Campus Monitor - Bowdoin College

Antisemitism Tracker

Total Antisemitic Activity:

To see more information on how AMCHA determines antisemitic activity, click HERE.
To report a concern, click HERE.

Classification Date-Description
9/5/17 – A swastika and homophobic language identifying two individuals were among graffiti, including the word “FUKKK,” discovered on three whiteboards in the Bowdoin College Visual Arts Center.
1/21/17 – An approximately three feet by three feet swastika and the satanic reference of “666” were stomped into the snow near Osher Quad.
1/15/17 – An unknown individual defaced the Osher Quad with a swastika and satanic imagery. Date of incident is approximated from article.
BDS ACTIVITY: BDS VOTES 4/29/15 – A school-wide referendum on having the college participate in the academic boycott of Israel was held, and the proposal was defeated, with 71% voting against it, 14% for it and 15% abstaining.
CALLS FOR BDS 4/6/15 – SJP launched a petition calling for a school-wide referendum on having the college participate in an academic and cultural boycott of Israel.


In the News ?

September 8, 2017:
Press Herald- Racist, homophobic graffiti found in building on Bowdoin campus

September 8, 2017:
The Bowdoin Orient – Students unite after campus bias incident

September 8, 2017:
Bangor Daily News – Swastika graffiti reported at Bowdoin College

January 26, 2017:
The Bowdoin Orient – College examining snow swastika incident

October 15, 2015: The Bowdoin Orient – Volunteer work is more effective than ideological activism
(Description note, “Let’s start with the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), whose presence was everywhere on campus last semester. Regardless of your stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, people should understand that our efforts towards a boycott are unlikely to alleviate any suffering in the West Bank. SJP advocated a boycott that failed a referendum. Whether or not the referendum passed, however, it would not have made an impact on the conflict. There is absolutely no way that Bowdoin College’s decision to boycott Israeli products would have any effect whatsoever in this ageless struggle. Raising awareness for this issue will perhaps have a very slight impact, but will distract us from issues that we might be able to actually help… The same can be said for the divestment movement. Even if you thought that divestment would not merely be a symbolic act, the benefits of advocating for divestment are miniscule. Those who make financial decisions at this school have made up their mind against divestment. President Mills was against it, and so is President Rose. Activists who sat in President Mills’ office in hopes of convincing him to divest were praised for their activism. But surely, given his refusal to divest, their time would have been better spent volunteering or advocating an issue that might actually change. In their quest to do good, they chose to try to engender pointless discussions rather than go volunteer for a cause that could actually help people.”)

September 10, 2015: The Bowdoin Orient – Window of opportunity (Description note, “At the end of the spring semester, Students for Justice in Palestine initiated a referendum and heated debate on a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Bowdoin, a campus not known for a culture of political activism, felt an undercurrent of change.”)

May 7, 2015: College Insurrection – Bowdoin College Israel Boycott Referendum Crushed

May 7, 2015: The Washington Times – Bowdoin, California students reject Israeli divestment as issue surges on campuses


May 6, 2015: The Bowdoin Orient – Boycott referendum fails (Description note, “The referendum calling for a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions failed with 228 students (14 percent) voting in favor, 1,144 opposed (71 percent) and 247 abstaining (15 percent), according to a campus-wide email from Bowdoin Student Government President Chris Breen ’15. Students had from Saturday, May 2 at noon until today at noon to vote; 1,619 students voted (85 percent of the student body… Members of SJP were first seen taking down, and then writing “false” next to certain statements on posters opposing the boycott. ))

thumbs-up  May 6, 2015: Bowdoin – Bowdoin Students Overwhelmingly Reject Boycott of Israel (INCLUDES PRESIDENT STATEMENT) (Description note, “Eighty-five percent of Bowdoin’s student body of 1,915 (including students studying away) voted electronically over a period of four days, concluding at noon on Wednesday, May 6. The turnout was the largest for any student vote in recent memory. “There was never any question about Bowdoin College joining this movement,” said Bowdoin President Barry Mills, who issued a public statement in December 2013 strongly opposing any boycott of Israeli institutions. “That said, it is gratifying to see this resounding and unambiguous statement by our students who clearly understand the vital importance of open discourse between scholars and educational institutions and the free exchange of ideas and knowledge.”)

May 4, 2015: Jewish Voice for Peace – JVP Supports Students for Justice in Palestine at Bowdoin(Description note, “We at Jewish Voice for Peace support Students for Justice in Palestine at Bowdoin College, and their referendum calling on their university to boycott academic and cultural institutions complicit in Israel’s illegal and immoral occupation of Palestine…. Further, we at Jewish Voice for Peace insist that the Bowdoin SJP academic and cultural boycott campaign is not anti-Semitic.”)

May 2, 2015: The Bowdoin Orient – In opposition to the student referendum on a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions (Description note, “If a boycott were to take effect, the implications would include: No academic collaboration with scholars acting as representatives of Israeli universities, No ability for someone to study abroad at an Israeli University, No visiting appointments for Bowdoin faculty at an Israeli University, No publication in any journal or press affiliated with an Israeli institution, No exchange of curators or scholarship related to antiquities in our museum, No visits to Bowdoin by anyone acting as a representative of an Israeli institution, If this referendum passes, it will severely restrict Bowdoin students’ educational opportunities as well as those of faculty and staff.”)

May 2, 2015: Legal Insurrection – Bowdoin College students start voting on total Israel boycott

May 1, 2015: The Bowdoin Orient – BSG recalculates number of signatures needed for referendum on boycott (Description note, “On Thursday, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) revised the number of signatures that Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) must obtain on its petition calling on Bowdoin to participate in an academic and cultural boycott of Israeli institutions in order to prompt an official student referendum on the issue. According to BSG’s constitution, student-initiated petitions require the signatures of one-fifth of the student body to bring an issue to an all-student referendum. A two-thirds majority of at least one-third of the student body is required for a referendum to pass.”)

April 30, 2015: Legal Insurrection – ALERT: Bowdoin College Students May Vote on Israel Academic Boycott

April 16, 2015: The Bowdoin Orient – Importance of boycotting (Description note, “The point of the boycott is to cut institutional ties with Israeli universities and cultural institutions for as long as they normalize, fully aid and abet Israel’s policies of apartheid, occupation, siege and systematic discrimination.”)

April 13, 2015: The Wesleyan Argus – SJP petition is anti-Semitic (Description note, “the “Petition for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel” that has been circulated by SJP, is deeply anti-Semitic and should be labeled as such. I make this claim within the framework of our State Department under former Secretary Clinton and President Obama who adopted the “Three Ds” test for identifying twenty-first century anti-Semitism

1. Demonization: SJP and its agents consistently and unfairly demonize Israel and compare its “genocidal practices” to those of the Nazis during the Holocaust or South African apartheid.  Such comparisons are, of course, illegitimate and false.

2. Double Standards: The petition notes “Israel’s systemic violation of fundamental human rights.” The multitudes of nations with significantly worse human rights records than Israel (China, Russia and Saudi Arabia to name a small few) are left unmentioned.

3. Delegitimization: The petition questions Israel’s fundamental right to exist as a Jewish state and SJP’s agents label Zionism (the movement articulating the principle of Jewish self-determination) as racist. SJP and their boycott petition fail the test.”)

April 10, 2015: The Bowdoin Orient – Denouncing SJP’s one-sided narrative (Description note, “The Bowdoin chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has called for an “academic and cultural boycott of Israel,” as evidenced by senior Christopher Wedeman’s March 27 article entitled “Israeli academic institutions treatment of Palestinians worthy of boycott.” We are writing to condemn this boycott and strongly urge the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) to reject the resolution. Instead, we call upon Bowdoin students and all members of the Bowdoin community to initiate an informed conversation that is respectful to all sides.”)

April 10, 2015: The Bowdoin Orient – SJP petitions for academic and cultural boycott of Israel (Description note, “SJP began collecting signatures on a digital petition this week, and if it can garner the support of one fifth of the student body (about 360 signatures), then the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) will organize a referendum that would require a two-thirds majority to pass. At press time, the petition had 156 signatures.  An academic and cultural boycott of Israeli institutions would mean that the College would not take part in events funded by Israeli institutions or invite scholars to speak on campus as representatives of Israeli institutions. Israeli scholars would be welcome to speak on campus as individuals not affiliated with any organization… The current petition proposes that the boycott remain in place until Israel “ends its occupation and colonization of all Palestinian lands,” among other demands.”)

April 3, 2015: The Bowdoin Orient – A Jewish-American perspective on Zionism and Israel-Palestine (Description note – author is Sinead Lamel, a member of Students for Justice in Palestine, “It is not anti-Semitic to reject Israel as a state with racist laws and genocidal practices. If anything, such criticism shows a thoughtful consideration of the Holocaust, by refusing to accept in silence a normalized narrative of oppression. It is a tragedy that Israel was created in response to the Holocaust.”)

April 2, 2015: The Bowdoin Orient – SJP organizes week to promote awareness of conflict in Palestine (Description note, “The week’s activities began on Saturday, with a screening of the documentary “The Stones Cry Out,” which sheds light on the struggles of Palestinian Christians, who are a minority in predominantly Muslim Palestine. The filmmaker, Yasmine Perni, said that she found that people in the West are more likely to pay attention to others’ struggles if they are Christians as opposed to Muslims. 
Sunday, Tufts faculty member Thomas Abowd visited Bowdoin and gave a talk entitled “Gentrification and Urban Manifestations of Colonialism: Palestine to USA.”.. SJP is a fully student-run organization, though it receives funding from the Student Activities Funding Committee…SJP is taking further action to bring attention to these issues on campus.“There will hopefully be a vote on the ballot for the BSG elections asking the student body whether or not it wants to support the academic and cultural boycott of Israel,” said Wedeman)

April 1, 2015: Bowdoin Petitions – SJP Petition, “Petition for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel” (Description note – 158 signatures as of 4/10/15. Petition states, “It is resolved that the Bowdoin student body endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions…This boycott will remain in place until Israel: 1. Ends its occupation and colonization of all Palestinian lands and dismantles the Wall; 2. Recognizes the fundamental rights of the Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and 3. Respects, protects and promotes the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”)

March 27, 2015: The Bowdoin Orient – Israeli academic institutions treatment of Palestinians worthy of boycott

November 7, 2014: The Bowdoin Orient – Terrorism lecture sparks protests over strong rhetoric (description note: “Wedeman is one of the founding members of Bowdoin’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a student group that, according to its Facebook page, “promotes the self-determination of Palestinian people and their liberation from Occupation.”“It’s interesting that Bowdoin gave him a platform to speak like this,” said Wedeman. “In a speech about the War on Terror, not a single word was spoken about the biggest state sponsor of terror in the Middle East. Which would maybe be a tie between Israel and the United States.”)

January 24, 2014: The Bowdoin Orient – SJP responds to Mills’ rejection of the Israeli academic boycott (Description note, “In response to a statement issued by President Barry Mills on December 24 in which he expressed his rejection of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has written a petition lambasting Mills’ position and voicing support for the boycott. The petition has 52 signatures at the time of publication, including those of two Bowdoin professors… “The free exchange of knowledge, ideas and research, and open discourse among scholars are all essential elements of education and progress,” Mills wrote in his statement, published on the Bowdoin Daily Sun. “I disagree with and reject the [ASA]’s recently announced boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Rather than stifling discussion and the free exchange of ideas, Bowdoin seeks to serve the common good through direct and open engagement with and collaboration between researchers, scientists, teachers. and artists across the globe.”)

January 24, 2014: Bowdoin Orient – SJP responds to Mills’ rejection of the Israeli academic boycott


Photo Album - Campus Antisemitism

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BDS Tracker

5/6/2015 – Student Government; Campus Wide Vote: FAILED – 71% vote no, 14% vote yes, 15% abstain.

BDS Instigators: Student & Faculty


Student Group(s) Promoting BDS: 1



Number of Faculty Endorsing the Academic Boycott of Israel: 1

  1. David Collings