Message to the Community — September 1, 2016

To the campus community:

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.

I am writing to tell you about our next steps.

This report provides valuable insights into the issue of inclusion at Bowdoin, and we now need to take this analysis and determine for ourselves what should be done. I have formed the Ad Hoc Committee on Inclusion to spend time this year reviewing the report and to make recommendations to me. Critically, in addition to issues of race and ethnicity addressed in the report, the group will also examine the challenges of inclusion for our first-generation students and those students on significant amounts of financial aid, where a lack of resources, work schedules, or other factors may limit a student’s opportunity to participate fully in the life of the College.

The committee’s specific tasks are: 

  • Recommend which aspects of the report should be adopted—in whole, part, or in some modified fashion—to address the challenges and opportunities of greater inclusion for our students
  • Recommend what additional steps should be considered to make Bowdoin an even more inclusive campus for our students
  • Recommend what might be done with respect to our programs, resources, and approaches to address the challenges of inclusion in ways that further enhance and encourage a central aspect of our mission—that of deep engagement and discourse by our students on the most difficult and uncomfortable ideas and issue

The committee members are:

Olufemi Vaughan, Geoffrey Canada Professor of Africana Studies and History, chair of the committee

Leana Amaez, associate dean of students for diversity and inclusion

Ron Brady ’89, P’19, trustee

Andrea Cross, senior associate director of student aid

Michael Eppler ’17, member, Bowdoin Student Athlete Advisory Committee

Ann Kenyon ’79, trustee

Mohamed Nur ’19, student representative to the Special Committee on Multicultural Affairs of the Board of Trustees

Roy Partridge, special assistant to the president for multicultural affairs and visiting assistant professor of sociology

Scott Perper ’78, trustee

Wirunwan Pitaktong ’17, multicultural representative, Bowdoin Student Government

Marilyn Reizbaum, Harrison King McCann Professor of English

Beth Stemmler, James Stacy Coles Professor of Natural Sciences, department of chemistry

Alice Wiercinski, associate director of athletics

Eli Orlic, vice president and special assistant to the president, will provide staff support to the committee.

I am very grateful to this group for their willingness to devote the time, energy, and their considerable judgment to this important task. They will complete their work and provide me with their recommendations before the end of the academic year. I will then be back in touch with you to share their conclusions and the next steps.

If you have thoughts for the committee, please e-mail them to adhocinc@bowdoin.edu.

All the best,

Clayton