A Word From Your SGA President

Dashell Fittry
Contributor

It is with pleasure that I welcome students, faculty and staff back to Goucher for the spring semester.

For some, this is their first semester at Goucher or first semester back from abroad. For others, returning from break is an old hat and are already preparing for what will come after their Goucher education.

I am honored to represent the student body as SGA President and I wanted to give readers an update on what the SGA has been busy doing the previous semester and what we have planned for the upcoming semester.

Let me begin by applauding the Executive Board for all their hard work in the fall, and for their anticipated work to come. Many students don’t realize how much work goes into serving on the Executive Board of the SGA. We spend our Monday evenings meeting, usually well past midnight, our Wednesday afternoons in Senate, we also hold office hours and serve on other committees. All in all, we spend at least ten hours a week working for and on behalf of the student body.

All of this hard work pays off. This past semester, the Student Senate hosted one or two guests each week who discussed a variety of issues. Each discussion was very beneficial to both the students in attendance and those presenting. As President, I hear nothing but praise from those who have received input and feedback in Senate. I believe that this goes to show just how much of an impact the student body can have on campus and in the decision making process of the administration.  SGA and other student groups have worked hard to improve and change policies that effect students, such as the trips policy and the upcoming discussions about the internship policy.

Furthermore, the committees and Executive Board of the SGA have been busy working on a multitude of things.

First, as you may know, the SGA launched both a Facebook and Twitter page where we post event and information notices. If you haven’t “liked” our page or “followed” us yet, I’d highly suggest doing so to stay connected!

Programming Board hosted a very successful Gala in December which will hopefully set the precedent for student behavior at GIG this coming spring. They have also been busy planning weekly weekend events which have been very well attended.

The Student Initiative Committee, in conjunction with departments on campus, has been working on a beautification program for Stimson Hall, which will hopefully begin this spring.

We also had one of the most successful club rushes I’ve seen in my three years here, with clubs and students filling the Hyman Forum.

Lastly, there has been a lot of work to reform the way the SGA operates and the way it represents students. As you know, the Student Senate is intended to represent the concerns of students.  It, however, has not lived up to its name for many years now. We have reformed this in order to ensure that every student on campus has a representative and has a voice in their government.

What is listed above is just a short description of what we have done so far this year, and the spring semester is looking even more promising. Beyond further constitutional review, we hope to enact Senate club representation and club umbrella organization reform as well as finance committee reform.

Also, implementing the Green Fund is in the works and will likely take effect next year. We also have many other plans and initiatives which we are currently working on, and which will greatly benefit the student body. As I like to remind everyone, the SGA is here to represent the student body, address your concerns and assist with making your goals and ideas a reality. If we can help you in any way, don’t hesitate to contact us on the Executive Board. 

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

A Message From Your SGA President

Dashell Fittry
Contributor

It is with pleasure that I welcome back both new and returning students to campus for the 2012-2013 school year, one I hope proves to be full of enlightenment, excitement and growth.

As this year begins, I want each of us to reflect on the mission of this school and its community principles: Respect, Inclusion, Communication, Service and Social Justice, and Responsibility. While everyone should understand what these principles stand for, I would like to reflect on two of these principles.

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