Diversity Committee Reorganizes and makes new statement

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

One of the lesser known committees at Goucher College is the Diversity Standing Committee. The committee is responsible for “the development and timely implementation of tangible institutional diversity goals.” In other words, the Committee is responsible for making sure that students of all races, sexual identities, gender identities, and religions feel represented and safe on campus. It also serves as an advisory board to the President.

The Committee has existed for many years, but has been on hiatus for the past year and a half. It started up again in October. Many of the members have previously worked on the committee, and of those, many have retained their original positions. Still, the committee has been reconstructed in order to better fulfill the needs of Goucher students.

One of the things the Committee has changed is their statement, which was revised to be shorter and more precise. While the original statement was a little over half a page long, the newer one is a paragraph long. It says that the college is dedicated to social justice, diversity, and multiculturalism. It also states they want to provide a more inclusive community for all students.

This year’s Committee consists of two Co-Chairs: Emily Perl and Angelo Robinson, Admissions member Nenelwa Tomi, faculty members James Dator, Johnny Turtle and Isabelle Moreno-Lopez. Other members of the committee include Fred Mauk, Chaplian Cynthia Terry, Robert Ray and Debbie Lupton.

This year’s Committee also has four student members: Nakpangi Ali ’17, Eliezer Cartagena ’18, Yabsera Faris ‘15, and Leena Mazid ’16. According to Perl, these students were chosen because of their work in clubs such as Umoja, FemCo, and PRISM, and because they represent students who come from minority groups. Mazid, for example, was invited the committee by Perl. “I may have been chosen because I am half Syrian, half American, and was raised in a Muslim household,” she said. Mazid has also worked in the OSE, and is a member of FemCo. Though, at the time of her interview the Committee had not yet met, she said, “I would like to offer my voice as a Muslim Arab American woman and feminist. I’d love to engage students in conversations to hear their opinions of the campus.” She also said that the most important issues to her were “religious, ethnic, racial, and sexual diversity.”

Cartagena, a first year student, has already involved himself in several clubs committed to diversity on campus: Umoja, HOLA, FemCo and Prism. He was also a member of the Diversity Committee at his high school. He is very concerned with the issues of micro-aggression on campus.

“I have experienced many racial micro-aggressions since I have been on this campus, and I think a lot of times, individuals do not realize the impact of what they are saying. These micro-aggressions are the reason I want to educate people on campus about diversity. Another issue that I have seen is that people only regard diversity when it comes to race. There are many core cultural identifiers that individuals identify with, and I think people on this campus need to understand that,” he said.

Each of the students on the Committee seems to have their own goals as to what they want to accomplish. None of them had heard of the Committee prior being asked to join, but it’s justifiable, since its coming back after a hiatus.

The staff and faculty members of the committee also have their own goals, which are data collection, recruitment, student and alumni services, education and training, accountability and sustainment of the Committee. The first goal deals with collecting data on students concerning “gender identity (beyond the binary), sexual orientation and socioeconomic status” according to a packet created by Perl. The college does not currently collect any data on any these factors, and information gender identity and sexual orientation are a priority for the college.

The recruitment goal is to recruit more students of color, and first generation college students. Perl talked about a program that will be developed called the Educational Opportunity Program. The programwill be available to Maryland residents who have “high financial need” or who are first generation students. It will allow students to receive extra support from the college. The third goal will provide more support to some subpopulation of students. The fourth goal is to “provide training sessions to all students, faculty, and staff that educate them about appropriate language and terminology and how to work to reduce the perpetuation of various micro-aggressions.” The fifth goal is to make faculty and staff “accountable for developing their own expertise and good practices in promoting diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusion on campus.”

Though not many students were aware of the Committee, before its hiatus, it once played an important role in student life. The hope is now that the Committee has been reformed and reorganized, it can benefit all students in some way shape or form.

Scoop’s Corner: On dropping a class

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

made an important decision last week. I had realized that my work load was getting too heavy, and that I was having trouble keeping up with everything. I had no time to relax and was feeling stressed out of mind. So I did something I never thought I would ever do — I dropped a class. Prior to the drop, I was taking sixteen credits worth of courses, so I was able to drop it without an issue. I won’t say which class it was, but I will be honest, I didn’t realize how much I disliked it until I realized I could still drop it. The time between the decision to drop the class and actually dropping the class was less than three days. I’m not joking. It was a simple process, I got my advisor to sign the form, and I signed it then I gave it the office in Dorsey.

Here’s my recommendation to you. If you are taking a class that is not a requirement for your major, or it’s an L.E.R. and you don’t like the teacher, or even if the class is just causing you an enormous amount of stress … DROP IT. You might feel like a quitter for a while, you might feel pathetic, but it will benefit you in the long run. You will spend less time focusing on all the stress this one class is causing you and more time on important things; work for your required classes, extracurricular activities, your friends and yourself.

Remember that this isn’t high school. When you go out into the “real world,” most employers aren’t going to care that you decided to withdraw from one class. They just aren’t. You don’t need a perfect transcript to get a job. Remember that. And remember that employers focus on more things than colleges, and they will focus on different things depending on what field you want to go into.  For example, if you are going to be a chemistry major, it’s doubtful that future employers are going to care about how well you did in the studio art class you took for your artistic expression requirement.

And always remember this: you are only human. You cannot be absolutely perfect and amazing at everything. You have limits, its fine to test them, but sometimes you need to accept them for your own good, for your own mental and physical health. You can’t do well in school if you’re constantly stressed and sick. Understand?

Faculty committees and student representation

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

The student government at Goucher recently was re-named and re-organized into the Goucher Student Government (GSG). While the reaction to the new government has been mixed, it’s important to note that it is made up of many committees, each with its own purpose, and the majority of which most students are unaware of. Many of the committees are made up of both staff and student members who strive to do what they believe is best for Goucher College.

One of the committees is the Faculty Committee, which is comprised of two smaller committees: the Academic Policy Committee and the Curriculum Committee. The Academic Policy Committee deals with anything to do with admissions, financial aid, class schedules, and records, though according to Chair of Faculty Committee, Scott Sibley, the committee has been focusing on “schedules and credit loads.” The Curriculum Committee is responsible for “approving new courses, changes to existing majors, minors and programs, proposals for new majors,” according to Provost Marc Roy, who is one of the staff members of the Curriculum Committee. The Committee is also responsible for approving courses for L.E.R. requirements that aren’t taken at Goucher that may not be a clear substitute. This is particularly true for students who are trying to fulfill L.E.R. while they are studying abroad.

The Academic Policies Committee has eight members and currently doesn’t have any students serving, but normally has two student representatives. The Curriculum Committee has nine members, two of which are student members. This year, the serving students are Samuel Kessler ’16 and Hannah Painter ’17. Kessler has served on the committee since his freshman year, while this is Painter’s first year on the committee. Last year, Kessler was the only representative.

Students on the committees used to be chosen by the SGA, but since the change in the government, there seems to have been issues in finding new students. Kessler explained that he personally selected Painter to be the second student on the committee, as he is going abroad next semester and did not want to leave the committee without a student representative. “I would love for all committees to be as diverse as possible. I picked somebody as different from me as I could,” Kessler explained. Painter, is indeed his opposite. Kessler is a male, humanities student in his junior year while Painter is a female math major in her sophomore year. He also chose her, also because he wanted to be able to represent as many student views at Goucher as he could.

GSG has not been as proactive in finding students to cover the spots in the committees as the former SGA had. According to Kessler, the SGA sent out an e-mail during his freshman year asking any interested students to send an email. This year, no such e-mail was sent out, so Kessler had to do it on his own.
Painter wasn’t aware of the committee’s existence until Kessler told her about the open position, but she said, “it was really cool to be involved” with the staff on the committee. She talked about her very first meeting where one of the topics of discussion was adding a new class to the curriculum, whether it was a good idea to add more classes, and if it was necessary.

Information on the committees is rather difficult to find. The single website dedicated to the committees is outdated, and the staff members of the committee didn’t know about who the students on the committee were. The names of the faculty members on the committees were difficult to find as well. A student who is curious about how the college works would be hard-pressed to find information on them without e-mailing several staff members and members of the GSG.

When asked why they thought this, Kessler said, “The only reason for students to know about this [the Curriculum Committee] is for them to know about the L.E.R. they need fulfilled. Sibley said he believed it simply wasn’t a thing that crosses many students’ minds, “When I was a student, I had no idea of the faculty committees at my schools too.”

Roy agreed with the statement and stated that “It wasn’t part of my life.” All involved would like to see more students getting involved with the committees as the suggestions would help them decide what students at Goucher would like and need most.

Both faculty members would also like students to know that professors are required to be on a committee and they all take their roles “very seriously.” Roy, is on several of the committees at Goucher including the Budget-Planning Committee, the Faculty Committee and has a representative on the Academic Policies Committee. Sibley is also the chair on the Faculty Committee.

Scoop’s Corner: “Legend of Korra”

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

I’m a huge fan of the television show “The Legend of Korra” and since the fourth (and final) season recently premiered, it seems only appropriate to discuss the first episode appropriately titled, “After All These Years.” The last season left off with the main character, Korra, more or less incapacitated, and despite there being a three year time skip, she doesn’t show up until the last few minutes of the episode. It seems as though this first episode was designed to more or less set up the conflicts and events for the rest of the season. I don’t totally mind, especially since we already get to see this season’s villain, Kuvira, in full-force.

Though we got a glimpse of her last season, we didn’t truly didn’t get to see the extant of Kuvira’s abilities. Within ten seconds of her first scene in this season, we get to see her take down about a dozen people without even breaking a sweat. Also within the three years, she’s managed to basically
take over an entire Earth Kingdom continent, and is called the Great Uniter. I can’t wait to see more of her.
Other characters have changed a lot as well. Bolin, for example, has joined Kuvira, but seems to believe he’s doing the right thing. He still retains his total goofball personality. Another character, Mako, has become the bodyguard of the future Earth King. The other main female character, Asami, has created a rail-line that connects the city she lives in, Republic City, to the rest of the Earth Kingdom.

Korra has been lying to both her friends and family and has been secretly fighting in underground rings, all while keeping it secret that she’s actually the Avatar. I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of her, but hopefully there will be more of Korra in the next episode.
Other than the limited screen time for Korra, it was an excellent episode. I’m super excited for next week, and I don’t even know the name of the next episode. I’m just hoping it won’t leave me an emotional wreck because I’m currently in the midst of a total homework over load at the moment. I wouldn’t be able to deal. Anyone who has been in a fandom knows exactly what I’m talking about. I can’t wait.

Unfortunately, I have to vary my topics in this column and next will probably focus on another issue, so unless there’s a riot, an episode with an emotionally traumatizing moment or one that’s just plain totally awesome, I’ll only make passing references to “The Legend of Korra” in future columns.

Goucher debuts the Video Application

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

On September 4, Goucher College launched the Goucher Video Application, which will allow the future Class of 2019 to send a two-minute video describing how they see themselves flourishing at the college. Rather than asking for grades or test scores, students will only be required to submit two pieces of high school work: a graded essay and a second piece of work of the student’s choosing: an art project, short story, lab report or dance performance.

The essay will assess a potential student’s writing ability to see if they can craft and defend a thesis, and whether or not their writing skills are up to the Goucher’s standards. The second piece of work will be analyzed by a staff member who is a professional in that area; a student who sends in a short story, for example, will have their work analyzed by somebody in the English department, while a student who sends in a copy of a lab report will have their work looked over by somebody from the Chemistry department.

“We’ve always taken a holistic to approach to the way we review applications… So this is another way for the college to commit themselves to taking that holistic approach,” Admissions Counselor Chris Wild said. Wild helped to spearhead the campaign, which was created by President Jose Bowen. “The key for us was to ensure this is an accessible application. As much as it is about reaching students, it’s also about accessibility to higher education…So we wanted to be very, very, very clear that the video itself was not about production quality.”

The videos will be judged on three factors by a committee of staff members: Content and thoughtfulness, structure and organization, and clarity and effectiveness. The first section is worth ten points, while the second two are worth five points each. While the videos will not be judged on production values, there are still a few guidelines that need to be followed. The video must be no more two minutes long and begin with the student standing in front of the camera stating their name and where they are from. Students must describe how they see themselves thriving at Goucher College. The videos must then be uploaded to Goucher’s Slideroom.com site where they will be evaluated once all materials are submitted.

The new application is the creation of President Jose Bowen who introduced it as a way to demystify the college application process, as well as to make it more accessible to a greater variety of students. “We know that video is an incredibly popular and important new form of communication. Students may feel more comfortable with this but it’s also something students will need to do in the future,” Bowen said in a video explaining the new application. “We’re doing this because higher education should be about potential and not about privilege.”

Bowen hopes that the Video Application will appeal to students from lower-income families who may not have been given the same opportunities during childhood and may not know about selective liberal arts schools like Goucher. He cited a statistic that said students whose families are in the bottom quartile for household income only have an 8% chance of graduating from college, while somebody from the top quartile has a 73% chance of graduating.

He also discussed research done by Stanford professor, Caroline Hoxby. Hoxby’s research revealed that every year there are thirty to forty thousand high school seniors who have the grades and/or the test scores to get into college, even a selective liberal arts one like Goucher, who do not apply anywhere. This is because they do not know about colleges like Goucher, or believe they cannot afford them or they apply to community colleges, or colleges with open enrollment

Bowen also believes that the Video Application will appeal to students who have the grades to get into college, but may think otherwise. “They don’t understand how to look at a transcript,” he said, “I know that if you have a C in algebra, it’s one C and it’s not a big deal. When we unrolled the Video App, we got letter after letter after letter from high school teachers saying ‘I have students who don’t understand that a B in my class doesn’t mean they can’t go to college.’”

Wild, on the hand, believes that the Video Application will appeal to “more creative students,” who will use the Video as a way to exhibit their artistic abilities, or to students who are better orators than essay writers.

Both believe that the new application will help students confused by the process and will help even out the playing field between students from different economic classes. Students who may have not been given equal opportunities during their lifetime and might have been given certain advantages would be relatively indistinguishable if they both sent in a Video Application.

“We’re not lowering standards. We’re making it easier to apply. We’re making it easier to start a conversation,” Bowen said during an interview. He cited his own experience as a high school senior, where he was given an application to the local city college, which was open enrollment, despite being the valedictorian of his class. It was only because his mother decided to go the school, yell at the admissions counselor and grab the first application she saw and made him fill it out.

Many students don’t have parents like Bowen and so, wouldn’t even have the opportunity he did. Another reason that these students may not apply to schools, especially ones like Goucher is that they believe they can’t afford it. Sixty percent of American citizens don’t know that private schools offer financial aid, and therefore don’t apply.

Students who apply via the Video Application are still eligible for both need-based and merit-based scholarships. Students who want a need based scholarships will need to fill out all the necessary forms in order to be eligible. Students who want to receive merit-based scholarships will need to submit their transcripts, but their admittance to Goucher will not be based on those grades.

The reactions from the press and general public have been mixed;  one Twitter user by the handle @Josh_Hylton21 wrote, “I don’t know what or where you are Goucher College but you caught my attention.” Some news sources like The Baltimore Sun have lauded Goucher for creating a “novel way for cell-phone savvy teenagers” to apply to college,” while others have criticized it, calling it the “Selfie-Video” and have compared it to the application video Elle Woods made in the movie Legally Blonde.

Many who have criticized the Video Application are especially concerned that Goucher won’t be able to properly assess the videos, and will end up admitting unqualified students therefore lowering the quality and standards of the school. Some have pointed out the opening to the video announcement, where a student tears up a high school transcript, may send the wrong message.

“We probably could have chosen a different image. But it generated a lot of publicity; some of it negative, some of it positive. If we had taken a gentler approach, we might not have gotten that attention,” Bowen said.

The responses from Goucher faculty have been mainly positive. Several faculty members who helped with the creation of the Video Application have posted videos on the Goucher website showing their support including Nina Kasinunas, Scott Sibley, and Eric Singer.

“I’m really excited about Goucher’s Video Application. We’re a liberal arts college here at Goucher. We emphasize the whole student…It makes perfect sense to me that we should allow them an alternative to use a video to apply for college,” said Dr. Nina Kasinunas, from the Political Science department.

“We want students who are strong, obviously, but many students at Goucher have strong second interests…During the video the student can talk about how they’ll fit in as whole person here. I think that’s something we’re looking forward to seeing the video,” said Dr. Scott Sibley, a Chemistry professor.

Many of the concerns about the new application within the school appeared to come from students. Sophomore transfer student Noah Kahan said, “If you don’t require transcripts and you ask people to take videos. It makes it so that you may be getting less intelligent people than if you actually asked for a transcript. It might lower the school’s level of rigor.”

Other students voiced their concerns during the open-forum assembly held on September 17. They expressed concern that the application would admit students who weren’t academically prepared for Goucher and would lower the value of their degrees.

Some also expressed that they felt the Video Application was simply a way to increase enrollment and recognition of the school, and that it appeared to be more of a publicity stunt than anything else.

Bowen admitted there were some drawbacks to the Video Application during a live-stream information session that was also held on September 17. “We’re trying something new. One of the pitfalls is that we can see people. There’s a potential bias in the system. You can’t unsee a glitzy video,” he said.

During an interview, he emphasized that the launch of the Application wasn’t a way to increase enrollment and that it has the potential to change the college admissions process forever. “If it works, and…it’s easy to identify potential. If I am able to say these five students are going to succeed here and those five students all graduate then every school in the country will do this.”

Eleven students have already started the process but have not sent in their videos yet. Accepted students who decide to enroll may be asked for their transcripts so that they can be tracked alongside their peers who applied in the traditional manner. It will be impossible to tell how well the Video Application works until the students accepted through the Application have been at Goucher for at least a year. Either way, Bowen believes the Application is a good risk to take; “More ideas are killed by doubt than failure,” he said, “You don’t not do something because it might fail.”

Scoop’s Corner: advice to freshmen

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

Now that the first month of college is up, I thought it would be a good time to give advice to the freshmen. This is partially because I can’t think of another topic and partially because there are a few things I had to learn the hard way, and I don’t want anyone else going through what I had to endure. So here’s “How to Survive Your Freshman Year (And The Rest) Relatively Unscathed:”

Read more of this post

Scoop’s Corner: “The Giver”

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

Most of you have probably read the book, “The Giver.” It’s the children’s version of “1984,” and “Brave New World,” and the predecessor of all Young Adult dystopia novels. Which are apparently a huge thing right now, and I wouldn’t mind if there weren’t so many love triangles! It’s getting ridiculous…

  The book version of “The Giver” had the slightest tinge of a romance, in that 12-year old Jonas develops a crush on his friend Fiona, but these are promptly eliminated with pills designed to take care of that issue. The book is mainly about a boy realizing that everything that he knew is wrong; there is a thing called color, another called music and in the time before there were Communities, people lived with their biological parents and siblings, and they felt things: both good and bad. Jonas learns about all these things from the Receiver of Memory, who he calls the Giver, because he is being trained to take his place. It’s an amazing book, full of symbolism and emotion. It’s terrible to see Jonas go through so much and make such difficult decisions, especially at such a young age.

The movie ages Jonas up to about sixteen, and has him played by a twenty-three year old (I get it. You’ll get more people if he’s hot but other than that, why?)

This makes all his actions seem more ridiculous, and idiotic in the film.

It also makes his feelings towards his friend Fiona more intense, and a bit odd especially considering that most of the time, she really doesn’t know what he’s doing. The concept of kissing and affection is absolutely foreign to her.

  The movie also changes around some of the most basic plot points of the novel, in  order to make it more “action-oriented.”

The action happens in the last third of the movie, and seems to exist only to make the movie more marketable to the “tween/young teen” crowd.

For example, in the novels, pills are distributed only to block out romantic feelings while in the movie injections are given to all citizens in order to block all emotions.

  There are other book-to-movie differences: the movie incorporated an unneeded villain, the Chief Elder, whose only goal was to stop Jonas, while in the book, the Giver (and therefore Jonas) was always contacted by the Elders before they made any major decisions and that the identifying “Giver” mark was changed from light eyes to a birth mark.

If you would like to compare the two, read the book and go out to see the movie. You will see major differences. While I understand that books and movies are two different mediums, I feel as though they could have tried harder with “The Giver,” especially since they’ve been working on a film adaptation for ages. It’s disappointing to wait for so many years, only to get a movie that won’t even be remembered by next summer. Percy Jackson fans, I now know how you feel…I never want to go through this kind of pain again.

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