Goucher cracks down on crime

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

Student safety is a concern for all colleges, and at Goucher things are no different. Like most colleges, Goucher’s biggest concerns seem to revolve around two things: alcohol and drugs. While alcohol violations are slightly down this semester; eleven violations have occurred this semester compared to about fourteen last fall, the number of alcohol transports have gone up. This fall there has been twenty-three cases where a student has been transported to the hospital because they were intoxicated. Last fall, there were only eight such cases. While some could take this to mean Goucher students are drinking more, Assistant Dean of Students Andrew Wu says otherwise. “I think we’re taking the approach of not taking a chance if a student is sick…It’s very much the decision of the student community living member on call…They’ve just been calling and EMTs are taking the same stance,” he said. Alcohol intoxication is also huge concern for the school, because of the consequences it can have. Earlier this semester, a freshman girl at Towson University died while under the influence.
Drug violations have also increased. This semester, there have been about twenty-four incidents, many involving multiple students where illegal substances have been found. Last fall, there were only ten.
Unsurprisingly, the drug of choice on campus appears to marijuana. Some of these violations may be due to confusion. In October, Maryland passed a law that decriminalized marijuana in small amounts. However, the law does not apply to Goucher’s campus. We are required as an institution that receives federal aid and financial aid…to enforce federal drug laws… We need to abide by federal laws.” Wu said. According to Goucher’s Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Policy, the possession of marijuana on campus is still prohibited by the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989. Therefore, students who are in possession of marijuana can still be punished.
Depending on the level of severity, a student may be given a judicial referral at their third offense for crimes such as having an open container of liquor or possessing a fake ID, while they might given one for their first offense if it is more severe such as driving while intoxicated or providing alcohol to underage students. Drug offenses are handled quite differently, and judicial referrals are given much sooner than if one is violating alcohol policies.
In Wu’s eyes, one of the biggest concerns on campus is an increase in the number of drug violations, particularly repeat offenders and drug dealers.This was not only because it would mean increased drug activity on campus, but that such people would often mean other unsavory figures may come to campus and that such dealings could lead to dangerous activities and safety concerns. Goucher’s on-campus police aren’t trained to handle such cases, and will often call the Baltimore County Police Department (BCPD) for help. It is also up to the BCPD to decide whether a student violator should be arrested or not.
Still compared to many other colleges, Goucher is very safe. Director of Public Safety Richard Puller said, “Here, at Goucher, property crimes account for most of our activity. The most common being a kind of vandalism in the form of sign damage, some graffiti, and the reported theft of unattended property such as book bags, purses and briefcases but frankly even these activities are surprisingly low. So, we are blessed when compared with other area colleges.”
However, many students have appeared to expressed concern about the number of police officers on campus and the increased role that campus security has appeared to be playing and are under the impression that Goucher has sprung up a new initiative without telling them. Dean of Students Bryan Coker, asked to dispel those rumors, “I want the community to know that we were alerted to these matters by other students. There was no initiative launched by the college to find and target dealers—we acted in response to student complaints.”
Wu was under the impression that some students believed that security’s role was to “regulate student behavior” and that Goucher “is a safe haven to do whatever they want.” He also said, “Anytime we make a decision to search, there are three people involved at least…Public Safety, Community Living and dean on call…so we don’t do searches willy-nilly and I think there’s a sort of perception that were doing that right now. We have some good information from a credible source to do the search whether that’s from a student on the outside…or a Public Safety officer.”
Puller on the other hand, is not so sure about students’ impressions of public safety, “I am not sure there is such an outcry. If there is it’s exaggerated. The only outcry I’ve heard of comes from those sanctioned or those sympathetic to those sanctioned. I think the majority of students are perfectly fine with public safety enforcement. They are just not as vocal.” The Radical Left Group was contacted to find out what they thought of the recent developments, but none responded.
Both Wu and Puller, however, have heard many more positive reactions than negative reactions from students. Wu especially thinks this, as he pointed out that many of the changes have been driven by students. Students who do not partake in drug or alcohol consumption may get ‘fed up’ with the impact that students who do partake have.
“Most of our actions have been a response to that,” he said.
Puller said, “I received an unexpected round of thanks from students in response to our recent enforcement efforts. Most importantly, I want the students to remember that Goucher is a very safe campus.”
Coker also said, “ I want to be clear that the college was appreciative of these concerned students coming forward with information, and we were glad to able to address such dangerous activities.”
But perhaps the most important thing to note are the punishments that students may face. As mentioned earlier, students who violate the policy could be given judicial referrals, but the main focus, particularly for first time offenders appears to be education. These punishments may vary from meeting with a student life staff member to writing an essay. While some of these punishments may not seem effective, others seem to think they can work in certain cases. Wu said, “I’m not naïve enough to think they…are never going to do drugs again.” But he believes that punishments vary according to the individual they are applied to. Puller has a similar view. He said, “I believe they can be very effective but this is a complex issue. And the X-factor is the individual student involved…their history, the extent of their use, and their willingness to help themselves.”
Still both of them realize that what is currently going on Goucher is a huge issue that will not change overnight, especially since it seems that the use of illegal substances have increased since last year and it is unclear what exactly the cause is. Goucher students should feel free to contact Andrew Wu, Brian Coker or Richard Puller if they have concerns about other student or public safety.

Scoop’s Corner: The end of the semester

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

It’s so close to the end of the semester and by the time this issue comes out, the only thing left will be final exams. I only have two this semester and I’m not particularly worried about either of them. I do also have an essay and a final portfolio, and while I’m a little nervous about the latter, there’s not a lot I can about it. As such, I don’t have a lot to do at the moment. And the things I do have to do, I have no motivation for at all.
It’s weird. I tend to be less productive when I have less work because it’s easier to ignore and I keep thinking about all the time I have. When I have a lot of work, it’s easier to get it done because I know I have to do it. It’s also easier to create a schedule when there are actually things to do.
It’s the reason why I try to create the busiest schedule as I can every semester, though it doesn’t always work out. I dropped a class this semester that had a pretty heavy workload, which has changed my schedule a lot. But I know that if I didn’t, I’d probably be complaining about the amount of work I had from that class. And I know that I got lucky by not having many writing intensive courses this semester. But I know that I have a busy spring semester coming up.
Right now, my schedule consists of one class on Mondays and Fridays, four classes on Tuesdays, none on Wednesdays and three on Thursdays, which is ridiculous. But my only other choice is moving one of the Tuesday/Thursday classes to Monday and Wednesdays, but the class wouldn’t be until 7pm. I hate night classes. And I’m not sure if it’s worth changing my schedule in order to make my Tuesdays easier.
But I’m not really in the mood to think about that at the moment. I’m not in the mood to think about anything. I’m just ready for it to be winter break, so I can go home, lounge about on the couch, catch up on my shows, hang out with my friends and just figure some stuff out. Nothing major, but I find vacations are very good times to try to figure life out and in this way my existential crises don’t get in the way of my school work.
On that note, good luck on exams and may the odds be ever in your favor. Also happy holidays and see you next semester.

Speaker raises awareness about sexual assault

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

On November 10, Dr. David Lisak visited Goucher College to give a talk about sexual assault on college campuses. Unlike the Green Dot program, which gives students advice on how to avoid or get out of potentially dangerous situations, Lisak’s program focused more on how prevalent this issue is. Lisak started by talking about how much of an issue sexual assault is, particularly on college campuses. Rape and sexual assault are huge issues around the world, and in America are particularly egregious problems at colleges and universities. Any instances of sexual assault that occur at universities have less to do with the university itself and more to do with the people attending the university. People are most likely to experience sexually assault or rape between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four. These are the same ages that one is most likely to be at college. “The question isn’t ‘does the university have a problem?’ The question is ‘what are they doing about the problem?” Lisak said. Many colleges and universities don’t confront the issue because, as Lisak explained, they don’t want to be uniquely associated with it. Lisak discussed a few sexual assault scandals that had happened in recent years and the reactions that the institutions had towards the allegations. A part of this discussion involved the “myths” that often surround the perpetrators and victims of the crimes. For example one of the myths discussed was the ‘drunken encounter.’ Both parties are believed to be drunk, and therefore neither can be at fault for their actions. Another myth was that of ‘miscommunication.’ This means most ‘rapes’ are actually misunderstandings, the perpetrator thought the other wanted it, when they didn’t. In this case, the victim is often blamed because they ‘should have been clear about what they wanted and it was their fault for not speaking up. The other two myths are solely about the rapists: He only did it once and would never do it again and that he is “basically a nice guy.” The type of rape that Lisak discussed involved a male rapist and female victim, as it is the most common type of rape on college campuses. He did make a mention that anyone can be raped and anyone can be a rapist as well. In a study of 1,882 men, Lisak found that one hundred and twenty of them had attempted to commit or had committed rape or sexual assault at least once. Out of those one hundred and twenty men, seventy-six of them had committed rape or sexual assault multiple times. Lisak referred to these men as “serial rapists.” The serial rapists were more violent than the one-time offenders and had committed over four hundred rapes and six hundred other crimes including domestic and child abuse combined. The presentation also included a short video recording between Dr. Lisak and one of the seventy-six serial rapists, who was a college student at the time. The boy admitted that he and his fraternity brothers would target certain girls, typically freshmen, and invite them to a party for the sole purpose of getting them drunk and assaulting them. He described an incident where he assaulted a girl, and even though she tried to stop him, he continued as he said, “She had done it a thousand times before.” He did not believe what he was doing counted as “rape.” Afterwards, Lisak asked students what they thought of the video. Most appeared disturbed and bothered by the man’s behavior. Lisak described this behavior as typical of a serial rapist: narcissistic, anti-social and having a disregard for the victim’s humanity. Despite the the perceptions most people have, these boys didn’t just pop out of the bushes and assault a random girl. The assaults took careful planning. The fraternity brothers targeted very specific girls, typically freshmen and spent time grooming them before inviting them to a party. At the party, the boys would get the girls as drunk as possible and then bring them to designated bedrooms. The rooms would be furthest from the stairs and would be devoid of any personal items, so that the girls wouldn’t be able to tell who did it. Once the presentation was over, Lisak answered questions regarding his research, the role of alcohol in the assaults and explained how he thought schools should tackle the issue. Some one hundred students attended the event which was organized by Roshelle Kades, the Assitant Director for Social Outreach several other faculty members and student helpers. Earlier that day, Lisak also visited a sociology class, met with staff and faculty, and had lunch with student leaders. This was not Lisak’s first time visiting Goucher College. He had also visited in 2008. Kades decided to invite him because he is highly regarded in his field and that the school tries to invite one person a year to speak about sexual assault. She believes it will help raise awareness and it was a good way of “progressing dialogue.” The talk came just about a week after a Goucher student was sexually assaulted on campus. The assailant was not a Goucher student, but nonetheless it came as shock for the entire community. While Goucher has entirely different community than a larger school like the ones Lisak did his research at, the same general ideas still apply. Goucher still needs to raise awareness about sexual assault, and to encourage people to report anything that happens to them.

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.

Retention Committee examines factors as to why students leave

Samantha Cooper

News Editor

Goucher College has an average retention rate of 83.5%, which is higher than the national average, but difficult for a college where the average freshman class size often hovers around 400. Even a small drop in the rate can indicate issues for future students. The retention rate only covers fall-to-fall rates between the freshman and sophomore year. The retention committee, which was created recently in response to a drop in retention rates, has taken the responsibility of figuring out why so many students aren’t returning and what they can do to fix the issue.

Professor La Jerne Terry Cornish, who is one of the members of the committee, said the committee’s first goal is to “identify factors which affect retention and persons responsible for addressing those issues.” Once the issues are identified and people responsible are contacted, their next goal is to look at exit interviews. Every student who leaves Goucher must attend an “exit interview” where they will be asked why they are leaving the school. The data will then be analyzed and the committee will look to see if students have highlighted any factors they have not noticed beforehand.

Cornish believes some of the factors concerning the retention rate are that: Goucher wasn’t their first choice, the school is too small, lacks the major they want to study and that some students are simply under prepared for Goucher’s academic rigor. Some of the other factors the committee is looking at include students’ high school GPA, Standardized testing scores, mental health, social life and the number of courses a student is taking. “We’re just looking at all factors,” Cornish said. While financial aid was bought up as a possible reason for the lowering retention rate, Cornish mentioned that around 80% of students at Goucher receive some sort of financial aid, and that if a student runs into some sort of difficulty, they can try to work out a deal with financial aid office to see if their needs can be met. When asked about the Video Application, Cornish replied that she isn’t sure how it will affect retention, however, she does think that students who apply through it are more likely to have Goucher as their top choice, and therefore, more likely attend the school. “What I love about the Video App is that…a student who uses the Video App is a student who really wants to go to Goucher,” she said. “It may increase the number of underrepresented groups at Goucher, though.”

Other members of the committee come from different departments on Goucher’s campus. They include Stephanie Bender, Dean Bryan Coker, Stacy Cooper Patterson, Emily Perl, Andrew Wu, Bill Leimbach. Corky Surbek, Provost Marc Roy, Cas Freeland, Linda Holloway, Peejo Sehr, Janet Shope and Candance Doane Martinez. Each comes from a different department at the college in order to bring something different to the table.

The committee also has two student members, Erin Snyder ’17 and Raekwon Walker ’17, who joined after hearing through the program through GSG.

Students who wish to contribute their ideas about retention are welcome to share their concerns or ideas to either of the student members or staff members. The committee meets every Thursday from to 2 to 3 pm.

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…

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 the spring of 2014. 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.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 695 other followers