Letter to the Editor: Concerning the inaccuracies, falsehoods, and general ignorance regarding faculty unionization

Zachary Hill

Contributor

An article was published recently in the Quindecim, authored by a “Goucher Student Against the Faculty Union.” As one of the students involved in supporting the Faculty Union campaign, spreading awareness and collecting signatures to demand administrative neutrality, I was interested to see a dissenting viewpoint. Expecting an insightful, well-formed, critical response to the faculty’s plans to unionize, I was appalled to see that what was published instead was an ignorant, sometimes downright false, reactionary diatribe riddled with inconsistencies.

First, I want to address the claim that students were asking other students to sign “a petition to unionize non-tenure track Faculty at Goucher College.” The petition my fellow students and I wrote and circulated was a request for the college administration to remain neutral (which appears to not be happening) during the process of potential unionization. Furthermore, a majority of the “arguments” made in this piece were taken directly from an email sent to the community by President Bowen, which had a serious slant against unionization. The language used in subtly anti-union rhetoric such as this indicates a confusing misunderstanding of how unions work. The idea that unions will let bad teachers keep their jobs, while simultaneously forcing other, good professors to join or be fired is ridiculous and inconsistent. If a faculty member does not want to be part of the union, they will not be fired and they will not pay full dues to the union. They will, however, still pay half of their dues (since they still get all of the benefits), and they just won’t have a vote as a member of the union would. If and when the faculty wins their union, there will be a period where they work on their contract. Only when the contract has been accepted by all will they start paying dues. And, if a member of the faculty does not wish to be a part of the union, they are not fired. There is no one forcing faculty members to pay full dues under threat of being fired. Further, the claim that Goucher gets “nothing in return” in paying dues to SEIU is absurd, as we will clearly be getting their help in obtaining better working conditions and compensation for our faculty. However, it is not a third party arrangement, as has been argued in many of the anti-union messages I’ve heard and read. Goucher College faculty would be voting for their own collective bargaining unit, representing themselves. SEIU organizers and employees are not the Goucher College Faculty Union; the Goucher College Faculty is. The SEIU is not making decisions for the faculty; they are merely supporting and representing their interests.

Respect for our teachers means trusting them to make the right decisions when it comes to their own employment, not challenging their ability to decide whether or not they want to unionize. It is disrespectful to the work our professors do to imply that their jobs are somehow less worthy of unionization and fair working conditions than physical labor jobs. Our faculty works long hours with expensive equipment, as in any other highly specialized occupation. Finally, since Goucher is in a huge deficit (as is the case with many other higher education institutions), it is highly important that Goucher spends its money wisely and maintains its community values. Fighting the union is a waste of money, when our teachers could be receiving the pay that the lawyer hired by Goucher is receiving. I find it completely absurd, you’ll have to forgive me, that a student at Goucher College who is a member of a union himself would be opposed to the unionization of his professors, to whom he gives his “utmost respect.” Before coming out as for or against the unionization of our professors, remember that their livelihood is your education, and that they are perfectly capable of deciding what is best for their employment. It is not Goucher administration’s decision to make, and it certainly isn’t up to Goucher students.

Taylor Swift: A new era and a new image

Siobhan Dempsey

Staff Writer

Taylor Swift is arguably the most discussed musician in the business today, especially amongst media outlets. In fact, CNN just aired a Taylor Swift special. This 24-year-old singer/songwriter has been extremely successful as of late. Nearly three weeks after her latest album was released, it remains the top album on iTunes, and two of her singles remain in the top 10.

Even if you don’t like Taylor Swift or her music, you cannot deny that she’s making all of the right moves at the moment, especially when it comes to marketing. She has notably taken her songs off of Spotify, speaking out against how musicians are expected to have their music available for free while people still pay for movies and TV. Additionally, Taylor Swift is omnipresent on social media; she has accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, and she interacts with her fans (in between taking pictures of her cats) via all of these methods. Taylor Swift has also recently declared herself a feminist and has started openly criticizing how women are treated in the media versus how men are treated. In her latest music video for “Blank Space” (my favorite song on the album), she plays a parody of how the media has depicted her, openly mocking how ridiculous it makes her seem. Taylor Swift is openly reclaiming her image and it is amazing. I can’t even imagine how much this must be affecting her young female fans. Whenever Taylor Swift comes out with a new album, I usually get it for my younger sister (who is currently ten) for Christmas. A year or so ago, I asked my sister what she thought about Taylor Swift and she said “I like her music, but I don’t like her.” When I asked her why she thought that, she made some comment along the lines of something involving “all her boyfriends,” softening a little when I pointed out that she might be writing songs about other people’s lives too.

I think Taylor Swift is doing an excellent job at reclaiming her image, and I hope and pray that her new messages come down to reach young girls.

Edited for Libel: “I’m a mouse. Duh.”

Sarah Hochberg

Opinion Editor

As the commonly quoted Mean Girls character, Cady Heron, states, “Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.” This is evidenced in the movie during a scene where Karen has lingerie and mouse ears, which is her entire costume. Unfortunately, that’s pretty accurate. A holiday where little kids go on hay rides and trick or treat, pick pumpkins and tell ghost stories, turns very risqué when you get older. For college-age girls there appears to be very little in the way of a creative and spooky costume that’s not a Slutty _____. That’s a shame. Women everywhere, on every day, should have a choice in what’s appropriate to wear. This is not a slut-bashing, slut-shaming omg-cover-up it-is-like-40-degrees-out-here article. If you feel comfortable (and warm!) enough in your own skin to wear extremely revealing costumes, be my guest. If you wait all year to break out that Slutty Devil costume you’ve saved up for, by all means. Strut your stuff girl! What I’m saying is whether girls want to cover up or whether girls want to dress down should be their individual choice, not a stereotype that’s reinforced by cheap costume availability. It should be an option for girls who dress conservatively on average days and want to continue dressing that way to wear a spooky full-dress costume. However, it’s continuously stumping to find a cute, fun old-fashioned spooky getup. You can try buying a Harley Quinn costume, hoping for a red and black jumpsuit but all of the costumes involve thigh highs and tiny dresses. Most costumes are either uncomfortably small or unrecognizable as an actual costume. So if you want to wear lingerie and mouse ears, go ahead. All I’m asking from the costume designing people is a little variety. And warmth. A cute red sparkly dress that covers everything for a Demonic Devil perhaps? Or a blue Dorothy dress that is not showing off to all of Kansas? That’s all I ask for. And maybe some more candy corn. Happy Halloween.

A Goucher student against the faculty union

Derek Grimaldi

Contributor

Over the past couple of weeks, I have witnessed students asking other students on Van Meter Highway to sign the petition to unionize non-tenure track Faculty at Goucher College. Honestly, I do not support the unionization of Goucher faculty. Now, I am a union member myself. I understand what you all are feeling. However, the work I do is more physical and labor-intensive, and thus we need to have a union. We, as a union, work long hours with expensive equipment, and we put our lives on the line doing that. However, when it comes to attempting to unionize college faculty is where I draw the line. Unions are an easy way to let bad professors get away without accountability, meaning they cannot be fired. Everyone under a union receives equal treatment, which is unfair since all professors are not the same. There are professors, both here at Goucher and from my hometown, which just should not teach. If you want to know the truth, I think this will put Goucher further behind than we already are. Goucher is already in a huge deficit. President Bowen wrote a message on the Goucher website regarding union organizing. He mentions that when you are in a union, “you are authorizing a large, national union – of which faculty comprise a very small percentage – to represent you in your employment relationship with the college.” Another point President Bowen brought up in his message is that you are obligated to pay dues if Goucher faculty becomes unionized. The dues “are in the range of $26 per paycheck. Those dues are not returned to Goucher, but are paid in part to SEIU Local 500, where they are used to pay the salaries of union employees.” $26 may not seem like a lot of money, but when you look at the bigger picture, it is a very steep cost. What does Goucher get? We get nothing in return. Lastly, if the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) is passed at Goucher, it will demand that every Goucher faculty member pay dues. Failure to pay those dues will result in a faculty member fired from the college. It bothers me to see that many good professors at this school could potentially be let go because they refuse to comply with demands of SEIU. I value the education I have at Goucher, and I give my utmost respect and very thankful towards the faculty here for providing it to me. This is why I am against unionizing faculty.

Scoop’s Corner: It’s already November?

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

I can’t believe it is November already and it’s nearly time to pick out classes for next semester. I already have my list and hopefully, I won’t have to call my mom three times and sob in my dorm room like I did last fall. But to be honest, I have no idea how it’s so late in the semester already. I don’t know where the time went. Even though it simultaneously feels like forever since the school year started, it also feels as though the year has gone by so quickly. Maybe it has to do with my workload. Last year, I had a lot of papers. This year, a lot of my work has been reading or more hands-on practical work. In fact, I’ve only really written one essay this semester, which is just…weird…I’m hoping that will change next semester. I know it’s a little weird, but I like essays. It’s interesting to research a new topic and write about your view on it. I’d rather have an essay than an exam any day. You will never know what will be on an exam even if you get a study guide. Usually it’s just a list of topics that the exam will cover. An essay is simple, and straight-forward. It’s also harder to forget what you write about later on. At least for me, once I walk out of an exam or test, half the information has already leaked out of my head. With an essay, I’ll memorize at least some of the information just because I spent so much time reading about it. I won’t complain about it though; it’s nice having smaller assignments that can be done in one night. It means I can go to bed early, which is a god-send for somebody with an 8:30 class. It also means I can spend some time fooling around on my laptop and watching Netflix, but it’s kind of boring… I can’t believe I just said that. That doesn’t mean I regret dropping the class I talked about in the last issue. Totally different concern. I would just like to have more assignments that involve writing, not more assignments in general. It’s hard to explain. Like really hard. I’ll just go now…and hide in my dorm room, while everyone judges me…

Edited For Libel: Self – Care

Sarah Hochberg

Opinion Editor

With the craze of midterm week finally dying down, it’s time to get back to basics. For me, that means endless Netflix-binging, book reading, and procrastination-not-doing. Everyone has something, not quite a hobby, not quite doing nothing, but a preferred method of productive inactivity. Over the course of my academic growth in stress management, I’ve realized inactivity can actually be the most productive way to spend a free afternoon. Self-care is incredibly important in whatever way it expresses itself.

     When it’s hell week, and my “free” time is really just when I’m slightly less constantly busy, having time to myself can really be crucial to my mindset and emotional state. Everyone has something, whether it expresses itself in video games, TV, or going for a run. For the extroverted types, it can be catching up with some friends and blowing off steam together. For those who need time to themselves to recuperate and recover, it can be reading or watching TV. The important thing is to be doing absolutely nothing and giving yourself a break. Hey, college is hard and these are crucial years of our youth – we deserve to kick back a little.

     Stress can be one of the most damaging forces to overall health and productivity. Ironically, yes, the more work you’re assigned, the less likely it is you will finish all of it to the best of your ability. Anyone who has been in the Ath in the wee hours of the morning knows, when you’re trying to polish off an essay in a caffeine-fueled haze of deadlines and anxiety, you are not going to come up with your best work. You are not even going to get close. Additionally, prolonged stress can lower your immune system. High anxiety leads to a crappy diet of Easy-mac and Ramen, less sleep, and general illness. There’s a reason the Goucher Plague moves so quickly among students, and we can’t blame everything on Stimson. Just most things.

We’ve all heard the tips from ACE: space out your work, try not to leave things to the last minute, email your professor if you’re struggling with an assignment. These are great tips, and the psychology behind these are to avoid stress and freaking out. A relaxed mind is the most productive way to actually get stuff done instead of freaking out over not finishing the assignment, wasting valuable time and mental resources.

     So, in the end, yes, we all get stressed out. Even the Type-A color-coded Excel sheet people who seem to have everything in order get stressed out. The important thing is to manage it, and then use it to make yourself a better student. Sometimes, you’ll be too stressed to do work, and that’s fine. It’s not the end of the world – paint your nails, play some Frisbee, go to the SRC, watch an episode (or season) of a show you like, go pet Lucy. Do what you gotta do. I’m not directly saying blow off assignments, but you are important too. Maybe push them back an hour or so, and then start from a better place. You will be much happier.

A small-town Vermonter’s experience at Towson’s new movie theater

Sarah Callander

Features Co-Editor

I

n my hometown of Woodstock, Vermont, on the weekends the town hall doubles as a movie theater by pulling down a screen and serving maple butter popcorn. Usually, they choose a movie that premiered several weeks ago and seems a little outdated. When I came to Goucher my freshman year, I was surprised to discover that Towson didn’t have a movie theater. As I learned my way around Baltimore, I discovered the behemoth White Marsh AMC theaters and eventually, the more charming Senator Theater and Charles Theater. I loved how the Senator had the main large theatre with a gilded ceiling and draping red curtains that frame the feature film. Along with slightly more reasonable tickets, they offer special showings of classics like “The Godfather,” “The Shining,” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Sometime last year, I first heard rumors that a new movie theater was in the making and then of course, the evidence. Early on in the construction of Towson’s new cinema, it became obvious that it was going to be much more than a place to watch movies. The Cinemark officially opened late this past summer, but construction still continues on the movie and dining complex off of the Towson circle. I finally decided to take the plunge by seeing the new blockbuster thriller Gone Girl, and I was for the most part pleased with my overall experience.

The parking garage costs hurts a little, but movie-goers get a $2 discount for the parking. Because it was a late showing, my boyfriend and I decided to park on the street, but there is also free parking at the mall, and of course it’s really not a far walk from Goucher. The entrance of the Cinemark is not elegant per se but it is remarkable. The huge flights of stairs, escalators, lines of people, and boisterous teenagers all form to create a mass of energy and confusion. Our student tickets cost $9.50 each, but for a couple of dollars, you can upgrade to the reserved seating that has food service as well. At the top of the escalators, there are seemingly dozens of food options – more than the usual movie menu. Off to the side is an arcade area for if you get bored of the movie or are killing time while waiting for friends. The seats in the movie theatre were actually very comfortable, but it was surprisingly full considering how many theaters (within Cinemark) were showing the movie and how early we had arrived.

“Gone Girl” did everything that it advertised it would do as a thriller and I felt satisfied with the film and the experience. Yet, I still felt oddly ripped off even though I hadn’t even spent that much on the ticket. I felt like at every corner the Cinemark was trying to get a few more dollars from its visitors with parking, dinner, movie, movie seat upgrades, snacks, and arcade. I’m not really sure if Towson ever really had a small town feel, but I worry how much of this experience could be going to helping small businesses in the area. Yet, I recognize coming from a small town, I have trouble accepting the experience of large chain enterprises even while it might greatly benefit the local economy. For Goucher students, the draw of the Cinemark is its accessibility and broad range of options. If given a choice, I would recommend expanding your horizons by going into the city, grabbing a meal out at a local restaurant, sneaking some candy in your bag, and enjoying the smaller, independent local movie theatres.

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