The independent student newspaper of Goucher College

Author

Neve Levinson

Neve Levinson has 22 articles published.

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Neve Levinson is a junior majoring in Spanish and American Studies. They enjoy playing frisbee, reading the news, and learning about peacebuilding processes around the world. As the Editor-in-Chief of The Quindecim, they intend to document and address the many changes taking place on campus. What other pieces of news need to be covered? Want to write about it? (Or just tell them about it?) Email Neve at nelev001@mail.goucher.edu.

Common Hour Clash Over Recent Changes

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As of publication,  Goucher President Kent Devereaux has attended two large informational sessions related to staff layoffs and Gardaworld. First, he attended the weekly GSG meeting November 12, as previously planned. (My previous article, posted online, incorporated information from that meeting, as well as communications with the entire student body up until that point.) He indicated that he would continue to communicate with the student body as we all learn more about the situation. GSG asked Kent to have one of these public forums during the November 20 Common Hour, which Kent requested to do in the Orange Room of Mary Fisher. The conversation focused primarily on Gardaworld and the Administrative Services Review, with layoffs in the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) dominating the session. There was a brief conversation about the Green Fund and campus sustainability, as well.

There are three main interrelated issues at play within this week of tension and uncertainty on campus: Campus Safety, changes to the Student Code of Conduct, and layoffs from the Administrative Services Review. These issues fall into a wider conversation about shared governance that is taking place across campus.

Yuchen Ding ‘22 remarked that the recent GSG ballot contained a referendum about Gardaworld. Ding quoted: “A ‘yes’ vote means you reject the decision to acquire the services of Gardaworld. A ‘no’ vote means you do not reject the decision to acquire the services of Gardaworld.” With a record-breaking 43% voter turnout, 88% of the student body who voted in this election voted ‘yes’ on the referendum.

When asked about the move to a privatized security force on campus, Kent said: “the decision to move to an outsource model for public safety and move it under the VP of Campus Operations long-term is a decision that we’re not gonna go back on. There are so many issues around the way we are currently doing public safety that, quite frankly, are invisible to you all but quite frankly, are an extreme risk to the school. No, I cannot elaborate on confidential issues that really are. We need to make some changes. Suffice it to say we have some really, really stellar people in Public Safety, and we’re hoping that they’re gonna move over to Gardaworld. We have so many other issues that really have to do with consistency in terms of security and in terms of not being respectful to our community. There are people who we just have across the board, across the board, lack of accountability. We have people doing a good job in Public Safety and then it goes both ways, and we have some of our staff and faculty, who are treating officers, who are our employees, in a really disrespectful manner, so it was problematic across the board.” Kent also noted departure of Director of Public Safety Dave Heffer last month let a leadership gap within GCOPS. Kent stated that “we started to explore the outsourcing model, which has pretty much become predominant in higher education” in response to this leadership gap. A student pointed out that several students have called almost 30 peer institutions across the country, and not a single one of them outsources their Public Safety office. It is important to note that the peer institutions are those identified by Goucher itself.

Kent acknowledged that Gardaworld has acquired “sketchy” companies such as Aegis. “The big picture is: over the long term, they are the right company for us.” After looking at three companies and Maryland, Kent noted that “From everything we’ve read since [learning of the issues with Gardaworld subsidiaries, particularly Aegis and being impressed with Gardaworld’s response]…The larger picture is, over the long term, they are the right company with us to be outsourcing. Of all the companies we looked at, and we did three here in Maryland…they [Whelan] were far and away the best, because, number one, we are talking about our policies, they don’t bring in their policies. It’s our policies, our faculty, our staff, our students, define our policies…They then have to implement our policies.” Kent also highlighted major differences between this situation and that of Johns Hopkins’ private police force.

This policy is our campus’s Student Code of Conduct. Part of an ongoing review of the College’s 111 policies broadly overseen by College General Counsel Barbara Stob, this particular policy is being managed by the Associate Dean of Students for Student Support and Success, Nicole Johnson. Kent indicated that there are “no formal policy changes yet. Will reach out to GSG…We define what our student code of conduct will be with student input.” Johnson was not at the GSG meeting or the Common Hour. 

Two finalists for the new Director of Campus Safety position were recently on campus. Students were involved in the interview process for both of them. This position will be employed by Gardaworld.

When asked “Should we be doing this at all?” Kent responded: “We don’t have the capabilities. It was the best things for our students going forward.” Kent also indicated that the annual contract may not be practical in the future, speculating that “we may change our mind in two years.”

As The Baltimore Sun recently reported, there have been 13 staff layoffs as part of the Administrative Services Review. As Kent explained in the Common Hour Q&A on November 20 in the orange room of Mary Fisher, rpk Group made their recommendations relating to the Administrative Services Review, and about half of them were implemented at the College by the President’s Cabinet, which consists of the President, Vice Presidents, and General Counsel of Goucher. Kent indicated that two Trustees were involved in the process; the extent of this involvement remains unclear.

The reason for the confidentiality, Kent has explained at both the November 20 meeting and the November 12 packed GSG meeting in Batza, was to reduce the possibility of internal leaks that would lead to rumors of people being on the chopping block. A main concern with this approach, which has been articulated to value efficiency and accuracy, is that it left everyone in the dark about the changes until they happened. While Kent has been explicit that these staff layoffs are a “one and done” occurrence meant to continue the faculty cuts that took place two years ago, there is a looming feeling of uncertainty and fear on campus right now.

The most well-known staff layoffs that took place last week were in the Academic Center for Excellence. Better known as ACE, the office is considered a warm and trusted space on campus where generations of students have received academic coaching and emotional support. A change.org petition created by Emily Belkowitz ‘21 entitled “Save ACE” has over 1,970 signatures as of publication time. In an update to the petition posted on November 17, Belkowitz writes in part:

“The goal of this petition is to stop the restructuring of ACE. We also demand that Kay Beard and Peejo Sehr are reinstated to the old positions or are given new positions of equal or better value. It is unbelievable that the administration has decided that Kay and Peejo’s jobs are not valuable to the school. We, the students, faculty, staff, family members, and alumni who have signed this petition wholeheartedly disagree with Goucher’s decision to terminate their substantial roles. Kay and Peejo are the heart of Goucher. Goucher’s mission is to promote student’s success, and that cannot be done without Kay Beard and Peejo Sehr.”

Kent has made it clear that ACE will be combining with what will be called the Office of Academic Advising and Support, with one current pre-major advisor training to be a coach, two others focusing on other responsibilities, with one director overseeing the office. “I’m not saying that’s all it’s ever going to be,” noted Kent, indicating that the staff may grow in coming fiscal years. It remains uncertain whether Beard or Sehr have interest in returning to Goucher in the new director position. 

The Quindecim will continue to post updates in these stories as they evolve.

Editor’s note: this article has been lightly revised for precision and clarity.

Goucher’s Identity and Moving Forward

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I took Peace Studies 124: Being Human my second semester on campus. As part of the course, we spent a lot of time discerning and reflecting on our values on both individual and group levels. With this, we also grappled with philosophical and qualitative differences between making decisions out of fear and not out of fear. I’ve been thinking about how fear-based decision-making shows up in every aspect of my life, and I’ve started dialing in more intentionally to recognizing environments of fear and insecurity.

This past week couple weeks have been intense. While layoffs and reorganizations are conceptually very normalized in the nonprofit world, this round of layoffs feels qualitatively different than the faculty cuts that happened two years ago, when I was new to campus.  Uncertainty is alive and well on our campus.

My four years on campus are projected to be the same as the duration of the Trump presidency.

Within this context of despair at the impending loss of social programs, increased military spending, and devaluation of truth, I enrolled at Goucher. I knew that this would be a formative several years in our College’s history, and I was ready to experience it all.

Since I unpacked into my second-floor double in Winslow in the fall of 2017, I’ve seen Tuttle get moved and repaired; I’ve watched Fireside and Trustees get built; I’ve switched from eating in Stimson to the renovated Mary Fisher; I’ve watched the North side of campus become largely forgotten in an ambience of asbestos and the Stimson Stench. My year was the first of the Goucher Commons curriculum, which saw the rollout of DegreeWorks, Starfish (now Navigate), CPEs, and Race, Power, and Perspective requirements. 

The prevailing student discourse during my first semester on campus centered around the question: “Does Goucher have an identity?” Most upperclassmen I knew didn’t seem to think so. I’ve been on campus for program prioritization, countless reorganizations, budget shortfalls, advocacy around transparency, and a growing urgency surrounding the climate crisis. 

My first semester without construction on campus has been this one. 

Philosophically, José was hired to stir the pot. The Ath was built and our dorm infrastructure was crumbling. Our academics were unfocused and he threw ideas at the campus to see what stuck. José was on the receiving end of a lot of student ire, and I imagine Kent will feel some of that as well.

As students, we have a responsibility to one another to keep track of the changes that are happening. It is our duty to collaborate amongst our peers to organize our questions and our feelings in ways that build relationships and trust. It is also not our job to do this alone. As members of a campus that is beginning to have an ongoing and enthusiastic “yes!” to the question “Does Goucher have an identity?”, we need our faculty and staff to trust our intentions and to value our voices in tangible ways. This is what a vision of shared governance can look like. Through involving more in-house experts who are physically experiencing the tumult on campus, as well as communicating clearly with our community members off campus, we can work collaboratively to build a Goucher that lives and breathes its Community Principles. The stakes are high, and with the future of crises like the ones at the Southern border looming over us, we would do well to value each other as humans and build intergenerational relationships that will bring us closer as a cohesive community.

Staffing Cuts Across College Go Into Effect

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Tuesday, November 12 was a big day on campus. Two main issues came into the foreground in a startlingly direct way: the Administrative Services Review and the shift from Public Safety to a new Campus Safety privately contracted to Gardaworld, the largest privately owned security company on the globe. 
There are two issues here that have deeply related root causes and outcomes. Goucher is unable to cover all the costs of its day-to-day operations, running what President Kent Devereaux cited as a $5 million annual deficit.* As a result, cost-cutting measures are being undertaken in all sectors of the campus community. This year, the staff is being cut.
While a hiring freeze has been in effect since April 2019, 34 positions were eliminated on Tuesday. It is unknown how many positions were cut in other ways, including pay cuts and weekly work hour reductions. These cuts will not affect current faculty positions. In an email to the student body, Kent noted that there are “no plans for any additional position eliminations.”
The campus also learned today of the future of Goucher Office of Public Safety (GCOPS, better known as PubSafe) since Dave Heffer left his post as its director last month. The new Campus Safety force will be comprised of officers hired by Gardaworld, replacing PubSafe. While all current Public Safety officers will have the opportunity to apply for a job on campus through Gardaworld, there are no guarantees they will be hired.
In a packed GSG meeting on Tuesday night, Kent and Dean Bryan Coker responded to student questions. A full transcript of the event will be posted to The Quindecim’s website later today, with additional coverage in the weeds on these two issues.
*It is worth mentioning that deficits are annual monetary shortfalls, while debts are accrued over multiple years.

What’s up with the President? Part I of II: An Interview with New Goucher College President Kent Devereaux

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Goucher College President Kent Devereaux. PC: Goucher College Website

President Kent Deveraux began as Goucher’s President on July 1, 2019. Students heard news of the announcement on June 13 through an email sent by Ruth Shapiro Lenrow ’74, who serves as the Chair of the Board of Trustees. Goucher subsequently released a welcome video and several articles announcing some of Kent’s plans over the summer.  As is standard practice for the Editor-in-Chief, I sent an email to Kent asking to schedule an interview with him so we could begin building a solid working relationship. We coordinated a time for the interview, and Quindecim News Editor Jibril Howard ‘22 and I conducted the interview on September 18th, asking a range of questions focused on understanding how Kent is approaching his role as President. 

After introducing ourselves and sharing a bit about what we’re studying, I asked Kent, “If you can describe Goucher College in three words right now, what words would you choose?”

Kent paused, collected his thoughts, and responded: 

“…I hate to use the word ‘innovative,’ but what I’m trying to get at is welcoming and then there’s this other aspect of inquisitive, because people here–I hear that constantly–people are curious about things and the faculty is really interested and eager to sort of do things, so that’s definitely part of it. And [sic] passionate would be the other part of it, and I say that because all of our alumnae and alumni who I’ve met with so far are extremely passionate about Goucher…and so many students I meet here are passionate about what they are doing, and probably connected to the international study abroad component…those are kind of two sides of the same coin: the people who [went] here years ago are very passionate about this place and kind of the passion I feel from a lot of students I talk to about what they want to do.”

I followed up by asking if he sees those things changing or being different in the next five years or so as he spends more time here. Kent replied: 

“I don’t know. I hope we don’t lose those qualities; I think those are incredibly good qualities to have. I think some people describe they say, ‘you know, Goucher is not from the student experience, it is not a competitive experience, but supportive and challenging’ and I want to make it more supportive and more challenging. Competition for competition’s sake, apart from, perhaps, sports and some other things, is not an end all be all, so how do we kind of raise our game across the entire college, and everything we do, thinking more intentionally about the things we do. So I hope we don’t lose those three qualities, but I’m sure as time goes on I’ll have a better sense of the Goucher community and so some other things will come to the fore.”

One of the biggest questions Jibril and I had when we sat down to plan the interview related to Kent’s top three goals as President.

“First and foremost, our number one priority is raising the funds to build the new science center research facility…so we’ve gotta raise our game there…I don’t want to lose focus on academic excellence, because there’s been a lot of focus on building buildings, and buildings are not a college…we’re also launching the search for the new provost, the head, chief academic officer of the institution, so that will be nation-wide, really an international search for the best academic head of the institution. So that all to me is about academic excellence, how we can raise our game now. And the third thing is about increasing enrollment at the college, and that is just about making sure we have the right type of student who wants to come here…So we’re going to be doing a lot more marketing, because we want to make, we want to make Goucher more known nationwide. So I guess those would be the three things: science, academic excellence, and increasing enrollment. Because the campus now, with the First Year Village, we can handle, you know, several hundred more students and still be relatively small.

Kent further mentioned admissions and ways to market Goucher to potential students reminded me of a campus-wide conversation in Fall 2017 that originated from a Peace 220 class. Representatives from the class at the time wrote multiple articles documenting their processes and releasing the results of a survey they conducted with the student body, which are available on The Quindecim’s website, www.quinnews.com. One of the class’s culminating events was an open conversation centered around the question: “Does Goucher have an identity?” As a first year at the time, I participated in this discussion partially because I felt it tapping into something deep that parts of the student body were grappling with. I also felt a certain level of ambiguity towards the question, particularly during my first year on campus. With this in mind, I was really curious about how Kent was conceptualizing a Goucher student identity. His response honed in on two themes he repeated throughout our interview: global education and social justice.

 “We are still only one of three, maybe four schools in America that requires 100% study abroad. That’s not been in the previous marketing–in terms of our website, in terms of email, the literature going out, that was always not front and center. And I think it should be…[T]here is [also] a long history at Goucher for a commitment to social justice…I’m a firm believer that if you speak plainly and put that message out there, it’ll resonate with people and you will get the right kind of student who is happy here and who stays here all four years; they won’t transfer and say, ‘ah, this is not exactly what I thought [it would be].’ So, sometimes, you know, we think we’re being clear but we’re not being clear, and you have to be really clear: this is what we’re about. So people go ‘oh, I wanna go there.’”

When asked about his decision-making process, Kent made it clear that he “never make[s] a decision alone.” He also described his process as “collaborative.” When we asked about how he views sustainability on campus, he responded in part: 

“Well, I am, quite frankly, I was just surprised that we don’t have a sustainability plan. We have a number of sustainability strategies, but they are disconnected and not holistic in the way they need to be. And also realizing that part of this is you can’t do everything at once…Let’s have the conversation about sustainability and let’s come up with a plan. Let’s do it, and once we make a plan, let’s execute it… So that’s something that I see happening next year. Having that sustainability plan that maybe for 2020, where does Goucher want to be in 2030? Set some aggressive targets: could we be a zero-G campus in ten years? I don’t know. Some other colleges are doing some pretty interesting things, so there’s a lot for us to learn there.”

Tying some of these ideas together, we asked about Kent’s commitment or idea or strategy for accessibility on campus. Kent mentioned meeting recently with representatives from Equal Access, talking briefly about how the new dining hall is not completely accessible. He added, 

“…I look at accessibility and it needs to be–we haven’t done a campus plan in a long, long time. And you know, we’re building a science research center, we’ve got a couple buildings we want to build. I am of the opinion we need to pause, get the science research center going [sic], but then we also cue up a long-term campus plan, and that campus plan would really look at the accessibility issues. Because, you know, this building is reaching the age where it is going to have to be renovated; a couple of other buildings are going to need to be renovated, so when we do those renovations, how can we bring them into the 21st century?”

We followed up by asking about shorter-term issues that we know about, such as the frequency that the lift in Mary Fisher is broken or the elevator in P.Selz doesn’t work. Kent pointed to the necessity of hiring “key staff” in this area.

This is Part One of a two-part series. Please look forward to the next Quindecim edition for the second part!

Update: The Provost search was announced in an email from the President’s Office to the student body on September 24. 

President Devereaux Fields Questions in Anti-Vaccination Town Hall

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Photo source: TIME Magazine. https://time.com/5542064/kelly-townsend-anti-vax/

In a June 19 article for the Washington Post, Lena H. Sun and Amy Brittain lay out the donation history of couple Lisa and Bernard Selz of, New York City, New York  in relation to growing anti-vaccination, also known as anti-vaxxer, movements growing in New York . While not linking the Selz couple to Goucher College, students quickly linked the names Lisa and Bernard Selz to Pagliaro Selz Hall, the oldest building in the newly-built First-Year Village. One response shared on the Gopher App came from junior Jeremy Bloch ‘21, who created a Change.org petition to “Change the Name of Goucher College’s Pagliaro Selz Hall to Florence B. Seibert Hall.”

Over the summer, Bloch began working with new President Kent Devereaux to coordinate a Town Hall to address the matter amongst the Center for Natural Sciences (CNS) community on campus. The Quindecim was copied on an email exchange between Bloch and President Devereaux early in September. In the weeks leading up to the Town Hall, I met up with Bloch and the GSG Co-Presidents Noah Block ‘21 and Sam Anderson ‘21 to discuss some background logistics. The Town Hall was eventually opened up to all members of the Goucher community via posts on Facebook class pages on September 15, the day before the event.

The Town Hall began with an opening backstory provided by the President, who described vaccinations as “settled science.” Beyond indicating that vaccinations are a “Public Health policy issue” that the Board of Trustees supports, religious exemptions are the only reason why faculty, staff, or students may opt-out of being vaccinated on campus. President Devereaux also cited that the class of 2023 is 100% vaccinated, including 15 individuals who had not previously been vaccinated.

From there, he pivoted to talking about Goucher as an institution of “liberal arts and sciences,” stressing his commitment to building the new $35 million science research center that will renovate and greatly expand the current Hoffberger Science building. He also described the issue in relation to the Selz couple as opening up conversations about how the College decides to accept funding and from whom, suggesting an impact investing as one avenue for pursuing values-driven investing policy. 

During the question-and-answer period of the event, President Deveraux made it clear that any public statement regarding the Selzes would be “premature,” and that he plans to meet with them individually in the coming months. 

Also discussed during this time was the importance of crafting a sustainability plan, Environmental and Social Governance, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and the importance of sharing student voices in public forums such as at Goucher Student Government meetings, which take place every Tuesday from 7-8pm on the bottom floor of the Ath across from Alice’s. 

 

Note: Neve Levinson is fully vaccinated and calls Washington state, the place where the most recent death related to measles has been documented, their home.

Check it Out: New Free Store Now Open!

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Yes! It’s happening!
Photo Credit: Neve Levinson

It’s official! The new Free Store is OPEN!

Gavin Stewart ‘21, shared with The Quindecim last Monday that he has “been enlightened by Brett [Rapkin-Citrenbaum ‘20,]’s dream and idea of a year-long Free Store.” Stewart described the purpose of a Free Store as “a place where people can put their stuff that they don’t really use or don’t want, and they can pick up stuff that they want to use or they have a desire for. So if you go in there in need of pants, and you see some pants that fit you, and they’re kinda cool pants, you can take ‘em, and that’s just a thing.” This Free Store is replacing the one currently located between Hooper and Dulaney.

As Stewart pointed out, “[t]here’s no money. It’s moneyless. We’re destroying capitalism.”

Beyond this, Stewart emphasized that “really, this place is something that I want the school to define for itself. I have some good ideas, but I really want it to be a community space” where community members can implement their visions for a communal space.

One example of a creative idea emerging from the new space is that “the Fashion Club is linking up with the Free Store and making clothes, and making their own fashion out of clothes that are donated to the Free Store, maybe showcasing it back into the Free Store, so you could have your own brand and you see people wearing the clothes that you created. There’s sort of a sustainability aspect linked to it, as well.”

Related to the sustainability aspect of the Free Store, Stewart pointed out that, to make all of this happen “takes people and people’s time. I have a great team of people working with me this semester, great staff who have been helping me out: Daniela [Beall], the [Sustainability Coordinator]..and it kinda just takes like time too…we need to find a space, and it needs to be cleared out, it needs to be clean, and it needs to be designed so like it doesn’t get obliterated, and it takes a lot of planning, and rules, and anticipation of what could go wrong.”

An email to the Goucher faculty, staff, and students and signed “the Free Store,” noted that “[t]he Free Store will open at 10 a.m. and close at 10:00 p.m. everyday.”

Stewart is stipulating that items brought to the Free Store are clean and free from holes — basically, “it’s clothes that you can see other people wearing.”

Stewart closed the interview with a clear directive: “You know, Goucher, I’m putting this in the hands of you. I love you…let’s make it happen.”

Find the new Free Store in Heubeck 128 next to the laundry room.

News Corner With Neve: Official Stimson Shutdown, Earth Week, and the Reemergence of The Preface

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Earth Week flier, courtesy of GESAC.

If you’re looking for ways to reconnect with the earth in time for April 22nd, GESAC has you covered! The group has created ten programs (pictured) to help unleash the inner green thumb that all gophers are known for having.

In a prime manifestation of the rebirth and newness of spring, The Preface has arisen! In an email to people interested in learning more about the publication, the forces behind its regeneration shared how to access the Preface online! https://blogs.goucher.edu/preface/. They are hosting a reading on Thursday, April 18, from 4-6pm in the Publications Office, which is located in Mary Fisher between Hooper and Dulaney. Find them on Instagram @prefacelitmag

Trying to figure out when your finals are? Look no further!

Thinking about next year? In an email interview with The Quindecim, Linda Barone, who is both the Interim Director of Facilities Management Services and Associate Director of Planning, Design, and Construction, said, “We will not be using Stimson next year for student housing. There are really several reasons that factor into this decision. Stimson Hall, because of the type of construction is not conducive to being renovated and in its current condition, is harder and harder to keep up to a standard that we want our residence halls to be in. Parts of the infrastructure and even the built-in furniture is worn out and needs to be replaced.  We are not able to add air conditioning to the building without a major renovation and as we saw this past fall, it can get pretty hot in the building when we have a warm fall or spring. We also have enough beds to support our student population in the other buildings on campus without needing to use the rooms in Stimson. It is also not cost-effective to heat and clean it, when the building is only partially occupied.”

The proposed changes to CPEs passed unanimously at the April 3rd faculty meeting. The changes were formally released to the student body in an email from the Office of the Provost on April 4th. A related email sent by Ann Duncan, Curriculum Coordinator and Emily Perl, Assistant Provost for Integrative Learning, announced several dates when students may come learn about how the changes will affect us and plan our schedules for future semesters. Send all your questions to advisor@goucher.edu.

In recent news, Goucher Hillel’s “Shabbat 100” initiative took place the evening of Friday, April 12th. A whopping 106 people attended, shattering all previously held records for Shabbat dinner.

And finally but arguably most important for local goings on, G.I.T. produced their final piece of performance humor for the year to a packed audience in the common room of P.Selz on Friday, April 12th. The troupe, known widely for their award-winning comedy, produced enough laughs to lift the mood on campus for one shiny moment of joy.

BONUS: In intergalactic news, “The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) — a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration — was designed to capture images of a black hole. [On April 11th], in coordinated press conferences across the globe, EHT researchers reveal[ed] that they have succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow,according to the EHT website.

To the rest of us, this means that Dr. Katie Bouman “help[ed] develop the algorithm that created the first-ever image of a black hole,” according to the BBC. The image was “captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) – a network of eight linked telescopes – [which] was rendered by Dr. Bouman’s algorithm,” according to the same article. If you haven’t seen it already, check it out.

The first-ever picture of a black hole. Image compiled by Katie Bouman and the rest of the Event Horizon Telescope team.

GIT (Goucher Improv Troupe) Wins BIG at Tournament and More: News Corner with Neve

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Tea bag found in Undercroft. Photo by Neve Levinson

On March 27 at 8:30 p.m., the GIT (Goucher Improv Troupe) took the stage at March Mayhem. Subtitled “The BIG College Improv Competition,” this tournament featured four colleges battling to see who could win over their audience most effectively through laughter and general jolliness. This year’s GIT is comprised of Langston Cotman ‘19, Dylan Margolis ‘20, Sarah Dreyfus ‘21, Olivia Hollender ‘19, and Cameron Stewart ‘19. In a zippy and electric interview with Cotman, and Margolis, the duo described the event: “It was two rounds, and four schools faced off against each other. We did long form improv for eighteen minutes, and then one team goes first, one goes second, and then the audience votes” on who the winner should be, said Cotman. In the championship round, Margolis added, “we chose to do realism, and we portrayed boarding school students preparing to say goodbye to the school to the school they’ve literally never left before graduation.” The accompanying trophy is theirs for the duration of this year, until they “hopefully will be the defending champs so we can keep it in our house,” Cotman added with a laugh. Keep your eyes peeled for where this trophy will appear on campus.

In other news, the majors and minors fair took place in Mary Fisher during Common Hour on March 27. With an energetic turnout, students were able to talk to QR tutors as well as professors in each of the academic programs currently offered at this institution.

Wondering what the fancy green tablecloths were doing on the Forum’s tables this week? It was for the Mary Fisher Tea, held on March 26 from 2-3:30 p.m. According to the program for the event, “Mary Fisher was a beloved figure among students at the Women’s College of Baltimore, and after her death in 1902, alumnae gave the college a triptych of Tiffany windows in her memory. For her 100th birthday in 1950, the Goucher community gathered to honor her with a tea and to dedicate the four houses of Mary Fisher Hall, the first building on the Towson campus. In later years, Goucher alumnae clubs worldwide met each spring to recognize her life.” Want to find out what happened to those Tiffany windows? Yeah, me too. When asked about the experience of performing at this event, Chris Elliott ‘19, noted performing “[f]our songs [at the tea]. The first was ‘Amazing Grace,’ by H. Leslie Adams, which isn’t your typical Amazing Grace, but a version that Adams wrote with African-American and jazz influences in it. The next three songs were all jazz tunes: ‘Fly Me to the Moon,’ ‘Cry Me a River,’ and ‘All of Me.’” Elliott continued, “[t]he event consisted of mainly older Goucher alum who’ve graduated many years ago. President Jose Bowen and Bryan Coker were there, as well as other current workers like Lynn Satterfield and Rob Ferrell.” To those of you wondering, “the ‘pinky up’ rule was not enforced, nor was it talked about during the event unfortunately.”

The Office of Title IX released the “2018 Reports of Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking” data to the student body via email on Thursday, March 28. This data, available through the link embedded in the email as well as the website for the Office of Title IX, is federally required of the college in order to “participat[e] in federal financial aid programs” under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. While the official email announcing the release of the 2017 data noted that, “[s]ince Spring 2015, the Title IX (TIX) Office has shared an annual report of closed cases with the campus community,” data from 2016-2018 is on the Title IX website. According to this year’s data, “55 incidents or suspected incidents were reported to the Title IX Office in 2018,” down from 61 the year prior. Both of these figures are above the “total of 49 incidents or suspected incidents were reported to the Title IX Office in 2016.” In an interview with The Quindecim, Title IX Coordinator Lucia Perfetti Clark said “…the number [of reported cases] tends to be holding steady [year to year]…I’m glad that the numbers stay on the higher side…I always take the higher numbers as a sign that students feel like they can report, which is what we work pretty hard to foster.”

The Office of Communications announced via email on Friday, March 29 that the College will now be partnering with eCampus as our “new online textbook partner.” This partnership will be replacing the current one between Goucher and Barnes & Noble. Members of GSG who were involved in advising the decision noted that this partnership, while establishing the provider of textbooks and resources for courses, does not cover the management of the campus bookstore next to Alice’s.

A final newsy tidbit for this week is that the sun has been making its appearance more frequently this week, and, in quintessential Goucher fashion, we gophers have begun to poke out of the ground from hibernating all winter. The Mary Fisher patio is being frequented more often by seekers of Vitamin D who also intend to do homework. Is it possible the groundhog was correct and spring will really come early this year?

News Corner With Neve

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Picture Credit: @gouchercollege on Twitter 

  • Ground was broken on the Evelyn Dyke Schroedl ’62 Tennis Center on Friday, March 1. The soil used for the groundbreaking is still in the parking lot next to Alcock.
  • As announced in a January 14 email to the campus community, “Dr. Andrew Wu has been appointed as the college’s Associate Dean of Students and Director of Athletics (AD), effective immediately.” Wu served as the Interim Director since Spring 2018.
  • Congratulations to this year’s winners, runner ups and honorable mentions for the Appelstein-Sweren Book Collecting Contest (pictured)!
  • The Middle States team doing Goucher’s reaccreditation will report their findings from 10:30-11:30 a.m. in Merrick on March 13.
  • At the faculty meeting on March 6, Interim Provost Scott Sibley said, “I think we’re ready” in relation to the arrival of the Middle States accreditation team the week of March 11.
  • The interview process is underway for three undergraduate advisors who will advise all undeclared students beginning August 2019. The three advisors will serve in lieu of faculty advisors for students who have yet to declare their majors.
  • The dance program is looking to offer two concentrations within the existing major: one in Dance Studies and the other in Dance. The proposal, unanimously endorsed at the March 6 faculty meeting, will cost no additional money, as all courses within each track already exist on campus.
  • Sneaking into the last few minutes of the faculty meeting, a new program proposal was introduced, tentatively entitled Applied Science and Technology. The goal of the program, explained Associate Professor Rodney Yoder, is to support students who begin their college careers in highly structured STEM majors and decide to study a different subject partway through. The proposal includes tentative tracks in Physics, Chemistry, and Environmental Science, and will hopefully add a track in life sciences, said Yoder. The cost of the program will be three additional courses that do not currently exist.
  • Faculty Chair Micah Webster announced that he will be stepping down from this post at the end of the year due to health concerns. Professor Nina Kasniunas will carry out the rest of Dr. Webster’s term.

GSG Had Their Annual Retreat and Here’s What’s Up

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Goucher Student Government, 2018-2019. Photo Credit: Neve Levinson

On February 10 in the Pinkard Room, Goucher Student Government (GSG), held its first retreat of the semester. In its current iteration, GSG is comprised of sixteen Senators, and two Co-Presidents (all listed at the end of this article). Their advisors are Stacy Cooper Patterson, Associate Dean of Students for Community Life, and Aisha Rivers, Director of Student Engagement. (Both of their offices are in the Office of Student Engagement, which is in the left side of the Mary Fisher lobby.)

GSG is in a transitional stage in terms of both structure and in creating institutional memory and continuity. An ongoing conversation throughout the retreat centered around the goals of GSG and how its members go about achieving those goals. Underpinning this conversation was a larger discussion about how GSG has been organized on an interior level in the past, and how to use that knowledge to create an institution that fulfills a need within the Goucher community. A key piece of this is that the GSG constitution now allows for two Co-Presidents to hold office, an amendment made last fall.

GSG Co-President, Samuel Anderson (‘21), explained that the reasoning for having two people hold this position model is to “ease the burden of one individual.” He added that both Co-Presidents are on the same level of the horizontal hierarchy as one another: there is no President or Vice President split. Co-President Noah Block (‘21), added that a key goal of this configuration is “collaboration.” As presented and discussed during the retreat, GSG in its current iteration seeks to model a horizontal leadership structure that shares power and responsibility evenly amongst its eighteen members.

Given this framework, a conversation that members of GSG began and returned to throughout the retreat centered around what the role of a Senator is right now, and to imagine what it can possibly look like. One senator mentioned that as a Senator, they are here “because we are all student leaders.” They discussed how horizontal structures allow individual senators to bring their personal passions to the group and work on them collaboratively, without taking orders or instructions from the top of the hierarchy. Senator Jibril Howard (‘22), spoke of Senators as visible connectors between students and each other or other members of the campus community. Senator Lilith Saylor, (‘20), raised concerns about this allowing GSG to be “too fluid,” and Senator Terrin Calder-Rosen (‘19), added that members of campus administration have questions about how Student Government functions and who to consult when seeking student feedback.

Other discussions that began at this retreat included ways to build on the record-setting 40% voter turnout for GSG elections last semester; ways to learn from previous leaders within GSG and its precursor, Student Government Association (SGA); and personal campaigns each senator was interested in taking on in order to build coalitions across campus with the common goal of improving Goucher, its climate, and how it functions as a whole. Senator Campbell Shepard (‘22), a member of the men’s soccer team, mentioned working with head men’s lacrosse coach Bryan Laut to generate continuing dialogue among athletes relating to toxic masculinity. Senator Em Lassen (‘21), proposed building on their role  as secretary of Equal Access in order to work with student groups to improve accessibility across campus life.

The Quindecim will continue reporting onGSG meetings that are open to the student body as well as potentially reporting future retreats such as this one.

Goucher Student Government members:

  • Samuel Anderson (Co-President), class of 2021
  • Noah Block (Co-President), class of 2021
  • Terrin Rosen, class of 2019
  • Sarah Piohia, class of 2019
  • Lilith Saylor, class of 2020
  • Zac Kassay, class of 2020 (currently abroad)
  • Marie Mokuba, class of 2021
  • Claire Corliss, class of 2021
  • Em Lassen, class of 2021
  • Xavier Rivers, class of 2021
  • Alexandra DiGiovanni, Class of 2022
  • Yuchen Ding, Class of 2022
  • Alistair Watson, Class of 2022
  • Derrick Burnette, Class of 2022
  • Ty’lor Schnella, Class of 2022
  • Derek Borowsky, Class of 2022
  • Campbell Shepard, Class of 2022
  • Jibril Howard, Class of 2022
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