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.

Teachers make progress in unionizing

William Pitts

Staff Writer

The teachers of Goucher College have made significant progress in their recent efforts to unionize, with the college’s decision to allow the teachers to conduct their own secret ballot election on the matter. The National Labor Relations Board will mail the ballots on November 25, with voting to be completed on December 8. All it takes is a majority “yes” vote for the teachers’ union to be formed. All undergraduate contingent faculty members, those who work either part-time or full time, are eligible to vote. If the resolution passes, the next step for the union will be to elect a temporary bargaining committee to assist in negotiating the new contract. First, the committee will survey all faculty members on what they want out of their new contract and use the results as a baseline for their negotiations. Once the committee and the administration agree to a proposal for the contract, the union will have final say in whether to accept the terms. “We bargain our own contract and we decide what to bargain over!” declares a letter that will soon be published on the faculty’s website at goucherfacultyunion.org. “No one will pay any dues until a majority of people here at Goucher vote yes on a contract.” School administration’s position on the matter is, according to Sociology assistant professor Jeffrey Dowd, “…still one of (albeit informal) neutrality.” Goucher president Jose Bowen has come under fire recently from pro-union posters that have been hung all over campus. The issue revolves around his hiring of a lawyer (whose identity was not disclosed) from Jackson-Lewis, a law firm that is known for taking a strict anti-union position in these matters. However, according to Dowd, Bowen has gone on record saying that he merely hired the lawyer because of his previous experience working with Goucher, and that his affiliation with Jackson-Lewis had no influence on his decision. Students were invited to give their thoughts on the unionization at a meeting in Meyerhoff Arts Center on November 12.

Search Begins for new Assistant Dean of Intercultural Affairs

Rachel Brustein

Editor-in-Chief

The administration is currently in the early stages of searching for an Assistant Dean for Intercultural Affairs. The position was posted on Goucher’s website on November 4, and describes the position as someone who “will provide leadership for a new office of intercultural affairs…[and] engage in outreach to –and support for- all underrepresented students.” The position is not entirely new. Previously, the college had an Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs, but that person was also responsible for the Equal Opportunity Program (EOP). Search committee co-chair and Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies, LaJerne Cornish ’83, explained that the school “wanted to uncouple” that position so someone’s sole purpose would be intercultural affairs. Mary Tandia will remain the EOP Coordinator. The main goal of the new position is to have someone to reach out to students of color, international students, students of low socioeconomic status (SES), first-generation college students, and LGBTQ students. Cornish said the position would address “diversity in every form.” In addition, the college is creating a new Office of Intercultural Affairs. Cornish explained that this office will “create intercultural programming and opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue within and among the various campus constituencies.” Eventually, the office will have a staff of two or three people who will be hired with the help of the new Assistant Dean. Karen Sykes, International Student Adviser, and hopefully a staff member to specifically with LGBT students, will work under the assistant dean. Vice President and Dean of Students Bryan Coker explained that a big question is the location of where the office will be, and with the Stimson Project coming into play, that is something the college will have to consider. This office will also play a role in working with admissions, as “prospective students need to see that we do to meet the needs of a diverse student body,” Coker said. Once the assistant dean is hired, Cornish said, he or she “will be integral to developing the process” and has to assess the needs of the college. Coker, who began working at Goucher in February of 2013, said that one of the first things he noticed when he started at Goucher was the lack of efforts in diversity and inclusion. “Structurally, there was a lot we weren’t doing [as an institution in terms of diversity,]” Coker said. Many of Goucher’s peer institutions have intercultural centers on their campuses. He explained that the college needs to prepare students for the diversity that exists in the real world. Coker elaborated on the Program Prioritization Process, an administrative evaluation last spring, which looked at what Goucher could be doing better, and “one recommendation that was specific to student affairs…was [to] decouple EOP and all of the diversity support and programming.” He added that he hopes that the new office will “really engage the campus community in discussions about diversity and inclusion…[and] privilege.” This includes discussions about all kinds of diversity: race, opinion, lifestyle, religion; the list can go on. The creation of this office is a piece of the Shared Visioning initiative from Student Affairs launched last spring. The search committee, chaired by Cornish and Director of Student Engagement, Stacy Cooper Patterson, consists of two faculty and staff, and in addition to Cornish and Patterson, four students, and one alumne/i. Patterson explained that the committee was chosen as a collaboration, and she worked with members of Goucher Student Government (GSG) to find students who would be a good fit for the committee. She wants the students on the committee to be able to engage other students in the process of finding the right candidate for the job. Committee member, Yabby Faris ’17, explained, “underrepresented students lack institutional support from Goucher College [and the college] currently has no programs and support systems to specifically cater to marginalized and underrepresented students.” This is especially true for students of color. She hopes that the new office will create a safe space “that is easily accessible to all students who are underrepresented.” As the co-president of Umoja, the Black Student Union, she plans to get student input from club members. Lexi Rudolph ’16 is also on the committee. “I am looking for someone who is aware and willing to building a community around not only the different groups of ethnicities on campus, but also support for the LGBT community and for the different religious communities [and] who can create support systems for all these groups and then work to unite the entire Goucher community,” she said. Rudolph wants Goucher to be a place where differences are “acknowledged and celebrated as opposed to not really discussed at all.” She also noted that she wants to talk with other students about the search process and gain feedback from her peers. Angelo Robinson, associate professor of English, is a faculty member on the search committee. Robinson believes that this position “shows direct intent and leadership on issues of diversity.” He acknowledged that the college is evolving to promote and produce a diverse class of students. He also said that students of color have told him that they see a lack of diversity in the students and faculty, and hope to see this change. Robinson added that this position would hopefully help to attract more students, staff, and faculty from diverse backgrounds to the college. An ideal candidate, Robinson explained, will have leadership abilities, experience, sensitivity, interpersonal skills, and a commitment to diversity.

New project spiffies up Stimson

Anurag Chaudhary

Staff Writer

The Stimson Courtyard Beautification Project was held on Saturday, November 8. The event spanned the entire day, in which artists from all across campus participated. In addition, there were many onlookers who came to see the artists painting the boards. The project was the brainchild of Kali Santor ’16, who is also the CA for Lewis 1. The event was entirely organized by Santor and nine other CAs for Stimson. Their goal was to have the artwork up before Thanksgiving. For this, they made an online submission box for artwork through Google forms, which was open from October 22 to November 1. On this form, artists had to describe what their artwork would be about, and what medium they would use. They also had the option to submit a photo of their artwork through the form. From there, a committee chose the final paintings and had them approved through the administration. On November 8, the paintings came to life. The artwork on the boards before this project was more than eight years old, and it was necessary to repaint the outdated boards in the courtyard. The boards are a very important aspect of the Stimson Courtyard, and they had become very old and shabby looking. There was also a lot of graffiti on the boards, which were taking away from the overall environment of the courtyard. It was time to freshen up the courtyard. Because so many people pass through the courtyard every day, the artwork was an important aspect of the environment of the courtyard. This project would completely overhaul the aesthetic of that space and make it more appealing. By doing this, the CAs hope that students will be more willing to walk through the space and use it on a more regular basis. The project was hugely successful, and the participants painted three of the five boards. Santor also adds that it is an ongoing project and says that there is still space for more artwork. She encourages artists who want their artwork showcased on the boards to get in touch with her and submit their artwork. Anyone who has an idea can email Kali Santor at kasan003@mail.goucher.edu.

BIG changes to come to Goucher in next few years

Rachel Brustein

Editor-in-Chief

On Thursday, October 23, President Bowen met with faculty and staff in a two-hour meeting, where he discussed several possible changes for the college. A week prior to the meeting, Bowen e-mailed a memo to faculty titled the Big Ideas Group (BIG) memo. There were six attachments, including the memo itself outlining the potential changes, and several pieces of data about Goucher, liberal arts colleges, and higher education.

The memo stated that Bowen had met with the Board of Trustees, where they recognized the need for change in a variety of areas of the college involving both short-term and long-term plans. In order to make changes, the memo explained that the college has to come up with a clear way to articulate its uniqueness. There has to be something that distinguishes Goucher from other small liberal arts colleges. The data presented in the attachments will be used as a jumping-off point for thinking about what the next steps are for Goucher. Bowen presented a wide range of related topics in the memo. These included the budget, facilities, recruitment, retention, curriculum, diversity, and defining Goucher’s value and identity.

During the meeting, Bowen encouraged faculty and staff to voice their concerns and ideas relating to the changes for the college. The biggest question was “where to start.” Geoffrey Miller, the Director of Athletics, said the college needs “to work on the identity crisis first,” and establish who the college is as an institution in order to attract more students.

Bowen read the college’s mission statement, and explained that while it is good, it is similar to those of other liberal arts colleges. Goucher needs to market what its talents and differences are in order to brand the school.

Ailish Hopper, the chair of the Peace Studies Department, bought up the topic of mentoring as a way the college can distinguish itself. She believes that mentorships don’t necessarily have be between professors and students, but between students & students and faculty & faculty as well. Hopper also brought up the idea of teams faculty and staff mentoring students. “We would be showing…that we, at our best moments, are that community of collaboration. I think that really is a strength at Goucher… I think naming not just mentorship, but a culture of mentorship that also includes the skill of collaboration, would be great,” she said.

Bowen and the faculty and staff discussed various possibilities for academics and curricula. One idea is getting rid of freshman grades. Bowen said, “I think we could get rid of all grades, but I’d settle for freshman grades.” He also suggested cutting the number of majors that are offered or get rid of them all together and have students design their own majors. Students would also partner with an advisor to help them select classes that would suit their interests. Bowen stressed that if the college moved towards this model, students would still be able to do tracks like pre-med, but they would just have to ensure that the requirements fit into their course of study.

The idea of self-designed majors brought up the idea of changing the academic nomenclature. Students would declare a mission rather than a major. Bowen explained this would be a “repackaging” of a major, and “a way to filter through what matters to you.” This would enable students to choose a course of study replete with classes that are of importance to them.

Maureen Winter ‘13, an instructor in the French Department, noted that she sees first-year students who are anxious when the topic of choosing a major is mentioned. She agrees with Bowen’s philosophy that “your major doesn’t necessarily matter all that much.” As a student at Goucher, she chose to study French because she felt supported by the faculty in the department. This demonstrates how choosing a major and finding a mentor or advisor can be seamless for some students.

Bowen noted that in designing one’s own major, there would be an issue of progression that could affect students who wished to study in STEM or education fields. “We could do that [progression] with thinking skills, rather than disciplinary knowledge,” he said. Other countries use a similar method to the one Bowen described.

Nina Kasniunas, assistant professor of Political Science, raised some concerns about the demographic changes the college will face in the coming years and how the new model could impact students if it is put in place. For the second year in a row, the majority of first-grade students in the United States are minorities. This kind of demographic change may have a huge impact in the way colleges need to teach. “Not doing anything isn’t an option…,” Kasniunas said, “we need to be aware of this demographic shift.”

Bowen also wants to reevaluate the Liberal Education Requirements (LERs) at Goucher. This system is still relatively new but has already become a part of Goucher’s identity as a college. This school year is the first in which every class is under the LER system. “The LERs are the classic example of the liberal arts ideal,” Bowen said. The LER is also a major topic in the discussion of changing the curriculum, as it’s unclear whether they will provide structure for first-years and sophomores or if they could become streamlined in the in the process of creating one’s own curriculum. One faculty member brought up the concern that LERs would just become a “laundry list” from which students must check things off.

Eric Singer, professor of International Relations and Interim Associate Provost for International Studies, said, “What we’re thinking about…is how to change the organizational philosophy and culture here.” He explained that all constituencies on campus need to recognize the need for change, and be “open to experimentation” in order to do so. “People have to actually be willing to rethink their characteristic way of learning in a common environment,” he added.

One of the many things about Goucher’s identity that should be taken into consideration is the identity of its students. Chaplain Cynthia Terry pointed out that identities are not singular, and that the reality is that “we’re all intersections of multiple identities.” Terry explained that if students designed their own major it might increase the possibility for them to intersect their academic, religious, and extra-curricular identities. It could “allow for the space to grow and make changes,” she said.

One of the major aspects of Goucher’s identity is its study abroad requirement. Terry pointed out that the college should articulate why it requires everyone to study abroad, and needs to explain why it makes a difference that everyone does so. Daniel Marcus, associate professor of Communications, described the requirement as “a hurdle for the college” as none of the other colleges in the country require such a commitment. “It should remain an important and vibrant program, based on great incentives rather than as a blanket requirement,” he said.

Not all parts of Goucher’s identity lie within the realm of academic requirements. Winter, who is a contingent faculty member, mentioned the union as something that is currently a part of Goucher’s identity. The union “is part of our commitment to treating each other with respect and dignity,” she said, “[and] a testament to our commitment to social justice.”

“It really matters that we’re all talking and listening,” Terry said when the meeting concluding. However, the role of students also needs a place amidst all of the possible changes. Peejo Sehr, Director of the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE), pointed out this concern. She believes it is important for students’ voices to be heard, and their concerns to be addressed and taken into account before making a decison No matter what course of action Goucher decides to take, change is inevitable. President Bowen is beginning to ask questions about how Goucher will choose to define itself as a liberal arts institution, and how it will shape the way it is defined.

Provost Marc Roy announces resignation; search committee assembled

Shaina Kanter

Staff Writer

Dr. Marc Roy began working at Goucher College in June 2007 as the Provost. Looking back, he is still able to visualize what first attracted him to this campus. “The atmosphere, the emphasis on international and interdisciplinary learning, environmental studies…the culture of the college really drew me here,” Roy said.

A few weeks ago, Roy decided to resign on June 30, 2015. Though he will miss his job, and faculty and staff will miss him; Dr. Roy asserts that now is a time of change.

“When you work at the administrative level, there’s a certain amount of time when you can be effective, and you have to try and figure out how much longer you can be effective in a particular position. And with the new president coming in, who’s got terrific ideas, a lot of enthusiasm, I thought it would be best if he were able to work with somebody that he chose so that he can really have the best opportunity to implement his visions.”

Dr. Roy sees President José Bowen’s new term as the catalyst for the transformation Goucher College is embarking on, and he views his specialties and skills as being better suited elsewhere during this transitive state of the college. “There are many factors that influenced the decsion, and certainly I want President Bowen to have the best support he can.”

Dr. Roy assures that he would support President Bowen as Provost, but his history with the college makes it difficult for him to help President Bowen with his goals. A new provost appointed in part by President Bowen would, in Dr. Roy’s opinion, help with the fruition of his hopes for the institution.

Dr. Roy added, ”Not that I dwell in the past, but you can’t forget the past. And that was a part of the decision.”

This is a time for both the college and Dr. Roy to step into the future. Though he is “undetermined” about the potential trajectory of his career, Dr. Roy is excited for new prospects. “I am a tenured member of the faculty, so I may have a sabbatical leave and then teach in the biology department. And I will also look at other opportunities that come along, and if there’s something that really intrigues me then I might apply for some other jobs. My first love was teaching, and so I may well go back to teaching.”

Bowen commented, “Marc Roy has served Goucher incredibly well and loyally for 8 years as Provost. We will miss him in this role, but I know he is also a terrific scholar and teacher. A search committee is being formed and will be announced in a week or so. The faculty have initiated a process to nominate and then elect 4 members of the committee, one of whom will be co-chair.”

The search committee, according to Dr. Roy, will produce an announcement that describes what they are looking for in a new provost. The traditional first day for new hires is July 1, the first day of Goucher College’s fiscal year.

As his last day on the job grows closer, Dr. Roy reciprocates feelings of co-worker admiration, at the risk of sounding cliché. “It has really, and this sounds trite I know, but it’s really been a pleasure working with the faculty and staff and helping to support student learning. Goucher is a fabulous place with many great people. And I will miss being in this job, but I know that some other good opportunity will be there: maybe teaching, maybe somewhere else. “

On Tuesday, November 4, President Bowen emailed the faculty, staff, and trustees informing them that a search committee of twelve people has been selected, and that the process will begin soon. In February, candidates will be brought to campus. There will be more information to come on Goucher’s website.

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