Let me start by saying that there is a lot I love about this school, but over the course of my three and half years at Goucher, a lot has also changed.
In the last year alone, many high level administrators at Goucher have left their positions. Their reasons for leaving are left vague. A new opportunity arises, or after years of service, it is time for their career to take a new direction. We’ve said goodbye to Gail Edmonds and Scott Eckhardt and said hello to tighter alcohol restrictions and unnecessary hand holding.
The changes happen at an administrative level, but they affect the culture of our school. College is supposed to be a segue into adulthood, but it often feels like we are being held back from that. It is becoming claustrophobic in the bubble, and I’m happy to be getting out soon.
The first class required to study abroad graduated at the end of my freshman year. Maybe it was bright naive freshman eyes, but the school felt like it was full of potential. The new requirement was a smashing success, students were opening themselves up to the entire world, and bringing that spirit back to campus.
We were also a little wild and free, upperclassmen drank beer on the quad without issue, but they also looked after us babies. One night when I had too much and was far from my Winslow triple, it was a junior friend who found me and put me to bed.
With Sophomore year came the ambulances. We got a little overzealous in our drinking and stopped watching out for each other, causing Public Safety to become trigger happy with the nine and one buttons on the phone. As a result, policies towards alcohol changed, and so did our school culture towards drinking. Suddenly drinking was something everyone did in hiding, pushing people to binge even more, and Public Safety became the ultimate Friday night villain.
The legal drinking age is 21, that is an inarguable fact, but so is the fact that college students under that age will drink. Whether the school acknowledges it or not, students see this as a time to experiment and push boundaries. Perhaps it would have been more beneficial for the college to have invested in educating its students on the importance of community responsibility, rather than in sending the annual email that has your parents calling you, wondering if they missed your binge drinking death notification.
This year it feels like everything is coming to a head. The unnecessary changes to club travel policies treated responsible adult students like children in need of a chaperone, not to mention the hypocritical nature of the policies coming from a school that requires study abroad. The internship credit charge went into effect despite faculty pushback and zero student input, and the disconnect in the sexual misconduct policy, well, the uproar is rightfully still fresh in everyone’s minds. Worse than these policies going into effect, is that the communication as to why is down. Take the internship credit charge as an example. At the large SGA Senate meeting a few weeks back, President Ungar repeatedly claimed that the change was a point of principle, you wouldn’t want to attend an institution that gives away credits for free. But, shouldn’t it be the quality of a credit, not the cost that makes a school something to be proud of?
From the student’s perspective, it is all about money, money that they don’t have, money that is making it harder to partake in internships that could affect the route their lives take. How can these two sides see eye to eye when the administration, who at the end of the day are working for the students, can’t seem to get on the student’s level of understanding?
There are things I love about this school. Academically I was given the freedom I needed to find what I want to do with my life (pre-internship charge). I have also gained friends and experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything and I wouldn’t have found anywhere else, but the administrative changes that have taken place since I have been at Goucher are making it harder to do what we are supposed to in college: grow up.