Community Messages

Update on Racial Justice and DEI Work—June 28, 2021 (Reed, Rose)
As this academic year draws to a close, we are writing—as promised—with an update on the work done across the College during the first six months of this calendar year to better understand the issues of racial justice and to change policies, practices, and operations in order to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion at the College.

Continuing the work—April 23, 2021 (Douglas, Vasudevan)
We write to bring to your attention to and encourage your participation in two important student-led initiatives that further the work we are doing as a campus. Please consider joining the Athletes of Color Coalition (AoCC) and the Asian Students Alliance (ASA) for their Monday, April 26 from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. program: “How to be a better ally: A campus wide conversation.” In addition, on Wednesday, April 28 poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong will join the campus at 7:00 p.m. in an event sponsored by the Asian Students Alliance and English Department.

After the Vigil: Further Conversations—April 9, 2021 (Douglas, Vasudevan)
The vigil on Monday was important for our Bowdoin community. Many of our colleagues were introduced to the lived experience of anti-Asian bias not from across the country but from across the quad and across the street. We heard poetry, songs, prose, and statistics that outlined the seriousness of the issue and the impact it is having on our Asian and Asian American and Pacific Islander peers, colleagues, friends. The Asian Students Alliance, The Student Center for Multicultural Life and the Office of Inclusion and Diversity invite you to continue the conversation about Anti-Asian and Pacific Islander Violence.

Stop Asian and Pacific Islander Violence Vigil - April 5, 2021 (Douglas, Vasudevan)
The Office of Inclusion and Diversity invites the Bowdoin community to join the "Stop Asian and Pacific Islander Violence" vigil on Monday, April 5, 2021 from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. on the steps of the Walker Art Building.  Students, staff, and faculty have collaborated to organize a vigil to bring our community together in the spirit of grieving, honoring, and educating.

DEI Work—Next Steps—March 26, 2021 (Rose)
It has been a month since our campus community completed the DiversityEdu courses, the official beginning of our college-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work together. I am grateful for the commitment of our enrolled students, faculty, and staff to completing the course, especially in light of all that has been required of you during the pandemic. There is more information about follow-on activities and learning opportunities from this course at the end of this message.

Confronting Anti-Asian Racism and Violence—March 24, 2021 (Rose)
Violence against Asians, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and people of Asian descent did not begin last week or last month. While the brutal murders in Atlanta were shocking, members of the Asian community will tell you that anti-Asian racism, hate, and violence is not new and is an ever-present fear. The past year saw a sharp rise in this violence, some of which was reported by the media. Much more of it went unreported. In my recent messages on this, I have spoken out against this racism and violence, and provided links to resources for support for those of Asian identity in our community. I also shared resources created by some of our students and faculty to better understand anti-Asian racism.

Atlanta Murders - March 17, 2021 (Rose)
Yesterday, we again witnessed horrific violence in our country—in this instance, the murders in Atlanta of six women of Asian identity and two white individuals. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families, and also to those of Asian identity in the Bowdoin community who mourn and who worry for their safety and for the safety of those they care about.

Message to the Campus Community—February 26, 2021 (Rose)
I am writing to you again about racism in our society, and specifically about anti-Asian and anti-Asian American racism. A substantial number of Asian Americans and those of Asian identity have been subjected to physical attacks and incidents of harassment motivated by their race and ethnicity.

Community Conversations—February 4, 2021 (Spoerri)
By now you’ve heard a few times from Senior Vice President Michael Reed about the DiversityEdu courses that all Bowdoin students, faculty, and staff are taking. I hope that you have already had the opportunity to take your course and feel you have learned something from the content. If you are scheduled to take it over the next week in person then I hope you are looking forward to it, and if you are doing it online and haven’t yet started, I encourage you to begin as soon as possible. The campus-wide deadline for completing the courses is Monday, February 8. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2021 (Rose)
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday dedicated to the life of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the struggle for civil rights and equality. More than five decades after Dr. King was murdered, we remain far from realizing his hopes for America.

DiversityEdu Course Announcement—January 11, 2021 (Reed)
When I started the draft of this email, my intention was to begin with a wish for a happy new year and, with enthusiasm, to invite you to participate in our first campus-wide diversity education program. But, given the events of last week—during which we witnessed our Capitol building under siege by a group of insurgents, incited by a president and other elected officials who refuse to acknowledge and support a legitimate and legal democratic election process—I could not begin this message with what felt like a hollow “Happy 2021.”

Update on Racial Justice and DEI Work—December 21, 2020 (Rose and Reed)
As this historic semester draws to a close, we are writing—as promised—with an update on our work on racial justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

A Message from Michael Reed—November 18, 2020 (Reed)
As President Rose noted in his June 11, September 2, and October 23 messages, undertaking education and training to address issues of racial inequities, especially anti-Black racism, is a priority and commitment of the College.

Message to the Bowdoin Community—Racial Justice Update—October 23, 2020 (Rose)
On June 11 and September 2, I wrote to you describing the work we will be doing in response to the renewed calls in our society for racial justice and for a sustained commitment to end racism.

Convocation 2020—September 19, 2020 (Rose)
Text of President Clayton Rose's Convocation 2020 "Opening of the College" address.

The Work Ahead on Race and Racism—September 2, 2020 (Rose)
I am writing to follow up on my message of June 11 about our work ahead on race and racism. The police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 23 is yet another horrible reminder of the relentless nature of racist violence and the continued necessity and urgency of this work.

A Message to the Bowdoin Community—June 11, 2020 (Rose)
I have been involved in the work of diversity and inclusion as a white ally for thirty years—in the business world running a diversity and inclusion effort, as a mentor, in my research and teaching, and here at Bowdoin. I believed that I was doing good work, that I was making a difference. But these past few weeks have caused me to reflect on this work, and it is clear that, whatever I have done—am doing—it is not enough.

A Message to the Campus Community—May 2, 2019 (Rose)
Over the course of the last week, and as recently as Tuesday night, there have been several incidents of racial or religious bias on and around our campus. This is a very distressing time for our students who were targeted and a difficult moment for our College, and I am deeply troubled by what has occurred. I am sorry to have to write a message like this as we approach the end of the academic year. But I am committed to transparency around these issues, and you need to know that these things have happened. You also need to know that we will do all we can to hold those responsible accountable, and that we will never tolerate acts that debase, degrade, or threaten members of our College.

A Message to the Campus Community—October 28, 2018 (Rose)
As you know, on Saturday there was a shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Eleven people were killed and six were wounded, including four police officers. On Wednesday, two people, both black, were gunned down at a supermarket in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, by an individual who earlier had tried to enter the First Baptist Church, a predominantly black house of worship. We mourn for those who are gone and grieve with their families, and our thoughts are with those who are recovering from their wounds.

A Message to the Campus Community—October 16, 2018 (Rose)
It is our practice to notify you when an anonymous act of bias takes place on our campus. Regrettably, such an act has occurred. The Bias Incident Group—established at the College in 1988 to provide a prompt response to anonymous acts of bias and to ensure that they come to the attention of the campus community—met last week to discuss this incident. The group’s message appears below. I hope you will take the time to read it and to consider what each of us can and should do to stand against acts like this that seek to diminish and degrade our community.

A Message to Students, Faculty, and Staff—January 15, 2018 (Rose)
Over the course of the last week, and as recently as Tuesday night, there have been several incidents of racial or religious bias on and around our campus. This is a very distressing time for our students who were targeted and a difficult moment for our College, and I am deeply troubled by what has occurred. I am sorry to have to write a message like this as we approach the end of the academic year. But I am committed to transparency around these issues, and you need to know that these things have happened. You also need to know that we will do all we can to hold those responsible accountable, and that we will never tolerate acts that debase, degrade, or threaten members of our College.

A Message to the Bowdoin Community—August 29, 2017 (Rose)
Welcome back. It has been a busy summer, and it is terrific to have everyone on campus as we begin our 216th academic year. I am writing today to provide you with the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Inclusion and to let you know about a search we are undertaking for a senior vice president for inclusion and diversity, a new position at the College.

Relocating the Jefferson Davis Plaque—August 19, 2017 (Rose)
This morning, the College is moving a plaque memorializing Confederate President Jefferson Davis H’1858 and eighteen Bowdoin and Medical School of Maine alumni who fought for the Confederacy in the American Civil War from the first-floor lobby of Memorial Hall (where it has hung since 1965) to special collections in Hawthorne-Longfellow Library, where it can continue to be available, displayed, and studied to enable us and others to learn about and acknowledge our history. The reasons for this decision are provided in the statement appended below, which will be posted to the Bowdoin website.

Statement on Charlottesville—August 15, 2017 (Rose)
The racism, anti-Semitism, hate, violence, and death over the weekend in Charlottesville weigh heavily on us all. The murder of Heather Heyer is an unspeakable crime. We mourn her and our hearts go out to her family and friends. The Klan, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and those who give them comfort need to be called out for what they are—despicable. As our College begins its 216th year, let me say clearly and unequivocally that we reject the hate and the violence and the vile ideas that fuel them. They have no place in America or in any civilized society.

Message to the Bowdoin Community—January 26, 2017 (Rose)
It is our practice to notify you when an anonymous act of bias takes place on our campus. Regretfully, such an act has occurred.

Message to the Community—September 1, 2016 (Rose)
As many of you will recall, last December I asked Camille Charles, the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor in the Social Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, and Rory Kramer, assistant professor at Villanova University, to spend time on campus to help us understand better how to make Bowdoin an even more inclusive community, with a particular focus on our students and on race and ethnicity. Camille and Rory spent the spring semester doing their work, and they delivered the report in late spring. It was reviewed with the board of trustees at our May meeting and is available here for your review. As the report says, there is much to be proud of in the progress we have made, and there is work that remains.

Message to the Bowdoin Community—February 24, 2016 (Rose)
As you know from Tim Foster’s e-mail message on Monday, we are investigating a possible act of bias. Tim and his colleagues are spending considerable time gathering the facts, and he will report back to the community when it is appropriate. Bear in mind that any matter that is referred for disciplinary review cannot be discussed prior to resolution. Therefore, depending upon the findings of the investigation and any possible resulting actions, we may not hear from him in the short term. For the same reason, I am also not able to comment on the incident now, but you will hear more from me when the process is complete.

Message to Students, Faculty, and Staff—December 3, 2015 (Rose)
Race is a dividing line in our society, on campuses across our country, and at Bowdoin. Those of color in our community experience Bowdoin differently than those who are white; the difference can be profound and occurs in every aspect of our lives here: intellectual, social, cultural, and athletic. And it exists at a most basic level, with anonymous postings on social media leaving many feeling unsafe. This is not acceptable to any of us, and it is not consistent with our deeply held values.

Message to the Bowdoin Community—September 8, 2015 (Rose)
I have been on campus for a little over two months, and each day I am reminded of the remarkable community that is Bowdoin. The opportunity to meet and talk with so many of you has been energizing, and our conversations have helped me to better understand the College. I am writing to you today, though, not about the many wonderful aspects of Bowdoin, but to make you aware of a problem and challenge for all of us.

Convocation 2015—September 2, 2015 (Rose)
Text of President Clayton Rose's Convocation 2015 "Opening of the College" address.