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.

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 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.