Midd. bans Red Bull, Bowdoin fights mini-sombreros

This week at various NESCAC schools a popular energy drink has been banned, politically correct culture has been debated, and a dialogue on race has been opened.
The Middlebury College Administration made the executive decision to ban the sale of energy drinks such as Red Bull and 5-Hour Energy on campus. The reasoning behind this ban stems from the administration’s claim that these drinks lead to dangerous alcohol abuse and contribute to other high-risk activities. The administration also states that the drinks were banned due to possible heart failure. While Middlebury students acknowledge the health detriments of energy drinks, many felt as though the administration overstepped its boundaries by limiting students’ ability to purchase legal non-alcoholic drinks.
This week Bowdoin College dealt with a cultural appropriation conflict. In the past 16 months, the Bowdoin administration has had to address three separate instances of theme parties that were deemed inappropriate and discriminatory. Most recently, a group of students hosted a birthday “fiesta” that included mini-sombreros and tequila. The administration, prompted by students’ complaints, took action and sent party-goers and hosts disciplinary notifications following their involvement in possible “ethnic stereotyping.” These notifications are similar to ones that students received in the past two school years as a result of  “gangster” and “Native American” themed parties. Students, both involved and not, told the Orient that they understand how the latter two parties clearly promote cultural appropriation; however, many students are perplexed at the strong negative response to the tequila party. Some Latino students told the Orient that they found this response “mind-boggling” and wished to draw everyone’s attention to the “Mexican Heritage” night in the dining hall a week after the incident.  This incident at Bowdoin highlights the significant impact that  politically correct culture has on our society.
At Colby, political correctness has also taken a prominent role on campus. In the Civil Discourse this week, students expressed disappointment in SGA’s “Suit Up Day” and SPB’s tradition of Mr. Colby. Members of the community posted on the Civil Discourse as well as anonymously on Yik Yak, and spoke both in favor of and in opposition to these events and the backlash from students. These posts have fostered a dialogue on politically correct culture and what type of role it should play at a liberal arts institution.
In other parts of the NESCAC, both Amherst College and Hamilton College held events that spoke to racial issues at the colleges and in the broader American community. At Amherst, the third meeting of their “Dialogues of Race” series took place, and students freely and emotionally shared their own experiences with race at Amherst. The main topics of conversation at the meeting revolved around class, race, and affirmative action. This series was created after the events of what is now called the “Amherst Uprising,” and since then, students have noticed an “increasing trend of class consciousness.”
At Hamilton, political activist Angela Davis came and spoke about race in terms of democracy. Davis used pop-culture references to help the students understand the importance of activism. In her closing remarks, Dr. Davis focused on the hope that we all have the ability to stop promoting a culture of skepticism, and instead have the ability to promote a culture of hope.

One Comment

Leave a Reply