Bowdoin College students gathered Thursday to urge Sen. Susan Collins to vote “no” on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. HANNAH LACLAIRE / TIMES RECORD)

BRUNSWICK — Cries of “If you believe her, vote no” rang out across Bowdoin College Thursday evening as hundreds of students gathered to urge Sen. Susan Collins to vote no on the confirmation of Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh and to stand with Christine Blasey Ford and other survivors of sexual assault.

Students walked out of class at 4 p.m. in protest, livestreaming as they did. The protest was organized by Bowdoin Climate Action and other on-campus groups.

Isabella McCann, a student with Bowdoin Climate Action leads students in asking Sen. Susan Collins to vote “no” on the Brett Kavanaugh. (Hannah LaClaire/The Times Record)

 “I am screaming no at the top of my lungs,” freshman student Livia Kunins-Berkowitz told the crowd of protesters gathered in front of her. “I am privileged,” she said, to scream no in a country that “silences so many people.”

Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual misconduct by three women: Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick. Collins is among a small group of senators who said they were undecided on his confirmation, electing to wait until after the results of the FBI investigation.

Livia Kunins-Berkowitz, who was arrested for protesting in Sen. Susan Collins’ office last week, tells her fellow students that she did so not because she was brave, but because she was scared. (Hannah LaClaire/The Times Record)

Kunins-Berkowitz was one of 10 Bowdoin students arrested in Washington DC last week after protesting outside Collins’ office. While she did not expect to get arrested in her first month of college, she felt compelled to travel to DC with her fellow students, “not because I am brave, but because I am scared.”

In the United States, 35 percent of women have a four-year college degree and 33 percent of women have experienced contact sexual violence, she said.

“This is my country,” Kunins-Berkowitz said.

Following her, student Amber Rock spoke in solidarity with women who have experienced sexual violence, saying that as a survivor, it “permeates your entire existence.”

“We will not be quiet,” she said, “We will show up at the polls.”

There was a table set up in front of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art where students could register to vote or write a letter to Collins.

Bowdoin College students register to vote at Thursday’s protest. (Hannah LaClaire/The Times Record)

Emily Ruby called 2018 the “year of the woman,” and told the senator that if she votes for Kavanaugh she will have lost the “credibility you have with women in your state.” She encouraged everyone to “take it one step further and register to vote.”

Casey Edmends-Estes, a registered independent, said it is not a partisan issue and that it’s a matter of the rule of law. The son of a public defender, Edmends-Estes is another of the students who was arrested last week and said he did not want to see Kavanaugh “defile” the integrity of the country’s justice system.

Matt Keller, a member of Bowdoin Climate Action, thinks even before the accusations of sexual misconduct, Kavanaugh was not fit to be on the Supreme Court due to his view on presidential immunity and his connections to Pres. Donald Trump.

“This is our future,” Keller said. “He could be in the Supreme Court for 40 or 50 years, which could be the rest of our lives.”

It was important as a young person to speak out and speak loudly, he said, because “it seems like we are not being heard.”

Due to the “highly charged political nature” of the event, representatives of Bowdoin College declined to offer an official statement on the walkout and protest.

Survivors of sexual violence seeking help can call the Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine’s 24-hour line at 1-800-871-7741.

[email protected]

Bowdoin College students raise their hands in solidarity with sexual assault survivors and against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. (Hannah LaClaire/The Times Record)

 

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