Scoop’s Corner: Pros and cons of BSEP

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

One of the things you may not know about me is that I speak Japanese. Not a lot. I probably have the comprehension level of a five-year old and that’s still being relatively generous. I can probably read at the level of a five year-old and comprehend spoken Japanese at the level of a three year old. I don’t care though. I find it fun and much more interesting than Spanish. (No offense, but I took it for five years and I still couldn’t understand how to conjugate verbs). I took Japanese for three years in high school, visited the country, and am currently taking a Japanese class at Towson University. Apparently, every other college in the area offers the language besides Goucher. This is going to sound like I’m selling something, but there’s this program called the Baltimore Student Exchange Program (BSEP). It allows any college student in the Baltimore area to take a class for credit at another university if their school doesn’t offer it. It’s a pretty cool thing, and it is better than sitting through a foreign language class I have no interest in. It’s also easy to register for the program. All you have to do is fill out BSEP form with information about the class you want to take like the days, times, college, number of credits etc., get your advisor to sign it, hand it over to the Office of Registration and then sacrifice animals to whatever deity (ies) you believe in and hope you get into the class and make sure you have a back-up schedule in case you don’t get in. I won’t find out until January if I got in or not. JANUARY! AS IN RIGHT BEFORE THE SEMESTER BEGINS! For this semester, I was originally told that there was no room about a week or so before school was supposed to begin. Then on the first day of school, I found out there was a space. You bet your butt I took it (and totally dropped the Spanish class I had on schedule). It doesn’t matter when you turn your form in – you find out around the same time. I was hoping the process wouldn’t be as bad this time, but when I tried to figure out the status of my form, not a single person at Towson knew what I was talking about. I got transferred to their STUDY-ABROAD OFFICE and ended up hanging up after being transferred again. It was one of the most ridiculous processes I’ve ever gone through. I’m not the only one I know who has done the program and I know other kids who would love to take Japanese (which you totally should), but finding the right forms and who to turn them into was difficult. I just feel like more people should know about BSEP. That would be the simplest solution for Goucher students.

Republicans take over Congress: a student’s opinion

Tori Russell

Chief Copy Editor

It is time for a change in Congress and this past Tuesday, November 4, that is exactly what we got: Republican control of both the House and the Senate. Election Day is my favorite day of the year. It feels like Christmas to me. It symbolizes change, and in the case of this year’s elections, an exciting change for me. Those who know me know that I have my first ever “I voted” sticker taped onto my computer: a sign of just how much I love elections. I’m in the American Political Behavior class with Dr. Mileah Kromer right now. We were closely following the governor’s race here in Maryland, watching commercials and analyzing the data from the Goucher Poll. One month before voting day, 32% of residents had a favorable opinion of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown, whereas 28% of residents had a favorable opinion of Republican candidate Larry Hogan. These results were so surprisingly close that nobody knew where this election was going to end up. In the end, Hogan pulled a stunning upset in Maryland, winning with 51% of the vote. In the bluest of blue states, where there are two Democrats to every one Republican, Hogan pulled out a win. What does this say about President Obama and the shape of our country? This says that people are ready for a change. At Goucher, it’s pretty difficult to find anyone remotely conservative. I mean, we have a radical leftist club. I’d say that pretty accurately reflects our campus. I’m used to hearing about Keystone pipeline protests at the White House or being asked to sign some petition while walking down Van Meter highway. This campus isn’t used to having someone more conservative publicly voice their opinions and say that Obamacare is a waste of money or that we should close the borders and not give legal status to illegal immigrants. Very few Democrats running for election even touched upon the new healthcare laws, afraid that because the general consensus about the new laws is so negative, that it would cost them the campaign. People are not happy with the way President Obama is getting things done (or not) in this country and this midterm is a direct reflection upon that. Why else would Maryland vote for a Republican governor? They would vote for Hogan because the O’Malley administration was such a complete failure. Forty new tax hikes, including a rain tax, as well as abysmal job growth to the point where major companies are fleeing the state. The state is in some serious trouble after adopting these policies and Marylanders showed that in their vote. In my class, only two people came close to predicting the outcome of the Maryland gubernatorial race (including myself). I was cautiously optimistic and I’m glad I was right. It is time to see what the Republicans can do to in Congress.

Edited For Libel: Saira Blair and youth apathy

Sarah Hochberg

Opinion Editor

On November 4, 2014, while the rest of us were voting, stressing over midterms, and thinking about Gala tickets, Saira Blair became the youngest elected lawmaker in American history. This conservative Republican from West Virginia won the Republican primary against the incumbent legislator when she was 17, before she was even old enough to vote. Or shoot, even before she went to prom. She beat the Democratic nominee in the general election, becoming the youngest elected policymaker in American history. She is currently the member-elect of the West Virginia House of Delegates, to come into action in 2015. This youth advocate states in her campaign materials, “I am a proud constitutional conservative. I’m Pro Life. I’m Pro Marriage. I’m Pro Family. I’m Pro Second Amendment. And I’m Pro Business.” So, being the liberal Gopher I am, I’m against her political views, but I love that we have such a strong leader in our age bracket. Our generational apathy is widely regarded as a serious political representation problem. We, statistically speaking as a group, are pretty indifferent about politics. Goucher’s campus is notable in that its students try and make a difference and take a stand on international and domestic issues, but across the country, young voters have one of the lowest turnout rates in any demographic. The youth just doesn’t show up at the polls, whether this is because of a lack of passion regarding politics or the feeling of one’s vote being too small to matter. In a generation of apathy and an uninvolved youth bracket, Saira Blair not only votes and gets involved, but also wins an election for her party against older and more experienced candidates. I disagree with her politics, but we all could take a page out of Ms. Blair’s book. I’m not saying we need to all becoming sitting members of political offices, but I am calling for more awareness and action. Start a cause. Contribute to an existing cause. Riot. Most of the general election decisions (on individual politicians and policy referendums) were decided by a very small percentile, nationwide. It is unfortunate that our country is so divided, but it also means that our individual votes are worth that much more. You want to get marijuana legalized? Come up with some solid reasons, print up a few pamphlets, and pass them out in D.C. Sounds like a lot of work? Vote the politicians who side with you into office, and let them take up your cause. Republicans and Democrats will always have their issues and disagreements, but at least young Republicans are being active. We, on the more liberal side of the spectrum, or even we, on the younger side of the bracket, could learn a thing or four from Saira Blair.

A voice from a member of Students for Justice in Palestine

Dana Busgang

Contributor

Earlier this semester, I joined with a group of about fifteen of my peers to create a group called Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). I remember being nervous walking into the first meeting — I had heard warning tales from professors and friends about SJP’s actions on other campuses, and was concerned I was getting myself in over my head. But after spending a summer in Palestine witnessing the systematic, violent oppression of the Palestinian people, running from Hamas rockets in Tel Aviv, and walking through the squalor of a 64 year old “temporary” refugee camp every day, I couldn’t stay silent anymore.

I had never heard the term Palestine until I came to Goucher College about three and a half years ago. Goucher students inspired me with their seemingly endless passion for social justice issues, their level of knowledge of world issues, and their openness regarding differing opinions. Imagine my surprise when I started to look for a place to explore issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and found only one place to do so — Hillel. Digging a little deeper, I discovered that attempts in the past to show support for Palestine on Goucher’s campus had been met with opposition and hostility. Our very existence is a surprise to alumni who never thought it possible. Our presence at Club Rush was enough to incite fear among Zionist students and faculty. In fact, we have yet to hold a single event or direct action on campus. 4Tell me Goucher, why do we scare you so much?

Goucher Students for Justice in Palestine is a place where we no longer have to whisper in fear of being alienated for expressing our solidarity with the Palestinian people. We strive to be perfectly intersectional, as one group’s struggle against an oppressive power is reflective of all groups’ struggles against oppression. We stand opposed to all prejudicial ideologies, including but not limited to: racism, anti-Semitism (despite claims to the contrary), sexism, Islamophobia and classism. We understand the history of Jewish persecution and the Zionist movement, but we do not agree that this persecution justifies the current occupational, apartheid state in Israel. We do not aim to be the voice of Palestinians on Goucher’s campus, but rather wish to raise awareness and build solidarity with the Palestinian people. For me personally, my journey to SJP came through my Jewish identity. For others in our group, it came from a variety of interests, including politics, the Arabic language, and human rights. Regardless, we are a group of students who will no longer accept the dominant Zionist narrative present on Goucher’s campus. To quote my friend and fellow SJP-er, Ashley Begley, “Status Quo Done.”

The Western world is turning in favor of recognizing the plight of the Palestinians and their right to self-determination as demonstrated by the recent votes by several European countries to recognize a Palestinian state. Goucher, which claims to be a hub of progressivism, liberalism, and acceptance, has remained surprisingly close-minded on this one particular issue. Tell me, Goucher students; will you stand behind an apartheid state that has built itself on the continued systematic oppression of an ethnic group? Or will you stand in solidarity as a woman, as a Latino, as a Jew, as an Asian- American, as an African-American, or as a human being with a group of people struggling for dignity, justice and equality in the face of an overwhelmingly powerful oppressor?

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.

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