Friday, November 5, 2010

Gown to Town: Stuff it, you ungrateful cretins!

We confess that it’s been some time since we gave thanks for the presence of Bowdoin College and its students in our otherwise hapless and hopeless town.  We have not been faithful in conducting a weekly homage to St. Polar Bear in gratitude for the Administration and students’ forbearance toward we the unwashed and unenlightened of Brunswick.

So it is with some humility that we pass along a well deserved wire-brushing from one of our betters in the Bowdoin class of ‘12.  Here are a few tempting tidbits from his (or her) letter in the Bowdoin Orient:

You know what's awesome about Brunswick? Bowdoin College. Without Bowdoin, what is Brunswick?

However, the point is Brunswick thrives on the presence of Bowdoin College, both financially and culturally. 

And definitely don't welcome Brunswick residents into your lives, because they tolerate you less than you could ever imagine.   

Suitably chastised, we realize now that we should be thanking these transient party animals for the influence they exert over our local election outcomes.  And how grateful we should be for the pennies on a dollar the College pays in property taxes compared to the rest of us.

Color us suitably ashamed. We’ll announce a sackcloth and ashes parade through the campus as soon as we get approval from the President’s Office.



  2. It is nothing more than a letter to a College newspaper by a College student. Put it into some perspective.....

  3. And it was passed along as nothing more; simply a view expressed by a Bowdoin student.

    Just as a NY Times column by Paul Krugman is nothing more than a personal opinion in a nationally distributed liberal publication.

    What would it take for such opinions to rise to a higher level of concern in your view, Maineeack?

  4. Hey, there, Maineeack. Perhaps you noticed that today's Ostrich, dated Monday, November 8th, based their lead article on Bowdoin student partying (or to be more precise, 'drinking.')

    And in that article, they mentioned the very letter cited above.

    We here at the offices could infer that the Ostrich took their lead from our reporting on that letter 3 days ago, but that would be poppycock, wouldn't it?

    Oh well.

  5. You never know, that little pissant letter writer might grow up to inherit his daddy's development company and come back to wreak havoc on Brunswick just like J. Hilary Rockett II !

  6. This is going to take several posts- I apologize in advance: As a Bowdoin student, a resident of the Pine Street Apartments (the event which Mr. Samir Sheth addresses in his emotion-filled letter), and oddly enough, as the above commenter joked, a member of a family long-involved in development, I believe I have a vested interest in this conversation. (My last “qualification”, of course, is just a joke pointing out the odd coincidence- please do not use that as anti-elitist banter.)
    First, let me say that Bowdoin is lucky to have Brunswick and Brunswick is lucky to have Bowdoin. They complement each other quite well, and much more so than other campus communities like Lewiston and Bates College. But let me also say that I understand Samir’s frustration, although I do not necessarily agree with his presentation of the issue. I do not believe he wrote the letter with the intention of eliciting some sort of constructive discourse concerning the town-gown “issue” (if such a thing exists), but his crass style has brought a conversation to the table that needs to be discussed.
    As a student here, I have always felt that relations between Bowdoin students and Brunswick residents have been tense (as opposed to the jovial relationship between the Bowdoin administration and the Brunswick town administrators lauded by our President, Barry Mills). Why is this case? Brunswick residents blame poor attitudes of the all-too-commonly labeled wealthy, elitist, and out-of-touch drunken Bowdoin students. Bowdoin students blame the crabby, elderly, unsupportive, hateful Brunswick residents. And from this discussion, it seems like Bowdoin students live in their own little world- a neatly groomed “country-club-esque” campus while Brunswick residents stay in their quiet little town, away from the “evil-doings” of these drunken students.
    All of these characterizations are blatantly false. Bowdoin attracts a large number of diverse students- racially, regionally, and socioeconomically diverse. This challenges the oft-held perception of white and wealthy Bowdoin students by Brunswick residents. And Brunswick residents are hardly unsupportive- I see them at Bowdoin sporting events, attending Bowdoin lectures and film screenings, and sitting in on our classes as discussion-contributing auditors. The truth is that Bowdoin students contribute to the Brunswick community through volunteering and supporting local business and Brunswick residents contribute to Bowdoin by getting involved at the College through various avenues. Unlike a Lewiston-Bates relationship, Bowdoin and Brunswick have felt lucky to have each other and have, until recently it seems, continued that happy relationship. This sets the stage for our Halloween night party at Pine Street about which Mr. Sheth wrote his fiery letter to the Brunswick community.

  7. It has been a long-held tradition here at Bowdoin (the College seems to want to crack down on traditions, but that’s for another discussion) to hold our Halloween Party here at Pine Street. It’s one of the very few parties in the year that draws our entire campus together (the Social Houses serve as gathering places for masses of freshman and many sophomores, but fail to attract the upperclassmen). We began preparing for this party literally weeks in advance, securing funds for the alcohol, planning a pre-barbeque, arranging meetings with our campus Security, and making trips to all of our neighbors to notify them of the upcoming celebration and give them our cell phone numbers (so that they might call us if the noise got too loud at anytime in the night). The residents of the Pine Street Apartments did all of this groundwork on our own, and we all had to pitch in money to fund it ourselves- no college funds could be used because it involved alcohol. We requested that Randy Nichols, the head of Security, call Brunswick Police to advise them of increased foot traffic in the area, and to notify them that a party would be happening that Saturday night. There were 12 students acting as event-hosts and alcohol-hosts supervising the party- all of whom had attended mandatory training before the event started. It may have helped if Samir had explained this back story that shows that this was not some impromptu gathering of kids plastered out of their minds bent on blasting Brunswick residents out of their beds with loud music. In fact, within the first 10-15 minutes of our party (before any students had arrived and we were trying out the speakers), one of the speakers blew out. Our DJ turned the remaining speaker to half-volume to avoid a similar disaster.

  8. Students began showing up around 10:45, and by 11:22, the police had arrived. As you can imagine, for all of the planning and prep work that went into this event, it was extremely frustrating for Pine Street residents. Samir’s letter was an immediate, reactionary (and I’ll admit, quite thoughtless) lashing out at Brunswick for their 3 noise complaint calls (which, by the way, came from Jordan Ave.- around a half mile away.) Should he have been so harsh? No. But, was his frustration understandable given the circumstances? Absolutely.
    The main point of my rambling thoughts (which, for better or worse, this post has become) is that there needs to be a little more give-and-take on the part of Bowdoin students and Brunswick residents, and a lot more communication between the two. Had Brunswick been notified of our long and intense preparation for an event that was shut down a mere half-hour after students began arriving, they probably would have been much more receptive to having their sleep possibly interrupted for an hour and a half that Saturday night. (Our party was slated to end at 1:00 a.m. in accordance with Maine law, but students flock to our late-night Super Snack at the dining halls anytime between midnight and 12:30, so the party would have been at its peak for no more than an hour and a half.) And had Brunswick residents communicated their expectations for noise levels and party length to Bowdoin students, a compromise could have been made avoiding the police threatening us summonses, a mess of 250 students inefficient and dangerous jamming up of the streets on their exit from the party, and Samir’s impassioned letter to the Bowdoin Orient. Bowdoin and Brunswick cannot live without one another, so it’s time we started trying to live together again- and that’s going to take a lot more flexibility on both sides and a lot more communication.

  9. In response to bwd12's commentary, let me first offer that my previous comments were not joking around about Bowdoin College alumni wreaking havoc upon Brunswick. Furthermore, every time Bowdoin buys up Brunswick property (South St., Coffin St.,Harpswell St., Cleveland St.,etc.), that property ceases to produce tax revenues for the town of Brunswick,increasing taxes for the rest of us.
    Now,please tell me, in all your planning for this event, did you ensure that there would be no underage drinking and no violation of the noise ordinance? If I were to throw a wingding in my neck of the woods,there would surely be strong, immediate response if either of those infractions were to occur. "You got to fight, for your right, TO PARTY!" (Apologies to the Beastie Boys, before your time I'm sure)
    There are some things about the College that are absolutely wonderful, and I'm glad that it's here, but it is a dark, powerful behemoth that is hard to keep in check for the local peasantry............