Students weigh in on Stimson Project and campus renovation

Adeena Ellison

Staff Writer

In a meeting that took place earlier this month, President Bowen wanted to hear the opinions of what current students would like to see in the future physical spaces at Goucher. This action is being led by students in the Stimson Area and Student Space Project Working Group, as well as various members of faculty and staff. It was here that two scenarios of the possible changes to the Goucher campus were revealed. Scenario one showed the rebuilding of both Froelicher and Stimson halls. Here, Frolicher would become a “first year village,” consisting of mostly double rooms, and Stimson would become apartments including full kitchens for upperclassmen. At this time, there are no full apartments on the Goucher campus. The concept to house all of the first year students in one location is to help the first year retention rate by ensuring that first years are together and able to connect to their peers while also being close to the many surrounding facilities.

What about Stimson dining? Dean Bryan Coker explained that Goucher will be moving towards central dining in one large location in Mary Fisher, leaving Hooper and Dulaney as they are. This new space would be an additional 3000 square feet, being large enough to hold all of the current eating options we have in one large location. Since this location will be closer to academic buildings, it is anticipated that it will not only be more convenient for students, but it will also allow faculty and staff to join students for meals.

In the second scenario, Stimson would stay and housing would be built above and around the dining hall. The future Goucher is still very early in the stages of planning and no decisions have been made. These outlines are important for President Bowen to use to fundraise and both options are still being considered from a cost and fundraising standpoint “Scenario two might be cheaper in the short term, but in the long term Frolicher has to come down anyway,” Bowen said.

At the meeting, students expressed concerns about the intention behind building apartments for upperclassmae, hoping that this was not to create a situation where students would be forced to live on campus for all four years. Bowen agreed that is it not a good situation when the college has to reject student requests for living off campus. Yet at the same he would like to make it more appealing for upperclassmen to stay a part of the Goucher community.

Bowen addressed the fact that only 31% of current faculty members live in Towson. With the new buildings, Goucher is also considering adding faculty apartments to the dorms. In the far future,  Bowen hopes to be able to create a section of faculty housing near the academic buildings.

When can Goucher expect to see any of these changes? Realistically, construction will begin in the summer of 2016. While the majority of the current students will not be here to experience any of these changes, students are encouraged to provide feedback for the future of Goucher.

President Bowen responds to contingent faculty’s union plans

Rachel  Brustein

Editor-in-Chief

On October 7th, College president José Bowen sent an email to the faculty acknowledging the contingent faculty’s decision to unionize. Bowen referred to this decision as “an important issue for our campus.”  He mentioned that he worked with non-tenure track faculty at his previous institution, Southern Methodist University, “on actions that increased participation in governance and provided greater inclusion,” and wants to accomplish that at Goucher through “direct dialogue” with the faculty.

The email contained anti-union language. For example, Bowen stated in the email, “before you take the step of trusting an outside entity to control your interests at Goucher, I’d ask you to give me a chance to talk with you…and work with you directly to make teaching here a more rewarding and better experience.” In the email, Bowen also asked the faculty to educate themselves about unionization before signing the commitment cards. He explained, “if the SEIU [the union] wins the right to bargain collectively, it will demand that Goucher agree to force all non-tenure track faculty, as a condition of employment, to become a member of the union and pay dues or pay an equivalent amount as a non-member agency fee. If that demand becomes part of the agreement with the union, you will have to pay dues or fees, or you can be discharged from the college.”

A document titled “FAQs about SEIU’s Organizing Efforts on Goucher’s Campus” was attached to the e-mail. This document, distributed by the administration at a faculty meeting before the email was sent out, contained information about unionization, authorization cards, appropriate bargaining units, unionization dues, and collective bargaining.

On October 16th, Bowen sent an email to the entire Goucher community reiterating many of the points he made in the original email sent to the faculty. 

Both the email from Bowen and the supplementary document can be found on Goucher’s website.

Goucher students respond to unionization plans

Rachel Brustein

Editor-in-Chief

During the last two weeks, students across campus have written and signed a petition to show support for the contingent faculty who are unionizing. Samuel Kessler ’16, a member of the Radical Leftist Club spearheaded the petition. Zachary Hill ’16 finalized it on the week of October 13th along with other members of the Radical Leftist Club, and a professor who is on the organizing committee. Kessler explained, “we felt a need to really clearly declare that unionization is in line with Goucher’s principles.”

Since then, there has been both online and paper versions for students to sign. Radical Leftist Club members have been out on Van Meter with hard copies both this week and last reaching out to students and gaining support. As of Tuesday, October 21 the online petition had between 300-400 signatures.

The petition acknowledges that “a union is a worthy avenue to ensure that Goucher’s non-tenure track professors have an equitable voice within the structure of their employment,” and requests for “the Goucher College Administration to remain neutral during the process towards the unionization of Goucher’s non-tenure track faculty.”

Through the petition, Madeleine Scott ’16, explained, students are “showing that we’re there for [the faculty]…and showing the administration that we care about this.” Hill added, that among the petition’s many purposes, one is “to include information about the unionization of the faculty,” so that the entire student body knows this is happening. Unionizing enables the non-tenure track faculty to have a fair discussion without the pressure from the administration.

An online version of the petition can be found and signed at change.org.

There has been talk of student representatives from the Radical Leftist Club, along with a union organizer, hand-delivering the petition to President Bowen by Thursday, October 23.

Goucher celebrates Mental Health Awareness Week

Shaina Kanter

Staff Writer

This year, Goucher’s Mental Health Awareness Week ran from Monday, October 6,  to Friday, October 10. Events included a week-long mental health awareness film festival as well as two days of suicide prevention tabling. Health Center intern Ashley Worthington coordinated the events. Along with organizing campus-wide events, Worthington also helps to advise the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC).

Worthington’s main goals for the week included “getting information out there.” This included giving students suffering with mental illness more information regarding on-campus resources and support options, as well as educating the general public about this major health issue.

Worthington and other students oversaw the Suicide Prevention tablings. Many of the student volunteers were either members of SHAC or Peer Facilitators. Those who volunteered to table were excited to spread awareness, and feedback from students was positive despite some reservations about discussing such a heavy topic at first.

Sarah Eckhart, a Peer Listener, said, “I think that with any event you just need to grab the people in, but once they do they’re very excited and enthusiastic about these types of things.”

Yael Lazarus, a member of SHAC, said that misconceptions of mental disorders cultivate fear. While Sarah said that discussion is important because it fosters an environment where supportive networks can bloom.  She added, “There has been starting to be some panels on…masculinity or race or sexuality, but I would like to see some discussions start about mental health and getting more people involved in that.”

The general consensus among student advocates of mental health awareness is that it needs to be normalized. Worthington said, “It’s normal. You have a cold; you treat it. You have depression; you should treat it. “

“Most of the stigmas that come with mental illness are something that we need to keep fighting,” Eckhart said. Lazurus agreed, adding, “mental illness is not a bad thing…even though you can’t see it, it’s something that people struggle with…and I think that just through education that’s the best way for people to learn more about it…”

Worthington hopes that informational health campaigns will open the door to interest in the other services provided by the health center. “I wish that people knew just all of the things that we offer…it’s not just a doctor’s office and not just counseling, but we have…light therapy boxes, and all kinds of health information. You can just come in and grab a brochure, or condoms or dental dams…it’s all there,” she said.

Students in need of support have a variety of options. They can call Peer Listeners from 7pm-2am, visit the Health and Counseling Center, or speak with the chaplain. The Health Center has information on support services and general mental health concerns, SHAC meets Monday evenings at 9pm.

Provost Marc Roy announces resignation

Rachel Brustein

Editor-in-Chief

On Friday, October 17, Provost Marc Roy sent an email to the faculty announcing his resignation as of June 30, 2015. Roy began working at Goucher in the summer of 2007 and “has seen many positive changes,” as well as challenges, since coming to Goucher, according to the email. The email said that he plans to either go back to teaching,  or look for a position elsewhere.

A few hours after Roy’s email was sent out, college president José Bowen sent an email to the faculty thanking Marc Roy for his eight years of dedication to the college. Bowen also announced that he is in the process of structuring a search committee to find the next provost. The committee will consist of one vice president, four faculty members, two trustees, two staff members, one student, and one alumnae/i. His email said that he hopes to launch the search as soon as possible.

Author Jennifer Weiner visits Goucher

Megan Meluskey

Sports Editor

On October 8, the Hyman Forum of the Athenaeum was packed with aspiring creative writers and avid fans of the novelist Jennifer Weiner. Weiner, a number one New York Times bestselling-author, television producer and former journalist, shared her story of how she achieved world-renowned success as a creative writer. Known for her novels, “Good in Bed,” “In Her Shoes,” and most recently, “All Fall Down,“ Weiner has made a major impact in women’s fiction. During her visit to Goucher, she met with aspiring creative writers to answer questions about her novels and her work advocating for female writers.

During her talk to the Goucher community, Weiner discussed her beginnings as a writer just out of Princeton, and the path she took that led her to success. She began as journalist for the State College area, writing about education, and then moved around until she got an offer writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Meanwhile, Weiner was working on her first novel, “Good In Bed,” every night until she reached out to an agent willing to help her publish her novel. The novel achieved major success, and her second novel reached enough success to be turned into a movie staring Cameron Diaz.

Weiner’s humor and personality charmed her presentation which was filled with personal anecdotes about her family life and their reactions to her success as a writer. One anecdote was about when Weiner told her mother that her first book was being published. She stated that the moment when one discovers they will be published is the best moment one can hope for. Except for her. Since the title of her novel was “Good In Bed,” the moment was more awkward than special.

The event was packed, and it appeared that all the guests were entertained by Weiner’s life story.

Diversity Committee Reorganizes and makes new statement

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

One of the lesser known committees at Goucher College is the Diversity Standing Committee. The committee is responsible for “the development and timely implementation of tangible institutional diversity goals.” In other words, the Committee is responsible for making sure that students of all races, sexual identities, gender identities, and religions feel represented and safe on campus. It also serves as an advisory board to the President.

The Committee has existed for many years, but has been on hiatus for the past year and a half. It started up again in October. Many of the members have previously worked on the committee, and of those, many have retained their original positions. Still, the committee has been reconstructed in order to better fulfill the needs of Goucher students.

One of the things the Committee has changed is their statement, which was revised to be shorter and more precise. While the original statement was a little over half a page long, the newer one is a paragraph long. It says that the college is dedicated to social justice, diversity, and multiculturalism. It also states they want to provide a more inclusive community for all students.

This year’s Committee consists of two Co-Chairs: Emily Perl and Angelo Robinson, Admissions member Nenelwa Tomi, faculty members James Dator, Johnny Turtle and Isabelle Moreno-Lopez. Other members of the committee include Fred Mauk, Chaplian Cynthia Terry, Robert Ray and Debbie Lupton.

This year’s Committee also has four student members: Nakpangi Ali ’17, Eliezer Cartagena ’18, Yabsera Faris ‘15, and Leena Mazid ’16. According to Perl, these students were chosen because of their work in clubs such as Umoja, FemCo, and PRISM, and because they represent students who come from minority groups. Mazid, for example, was invited the committee by Perl. “I may have been chosen because I am half Syrian, half American, and was raised in a Muslim household,” she said. Mazid has also worked in the OSE, and is a member of FemCo. Though, at the time of her interview the Committee had not yet met, she said, “I would like to offer my voice as a Muslim Arab American woman and feminist. I’d love to engage students in conversations to hear their opinions of the campus.” She also said that the most important issues to her were “religious, ethnic, racial, and sexual diversity.”

Cartagena, a first year student, has already involved himself in several clubs committed to diversity on campus: Umoja, HOLA, FemCo and Prism. He was also a member of the Diversity Committee at his high school. He is very concerned with the issues of micro-aggression on campus.

“I have experienced many racial micro-aggressions since I have been on this campus, and I think a lot of times, individuals do not realize the impact of what they are saying. These micro-aggressions are the reason I want to educate people on campus about diversity. Another issue that I have seen is that people only regard diversity when it comes to race. There are many core cultural identifiers that individuals identify with, and I think people on this campus need to understand that,” he said.

Each of the students on the Committee seems to have their own goals as to what they want to accomplish. None of them had heard of the Committee prior being asked to join, but it’s justifiable, since its coming back after a hiatus.

The staff and faculty members of the committee also have their own goals, which are data collection, recruitment, student and alumni services, education and training, accountability and sustainment of the Committee. The first goal deals with collecting data on students concerning “gender identity (beyond the binary), sexual orientation and socioeconomic status” according to a packet created by Perl. The college does not currently collect any data on any these factors, and information gender identity and sexual orientation are a priority for the college.

The recruitment goal is to recruit more students of color, and first generation college students. Perl talked about a program that will be developed called the Educational Opportunity Program. The programwill be available to Maryland residents who have “high financial need” or who are first generation students. It will allow students to receive extra support from the college. The third goal will provide more support to some subpopulation of students. The fourth goal is to “provide training sessions to all students, faculty, and staff that educate them about appropriate language and terminology and how to work to reduce the perpetuation of various micro-aggressions.” The fifth goal is to make faculty and staff “accountable for developing their own expertise and good practices in promoting diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusion on campus.”

Though not many students were aware of the Committee, before its hiatus, it once played an important role in student life. The hope is now that the Committee has been reformed and reorganized, it can benefit all students in some way shape or form.

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