excited to work with students and have everybody back on campus and have a really fun and safe spring,” Hintze said.
Delong will now have a role in the development of the new Student Center for Multicultural Life, and he is currently working with the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity and alumni programs to organize a reception during Spring Break in New York City for LGBTIQ alumni and students.
“Our goal in student affairs, in student life is to support your education. Sometimes that’s co-curricular, it’s extracurricular, and sometimes it’s, ‘I need a good place to sit and plop and meet my friends,’” Delong said.
- 1 days ago
Doing it wrong: From Drake to feminism: unpacking America’s obsession with cultural authenticity
Fraud, identity theft, false advertising, being switched at birth—as modern citizens who take pride in our individuality and dignity, we have much to be afraid of. We do not like to be fooled, or at least we don’t like to know that we are being fooled. Authenticity is a priceless quality to many. It is the essence of something, the root of it, the way we are able to understand something.
The fear of inauthenticity pervades contemporary culture—from the highest to the lowest segments of it. Just last summer, billionaire Bill Koch settled a lawsuit against a wine retailer worth millions of dollars, for selling him counterfeit wines.
One of the shows MTV currently produces, “Catfish,” reflects this same hostility towards being duped. “Catfish” follows people who meet romantic partners online, and appear on the show to find out whether these partners are actually who they say they are.
With both Koch’s wine and Catfish, the problem is akin to false advertising; people are offended because they have been sold something different from what they set out to buy.On a trickier level, many take issue with the idea of people presenting themselves in a way that is not true to their self or their background. This is especially true in the music world.
Hip-hop star Iggy Azalea has been heavily criticized for the voice she uses when she performs, as well as her overall expression. Although she is a white woman from Australia, she sounds like she is trying to imitate an African-American when she raps. Australian comedian Aamer Rahman (who visited Bowdoin last fall), has said on the subject: “A white rapper like Iggy Azalea acts out signifiers which the white majority associates with black culture—hypersexuality, senseless materialism, an obsession with drugs, money and alcohol, as well as adopting clothing, speech and music—as a costume that they can put on and discard at will. It’s a cheap circus act.”
Her performance is definitely a form of appropriation, and it is certainly not authentic in the sense that she is selling a persona that is not true to her background or circumstances. But can it still be an allowable form of artistic expression?
Hip-hop stars like Drake have also been confronted about their authenticity. Can he really sing a song called “Started from the Bottom” if he grew up in an affluent suburb and acted on “Degrassi” as a teen? Does the song carry less meaning because of his stable background?
The ways that people can get riled up over the idea of a true identity are particularly interesting because they suggest we believe in an essential self. We believe that people, on a certain level, are permanently affected by their circumstances, and that these circumstances form our true selves. So if you deny your roots, or try to appropriate different ones, are you creating a self that is false? Are you presenting a lie? Are you trying to become somebody that you never will?Trans-exclusionary feminists have often made the argument that trans-women aren’t real women because they didn’t grow up as such. They weren’t treated as women growing up; they didn’t have the experience of women. But to make that argument is to say there is an essential woman’s experience—that there is something exclusive to women that brings us all together. I’d like to think an entire gender is more complicated than that.
There is something to be said for trying to grasp cultures and experiences beyond your own. But those who attempt to bridge the gap, those who try and adopt an experience outside of their own, must be ultra-sensitive to the way that certain people feel ownership of a culture. Perhaps being authentic isn’t the most important thing. Perhaps being comfortable with yourself and respectful of others is more fundamental.
As a society, I think we should give people leeway and creative license to reinvent themselves, especially if that lets them further explore their identities. It seems negative and authoritarian to tell people how authentic they are. And as individuals, I think we owe it to ourselves to be thoughtful about adopting new elements of expression and identity. Our origins and heritage will always be a part of us, even if we can fake an accent.
- 1 days ago
New president represents Bowdoin’s values, and that doesn’t mean the liberal arts
The announcement of the appointment of Clayton S. Rose as the next president of Bowdoin College has left me disappointed. We enter and leave Bowdoin with the liberal arts drilled into us, steeped in the humanist tradition of Longfellow and the common good. Ostensibly, our highest academic officer must uphold these values in order to promote them.
How does a person embody the liberal arts? Generally, the liberal arts are academic subjects that we learn as ends in and of themselves rather than as means to other end. We think of literature or philosophy as subjects we learn for learning’s sake, and engineering or medicine as subjects we learn to perform a trade.
Yet the liberal arts have tried critiques: they don’t train students for careers efficiently, and they’re expensive. As a graduate student at the University of Virginia, I experienced these critiques first hand. In the summer of 2012 the rector (like our chair of the Board of Trustees) controversially ousted the university president in a surreptitious manner.
The rector, a shrewd businesswoman, and the president, a sociology professor, disagreed on to what extent the university should be run like a business. The rector called for department cuts in a few unpopular humanities departments, and the president was forced out because she opposed this action.
The president was later reinstated, hardly because the liberal arts had won, but because the rector’s cloak-and-dagger approach invalidated the affair.
It’s far from clear to me how someone who led a highly successful finance career followed by a faculty position at the Harvard Business School embodies the values of any liberal arts college. According to Trustee Jes Staley ’79, the search committee found Rose desirable due to “his remarkable record of success throughout a varied career, his passion and vision for the liberal arts, and his ability to be embraced by very different communities.”
I hope that Staley’s observations prove true, but I can’t find Rose’s passions for the liberal arts or his capacities to bridge diverse groups in his résumé.
The man first excelled in the culture of the corporate elite; then he studied the sociology of those who comprise the corporate elite; and thereafter he moved to one of our nation’s most prestigious business schools to teach the future corporate elite. This description would seem to describe a man well versed in finance and corporate management.
We might think that our elite private institution with a 10-figure endowment is immune to corporate pressures. While we’re privileged, we’re hardly immune. Indeed, what’s disconcerting is how well we hide our vulnerability.
Thank goodness, for instance, we preserve a liberal arts curriculum, despite the fact that the two most popular majors are government and legal studies and economics, whose courses feed directly into careers in law, business and finance. Thank goodness we sustain a classics department, despite our petitions to open up more computer science courses to ensure opportunity for careers in the lucrative high-tech industry.
Thank goodness we pledge allegiance to the common good, despite our inevitable withdrawal into cushy careers within the upper echelons of society. And thank goodness that we appoint presidents with Ph.D.s and with “passion and vision for the liberal arts,” despite their foremost experience in corporate affairs. Our small college is more of a corporatized trade school than we’re led to believe.
The point isn’t to critique ourselves for wanting practical education, or for planning a successful career, or even for appointing presidents who appear to lack the liberal arts spirit. What I’m worried about is how we obscure the eroded state of our liberal arts values—the ones we profess to uphold—while imagining that the next president embodies them. How could we think that someone with expertise in finance and corporate leadership would be an effective advocate for the Bowdoin liberal arts faculty? How can we ensure that appointing a successful business executive to the College’s top administrative post is faithful to the learn-for-learning’s-sake credo?
I thought I was disappointed to hear about the president-elect. In truth I was disappointed to read the vacuous claims that this individual will uphold our values. While I have confidence that Rose will maintain Bowdoin’s privileged reputation and ensure its economic prosperity, I have less confidence that we know what our values actually are.
Craig Comen is a member of the Class of 2012.
- 1 days ago
Schools lack culturally relevant curricula
Esther Nunoo ’17 wrote this poem: “We talk a lot about talking here / Have a problem? Talk it out / Bad day? Talk about it / So I’m gonna talk / No disclaimers, no apologies / Outside of the “Undiscussed” or “A.D.D.R.E.S.S.” / Outside of the classroom/ No theories / Not just black girls over brunch offering solutions and ideas and “could be’s” / Just raw thought and feeling and emotion / Me being vulnerable and whatnot… / So let’s get real / Let’s talk.”
Let’s talk about the absence of culturally relevant pedagogy in schools. Gloria Ladson-Billings defines culturally relevant pedagogy as teaching which focuses on three things: focusing on students’ academic achievement, supporting students’ cultural competence, and promoting students’ socio-political consciousness.
Let’s talk about students’ academic achievement. All students can achieve academically. However, many teachers do not fully engage their students by demanding their participation—instead, they reinforce the idea of “permission to fail.”
Ladson-Billings cites a teacher’s response to a young African American girl who refused to do a written assignment, saying: “I ain’t writin’ nuttin’!” The teacher responded by accepting the failure: “That’s OK. Maybe tomorrow.”
There is nothing wrong with teachers empathizing with students of color who are struggling, but this empathy should not translate into lower expectations. Instead of demanding less from students of color, teachers should work to maintain their standards while looking to develop creative educational solutions that will better serve these students.
Now, let’s talk about cultural competence. Cultural competence brings students’ cultures of origin into the classroom so that they can explore their cultures, better understand their cultures, and gain a respect for their roots.
Current teaching and learning forces students of color to detach themselves from their cultural identities, forcing a state of double-consciousness. This rifting of the “self” can be an incredibly difficult, if not traumatizing, experience for students of color who then must maintain a part of their “cultural” selves while at the same time hiding that aspect of their identities when in the presence of whiteness.
When students of color see absolutely no representation of themselves in the material they are learning or in the people they are learning the material from, they can begin to internalize the idea that learning is not meant for minorities and is instead an exclusively “white” thing. Embracing cultural competence would allow students to reclaim their education and bring their entire, true selves into the classroom.
Let’s talk about socio-political consciousness. Socio-political consciousness means helping students develop a sense of mutuality and reciprocity towards others with whom they share cultural solidarity.
At Bowdoin, students learn to pose larger questions regarding the socio-political context in which schools and the society are positioned. This exploration can lead ultimately to the discovery of the structural and social inequities that continue to pervade our society.
In order to enact any sort of permanent change, students must move past a “blaming the victim” mentality and instead search for the structural foundations that reproduce injustice. White students and students of color alike must understand that our current school system (and every other system) is structured for white students to succeed since it is predicated on eugenic ideology, which assumes the inferiority of people of color.
Culturally relevant pedagogy is beneficial to both minority and white students. It is fairly clear how this would be advantageous to minority students. However, white students can grasp a wider and more diverse understanding of the world they live in, particularly the United States, where the number of minorities is rapidly increasing.
White students can gain a better understanding of experiences and lifestyles that are different than their own, in addition to being exposed to different approaches toward complex situations. And all teachers, regardless of their race, can engage in culturally relevant pedagogy in their own way.
However, simply accepting who students are without being upfront with them about what society expects from them is setting these students up for failure. Minority students will greatly benefit from being able to bring their culture and language into the classroom.
At the same time, they must be taught that society’s standards will not accept certain “minority practices.” You cannot write an academic paper in ebonics and you cannot introduce yourself to an employer by rolling your “Rs.” Instead, minority students must be taught that code-switching is an evil, but necessary skill to learn and perfect.
While it is unfortunate that we must burden our students by telling them that society will not accept them for who they are, we must not only encourage minority students, but also provide them with the tools to navigate this white, inhospitable system.
Students must feel supported throughout their educational journey in conjunction with knowing how to use their cultural knowledge to their advantage.
In her poem, “Talking about Talking,” Nunoo alludes to her realization that she is both privileged and unprivileged at the same time: “Yes, I am eternally grateful for the SAT prep / The college tours they took us on / And all the wonderful resources. / But it feels weird / To have your reality sold / In order to make it.”
This excerpt speaks to a feeling that many students of color will be forced to grapple with, and one that I have not been able to reconcile to this day. Inherently, in becoming a part of the educational system, particularly higher education, students of color will lose a part of themselves.
I, like Esther, am eternally grateful for the circumstances that have allowed me to take part in the privilege that is Bowdoin. At the same time, in order to “make it,” I have let go, changed and sacrificed many aspects of my identity in order to truly become part of a system I hope to dismantle. This may be a feeling that will never truly go away.
In the meantime, teachers of all races can begin to employ culturally relevant pedagogy in their classrooms so that students, like myself and Nunoo, have a chance to succeed. This chance is all that is needed for students to pave the way for others to reclaim their education and change the foundation of an oppressive system that could become capable of liberating masses of people. So, let’s keep talking.
Michelle Kruk is a member of the Class of 2016.
- 1 days ago
Letter to the editor: UMaine divests from coal
To the Editors:
Exciting news! Responding to calls from student activist groups, the University of Maine (UMaine) System Board of Trustees unanimously voted to divest from direct coal holdings on Monday. The University System, which was one of the first to divest from South African apartheid in the 1980s, is now the first land grant system to divest from coal.
The UMaine schools join the growing list of institutions that have committed to some form of divestment, including Hampshire College, Pitzer College and Stanford University. The UMaine board also stated its willingness to consider fully divesting from fossil fuels and announced that UMaine Presque Isle had done so quietly already.
This is very exciting because divestment is a hugely important step toward achieving justice for those harmed by the fossil fuel industry. Pollution from coal companies and fossil fuels disproportionately affects impoverished communities, and climate change will disproportionately harm vulnerable populations across the globe. Thus, divestment in my mind is an environmental justice issue.
I would love to see Bowdoin follow UMaine’s lead and invest in an equitable future. Since they can do it, why can’t we? Let’s be on the forefront of history, Bowdoin, and commit to countering global climate change now.
Meredith Outterson ’17
- January 23
Editorial: A more vocal majority
Why a productive campus conversation needs to involve all students, not just students of color
“If your conscience stops at the border of Maine then you are less than who you should be,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. explained while at Bowdoin on May 6, 1964. King’s words should resonate for the many students who find that Bowdoin’s New England location isolates them from recent national racial issues. As these issues make headlines both nationally and at Bowdoin, the College is primed for dialogue about race relations; however, that conversation will not be productive without participation from students of all races. While many students of color have mobilized in response to recent events, there has been a lack of engagement from the majority of Bowdoin’s largely-white student body.
There is no excuse for such apathy at Bowdoin. Recent events have demonstrated that Bowdoin is neither immune to insensitivity regarding race and culture, nor isolated from national events. In November, members of the men’s lacrosse team hosted an annual party where some guests wore Native American costumes, despite warnings from other students and the administration that doing so would be offensive. The administration rightfully chose to punish the guests involved. Then, in December, a man reacted to the non-indictments in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases by murdering two New York City policemen, an event that directly impacted the Bowdoin community.
Bowdoin has begun to facilitate conversations about race. The new Student Center for Multicultural Life will serve as a hub for programming on campus. President Mills indicated that classes will likely no longer be held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day beginning in 2020, the next time the start of the semester coincides with the holiday. Furthermore, College policies regarding bias incidents and the College’s responses to national race-based events show a willingness to confront those who are racially insensitive.
Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of the student body to take advantage of the resources provided by the administration, and not leave them just for the minority members on campus. At a panel held as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations this Monday, a number of minority students expressed frustrations at the microaggressions they still face regularly on campus. However, as the panel was mostly attended by students of color, those comments were not able to reach those who would most benefit from hearing them.
While Bowdoin can provide the spaces for discussion, they cannot force students to participate in them. Students must choose to do so on their own, whether by attending organized forums or by having casual discussions with their peers. We understand that this kind of engagement can be uncomfortable—that is part of what makes it so important.
As Elina Zhang ’16 wrote in her December 5 op-ed, “Always assume you have the legitimacy to be concerned about other peoples’ struggles.” For any substantial conversation to occur on campus, students of all colors must participate.
This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of Garrett Casey, Ron Cervantes, Sam Chase, Matthew Gutschenritter, Nicole Wetsman and Kate Witteman.
- January 23
Kicking the can: State of the Union offers hope for next two years
With the midterm elections far behind us and the new Congress in session, there is reason to hope that President Obama’s last two years in office may be his two most productive. The last four years under a divided government have been bleak, to say the least.
Obstructionist Republicans have bitterly fought nearly everything the president and his party have wanted, including must-pass bills such as continuing resolutions and debt ceiling increases, leading frustrated Democrats to all but shut out Republicans in the Senate.
Meanwhile, conservatives demonize the President and the Democratic Party, sometimes with bizarre theories. Former Sen. Scott Brown, for example, claimed that terrorists would take advantage of the “porous” border to infect Americans with Ebola (which is actually the exact plot of a Tom Clancy novel), and then-Rep. Tom Cotton asserted that ISIL and Mexican drug cartels would team up to kill innocent Americans.
Both are smart enough to know that those claims are patently ridiculous. One of the two was elected, partially thanks to such fear-mongering. But now that Republicans have more than achieved their midterm goals and attained large (but not filibuster- or veto-proof) majorities in both houses, it seems possible to move beyond such childish stunts and get on to legislating.
In his State of the Union address to the new Congress on Tuesday, President Obama laid out one policy that many Republicans wholeheartedly support. He asked Congress to give him fast-track authority on trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that would open many Asian markets to American business and strengthen intellectual property rights around the world.
Fast-tracking would essentially give the President the power to negotiate trade deals independently of Congress, then submit the finished product to Congress for a quick, amendment-less, up-or-down vote.
Predictably, many Democrats and their allies are none too pleased with the president’s intentions, claiming that the deals will cost innumerable American jobs. They’re probably wrong, but that’s not really the point here. Rather, the point is that the president and a Republican-controlled Congress agree on something. It’s really just a cherry on top that the bill in question will help ensure American competitiveness in the 21st century global economy.
What else can the president and Congress do to cooperate and get things done? The approval of the Keystone XL pipeline comes to mind. The unfortunate thing about the pipeline is that it has become a symbol in the fight over climate change.
Its approval should have been routine, and experts (such as, you know, the U.S. Department of State) have found that its environmental impact would be negligible. Of course, the pro-pipeline jobs argument is ridiculous as well—perhaps a double-digit number (!) of permanent jobs would actually be created by its construction.
In fact, oil companies don’t particularly care about the pipeline anymore. They’re transporting the fuel they extract via rail, rendering the pipeline superfluous for their purposes. If anything, the pipeline would reduce the environmental impact of the tar sands oil extraction in question, as a pipeline is much less prone to spillage than a train.
Ultimately, it’s just an empty fight between conservative firebreathers and environmentalists opposed on principle. In the past, the president has signaled that he might not be opposed to the pipeline’s approval, and it is likely that his recent veto threat is no more than posturing. The president wants Congressional Republicans to know that he won’t just swallow whatever bill comes before him. He should use the pipeline as a bargaining chip, perhaps in exchange for the closure of a major tax loophole or a part of the his ambitious community college plan. He and the minority Democrats will get something they want, and Republicans will be able to claim a major victory that really doesn’t cost anything. The best part? It’s even more than win-win: such a deal will set the stage for future cooperation.
Perhaps the clearest signal that congressional Republicans are ready to get down to the business of governing comes from what they’re not saying. It’s been a while since I’ve heard the oft-repeated campaign promises to repeal Obamacare and tear down the president’s health care policies.
The official Republican response to the State of the Union, delivered by Sen. Joni Ernst, only contained three sentences about the law, and although she used the word “repeal” once, she was much less confrontational than during her campaign, when she promised to “make ’em squeal” in Washington.
Republican leadership knows that repealing the law is unfeasible and appears to be backing off and focusing on more practical targets.
Enacting fast-track authority for trade deals could be one of the first steps in building a productive relationship between President Obama and a Congress that sounded awfully bloodthirsty during campaign season.
If the legislative and executive branches can get off to a good start, perhaps Obama’s last two years can resemble President Bush’s last two years. Bush and the Democratically-crontrolled 110th Congress took steps to save the American automobile industry and passed legislation to bail out the U.S. financial system. Republicans may be willing to govern with the help of the president and Democrats, but after a sweeping victory they will want to claim some of the spoils if they are going to sit down at the negotiating table and do business.
- January 23
Home In All Lands: Americans abroad should not be forced to pay United States taxes
At the State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Obama proposed a change to the tax code that, in his words, “truly helps working Americans trying to get a leg up in the new economy.” Whether or not you agree with the president’s plan, it is clear that America’s tax policy is far too complicated and unfair to millions. Perhaps the most staggering aspect of American taxes is the concept of taxation by citizenship rather than residency. In other words, US citizens and green-card holders must pay the IRS no matter where they live. The US essentially stands nearly alone in practicing this bizarre approach to taxation; Eritrea is the only other country with a similar policy, according to the Wall Street Journal.
There is no compelling argument that justifies penalizing Americans who have made the decision to work and live overseas. A large number of US citizens abroad are ambassadors for American enterprises, researchers at the forefront of their fields or retirees enjoying their post-work years. They are not all, as the Democratic Party would have you believe, fat-cat billionaires seeking to use offshore havens to hide their money. There seems to be an illusion amongst the political class, both left and right, that the sole purpose of moving abroad is tax avoidance. Now, I do not dispute that Americans who reside permanently in the United States should pay taxes based on their wealth, no matter where it may be held in the world. But to suggest, as this policy essentially does, that a tycoon is somehow analogous to a middle-level manager at a major international firm is laughable.
Americans who live overseas are unnecessarily burdened by a tax bill twice over: once from their country of residence and once again from the IRS. In some cases, treaties between the United States and other countries help to mitigate the yoke of double-taxation. But this does not change the fact that these hard-working Americans are subject to a financial cost greater than that of their neighbors and of their compatriots stateside. Unfortunately, a recent law has only made their lives more difficult. In 2010, the Democratic-controlled Congress passed FATCA, the “Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.” Ostensibly, the law sought to prevent US taxpayers from concealing their wealth in offshore accounts and shell corporations. This is, in and of itself, an entirely reasonable proposition. If you live in a country, you should pay the taxes that are required of you. But the law has had an unintended consequence: Global News has reported that this act has made it more difficult for millions of Americans to open bank accounts, begin mortgages, or take out loans overseas. Indeed, FATCA includes extremely harsh penalties for banks that, in the IRS’ determination, have allowed Americans to avoid paying taxes, an issue The Economist has reported on. Again, I wish to emphasize that Americans residing in the United States have to pay their fair share, and the financial institutions that enable them to dodge their due should be rightly punished. By making it tougher for overseas Americans to support themselves, Congress has essentially said that Americans should just stay home. What kind of message is that for the small startup that wants to expand? Or for the young woman recently promoted to her company’s head office in Singapore?
In response to these growing challenges, many Americans have decided to follow a drastic path: renouncing their citizenship. As the vice has tightened, more and more Americans are casting aside an important part of their identity. At U.S. diplomatic posts in several countries, the waiting lists for renunciation are many months long, according to Forbes. Rather than recognize that an idiotic tax policy is at the heart of Americans coming to this painful decision, the government recently increased the fee for renouncing citizenship by 422 percent from $450 to $2,350; which strikes me as a cynical attempt to squeeze out every last dime before you stop feeding the IRS. In recent years the number of renunciations has exploded, from only hundreds annually in the 1990s to a record 3,000 in 2013, according to the Washington Post. It is unreasonable and cruel for the government to place so many Americans in such a difficult position.
Some may argue that paying taxes is a sign of continued patriotism to the United States. But if we are going to be using tax payments as a metric for loyalty, then quite a few individuals and corporations should probably be charged with treason! And besides, if you are not using the fruits of taxation on a regular basis, why should you have to pay for them? Except for Eritrea, every other country on Earth knows that this is too much to ask in our modern, interconnected world. It is time that the United States realized that as well.
- January 23
My 77 Cents: Feminism: a charged term undeserving of society’s stigma
I recently learned that an anti-feminism party, Justice for Men and Boys (And the Women Who Love Them), is standing for a few seats in the Parliament of the United Kingdom in May’s general election. Apart from being deeply annoying, its platform sparked a number of questions about how “feminism” as a movement—and even as a word—should be thought about in this day and age. It seems as though feminism-as-a-movement has become less specific as time continues. Or rather, it has become a signifier for a number of behaviors, thoughts and political ideals, many of which women are hesitant to align themselves with. And this seems fair enough—after all, no one wants to be reduced to one single attribute or to a misleading stereotype.
Yet, when we talk about feminism, it seems like everyone has a different concept of what the word actually means. Some assume feminists fit the stereotype of the man-hating woman (a concept Emma Watson addressed nicely in her speech at the UN last year), while others might eschew the movement as antiquated, or antagonistic or purely irrelevant. Indeed, some argue that we live in a post-feminist society, one which no longer needs a feminist movement for social equality.
These varying perspectives raise a number of questions. One essential question seems to be, firstly, who can call him or herself a “feminist”? Last year, the media scandal surrounding a Duke University student’s involvement in the porn industry sent this debate hurdling into the public consciousness. The student explained that her participation in pornography made her feel empowered as a woman. She identifies as a feminist. On the opposite side of the spectrum, women clad in burqas are very often chastised for participating in institutional misogyny. Women should be able to identify as feminists whether or not they are at an extreme in terms of modesty. A feminist can come in any garb from any perspective, so long as they self-identify as such.
It would be foolish to give a definitive viewpoint of these issues here; they are far too complex and, admittedly, I’m not sure how I myself feel. What if a woman is pro-life? Can she be a feminist? Is there some universal definition to which one must adhere to be a “proper” feminist?
I have encountered many women and men who express the follwoing sentiment: so long as I think women are equal, why do I need to call myself a feminist? I see this point. And yet, despite my slight confusion about what constitutes a “feminist,” it always concerns me when a women does not identify as one. It seems that where feminism can most firmly establish its identity is in its core political views.
Last year Salma Hayek accepted an award at Equality Now’s “Make Equality Reality” event for her work in women’s rights. In her speech she stated, “I am not a feminist. If men were going through the things women are going through today, I would be fighting for them with just as much passion. I believe in equality.” Why can’t one believe in equality and be a feminist at the same time? What is so wrong with the word?
On a political scale, a “feminist,” it seems to me, would be an advocate of equal pay for equal work, would support justice for women regarding domestic violence and street harassment, and would be in favor of access to childcare and reproductive rights. If you believe in these things, do you have to call yourself a feminist? If you believe in the political, social and economic equality of women, I would argue that you should.
Feminism, like any concept rooted in social ideals, brings with it political and social extremes. But aligning yourself with a word does not mean you have to burn your bra (though if you want to, do that too). To refuse to call oneself a feminist—or to chastise another for doing so—is troubling to me, since we women are standing on the shoulders of the Feminist movement! We are here today at Bowdoin because of it.
I hear a lot of arguments about how we shouldn’t be surprised when women are powerful, but rather just think of them as people. But why can’t we see them as people deserving of equality while still acknowledging that they are members of a previously disenfranchised and oppressed social group? This isn’t a post-feminist society. Feminism isn’t dead. And it is these sorts of multifaceted debates that keep it rigorously alive.
- December 22
"A Rape On Campus": why everybody lost
On November 19, Rolling Stone published "A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA." The article chronicles the shocking story of Jackie, a University of Virginia (UVA) student who was allegedly gang raped by seven Phi Kappa Psi fraternity brothers during her first few weeks on campus.
Author Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s account is comprehensive and deliberate. Using quotes and narrative, Erdely extensively describes the events surrounding Jackie’s assault. The Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity house is singled out for perpetuating a culture of assault and apathy.
The scope of the Rolling Stone article, however, transcends Jackie’s individual story. Erdely examines federal investigations and student testimony to delve deeper into sexual assault on college campuses. She describes rape as a systemic problem at UVA, in which both students and administrators are complicit. The story immediately elicited strong responses from officials and students, both in Charlottesville and nationwide.
Days after the initial Rolling Stone article was published, the Washington Post launched an inquiry into the facts presented by Erdely. On December 5, the Post published an article questioning the veracity of key aspects of Jackie’s story. Soon after, Will Dana, the managing editor of Rolling Stone, issued a partial retraction of "A Rape on Campus."
“In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie's account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced,” he wrote.
The public reaction to this second wave of information was both swift and concerning. To be frank, we are deeply unsettled by much of the dialogue surrounding this unfolding story.
"A Rape on Campus" was marketed as a testimony-driven, numerical account. Jackie’s story, however, was a narrative. It was a reflection, from a survivor’s memory, of an event that happened three years prior. Erdely attempts to paint an accurate picture of occurrences that took place long ago, through the eyes of a woman who has been diagnosed with PTSD and depression. We do not say these things to discredit Jackie. Rather, we want to explain how we understand the unfolding discrepancies.
Jackie chose not to pursue her case in the criminal justice system. Midway through the Rolling Stone article, Jackie attempted to pull out. Erdely told her it was too late. Later, when speaking with the Washington Post, Jackie would comment that she felt “out of control” of her own story. As advocates, we want to affirm her experience. We want to say that the minute details of an event that happened so long ago are unimportant. We want everyone to focus on the bigger picture.
The shocking and sensational allegations of the Rolling Stone article made that impossible. Administrators, desperately seeking to do the right thing, were quick to condemn an entire fraternity.
Possibly even more damning was the swift conviction of the court of public opinion. Reputations were damaged. Cinder blocks were thrown through the windows of the Phi Kappa Psi house, a home for many students. We can only imagine how terrifying that must have been.
The implications of this irresponsible journalism have been very real for very many. UVA lost. The brothers of Phi Kappa Psi lost. Jackie lost. And we are petrified that everyone has lost. Next time a survivor seeks to come forward, how will he or she be received?
We worry that sensationalism has trumped the overarching message of this story—that sexual assault is a very real problem on college campuses.
Here are some statistics from RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network: 60 percent of rapes go unreported. Of the assaults brought to the police, 4 percent lead to a felony conviction. Among those convicted, only 3 out of 100 rapists will ever spend a day in jail.
For many survivors, empirical analysis is a powerful deterrent to coming forward. Their healing processes may be greatly impeded by the harrowing task of testifying in court. Imagine describing the worst night of your life to a room full of total strangers. Then imagine being told you are lying. Imagine being asked why you were drunk, or what you were wearing, or why you went home with your assailant in the first place.
We present these statistics and ask these questions to refute a tired refrain—"Why didn’t he/she go to the police?” This accusation, repeated far too many times in the coverage of Jackie’s case, demonstrates a misunderstanding of a survivor’s needs.
In the wake of the Rolling Stone article, various interest groups have emerged. We fear that the vernacular differences between legal authorities, school officials, sexual assault prevention advocates and regular students build barriers to productive dialogue. We fear that the media’s response to factual discrepancies has misdirected the focus of a crucial conversation.
As members of Safe Space and students at Bowdoin, we wear two critical hats on campus. We want to break down the barrier between these roles. Through our advocacy training from Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine (SASSMM), we learned how to support survivors of sexual assault. We learned how to listen and how to be empathetic, without claiming we understand what a survivor is going through. We learned to validate the words confided in us. We learned how to provide a space in which a survivor feels safe.
Importantly, though, we learned the language of advocacy. We learned to call survivors "survivors" instead of "victims," a label used by legal authorities. We learned the delicacies in labeling. If a survivor describes an experience as sexually violent, but not rape, we refer to the experience as sexually violent.
Though we are grateful for our SASSMM training, we also view these issues through the lens of Bowdoin students. We understand that sexual assault is hard to talk about. More than anything, though, we don’t want this conversation to be exclusive to trained advocates.
Since Erdely’s article and Rolling Stone’s partial retraction, numerous discrepancies in Jackie’s account have surfaced. As advocates, we validate and honor Jackie for coming forward. As Bowdoin students, we find it difficult to ignore all that’s come to light in the past few weeks.
Arguing over these discrepancies, however, confuses the larger issue. Williams, Amherst, Vanderbilt, Penn. State, Harvard, Notre Dame, Columbia—students at a growing list of schools are coming forward and sharing stories about their experiences with sexual assault. UVA is now one of 86 schools under federal investigation for denying students their equal right to education by inadequately handling sexual violence complaints.
As both Safe Space advocates and members of the Bowdoin community, we find our greatest concern is that this story is a regression. We are petrified Jackie’s story and media experience will cast doubt on future survivors who choose to come forward. Let us be unequivocally clear: as both advocates and students, we stand with survivors.
Both Shannon Dominguez and Rachel Gladstone are members of the Class of 2015.
- December 5
Editorial: Give us a break
Renewing the case for a week-long Thanksgiving vacation
The two weekdays on campus before the start of Bowdoin’s Thanksgiving Break are surreal. Professors announce “sick days” well in advance. Class attendance plummets. The dining halls are conspicuously empty, and students who live close enough to drive start taking off by Monday afternoon.
In the last three years, the faculty has rejected two separate proposals by the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs and BSG respectively, that would have extended Thanksgiving Break to a full week and moved up the beginning of the academic year by two days. Faculty members voiced concerns that the plans would hinder their summer research and would be unfair to students who would not be able to afford a week-long trip home for this holiday. We do not feel that the faculty acted in the best interest of all students in making their decisions.
While the faculty’s arguments for vetoing a longer Thanksgiving Break are not invalid, they are a selective reading of the facts. The proposal would indeed lessen professors’ research time by two days at the end of the summer, but it would also give students and faculty four extra days for Thanksgiving Break. And although lengthening the break to nine days would leave a few students on a quiet campus for a longer period of time, it would also grant about an additional 20 percent of the student body the opportunity to share Thanksgiving dinner with their loved ones. According to a survey conducted by the College in 2011, 84 percent of respondents said they would be able to travel home during a week-long break, compared with the 64 percent who said they would go home either way. The percent of students from outside New England has increased from 62 to 66 percent just between the Class of 2017 and the Class of 2018. For the extra Bowdoin students who could see their families those few days would make all the difference.
Without faculty approval for a schedule change, students and professors currently get the worst possible outcome. Classes empty out on the Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week as students from outside the Northeast vote with their feet and schedule earlier flights home. In seminars, the absence of only a few people significantly affects the quality of discussions, while some professors cut back on lesson plans or cancel their lectures altogether. Those who do fly on Wednesday are subject to the most expensive ticket prices, a schedule too tight to account for weather emergencies and the threat of delays on one of the busiest travel days of the year.
This issue has been in the minds of students for at least the last four years. The Orient editorial board has voiced its support for a longer break in 2010 and 2012. The faculty has repeatedly failed to consider how important this issue is to students. Thanksgiving is an important family holiday that is celebrated nationwide, and many students would undoubtedly appreciate the opportunity to spend it with their loved ones.
After returning from this year’s Thanksgiving vacation, students quickly needed to get back into the swing of things. In the Bowdoin way, everyone greeted each other by asking how their breaks were. The common refrain given by almost every student was: “Too short.” It is time to re-examine the case for a longer Thanksgiving break.
Talk of the Quad: The waiting room
Recently, I checked the dinner menus and shrieked with delight, because the dessert offering for the evening was dirt cake. Dirt cake night is probably the most exciting night of my life, second only to the night of the Final Rose Ceremony on The Bachelor. I live for dirt cake. Seeing it on the menu is a stop, drop, and roll thing for me. So naturally, I sprinted to the nearest dining hall, bypassed the hot food line entirely, and shimmied over to the dessert bar. I was going to fill a massive, planet-sized bowl with dirt cake and eat it all. I deserved this. And that’s when my life came to a screeching halt.
There was no more dirt cake.
This was a DEFCON 1 situation, people. I blinked, pinched myself, and trembled. I checked the giant pan once more: empty. This simply couldn’t be. Dirt cake? My one true love? I fell to my knees and let out a bloodcurdling scream. My life was over. Images from my childhood flashed before my eyes. I would have to be buried under the dessert bar. I envisioned the headstone: Here lies Olivia, heart broken by dirt cake (or lack thereof).
As I writhed beneath the empty basin, it occurred to me: you know what? No. They don’t run out of dirt cake until I say they’ve run out of dirt cake. So, with a new fervor in my step, I planted my feet into the floor and began to wait. I grew roots. I would not budge. This was a stand-in, folks, and I wasn’t moving a single muscle until I was presented with a new bathtub quantity of dirt cake. My friend Faith massaged my back to keep my strength up. This was war...well maybe not war, but you know, a skirmish.
A half hour passed in this way, and then, he appeared. An angel, if you will, bearing a brand new container of dirt cake. Someone in dining services had driven to Thorne, snatched one from those greedy bastards, and driven it back for me. I had half a mind to take the entire cake back to my table, but no. I am a martyr. I stood back and smiled, arms crossed, saying, “Oh, you’re welcome. Really. No need to thank me” to every soul who scooped a dollop of glorious dessert. I filled my bowl with a heaping portion of dirt cake, even though I wasn’t hungry anymore. I was high on adrenaline and full of victory. My friend approached me as I marched back to my table, bowing to the uproarious (okay, it might have been a smattering of) applause.
“Olivia,” he said, having witnessed the whole spectacle, “I cannot believe they just brought a pan of that stuff back for you. That’s impressive. You’re the kind of girl that those things just happen to.”
I maniacally giggled, licked my spoon, and dug in.
His words didn’t really kick in until a week later, as I sat in a dull economics lecture about consumer power or something with no relevance to my life, obviously, and I got to thinking: what did he mean, that those things just happen to me? Am I some kind of special person, who has the stamina to wait for hours on end? I mean, clearly we would all put our lives on hold in the name of dirt cake, but what more did this say about me?It feels like lately all I do is wait. I wait for class to be over. I wait for the light to change on Maine Street. I wait for that one boy to text me back. I have waited at the C-Store, at the printer, and in the crowded downstairs Smith Union bathroom by the mailboxes (people, that’s my bathroom. Please find other places to do your business).
I don’t think the phrase “good things come to those who wait” is relevant anymore. Sure, it worked in the context of dirt cake, but I think it’s outdated, garbage, and a useless filler phrase that people throw around to condone laziness. And I’m sorry to say I think I’ve fallen victim to it. Not to mention that it seems to me like every time I wait around for something, it ends up being not so hot. I waited around in my house during a party, thinking some strange and attractive boy with a mysterious Scottish accent would round the bend, knock into me, and call me Lassie, but no, I ended up blow-drying pee off of someone’s sweatpants (long story).
I waited to do my laundry but the one machine we have broke, so I had to haul my basket across the quad and do it in Coleman. A few weeks later, after complaining repeatedly about my lack of socks, I stumbled upon a collection of wet socks by the Chapel. They had fallen from my basket as I lugged it back to Helmreich from my Coleman laundry trip, and they had since been nibbled on by squirrels. Maybe if I had jumped on the opportunity to do my laundry earlier, I wouldn’t be sockless and widely known as the Weird Quad Laundry Girl. All I’m saying is, they tell us that patience is a virtue and that waiting is a good thing, but when you really think about it, they’re wrong.
I don’t want to be the girl who waits anymore. I want to stop biding my time. What are we all waiting for? If Jillian on The Bachelor would only just tell Farmer Chris she loves him, (and that she’s ambidextrous to boot!), maybe she wouldn’t still be waiting to get a rose (she could really help out with the crops with both her left and right hand, I think). It’s time to finish that dirt cake, to do our laundry, to get moving, to start farming, to jump in. I don’t really know what these metaphors mean, but it will give you something to think about the next time you’re waiting.
Just kidding. Because you’re not going to wait anymore. And neither am I.
-Olivia Atwood is a member of the Class of 2017
- 1 days ago
Talk of the Quad: Why do you want to hook up with me?
It is assumed that Bowdoin students understand the social norms that are deeply embedded within the hookup culture. If they don’t, they quickly learn, like I did.
I discovered that it wasn’t okay to contact a person during the week; that’d seem too clingy or overbearing. I learned that both my hookup and myself were expected to send the first text. And that transitioning from a drunken hookup to a sober one was an entirely different story.I feel like these standards have prevented me from being the forward and bold person that I normally am. So, I decided to run a social experiment and interview my past hookups. I wanted to see if their perception of our hookup mirrored my own.I opened the conversation by asking why each boy had wanted to hook up with me. Boy one said, “Sex,” while Boy two told me, “That’s a tough one, but I have an answer: Because college was a new experience for me and along with that broad experience comes other small experiences, and I guess you were part of one of them.” Notice the contrast. Boy three said I had “asked him to dance” so he said yes and that he “also wanted to hook up with somebody to see what it was like.” Boy four thought I was “a pretty cool person” and “had gotten to know [me] a little.” Boy five declined to be interviewed.
Next, I asked them what they thought of me when they first saw me. I expected similar answers about my defining features, such as my wildly curly hair or five foot tall stature. They gave adjectives like “interesting,” “very short” and “cute.”
After these preliminary questions, I asked them what they expected from me before and after our hookup. Boy one expected to do it again. Boy two told me that he “always expected a first move from me” and after the fact, “wanted me to always be on the same page as him.” Boy three conveyed that he expected to “dance and make out,” and added, “one-night stands aren’t [his] thing.” Boy four stated that he didn’t expect anything serious before or after.
I then told them to say what they liked and disliked about it. They were very honest, which I appreciated. Boy one stated that he “liked the stroll we took in the park afterwards” and “didn’t like that we didn’t have sex.” Truthfully, I didn’t like that part either. Boy two said he “liked that we were exclusive for the most part” and “disliked that [I] played so hard to get.” Boy three told me that it was fun, but thought that me “texting while we were dancing was odd.” That’s definitely fair; I’d think that was weird, too. Boy four expressed that he liked that “we were both on the same page,” and that there “wasn’t really anything [he] disliked.”
They then shared with me what they remembered. Boy one said, “Everything.” Fun fact: I do too. Boy two revealed that I was his “first Bowdoin hookup,” and he could recall our “funny, awkward interactions when we were surrounded by friends.” He was my first hookup here as well. Boy three’s response was pretty standard for a DFMO (Dance Floor Make Out): “I remember we hooked up twice, went to Super Snacks, talked in your room, and watched a movie with some people.” Boy four remembered having a good time with me.
Finally, I asked them to tell me what they would have done differently. Boy one and three said “nothing,” while Boy two wished he had “made it happen more often” and “would’ve made it even more exclusive,” and Boy four wouldn’t have changed anything and was “happy about what happened.”
I was pleasantly surprised by not only their willingness to be interviewed, but also by the candidness in their responses. It’d be hypocritical of me to not answer my own questions.Boy one, we got along extremely well. You were attractive. I wouldn’t do anything differently now since we’ve gone our separate ways, but I did feel disrespected because you never contacted me afterward. But to be fair, I could’ve contacted you.Boy two, we were friends at first, and I wanted more. You’d ignore me sometimes then would apologize. I’d react dramatically, so I’m sorry for that. But I eventually got tired of it all and just expected to stay friends with you, which we did.Boy three, I wanted a DFMO too. Don’t worry.Boy four, I heard you were a nice guy. I remember approaching your friend to ask if you were single. I’m glad that you liked my honesty; I wasn’t sure if you did. I wouldn’t do anything differently.
In truth, I’m not the biggest fan of the hookup culture here. It seems like a never-ending cycle of objectification and a source of anxiety for both sides.
However, sometimes I think hookups can be fun. They’re liberating and can provide you immediate satisfaction. When Boy one expressed that he wanted to be with me solely for sex, I was okay with that. He was a Tinder hookup, after all.Some of their answers seemed a bit contradictory. How can I avoid the label of “someone who plays hard to get” if I’m expected to not be clingy? And simultaneously, how can Boy two tell me he wants to be with me again if hookup culture says he’s “supposed” to want to be with me only once, twice, and nothing more?
During my time at Bowdoin, I have always found that students who participate in the hookup culture skirt around these types of questions. I have realized that we abide by these norms for fear of rejection or embarrassment. But these unwritten rules can lead to a severe lack of communication or worse—anger and pain.
So, the next time you find yourself grinding with someone, stop and ask them, “Why do you want to hook up with me?”
You never know, you could be rejected, or you might find they want more. That’s all part of the fun.
-Hayley Nicholas is a member of the Class of 2017
- 1 days ago
Behind the Name tag: Prue nurtures Dining’s national image
When people think about Bowdoin, two things come to mind. For the latter, Polar Bears can thank Lester Prue the unit manager of Moulton Union Dining Hall for Bowdoin Dining Service.“I think Bowdoin’s commitment to quality is actually part of why I applied here in the first place,” said Prue. “People here love their jobs and take pride in what they do.” Born and raised in the western region of Maine, Prue started his career at Bowdoin in 1976. He originally discovered the beauty of midcoast Maine after spending a few summers working in lobster shacks in the Brunswick area. It was while working at one of these shacks that he heard about an open position as a cook for Bowdoin’s fraternities. He jumped on the opportunity to stay in Brunswick full-time.
Prue, who now calls Portland home, says that he enjoys his current position. Nonetheless, he admits missing the student interaction and personal relationships he built by being in more interactive Bowdoin Dining Positions.
“[My first job] was a good way to get to know the students well,” he said. “I’m actually still in touch with a couple of them.”
While he can still be seen in the serving line and helping out in the Moulton kitchen, Prue has moved toward the administrative side of dining.
As the Unit Manager, he oversees all operations of the Moulton Dining Hall, from staff scheduling to menu design.
“I follow an 8:00 am to 5:00 pm schedule now,” he said.
A 39-year veteran of Bowdoin Dining—he jokes that Joshua Chamberlain graduated right before he started working here—Prue is no stranger to change. President-elect Rose will be Bowdoin’s sixth president since Prue started his career here and he doesn’t anticipate major changes with regards to dining services as a result of a new president.
While each President brings a unique perspective and personality to the job, Prue says Bowdoin Dining remains consistent. He asserts that Dining has been strong for his entire career.
“Bowdoin is well-known across the country [for its food],” he said. “I love that when I go to conferences and meetings people know our name.”
According to him, the biggest changes he has seen during his time here have been in the diversity of recipes used, increasing over the years to better reflect the growing diversity of Bowdoin students’ and dietary restrictions. He also notes that Bowdoin has become much more conscious of buying locally-sourced food.
In addition to the oft-cited ethical reasons for eating locally, changes to sourcing methods also have a practical purpose: helping to mitigate the rising cost of food. Prue identifies addressing this issue as the biggest challenge Bowdoin Dining Service currently faces, and says that it is likely one they will face for many years to come.
Outside of Bowdoin, Prue can often be found exploring the vibrant restaurant scene in Portland, cycling along the coast, or spending time with his nine grandchildren.
For Prue, working for Bowdoin Dining Service has been a career well spent. Bowdoin has been an important part of his life for nearly four decades and he looks forward to its continued importance for years to come.
- 1 days ago
Institutional review board keeps college research safe and ethical
Campus-wide emails, posters lining hallways of academic buildings and Orbit posts often contain calls for students to participate as subjects in experiments. Though it may be less visible, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) plays a key role in the execution of research on campus. At Bowdoin, any project involving human subjects must be submitted to the IRB for review.
This process ensures the safety and ethical treatment of those involved in the large number of projects conducted by Bowdoin faculty, staff and students on campus. These studies can only proceed once the IRB has reviewed them.
Chair of the committee, Professor of Psychology Sam Putnam monitors the front end of this process as he determines whether a proposal will be exempt from review and immediately approved, expedited to an individual committee member, or subject to full review by the committee.
“One thing that we want to do is minimize the likelihood of harm,” said Putnam. “In the situations where there is some risk, and participating in the study does expose you to some risk, then it really shifts to an effort to make sure that the subject knows very explicitly and very completely what they’re getting into.”
The IRB currently consists of six committee members: Putnam, Lecturer in Chemistry Michael Danahy, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology Erika Nyhus and Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Krista Van Vleet.
In addition, the IRB has two non-faculty members, Bowdoin’s Director of Sponsored Research Cara Martin-Tetreault and community member Herbert Paris.
The members of the IRB are appointed by the Faculty Committee for Governance. Generally, the group is composed of faculty in science and social science departments, with a limited number of members from outside of those disciplines.
“We have individuals who are involved in the committee that don’t have a Bowdoin affiliation, that give viewpoints that aren’t tied to Bowdoin,” said Putnam.
He added that the IRB would like to add even more community voices to its proceedings.Most projects are not immediately exempt from review. Instead, they are delegated to members of the committee and receive varying levels of review.
Putnam said the board especially focuses on studies involving vulnerable populations and those that include potentially harmful practices like deception. Studies that involve sensitive information surrounding subjects’ social or legal standing are also scrutinized closely.
Bowdoin holds regularly-scheduled confidential monthly meetings to address full review projects. About half of the deliberations result in verdicts that require some changes to be made. Most changes are minor and do not largely affect the projects. Very rarely does the IRB classify proposals as impossible to conduct.
“I think there have been two cases over my time on the board where the request that we made ultimately ended up in the research not taking place,” Putnam said.
An important distinction to make is that the IRB does not judge the merit of the projects. While members may have opinions on other aspects of the proposal, the board’s real concern is addressing any ethical concerns.
“Many of us are social scientists. Some might say, ‘This is not a good way to study this, they’re not going to prove what they’re trying to prove,’” said Putnam. “But that’s really not my job.”
Over the course of the year, the IRB typically sees about 50 cases, impacting a large number of student and faculty projects. September tends to be busiest, while January, late spring and summer also see a lot of proposals in concurrence with new semesters and summer break.
“We’re charged to protect human subjects, so it’s really to make sure that no one who’s participating in research at Bowdoin is harmed,” said Putnam.
- 1 days ago
Bottom of the Barrel: Sweet dreams not made of this: Insomnia Pino Grigio
Did you miss us? We certainly missed you. Or at least we missed the wine. Because that’s what it is really all about, isn’t it?
As we write this, we are holed up in our Coles Tower room sheltering ourselves from Snowpocalypse Juno, which is currently raging just outside our window. On a night like tonight, there is no greater joy than to uncork a bottle of wine, put on a good rom-com, and spend time with those who mean most to you. After all, with weather like this, they’ll probably soon be buried under a mountain of snow.
We decided on “It’s Complicated” for the movie (can’t go wrong with Meryl) and we honestly can’t imagine anyone better than ourselves to spend time with. That only leaves us with the wine. This week we went with a California Pinot Grigio, this time under the Insomnia brand. Fitting, given the long hours we have both been keeping due to our level of schoolwork. So much for an easy senior spring.
Normally we supply an entertaining backstory regarding how we carefully compared and selected our wine. This time, however, our wine choice was gifted to us by Brandon’s grandmother as her highest sub-$10 recommendation. We shall see if it lives up to its lofty expectations.
So without further ado, the cork was popped and the wine was glugging into our glasses. Let the early week drinking commence once again. Our initial impression was that the wine certainly looked like pinot grigio, and carried a pleasantly light nose. Although to be fair, Bryce and I have been sick the past few days, so that may be a product of congestion more than anything else.
At first sip, we were initially struck by the dryness of the wine. It was certainly drier than our last pinot, although when you are drawing comparisons with FlipFlop you never really know what to expect. Bryce did not find the dryness to be totally off-putting. Brandon, however, felt that this wine tasted like you could strip paint with it.
In terms of mouthfeel, Brandon found it to be quite nice, however Bryce was not as approving. He felt that the mouthfeel was unimpressive and liquidy, seeming to forget that when one is drinking wine, liquidity is presumably to be expected. The body leaves something to be desired. And here we were in rare complete agreement, finding the body to be thin and rather watery.
Despite our ambivalence towards this wine, we still decided to drain the entire bottle. We felt it would disappoint you, our loyal readers, if we didn’t. If nothing else, despite the wine’s misleading name, it help put us to sleep. To be honest, most of the wines we review for this column have been used as a general sleep aid. And no, in case you are wondering, we are not alcoholics! Don’t judge us!
Additional Notes: Brandon: They must call this Insomnia because the taste of this wine will haunt my dreams for years to come. Bryce: The more I drink, the less happy I am. That should never be the case.
Nose: 2.5Mouthfeel: 2.5Body: 3.5Taste: 3.5
Make a 3 am run to get some Insomnia, Hannaford, $8.99.
- January 23
Bun Bun's Bakeshop comes out of a lifelong dream
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Bun Bun’s Bakeshop is opening in Brunswick at 30 Bath Road on February 2.
Owner Laurie Smart-Pottle said she is enthusiastic for the grand opening of the bakery, which boastsfree WiFi, comfy booths, and of course, baked goods.
“It’s so exciting sometimes I just feel like I am going to burst and other times I think, wait a minute, am I dreaming?” said Smart-Pottle.
Owning a bakeshop has been a dream of Smart-Pottle’s for her entire life. She said she initially started decorating cakes so she could stay home with her children and stepchildren, who are now adults.
As a self-proclaimed military brat, she traveled while young, and briefly worked with water waste in the military before marrying a career soldier. No matter where she was living, Smart-Pottle found herself happiest in the kitchen.
“Family and friends are everything to me—I’m just a real down-to-earth person who loves to be around people and make them happy with really good food,” she said.
The decision to make a leap from her normal life and open up her own bakeshop started with her husband.
“My husband and I just got to thinking, because he’d been thinking of retiring—he’s been in the Guard for 28 years—we were thinking, ‘what can we do to get our retirement years going?’” she said. “So we started thinking of opening a restaurant, a little buffet kind of idea.”
The idea seemed far-fetched and expensive to them at the time, but they eventually decided that their dream might actually be a possibility.
“One night [my husband] looked at me and was like, ‘Why don’t you open up your bakery?’ and I was like ‘Really?’ and so that’s what we did,” said Smart-Pottle. “We just found a location, got the town involved to get the required codes, started hiring the right crew—plumbers, electricians, that kind of crew—and it kind of snowballed.”
Small-Pottle is cultivating a warm and inviting feel for the bakery.
“[It’s] super friendly, almost like a going-home-to-mom’s kind of place, because everything you’re going to eat is going to be homemade, not pretentious—something that you’d probably get at your mom’s dinner table—hopefully,” said Small-Pottle.
Due to staff restrictions, the bakery will not deliver to Brunswick, but it will make an exception for Bowdoin. Smart-Pottle said she envisions parents sending eight-inch cakes to students on their birthdays.
“We would deliver it with a card and balloons to the location—that way you have a little piece of home on the occasion,” she said.
Smart-Pottle has a number of ideas for the future of her business. She already sees the need for more space and has thought about opeing a food truck that would sell coffee and muffins. She also hopes to put tents and picnic tables in the parking lot so she and her husband can hold lobster bakes and pig roasts.
“I’m just really excited to open the doors, because so many people have stopped by and are really excited about a bakery coming,” she said. “They have all been so supportive and so friendly, I think I’m just ready to open the doors and be a real legitimate business.”
- January 23
Mind the gap: Meyers ’17 reflects on travels, service
Sophie Meyers ’17 has had plenty of time to reflect on how her decision to take a gap year affected her Bowdoin experience.
When Meyers graduated from high school, she said she felt burnt out academically. In order to take a break from the books and try a different kind of learning, she left home to explore other options in Pittsburgh, Pa., Lexington, Mass., Washington, D.C., and even farther away in Costa Rica.
“I’m very into the idea of learning by doing,” she said. “There’s a lot you can learn from the classroom, but there’s so much to learn about the world and yourself by putting yourself in situations where you’re not necessarily comfortable.”
Meyers’ first stop was in Pittsburgh where she joined the Obama campaign. There she worked as an organizing fellow, canvassing, phone banking, and training new volunteers. She even had the opportunity to work at events which featured Bill Clinton and Bruce Springsteen. Next, Meyers moved back to her hometown, Lexington, Mass., where she volunteered in Boston at an independent school for students from low-income families. There she helped students prepare to apply to private high schools.“I was working with eighth graders on applications and trying to get them to dig deeper with essay questions,” she said.
In the spring, Meyers traveled to Costa Rica, where she lived in a rural village with a host family—a highlight of her gap year. She spent most of her time teaching English and math at an elementary school, but outside of work, she learned how to make empanadas with her host family and immersed herself in its culture. “That was an unbelievable experience,” Meyers said. “I love the country and I want to go back and visit my host family.”
With her gap year coming to a close, Meyers continued to try new things and moved to Washington, D.C., for ten weeks as an intern for the global trade watch team at Public Citizen, a non-profit organization and think tank that advocates for consumer rights.
For Meyers, every experience was an opportunity to think about different options and possible careers.
Meyers felt like she came to some conclusions about her future that she would not have reached if she had gone straight to school. “It’s nice to have those experiences when I’m thinking about going forward,” she said. “At the end of the Obama campaign, you could have asked me, ‘Do you want to be in politics?’ And I would have said, ‘Yes. Totally.’ But by the time I got back from Costa Rica I had reflected a lot more on that experience, and I think that might not be where I’m headed.”
Brunswick is Meyers’ most recent stop. Many students who take gap years worry about the transition to college life and the possibility of feeling disconnected from their peer but Meyers feels that her transition was fairly smooth.
“I would not have been as comfortable here my freshman year if I hadn’t gone and done my gap year,” she said. “I think I needed that time to regroup, reflect, and think about what I wanted to be like moving forward.”
Meyers’ transition was also aided by the fact that she kept in touch with some friends from high school who also took gap years.
“Some of them had easy transitions to college, some of them had harder transitions to college. But that was the same with my friends who didn’t take gap years,” she said. “So I think that sort of just depends on the person.”
This year, Meyers plans to declare a major in math and a minor in education. She discovered her love of teaching in Costa Rica and Boston, and it was only when she was reunited with math at Bowdoin she reached her decision to major.Although Meyers has decided what to study, her gap year experiences have shown her that our futures rarely turn out exactly as we plan.
“What you’re doing right now doesn’t necessarily dictate what you’re doing five years from now as much as we’re conditioned to think,” said Meyers.
Next for Meyers, she may study abroad in Edinburgh and see what else she can learn there.
- January 23
Grain to Glass: Maine beers offer quality, classic underdog story
While I was home for Thanksgiving in New York last November, I met up with a couple of Bowdoin alums at a craft beer bar on West 45th Street. The place looked like a trendy cellar—slender, dimly lit, and a few steps down from the sidewalk outside.
And perhaps cellar is the right word, because while the bar had a few taps, this was really a bottle shop.
The real selection resided in a long wall of coolers containing an enormous array of bottles representing some of the finest beers available. Jostling between several groups of stylish, bearded people, I made way from the fridges and hunted for one of my favorite IPAs from the West Coast.
Returning to our table—a varnished plank straddling two upturned oak barrels—I was surprised by my friend’s selection: an elegant, slender brown bottle, with a simple, unmistakable white label. She’d found Zoe, an amber ale from a small craft brewery, Maine Beer Company (MBC), located twenty minutes from Bowdoin’s campus in Freeport.
The design of the bottle, clean and unassuming, suggested it might have been out of place among craft ales (it looked almost like a wine bottle). But that assessment was soon belied by the flavorful contents within. MBC wasn’t out of place—it was distinctive.
It’s a brewery with the unassuming charm of a local business and the prowess to compete in the big leagues. I wasn’t surprised to find MBC among such a fine company of beers because their beer is excellent. I was simply surprised to find it so far from its home in Maine.
MBC is a real “started-from-the-bottom” story. Begun as a hobby then founded in a garage, it eventually grew from nano-brewery to microbrewery to the brewery that produces beers so popular that it can’t meet its demand—good luck finding bottles of their IPA Lunch.
As an indication of MBC’s success, prominent beer writer Joshua Bernstein uses its flagship brew, Peeper Ale, as a paradigmatic example of the American Pale Ale style in his bestselling coffee table book on beer tasting. Truly, their story is so quintessential and inspiring that you can find it on their website, presented in a digital chapter-book format. Read it to your kids—or someone’s kids.
But although MBC’s reputation began to extend well beyond mid-coast Maine with a demand to match it, it chose to stay small. When I asked an employee about expansion over a beer last October, she implied that the owners were happy with what they’d built. They didn’t feel the need to expand.
What MBC does feel the need to do is the right thing—this doesn’t just mean drinking beer. “Do what’s right” is the brewery’s slogan, or more aptly put, the brewery’s mission statement. One percent of their gross sales are donated to environmental non-profits and each beer contains a paragraph on its label describing the non-profit towards which its sales contribute.
All craft beers wear a noticeably higher price tag than their mass-marketed compatriots, but at least with MBC you can feel like the few extra dollars are truly well spent.
Now, reader, do what’s right and drink MBC’s beers.
I may be exposing a bias, but I think its hoppier offerings are where the brewery excels. As a general note, MBC beers are not assertively bitter—even those which showcase their hops at the front of the palate. I love MBC because I can rely on interesting, delicious hop profiles when I’m not in the mood for an astringent beer. I recommend MBC pale ales and IPAs to those of you who typically aren’t fond of IPAs or those who are interested in working their palate up to more daring, hoppier experiences.
In his book, Bernstein describes Peeper Ale as a “sunny” beer. Maybe this is a nod to its hazy, yellow appearance, but more likely it characterizes the effervescent, citrusy tang. Peeper Ale finishes dry, with lingering buttery-malt sweetness. Mo is an equally delicious, slightly hoppier, piney pale ale. I can’t decide which I like better.
Lunch is MBC’s most popular beer. Drinking it for the first time, I remember feeling surprised by the complexity of unexpected, even unconventional hop flavors that gave way to an almost graham cracker-y finish. The name is not a suggested replacement for the meal itself, although you have my permission.
Zoe is the outlier of my recommendations in that it’s an amber ale. However, as MBC has termed it a “hoppy amber”. Zoe is a great beer for those in the mood for malty, heartier and darker beer with some hoppy distinction.
You can try most of these and more down at the brewery in Freeport, and I suggest that you do. It’s totally unlike the bar in midtown—the place seems designed to resemble its beer labels, with clean, white, understated walls and an elegant bar to the side. You really do feel like you’re drinking the beer at its home.
- January 23
Function follows form: the art of crafts
Art has existed for thousands of years, but our definitions of and uses for art have changed over time. This is the first in a series of pieces that will explore the perception and use of art and crafts throughout history, as well as their place and relevance in the modern world.
Around 1.76 million years ago, early humans created the first hand-axe by striking the edges of stones into flat, pointed shapes. Fast-forward to 40,000 years ago—almost nothing on the evolutionary timeline—and humans wrought five-note flutes from mammoth tusks. Thirty-thousand years ago, bone needles stitched clothing from rough hides and skins. And over the next 15,000 years, humans developed all major forms of art, using pigments, stones, animal parts and clay to paint, draw, sculpt, engrave and make music.Two years ago when I got into Bowdoin, my mother began sewing me a quilt. She chose a pattern (repeating Xs and Os). She selected favorite, familiar scraps from her rag bag—flowers, pinks, greens and oranges. She cut, pieced, pinned, sewed, batted, backed and finally machine-stitched smooth whorls through the layers of fabric.
When I moved into Maine Hall, she told me that if I didn’t want to keep it on my bed—if I thought it was embarrassing that my mother made me a quilt, or if I didn’t like the pattern—I could put it right in storage. I kept the quilt.
My mother’s quilt falls into the legacy of millions of years of human creations. Quilts and quilt patterns are prominent in American history. Generations of frontier women taught their daughters the useful arts of quilt -making, knitting, lace-making, weaving, spinning and dyeing, which all developed alongside human civilization as homo sapiens moved indoors. Long after the needle was invented, the domestic arts were born.
Tools made for pure necessity began a tradition of human creation to memorialize culture and to demonstrate love. From the bone needles that brought life-saving warmth in furs and hides were born the silver needles that stitched African visual traditions into slave quilts; one of those silver needles latched into the sewing machine that my mother keeps by the big window in our home studio.
The earliest examples of pigmented stone, crude flutes, and even simple needles and axe-heads are treasures because they document the origins of humans’ creative expression, the very beginning of humans’ unique desire to expose their souls through a particular medium.
Modern forms of creative expression are innumerable—digital arts, writing, performances, 100 iTunes music genres, and the vestiges of the once-necessary domestic arts.
Today, the domestic arts are likely the least respected, least popular form of creative expression, but perhaps the most used art form for demonstrating love. To make a person an item to wear, to use—a scarf or a dress or a blanket—in an era when Walmart and Amazon bring commodities cheaply to our fingertips, is an ultimate labor of love.
Unlike fine arts, which are not purchasable in the same way a quilt is purchasable, crafts turn creative expression into a form of love, for the self, for someone else, for the very act of sewing, knitting, or weaving. New to our time is the qualifying statement when the quilt is finished—you don’t have to keep it if you don’t want to.
My mother told me I didn’t have to keep the quilt she made me, that I didn’t have to use the quilt, and so I wonder: when did homemade quilts become embarrassing, instead of precious? How did acts of creative expression—from weaving to sculpting—that have been part of human history for legions of time shift from ways of recording stories, of celebrating tradition, of exploring the beauty of the world, to the trope of the starving artist?
In the pieces that follow in this column I hope to explore what we can learn from considering the breadth, depth and width of human expression through creative arts—in history and in modernity. I will also address the significance of making things—for ourselves and for other people—and what that does for self-image, personal growth and the growth of societies.
Humans make things. We make useful things, pretty things and superfluous things. Things for each other, for ourselves, for pets, for the dead. Forty-thousand years from now, when archaeologists uncover our civilizations, what will their findings tell them?
-Penelope Lusk is a member of the Class of 2017
- December 5
Campus leaders organize responses to non-indictments
Since a grand jury in St. Louis County, Mo. decided against indicting Darren Wilson, a now-former police officer, for the August 9 shooting of Michael Brown, protests have raged across the nation—and have even spread to Bowdoin. Student activists have held a candlelight vigil, joined protests off campus and are currently planning more events to raise awareness and spur action.
Across the nation, many have felt called to action to protest the racial dynamics present in law enforcement and to demand justice for these civilian deaths.
Over the past few months, students on a large number of college campuses such as Stanford University, Oberlin College, Texas A&M, Harvard University, Yale University, Colorado College and Howard University have taken action.
At Harvard, for example, students staged a traffic-blocking die-in at Harvard Square where people lay down as if they were dead; Oberlin held a walk out, workshops, and class discussions; and students at Howard took a photo with their hands in the air to demonstrate solidarity and mobilized others to participate in marches in Washington, D.C.
As for Bowdoin, on the night of the grand jury decision, Symone Howard ’15 and the Central Committee of the African American Society organized a campus-wide vigil on the Bowdoin College Museum of Art steps—the first organized event on campus that directly addressed the grand jury decision.
“As soon as the decision came out, we knew we needed to do something because the issue hit so close to home as black women and men,” said Howard. “In the back of our heads, we knew that was the likely outcome.”
Between 75 to 100 students arrived at the John Brown Russwurm African American Center at 10 p.m. for the vigil. Candles were distributed, but the organizers eventually ran out.
On the way to the Museum steps, the group stopped outside of Hawthorne-Longfellow Library (H-L) to announce that the vigil was about to take place, and more students joined them.After the stop at H-L, the group assembled on the steps for five minutes of silence—a minute to represent each of the 4.5 hours that Brown’s body lay in the street.
Following the minutes of silence, several students spoke and read poems, and then the group made a silent walk around the quad.
Michelle Kruk ’16, who read a poem entitled “Cuz He’s Black,” said in an email to the Orient, “As a campus, we have done an unsatisfactory job–in my opinion–in discussing what is happening in Ferguson and taking some sort of concrete action about it. I am deeply disappointed in the administration’s silence surrounding this topic.”
The vigil lasted about 45 minutes. Noting the diversity of students at the protest–different student organizations, athletic teams and individuals–Howard found the vigil to be very meaningful.
“Honestly, I think that Bowdoin students could do a bit more [about the issue]. The vigil was a start to that,” said Howard. “It shows that even though we’re all part of these different organizations and we all have really busy schedules and do many different things we can come together to confront this issue.”
Throughout the latter part of this semester, there has been a group of students participating in weekly Intergroup Dialogue discussions regarding race and training students to facilitate such conversations.
During their discussion on Monday, the group split into two—people of color and caucasians— to discuss what students of color want from their white counterparts, and vice versa.
“A big thing for people of color asking white people was to use your privilege and be confident and brave enough to know that you have a part in the struggle,” said Zhang. “A lot of people who are white really question their legitimacy in participating in these actions, but I definitely think that people of color were asking for the courage to speak not on behalf of people of color, but with people of color.”
Zhang also said that the group of white students asked for patience and for there to be a readiness to correct their mistakes.
“A lot of them talked about how they’re here to learn from these conversations and they want to be called out if necessary,” said Zhang.
One of the more powerful things Zhang heard at the Intergroup Dialogue discussion was when one person of color asked that white people interact more with people of color.
“I thought that was really powerful because [the student of color] talked a lot about how the only way to feel like black lives matter is if you actually interact with black people,” she added.From these meetings, A.D.D.R.E.S.S., another student organization, has gathered questions to create further dialogue on campus.
After the stop at H-L, the group assembled on the steps for five minutes of silence—a minute to represent each of the four hours that Brown’s body lay in the street.
Following the minutes of silence, several students spoke and read poems, and then the group made a silent walk around the Quad.
Michelle Kruk ’16, who read a poem entitled “Cuz He’s Black,” said in an email to the Orient, “As a campus, we have done an unsatisfactory job—in my opinion—in discussing what is happening in Ferguson and taking some sort of concrete action about it. I am deeply disappointed in the administration’s silence surrounding this topic.”
The vigil lasted about 45 minutes. Noting the diversity of students at the protest—different student organizations, athletic teams and individuals—Howard found the vigil to be very meaningful.
“Honestly, I think that Bowdoin students could do a bit more [about the issue]. The vigil was a start to that,” said Howard. “It shows that even though we’re all part of these different organizations and we all have really busy schedules and do many different things we can come together to confront this issue.”
Bowdoin President Barry Mills sent an email to the student body Thursday evening addressing the issue.
“Everyone in America must be able to be confident in the rule of law and in the equal and fair application of the law to each of our citizens,” he wrote. “This is a basic tenet of our society. Here at Bowdoin, our steadfast focus on serving the common good means that we must continue to engage these issues that are so central to our future growth, wellbeing and humanity.”
Throughout the latter part of this semester, there has been a group of students participating in weekly Intergroup Dialogue discussions regarding race and training students to facilitate such conversations.
During their discussion on Monday, the group split into two—people of color and Caucasians— to discuss what students of color want from their white counterparts, and vice versa.
“A big thing for people of color asking white people was to use your privilege and be confident and brave enough to know that you have a part in the struggle,” said Elina Zhang ’16, the head of A.D.D.R.E.S.S. “A lot of people who are white really question their legitimacy in participating in these actions, but I definitely think that people of color were asking for the courage to speak not on behalf of people of color, but with people of color.”
Zhang also said that the group of white students asked for patience and for there to be a readiness to correct their mistakes.
“A lot of them talked about how they’re here to learn from these conversations and they want to be called out if necessary,” said Zhang.
One of the more powerful things Zhang heard at the Intergroup Dialogue discussion was when one person of color asked that white people interact more with people of color.
“I thought that was really powerful because [the student of color] talked a lot about how the only way to feel like black lives matter is if you actually interact with black people,” she added.From these meetings, A.D.D.R.E.S.S., another student organization, has gathered questions to create further dialogue on campus.
On Tuesday, they held a meeting on the shooting and lack of indictment. After setting some ground rules for discussion, eight groups were formed to talk about the Intergroup Dialogue’s questions, including: What was the most prominent and immediate emotion after the non-indictment? And, were you or your family immediately or personally affected by the events in Ferguson?
The gathering began with a moment of silence followed by a video. Zhang, said the film discussed the inherent frustration of how repetitive and cyclical events like these are. She added that human beings have limits, which is why protesters are now hitting the streets.
For Zhang, it is most infuriating to hear people deny the gravity of what happened.
“[I want Bowdoin students to] at least acknowledge what’s going on, take time to do research and understand why people are literally quitting their jobs to protest peacefully,” she said. “I want to beg the Bowdoin population to go out of their way to learn about what’s going on. I really, really wish people cared more.”
Zhang also said there will be a die-in, which will take place today in the dining halls. Another member of A.D.D.R.E.S.S., Caroline Martinez ’16, is from St. Louis and went to Ferguson for the city’s Weekend of Resistance, a weekend of protest and demonstration, in October.
On October 8, her first day there, another young black man, Vonderrit Myers, was shot in St. Louis by a police officer. Seeing the action, including marches, protests, and vigils every day, moved Martinez.
“It was great and powerful. It was incredibly sad and at the same time it gave me a lot of hope,” said Martinez. “People were in pain and mourning together.”
One of the more powerful actions she took part in was a protest outside of the Ferguson police station.
“It was pouring rain and people would just not leave,” said Martinez. “In the end, police officers did not end up arresting many people, but it was great to be there with people who I loved and deeply care about his issue and are willing to sacrifice their comfort and financial stability for it.”
Martinez also spoke to the power of hearing people chanting, especially lines such as “Black lives matter.”
“It is incredibly important because I think that in the U.S. we can see that so many policies or lack of policies show that black lives don’t matter—the fact that Darren Wilson was not indicted, the fact that there’s really poor housing and people of color do not have access to the same type of educational resources,” said Martinez.
Another chant she remembered was, “The whole damn system is guilty as hell. Indict, convict, send that killer cop to jail.”
Martinez said this chant is important because it shows the connection between Wilson and other systems of oppression that are in place in the United States. To her, and to many others, it is not just about Brown but also a reflection of all the systems of injustice that she feels are in place in the United States.
“When I think of Ferguson, I’m not scared of the protesters,” said Martinez. “I’m scared of the police that are literally there with sniper guns and I don’t think there’s been enough attention put on this as much as there has been on the rioting.”
Martinez said that more action is needed–especially on campus.
“I haven’t seen people connect this with how race is dealt with or not dealt with at Bowdoin,” said Martinez. “If we just think about important resources and groups on campus—for example, if we think about the Outing Club, the Outing Club is the largest club on campus and it is predominantly white. I love the Outing Club, but most trips that I go on I am not just the only Latina, but the only person of color. I think that that’s very telling—that the College isn’t putting a big effort getting students of color at the Outing Club.”
Justin Pearson ’17 would like to see more people participate in conversations surrounding race, class, gender and privilege.
“We, students at a prestigious institution and benefiting from the best education in the country, must create the initiatives and address the problems head on. We cannot become comfortable with the status quo,” he said in an email to the Orient.
This week brings more developments around the issue of race in the US. On December 3, a New York grand jury did not indict white police officer Daniel Pantaleo for causing the death of a black man, Eric Garner, with a chokehold. This decision has ignited even more protests across the nation.
“Bowdoin, as an institution and as a student body, ought to, at the very least, acknowledge that these tragedies are happening and that they do affect us—even here in Brunswick, Maine,” wrote Kruk in an email to the Orient. “There are students at this school who do care. We need to mobilize those students.”
Arts & Entertainment
Genre-bending Inuk throat-singer Tagaq performs to sold-out crowd
Internationally-acclaimed Canadian Inuk vocalist and musical artist Tanya Tagaq performed alongside Robert Flaherty’s controversial 1922 movie, “Nanook of the North,” in Pickard Theater on Sunday, adding completely improvised sound and voice inspired by her own experiences to the film’s Arctic landscapes.
The original ethnographic work depicts the everyday experiences of an Inuk man named Nanook and his family in early 20th-century Northern Quebec. It has long been criticized for exaggerating scenes of the group’s ignorance toward modern ideas and practices in order to make Inuit peoples appear to be confined to premodernity.
Tagaq is known for combining traditional Inuit throat-singing with jazz, electronic and other contemporary influences. Her most recent album, “Animism,” won the 2014 Polaris Music Prize.
Tagaq draws on her time growing up in Nunavut’s Victoria Island in the Canadian Arctic as a counterpoint to these misrepresentations of Inuit life. She feels that the struggles the Inuit had to undergo in such a harsh environment were brushed aside in Flaherty’s film and replaced with the image of a “happy Eskimo.”
“I love breaking that down,” she said. “I love being able to perform the soundtrack for the film as a modern day Inuk person.”
“Part of our mission is to educate people about the Arctic,” said curator of the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum Genevieve LeMoine. “To have a renowned, Inuit contemporary performer come to campus is an excellent way to do that.”
Tagaq’s visceral performance added depth not just to the the images, but also to the racial, environmental, postcolonial and cultural implications of the film. Preceding the performance, Tagaq spoke about her own personal narrative and how it relates to the issues that are important to her.
“I feel very fortunate to have been born and raised there because I got to live very close to the land,” said Tagaq. “Because of where I grew up I have a different outlook on humanity and its impact on the Earth.”
She advocated for the need to rethink the relationship between humans and the environment, reminding the audience of the importance of respecting the land.
“I want to make sure that people understand that our lives mean something,” she added.Tying the performance into Bowdoin’s academic sphere, Visiting Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies Sarah Childress incorporated the event into her class, “Film as a Subversive Art.” She feels it is important for her students to see Tagaq “reclaim” the film and work against its reductive nature.
“I wanted the students to have that opportunity to have the representations within the film critiqued, and seeing someone actually talking back to a work of art that attempts to represent their cultural group,” said Childress. “That seemed particularly subversive to me.”
“The music added a first-person experience to the video,” said Jacqueline Colao ’17. “Her interpretation of [the film] really gave you an insight into what these people were actually going through.”
Childress’ film class also engaged in a discussion with Tagaq following the event.
“Through her music, [Tagaq] has a platform for sharing not only her first-personal experiences, but also the experiences of her community,” said Childress.
The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center, The Blythe Bickel Edwards Fund, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Student Activities, the Department of Music, the Department of Cinema Studies and the President’s Office Wabanaki Initiative all sponsored the event.
Museum integrates African American art with class
Unassumingly tucked away in the Becker Gallery of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (BCMA) is a new exhibition, “Letters and Shadows: African American Art and Literature Since the Harlem Renaissance.”
The show engages both students and the community, continuing the BCMA’s tradition of exploring issues of race and discrimination through art.
On the back wall of this intimate space hangs a large, black silhouette of a woman falling endlessly into a white void. The focal point of the show, “African/American” by Kara Walker, is just one expression of the African-American cultural experience on display in the exhibition that will run from January 22 to March 15. Striking and powerful, the image draws you into the gallery, bringing you closer to the mystery and suffering.
Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow Sarah Montross and Associate Professor of English Elizabeth Muther began developing the show in June 2013 during a workshop for college faculty at the museum.
“[Montross] said, ‘Why don’t we go down into the collection and just see what’s there?’ And she kept pulling things out, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’” said Muther.
Montross added, “The show looks at intersections of literature and visual arts either created by African Americans or representing African American culture, and their experience in the United States starting more or less from the Harlem Renaissance into the present day.”
These intersections and connections between the written and the visual also inspired Muther and Montross to create the “Letters and Shadows” exhibition in conjunction with Muther’s African American Literature and Visual Culture course. Muther has taught the course before, but this is the first time that she has worked with the BCMA on a collaborative exhibition.
“I took the core of that class and let what was in the museum, in certain ways, dictate how I revised the syllabus,” said Muther. “So in a sense, every stage in the course is about these conjunctions, cross-currents, and connections between visual and literary works.”
Montross also explained that these connections reach across history and medium into different lives and social movements that create a compelling temporal complexity between the pieces.
“Artists and writers are often going back in time and mining references from past writers,” said Montross. “There’s often this reweaving and reappropriating of language and art back on itself.”
Identifying and exploring these relationships and their contexts will be key for the students in Muther’s class.“There’s an act of discovery in the course in terms of new connections that students might find,” she said.
The show’s pieces vary widely in medium. For example, photographs hang across from pop-up books and letters inspire lithographs.
As a collection, these pieces inform each other and bring together artists and writers across the boundary of time. Many works belong to the BCMA permanent collection, and others are on loan from the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections and Archives.
Between Kara Walker’s charged prints, enigmatic Harlem Renaissance-era photographs, and even a book of illustrations based on Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Muther’s students have plenty to work with.
At an event for her students next month, Muther hopes that they will have the opportunity to share some of their discoveries with the public.
Looking toward the future, Muther said that it would be unrealistic to recreate this exhibition every time she offers her course. However, she hopes to continue collaborating with the BCMA on projects honoring the work of African American artists.
According to Montross, the BCMA already has a long history of showcasing art produced by or depicting African Americans.
“This [exhibition] is one more level to that,” she said.
This exhibition is also tangentially related to the BCMA’s recent launch of a website commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of a 1964 exhibition called “The Portrayal of the Negro in American Painting.” Martin Luther King Jr. himself visited the original exhibition and gave a speech at Brunswick’s First Parish Church.
In “Letters and Shadows,” Bowdoin’s legacy of using art to explore, address and engage society, history and culture lives on. The exhibition will be on display until March 15.
Night at the Arctic Museum brings new visitors
Though the Quad could have passed for the Arctic wilderness this week, there’s only one spot on campus permanently Arctic-themed.
To generate new interest amongst students, the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum hosted a well-attended open house last Friday evening.
According to Director of the Museum and Professor of Anthropology Susan Kaplan in an email to the Orient, approximately 240 students were in attendance at last Friday’s event, an increase from last year.
“The program provided students an evening social event and encouraged students to see the museums’ exhibitions,” said Kaplan.
For the first time, the annual open house was followed by a performance by Tanya Tagaq, a Canadian throat singer. The open house event, sponsored by Student Activities, featured a tour of the museum, performances by a cappella groups BOKA and the Meddiebempsters and snacks.
Before entering the building, students were able to take a picture behind a six-foot tall, 400-pound picture frame carved out of ice.
“I saw them carving ice on the Quad, and that’s honestly what piqued my interest in attending the event,” said Sophie Cowen ’18.
“I honestly went for the food and discovered while there that the Museum actually has a lot to offer,” said Christabel Fosu-Asare ’18. “There were a lot of interesting artifacts and a cappella never hurts.”
The museum’s current exhibitions include voyager Donald MacMillan’s last voyage aboard the Bowdoin, Early Inuit Art, and The Crocker Land Expedition.
The most popular attractions among students during Friday’s event were interactive ones: the circumpolar map, narwhal and walrus tusks that students could touch, a sledge that students could sit on and a giant student-created touch screen featuring the Crocker Land Expedition.
“Although, naturally, a lot of people showed up because they heard the words ‘free food’, this event drew in a lot of first-time visitors,” said usher John Medina ’18. “As an usher, I was able to watch people explore the museum and I could definitely tell that a lot of people were interested in what they saw.”
The purpose of an open house is to draw in new people and turn uninterested students into regular visitors,” Medina said. “I think the museum will be surprised by how many students return. Also, the kids who were twenty-one and older got free wine so that always works.”
The next exhibition at the museum will feature Arctic beadwork. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free to both Bowdoin students and the public.
DJ of the Week: Jackie Fickes ’15 and Natalie Smid ’15
Does your show have a name?Jackie Fickes: It did…But it’s kind of long and also not everyone got it.Natalie Smid: Yeah, it was Sergeant Pepperflip’s Lonely Hearts Club Radio. But it was kind of hard to say, so right now we don’t have a name. JF: We thought it was kind of clever…Sergeant Pepperflip and the Lonely Hearts Club Radio with the Beatles reference, but it’s kind of a mouthful and we haven’t come up with anything better since then. Tell me a little about your show. When did you start hosting?JF: Fall of junior year.
Why did you decide to be become DJs?NS: I think it’s my only opportunity to ever be on the radio and I wanted to do it with a friend who has awesome taste in music.JF: I had just been meaning to do it forever, but I hadn’t gotten around to doing it before. I really like music and I wanted to see what other people were listening to and playing. What kind of music do you play?JF: I like a lot of alternative rock. My all-time favorites are Belle and Sebastian, Modest Mouse, Rilo Kiley, the Smiths…We have kind of different taste, though, which is good.NS: I like the XX a lot—Jackie doesn’t like them—The Shins, we play alt-J. We always agree on Gwen Stefani, though.JF: Yeah, for the pump up.
What is your most played song on the show? JF: I think the song we try to play every semester is “Don’t Speak” by Gwen Stefani.
What’s the song with the best lyrics?NS: This is cheesy, but I love the lyrics to Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love”.JF: The best opening lyrics for me are this Rilo Kiley song called “Science vs. Romance” and the first line is “I used to think if I could realize I’d die, then I would be a lot nicer.” But I think I probably like some Belle and Sebastian [entire] lyrics better. There’s this song called “If She Wants Me” and I think in terms of a full song, that has the best lyrics. What’s the song with the worst lyrics?JF: Oh, that Meaghan Trainor song!NS: “All About That Bass?”JF: That is the worst; that is so bad.NS: Hmm…that song “Rude” by Magic. In your opinion, what was the best time in music history?NS: The 90s.JF: The 90s. If you were on a sitcom, what song would play when you got into your bed at the end of the episode and the screen goes black?NS: These are tough questions!JF: Yeah, you should’ve sent us these beforehand because in the middle of the night I’m going to be in my bed like ‘THAT’S what I should’ve said!’JF: If it were waking up in the morning, it would be Squeeze’s “Black Coffee in Bed.” Going to sleep it would be either The Smith’s “Asleep” or Neko Case’s “I Wish I Were the Moon Tonight.”NS: “Nighttime” by the XX. Anything by the XX really. To suggest a DJ for DJ of the Week, email Arts & Entertainment Editor Emily Weyrauch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- January 23
Activist musicians Dr. Bernice and Toshi Reagon perform for MLK Day
The Bowdoin community sang and clapped through the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration on Monday in Pickard Theater, led by activists and songwriters Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon and her daughter, Toshi Reagon. The pair revisited protest songs from the Civil Rights Movement songs of freedom.
The Reagons sang familiar songs like “This Little Light of Mine,” as well as originals written about social issues in South Africa and Brooklyn. The singers happily coached the crowd through their bluesy renditions as Toshi plucked a guitar.
As a member of the Freedom Singers and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Bernice Reagon has been a major voice for social change since the 1960s. She is the founder of the all-female African-American a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock, which has used music as a way to speak out against injustice, and is a respected professor and curator of African American folk music.
Toshi is continuing her mother’s tradition of activist music with her band BIGLovely. The band also includes Bowdoin’s own Assistant Professor of Africana Studies Judith Casselberry, who originally met the Reagons in the performance circuit and has developed a close relationship with the duo.
While the College held classes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year, Bowdoin formed a committee to honor the holiday by organizing celebration activities in remembrance of the Civil Rights Movement.
“We wanted something to honor King, but, more than honoring just King the man, honoring his legacy and the work he was committed to,” said Leana Amaez, associate dean of multicultural student programs and a member of the programming committee for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
The programming themes in 2013 and 2014 were the eradication of poverty and activism, respectively. This year’s theme was faith, and the committee thought the Reagons were a good representation of the role of faith in social movements.
“Sometimes we focus on people who are passed away. We think about these things in a historical context, which is part of how we should think about it, but there’s also a very present context. Dr. Reagon is living history,” said Casselberry. “I think it’s important for us to all remember that this isn’t a long ago history. It’s a current history, and people are still living who did work in that time period.”
The Reagons returned to this theme in their performance, inviting the audience to carry forward the spirit of African American folk music and protest music.
“One time I heard my mom talk about songs that came out of the Civil Rights Movement, and she told people, don’t think of them as museum pieces,” Toshi told the audience. “You hear a song from the Civil Rights Movement, and you kind of separate yourself from it as if you don’t actually need it to be a part of your contemporary world, as if it can’t still do service to so many situations that are going on in the world today.”
The committee also saw the Reagons’ partnership as mother and daughter as a reminder that activism requires collaboration between generations.
“To have Bernice and Toshi together is for the community, and students in particular, it’s great to see the intergenerational continuity and how important that can be for how young people think about moving in the world, how young people think about the future,” said Casselberry.The Reagons delighted as hundreds of audience members lifted their voices for the choruses of each new song.
“I’m gonna invite you to participate in these songs as if they’re yours,” said Toshi Reagon. “In case you didn’t know, we like people to sing along with us.”
The audience responded enthusiastically, giving the community the opportunity to experience the songs the way they were experienced during the Civil Rights Movement.
“The traditions in which this comes from—old hymns, old Negro spirituals, protest music—it’s all about participation,” said Dean Amaez.
The performance elicited an emotional response from the audience, ranging from excited to nostalgic.
“It was absolutely breathtaking. It reminded me of my grandmother walking around the house singing some of the same type of Civil Rights spirituals, old church songs,” said Matthew Williams ’16, student director for activism and social justice at the Office of Multicultural Life.The Reagons encouraged the audience and reminded them that social change is driven by the young people in a community—a particularly relevant point for student activist groups on campus.
“Young people always speak to the current and contemporary energy of the time,” Toshi told the crowd. “Older people can’t shape that dialogue for young people. Young people shape the dialogue, and old people get behind them and support them while they do it.”
“Each generation has its own issues to deal with. Even if those issues are maybe not quite as clearly connected, or at least feel like they aren’t as clearly connected, I think that it’s important for young people to remember that they’re the ones that always make things happen,” she said.Williams also felt the songs were relevant to the work students are doing on campus to impact the community, like the protest acts following the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., and the petitions for divestment.
Williams said he was surprised by the diversity of the turnout.
“I did not think that place was going to be that filled, let alone that diverse,” said Williams.“When they turned the lights on, I saw that it wasn’t just the entirety of the black population here, but it was filled with a lot of people from a lot of different walks of life.”Williams added, “I think it really does show how their music can relate to things that are happening on campus or even in our world today.”
The last event celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be Common Hour with Reverend Dr. Emilie M. Townes on February 27.
- January 23
Professor Brock Clarke goes on tour to promote new novel
Professor of English Brock Clarke has been on sabbatical since the start of the fall semester, going on tour to promote his newest book, “The Happiest People in the World.”
Clarke described “The Happiest People in the World,” released in November 2014, as a “sort of literary spy novel for people who don’t like spy novels. I don’t like spy novels.” The book is chock full of labyrinthine plot lines, characters with multiple identities and dramatic irony.
According to Clarke, the novel’s complexity increased as the book developed. It started, in January 2011, with a first-person narrator, but as Clarke realized the implications of all the secrets harbored by various characters in the book, he created an omniscient narrator to provide the perspectives of multiple characters.
“I begin with a very specific idea of what the book’s going to be like and then the book sort of confounds that at every turn, until I get over my original impression of the book and give in to what the book is demanding of me,” said Clarke.
He added that this process of gradual transformation took place when he was writing his other books as well.
Clarke sees the act of completing a novel as less concrete than one might imagine. At one point when he felt that “The Happiest People in the World” was complete, his editor made a suggestion that resulted in Clarke’s adding a completely new first chapter to the book.
“There is essentially nothing in it that, removed from context, makes any sense,” wrote J. Robert Lennon in a glowing review of “The Happiest People in the World,” published in The New York Times.
In response, Clarke said, “Those are the kind of books I like. They don’t have any logic in them except their own logic. They don’t lean on the world for the logic of their book. So I took that as total praise.
“It’s sort of a book for people who like satiric literary fiction but also like their satire to have a little more emotional quality than most satire has,” said Clarke. “For people who like Muriel Sparks novels, but who also like Coen brothers movies, that’s how I think of it.”
Although “The Happiest People in the World” is about a cartoonist who ends up running from terrorists, Clarke said he resists connections to the recent attacks on the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
“It’s difficult to talk about my book in the context of those cartoons, because the cartoonist [in the book] doesn’t draw the cartoons for any kind of political purpose, and the people who burn down his house don’t do it for a political purpose—they’re not Jihadists and he’s not a politicized cartoonist,” he said.
Clarke was on tour with “The Happiest People in the World” from mid-October to mid-December, from Miami to San Francisco, reading mostly at bookstores. A day in the life of a touring author is hectic, between travel time and appearances. Clarke said he used his small pockets of free time for writing, radio interviews and taking walks outside.
Although touring requires a significant amount of what can only be described as schlepping around (“There’s a lot of sitting on airplanes”), for him, going on tour is a dream come true.
“I don’t know how I could complain about it at all,” said Clarke, who had always aspired to be a novelist, and grew up thinking “I’d love to publish a book some day, I would love to have someone give a shit about it.”
One strange phenomenon Clarke noticed in giving public readings at bookstores is the type of intimacy that the reader often assumes with the author. Some audience members presume a pre-existing rapport with Clarke, wanting to banter and acting as though they knew him really well.“It’s flattering, but also a little unnerving,” said Clarke.
At a typical reading, there are around thirty audience members. They are fans of Clarke’s work, as well as people who have read the reviews and heard the hype. Clarke said there are occasionally stray knitters, sitting in the bookstore with their balls of yarn, who otherwise don’t care about the book. Regardless of the interest of the audience—or even its size, which can range from two to 80—Clarke is happy to have the forum to speak and sees the whole experience as “a dream.”
Clarke will be returning to Bowdoin in the fall of 2015 and is excited to continue working with his students.
- January 23
Panel of art historians discusses Duchamp’s legacy
Marcel Duchamp—the conceptual artist best known for exhibiting a urinal as a work of original art—was the focus of a well-attended panel entitled “The Legacy of Marcel Duchamp,” in Kresge Auditorium on Wednesday.
This depiction of a urinal was not immediately accepted into the art world. “Fountain,” the title of the piece, only became well known years later, but the original dismissal of the piece did not stop Duchamp’s success as an artist.
“This rejection [of the piece] occasioned an opportunity for Duchamp to collaborate with other artists to determine what the purpose of the artwork was,” said Anne Goodyear, co-director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.
“By taking a urinal out of its everyday context…he attached a new idea to the object and transformed it conceptually. Boundaries that had previously been understood between art and everyday world fell apart.”
The panel featured three individuals, each with a different perspective on Duchamp’s work. Panelists included Scott Homolka, associate conservator of works of art on paper at the Philadelphia Art Museum, James W. McManus, emeritus professor of art history at California State University, Chico, and Michael R. Taylor, director of the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College.
“Scott [brings the] perspective of a paper conservator who thinks about the physical evidence of a work of art; Jim brings an academic perspective and Michael has an art museum background as curator and director of the Hood Museum at Dartmouth,” said Goodyear.
The panel was held in conjunction with the Museum of Art’s current exhibition, “Collaborations and Collusions,” which focuses on networks of modern artists including Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, Mary Cassatt and others.
“The art museum is a place where students can be exposed to ideas, speakers and artists that collectively take us beyond Brunswick,” said Goodyear. “One of the goals of this exhibition is to think about ways different artists work together and inform one another. It helps us understand why one might want to engage with the everyday in the modern world.”
According to the the panelists, Duchamp was a conceptual artist who made viewers question the definition of art in our society. Duchamp’s extreme precision gives his artwork a deeper meaning.
“Duchamp is an outstanding example of an artist who wants us to challenge our assumptions,” said Goodyear.
“Duchamp, more than almost any other artist in the twentieth century, taught us how to think about and look at works to get beyond the physicality of the object and understand the structure of the work,” said McManus. “This is what makes him so attractive and challenging at the same time.”
Duchamp’s style of art continues to be relevant today, according to Taylor.
“Duchamp remains extremely current because he was so far ahead of his peers that we are still catching up with his ideas, which are still very radical,” said Taylor. “He remains the kind of artist you can still admire and find new ideas from.”
McManus had a similar assessment.
“The challenges presented by Duchamp are no less critical today than they were in 1917 when he presented “Fountain,” he said. “Duchamp swung the door open to think about what can be art and what cannot be art, and it continues to have an impact.”
“Collaborations and Collusions” will be on display until February 8.
- January 23
Hipster drivel: Sleater-Kinney more than just riot grrrls
To call Sleater-Kinney the best rock band of the last two decades is to miss the point. It's an argument that has stormed across the internet like, well, a Sleater-Kinney song ever since the trio announced its return a few months ago after a ten-year hiatus.
But I suspect Corin, Carrie and Janet don't give a damn what we think about them. “No Cities To Love,” a searing record of tight melodies and gripping charisma, asks many questions, but “do you still love us?” is not one of them. “What if your mom could kick your ass?” however, certainly is.
Indeed, these riot grrrls are now riot women. They've come a long way since the early ’90s DIY punk scene at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wa.
Carrie Brownstein's fame as curator of hipster hodge-podge “Portlandia” has eclipsed her fame as snarling guitarist in Sleater-Kinney—though you wouldn't know it from “No Cities To Love.” It's less a reunion album than a reignition record. There's no painful attempt to recreate the sublime here. It turns out lightning can strike the same place twice. Or, in this band's case, eight times.
We first caught a glimpse of the album back in November, when the single “Bury Our Friends” announced Sleater-Kinney's take-no-prisoners return. The song is a piece of pop mastership, anchored by Weiss' thunderous drumming, and driven to sing-along heights by Tucker's wild-eyed yawp and the band's signature dueling guitars.
It was a reminder of what made them so good in the first place—an unpretentious dedication to craft that never sacrificed fury for listenability. Sleater-Kinney is the rare band that pulls off pissed and pop.What's all the more impressive is the trio's command of tone. Tucker sings with all the urgency of a wildfire, yet the flames never consume these songs' emotional subtlety. The fuzz-rock opener “Price Tag,” for instance, evokes the concept of social cost for cheap consumer goods, as told through the eyes of single mothers stocking shelves at a department store.
The irony, of course, is that this kick in the bourgeois derrière is even more relevant now than when Sleater-Kinney soundtracked the anti-globalization debate two decades ago. “I was lured by the cost,” Tucker admits of marked-down sale items, a godsend for those who live paycheck-to-paycheck. But really, “we never checked the price tag,” since there is so much—child labor, dangerous chemicals, carbon pollution—unaccounted for. Call it econ 101, or call it the way Sleater-Kinney open an album, capturing consumer guilt with poise.
Of course, this whole project is kind of meta. On “Surface Envy,” Tucker sings, bordering on platitude, that “we win, we lose, but only together do we break the rules.” Later on, she rhymes that with “make the rules.” We could take this as something of a manifesto. Sleater-Kinney have the trappings of a great punk band with distorted guitars, leftist politics, and shred-your-throat vocals. Yet they've also become everything a punk band is not supposed to be—idolized.
What happens when an anti-authoritarian band itself becomes an authority? Sleater-Kinney, after all, might be described as our version of the Sex Pistols—brash and iconoclastic, if infinitely more talented. They themselves are certainly not asking to be revered, as “No Anthem” makes clear. That is why the “best rock band” argument is absurd.
Unquestionably, Sleater-Kinney deserve to be added to the pantheon of musical divinity, not because they are the token feminist punk band, but because they are so much more. Instead of comparing legacies like phalluses, their fate is to “invent [their] own kind of obscurity,” one in which the music speaks for itself.
- January 23
Portrait of an artist: Carly Berlin '18
For Carly Berlin ’18, writing is not just an academic interest or a frivolous pastime. An aspiring creative writer, Berlin uses her words as a medium to better understand herself and the world.
Berlin, a native of Atlanta, Ga., keeps a drawer of past journals and diaries by her bed which hold the history of her love for writing. Ever since she can remember, she has been writing and illustrating stories.
“I’ve been writing my whole life,” she said. During high school, Berlin developed a more serious commitment to her craft. A month-long creative writing program the summer before her senior year crystallized her dedication to creating works of fiction.
About a year ago, Berlin started her blog, “Endless Foolery,” where, she posts entries ranging from short stories to daily thoughts and streams-of-consciousness.
Berlin’s inspiration for starting a blog came from a high school creative writing workshopping class.
“I was really happy with the things I was coming out with and I felt like I just wanted other people to see them,” she said.
Several months ago Berlin committed to writing in a journal each night before she goes to bed.
“When I write something I like, I type it up and put it on the blog,” she said. “That’s usually about once a week.”
The front page of the blog includes a Shakespeare quote: “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” After coming across this quote in a Shakespeare quote book, Berlin was struck by the word “fool” and found it expressive as a title for the blog.
“I think no matter how seriously we want to take ourselves sometimes, we are all a little foolish,” she said.
For Berlin, the blog is as much for personal fulfillment as it is for sharing her work with a broader audience.
“When I’m writing, I’m writing for myself. But I am hoping that other people feel something from it,” she said.
As a first year, Berlin is in the midst of the transition from living at home to college life, and she has grappled with the transition in many recent blog posts. She hopes other students sharing this sentiment feel consoled when they read her posts and realize that someone else is feeling the same way.
Berlin draws stylistic inspiration from Virginia Woolf. After reading a book by Woolf, she says she subconsciously adopted Woolf’s stream-of-consciousness style, particularly in her blog entries.
As for her Bowdoin career, Berlin is on the staff of The Quill, where she will have work published later this semester. She is currently taking Visiting Assistant Professor of English’s Sarah Braunstein’s Advanced Fiction Workshop. Beyond Bowdoin, Berlin expressed her dreams of becoming a published fiction writer. “I see myself writing for my whole life, and I would love to think I could be this aspiring novelist,” she said.
Berlin’s greatest satisfaction comes from hearing that people are reading and appreciating her blog, and she hopes to get more readers interested in the blog in the future. Yet her writing also serves a personal purpose, forming a framework for how she navigates the world.
“I know that for me it’s such a therapeutic thing to write; it helps me stay sane and self-aware,” she said.
Visit Berlin's blog here.
To suggest an artist for Portrait of an Artist, email Arts & Entertainment editor Emily Weyrauch at email@example.com.
- December 5
Rickey Larke ’15 to premiere ‘SurvIvies’ film next Friday
Rickey Larke ’15 has never attended Ivies. But that hasn’t stopped him from creating a 45-minute documentary about the notorious spring music festival.
Captain of the track team, Larke has missed Ivies every year because of a NESCAC meet. Larke, an Africana studies and government and legal studies double major with a cinema studies minor, has had aspirations of creating a film since his sophomore year when he took a documentary course with Visiting Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies Sarah Childress.
“I wanted to make a film that would make people forget about their homework, all these lofty ideas and serious themes we always talk about at Bowdoin,” said Larke. “I wanted to make a fun film, and Ivies is the perfect subject.”
For an independent study, Larke created a documentary, “SurvIvies” (inspired by Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols’ iconic name for the event), that was about the creation of a film about Ivies (it’s “pretty meta,” he said). The film begins 50 days before Ivies and ends on the Sunday of Ivies.
“It’s kind of an exploration of me trying to make this film, getting all my equipment, getting everything together, getting people to agree to film their Ivies, that’s half of the film. And then the other half is just the weekend,” said Larke.
Larke set his sights high: he wanted to explore Ivies not just from one perspective, but through several different lenses. And high-quality ones, too.
Larke rented three GoPro cameras from Bowdoin and attached them to volunteers who would take them around for the entirety of their Ivies experiences: Alex Marecki ’14, Nick Benson ’17 and Regina Hernandez ’17. Larke filmed the creation process as well as the festivities with a DSLR camera until he left for his meet on Saturday, when Destiny Guerrero ’14 volunteered to film the concert.
“You see it from the perspective of the kid in the crowd, crazy, pushing everyone,” said Larke.
“Then you see it from the perspective of the kid in the crowd getting pushed around for what appears to be no reason, so it’s really interesting in conversation with one another.”
One challenge Larke faced was financing. Larke bought his own DSLR camera, lenses, microphones, lighting equipment and personal GoPro camera for the process. To do so, he got multiple jobs on campus and saved up his earnings.
Larke also had to collect release forms for students who were filmed—he estimates probably about 70 in total. Although some students were understandably reluctant to have their weekends filmed, Larke explained that there are no illegal or immoral activities taking place on camera.
“All the drinking [other than myself] is from water bottles and solo cups, it’s not from cans or handles or things like that,” said Larke. “No one’s smoking in the film. No one’s doing all these crazy things that you would expect to be in the film—not explicitly.”
The conception of Ivies as “some crazy bacchanal of debauchery” is something Larke wanted to examine in his film. In order to understand Bowdoin’s—and his own—identity, Larke had questions he wanted to explore in this film.
“Is Ivies an outlier of our character as a community, or is this our true essence?” asked Larke. “Is this us really showing who we are, or is this us performing who we’d like to be?”
After creating “SurvIvies”—which he is still fine-tuning before its release on December 12—Larke is tired, but excited to create another film in the future, most likely after he graduates. He is fascinated by the idea of capturing the same event from multiple perspectives and comparing how people experience it.
Although Larke produced the entire film, he is extremely grateful for everyone involved and those who supported him throughout the process. He thanks Childress (his adviser for the independent study), the entire cinema studies department, Assistant Professor of Government and Legal Studies Ericka Albaugh, Associate Professor of English Guy Mark Foster, Associate Professor of Africana Studies Brian Purnell as well as everyone he interviewed and each student who agreed to be filmed.
“SurvIvies” explores an event experienced by most Bowdoin students and Larke is not going to show the film to the outside world.
“Bowdoin students should see it because it’s for them, it’s about them, it’s for their eyes only,” he said. “The purpose is holding a mirror up to Bowdoin.”
“People have this idea of Ivies as being crazy, everyone’s just blackout drunk—but that’s not the case! There’s way more footage of people Snapchatting than drinking,” said Larke.
“I think people will be surprised,” he added.
The film will be shown Friday, December 12 in Smith Auditorium in Sills Hall at 7 p.m.
Women’s basketball stays hot against Colby
The women’s basketball team stayed hot this week, beating Colby (12-5, 2-3 NESCAC) last Saturday by a score of 62-57 and improving its record to 17-2 overall (5-0 NESCAC). The team has now reeled off 14 consecutive wins.
The win was Bowdoin’s second against Colby this season after a non-conference triumph in December, but the Polar Bears expected nothing less than a battle from the Mules.
“We always knew that Colby was a very good shooting team,” said Kate Kerrigan ’18. “We just kept saying we need to keep our poise and we need to keep playing our style of basketball—good defense, keep attacking the rim—and eventually we will win this game.”
The teams traded leads until a couple minutes before halftime, when the score was tied 21-21. After a few well timed shots and strong defense, the Polar Bears broke the tie and entered the half with a 28-24 lead.
Shannon Brady ’16 was unstoppable in the second half, when she scored 14 of her 18 points. Marle Curle ’17 racked up 15 points, while Kate Kerrigan ’18 and Sara Binkhorst ’15 scored 12 points each.
Meanwhile, Colby’s offensive leader Carylanne Wolfington scored 18 points, all of which came off of three-pointers. In fact, the Mules totaled 10 three-pointers in the game, which helped them keep up with Bowdoin’s 44 percent shooting from the field.
“It was kind of tough,” said Brady on keeping the Mules from shooting beyond the arc. “Even doing whatever we could to stop them—after that it just came down to making sure we boxed out.”The score was tied 43-43 with 10 minutes left. After a pair of baskets from Colby, Bowdoin fell behind 48-45.
While Colby kept the game close until the bitter end, the Polar Bears ultimately prevailed with their accurate shooting, hustle and impressive defense. Another notable advantage was Bowdoin’s 22 points scored off turnovers.“We got some good deflections and steals that created points,” said Head Coach Adrienne Shibles. “There are definitely things to work on defensively, but I do love how much this team loves to play defense. I do agree that our steals are generating points for us.”
In such a close game, Bowdoin focused on maintaining confidence and positivity. “When we get down we don’t hang our heads at all,” Brady said.
“They really focused and never lost confidence in each other,” Shibles added.
After losing at the University of New England in its fifth game of the season, the Polar Bears beat Salve Regina University by 40 points, beginning the 14-game win streak they are currently riding.
Kerrigan said that despite the team’s success this season, Shibles insists upon a philosophy of perpetual improvement.
“We’re trying to get one percent better each day. We’re trying to push each other in practice to be better,” Kerrigan said.
Bowdoin will host Trinity tonight at 7 p.m. to kick off senior weekend.
“We have tremendous leadership,” Shibles said of the team’s seniors. “All three are captains—all three have given so much to this program.”
Women’s hockey loses back to back to Midd
The women’s ice hockey team fell to No. 4 Middlebury College (11-1-3 overall, 6-0-2 NESCAC) twice last weekend at Watson Arena, bringing their record down to 8-5-3 (4-3-1 NESCAC).
“There are only a few things we didn’t do well,” said Head Coach Marissa O’Neil. “Being able to execute in front of the net was probably our greatest challenge this weekend—certainly not for lack of trying—but just being able to capitalize on the opportunities. Some of that’s better habits, some of that’s breaks and getting past the goalie, whether it’s pretty or ugly.”
Last Friday, the Panthers took the early lead with a goal just over five minutes into the first period. Middlebury’s Victoria Laven shot through traffic just inside of the left post. The Panthers continued to dominate the opening period, outshooting Bowdoin 13-2.
Fifty six seconds into the second period, Middlebury forward Janka Hlinka took a feed from Jessica Young and scored, giving the Panthers a two-goal lead.
“I think we were a little hesitant during the first period,” said Maddie Baird ’15. “But we settled down after that. We were moving our feet well, moving the puck well. We were winning battles in the corners and winning battles all over the ice. The only issue was we just couldn’t put the puck in the net. We were around the net a lot, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”
Rachel Kennedy ’16 broke through at 2:45, deflecting a shot from Miranda Bell ’18 into the net and through the knee pads of Panther goalie Annabelle Jones.
The two teams traded goals in the third, both of which were put in off of rebounds. For the Panthers, Maddie Winslow failed to put away an initial attempt, but Young netted the next shot. Chelsea MacNeil ’15 shot, but was denied her initial bid. Kennedy made her second shot of the night after killing off a 6-on-4 Bowdoin power play. The netter went through traffic before getting past Jones, putting the score at 3-2.
Middlebury sealed off the win with an unassisted goal from Emily Fluke.
“I was really proud of the way we played and unfortunately we weren’t able to get the wins,” said O’Neil. “But obviously Middlebury is a great opponent—has been for years.”
Goalie Lan Crofton ’17 suffered a sprained ankle mid-game and Beth Findley ’16 took over for the night and in the subsequent game against Middlebury.
In the second contest of the weekend the Polar Bears faced off against the Panthers with high hopes once again, holding their own until the last few minutes of the first period. Middlebury broke the stalemate at the end of the first with two goals off of rebounds from Katie Sullivan and Elizabeth Wulf.
Young cleaned up another rebound in the beginning of the third. Fluke extended the Panther’s lead to 4-0 shortly after. Bowdoin finally spoiled Middlebury’s power play with a vengeful response as Baird put up the first point for the Polar Bears.
Winslow shot a diving puck back into the net in the third. With 1:23 left in the game, the Polar Bears’ MacNeil collected and netted the puck.
“Overall we’ve had a little bit of trouble getting into the dirty spots and getting the rebounds,” said Crofton. “They don’t have to be the prettiest goals but we’ve been working on that the whole year.”
The Panthers bested Bowdoin again that night with a final score of 5-3.
The Polar Bears now go into a two-game NESCAC series against Williams which begins at 7 p.m. today.
“Williams is a team that is a lot better than their record shows,” said O’Neil. “In terms of us not being able to put pucks in the net—though we did score goals over the weekend—they don’t have one set goalie they rely on, there are a couple. We use our defense [in practice] to mimic what they are doing and look for more creative ways to score.”
Bowdoin faced the Ephs last year in the NESCAC Championship, losing the contest 4-1. This loss is fresh in the minds of the returning players. William’s Head Coach, Meghan Gillis ’07, is a Bowdoin graduate and former teammate of Bowdoin’s O’Neil ’05. Both alumna won NESCAC rookie of the year in 2004 and 2001 respectively.
“They’re pretty gritty by the net”, said O’Neil. “So we’re making sure we clear bodies out of the way and that our goalies make the first save and don’t give them the second and third chances.”
Mens hockey slips below .500 in conference play
Last weekend, the men’s hockey team wrapped up a two-game road trip with a 2-2 tie against Middlebury and a 5-2 loss to Williams. On Wednesday, they responded with a 6-1 win over the University of Southern Maine (USM).
At Middlebury, the Polar Bears found themselves down 2-1 late in the third period. With the goalie pulled, Jason Nawrocki ’18 scored his first career Bowdoin goal with 1:22 remaining in the game to tie the score at two.
“That was an all-around team effort on Friday night. It was a good battle,” said captain Danny Palumbo ’15. “Coming back after being 2-1 down late in the third showed a lot of resiliency. We put it all on the line and got the job done.”
Earlier in the season, Bowdoin defeated Middlebury 6-0. However, the Panthers have improved markedly since then.
“They were coming off road wins against two of the top five teams in the country,” Palumbo said. “So they were definitely a different team—especially at home too.”
Still, Bowdoin made enough plays to come away with a point against Middlebury. Against Williams, however, the Polar Bears were not so lucky.
“We worked hard from start to finish against Williams,” said Palumbo. “But we kind of dug ourselves into a hole after the first period and allowed three goals. I think our lines were clicking and we had pretty sustained pressure in the offensive zone, but other than that the three goal deficit in the first period definitely hurt us.”
Earlier in the season, the two teams played to a 3-3 draw. Bowdoin outshot Williams 36-30 in that game. Despite outshooting Williams again last weekend, 29-27, Bowdoin was unable to hit the back of the net as effectively as the Ephs. Connor Quinn ’15 and Spencer Antunez ’18 scored the two goals for the Polar Bears.
“We had four or five scoring chances that we didn’t capitalize on, so that was a game changer for us,” added Palumbo.
Bowdoin dropped to 9-5-3 (4-5-3 NESCAC) following the loss, while Williams improved to 11-3-2 (7-2-1 NESCAC).
Bowdoin returned to action with Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over USM. Zach Kokosa ’17 netted a scrum goal in the first period to kick off the scoring.
Daniel McMullan ’18 scored next with less than a minute to play in the first. Mitch Barrington ’17 gave the Polar Bears a three-goal lead with a power play goal early in the second period before pushing the lead to four with his second soon after. Antunez and Camil Blanchet ’18 each tallied one goal in the third to give the Polar Bears a total of six goals.
Bowdoin gets this weekend off and will next face Hamilton at home on February 6 at 7 p.m.
Swim and dive teams sweep Trinity and Wesleyan at home
The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams rebounded from their losses against Bates on January 18, beating Trinity and Wesleyan in the first home meets of the season last weekend at Greason Pool.
Just a day after a successful non-scoring meet with the University of Maine Orono, the Bobcat men defeated the Polar Bears 153-141, while the Bowdoin women lost 191-107.
In the men’s meet against Bates, Ryan Kulesza ’15 swam a 1:58.46 in the 200m individual medley (IM) event to claim first, and captain Peter Deardorff ’15 came away with a victory in the 200m freestyle competition (1:47.80). Will Shi ’15 stood out with first-place showings in the 50m (21.65) and 100m (47.44) freestyle contests, while Tom Kramer ’15 captured both the one and the three-meter diving events. Another multi-race winner was Tim Long ’17, who won both the 500m (4:54.48) and 1,000m (10:06.16) freestyle competitions.
Mariah Rawding ’18 finished first in the 50m breaststroke, and Sophia Walker ’17 won both the 50m and 100m freestyle events. The Polar Bears also claimed a pair of relay victories. Holly Rudel ’17, Rawding, Mariah Reading ’16 and Walker won the 400m medley relay, and the 200m freestyle relay squad of Walker, Rawding, Bridget Killian ’16 and captain Patty Boyer ’15.“I would say that Bates is our number one rival, and we always look forward to racing with them,” said Head Coach Brad Burnham. “Their women have become a little stronger than ours recently, so it’s a greater challenge trying to keep up with them at the moment. The men are almost neck-and-neck, and I hope this loss will motivate them even further as we move on with the season.”
A week later, the Polar Bears rebounded with a resounding victory against Trinity, with the men winning 220-32, and the women outscoring the Bantams 175-51.
The men were undefeated on the Saturday afternoon, capturing virtually all of the swimming and diving events. The 200m freestyle relay team of John Lagasse ’16, Will Hutchinson ’18, Logan House ’17 and Lyle Anderson ’16 closed off the dual meet on a high note for the Polar Bears, swimming to a three-second win over the rest of the field.
On the women’s side, Rawding stood out with a hat trick of wins, claiming first place in the 50 backstroke, the 100m backstroke and the 100m freestyle competitions.
Walker captured the 200 IM, and Caroline Watt ’18 took over the 500m freestyle. Katherine Kronick ’17 emerged a winner in both the 50m and 100m butterfly races, while Erin Houlihan ’17 won the 100m backstroke and 200m freestyle competitions. The 200m freestyle relay squad of Rudel, Walker, Killian and Lela Garner ’16 also came away with a first-place finish.Competing against Wesleyan on Sunday, the Polar Bear women improved to 4-2 with a 175-107 win, while the men’s team moved to 3-3 following its 203-92 victory.
The women’s 200m medley relay squad of Rudel, Rawding, Reading and Walker opened the afternoon with a decisive Polar Bear win, while the team of Killian, Rawding, Boyer and Walker took the 200m freestyle relay. Seven individual victors emerged on Sunday, and Rawding continued her exceptional rookie season with two individual wins in the 100m breaststroke and the 100m freestyle competitions. Following Bowdoin’s weekend sweep over Trinity and Wesleyan, Rawdin was named NESCAC Women’s Swimmer of the Week.
The men proved no less dominant, with nine individual winners against the Cardinals, including a trio of multiple-event victors. Long repeated his double wins in the 500m and 1000m freestyle races. Kulesza claimed the 200m freestyle and 400m IM, while House toppled the 50m freestyle and 100m butterfly contests. The Bowdoin men also swept the team events, and the 200m freestyle relay squad of Anderson, Michael Netto ‘18, Lagasse and House ended the weekend on a triumphant note for the Polar Bears.
Bowdoin swimmers and divers will return to action tomorrow when they host their final home meet of the season in Greason Pool against Colby at 1 p.m.
“The Colby meet will be intense, but I don’t expect both teams to be as fast as usual, given that all eleven NESCAC schools are looking forward to and preparing for the upcoming championship,” said Burnham. “As for the rest of the season, I am confident that the teams will train hard and swim fast and give everything they’ve got.”
Athlete of the Week: Shannon Brady ’16
Shannon Brady ’16 scored 14 second-half points to lead the women’s basketball team to a 62-57 win over Colby last Saturday, their 14th straight win of the season and seven straight against the Mules. Brady struggled early with foul trouble and Colby’s quick five-guard lineup but overcame the slow start to finish with 18 points, five rebounds and two blocks in 30 minutes.“One thing I really want to emphasize is her growth as a leader,” said Head Coach Adrienne Shibles. “She has an optimism and a competitive spirit. She really didn’t play exceptionally well. Her shots weren’t falling, Colby was being very physical with her, and she got into foul trouble. But I told her to keep shooting and she made adjustments.”
Brady is averaging 13 points, six rebounds, and 1.5 blocks and 23 minutes per game this season—a low minutes total thanks to the team’s considerable depth. According to Shibles, Brady could go all 40 minutes easily. Brady is also fourth in the NESCAC in shooting percentage.Six feet tall and long-limbed, Brady has always been a traditional back-to-basket player, feeling most comfortable posting up and using a righty jump hook that has become her signature move. In a college game that typically differentiates only between guards and forwards, Brady is one of few at this level that could be considered a true center.
“The hook has kind of been my thing since high school,” she said. “I don’t really know what started it. Sometimes people say stuff like, ‘That’s all she does.’ But it works.”
Brady has been in the starting lineup since the beginning of her first year at Bowdoin, and had a breakout sophomore season that saw her average a team-leading 14 points and seven rebounds on the way to an All-American Honorable Mention. Since then she has been a target of other NESCAC teams, who often double and triple team Bowdoin’s most consistent scorer.Brady is equally effective, somewhat paradoxically, as a target in transition. Her high school team ran an aggressive transition offense and the Polar Bears like to run one as well. Teammates have mentioned that Brady is often the fastest down the floor.
“A lot of the offense revolves around her,” said guard Sara Binkhorst ’15. “She plays well with other guards who like to push and she’ll beat pretty much any other post player down the floor.”
“She’s the fastest girl on our team,” Megan Phelps ’15 said. “She beats us all when we run sprints.”
Brady’s scoring threat dramatically affects the way defenses shift against Bowdoin.“Just having Shannon on the floor is good for us as a team,” said Siena Mitman ’15. “They have to collapse on her coming off a screen which opens it up for other people.”
“And on the rare chance she misses, there’s a good chance she’ll get her own rebound,” Binkhorst added.
Both players also noted Brady’s improvements at reading double teams and kicking the ball out. Still, Phelps thinks that Brady is going to score at least 70 percent of the time when she gets the ball.
“She’s always up for a physical game,” Phelps said. “They’re bringing constant double teams. She’s been doing a good job passing out of it, but more often scoring the ball anyway.”
Another area where Brady has improved is her shooting. Always considered a capable but not necessarily confident shooter, Brady has developed a face-up game and improved her in-game range to around 15 feet. She has also proven she can make three-pointers consistently in practice. Her goal now is to translate that into a game.
“It comes up a lot,” she said. “My dad and brother have bets on when it’s going to happen. I tell them if I’m in a pressure situation and it needs to happen, it will happen. But I definitely want to make one in a game during my Bowdoin career.”
The sports editor of the Orient chooses the Athlete of the Week based on exemplary performance.
Men’s track earns bronze at home meet
Bowdoin men’s track and field hosted its final home meet of the season last Saturday. In a packed field of eight schools, the Polar Bears ran, jumped and threw to a number of impressive performances, placing third as a team.
In a meet seen as a precursor to the Maine State Meet on February 7, the Polar Bears beat out Pine Tree State rivals Bates and Colby, but lost narrowly to the University of Southern Maine. The result bodes well for the team as a wave of sickness and injury kept some key team members sidelined for the day. Tufts came away with the win.
In sprints, Jibrail Coy ’16 (23.14) and Rickey Larke ’15 (23.26) finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 200m dash. The two continued their strong days with Larke finishing sixth and Coy placing seventh in the 60m dash. Ike May ’15 ran a solid race in the 400m, finishing fifth (53.17).
Conor Donahue ’18 again showed his speed in the middle distances, running a personal season best 1:59.41 in the 800m to finish second. Sam Dodge ’17 joined in, flying around the track in 4:26.70 for the mile and placing fourth.
The Polar Bears excelled at the 5000m for a second week in a row, though this time with two different runners. Bridger Tomlin ’17 and team captain Kevin Hoose ’15 fought through a race that sped out from the gun, placing third and fourth, respectively.
“The 25 laps really allowed me time to reconsider my life and personal goals, such as, ‘Should I really be doing this?’ and ‘Am I a masochist?’” said Tomlin. “Furthermore, I found myself in no man’s land during the race, running by myself for about half the race. It was a mental challenge to pull myself along; the race felt more like a time trial.”
The first-year duo of Nathaniel Kent and Justin Weathers found success in the 60m hurdles, finishing first and third respectively.
“I was simply releasing many vital forces, just like coach Slovenski told us to,” said Kent.In the jumps, Colin Litts ’18 placed fourth in the high jump (1.78m) and second in the triple jump (13.26m). Stephan DeCarlo ’18 won the long jump with a soar of 6.62m, while Brian Greenberg ’18 placed third (6.46m).
Captain Cam Woodford ’15 tossed his way to a fourth place finish in the weight throw (15.35m). John Pietro ’18 heaved the shot put for a fifth place performance (12.56m). As the meet drew to a close, Bowdoin won the distance medley relay. The team of May, Donahue, Ben Torda ’18 and Calvin Henry ’16 finished with a time of 10:40.28.
“The crowd was energetically cheering as we watched our teams win, individuals get new personal records and everyone compete wholeheartedly,” said spectator Justin Pearson ’17. “The goal seemed to be to lose one’s voice to encourage someone else to just keep going.“The meet encompassed an ideal that I think we all should carry in our hearts. We are Bowdoin. There was something special about shouting ‘You’ve got this!’ and supporting Bowdoin students who are strangers as well as friends,” he added.
The action continues for the Polar Bears next week as they compete at the University of New Hampshire’s Wildcat Invitational.
Silva sets vault record in women’s track meet
Bowdoin women’s track and field placed fourth out of nine schools in its final home meet last Saturday. Other schools competing included Colby, Bates and Tufts.
In one of the day’s most notable performances, pole vaulter and captain Erin Silva ’15 topped the field, vaulting 3.77 meters. Silva’s vault was a personal best, breaking the College record she previously set.
“All the technical improvements I drilled over and over again in practice finally came together to result in a personal best,” said Silva. “I’ve started out this indoor season much stronger than in past years, so I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season as I try to keep this momentum going all the way through to the end.”
Other top performances for the Polar Bears in the field events included senior Hayleigh Kein’s winning high jump of 1.58 meters and senior-thrower Randi London’s winning weight throw of 15.57 meters. London excelled in shot put as well, finishing in third with a toss of 11.81m.There were a number of standout performances from Polar Bears on the track as well. Captain Camille Wasinger ’15 placed third in the mile with a time of 5:21.75, missing out on second by only 1.24 seconds. In the 800-meter run, Meghan Bellerose ’17 finished third as well, with a time of 2:26.31.
Bowdoin’s Demi Feder ’17 and Allyson Fulton ’16 placed fifth and sixth in the 600-meter run with times of 1:41.34 and 1:43.60, respectively. In a strong showing for one of Bowdoin’s first-year runners, Naomi Jabouin placed third in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:01.51.
Another highlight for the Polar Bears was the distance medley relay, where the Bowdoin team of Bellerose, Fulton, senior Emi Gaal and first year Sarah Kelley won with a time of 12:51.74.“As I was rounding the final lap of the track, I saw the girl in front of me, and I felt the anger swirl up through my veins, and shifted to my top gear,” said Kelly. “I surged in front and cut her off down the final stretch and never looked back.”
The weekend helped the team prepare for difficult competition in weeks ahead.
“This past weekend was a good preview of the type of competition we will be facing as a team in some of our upcoming meets, including the Maine State Meet and the New England D-III meet,” said Silva. “While we struggled a bit with injuries and illness this past weekend, we put up a very strong performance, which shows exactly how ready we will be to face these teams again in just a few weeks with everyone back and healthy.”
The Polar Bears were pleased with performances in their penultimate meet before the Maine State Championship, hosted by Bates on February 6. The team will compete next at the Wildcat Invitational, hosted by the University of New Hampshire on January 31.
Nordic ski stumbles through its opening meets
Nordic skiing opened its season at the Bates Carnival, hosted at Black Mountain in Rumford, Maine, finishing 11th out of the 14 invited teams. The team then travelled to Stowe, Vermont to participate in the University of Vermont Carnival, where it finished tenth out of 13 teams.“Race-day energy varies from person to person,” Head Coach Nathan Alsobrook said. “Some are super relaxed, while others let the nerves show a bit.
“As a group, this crew does a great job of staying positive and bringing the enthusiasm every weekend,” he added. “It’s a young team, though, and one thing we’re working on is staying focused and nailing down the details on race morning—course inspection, warmups, time management, etc.”
At the Bates Carnival, the Polar Bears finished eigth in both the men’s 20K classic and the women’s 5K freestyle.
“The boys team had a particularly exciting performance at the Bates Carnival, beating both our Maine rivals, Colby and Bates,” said Hannah Miller ’17.
Miller recorded the top individual finish for Bowdoin, recording a personal best with her ninth-place finish in the 5K race and placing as Bowdoin’s top skier in the 15K classic. “Hannah Miller is our top skier, and she had a fantastic race in the Bates 5K freestyle,” Alsobook said. “She had been sick earlier in the week and was feeling pretty drained, but she really dug deep to put up a fantastic finish.”
For the men, Jackson Bloch ’15 was Bowdoin’s top finisher in the 20K race, placing 22nd with Tyler DeAngelis ’15 following closely behind in 29th place. Malcom Groves ’17 was the top finisher in the 10K freestyle, placing 35th.
“Jackson Bloch and Tyler DeAngelis were both outstanding in the Bates 20K classic,” Alsobrook said. ”They’re both seniors and this race was years of hard work paying off. Malcolm Groves has made a big jump forward this year—he’s come a long way in the past few months.”During the UVM Carnival, Bloch was once again the Bowdoin men’s top finisher, placing 22nd in the 10K freestyle and 33rd in the 15K classic race. DeAngelis finished closely behind Bloch once more in the 15K race, finishing 42nd while Groves finished 42nd in the 10K race.
The Polar Bear women also performed well, with Miller once again finishing first for Bowdoin by placing 23rd in the 5K freestyle and finishing 28th in the 10K classic. Ellen Hands ’18 was Bowdoin’s second-best finisher in the 5K, finishing 50th, while Shelby Aseltine ’15 served as the next-best Bowdoin performer in the 10K finishing 45th.
“The carnival season is always nice because it provides a lot of bonding time between all the racing, long van rides and morning practices,” said Miller. “The nordic team is small and a tight group of people and I’m definitely thoroughly enjoying spending nearly every waking hour, for at least the next five weeks, with them.”
“We’ve had some fantastic individual efforts in these first couple weeks,” Alsobrook added. “At the same time, I don’t think we’ve skied up to our potential yet.”
“We’ll be working on the little things to get better, such as skiing transitions aggressively, staying calm and relaxed before races, and bringing a little extra focus to our preparation all week long.”
The Polar Bears return to action next weekend at the St. Michael’s Carnival hosted at Sleepy Hollow in Huntington, Vt.
Left of pesky pole: Long-standing loyalties cannot be deflated
In his writings about the importance of morality in American society, Tocqueville never once mentioned football air pressure. And yet, over the past week, I have endured a barrage of moral questions about my allegiance to the New England Patriots. Casual and apathetic football observers ask how I can justify my support for a team of cheaters. While I reflexively defend the team that I’ve supported since I could hold a football, I can’t help but reflect upon my loyalties.
For those that have avoided the excessive coverage of this football scandal and followed the real news over the past week, here’s what happened: The Patriots thrashed the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game, 45-7, to advance to the Super Bowl.
Immediately after the game, rumors started to swirl that the footballs the Patriots used were illegally deflated, making the balls easier to throw in the cold and rain. The NFL promptly launched an investigation into the matter, which has yet to yield any formal accusations of wrongdoing.
The Patriots have unequivocally denied intentionally deflating the balls. Coach Bill Belichick went so far as to give a physics lesson about the way in which the cold weather may have caused the balls to deflate naturally in a press conference.
Meanwhile, Patriot-haters have had a field day. Quarterback Tom Brady received more scrutiny at his press conference than President Obama. Players and coaches around the league have condemned the Patriots organization. Former Panthers General Manager Marty Hurney even claimed that the Patriots have “a culture of cheating.”
Unfortunately, such accusations are not completely unfounded. Before Deflategate, there was the Spygate scandal in 2007 in which the Patriots were caught illegally videotaping the signals used by opposing coaches. In the second of three Super Bowl victories, the Patriots defeated Hurney’s Panthers in 2004. It’s reasonable for Hurney to believe that this victory was tainted by foul play, although there is no evidence to prove it.
Some Patriots fans argue that these violations are not that big of a deal. They’ll say that everyone bends the rules, and the Patriots have just been caught because success breeds greater scrutiny from jealous opponents. Maybe so, but that still doesn’t diminish my disappointment. When is “it’s OK because everybody’s doing it” ever an acceptable explanation for anything?Sports are supposed to be especially immune from the corruption and moral ambiguity that exists in other aspects of life. Off-the-field issues aside, football ought to exist in a neat world of absolutes on the field: in bounds or out of bounds, win or lose. This simplification, combined with the unpredictability of the game, creates a wonderful escape for millions of fans.
If your team wins, you shouldn’t have to question how they did it or whether you picked the good guys. But that’s exactly what I will do if the Patriots beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl on Sunday.
And yet, I don’t have a choice but to hope and believe that they’re innocent. I was born and raised a New England Patriots fan, and I will never relinquish that part of my identity. Some may question how I could possibly support a team that frequently flirts with the line of legality. How could I defend Bill Belichick who, in the eyes of many Americans, bears a striking resemblance to the evil Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars?
Here’s the thing: my dedication to this franchise is deeper than a coach, or a Hall-of-Fame quarterback, or the air pressure of a few footballs in one playoff blowout.
It’s inextricably tied to my pride for my hometown and this wonderful region that the Pilgrims stumbled into. It’s connected to the bond that I share with my dad and brother and grandfather, as we share in the joys and agonies that come with surrendering a piece of ourselves to this team that we have no control over.
It’s because of this emotional investment that I feel so much disappointment in my team when they (allegedly) cross the line. But, I can criticize the guilty personnel without giving up on the team and all that they represent in my life. Just as healthy patriotism requires a scrutiny of elected officials, so does football fanhood.
If you cheated, shame on you Mr. Belichick. But I will continue to root for the players that work to bring the Super Bowl back to New England, and I will continue to support this symbol of home and family. That seems like the moral thing to do.
Men’s basketball plays its way atop NESCAC standings
Although the men’s basketball team’s 68-65 road win over Colby last Saturday launched it to a tie for first place in the NESCAC (13-4 overall, 4-1 NESCAC), it learned this week that captain Keegan Pieri ’15 is out for the remainder of the season with an injury.
In the Colby game, the first after Pieri’s injury, captain Bryan Hurley ’15 and Lucas Hausman ’16, who has been averaging over 22 points per contest in the last seven games led the way for the Polar Bears with 24 points and a team leading four assists in the contest.
Colby held a slight advantage throughout the first half and led 36-27 going into the break. However, the Bowdoin defense came out strong in the second half and was able to turn the game around by forcing low-percentage shots.
John Swords ’15 dominated the glass with 10 rebounds, which took away Colby’s opportunity to regain control of the game and opened up the floor for Bowdoin’s shooters to make a run as the game approached its final minutes. Bowdoin remained behind until Hausman hit a clutch three followed by another from Liam Farley ’18 to give the Polar Bears a 48-47 lead. From there, they were was able to increase their lead to eight heading into the final minute of play.
The game was tightly contested down the wire, with team totals in field goal percentage and rebounds only slightly favored Bowdoin at 39.7-38.3 and 39-38, respectively. However, Bowdoin had a clear advantage in free throws—the Polar Bears hit 16 of their 18 attempts, including five from Hurley in the final 30 seconds of play, while Colby was only able to convert 10 of their 15 shots from the line.
Hurley ended up with 23 points and three assists; 13 of the points come in the second half. He was named NESCAC Co-Player of the Week for his performance.
“It was nice to beat them [on the road]” said Hurley. “It was one of the biggest crowds they’ve ever had.”
It was Hurley’s seventh win against Colby in his four year career.
Trinity, which is ties with Bowdoin at the top of the conference, takes on the Polar Bears at 7 p.m. in Morrell Gymnasium tonight for sole possession of the NESCAC standings. Bowdoin will have will have to stay alert on defense and not allow the Bantams, who lead the league in getting free throw attempts, to get to the line.