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The Roots of Change: Students Learn to Mobilize

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About four weeks ago, on Tuesday, September 5th, the Trump administration announced that it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (also known as DACA). The program granted work permits and deferrals from deportation, renewable every two years, for immigrants brought into the US as children or teenagers before mid-2007. The political move to end DACA soon took the internet by storm, with DACA recipients (also known as DREAMers) and proponents pressuring political figures on the left and right to respond to what they deemed to be a discriminatory act. I was browsing through my Facebook feed that Tuesday afternoon when a particular video alerted me to the political unrest: student-led walkouts at Denver high-schools were occurring in real-time in my home state of Colorado. Little did I know that only a few buildings away, other Goucher students were viewing the same video. “I didn’t know much about DACA. It was a Tuesday afternoon and I was sitting with all of my friends at Alice’s and then all of my friends were talking about the walk-out in Denver,” said Sarojini Schutt ‘18, a Peace Studies major. After researching DACA and the Trump administration’s decision, Schutt and her friends were inspired to act.

In response to threats to DACA, students took matters into their own hands, tabling on Van Meter and urging other students to call their representatives. Photo Credit: Usha Kaul

First, her friend Sabrina Nayar ‘18 sent out an informal invitation through the Facebook class pages to meet at Alice’s patio. “It started out with just 7 people but then people walked in,” Schutt said of the meeting. At first, students were calling for a walk-out the following day, but this particular method of mobilization was put into question by a few individuals at the table. Eventually, the group decided to call Robert Ferrell, a Goucher Communications staff member, regarded as a campus mentor and activist, for advice. “Rob brought out the point that if we do walk out now, people are going to associate it with Black Lives Matter (BLM),” Schutt told me. In 2015, in addition to leading a walk-out, Goucher students had led a die-in in front of academic buildings. Goucher had changed the listing of its address from “Baltimore” to “Towson” shortly after the Baltimore uprisings began, an act which many black students on campus saw as an affront to the BLM cause. The die-in made an impression on both administration and students alike. Pro-DACA mobilizers began to realized the importance of historical context when choosing appropriate methods of protest.

Goucher students led a die-in in front of academic buildings in 2015, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Photo Credit: Rob Ferrell

Students gathered together that afternoon realized that they themselves were not DREAMers, and that fighting for the program as allies carried different implications. “It was almost like [by walking-out] we would be appropriating [DREAMers]’ protest,” Schutt said. Important questions such as, “what is the proper way to respond to this event?,” “what is the most effective way of protesting?,” and “what message do we want to send?” had to be discussed. “We talked about intent vs impact, and the implications of our actions–like what [DREAMers] actually need and what that looks like,” Schutt told me. After more than three hours of conversation, Goucher students, cycling in and out of the meeting space, conceptualized a new plan for mobilization. “Our plan was to table and kind of disrupt the flow of Van Meter Highway,” Schutt told me.

Sabrina Nayer, ‘18, encourages her fellow students to take some time to learn about DACA. Photo Credit: Usha Kaul

In the next few days, volunteers tabled in front of the main entrance of the Athenaeum, urging students to call their representatives. The way in which these students had decided to take matters into their own hands impressed me, and it reminded me of similar instances of student-led mobilization on campus. Over the course of my three years at Goucher, I had already witnessed students pushing for new student work policy reform. The semester before my first year, students led protests in response to police brutality against black Americans like Freddie Gray. Goucher has a legacy of students coming together on their own to stand up for what is important to them.

Yet, while I admired the ways my peers had organized the pro-DACA tabling all on their own, I noticed that many students avoid eye contact with the protesters and hastily walk past, which led me to question the success of the movement. Were they achieving the goals that they had set out to achieve? Brett Rapbaum, ‘20, while a pro-DACA student mobilizer herself, noticed some faux-pas in the way the movement attempted to create change. “It was like 10 people at the table at once, and it was a lot of first years who weren’t even aware of what DACA was,” she told me. While fruitful reflection and discussion had set the stage for the movement, it had been carried out by a decentralized group of people. Since no leadership structure existed, there was no system of accountability for misinformation, or consensus on proper tabling methods. “I heard lot of mega-phony type stuff, just like, ‘You can’t spare 2 minutes? Really?’,” Rapbaum said. As a Student Leader for Civic Action, Rapbaum has learned to avoid blaming people for not knowing something that they’ve never been taught. What she saw in some of the pro-DACA tabling was intimidation, not only of busy students who “wanted to be involved but couldn’t be in that moment,” but also of people who could have been informed about DACA and its importance. “It created enemies where they didn’t have to exist,” she explained. While she noted that the tabling did attract and motivate many students to action, she saw the movement’s tactics as effective in the short term but not so much in the long term. “This is an issue that’s going to be present for several months, and it’s dangerous to have something that’s sparked right away and then fizzles out,” she told me. “This is a long haul marathon, not a sprint.”

This is an endemic problem at Goucher. Student mobilization on campus often carries huge shock value and can spark very specific, short-term changes, but when it comes to long-term change, Goucher movements are faced with a variety of problems. About a year ago, students mobilized against a ‘New Student Work Policy’ announced in June – with great success. Yet the reason for its success was precisely predicated on its short-term goal: to revoke a policy that would restrict salaries for many students, particularly those who were international and/or of low-income. Ahmed Ibrahim ‘19 was one of the leaders of the movement. “I was very worried about what was going to happen with me staying on campus and working to meet the amount I needed to get my education. I knew people who worked on-campus and off-campus. This policy is going to screw them over. So what can we do about it?” Just like the pro-DACA mobilizers, Ibrahim met with other students working on campus over the summer who would be affected by the new policy. Some, like James Williams ‘19, had past experience affecting change, and they formed a core group of leaders. Williams helped the group form an incremental plan where their grievances would be expressed in increasingly visible and confrontational ways until the policy was revoked.

The group established some ground rules for their movement, such as complete transparency with students and administration. Most of the developments had occurred over the summer, so many students, particularly the incoming class, were out of the loop. Ibrahim informed students about the new policy by confronting people on Van Meter or in common rooms. Then, he and the rest of the group met with staff such as Karen Sykes and Luz Burgos-López.“[Their] summary was like yeah I hear you, but we can’t do anything about it because it was a joint decision by Goucher admin.” They took the next step. Williams sent out emails to administrators like Brian Coker and even José Bowen. “They responded. They were like, ‘yeah, we should have a discussion about it.’ Then it was a back and forth, like bargaining about it,” Ibrahim said. They pushed harder, directly confronting administrators like Leslie Lewis, LaJerne Cornish, and Emily Pearl during Student Employment Day. Administrators responded by suggesting an appeals process and encouraging student input.

Subsequently, the group used Facebook and tabling on Van Meter to collect signatures from students, staff, and faculty. Around 600 to 700 people signed their petition. The group then told administration that they would be meeting in the Athenaeum to engage in a more involved discussion about the policy with their peers. “I remember there were 7 us and then 35 people who joined,” Ibrahim told me. “We made a list of grievances on a board and took a picture, and we reflected on an appropriate course of action.” Here his story began to echo Schutt’s description of organizing the Pro-DACA movement. What was clearly different about Ibrahim’s account, however, was that an identifiable structure existed throughout the process. He and the rest of the core group leading the movement were able to convince administrators to convene with 10 to 12 students at a town hall meeting. “The agreement was ‘yes, we’re going to repeal the policy, but we’re also going to work with administration on a new policy’,” Ibrahim stated. Over the course of the next semester, student workers were able to create the more equitable work policy that exists today.

To be sure, the pro-DACA movement had its own successes. Schutt, Rapbaum, and a number of other mobilizers were able to identify key resources on campus that helped them inform and empower a large number of Goucher students. For example, they knew to go to CREI (Center for Race, Equity, and Identity), which supplied them with many of the flyers and print-outs that they handed out. They also coordinated with OSE (Office of Student Engagement), which provided additional information on DACA during common hour. Finally, they were able to identify key spaces for organizing and mobilizing more students. “We met in the P-Selz lobby, which is just like a really accessible space. It’s big, and there’s a projector that all students can use. We were able to send out mass emails, and also we were able to post on the Facebook pages about stuff,” Rapbaum told me. Some mobilizers even convinced a professor to bring their class to the DACA information table.

The Emergency Trump Task Force (ETTF), which formed out of the pro-DACA movement, created a Hurricane Relief Fund for victims of the recent hurricanes. Photo Credit: Usha Kaul

Yet, just as quickly as it had appeared, the pro-DACA movement melted away. As was seen with the movement against the New Student Work Policy, students from disparate groups tend to coalesce around certain issues, but not for long. Had the New Student Work Policy movement sought to change an economic policy beyond Goucher’s campus, it would have encountered many of the same problems that the pro-DACA movement faced. Goucher students thus lack the structure necessary to make the long-term changes they seek. Some, like Williams, have taken notice of this missing puzzle piece. “Ideally, we should have gotten more of a campus conversation about [mobilizing], because student activism stuff seems to pop up and go away really quickly,” he told me. The Goucher Leadership Council, a group of nominated student leaders, could have assumed the role of shaping a student network, but as Williams pointed out to me, it became more of an important ‘therapy space’ for leaders who are stretched thin. Having helped found the Radical Student Union (RSU), Williams hopes to achieve radical change on campus, but acknowledges the difficulties in doing so. “Some people start out and really start to spread agency of who’s going to do [the organizing]. But what ends up happening is, there’s so many people that have people in their pockets and nobody really knows who’s in charge, so the movement dissipates,” he explained. RSU members hold different views of what constitutes ‘radical change’, so the group hasn’t been able to agree on an effective system for student mobilization. That being said, the group has been working on building community. “Student mobilization needs to look like something where students come together – and clubs are dying, or if not dying, living in a silent-ish way,” Williams said.

 

Ridwan Ladwal, ‘20, behind the table for the Hurricane Relief Fund, organized by ETTF. Photo Credit: Usha Kaul

One group that has emerged out of Goucher’s past activism may be planting the seeds for the kind of consolidation Williams envisions. The Emergency Trump Task Force (ETTF) formed out of the pro-DACA movement when Usha Kaul ‘17 and seven other students decided that DACA’s revocation was only one of many Trump administration decisions that needed to be confronted. Zahir Mammadzada ‘21, one of the seven, questioned the effectiveness of shock-value protests. “Protests are effective to some point. Pressuring government bodies is more effective because shutting your mind off doesn’t really legally change anything.” Kaul chimed in, “often times I feel like people don’t understand the issue completely when protesting. They often just join the mass.” To Mammadzada and Kaul, ETTF serves as a pre-existing support structure of activists who will help table and inform when mobilized. When Kaul decided to create the Hurricane Relief Fund, she knew where to go. “We’re really pushing the whole ‘education and understanding the issue’ concept. We know that we can’t fix world problems 100%, but in order to move forward we need to educate people about the issues we’re facing,” she told me. Mammadzada added, “You’ve got to start somewhere!” Admittedly, ETTF’s political objectives are unlikely to draw in all of the Goucher student body. However, the group serves as a starting model for pulling the campus together, a process which, if ever completed, would empower students more than ever before.

 

Campus Construction, Honest Opinions

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While Goucher promises new innovation and advancements for Goucher’s future student population, its current students are the ones dealing with the transition. Currently eighty percent of the college’s residents are affected by the campus’ progress, with nuisances such as excessive noise six days a week and half of the campus being closed down- forcing students to walk around the Loop as opposed to cutting through the Quad, as they did last year. While Goucher promises a fresh new dining hall and two brand new freshman dorms to accompany the four story P-Slez, the current situation on Goucher’s campus is less than convenient.
For students living in Bacon House of Mary Fisher, there is a long walk from anything on campus besides Dorsey and the academic buildings. Bacon used to be easily accessible to facilities such as Pearlstone, a place that can be remembered by current juniors and seniors. The building is now only accessible through one door at the bottom of the loop. At the end of the hall, noise can be heard, sometimes as early as seven in the morning, from workers building a new common space that was supposed to be built before opening week. Most don’t seem too bothered by the less than average conditions for Goucher dorms, but it’s certainly not the normal that’s expected.
This year’s freshman don’t seem too pleased with the promises of freshman dorms and villages, especially with the inconvenient construction. The two First Years interviewed for this article, GS and MW, both expressed their displeasure with the new updates. They stated that the construction, which intends to create a new freshman village for the purpose of community, is doing the exact opposite as it continues to move forward. Since the out-of-place buildings are away from everyone else on campus, there is sentiment that it is hard to make friends with upperclassmen, since getting around to other places on campus can be difficult or time-consuming. Not only that, but the noise complaints are even worse. Noises from the jackhammers or the machinery moving Tuttle cause the whole P-Selz building to shake. “A mirror fell off of the wall in [my friend’s] room because of the vibrations,” said Madison Webster (‘21). This is certainly something new students didn’t expect when touring Goucher last year.
Goucher’s newest advancements are being met with not too much excitement from the current students, who will not benefit from the new structures. The ever-present amount of projects that are happening all at once are impeding on one of Goucher’s core appeals: the scenery and accessibility. One of Goucher’s more alluring factors for incoming students is the small community, now stifled by the current construction. With the inconveniences it creates, students don’t seem too excited about the new structures that are being put up around campus, mostly greeting the updates with a nod of nonchalance, and maybe even a slight eye-roll.

The Office of Accessibility Services (OAS)

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Arnelle Hanley from the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS). Photo credit: OAS

Goucher’s Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) opened its doors four months ago, and its director Arnelle Hanley has been busy at work ever since. The purpose of OAS is to provide a space for students who are seeking accommodations “to better engage with the Goucher community,” according to Hanley. Her work is not limited to learning or physical disabilities. Rather she is available to help students gain access to help with whatever limitations and barriers they may experience inside the classroom and all around campus. This can range from long term, chronic issues to temporary issues, such as broken ankles.
She collaborates with “pretty much any office that you can think of,” including residential life, counseling, health services, FMS, dining services, admissions, financial aid, and the Office of International Studies. She’s been meeting with prospective students and their families through admissions. With OIS, she’s been helping students think about the accessibility of the study abroad programs they’re considering and supporting them with aspects of their applications. She’s also been meeting with every academic center. She’s been a part of ongoing conversations with FMS about what accessibility looks like as Goucher is building new buildings and what it looks like in our current buildings in regards to what types of accommodations we can make now to make the buildings more accessible.
In respect to the dining halls, she may help students navigate dietary restrictions, as well as help develop systems that will make the dining halls more physically accessible for students who use a wheelchair or cane. One idea she’s been in conversation with the dining facilities about is the acquisition of trays for those who need to better balance their food and plates and utensils, etc.
Yet, Hanley’s job doesn’t stop there. “I look at my job as not just helping students access Goucher, but also preparing them to advocate for themselves after Goucher…I’m always thinking of life after Goucher.” She strives to empower students to advocate for themselves while at Goucher so that they can do so confidently with HR in their future careers: “Your parents can’t call your future employer,” she says.
Currently located in an office in the Alumni House, she will hold open hours for students to book appointments with her on Starfish. In the meantime, students can email her at arnelle.hanely@goucher.edu. “If you’re not sure who to go to, start with me…once you talk to me, I already know who the contact person is for you,” she says. ACE, Frona Brown (the Learning Disabilities specialist), and Hanley are developing a system that will allow them to effectively communicate between themselves. Starting the conversation with Hanley will allow her to efficiently direct students to the best resources for their personal needs. If a student already has a relationship with ACE or Frona Brown, Arnelle encourages them to maintain those relationships, but any student who hasn’t yet developed a relationship with these resources should contact Hanley first to discuss whether they need accommodations and what those resources would look like. Hanley reiterates that “my office is here to help you problem solve, not to solve your problems.”
Students, faculty, and staff can help Hanley make Goucher more accessible by reporting all barrier issues they notice and experience on campus. This can be suggestions as to where handrails can be placed around campus, or something as specific as the magnet locks being so low in a dorm building that people are likely to hit their heads on such a barrier. Reporting handicap buttons that don’t work and any barriers in classrooms are also helpful.
For more information about the Office of Accessibility Services and other campus resources, please visit the new and up-to-date Accessibility website: http://www.goucher.edu/student-life/accessibility-services.

Stories of Immigration

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Note: This article was written at the end of last semester. It remains relevant, however, especially in light of Trump’s recent attack on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Two recent Goucher graduates, Sabrina Jimenez, ‘17, and Fernando Parra Chong, ‘17, shed light on the continuously misrepresented, marginalized members of the United States: immigrants. For their senior independent project, Jimenez and Parra Chong, both Latino immigrants themselves, took on the task of conducting, recording, and transcribing interviews from local Latino immigrants living in Maryland. The project began spring semester, 2017, as they interviewed people from El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, Mexico, and Honduras.
Why is it important to retell these stories of immigration? In the age of Trump and mass media, immigrants are often misrepresented by statistics and generalizations. Parra Chong stated, “these misconceptions [of immigrants] are because the public hasn’t heard their stories.” What better way to truly understand the experience of an immigrant than by listening to them?
Both Parra Chong and Jimenez have conducted numerous interviews and gained insight into the factors that persuaded or forced people to leave their home country, their families, and their comfort. One story included a woman who chose to move her immediate family, (herself and her two sons), from Mexico to Maryland after being targeted by rebel groups. She was a professor in a University in Mexico and was only given a one-year visa to stay in Maryland upon presentation of her legal documents. She is currently approaching the end of her stay and has the choice to live undocumented in the States, risking deportation, or move her family back home and face the same threats. Jimenez stated, “A lot of these immigrants are refugees from their own countries, yet they’re not classified as refugees.”
Jimenez noted the increase in fear, specifically related to the Trump administration, that has permeated through the latino community. “People have been living here undocumented for years, a lot of them are developing back-up plans. Not everyone has the choice to leave.” Unfortunately, due to the high stress and uncertainty of their situations, “many immigrants here struggle with mental illness.” In addition to the high stress environment, immigrants cope with leaving their home and families behind while adapting to a new culture in the States in which they are often discriminated against.
By presenting their findings and interviews in psychological summaries, pamphlets, and at the Goucher Symposium on April 26th, Parra Chong and Jimenez hoped to “give voice to the marginalized group of people.” These stories allowed others to “view them as people, not immigrants, put themselves in their shoes, and empathize.”

Fresh Check Day: a New Goucher Tradition

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Fresh Check Day aims to improve mental health awareness on campus. Photo credit: UBC

On September 22,  from 2-6pm in the Athenaeum Forum, Goucher College is having its very first Fresh Check Day. The event will be a resource and activities fair dedicated to improving mental health through raising awareness of the mental health obstacles college students often face, as well as introducing tools students can use to tackle these issues head on. There will be booths on topics such as mental health issues, suicide prevention, positive coping and life skills, and stigma reduction. Fresh Check is a program developed by the Jordan Porco Foundation, a family foundation that came about after the suicide of their son. This national non-profit will provide prizes for the event, such as a TV, t-shirts, and some other small items. JED Campus, a nationwide initiative of the Jed Foundation, also supports the event. The JED foundation works to promote emotional well-being, reduce the risk of suicide and serious substance abuse, and encourage the creation of healthy, thriving student communities.
Cameron Cox, the new Student Development and Outreach Coordinator, and co-chair of Goucher’s JED Campus Committee, states “I hope students learn as much as possible. I hope that we can dispel some of the myths about mental health, and really get the campus talking more about the importance of mental health.” Cox is not the only one interested in disposing with the stigma regarding mental health; students from the Peer Mental Health Advocacy Group, a club currently in the process of becoming official, are also aiding the event. This club-in-development hopes to build a base of motivated students who will explore the educational and support programs desired by the Goucher community, and create safe space in which they can educate their peers on matters related to mental health.
Jacob Givelber, a student helping to lead the establishment of the Peer Mental Health Advocacy Group, hopes that the Fresh Check Day is a success. He can’t express enough how important it is to rid Goucher, as well as other colleges and universities, of the negative stigma that surrounds mental health. He emphasizes that not talking about problems does not make them go away and that while mental health disorders cannot be seen, that doesn’t make them fake. Purging Goucher of the mental health stigma could save lives. Cameron Cox hopes “this is something where everyone can leave feeling like ‘I feel comfortable talking about this with my peers and the people I work with on campus, whether they be my professors, coaches, other students, or staff members I come in contact with.’”
Goucher’s Fresh Check Day has received support from the wider community and on-campus. Fresh Check community sponsors are The Bergand Group, Greater Baltimore Counseling Center, The Renfrew Center, TurnAround.  On-campus sponsors are Athletics, Community-Based Learning, CREI, Peer Listeners, The President’s Office, The Provost’s Office and faculty, Residential Life, The Student Affairs Office, Student Counseling Services, and the Title IX office.

Smoke-Free Initiative Builds Steam, Encounters Roadblocks

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In October of 2016, President Jose Bowen and “Senior Leadership Team” announced an initiative for Goucher to become 100% smokefree in order to uphold “a bold history of innovation.” The administration made this decision in late November as a response to three separate incidents when extremely asthmatic students had to be rushed to the hospital from second-hand smoke inhalation.

Andrew Wu, Associate Dean of Students, said that he has received emails from the parents of prospective students claiming that they couldn’t see the school “through the smoke.” President Jose Bowen, Andrew Wu, and Dean Bryan Coker also revealed that antismoking sentiment has been present at Goucher for the past ten years.

The Goucher administration has received results from many students and student-led groups over the years who distributed surveys, conducted senior research projects, and applied course work towards the possibility of Goucher going smoke-free. “We’re rife with data and we have been for a while,” said Wu. However, he also stated that “the quality of the data is questionable.” Instead of using this data as the basis for a smoke-free campus argument, he cited recommendations from the American College Health Association that schools treat smoking on campus as a public health issue.

To help the administration come up with a concrete plan, an unnamed committee has been tasked to “develop and recommend a plan and timeline for becoming a smoke-free campus.” For the first few months, the committee seems to have struggled to represent the student body. The committee, comprised of faculty, staff, and students, appeared to be comprised of eager anti-smokers, failing to include students who smoke.

“While we have heard from many non-smokers who are interested in this initiative, we would like to involve current smokers as well,” wrote Dean Coker. Wu claims that until 2005, students were allowed to smoke inside academic and residence buildings on campus. He also acknowledges

To help the administration come up with a concrete plan, an unnamed committee has been tasked to “develop and recommend a plan and timeline for becoming a smoke-free campus.” For the first few months, the committee seems to have struggled to represent the student body. The committee, comprised of faculty, staff, and students, appeared to be comprised of eager anti-smokers, failing to include students who smoke. “While we have heard from many non-smokers who are interested in this initiative, we would like to involve current smokers as well,” wrote Dean Coker. Wu claims that until 2005, students were allowed to smoke inside academic and residence buildings on campus. He also acknowledges

Wu claims that until 2005, students were allowed to smoke inside academic and residence buildings on campus. He also acknowledges that some students have even taken up smoking at Goucher. For those students trying to quit, some have found it difficult to be on campus, and if they do leave, often these students resume smoking when they return. Although the Health Center offers free smoking secession materials, including nicotine gum, Wu feels that it is not enough and wants to create “an environment that doesn’t encourage smoking.”

One of the biggest concerns about the Initiative is the number of students who would be affected by a Smoke-Free Goucher College. Wu said in an interview that Freidman-Wheeler and the committee had information on the exact number of smokers on campus, but, “I would venture to say that at most small liberal arts schools, like Goucher, the perception of smoking is much higher than the reality.”

Although according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), smoking in America has been declining, a 2015 study found that 13% of American adults aged from 18-24 are smokers. A Harvard School of Public Health study in 2016 found that as many as a third–33%–of college students are smokers. On the other hand, the American College Health Association found that 9% of college students have asthma, and a 2014 CDC study found that 24.6% of adults between 18-44 have select respiratory diseases. Goucher currently has a total enrollment of 2,148 students, according to the US News and World Report. Therefore, taking these statistics into consideration, within Goucher’s population there would be an estimated population of between 280 and 710 students who smoke and an estimated 200 to 537 students with respiratory diseases.

The interests of faculty and staff who smoke are another obstacle in transitioning Goucher to a smoke-free environment. Wu acknowledged a union presence on the committee, designed to preserve faculty and staff interests: “we have a union rep on the committee, so hopefully that’s going to help… [but once the campus goes completely smoke-free,] we’re going to have possibly even bigger issues… It’ll be very difficult to tell people, especially for people who don’t drive to work, … to say, [to staff who smoke] ‘you have to leave campus [if you want a cigarette.’]” Wu was not sure if the smoking secession materials are currently available for Bon Appetit workers. “I would say yes, but we haven’t specifically spoken about Bon Appetit workers,” Wu said.

The Goucher administration is hopeful about the success of the Smoke-Free Initiative and said that a lot of schools and universities are going smoke-free. Wu said,“Towson went smoke-free, which, to me, is kind of surprising because their campus is so big… but they did it successfully.”

Martin, a senior I.T. major at Towson University is also a smoker and he reported that he faces little difficulty in navigating a smoke-free campus. When he wants to smoke, he said, “I have to listen to music or distract myself” until he can find someplace to smoke. However, Martin also stated that he “is not addicted,” so the smoke-free policy might not have affected him as much as others. Martin also stated that “there are still places on campus where you can smoke.” Although their campus is big, especially in comparison to Goucher’s, Martin is still careful about where he smokes because “It’s not worth the risk.”

The committee, along with Goucher administration, are working on the timeline of the Initiative–when and how it will be implemented. Wu claimed that he and the committee are in favor of “phases.” He speculated that initially there will be seven or eight zones where people can smoke that are easily accessible from buildings, “so people don’t have to walk long distances… but we want to avoid high traffic areas.” He also reported that the committee is considering waiting a couple years before beginning the transition, in order to allow current smokers to graduate, and recruit new students with the condition that they know that Goucher has a plan to become completely smoke-free.

Administration and the committee also face the question of how this policy will be enforced. “One of the biggest things since I’ve been here, has been a lack of enforcement of smoking policies,” said Wu. “It’s been difficult to enforce [these policies].

Part of the reason for that, in my opinion… has been a lack of a system of accountability.” The current policy is that smokers must be 25 feet from buildings, but, as Wu said, “Public Safety can’t cover the perimeter of all buildings. That’s kind of silly.”

The committee has yet to come to a conclusion regarding consequences for violating non-smoking regulations. Wu proposes that infringements could be handled by Public Safety in a “parking-ticket type of way.” However, he also said, “I don’t realistically think the entire campus is going to stop smoking on campus when we go to smoke-free. It’s the same thing when we say you can’t have marijuana on campus, but people still do… it’s something we need to commit to in our policy… We can enforce sanctions that are reasonable… if you show repeated behavior that suggest that you’re just not willing to follow the rules of the community, that’s when it’s a big deal for me.” However, no concrete consequences for violating the policy of the new initiative have been accepted.

Wu believes that the Smoke-Free Initiative is beneficial to the health of Goucher students and needs to happen: “I am positive, in my personal opinion, that this would never happen if it wasn’t a top down thing because there’s too much disagreement [and there are] people who are passionate about smoking… [and] have very loud voices, probably louder than people who don’t want to be around smoke. Especially when you start this conversation like, ‘Hey, we’re going to take your cigarettes away’ those voices are loud.”

Goucher Style: Nashalia Ferrara

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Annie Schwartz, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Who: Nashalia Ferrara, Senior, Communications Major

AS: Nashalia, the first time we met in Zurawick’s COM 242 class you were wearing these really cool booties that had zippers on the edges. Do you still have these boots and where did you get them?

Nashalia Ferrara: Haha, thanks! They are Lucky Brand booties. I took them abroad with me and the cobblestone streets of Europe completely ruined them so I don’t wear them much anymore.

AS: What is your favorite trend on Goucher’s campus?

NF: I love and wish I could pull off boyfriend jeans.

AS: What Goucher fad really makes you cringe?

NF: Don’t kill me; I hate Birkenstocks.

AS: How would you describe your style?

NF: It’s very classic, a little sporty, and maybe a little boring? I love black, clean lines, and capped sleeves.

AS: What will you do with yourself if you have to start wearing pantsuits to your new job post-graduation?

NF: Cry. This girl does not look good in a blazer.

AS: Has your style changed at all during your four years at Goucher? If so, how?

NF: When I arrived at Goucher, I was fresh out of prep school, wearing riding boots and obsessed with Tory Burch. By sophomore year, I stopped dressing like a suburban housewife and started leaning towards a street style look.

AS: Where did you go abroad and how did that impact your fashion sense?

NF: I went to Copenhagen, DK where there is no shame in wearing all black. The Danes taught me that head-to-toe black is very chic and not just for mourning. It was almost always below freezing there, so most of my thick, layering scarves are from Denmark or Sweden.

AS: What’s your favorite go-to piece in your closet?

NF: I love my Stan Smith Adidas! And yes, I know that Stan Smith is an actual person.

AS: Who is your Goucher style icon?

NF: Molly Kincaid McFall.

Garrison Keillor Visits Goucher

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Keillor-Headshot-2.jpgErika DiPasquale, Associate Editor

March 5th, 2017

On Monday, February 20th, Kraushaar Auditorium was filled to capacity for the sold out Garrison Keillor Event. The master storyteller was the first performer of “The Power of Storytelling” themed-semester event series, which strives to encourage “learning to gather stories, learning to craft stories, listening to one another’s stories, hearing master storytellers, and community reflection on stories,” according to Emily Perl, Assistant Vice President for Student Success, and leader of the themed-semester committee. The event was funded entirely by the Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Visiting Professorship fund.

Garrison Keillor hosted his very popular radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, from 1974 through July 2016 when he retired. His career earned him 3.5 million listeners on 700 public radio stations and Grammy, ACE, and George Foster Peabody awards, the National Humanities Medal, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He’s also an author of many books and editor of poetry anthologies. According to Emily Perl, Mr. Robert Meyerhoff and Ms. Rheda Becker “were instrumental in the decision to bring Garrison Keillor to campus this semester.”

Keillor entertained the crowd for 2 hours and 45 minutes straight—without stopping. Even during a ten minute intermission about an hour and a half in, he remained on stage and sang nostalgic songs with anyone in the audience willing to join in, expressing more than once how blessed he was to be in the same room as people who know the words to the same songs he knew—something he expects to not experience again in the coming years.

As for the content of his performance, his stories were certainly tailored to the audience, which consisted of more people with gray and white hair than Goucher College students. The age demographics of the audience shouldn’t come as a shock, being that a goal of the themed-semester is “to have a variety of speakers who appeal to different audiences and achieve a number of different goals,” according to Perl. Keillor started with stories about his brother-in-law’s hip replacement and his prostate, and then jumped backwards in time to share stories about college and his childhood. The audience heard stories about his first kiss, childhood punishments, and a couple funerals he’s recently attended. None of the stories he told took place during his impressive radio career. This organizational decision contributed to the development of the theme that “We strive to go far and then we end up back in the same place.”

Another theme he kept circling around to—one that is very relevant to the goals of the storytelling theme semester—is the act of writing things down and being remembered. After his longer stories, he would repeat the statement, “And I thought…I should write about this. But I haven’t written it down because I haven’t figured it out yet.” The first time he thought this, he was six years old. He wished to preserve the memory and prevent himself from simply disappearing from this earth. He wanted to write “to make sense of it.” The “strongest impulse of a writer,” according to Keillor, is “to hold onto the past and not let it vanish.” In his more recent reflections on his own mortality, as his performance illustrated, he’s felt this impulse even more so, in part because of a desire to be quoted posthumously like the greatest writers of all time—something he perceives as more meaningful than if he were to have a building named after him.

Because he told ordinary, relatable stories about his pre- and post- career life, the most resounding take-away from his performance is that anyone can tell their stories and be remembered in any form and style that comes naturally to them. Keillor’s style was one that evoked consistent waves of laughter and involved the audience in song at the beginning, middle, and end. Perl said, “The audience thoroughly enjoyed their evening with Garrison Keillor—I would call it a rousing success!”

A list of the remaining events in the series is below. Reserve your free tickets in advance at http://www.goucher.edu/tickets .

Queen Nur: Monday, February 27th, 7pm

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy: Wednesday, March 1, 7pm

Alec Dun: Thursday, March 23rd, 4:30pm

Ann Hamilton: Thursday, March 30, 6:30pm

Curtis Sittenfeld: Monday, April 3, 7pm

Peter L. Borst: Wednesday, April 5, 7pm

Anna Deveare Smith: Wednesday, April 12, 7pm

Participate in various Story Circle Sessions throughout the semester to listen and share stories in the ATH.

A Day in My Life Abroad: Tuesday, March 7, 4pm

The Place Where I Grew Up: Wednesday, March 22, 3pm

Hair Stories: Tuesday, April 11, 4pm

Goucher Stories: Wednesday, April 19, 3pm

Immigration Stories: Tuesday, April 25, 4pm

Visit http://www.goucher.edu/storytelling for more information about the speakers/performers and the Story Circles.

Who Gets to Be a Jazz Musician?

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Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Katie Van Note, Staff Writer

March 5th, 2017

What does a stereotypical American jazz musician look like? This is the question Naomi Moon Siegel asked that prompted conversation in Jeffrey Chapell’s jazz ensemble class last Tuesday, February 21st. Siegel is a composer, trombonist, and educator who visited Goucher College to present a workshop titled “Gender Equality and The Feminine Principle in Jazz.”

Siegel received her bachelors degree in jazz trombone from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. It was through her training that she realized conversations about patriarchy, sexuality, race, and gender – very much present among students in the liberal arts college – were not present in the conservatory. The majority of her teachers and fellow students were white males. In her music history classes, she learned about men. All of the books she read were written by men. If there was ever a section in a textbook on female musicians, it was given a special label, “Women in Jazz.” Yet, as Naomi stated last Tuesday, “women have always played jazz as instrumentalists.”

So, who is a typical jazz musician in America? Who is given space to sing, play the piano, guitar, drums, flute, clarinet, trumpet, or saxophone? This is where the conversation started at Goucher.

Eight of the attending jazz student musicians were given the task to identify stereotypes of various races and genders in jazz. Siegel asked, “What images and messages does the society receive at large about these groups of people in jazz?” Students identified these stereotypes about men: “they are white, instrumentalists, intelligent, they have an expected level of know-how, they are cool cats, aloof, elitist, middle-class, most able, and most visible.” One Goucher musician added, “they can afford gigging around,” as yet another symptom of privilege and class.

Stereotypes of women in jazz included “non-instrumentalists, sometimes pianists, sex objects, vocalists, wives, and non-composers.” It is important to note that female instrumentalists, such as Lil Hardin Armstrong and Alice Coltrane, both jazz pianists in their own right, were known for their marriages to their jazz musician husbands. Within the first two sentences of their descriptions on Wikipedia, they are mentioned as wives to John Coltrane and Louis Armstrong, whereas both men are described on Wikipedia by musical style and accomplishments with no mention of marital details. This begs the question – would these female musicians have been documented and remembered in jazz history if they hadn’t married male musicians?

Students also offered stereotypes of African Americans in jazz as “natural, the best jazz musicians, best sense of rhythm, and the originators.” Furthermore, stereotypes were discussed of Asian Americans as “classically trained piano players, can’t swing, and non-existent in jazz,” while Native Americans, Arab-Americans, Latino-Americans, were all labeled as “non-existent in jazz” as well. Siegel noted that greater intersectionality between sexuality, gender identity, and cultural backgrounds were not mentioned either, as they further separated a person from the “norm” in jazz.

Yet, how have these stereotypes developed over the hundred or so years of American jazz history? Siegel identified the creation and distribution of magazines in the 1920s as a major cause – propaganda that sexualized women vocalists and prioritized white bands.

In her lecture, Siegel explained her own internalized stereotype as “socialized to believe that females are inferior jazz instrumentalists.” She gave examples by quoting her fellow female jazz musicians, Esperanza Spalding and Kate Olsen: “I’m just a jazz musician,” and “I’m just one of the guys.” In reflection, Siegel pointed to the implicit meaning behind their quotes: denial of the patriarchy “as if somehow it doesn’t exist.”

One female vocalist in the audience told an account of her own experience: “My mom has always said she sees me lying on a piano in a slinky red dress singing jazz.”

As individuals in the jazz arena, Siegel noted the importance of “telling counter-narratives.” These counter-narratives serve as challenges to the perpetual stereotypes marginalized groups face in jazz. She emphasized the development of an individual voice and sound. “My goal is for us to be fully expressive.Only in defining and challenging these stereotypes can we begin to discover our potential as musicians.”

In creating a space for dialogue of this kind, Siegel left some students with another perspective, some with a validation of experience as female and black musicians, and some with inspiration to challenge the concept of a stereotypical jazz musician.

Goucher Wiffle Ball

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Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Michael Layer, Sports Editor

March 5th, 2017

Usually 60 plus degree weather in February should be cause for concern, but several have been enjoying their time in the sun. Warm afternoons at Goucher College mean classes outside, picnic blankets, and more recently, wiffle ball games on the Great Lawn. Typically found on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons, a group of about fourteen students create their own diamond out of the intersection of perpendicular walkways behind Welsh Hall.

“We want to keep it formally informal,” says senior David Sibony, one of the founding players of this new trend. Every couple of days, Sibony and junior Gianni Rodriguez take five rubber baseball plates, two balls, and a yellow wiffle ball bat that they own to set up their diamond in the corner of the Great Lawn. Two relatively even teams are created simply based on who shows up.

Goucher wiffle ball has gone under some recent changes. According to Sibony, he and a group of other students started playing wiffle ball on the residential quad in the spring of last year. Since the residential quad can become crowded, Sibony and the wiffle ball players moved to the lawn behind Pearlstone. Because of construction, players were forced to relocate to the Great Lawn, where they’ve been able to enjoy the games in front of crowds of about fifteen or twenty students. Students enjoy sitting on the hill between the T and the Athenaeum and often spectate relatively competitive wiffle ball games: “We like having the crowd; we hopefully try to play when there is a crowd… it’s fun to have people watch us play and [because of the crowd] people will play more, which we like,” laughs Sibony.

The group is organized through a Facebook group titled ‘Goucher Wiffle Ball,’ and administrated by Sibony. Though the page has plans to be public, it is currently set to private to ensure that nobody is turned away. Turnout is usually around fourteen students, so there is about seven on a team. This seems to be the most appropriate numbers as games can be competitive: “The game last week was very competitive… I don’t think anyone has decided not to play because the game has gotten too competitive; I don’t think it needs to be more competitive.”

Since many of the players are friends, the game flows naturally. Pitches are thrown not to get strikes, but for base hits, and there is also not an official umpire. In controversial plays, disputes are often settled through the good nature of both teams, “if there’s a really close call, we’ll switch off who gets the call, so if one team gets it this time, the other team will get it the next time.”

Sibony has plans for expansion and promotion of the game. He has plans for games on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons at 3:30pm, a bigger game on GIG in early April, and a tournament during senior week, leading up to graduation. “I want more people to join,” says Sibony.

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