Goucher welcomes Martin Sweidel as Senior VP for Strategic Initiatives

Madeline St. John

Staff Writer

The newest position at Goucher was created by President Bowen. The new role is Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, and is held by Martin Sweidel, who used to serve as associate dean at Southern Methodist University, the same school where Bowen was a dean. Sweidel’s role is to help Goucher take on initiatives to make it a better, more transformative institution—a college that truly changes lives.

Typically, a vice president has a focus in a particular area. Sweidel does not. His job is to help other vice presidents, as well as faculty and staff, coordinate projects that cut across several sectors. Someone needs to have the “bandwidth,” as Sweidel puts it, to organize a cross-sectional response to important issues. Sweidel also hopes to help people make transitions. “Everyone deals with change differently. Change can make people nervous,” Sweidel said.

As for the “strategic” part of his title, Sweidel emphasized that part of “strategy” is about prioritizing initiatives—which things should come first and how many can be done at the same time. Currently, the administration is currently focusing on an initiative regarding retention and enrollment. Working with a cross-vocational team, they are examining student data, performing exit surveys, and evaluating the services that Goucher provides. They are trying to answer questions like: What are students’ expectations when they come to Goucher? Why are they leaving? Were their expectations met? The team is in the process of hiring someone to analyze student data to help admissions better predict which students are the right fit for Goucher.

Sweidel listed three reasons for choosing to come to Goucher. The first was the chance to continue working with President Bowen. According to Sweidel, President Bowen is “the real deal” and he made “wonderful transformations” at SMU. “Life’s too short to pass up the opportunity [to continue working with President Bowen],” Sweidel said.

The second reason was that Goucher reminded him of the colleges where he spent his years as an undergrad. “It was a liberal arts college, it was a small school, it was formerly a women’s college, and it was located on a heavily wooded campus…” Sweidel said that his time at that college, more so than his graduate school experience, impacted his life.

Sweidel’s third reason was that he and his wife were already looking to move to the East Coast in order to be closer to their son, who works in Washington D.C

Sweidel has two degrees in music. He explained that since both music composition and “strategic initiatives” involve problem-solving, he can relate his degree to the job he has no . Sweidel believes “artists and creative thinkers, along with everyone else, should be at the problem-solving table.” Now it is Sweidel’s job to make sure that everyone who belongs at that “table” gets there.

Having been on campus just over a month, Sweidel feeling a bit like a freshman. He is beginning get a feel for the campus, make himself at home, and see the commitment the faculty and staff have to make Goucher the place it promises to be.

Students protest on campus and in Towson; campus converstion follows

Rachel Brustein


Issues of race and discomfort were prevalent on Goucher’s campus this past week in light of the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and students of color speaking out about racial issues on campus.
This past Monday, Dec. 1, over a hundred Goucher students marched around campus and into Towson to protest the Grand Jury’s decision to not indict Darren Wilson. The protest did not start out as such, though. It was originally intended to be a student-organized event where students were encouraged to walk out of their classes, jobs, dorm rooms, or wherever they were at 1pm and meet at the Chapel. This was part of a national walkout happening in communities across the country on Monday.
The event began with students, and also some faculty and staff members, gathered outside the chapel while students involved Umoja read a list of names of people of color who had been killed due to police brutality. While many of the students taking leadership roles in the event are involved in Umoja, the event was not organized by a specific group on campus; it was a product of students from various groups on campus coming together. There was a moment of silence that lasted four and a half minutes, as requested by Michael Brown’s family because it took the police four and a half hours to take his body after he was shot. Students who were moved to speak to the crowd had the opportunity to do so.
After about thirty minutes of standing outside the Chapel, Kevin Guzman ’16 encouraged students begin marching around campus. Students followed him, chanting things like, “hands up, don’t shoot,” “black lives matter,” and “no justice, no peace.” Jordan Leonard ’18 announced to everyone, “where is everyone else?” motivating the group to march and continue the protest into the academic buildings, encouraging students to leave classes and join in. Leonard later said, he didn’t feel support on campus from the students passing by the walkout, he wanted to take the protest “to the people who aren’t there, who aren’t listening.” Eventually the protest made its way into the Athenaeum, and off campus into Towson.
Abby Jones ’17, who was part of the group, explained that the protest marched through the Circle in Towson, past the circuit court and to Towson University. The protesters ended at the district court house, where they gathered around a fountain outside and continued chanting, had another moment of silence, said a few closing words. Jones found that the responses to the protest form the general public to be “fairly positive,” with a few negative instances. Throughout the protest off-campus, Dean of Students Brian Coker followed the group in his car to make sure that the students were safe.
Tuesday night, a follow-uconversation to the protest convened. Students, faculty members, staff, and president José Bowen were in attendance. Associate Provost LaJerne Cornish facilitated the conversation.
At the meeting, Monday’s protest and the voices of student of color on campus became pertinent. Anthony Perdue ’18, who said he came to Goucher to feel a sense of community, said that he did not feel supported after the protest, because other students on campus were devaluing the importance of the protest. “I don’t want to be made to feel that what black students do for empowerment are wrong,” he said. Robert Fletcher ’16, co-president of Umoja, said he has felt uncomfortable as a black student, hearing “flat out racist” remarks from white students, including use of the n-word. “There is a fundamental problem on this campus [of racism] and we need to address it,” Fletcher said.
In response to students feeling uncomfortable that classes had been disrupted during the protest, white student, Sammy Kaye ’17, who left class to join the protest, announced, “think about all those other people who feel so uncomfortable on a daily basis here. What kind of student fighting for equality would I be if I didn’t stand up and help?” Arthur Mutijima ’18, noted that as a student of color, “I’m not being catered to by the Goucher community,” and, “in order for that to happen we need to educate and have discourse about race.”
It was made clear that students of color feel uncomfortable at Goucher. Educating white people who are uninformed and misinformed about race was a critical part of this discussion. “It’s not up to people of color to educate people who look like me,” said Ailish Hopper, chair of the peace studies department, meaning that white people need to be proactive and use their privilege to educate themselves, not rely on people of color to do it for them. “It’s not okay that we don’t know,” said Fletcher, education is crucial. Nyasha Mooney-McCoy ’16 feels it’s not her job to correct everyone who says the n-word or racist comments. She added that she’s uncomfortable because “as students of color, we don’t have the strength in numbers that white students do.” Fletcher mentioned when he hears the n-word he has to “pick myself back up and treat you like a human, even though you’ve shown yourself to be less than human.”
Alexa McCoy ’16 made a point about the incorrect assumption that all black students “come from the same place [and] I hear white people talk all the time, whether or not I want to or not,” but she wants to hear from people who look like her. Rae Walker ’17 expressed sentiment that racism gets “swept under the rug” whenever people try to talk about it, and that the campus finds it easy to ignore racial issues.
A reason why students of color feel uncomfortable at Goucher is because they feel they have to change themselves to fit in. Marissa Charlemange ’16 feels she has “put aside myself to be the correct black person for white people in the room” and is “hurt by the way I’ve had to change who I am because of this campus.” Guzman feels that he has to “erase my identity,” and hates being told to “act white.”
A place where race is not being addressed properly is in connections. Denia Carter ’16, a peer facilitator, transferred here because she didn’t feel her previous school had a sense of community, but still doesn’t feel that this school is diverse. She noted feeling discomfort doing the privilege walk with other connections leaders because she was the only black person. “I’m willing to make change,” said Carter. First-year students alluded to connections and other first-year experiences where they felt uncomfortable because of their race, and it made them want to leave Goucher in certain instances.
Students of color are regularly forced to confront negative stereotypes. Jordan Johnson ‘18, said “I feel like I am commodity, like I am a quota here” and feels disconnected as a person of color. She said she doesn’t say her economic background because she doesn’t want people to assume things about here, “if I leave here, I have no home,” she added.
Alexa McCoy ’16, a leader in Umoja, said Umoja seen as a party club and not an organization. “We do so much more than party…so much more than what is stereotypical,” she said. She feels Umoja needs more support, specifically from black faculty members.
Penelope Durand ’16 noted the concentration of these conversations goes to white guilt. She said, “I feel that my voice is invalid,” and, to white people, “you will never understand what it’s like to be a person of color.”
Cornish ‘83, who is a Goucher alumna, spoke about her experience as a student of color at Goucher. She said when she was a freshman, there were only 9 students of color in her class, and the only employees of color were the dining and cleaning staff. “They told me to keep working hard because I wasn’t alone; they were walking with me, and as I look around this room, I don’t want it lost on you how far we’ve come…we’re better than we were… we’re not where we want to be…and if we leave here, we won’t get better, we’ll only regress….many of us [faculty] could not have been prouder of you for the noise we raised yesterday…there are times when you have to make some noise, don’t you forget it…this is a powerful moment tonight…despite your pain, we hear you, my colleagues and I , we hear you…I’m proud of everyone in this room tonight…It is time you exercise your power.”
Hopper prompted the students with skin privilege “to create a community where all students of color feel safe…feel loved, where white students get race privilege…if any white students want to take me up on that, wear me out.”
President Bowen concluded and thanked everyone for coming and for listening. He acknowledged that as a new president, he is still learning on the job. “I thought I knew the campus…I was wrong,” said Bowen.

Goucher cracks down on crime

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

Student safety is a concern for all colleges, and at Goucher things are no different. Like most colleges, Goucher’s biggest concerns seem to revolve around two things: alcohol and drugs. While alcohol violations are slightly down this semester; eleven violations have occurred this semester compared to about fourteen last fall, the number of alcohol transports have gone up. This fall there has been twenty-three cases where a student has been transported to the hospital because they were intoxicated. Last fall, there were only eight such cases. While some could take this to mean Goucher students are drinking more, Assistant Dean of Students Andrew Wu says otherwise. “I think we’re taking the approach of not taking a chance if a student is sick…It’s very much the decision of the student community living member on call…They’ve just been calling and EMTs are taking the same stance,” he said. Alcohol intoxication is also huge concern for the school, because of the consequences it can have. Earlier this semester, a freshman girl at Towson University died while under the influence.
Drug violations have also increased. This semester, there have been about twenty-four incidents, many involving multiple students where illegal substances have been found. Last fall, there were only ten.
Unsurprisingly, the drug of choice on campus appears to marijuana. Some of these violations may be due to confusion. In October, Maryland passed a law that decriminalized marijuana in small amounts. However, the law does not apply to Goucher’s campus. We are required as an institution that receives federal aid and financial aid…to enforce federal drug laws… We need to abide by federal laws.” Wu said. According to Goucher’s Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Policy, the possession of marijuana on campus is still prohibited by the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989. Therefore, students who are in possession of marijuana can still be punished.
Depending on the level of severity, a student may be given a judicial referral at their third offense for crimes such as having an open container of liquor or possessing a fake ID, while they might given one for their first offense if it is more severe such as driving while intoxicated or providing alcohol to underage students. Drug offenses are handled quite differently, and judicial referrals are given much sooner than if one is violating alcohol policies.
In Wu’s eyes, one of the biggest concerns on campus is an increase in the number of drug violations, particularly repeat offenders and drug dealers.This was not only because it would mean increased drug activity on campus, but that such people would often mean other unsavory figures may come to campus and that such dealings could lead to dangerous activities and safety concerns. Goucher’s on-campus police aren’t trained to handle such cases, and will often call the Baltimore County Police Department (BCPD) for help. It is also up to the BCPD to decide whether a student violator should be arrested or not.
Still compared to many other colleges, Goucher is very safe. Director of Public Safety Richard Puller said, “Here, at Goucher, property crimes account for most of our activity. The most common being a kind of vandalism in the form of sign damage, some graffiti, and the reported theft of unattended property such as book bags, purses and briefcases but frankly even these activities are surprisingly low. So, we are blessed when compared with other area colleges.”
However, many students have appeared to expressed concern about the number of police officers on campus and the increased role that campus security has appeared to be playing and are under the impression that Goucher has sprung up a new initiative without telling them. Dean of Students Bryan Coker, asked to dispel those rumors, “I want the community to know that we were alerted to these matters by other students. There was no initiative launched by the college to find and target dealers—we acted in response to student complaints.”
Wu was under the impression that some students believed that security’s role was to “regulate student behavior” and that Goucher “is a safe haven to do whatever they want.” He also said, “Anytime we make a decision to search, there are three people involved at least…Public Safety, Community Living and dean on call…so we don’t do searches willy-nilly and I think there’s a sort of perception that were doing that right now. We have some good information from a credible source to do the search whether that’s from a student on the outside…or a Public Safety officer.”
Puller on the other hand, is not so sure about students’ impressions of public safety, “I am not sure there is such an outcry. If there is it’s exaggerated. The only outcry I’ve heard of comes from those sanctioned or those sympathetic to those sanctioned. I think the majority of students are perfectly fine with public safety enforcement. They are just not as vocal.” The Radical Left Group was contacted to find out what they thought of the recent developments, but none responded.
Both Wu and Puller, however, have heard many more positive reactions than negative reactions from students. Wu especially thinks this, as he pointed out that many of the changes have been driven by students. Students who do not partake in drug or alcohol consumption may get ‘fed up’ with the impact that students who do partake have.
“Most of our actions have been a response to that,” he said.
Puller said, “I received an unexpected round of thanks from students in response to our recent enforcement efforts. Most importantly, I want the students to remember that Goucher is a very safe campus.”
Coker also said, “ I want to be clear that the college was appreciative of these concerned students coming forward with information, and we were glad to able to address such dangerous activities.”
But perhaps the most important thing to note are the punishments that students may face. As mentioned earlier, students who violate the policy could be given judicial referrals, but the main focus, particularly for first time offenders appears to be education. These punishments may vary from meeting with a student life staff member to writing an essay. While some of these punishments may not seem effective, others seem to think they can work in certain cases. Wu said, “I’m not naïve enough to think they…are never going to do drugs again.” But he believes that punishments vary according to the individual they are applied to. Puller has a similar view. He said, “I believe they can be very effective but this is a complex issue. And the X-factor is the individual student involved…their history, the extent of their use, and their willingness to help themselves.”
Still both of them realize that what is currently going on Goucher is a huge issue that will not change overnight, especially since it seems that the use of illegal substances have increased since last year and it is unclear what exactly the cause is. Goucher students should feel free to contact Andrew Wu, Brian Coker or Richard Puller if they have concerns about other student or public safety.

Goucher students and faculty voice opinions on study abroad

Rachel Brustein


The mandatory study abroad requirement is a defining characteristic of Goucher. It was implemented in 2006 by immediate past president, Sanford Ungar, which made the class of 2010 the first class with obligatory study abroad. Since Goucher’s new president José Bowen has assumed his role this semester, students have been talking about whether or not the requirement will stay. As of now, the college has not made any formal statements about changing the requirement and the freshman class of 2018 is required to study abroad.
Some students find it challenging to fit study abroad into their course of study. Joel Michael-Schwartz ’15 is a music major, concentrating in mandolin performance. Michael-Schwartz explained that the Office of International Studies (OIS) hasn’t approved any music programs abroad, making it difficult for him to find a program that suits his needs. Additionally, Michael-Schwartz said that OIS was unhelpful when he tried to design his own, music-oriented study abroad not affiliated with Goucher. He said, as a dedicated musician, to take an entire semester off from his music would be “crippling to his studies.” Michael-Schwartz could do an Intensive Course Abroad (ICA), but finds them to be more like an expensive vacation rather than a study abroad. “I think it’s [study abroad] a good idea…the principle is sound, but it’s not a good idea if we don’t have the resources or infrastructure to do it well,” said Michael-Schwartz.
Another group of students for whom a mandatory study abroad is particularly challenging are those majoring in the physical and natural sciences, especially pre-med students. Birthe Kjellerup, assistant professor of biology believes a semester abroad is great if it goes with your major, and said it is “important to be a global citizen.” However, science majors could have an equally or more meaningful global experience studying in the United States under the guidance of an international scientist. Still some students, particularly those who are pre-med choose an ICA so their coursework isn’t disrupted. George Delahunty, Professor of Biology and the advisor to pre-med students, said thinks that it’s counterproductive for the college to mandate study abroad, and that Goucher needs “to be a college of opportunity, rather than a college of mandate.”
For other students, study abroad is key to their Goucher experience. Hannah Spiegelman ’15, a history major and art history minor, chose Goucher partially for its study abroad requirement. Spiegelman feels as though she benefitted from Goucher because everyone goes abroad, and it’s a normal part of the experience. Spiegelman added, study abroad “should be something that everyone does as part of their education” because it “shapes you so much as a person,” and nothing can compareto that experience abroad.
Katherine Mowrer ’15, a peace studies major and Africana studies minor, agrees that the study abroad requirement made Goucher stand out among other liberal arts colleges. Similarly, Mowrer believes it’s “important to me that every student would study abroad so that the classroom discussions would be framed in an international mindset.”
The reintegration process that occurs after returning is a challenge many students face. Mowrer spent her entire junior year abroad and believes that reentry process needs to be viewed in another way. There are many pieces of reentry, and the emotional aspect is just one of them. Mowrer also thinks that there is a gap between the students’ experiences abroad and their schoolwork. Emily Levine ‘15, another peace studies major, agrees with this view and feels as though there is not a place to discuss the topics and ideas she learned abroad.
In order to provide an opportunity for students to talk about what they learned abroad, Levine came up with an idea that evolved into the School for International Training (SIT) research presentations. The presentations occurred during Goucher’s International Education Week. She is currently working on other ways to integrate the study abroad experience into academic life, and hopes to give more students to the chance to give academic presentations next semester. Additionally, Levine is working with a local storyteller in hopes of enabling students to tell their stories from study abroad.
Florencia Cortés-Conde, chair of the Spanish department, is also an advocate for study abroad. Cortés-Conde believes it has to be studying abroad, rather than simply just traveling abroad. Studying abroad, she said, is “trying to gain a different understanding of the world that really changes you at a deeper level.” She named living with a host family, attending classes, and experiencing everyday life as key components to study abroad. Flo Martin, professor of French, said “if we’re going to be a global college, we need study abroad,” even if it is not required, the program needs to be strong.
Alumna Kathryn Walker ’14, a French major, finds study abroad to have been advantageous to her Goucher experience. Walker’s major required her to study abroad for a minimum of one semester. She spent her entire junior year abroad. Walker explained, “I never realized how invaluable this was until coming back from studying abroad- my first few weeks of senior year were spent catching up with friends…and really understanding how far we’d all come and how much we’d grown and learned.” She has also found that her time abroad has helped her with her current job, teaching English in France
Students who spend a semester, or year, or three weeks abroad have a variety of reasons for their choice. Katelyn Shiring ’17, an international relations major, thinks “Goucher needs to reevaluate why there are so many restrictions and arbitrary rules when it comes to study abroad. We’re a school that likes to think outside the box, but as soon as you slap rules and restrictions on something that’s meant to broaden a mind, it loses the magic.”
A lot of what is said about study abroad conflicts. Billy Daly ‘16 explained that the school tells students that this is something they must to in order to gain a cultural experience, however, “they care more about what happens in a classroom in another country than what happens not in a classroom in another country,” and the college focuses on “[trying] to fit the learning you did in a box for your major.”
There appears to be yet another disconnection with study abroad requirement: what students actually get and what the school says they will get.
“[Study abroad has] become so institutionalized that it’s seen as a graduation requirement rather than experience and an adventure,” Shiring said. In the near future, the school and the students will need to articulate the reasons and the value, both experiential and monetary, behind the study abroad requirement.

Goucher ‘PRIDE’-LGBTQIA group changes its name

Shaina Kanter

Staff Writer

This semester, Goucher’s LGTBTQIA group, changed its name to PRIDE
PRIDE stands for “people representing individual diversity and equality.” The name change was changed from PRISM due to low membership in the club and negative connotations regarding the group’s former name, PRISM.
“No one in the club actually knew what the old name meant. Equally big was that membership was dwindling. We figured that part of the reason was that people had a very negative stigma of the old name, and we wanted to show that this was a new club with new leadership, and new goals, and a new focus and new structure. And we felt a name change would be a good way to do that. It would be one of the ways to do that at least,” said President Eric Ascher ‘16.
PRIDE was coined by a Goucher group member. Ascher is a fan of the new name. “First of all it’s a great acronym, but moreover it represents being proud of who you are which is [important within] the LGBT community,” he said.
Ascher said that the inner workings of the club have already changed dramatically since last semester, and that the name change will most likely continue this transformation.
“Last semester there were lots of issues: lots of in fighting, lots of drama. But now it’s happier, more peaceful. Everyone gets along for the most part, and I think that if you come to a meeting you’ll see it.”
A former PRISM member, referred to as “they,” by their gender pronouns, has been studying abroad, and therefore wasn’t around for the vote. They aren’t convinced that a name change will remedy the clubs tensions or public image.
“I think the name change is a mistake. I have personally heard that there is stifling transphobia in the club currently, making trans students feel silenced or uncomfortable. Don’t attempt to change the club’s image if you can’t change the club’s attitude. It’s just adding a new coat of paint to a crumbling structure.”
They stated that they saw issues with biphobia, transphobia, and racism within the club, and their agenda as club president largely revolved around eradicating these attitudes. They believe they acted as an activist for queer students by campaigning for such initiatives as more gender neutral bathrooms on campus.
“I’m not gonna lie – it hurts. When I saw the proposal to change the name, I couldn’t help but feel like everything I fought to accomplish with PRISM – dialogues about race and queer identities, combating biphobia and transphobia, and many other things – was rendered inadequate. People don’t understand how damn difficult running and leading a club like PRISM is. It was unbelievably stressful. No matter what I did, somebody was upset. I was disrespected, harassed, reduced to tears on more than one occasion. I ended up dreading meetings. At one point, I was scared to leave my room because of harassment I received from certain individuals. I made some mistakes, and I lost my temper a few times. I wasn’t a perfect leader, hell, I probably wasn’t even liked much, but I tried my hardest and accomplished a lot. It’s easy to criticize leaders if you’re not one of them. It’s easy to sit back and complain without lifting a finger yourself. It’s not easy to lead a group like PRISM,” they said.
Although Ascher is unsure of the name-change’s success, he is optimistic.
“It’s still in the early stages. I would hope that it would change things. I mean that’s the only reason to do it, is if you actually think it would make a difference.”
They are also hopeful that the name change will allow for the club to succeed in social justice initiatives and ambitions.
“I hope that PRIDE can create positive change on campus for LGBTQ+ students. But if attitudes can’t change within the club, nothing can.”
PRIDE meets Thursdays from 6-6:45 pm in the Heubeck Lounge.

First GSG Senate Elections are a success despite low voter turnout

Adeena Ellison

Staff Writer

Earlier this month, the fifteen new positions for Senate as well as the Senate President were filled for the first time under the new constitution. In total, twenty-six candidates ran for Senate positions that allow five students per class, but seniors are not eligible to run. Overall, seven first year students, eleven sophomores, and eight juniors ran for the various positions. They are running for a two-semester term, beginning in the spring and ending at the end of the next fall semester. The candidate for Senate President, Deanna Galer ‘17, ran unopposed. Students had the option to either vote via an online ballot or a polling booth in the Pearlstone atrium beginning November 4. The atrium voting was open during the day, but the online system accepted votes until the late hours of November 7. The following day, students and faculty were notified that after nearly 36% of Goucher student participated in the new Senate would be filled by first years Anurag Chaudhary, Shushma Chapagain, Marina Lant, Erin Carrigan; sophomores Micah Heaney, Nakpangi Ali, Rae Walker, Katelyn Shiring, Alyssa Almeida; and juniors Najah Ali, Daanish Wali, Sarah Callander, Bernardo Rendon and Andrew Krupa. Under the new constitution of the Goucher Student Government (GSG), the fifteen seats on the Senate hold new responsibilities. The new mission of the Senate is to be a part of all student affairs in order to communicate and advocate for the needs of the students to both the faculty and the administration. According to the new constitution, Senate will appoint student representatives to be present for staff, faculty, administration, and trustee discussions. This will allow for Senate to voice the opinion of the students as well as inform students of possible changes, overall creating a better platform for communication. Prior to the election, the GSG held meet-and-greets whereby students could learn about each candidate and how they planned to advocate for student needs. Among the topics discussed at the meetings were diversity and multicultural student support, administration transparency, campus culture, graduation requirements, and the structure of the GSG itself. On November 3, GSG held a series of meetings, one for each grade, to discuss these topics. Candidates for each year were given this list of topics, and at the meeting they could voice their individual opinions and ways they would work to improve them. At the junior meeting, there seemed to be an overall dissent for the communication between the administration and students. One candidate, Bernardo Rendon, points to the student retention rate as a way to highlight this lack of communication. While the administration has done their internal research into why students leave Goucher, Rendon stated “I think the only way to get honest and accurate answers about why students are leaving the school is to start with the ground floor… which is the students.” By leaving out half of the equation, the administration is lacking vital input from those whom their decisions impact the most, students. In addition, candidate Eli Schwartz stated that this lack of communication is something which sums up his entire experience. He states, “What it boils down to, is regulating the flow of information between the administration and students…” He further says that the rumors and misinformation resulting from this always seem to cause a general sense of panic from the student body. As exhibited in the election, there seems to be a gap between student participation in the meetings and their call to vote during the election. Fewer than 10% of the junior class attended the pre-election meetings, but nearly 40% of the school student body voted in the elections. This highlights the need for increased student participation in school politics and that is exactly the need that GSG was created to fill. The GSG seeks to improve communication with the administration, showing students they do in fact have a voice which can incite change within their school. In order for this new system to work, there needs to be a commitment of effort from both the administration and the students.

Speaker raises awareness about sexual assault

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

On November 10, Dr. David Lisak visited Goucher College to give a talk about sexual assault on college campuses. Unlike the Green Dot program, which gives students advice on how to avoid or get out of potentially dangerous situations, Lisak’s program focused more on how prevalent this issue is. Lisak started by talking about how much of an issue sexual assault is, particularly on college campuses. Rape and sexual assault are huge issues around the world, and in America are particularly egregious problems at colleges and universities. Any instances of sexual assault that occur at universities have less to do with the university itself and more to do with the people attending the university. People are most likely to experience sexually assault or rape between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four. These are the same ages that one is most likely to be at college. “The question isn’t ‘does the university have a problem?’ The question is ‘what are they doing about the problem?” Lisak said. Many colleges and universities don’t confront the issue because, as Lisak explained, they don’t want to be uniquely associated with it. Lisak discussed a few sexual assault scandals that had happened in recent years and the reactions that the institutions had towards the allegations. A part of this discussion involved the “myths” that often surround the perpetrators and victims of the crimes. For example one of the myths discussed was the ‘drunken encounter.’ Both parties are believed to be drunk, and therefore neither can be at fault for their actions. Another myth was that of ‘miscommunication.’ This means most ‘rapes’ are actually misunderstandings, the perpetrator thought the other wanted it, when they didn’t. In this case, the victim is often blamed because they ‘should have been clear about what they wanted and it was their fault for not speaking up. The other two myths are solely about the rapists: He only did it once and would never do it again and that he is “basically a nice guy.” The type of rape that Lisak discussed involved a male rapist and female victim, as it is the most common type of rape on college campuses. He did make a mention that anyone can be raped and anyone can be a rapist as well. In a study of 1,882 men, Lisak found that one hundred and twenty of them had attempted to commit or had committed rape or sexual assault at least once. Out of those one hundred and twenty men, seventy-six of them had committed rape or sexual assault multiple times. Lisak referred to these men as “serial rapists.” The serial rapists were more violent than the one-time offenders and had committed over four hundred rapes and six hundred other crimes including domestic and child abuse combined. The presentation also included a short video recording between Dr. Lisak and one of the seventy-six serial rapists, who was a college student at the time. The boy admitted that he and his fraternity brothers would target certain girls, typically freshmen, and invite them to a party for the sole purpose of getting them drunk and assaulting them. He described an incident where he assaulted a girl, and even though she tried to stop him, he continued as he said, “She had done it a thousand times before.” He did not believe what he was doing counted as “rape.” Afterwards, Lisak asked students what they thought of the video. Most appeared disturbed and bothered by the man’s behavior. Lisak described this behavior as typical of a serial rapist: narcissistic, anti-social and having a disregard for the victim’s humanity. Despite the the perceptions most people have, these boys didn’t just pop out of the bushes and assault a random girl. The assaults took careful planning. The fraternity brothers targeted very specific girls, typically freshmen and spent time grooming them before inviting them to a party. At the party, the boys would get the girls as drunk as possible and then bring them to designated bedrooms. The rooms would be furthest from the stairs and would be devoid of any personal items, so that the girls wouldn’t be able to tell who did it. Once the presentation was over, Lisak answered questions regarding his research, the role of alcohol in the assaults and explained how he thought schools should tackle the issue. Some one hundred students attended the event which was organized by Roshelle Kades, the Assitant Director for Social Outreach several other faculty members and student helpers. Earlier that day, Lisak also visited a sociology class, met with staff and faculty, and had lunch with student leaders. This was not Lisak’s first time visiting Goucher College. He had also visited in 2008. Kades decided to invite him because he is highly regarded in his field and that the school tries to invite one person a year to speak about sexual assault. She believes it will help raise awareness and it was a good way of “progressing dialogue.” The talk came just about a week after a Goucher student was sexually assaulted on campus. The assailant was not a Goucher student, but nonetheless it came as shock for the entire community. While Goucher has entirely different community than a larger school like the ones Lisak did his research at, the same general ideas still apply. Goucher still needs to raise awareness about sexual assault, and to encourage people to report anything that happens to them.


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