Some Intercollegiate Updates for Bates and Amherst

3 min read

Sammi Bray ’25 & Olivia Silvey ’25

Managing Editors

Amherst College 

Amherst College announced six individuals that will be honored at their 2023 Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 28, including the president of Moderna and a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet. The College will be awarding the six individuals with honorary degrees from the College and allow them the opportunity to participate in a number of conversations related to their work on Saturday, May 27.  

The honorees include: 

  1. P. Gabrielle Foreman ’86, Penn State University professor and 2022 MacArthur Fellow; professor of English, African American Studies and History; Paterno Family Chair of Liberal Arts; and co-founder of the Center for Black Digital Research. 
  2. Stephen Hoge ’98, president of Moderna Inc. and head of research and development for Moderna. 
  3. Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president emeritus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and researcher in science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. 
  4. Elizabeth Kolbert, author and New Yorker journalist focused on environmental and climate related issues. 
  5. Paul Polman, Dutch businessman, author, and leader of the UN Global Compact. 
  6. Tracy K. Smith, two-time poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner and professor of English and of African and African American Studies in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. 

Bates College

Faculty at Bates College recently passed a new Race, Power, Privilege, and Colonialism (RPPC) requirement, after heavy debate and three readings of the legislation at previous faculty meetings. The new requirement would now necessitate students taking two classes, one with a U.S. focus and one with an International focus. One of the two courses will need to be taken within the student’s major.  

Prior to the April meeting when the legislation was passed, a flyer was passed out with statements signed by a number of faculty. These faculty stated that they did not endorse the proposal as it stood before the April meeting for a number of reasons, including the argument that the responsibility of RPPC education would still “disproportionately fall on those who are already disempowered in our academic structure.” 

Students and professors alike expressed numerous concerns, including the lack of awareness of the fact that RPPC education applies to all disciplines and that many individuals on campus are not aware of the curriculum requirements period. One issue that was brought up in the March meeting was the danger of non-experts teaching on RPPC and the harm that could bring to students of color in the classroom.  

The legislation is planned to go into effect for the Class of 2030 (those entering in fall 2026) at the latest. Courses and requirement fulfillments are to be monitored by a committee made up of one faculty member from each department.  

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