Goucher Releases Sexual Misconduct Data

By Samantha Cooper

Several events that occurred during last semester have caused a discussion about sexual assault and misconduct on Goucher’s campus. The first event was a mandatory online training course. The survey asked students questions they found intrusive and inappropriate. Many students also felt as though it ignored certain issues and took issue with survey’s definition of rape. The issue however was dealt with in a way that satisfied many students. The other events included an expert speaker, Dr. David Lisak, and unfortunately, an on-campus assault.

These are the reasons why Goucher’s Title IX Coordinator, Lucia Perfetti-Clark and the Quindecim have worked together to publish a chart detailing the sexual assault and related crimes of the repeated calendar year. The chart does not detail every crime that took place during the year. The crimes that are still open have not been documented. Several cases are still pending but will be available in next year’s report. Previously, these crimes were reported in Goucher’s Police Blotter but have since been removed, as the victims were not aware that crimes would be published and were afraid of being identified. The Quindecim hopes to publish similar charts once or twice year in order to keep the student body better informed.

These crimes are published by Goucher under the Jeanne Clery Act. The act requires all colleges that receive federal funding to keep and disclose information on crime that happens on their campus. The list is available for anyone to view at the Office of Public Safety. The act requires colleges to list crimes like: murder, assault, burglary, arson, hate crimes and sexual offenses.

The definitions listed in the chart are how Goucher College defines them. The most important one to note is that rape falls under the category of Sexual Assault 1, since Goucher does not agree with the definition of rape set by the state of Maryland. Goucher defines sexual assault as “non-consensual physical contact of a sexual nature.”

Sexual Assault 1 is “sexual assault that includes intercourse, which is any non-consensual sexual intercourse (anal, oral or vaginal) however slight, with any body part or object, between persons.” This definition allows for both men and women to report their assaults accurately and for both to be accused.  There are two other categories of sexual assault that Goucher also uses to report similar assaults that do not fit into the first category. All three definitions point out the importance of consent in the crimes. According to Perfetti-Clark, Goucher has a very strict definition of consent: “Consent means willingly and knowingly agreeing to engage in mutually understood sexual conduct. Consent must be mutual and on-going, offered freely and knowingly, and cannot be given by a person who is incapacitated by drugs, alcohol or any other physical or mental impairment, or by a person  who is being threatened, intimidated or coerced.” She also emphasized that at Goucher consent must verbal, and explicit which means that anything other than a “Yes” from a person who is not impaired is not considered consent.

Other crimes at Goucher that are included in this chart are stalking, relationship violence, sexual harassment and sexual exploitation. The definitions are available in the chart below.

For victims of sexual assault, the time following the attack can be very confusing and very stressful. This is part of the reason why Goucher tries to keep the identities of both parties confidential. This way the victim has less of a risk of being identified, and does not have worried about discrimination.

Students who are victims have the option to report their attack to Goucher authorities, the Baltimore County Police Department or both. They may also choose to deal with their attacker formally or informally. The formal process can be initiated at any time during the informal process, but must begin within four years of the incident. Either party may choose to bring about the formal proceedings.

The rights of both sexual assault victims and those accused of sexual assault are available on Goucher’s website. Some of the more important listed are that victims of sexual offense have the right to a change in housing, class assignment or work order to help them better avoid their attacker, if they are still at school. They also have right to academic relief, meaning that they can be given extra time on exams or for assignments if they are needed. All of the requests however must go through Perfetti-Clark before being approved.Students who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time may be given amnesty, as long as it did not place anyone else at risk. The list also tells other important rights relating to the justice process and victim’s privacy. The accused also have the right to amnesty from drug or alcohol use for the same reasons. They also have the right to be notified of the charges against them and the right to confidential counseling and legal assistance. It should also be noted that students who are accused are considered innocent until proven guilty or if there is enough evidence to prove them guilty. If the victim decides to change housing or classes before evidence is found, the accused might be subjected to move.

If students want more information on Goucher’s sexual assault policies, they can find them on Goucher’s website.  If someone is the victim of sexual assault there are many people they can contact including Goucher’s Public Safety, Lucia Perfetti-Clark, Cynthia Terry, or one of Goucher’s many counselors who can help them decide on the proper course of action, and led them to the proper resources. If they do not wish to contact anyone on campus they can contact  TurnAround, a counseling place in Towson.

On February 5th, an email was sent out explaining the purpose of the chart to the students and a second one was sent to staff and faculty. A meeting was also held on February 6th, where the student body gathered to discuss the issue and other topics surrounding it.

Students of color gather to create change on campus

By Shaina Kanter

 

Goucher College’s diversity statement emphasizes “social justice, diversity, and multiculturalism.” Recently, students of color have been pushing for new initiatives.

They want to make sure that their diverse needs are being met in reality, not just on paper.

Marissa Charlemagne ‘17 is one such student. Although she is currently abroad in Jordan, and has unreliable Wi-Fi, she is staying as involved as she can. Arthur Mutijima ’18 and Dean Bryan Coker worked with more than a dozen other students during J-term in order to put Goucher’s mission statement into action. Dean Coker saw the need for such action since his arrival in early 2013.

“We lack the staffing and structure to coordinate such efforts, especially when compared to our peer and aspirant colleges,” he said. Currently, Goucher does not have a specific institution equipped to handle the diverse needs of any minority group on campus.

Students of color on campus have long been dissatisfied with how they were being treated, and the latest national protests over excessive police brutality sparked vigils of solidarity and protests on Goucher’s campus.

With race on the radar, students of color were given the opportunity to voice their grievances at a meeting in the Geen Room on December 9th. According to Charlegmange, these grievances have long been “pushed under the rug.” During the meeting, students wrote up a list of short-term and long-term goals. These goals included hiring an associate dean of intercultural affairs, having a visible space dedicated to multiculturalism, and ultimately the hiring of a chief diversity officer. These demands were presented to Dean Coker, who signed several copies to signify “Goucher’s commitment to their success.” Dean Coker said that he hopes that the safe space will be chosen within the next week.  He also said, “I have been immensely proud of our students, as they have sought and found their voices, in speaking about their lived experiences at Goucher.”

This movement has largely been a testament to the agency and power of students.

“Passionate students just organized and made things happen,” Mutijima said when asked how the movement came to be.

Although the power of students has been highlighted, faculty participation has so far been underwhelming.

“There are some faculty who have done a lot to help with the movement, and because I have not already, I want to thank them now, they know who they are…However, I do not believe that the faculty as a whole has helped to their fullest potential.” Charlemagne said.

“Faculty is having trouble organizing effectively. Very receptive of student ideas, doesn’t know what to do. Students have to come up with everything,” Mujitina added. He also believes that faculty training is of the “upmost importance.”

Dean Coker sees this ignorance as a lack of education, not a symptom of apathy. “President Bowen and I recognize that our community needs help in working through these difficult issues, and the Diversity Standing Committee is actively looking into outside consultants/facilitators to assist the community in moving forward with these matters,” he said.

As a part of this education, several students of color were involved in creating a video that illustrates the lived experiences of students of color. The group plans to showcase the video in a way that reaches as many community members as possible. Both Coker and Charlemagne assert that these events are only the beginning.

“We are only beginning to gain greater awareness of the challenges our campus community must confront, and there is so much work to do,” Dean Coker said.

Latin American Lecture Series: The search for a new professor

By Madeline St. John

 

The quest for a Latin American history professor is underway.

As of now, there is only one Latin American history course at Goucher. This course, a broad overview of Latin American history, entitled “Latin American History: Pre-Columbian to the Present,” is part of the Latin American Studies department. Latin America remains largely untouched by Goucher’s history department. Due to the breadth and depth of Latin American history, and its increasing relevance, the history department is eager to hire a new professor to teach courses that will more extensively explore this continent.

The process of finding a new professor, one who is the right fit for Goucher, is lengthy and involved. The positions are highly competitive, with over a hundred applicants at times. First, a search committee narrows down the initial pool of applicants to about 20 candidates. From there, the committee works together to select three to four finalists. These finalists then visit the college. They present a lecture, meet with faculty, teach classes, and have lunch with students. These interactions help the search committee to determine if the candidates are a good fit for the college, and also may help the candidates to decide if Goucher is the right place for them.

Students can be involved in the search process in a few ways. They participate in the classes taught by potential professors, may have lunch with the candidates, attend the research lectures, and perhaps give their feedback on the candidates.

The research lectures focused on a variety of topics: mining and the Mexican revolution, Mexican migration in the early 1900s, the history of the Peruvian police, and immigrant and family rights in Buenos Aires. The first lecture was held in Batza Room on Tuesday, January 27th and the last was on Wednesday, February 4th in the Alumni house.

Students and faculty alike attended the lectures, which were open to the Goucher community. Students attended for a variety of reasons: some were history majors or minors, some were members of the history club, some were taking a history class, and some were simply curious. Students, if you missed these lectures, never fear: at some point, you may be able to take a class with the chosen candidate.

This new professor will be part of the history department, but those on the search committee hope that he or she will also be able to contribute to other fields, like Latin American Studies, and perhaps Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, or even Environmental Studies. Goucher is a small school, after all, and so welcomes an interdisciplinary approach.

As well as hoping to find a professor with experience in multiple areas, the search committee looks for a professor who fits with Goucher’s vibe. According to History Professor Matthew Hale, who is leading the search, the committee looks for new employees who are “fantastic” colleagues and community members, as well as researchers and teachers.

Professor Hale said he is excited about the search, the new position, and about having a new member of the Goucher community.

Campus-wide “Die-In” draws attention to racial issues

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Photo credit: Rob Ferrell, Office of Communications

On December 11th, dozens of Goucher students lay in front of the entrances of the academic buildings in order to bring attention to the recent events that had occurred around the country; particularly the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Both men were killed by police officers, neither of whom were convicted. Both Brown and Garner were black while the police officers were white. The deaths caused conversation across the country about race, police force and police brutality.

The protest followed the final decision of the Eric Garner case. Eric Garner was held in an illegal chokehold by NYPD officers, which killed him.  Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer involved in the altercation, was not indicted. It also followed a similar case where eighteen-year old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer, despite the fact that Brown was unarmed at the time.

The protest, called a “die-in,” was organized by Robert Fletcher ’16. Similar protests had taken place across the country. Fletcher said he “felt the need to organize this because tensions amongst the student body had reached a boiling point and the climate of this campus needed to be shifted.” He explained that he and other students of color had experienced racism on Goucher’s campus that needed to be stopped.

Other students who participated in the event shared Fletcher’s feelings. Nakpangi Ali ’17 said that she felt the purpose of the event was to “bring attention to and acknowledge the fact that people in our society have different relationships with the legal and judicial systems.”

Jordan Johnson ’18 said, “We just wanted to stand in solidarity with the rest of the colleges and say that we support eradicating police brutality…So I felt a great need to participate in that.”

During the protest, some students went around drawing chalk outlines around the students, and another passed out slips of paper with statistics written on them. Occasionally they would yell, “I can’t breathe,” or “Can’t you see that he is choking?” in reference to Garner’s death. Students who did not participate in the protest either watched the event take place or attempted to walk through the crowd in order to attend class.

Fletcher said, “We needed to be somewhere that people could not avoid us, day to day racism happens on this campus and students of color are unable to avoid it. This campus needed to be forced to acknowledged what is going on in the world.” Jordan Johnson received “a lot of negative comments.” She also said, “The Goucher community at times can be appreciative of the things we do but I also feel like they put us in boxes in order to say we can’t voice our opinions…So, sometimes I feel that while the Goucher community is liberal…They don’t understand how this can be a struggle for me every single day.”

The protests came as a surprise to the other students on campus, as they were not told that either one would be happening. During the first protest for Michael Brown, many students participating tried to get others to join. During the second one, a group of students received an email informing them of the protest and asking them to join. A school-wide email was sent explaining what was happening, just as the protest begun.

The protest received mixed reactions from the school. While many students, particularly those who were involved, were proud of the number of students who participated, others complained. Some students were upset that the entrances were blocked and they had trouble getting to class.

Fletcher said, “It felt amazing to be apart of something that could cause real change, also I was happy to know that not only were black students feeling like their voices weren’t being heard but all students of color felt the same way.”

President Jose Bowen wrote an email that night that said he was “proud that our students decided to join with many other colleges across the nation to stage a protest yesterday. But I also respect the desire of some not to protest. I recognize that some protests will disturb or even offend other members of our community.” He held a talk that night where students could discuss racial issues on campus.

How the protest will affect Goucher’s campus has yet to be seen but it seems as though it has allowed for more dialogue to take place on campus. During the winter term, around a dozen students discussed diversity related issues that have an effect on the school, due to the tensions on campus. This semester is also Civil Rights themed due to 2015 being 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights act of 1965. The semester includes several Civil Rights courses, speakers and related events.

 

 

Goucher welcomes Martin Sweidel as Senior VP for Strategic Initiatives

Madeline St. John

Staff Writer

The newest position at Goucher was created by President Bowen. The new role is Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, and is held by Martin Sweidel, who used to serve as associate dean at Southern Methodist University, the same school where Bowen was a dean. Sweidel’s role is to help Goucher take on initiatives to make it a better, more transformative institution—a college that truly changes lives.

Typically, a vice president has a focus in a particular area. Sweidel does not. His job is to help other vice presidents, as well as faculty and staff, coordinate projects that cut across several sectors. Someone needs to have the “bandwidth,” as Sweidel puts it, to organize a cross-sectional response to important issues. Sweidel also hopes to help people make transitions. “Everyone deals with change differently. Change can make people nervous,” Sweidel said.

As for the “strategic” part of his title, Sweidel emphasized that part of “strategy” is about prioritizing initiatives—which things should come first and how many can be done at the same time. Currently, the administration is currently focusing on an initiative regarding retention and enrollment. Working with a cross-vocational team, they are examining student data, performing exit surveys, and evaluating the services that Goucher provides. They are trying to answer questions like: What are students’ expectations when they come to Goucher? Why are they leaving? Were their expectations met? The team is in the process of hiring someone to analyze student data to help admissions better predict which students are the right fit for Goucher.

Sweidel listed three reasons for choosing to come to Goucher. The first was the chance to continue working with President Bowen. According to Sweidel, President Bowen is “the real deal” and he made “wonderful transformations” at SMU. “Life’s too short to pass up the opportunity [to continue working with President Bowen],” Sweidel said.

The second reason was that Goucher reminded him of the colleges where he spent his years as an undergrad. “It was a liberal arts college, it was a small school, it was formerly a women’s college, and it was located on a heavily wooded campus…” Sweidel said that his time at that college, more so than his graduate school experience, impacted his life.

Sweidel’s third reason was that he and his wife were already looking to move to the East Coast in order to be closer to their son, who works in Washington D.C

Sweidel has two degrees in music. He explained that since both music composition and “strategic initiatives” involve problem-solving, he can relate his degree to the job he has no . Sweidel believes “artists and creative thinkers, along with everyone else, should be at the problem-solving table.” Now it is Sweidel’s job to make sure that everyone who belongs at that “table” gets there.

Having been on campus just over a month, Sweidel feeling a bit like a freshman. He is beginning get a feel for the campus, make himself at home, and see the commitment the faculty and staff have to make Goucher the place it promises to be.

Students protest on campus and in Towson; campus converstion follows

Rachel Brustein

Editor-in-Chief

Issues of race and discomfort were prevalent on Goucher’s campus this past week in light of the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and students of color speaking out about racial issues on campus.
This past Monday, Dec. 1, over a hundred Goucher students marched around campus and into Towson to protest the Grand Jury’s decision to not indict Darren Wilson. The protest did not start out as such, though. It was originally intended to be a student-organized event where students were encouraged to walk out of their classes, jobs, dorm rooms, or wherever they were at 1pm and meet at the Chapel. This was part of a national walkout happening in communities across the country on Monday.
The event began with students, and also some faculty and staff members, gathered outside the chapel while students involved Umoja read a list of names of people of color who had been killed due to police brutality. While many of the students taking leadership roles in the event are involved in Umoja, the event was not organized by a specific group on campus; it was a product of students from various groups on campus coming together. There was a moment of silence that lasted four and a half minutes, as requested by Michael Brown’s family because it took the police four and a half hours to take his body after he was shot. Students who were moved to speak to the crowd had the opportunity to do so.
After about thirty minutes of standing outside the Chapel, Kevin Guzman ’16 encouraged students begin marching around campus. Students followed him, chanting things like, “hands up, don’t shoot,” “black lives matter,” and “no justice, no peace.” Jordan Leonard ’18 announced to everyone, “where is everyone else?” motivating the group to march and continue the protest into the academic buildings, encouraging students to leave classes and join in. Leonard later said, he didn’t feel support on campus from the students passing by the walkout, he wanted to take the protest “to the people who aren’t there, who aren’t listening.” Eventually the protest made its way into the Athenaeum, and off campus into Towson.
Abby Jones ’17, who was part of the group, explained that the protest marched through the Circle in Towson, past the circuit court and to Towson University. The protesters ended at the district court house, where they gathered around a fountain outside and continued chanting, had another moment of silence, said a few closing words. Jones found that the responses to the protest form the general public to be “fairly positive,” with a few negative instances. Throughout the protest off-campus, Dean of Students Brian Coker followed the group in his car to make sure that the students were safe.
Tuesday night, a follow-uconversation to the protest convened. Students, faculty members, staff, and president José Bowen were in attendance. Associate Provost LaJerne Cornish facilitated the conversation.
At the meeting, Monday’s protest and the voices of student of color on campus became pertinent. Anthony Perdue ’18, who said he came to Goucher to feel a sense of community, said that he did not feel supported after the protest, because other students on campus were devaluing the importance of the protest. “I don’t want to be made to feel that what black students do for empowerment are wrong,” he said. Robert Fletcher ’16, co-president of Umoja, said he has felt uncomfortable as a black student, hearing “flat out racist” remarks from white students, including use of the n-word. “There is a fundamental problem on this campus [of racism] and we need to address it,” Fletcher said.
In response to students feeling uncomfortable that classes had been disrupted during the protest, white student, Sammy Kaye ’17, who left class to join the protest, announced, “think about all those other people who feel so uncomfortable on a daily basis here. What kind of student fighting for equality would I be if I didn’t stand up and help?” Arthur Mutijima ’18, noted that as a student of color, “I’m not being catered to by the Goucher community,” and, “in order for that to happen we need to educate and have discourse about race.”
It was made clear that students of color feel uncomfortable at Goucher. Educating white people who are uninformed and misinformed about race was a critical part of this discussion. “It’s not up to people of color to educate people who look like me,” said Ailish Hopper, chair of the peace studies department, meaning that white people need to be proactive and use their privilege to educate themselves, not rely on people of color to do it for them. “It’s not okay that we don’t know,” said Fletcher, education is crucial. Nyasha Mooney-McCoy ’16 feels it’s not her job to correct everyone who says the n-word or racist comments. She added that she’s uncomfortable because “as students of color, we don’t have the strength in numbers that white students do.” Fletcher mentioned when he hears the n-word he has to “pick myself back up and treat you like a human, even though you’ve shown yourself to be less than human.”
Alexa McCoy ’16 made a point about the incorrect assumption that all black students “come from the same place [and] I hear white people talk all the time, whether or not I want to or not,” but she wants to hear from people who look like her. Rae Walker ’17 expressed sentiment that racism gets “swept under the rug” whenever people try to talk about it, and that the campus finds it easy to ignore racial issues.
A reason why students of color feel uncomfortable at Goucher is because they feel they have to change themselves to fit in. Marissa Charlemange ’16 feels she has “put aside myself to be the correct black person for white people in the room” and is “hurt by the way I’ve had to change who I am because of this campus.” Guzman feels that he has to “erase my identity,” and hates being told to “act white.”
A place where race is not being addressed properly is in connections. Denia Carter ’16, a peer facilitator, transferred here because she didn’t feel her previous school had a sense of community, but still doesn’t feel that this school is diverse. She noted feeling discomfort doing the privilege walk with other connections leaders because she was the only black person. “I’m willing to make change,” said Carter. First-year students alluded to connections and other first-year experiences where they felt uncomfortable because of their race, and it made them want to leave Goucher in certain instances.
Students of color are regularly forced to confront negative stereotypes. Jordan Johnson ‘18, said “I feel like I am commodity, like I am a quota here” and feels disconnected as a person of color. She said she doesn’t say her economic background because she doesn’t want people to assume things about here, “if I leave here, I have no home,” she added.
Alexa McCoy ’16, a leader in Umoja, said Umoja seen as a party club and not an organization. “We do so much more than party…so much more than what is stereotypical,” she said. She feels Umoja needs more support, specifically from black faculty members.
Penelope Durand ’16 noted the concentration of these conversations goes to white guilt. She said, “I feel that my voice is invalid,” and, to white people, “you will never understand what it’s like to be a person of color.”
Cornish ‘83, who is a Goucher alumna, spoke about her experience as a student of color at Goucher. She said when she was a freshman, there were only 9 students of color in her class, and the only employees of color were the dining and cleaning staff. “They told me to keep working hard because I wasn’t alone; they were walking with me, and as I look around this room, I don’t want it lost on you how far we’ve come…we’re better than we were… we’re not where we want to be…and if we leave here, we won’t get better, we’ll only regress….many of us [faculty] could not have been prouder of you for the noise we raised yesterday…there are times when you have to make some noise, don’t you forget it…this is a powerful moment tonight…despite your pain, we hear you, my colleagues and I , we hear you…I’m proud of everyone in this room tonight…It is time you exercise your power.”
Hopper prompted the students with skin privilege “to create a community where all students of color feel safe…feel loved, where white students get race privilege…if any white students want to take me up on that, wear me out.”
President Bowen concluded and thanked everyone for coming and for listening. He acknowledged that as a new president, he is still learning on the job. “I thought I knew the campus…I was wrong,” said Bowen.

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.