Students protest on campus and in Towson; campus converstion follows

Rachel Brustein


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 students and faculty voice opinions on study abroad

Rachel Brustein


The mandatory study abroad requirement is a defining characteristic of Goucher. It was implemented in 2006 by immediate past president, Sanford Ungar, which made the class of 2010 the first class with obligatory study abroad. Since Goucher’s new president José Bowen has assumed his role this semester, students have been talking about whether or not the requirement will stay. As of now, the college has not made any formal statements about changing the requirement and the freshman class of 2018 is required to study abroad.
Some students find it challenging to fit study abroad into their course of study. Joel Michael-Schwartz ’15 is a music major, concentrating in mandolin performance. Michael-Schwartz explained that the Office of International Studies (OIS) hasn’t approved any music programs abroad, making it difficult for him to find a program that suits his needs. Additionally, Michael-Schwartz said that OIS was unhelpful when he tried to design his own, music-oriented study abroad not affiliated with Goucher. He said, as a dedicated musician, to take an entire semester off from his music would be “crippling to his studies.” Michael-Schwartz could do an Intensive Course Abroad (ICA), but finds them to be more like an expensive vacation rather than a study abroad. “I think it’s [study abroad] a good idea…the principle is sound, but it’s not a good idea if we don’t have the resources or infrastructure to do it well,” said Michael-Schwartz.
Another group of students for whom a mandatory study abroad is particularly challenging are those majoring in the physical and natural sciences, especially pre-med students. Birthe Kjellerup, assistant professor of biology believes a semester abroad is great if it goes with your major, and said it is “important to be a global citizen.” However, science majors could have an equally or more meaningful global experience studying in the United States under the guidance of an international scientist. Still some students, particularly those who are pre-med choose an ICA so their coursework isn’t disrupted. George Delahunty, Professor of Biology and the advisor to pre-med students, said thinks that it’s counterproductive for the college to mandate study abroad, and that Goucher needs “to be a college of opportunity, rather than a college of mandate.”
For other students, study abroad is key to their Goucher experience. Hannah Spiegelman ’15, a history major and art history minor, chose Goucher partially for its study abroad requirement. Spiegelman feels as though she benefitted from Goucher because everyone goes abroad, and it’s a normal part of the experience. Spiegelman added, study abroad “should be something that everyone does as part of their education” because it “shapes you so much as a person,” and nothing can compareto that experience abroad.
Katherine Mowrer ’15, a peace studies major and Africana studies minor, agrees that the study abroad requirement made Goucher stand out among other liberal arts colleges. Similarly, Mowrer believes it’s “important to me that every student would study abroad so that the classroom discussions would be framed in an international mindset.”
The reintegration process that occurs after returning is a challenge many students face. Mowrer spent her entire junior year abroad and believes that reentry process needs to be viewed in another way. There are many pieces of reentry, and the emotional aspect is just one of them. Mowrer also thinks that there is a gap between the students’ experiences abroad and their schoolwork. Emily Levine ‘15, another peace studies major, agrees with this view and feels as though there is not a place to discuss the topics and ideas she learned abroad.
In order to provide an opportunity for students to talk about what they learned abroad, Levine came up with an idea that evolved into the School for International Training (SIT) research presentations. The presentations occurred during Goucher’s International Education Week. She is currently working on other ways to integrate the study abroad experience into academic life, and hopes to give more students to the chance to give academic presentations next semester. Additionally, Levine is working with a local storyteller in hopes of enabling students to tell their stories from study abroad.
Florencia Cortés-Conde, chair of the Spanish department, is also an advocate for study abroad. Cortés-Conde believes it has to be studying abroad, rather than simply just traveling abroad. Studying abroad, she said, is “trying to gain a different understanding of the world that really changes you at a deeper level.” She named living with a host family, attending classes, and experiencing everyday life as key components to study abroad. Flo Martin, professor of French, said “if we’re going to be a global college, we need study abroad,” even if it is not required, the program needs to be strong.
Alumna Kathryn Walker ’14, a French major, finds study abroad to have been advantageous to her Goucher experience. Walker’s major required her to study abroad for a minimum of one semester. She spent her entire junior year abroad. Walker explained, “I never realized how invaluable this was until coming back from studying abroad- my first few weeks of senior year were spent catching up with friends…and really understanding how far we’d all come and how much we’d grown and learned.” She has also found that her time abroad has helped her with her current job, teaching English in France
Students who spend a semester, or year, or three weeks abroad have a variety of reasons for their choice. Katelyn Shiring ’17, an international relations major, thinks “Goucher needs to reevaluate why there are so many restrictions and arbitrary rules when it comes to study abroad. We’re a school that likes to think outside the box, but as soon as you slap rules and restrictions on something that’s meant to broaden a mind, it loses the magic.”
A lot of what is said about study abroad conflicts. Billy Daly ‘16 explained that the school tells students that this is something they must to in order to gain a cultural experience, however, “they care more about what happens in a classroom in another country than what happens not in a classroom in another country,” and the college focuses on “[trying] to fit the learning you did in a box for your major.”
There appears to be yet another disconnection with study abroad requirement: what students actually get and what the school says they will get.
“[Study abroad has] become so institutionalized that it’s seen as a graduation requirement rather than experience and an adventure,” Shiring said. In the near future, the school and the students will need to articulate the reasons and the value, both experiential and monetary, behind the study abroad requirement.

L’hitraot, Goucher!

Rachel Brustein


L’hitraot is one of my favorite words. It’s Hebrew for “see you later.” There is no word in the English language (that I know of) that encompasses the emotion contained in the phrase into one word.
At the end of last semester, I had to say “l’hitraot” to my friends who graduated, my friends who were going abroad this semester, and even to my friends who are here this semester. It is much easier, though, to say “l’hitraot” when you know when “later” is going to actually be later, instead of a good-bye.
This semester began with a seven-hour road trip from Central Massachusetts to Goucher with three of my friends. We packed ourselves and our blankets and pillows to the brim of my friend Emily’s car and sat cozily yet uncomfortably for way too long. As we cruised down the tree-lined Merritt Parkway, across the George Washington Bridge, and into the not–quite-as-scenic New Jersey, I kept repeating, as I had been for the days leading up to our road trip, “I can’t believe we’re going to be juniors.”
That time of the semester has come around once again, the time that everyone dreads. It’s the time filled with exclamations like, “I can’t wait to go home and eat my mom’s cookies” and “why won’t the printers in the Ath work” and “I need to write at least 8 pages but all I’ve got is my name.” It’s the time when everyone is in so deep with work. To paraphrase what my friend Gab said, “I wonder how people are still so into what they’re writing about.” But it’s also the time in the semester to say l’hitraot; this time it will be to everyone, as I am going abroad next semester.
Nothing can prepare you for the pre-abroad anxiety and feelings of not seeing some of your best friends for an entire year. Last year, I watched as some of my junior friends went the year without seeing their friends, and I didn’t understand. This semester that challenge is for me.
Nearly four years ago when I visited Goucher for the first time, one of the first things I noticed was the study abroad requirement. The idea of spending an entire semester in another country quite literally seemed so foreign to me. Even now, two months before I leave, it seems distant. I never could’ve imagined that I would end up going to Serbia to study the breakup of Yugoslavia. But now, here I am, preparing to leave Goucher, not to return until next fall. As Tony Kushner wrote in “Angels in America,” “The world only spins forward. We will be citizens. The time has come.” The time has come. L’hitraot.

Search Begins for new Assistant Dean of Intercultural Affairs

Rachel Brustein


The administration is currently in the early stages of searching for an Assistant Dean for Intercultural Affairs. The position was posted on Goucher’s website on November 4, and describes the position as someone who “will provide leadership for a new office of intercultural affairs…[and] engage in outreach to –and support for- all underrepresented students.” The position is not entirely new. Previously, the college had an Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs, but that person was also responsible for the Equal Opportunity Program (EOP). Search committee co-chair and Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies, LaJerne Cornish ’83, explained that the school “wanted to uncouple” that position so someone’s sole purpose would be intercultural affairs. Mary Tandia will remain the EOP Coordinator. The main goal of the new position is to have someone to reach out to students of color, international students, students of low socioeconomic status (SES), first-generation college students, and LGBTQ students. Cornish said the position would address “diversity in every form.” In addition, the college is creating a new Office of Intercultural Affairs. Cornish explained that this office will “create intercultural programming and opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue within and among the various campus constituencies.” Eventually, the office will have a staff of two or three people who will be hired with the help of the new Assistant Dean. Karen Sykes, International Student Adviser, and hopefully a staff member to specifically with LGBT students, will work under the assistant dean. Vice President and Dean of Students Bryan Coker explained that a big question is the location of where the office will be, and with the Stimson Project coming into play, that is something the college will have to consider. This office will also play a role in working with admissions, as “prospective students need to see that we do to meet the needs of a diverse student body,” Coker said. Once the assistant dean is hired, Cornish said, he or she “will be integral to developing the process” and has to assess the needs of the college. Coker, who began working at Goucher in February of 2013, said that one of the first things he noticed when he started at Goucher was the lack of efforts in diversity and inclusion. “Structurally, there was a lot we weren’t doing [as an institution in terms of diversity,]” Coker said. Many of Goucher’s peer institutions have intercultural centers on their campuses. He explained that the college needs to prepare students for the diversity that exists in the real world. Coker elaborated on the Program Prioritization Process, an administrative evaluation last spring, which looked at what Goucher could be doing better, and “one recommendation that was specific to student affairs…was [to] decouple EOP and all of the diversity support and programming.” He added that he hopes that the new office will “really engage the campus community in discussions about diversity and inclusion…[and] privilege.” This includes discussions about all kinds of diversity: race, opinion, lifestyle, religion; the list can go on. The creation of this office is a piece of the Shared Visioning initiative from Student Affairs launched last spring. The search committee, chaired by Cornish and Director of Student Engagement, Stacy Cooper Patterson, consists of two faculty and staff, and in addition to Cornish and Patterson, four students, and one alumne/i. Patterson explained that the committee was chosen as a collaboration, and she worked with members of Goucher Student Government (GSG) to find students who would be a good fit for the committee. She wants the students on the committee to be able to engage other students in the process of finding the right candidate for the job. Committee member, Yabby Faris ’17, explained, “underrepresented students lack institutional support from Goucher College [and the college] currently has no programs and support systems to specifically cater to marginalized and underrepresented students.” This is especially true for students of color. She hopes that the new office will create a safe space “that is easily accessible to all students who are underrepresented.” As the co-president of Umoja, the Black Student Union, she plans to get student input from club members. Lexi Rudolph ’16 is also on the committee. “I am looking for someone who is aware and willing to building a community around not only the different groups of ethnicities on campus, but also support for the LGBT community and for the different religious communities [and] who can create support systems for all these groups and then work to unite the entire Goucher community,” she said. Rudolph wants Goucher to be a place where differences are “acknowledged and celebrated as opposed to not really discussed at all.” She also noted that she wants to talk with other students about the search process and gain feedback from her peers. Angelo Robinson, associate professor of English, is a faculty member on the search committee. Robinson believes that this position “shows direct intent and leadership on issues of diversity.” He acknowledged that the college is evolving to promote and produce a diverse class of students. He also said that students of color have told him that they see a lack of diversity in the students and faculty, and hope to see this change. Robinson added that this position would hopefully help to attract more students, staff, and faculty from diverse backgrounds to the college. An ideal candidate, Robinson explained, will have leadership abilities, experience, sensitivity, interpersonal skills, and a commitment to diversity.

BIG changes to come to Goucher in next few years

Rachel Brustein


On Thursday, October 23, President Bowen met with faculty and staff in a two-hour meeting, where he discussed several possible changes for the college. A week prior to the meeting, Bowen e-mailed a memo to faculty titled the Big Ideas Group (BIG) memo. There were six attachments, including the memo itself outlining the potential changes, and several pieces of data about Goucher, liberal arts colleges, and higher education.

The memo stated that Bowen had met with the Board of Trustees, where they recognized the need for change in a variety of areas of the college involving both short-term and long-term plans. In order to make changes, the memo explained that the college has to come up with a clear way to articulate its uniqueness. There has to be something that distinguishes Goucher from other small liberal arts colleges. The data presented in the attachments will be used as a jumping-off point for thinking about what the next steps are for Goucher. Bowen presented a wide range of related topics in the memo. These included the budget, facilities, recruitment, retention, curriculum, diversity, and defining Goucher’s value and identity.

During the meeting, Bowen encouraged faculty and staff to voice their concerns and ideas relating to the changes for the college. The biggest question was “where to start.” Geoffrey Miller, the Director of Athletics, said the college needs “to work on the identity crisis first,” and establish who the college is as an institution in order to attract more students.

Bowen read the college’s mission statement, and explained that while it is good, it is similar to those of other liberal arts colleges. Goucher needs to market what its talents and differences are in order to brand the school.

Ailish Hopper, the chair of the Peace Studies Department, bought up the topic of mentoring as a way the college can distinguish itself. She believes that mentorships don’t necessarily have be between professors and students, but between students & students and faculty & faculty as well. Hopper also brought up the idea of teams faculty and staff mentoring students. “We would be showing…that we, at our best moments, are that community of collaboration. I think that really is a strength at Goucher… I think naming not just mentorship, but a culture of mentorship that also includes the skill of collaboration, would be great,” she said.

Bowen and the faculty and staff discussed various possibilities for academics and curricula. One idea is getting rid of freshman grades. Bowen said, “I think we could get rid of all grades, but I’d settle for freshman grades.” He also suggested cutting the number of majors that are offered or get rid of them all together and have students design their own majors. Students would also partner with an advisor to help them select classes that would suit their interests. Bowen stressed that if the college moved towards this model, students would still be able to do tracks like pre-med, but they would just have to ensure that the requirements fit into their course of study.

The idea of self-designed majors brought up the idea of changing the academic nomenclature. Students would declare a mission rather than a major. Bowen explained this would be a “repackaging” of a major, and “a way to filter through what matters to you.” This would enable students to choose a course of study replete with classes that are of importance to them.

Maureen Winter ‘13, an instructor in the French Department, noted that she sees first-year students who are anxious when the topic of choosing a major is mentioned. She agrees with Bowen’s philosophy that “your major doesn’t necessarily matter all that much.” As a student at Goucher, she chose to study French because she felt supported by the faculty in the department. This demonstrates how choosing a major and finding a mentor or advisor can be seamless for some students.

Bowen noted that in designing one’s own major, there would be an issue of progression that could affect students who wished to study in STEM or education fields. “We could do that [progression] with thinking skills, rather than disciplinary knowledge,” he said. Other countries use a similar method to the one Bowen described.

Nina Kasniunas, assistant professor of Political Science, raised some concerns about the demographic changes the college will face in the coming years and how the new model could impact students if it is put in place. For the second year in a row, the majority of first-grade students in the United States are minorities. This kind of demographic change may have a huge impact in the way colleges need to teach. “Not doing anything isn’t an option…,” Kasniunas said, “we need to be aware of this demographic shift.”

Bowen also wants to reevaluate the Liberal Education Requirements (LERs) at Goucher. This system is still relatively new but has already become a part of Goucher’s identity as a college. This school year is the first in which every class is under the LER system. “The LERs are the classic example of the liberal arts ideal,” Bowen said. The LER is also a major topic in the discussion of changing the curriculum, as it’s unclear whether they will provide structure for first-years and sophomores or if they could become streamlined in the in the process of creating one’s own curriculum. One faculty member brought up the concern that LERs would just become a “laundry list” from which students must check things off.

Eric Singer, professor of International Relations and Interim Associate Provost for International Studies, said, “What we’re thinking about…is how to change the organizational philosophy and culture here.” He explained that all constituencies on campus need to recognize the need for change, and be “open to experimentation” in order to do so. “People have to actually be willing to rethink their characteristic way of learning in a common environment,” he added.

One of the many things about Goucher’s identity that should be taken into consideration is the identity of its students. Chaplain Cynthia Terry pointed out that identities are not singular, and that the reality is that “we’re all intersections of multiple identities.” Terry explained that if students designed their own major it might increase the possibility for them to intersect their academic, religious, and extra-curricular identities. It could “allow for the space to grow and make changes,” she said.

One of the major aspects of Goucher’s identity is its study abroad requirement. Terry pointed out that the college should articulate why it requires everyone to study abroad, and needs to explain why it makes a difference that everyone does so. Daniel Marcus, associate professor of Communications, described the requirement as “a hurdle for the college” as none of the other colleges in the country require such a commitment. “It should remain an important and vibrant program, based on great incentives rather than as a blanket requirement,” he said.

Not all parts of Goucher’s identity lie within the realm of academic requirements. Winter, who is a contingent faculty member, mentioned the union as something that is currently a part of Goucher’s identity. The union “is part of our commitment to treating each other with respect and dignity,” she said, “[and] a testament to our commitment to social justice.”

“It really matters that we’re all talking and listening,” Terry said when the meeting concluding. However, the role of students also needs a place amidst all of the possible changes. Peejo Sehr, Director of the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE), pointed out this concern. She believes it is important for students’ voices to be heard, and their concerns to be addressed and taken into account before making a decison No matter what course of action Goucher decides to take, change is inevitable. President Bowen is beginning to ask questions about how Goucher will choose to define itself as a liberal arts institution, and how it will shape the way it is defined.

President Bowen responds to contingent faculty’s union plans

Rachel  Brustein


On October 7th, College president José Bowen sent an email to the faculty acknowledging the contingent faculty’s decision to unionize. Bowen referred to this decision as “an important issue for our campus.”  He mentioned that he worked with non-tenure track faculty at his previous institution, Southern Methodist University, “on actions that increased participation in governance and provided greater inclusion,” and wants to accomplish that at Goucher through “direct dialogue” with the faculty.

The email contained anti-union language. For example, Bowen stated in the email, “before you take the step of trusting an outside entity to control your interests at Goucher, I’d ask you to give me a chance to talk with you…and work with you directly to make teaching here a more rewarding and better experience.” In the email, Bowen also asked the faculty to educate themselves about unionization before signing the commitment cards. He explained, “if the SEIU [the union] wins the right to bargain collectively, it will demand that Goucher agree to force all non-tenure track faculty, as a condition of employment, to become a member of the union and pay dues or pay an equivalent amount as a non-member agency fee. If that demand becomes part of the agreement with the union, you will have to pay dues or fees, or you can be discharged from the college.”

A document titled “FAQs about SEIU’s Organizing Efforts on Goucher’s Campus” was attached to the e-mail. This document, distributed by the administration at a faculty meeting before the email was sent out, contained information about unionization, authorization cards, appropriate bargaining units, unionization dues, and collective bargaining.

On October 16th, Bowen sent an email to the entire Goucher community reiterating many of the points he made in the original email sent to the faculty. 

Both the email from Bowen and the supplementary document can be found on Goucher’s website.

Goucher students respond to unionization plans

Rachel Brustein


During the last two weeks, students across campus have written and signed a petition to show support for the contingent faculty who are unionizing. Samuel Kessler ’16, a member of the Radical Leftist Club spearheaded the petition. Zachary Hill ’16 finalized it on the week of October 13th along with other members of the Radical Leftist Club, and a professor who is on the organizing committee. Kessler explained, “we felt a need to really clearly declare that unionization is in line with Goucher’s principles.”

Since then, there has been both online and paper versions for students to sign. Radical Leftist Club members have been out on Van Meter with hard copies both this week and last reaching out to students and gaining support. As of Tuesday, October 21 the online petition had between 300-400 signatures.

The petition acknowledges that “a union is a worthy avenue to ensure that Goucher’s non-tenure track professors have an equitable voice within the structure of their employment,” and requests for “the Goucher College Administration to remain neutral during the process towards the unionization of Goucher’s non-tenure track faculty.”

Through the petition, Madeleine Scott ’16, explained, students are “showing that we’re there for [the faculty]…and showing the administration that we care about this.” Hill added, that among the petition’s many purposes, one is “to include information about the unionization of the faculty,” so that the entire student body knows this is happening. Unionizing enables the non-tenure track faculty to have a fair discussion without the pressure from the administration.

An online version of the petition can be found and signed at

There has been talk of student representatives from the Radical Leftist Club, along with a union organizer, hand-delivering the petition to President Bowen by Thursday, October 23.