President Mills: Race and Class in America

To Members of the Bowdoin Community,

Recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City, along with a newly released federal report about police conduct in Cleveland are all vivid reminders that our society continues to face vexing problems associated with race and class. At Bowdoin, there are many members of our community who are deeply troubled by these events and their aftermath, with emotions that run the gamut from sadness to fear to anger to outrage.

As members of the Bowdoin community, we all have a responsibility to both acknowledge these reactions and to support those who seek to widen the dialogue on these issues. And as a leading educational institution in America, we also have a responsibility to foster learning and a better understanding of the full American experience, including the experience of those with backgrounds, expectations, and beliefs distinct from our own.

Dialogue is important of course, but effective dialogue begins with listening. As we process all that we have learned in recent days, weeks, and months, it is important that we come together and provide support through understanding, respect, and empathy. Only then can we be effective in moving forward together.

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. 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. And, these discussions and commitments must continue even when the focus on class and race inevitably recedes from social media and the 24-hour news cycle.

I am proud of our community and I fully support all of the conversations and expressions of commitment that are taking place. This is vital work and we must keep at it.

Sincerely,

Barry Mills

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