Notes from Senior Editors

Addie Maxwell
Opinion Editor

I’ve always thought its funny how I’m the opinion section editor. I always say I have no opinions on anything, except apparently drinking, because I’ve written about it several times. In high school I was voted Most Laid Back, I’m an uninformed optimist, so why the heck did they give me this gig?

Q baby with Q Barbie (Photo: The Quindecim)

Q baby with Q Barbie (Photo: The Quindecim)

What I quickly realized was that I didn’t have to write about the government or go on angry rants about the environment to run this section.  While these sorts of things are important and have found a place in my section, opinions can also be about our own, everyday lives.  During my tenure, this is the tone the opinion section has taken.  One of my favorite pieces I wrote was in those first issues.  I wrote about turning twenty-one, an experience all college students share.

I’d like to think that what I choose to write about connects with where the collective “us” is in our lives, that someone finishes my article, nods their head, and says “yeah man, that connects with me.”  I’ve been fortunate enough to, on a few occasions, have those people reach out to me.  The number of times I could probably count on one hand, but in a community that apparently “doesn’t read The Q,” it feels big.

As an editor, I’ve helped facilitate this experience for others.  My writers have had their articles shared in classes, and they’ve received emails from administrators wanting their help editing policies.  I am proud that my section has given students the voice they need and deserve.

As an athlete, this is the kind of work I want to be a part of.  This is why I sit in the office, writing what’s in my soul at four in the morning (it always feels far more profound at that hour).  Because, this matters to the people around me.  If I was writing a paper for class I would go to bed, but when the rush of the team effort, of your words in print, of the possibility of connecting with someone you don’t even know is out there, how can you not write?  It is immediate gratification at its most intellectual, and I hope I’ll be doing it for a long while.

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Internship Policy Still Under Review; Questions Posed from Students

Benjamin Snyder
Managing and News Editor

President Sanford Ungar spoke about the academic internship policy slated to begin this summer, which adds a $450 per credit fee internships for the winter or summer at a Feb. 20 Student Government Association (SGA) meeting. Read more of this post

Academic Internship Fee Set to Start in Summer 2013

Benjamin Snyder
Managing and News Editor

President Sanford Ungar sent an email to the Goucher community on Dec. 19 announcing a fee for academic internships, which carry typically three to four credits, at $450 per credit. The new fee will be implemented beginning summer 2013.

According to Student Government Association (SGA) President Dashell Fittry ’13, “Sandy is slated to speak to Senate, the tentative date is Feb. 20th. Once that date is confirmed, an email will be sent to the student body talking more in depth about the policy and about Sandy attending Senate.”

In his email, Ungar wrote, “After careful consideration, we have determined that students should pay for the academic credits they receive while attending Goucher regardless of how such credits are earned, and have therefore decided to make a change to our internship credit policy.”

The choice to charge students $450, according to Ungar, was reached as it “is the same amount currently charged for students taking courses during the summer.”

According to Laurie Burton-Graham, Goucher’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel, the decision to attach a cost to academic internships taking place during summer, winter, or when a student is taking over the 18-credit limit during the academic year, was reached by members of senior staff. “I can’t remember if it was brought up to college council or not to be honest, but I know senior staff spent a lot of time talking about it,” she said.

Burton-Graham continued that the discussion began at the start of the academic year in the fall and the college’s Vice Presidents made a formal recommendation to Ungar in November ahead of his Dec. 19 email.

Traci Martin, the Director of the Career Development Office (CDO), said that conversations about charging for academic internship credits have taken place “for years.” She continued, “We have been asked in the last couple years to do some research and benchmarking with our peer institutions. We were having conversations with [former] Vice President and Dean of Students [Gail] Edmonds and [Provost] Marc Roy about what exists, providing numbers, how many students get credit.”

In the email, Ungar cited reasons for the additional fee. “We anticipate that the additional income to the college, while helpful, will be limited,” he wrote. “Rather, the policy of charging fairly for all academic credits received is one that honors the value of a Goucher education and, ultimately, a Goucher degree.”

Burton-Graham mirrored Ungar’s opinion, saying, “Charging for credits is standard practice and it’s good practice and it’s practice at most of our peer institutions. In fact, it’s practiced at most higher education institutions.” She continued, “It says something of a value of a Goucher degree and a Goucher education.”

She later added, “This isn’t a huge windfall for the college, it’s more about the principle.”

Although further discussions about where the money will be placed is likely to continue, Burton-Graham said, “I think the decision to charge the fee is done. I would be very surprised if Sandy is going to revisit that decision.”

After students received Ungar’s email, a Facebook group was created, titled, “Gophers Against New Policies,” which drew over 400 students. Said Fittry, “It is nice to see the students so passionate about an issue, but as with many ‘campaigns’ on Facebook, the students lose interest and the group dies off. This happened to this group within a week.”

Instead, Fittry hopes students will email their SGA representatives to voice concerns in the future. He explained, “Over 400 people joined the group, but only 16, [or] 4% of the group, people took the initiative to contact me personally which says something about the effectiveness of online campaigns like the one that was launched for this policy change.”

According to Martin, the first cycle of students getting internships in the summer will prove helpful as the discussion moves forward. “I don’t think this is the end of it,” she said. “I think we’ll need to continue to look at what the departments will do, the choices students will make.”

While Fittry said he personally “doesn’t have a problem with the policy,” he continued, “as SGA President, it is my duty to address the concerns of the student body which I have done and which will be further discussed at Senate with President Ungar.” He continued, “I think once the student body gets all the facts and understands the policy a bit more they will come to agree with me that this policy makes sense and is going to be beneficial to the campus.”

Martin believes the first summer of internships with the fee will be telling. “We’re really just going to have to go through a cycle this summer and see what happens and evaluate it and adjust as best we can,” she said

Coker Appointed New Vice President, Dean of Students

Benjamin Snyder
Managing and News Editor

Bryan Coker was appointed as the Vice President and Dean of Students and successor to Gail Edmonds. He began his role on February 4.

Dean Coker shows his pride for his new stomping grounds. (Photo: Christopher Riley).

Dean Coker shows his pride for his new stomping grounds.
(Photo: Christopher Riley).

President Sanford Ungar announced the decision in an email to the Goucher community on Dec. 19 after the conclusion of a nation-wide search that started with 147 candidates. Read more of this post

Committee to Choose New Vice President and Dean of Students by Mid-December

Shay Kettner
Co-Editor-in-Chief

Benjamin Snyder
Managing Editor

A new Vice President and Dean of Students will be chosen from four candidates by mid-December, according to Laurie Burton-Graham, Goucher’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel, and Co-Chair of the search committee. The selected applicant is expected to join the Goucher community at the end of January or early February.

“This is a very quick timeline,” Burton-Graham said, “especially for a position at this level.”

The four finalists were chosen from a pool of over 150 online applications, all of which were reviewed by Burton-Graham and Becky Kurdle, former Chair of the Board of Trustees and Co-Chair of the committee.

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Club Presidents, Administration React to Revised Trips Policy

Benjamin Snyder
Managing Editor

After a revised transportation policy was put into effect on a one-year trial basis by members of senior staff on Friday, September 28, heads of various clubs affected by the policy and Associate Dean of Student Engagement (OSE) Emily Perl, who helped draft the policy, expressed views about the changes.

Under the new policy, student clubs and organizations on campus must bring along a faculty advisor and pay for professional transportation services for trips taking place outside of a 250-mile radius from the college’s campus unless waived.

President Sanford Ungar attends a Student Government Association senate meeting to answer questions. (Photo: Christopher Riley).

The latest version of the policy was announced in a Student Government Association (SGA) Senate meeting on October 3.

Perl could not attend the Senate meeting due to a faculty meeting, although she noted, “it was reported back to [her] that SGA felt good about the changes and the way in which they had been able to voice their concerns and have their opinions taken into consideration.”

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Club Travel Policy Changes After Students Voice Concern

Benjamin Snyder
Managing Editor

Senior staff members convened on Friday, September 28 to revise for a second time this semester a five-year-old student trips policy requiring student clubs and organizations on campus to bring along a faculty advisor and pay for professional transportation services for trips taking place outside of a 250-mile radius from the college’s campus.The plan will be in effect on a trial basis for the next academic year.

“I think the plan is to go back to SGA with this policy and have it in place for a year, see how things go and if we need to tweak it and make more changes then we can certainly do that here throughout the year,” said Assistant General Counsel Barbara Stob, who helped draft the policy along with Associate Dean for Student Engagement Emily Perl.

President Sanford Ungar signed an earlier version of the policy into action at the start of the semester. Discussions with students during an SGA meeting attended by the Perl and Stob on Wednesday, September 19 and in outside meetings prompted additional alterations.

At the latest senior staff meeting at the end of September, President Ungar and the college’s Executive Vice Presidents Gail Edmonds, Wendy Litzke, Michael O’leary, Laurie Burton-Graham, Marc Roy, Bill Leimbach, Janet Wiley, Debbie Lupton, Tom Phizacklea, and Allie Laban-Baker, accepted three major changes in the second round of revisions to the policy implemented at the start of the academic year.

According to Executive Vice President and General Counsel Burton-Graham, the reason behind the call for the revision was “in response to student concerns.” She continued, representatives “of the clubs suggested some changes to the policy” and senior staff accepted revisions made by Perl and Stob “to still maintain our efforts to maintain liability and student safety while also putting a little more flexibility into the policy to address student concerns.”

Perl enumerated the policy changes in an email on October 2 to Student Government Association President Dashell Fittry ’13. In the previous policy, advisers were “required and no student drivers [could] drive on trips outside the Baltimore/DC region.” In the latest version, however, “we have expanded the region to be any trip within a 250-mile radius of Goucher.  This expands the area quite dramatically and makes the decision-making process much more clear.”

In addition, the latest version of the policy also increases the number of individuals responsible for waiving decisions to allow students the ability to travel. Perl wrote, “Where it said that exceptions would be made at the sole discretion of the Associate Dean for Student Engagement, we are now saying the decision would be made by the Associate Dean for Student Engagement in consultation with legal counsel.  This addresses the concern that some students expressed about one person being the sole decision-maker.”

Finally, a change was made in which the policy for overnight trips can now be waived when it stated previously, “any overnight trips outside of the Baltimore/DC region must utilize planes, trains, busses or other vehicles driven by professional drivers.” In addition to the new 250-mile radius exemption, Perl wrote, “We have added language to this part of the policy stating that here, too, [there are] exceptions.”

Stob noted that the most recently revised policy “will go a long way to resolving the problems that were mentioned by the students. It was never our intention to cut off all these trips. It was really about looking at what was happening and making it safer.”

Ungar agreed to the revisions of the five-year-old policy after discussions occurred over the summer. The reason for the changes, explained Stob, was due to Perl’s awareness of two trips, the Ultimate Frisbee Team’s Spring Break trip and the New Orleans service trip.

“Having an official college trip that has no controls or accountability just raises some concerns about using college money,” Stob explained. “I think there were general concerns about trips of that nature, longer-term trips, that were going on.”

Stob did, however, imply that the revision of the policy may have been premature without initial student input. “[It] was developed to addressed those concerns without really realizing that there were many shorter term trips that we just didn’t know about because they hadn’t been reported,” she said.

To help draft the first revision, President Ungar asked for additional research by researching schools of similar size and basing the policy off previous examples. ”

Stob explained, “Sandy asked us to [look at other schools’ policies], which he usually does whenever we’re looking at a policy. There are some colleges that don’t have requirements; there are many that do. This policy falls in the mid-range. Most require advisors or faculty and staff representatives to go along.”

Both Burton-Graham and Stob expressed their pleasure with the student body’s reaction to the policy and the conversation that came from the initial SGA meeting about the new policy. “I went with Emily to the SGA meeting, and I haven’t been to an SGA meeting for a while, but I have to tell you I was very impressed by the tone of the conversation; it was very respectful.” She continued, “They made really good points and we listened to them and made changes to the policy because as I said it wasn’t our intention to impose an unworkable policy on students.”
According to Burton-Graham, the senior staff members were “pleased by two things. First, that we had this discussion, and that the administration and students could work together and come to an improved policy that addresses everyone’s concerns.” She continued, “Secondly, it was made very clear to me and I passed it along to senior staff that Barbara and Emily felt that the discussions with students had been very respectful and helpful with everyone recognizing and acknowledging the other’s concerns.”

Fittry, meanwhile, said, “I’m very glad to see that the constructive and insightful input of students helped to change this policy for the better and fill many of the gray areas which were contained within the first draft.” He continued, “I think this is a great example of how working together with the administration can produce results each party supports.”

But Fittry also promised, “the conversation [about the policy] will not stop. As feedback from this policy begins to roll in we will continue to work with clubs and the administration to deal with any problems or concerns and push for changes when the need arises.”

He believes that “the vast majority of clubs will not be effected in the least. The only real ‘roadblock’ students will face will be one additional, though quick, form to complete.”
Additionally, Fittry explained that if future problems arise, “the students should know that the SGA will support them and work to make any additional changes.”

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