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Club Council and Individual Clubs Are Facing Deficits

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Photo Credit: Olivia Baud

Goucher’s Club Council budget is currently facing an estimated $13,000 deficit with $200 left to allocate to clubs for the Spring semester, and ten or more clubs are facing deficits of their own ranging from $5 to upwards of thousands of dollars, according to Club Council officers.

In an interview, Club Council Treasurer Ridwan Lawal, ‘20, said that clubs known by Club Council to be facing deficits are aware of their situation.

While the college has not published an official statement about these deficits at the time of publication, club leaders have been aware of a substantial decrease in Club Council funds since the end of the Fall 2018 semester when they petitioned for Spring 2019 funds (aka Spring Budgeting) and received only as much as half of the money asked “due to the lack of Funds that the Council has,” as stated in the response emails from the Club Council Administrator John Nobriga, ‘19.

Understanding the Club Council Budget

Club Council receives funding from the yearly Student Activity Fee, which was $188 per student as a part of tuition costs this academic year. Its yearly budget also includes takebacks from the previous academic year. Takebacks is the operation by which any money that was allocated by Club Council to specific clubs and was not used by those clubs is then put back into Club Council’s general account. “Usually around October we know exactly how much Club Council has to distribute,” Aisha Rivers, Director of Student Engagement said in an interview. Club Council usually begins allocating funds to clubs before it gets the precise number of how much it has to spend for the year, going off of an estimate based on the previous year’s takebacks.

Petitioning is the process whereby Club Council allocates funds from its general account to specific clubs. Clubs petition for a certain amount of money, then Club Council votes on whether to approve all, a portion, or none of the amount. The final decision is signed off by the Club Council Administrator.

The Club Council Treasurer brings the approved petitions to their weekly meetings with the Director of Student Engagement and fills out transfer forms to record the amounts that Club Council is transferring into individual club accounts. “I’ll sign off on [them] trusting that Club Council understands what money they have and what money they don’t have,” Rivers said. “If anything goes weird then I’ll follow up on it or we’ll investigate it and figure out if something is not right and get back to the student club.”

Clubs also submit payment forms to Club Council to make their transactions and/or to receive money for transactions. These forms, which may be check requests, contracts, reimbursements, etc. are also signed by a club’s Treasurer, the Club Council Treasurer, and the Director of Student Engagement.

The Club Council treasurer brings all of the signed forms to the Controller’s Office. Credit card statements from the GSG (Goucher Student Government) credit cards, which are often used by clubs to make Club Council approved transactions, are also received by the Controller’s Office independently of Club Council. The Controller then inputs the information from all of the paperwork into its Excel sheets and its online accounting system, keeping track of amounts spent by clubs and the amounts remaining in their accounts.

The Deficits- An Interconnected Problem

“Club Council started this year with a deficit of $13,000,” Goucher’s Controller Alex Antkowiak said in a Feb 19th email interview. “This caused no alarm as the portfolio of all GSG [Goucher Student Government] accounts was larger than the deficit and estimated takebacks again exceeded the deficit.” Club council usually runs into a deficit every academic year which is then balanced out by student organization fund surpluses.

However, in October of 2018 (according to 2018 Club Council Treasurer Brett Rapkin-Citrenbaum, ‘20) Club Council and the Controller’s Office became aware of inconsistencies in their accounting.

Club Council was “under the impression that [the starting value given to them by the Controller’s Office] was including the amount that we had already given to clubs,” Rapkin-Citrenbaum said, which was not the case. Consequently, Club Council thought it had more money to spend than was actually in their account.

“The two separate numbers that we have don’t help,” Lawal said in an interview held with him and Rivers. Since the Controller’s Office and Club Council’s financial records varied not only with regards to the Club Council budget but also individual club account budgets, the origins and the extent of the deficit were unknown. “Which is a big reason why we have to go back one or two years now,” Rivers said.

The heart of the discrepancies in financial records lies in twofold miscommunication and mismanagement. To begin, miscommunication and mismanagement occurred between and by the Controller’s Office and Club Council. There are differences in the type of data collected and recorded by Club Council versus the type of data collected and recorded by the Controller’s Office. “We have data that says somebody made a check request, somebody took money out of their club account, but we don’t have data that says a club went negative at this time.” Lawal said in a separate interview. “We just have to look back at when all of these transactions happened and figure out when clubs actually went into their deficit, and it’s been the hardest thing to find.” “Sometimes we scanned [a form] and didn’t upload it, or we just forgot to scan it,” Nobriga said. Rapkin-Citrenbaum said in the Fall that “[s]ome stuff fell through the cracks essentially.”

On their end, the Controller’s Office is responsible for collecting and recording the forms that Club Council sends to them in addition to credit card statements. Rapkin-Citrenbaum said that “[t]here was a lot of miscommunication and confusing information about what transfer forms had been submitted, and there’s a problem with transfer forms being submitted twice. Account numbers between GSG, SET, and Club council are similar so sometimes there’s some confusion.”

Additionally, the systems used to record financial information and the amount of experience using and understanding them differs across Club Council and the Controller’s Office. The Controller’s Office uses a software that aggregates all of the financial information from clubs and Club Council, and it is accustomed to working with complex data and making financial calculations. Club Council, on the other hand, keeps track of club account information by scanning forms and uploading them to Google Drive and has a much more basic understanding of the kinds of calculations made in the Controller’s Office. “We also have this new online platform on Inside Goucher of where we can see the clubs, like, sort of live, like what’s in their accounts,” John said. What’s more, the Controller’s office organizes information according to calendar years while Club Council organizes information according to academic years.

“We’re all in agreement that we need a better system of tracking and communication,” Rivers said.

Miscommunication and mismanagement also occurred between Club Council and clubs themselves. This both contributed to the deficits and the sudden drop of Club Council funding at the end of the Fall 2018 semester. According to Rapkin-Citrenbaum, retroactive payments were made for costs that Club Council had not anticipated: GSG’s credit card was billed for a yearly subscription that Fashion Club had forgotten about and hadn’t petitioned to renew funds for, and reimbursements had to be made to an instructor that Salsa Club had brought in to teach lessons before submitting paperwork. Club Council collectively agreed to match conference fundraising amounts without a cap, so when Model United Nations raised $2,500, much more than expected, Club Council was obliged to meet that amount.

“There’s not a lot of strong treasurers that keep track of their club finances. They may be spending an amount that they believe they have but they don’t,” John Nobriga, ‘19, said in an interview. “We have to look back into past years ‘cause it might have been a situation where the clubs for a while have been in deficit and they just kept that deficit in there and everytime they use club council funds it’s still a deficit that’s never balanced out,” said Lawal.

Until the sources of these clubs’ deficits are identified and their accounts balanced– i.e. until both Club Council and the Controller’s Office are sure of how much money these clubs received and how much they spent– takebacks cannot occur. Club Council is planning to make takebacks a semesterly rather than yearly process, but has had to delay the change this semester. Club Council is therefore left with $200 left to spend from the previous semester.

The Office of Student Engagement saw staff and student leadership changes in the Fall and Spring which has complicated the process of investigating the deficit. “Aisha became the director of Student Engagement, which had been Stacy [Cooper Patterson]’s job. Stacy couldn’t really hold our hand the whole time, and Aisha was adjusting to her new job,” Rapkin-Citrenbaum said. “I’m still trying to learn and understand how decisions are being made,” Rivers said. Lawal also took over as Club Council Treasurer in the Spring and had to adjust to his new role while catching up on the financial developments. “I just want to get to the bottom of [these deficits],” said Lawal. “We’ve finally gotten over the pettiness.” “There’s a lot of new [changes], so we’re excited, but we’re also scared,” Nobriga said.

Club Council Changes Moving Forward

While Club Council and the Controller’s Office are still trying to match up records and some club accounts are still facing deficits, “GSG’s [2019] treasurer[, Ridwan Lawal, ‘20,] and Student Life Staff (Aisha Rivers) are currently investigating the matter,” said Antkowiak.

“The bottom line is we need better and improved communication and tracking,” said Rivers. “We’re trying to create the most specific guidelines for treasurers just to make these things avoidable in the future,” said Lawal. Rivers, Lawal, and Nobriga all hope to use Club Council’s current situation as a learning experience for how to better advise clubs in the future on how to track and budget finances, diversify sources of funding, and, in Rivers’ words, “really [think] purposefully and intentionally about the programs that they’re putting on in the college community. Even though this part is challenging and tedious, I am excited to see good things manifesting out of it,” she said.

In the meantime, Lawal says that “If [clubs] have money in their Club Council [aka general] account, they should use it […] if they don’t [know whether their financial information is accurate or not], the first thing to do is ask how much is in their account […] whether it’s accurate or not it’s what we have, which means, again, just ask. And if there’s a situation where we would prefer them not to [use their Club Council funds] it we’ll let them know.”

Until the deficit is determined, club accounts are balanced, and takebacks occur, Club Council’s budget moving forward is still a big unknown.

Updates forthcoming.

Correction:

March 14th, 2019.

A previous version erroneously reported that Model UN had raised $25,000 for a conference. The number was adjusted to $2,500.

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

Esports Joins Campus and Landmark Conference

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The Spring 2019 Goucher College League of Legends team. From left: Tasos Tagtalenidis, (‘22), Matteo Giunta-Fausty,(‘21), Zack Palmer, (‘19) Paul Ryu, (‘19) Tristan Whalen (‘22). Photo Credit: Neve Levinson

League of Legends is a fast-paced game in which two teams each of five players face off in an epic battle. As Kien Lam points out in an article posted to the game’s official  website, “[t]here are only two outcomes to any game of League of Legends. One team wins and one team loses — such is the law of our sport.” This last word is important: sport.

Goucher is a member of the Landmark Conference, which is part of the Division III level of collegiate athletics. The announcement was published on the Conference’s website on November 20, 2018.  “The Landmark Conference will foster Esports competition for its member institutions during the spring semester of 2019…Six of the eight conference members will field teams, with competition occurring via Riot Game’s League of Legends property.” The announcement also notes that, “[w]hile competitive video gaming has existed essentially since the advent of video gaming technology, Esports began to mature into its present state as streaming technology became more widely available. The first collegiate teams started to emerge in the mid-2010s.”

As stipulated by the Landmark Conference, “Each Esports team must be recognized and sanctioned by its institution’s Office of Student Life/Affairs and/or athletic departments. Participants on each team must meet institutional requirements for good academic standing and be eligible to participate in school-sanctioned club or intercollegiate sports, as defined by the respective institution.” At Goucher, Esports is currently housed in our recreation department, which is also its source of funding.

In an interview with The Quindecim, Director of Student Wellness Jean Perez and Jennifer Macko, Campus Recreation Coordinator, talked about how the team came into existence, beginning with conversations with Zach Palmer, the president of the campus League of Legends club, beginning last spring. Perez also noted that her role involves “helping with logistics and the back end of things and getting things up and running” for the team.

Macko added that, “…since we’ve done the promotion recently, there’s been a lot of interest coming in, either for being a sub on the A team or forming a B team or even to help with viewership. There’s a lot of interest in streaming and a lot of people will just participate in Esports simply by watching Twitch streams, they really enjoy that.”

To see Esports in action, their tournament space is located in Ath 321, just behind the QR Center. Stationed outside of it is a friendly white noise machine to help reduce any sounds emanating from the room beyond. While both Perez and Macko expressed interest in eventually moving it closer to the athletic facilities, Perez pointed out that, “it seems like a good space so far.”

To livestream tournaments, check out the official Gopher Twitch stream at https://www.twitch.tv/goucherleagueoflegends.

The official Landmark Esports page is http://www.landmarkconference.org/sports/esports/2018-19/schedule?teamId=9sdj46kr3q1ivy4o.

To learn more about the team, either contact Zach Palmer at zachary.palmer@mail.goucher.edu or Jen Macko at Jennifer.Macko@goucher.edu.

President Position Profile Released

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The introduction to the President Position Profile.

Around 5pm on February 25th, a President Position Profile was released to the public on Goucher College’s website. This comes as the latest development in a presidential search process conducted by the Presidential Search Committee, which has been advised by outside search firm Isaacson, Miller.

The profile will be used to recruit candidates in the next phase of the process, which will remain confidential. As Rebecca Swartz, Partner at Isaacson, Miller, stated in a February 15th email interview with The Quindecim, “[it] provides a picture of Goucher and the current institutional moment; and most importantly, it outlines the challenges and opportunities that the next President must lead Goucher in tackling.”

To determine what characteristics, challenges, and opportunities to highlight, several listening sessions were held. The first student listening session was held on December 9, initiated and facilitated by GSG Co-Presidents Samuel Anderson and Noah Block, both ‘21, with student representatives Marissa de La Viez ‘19 and Josiah Meekins ‘19 present. Two listening sessions were held over January Term on January 22nd, one exclusively with Goucher Student Government officers and representatives and the other with students. A final student listening session was held on January 31st at the start of the Spring semester.

Additionally, according to Swartz, listening sessions “[were] held with staff, faculty, students, alumnae/I, the Board of Trustees, and senior leadership.” An online survey was made available to the Goucher community from December 18th to February 8th.

More detailed background information may be found on the Goucher Presidential Search page as well as in four previous Quindecim articles: “Presidential Search Enters Confidential Phase,”Student Representatives of Presidential Search Committee Conduct Listening Session,” “Presidential Search Committee Formed,” and “President Bowen Announces Departure.”

 

Presidential Search Enters Confidential Phase

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The search for a new president of Goucher College began in October of last year, after an email was sent out to the student body from Ruth Lenrow, chair of the Board of Trustees. Since then, a Presidential Search committee was formed. The committee is comprised of student representatives Marissa de La Viez ‘19 and Josiah Meekins ‘19, faculty members Phong Le ‘03, Jamie Mullaney P ‘22, and Gillian Starkey, two staff members, Jennifer Pawlo-Johnstone, Executive Director of Alumnae/i Engagement, and Andrew Wu, Associate Dean of Students Director of Athletics, and 11 trustees. Lisa Stromberg ‘83 and Miriam Katowitz ‘73 chair the committee. (For more information on the members of the search committee, see https://www.goucher.edu/explore/leadership-and-vision/presidential-search/committee.)

On December 9, de La Viez and Meekins hosted a listening session aimed at receiving student input on who the future president could be, and the values our community expects them to embody.

In a message posted to the Presidential Search page of the Goucher website on December 18, Stromberg and Katowitz noted that “Isaacson, Miller has been engaged to manage the search process. Isaacson, Miller is one of the most highly regarded national executive search firms. Rebecca Swartz and Chloe Kanas will serve as the firm’s co-consultants and will provide the counsel for the PSC’s work throughout the course of the search. The profiles of the firm, the consultants and their support team can be found on the Goucher College Presidential Search website.”

According to the “Schedule of Listening Sessions with Isaacson, Miller,” posted on the Presidential Search page of the Goucher website, a second meeting took place at 3 p.m. on January 22 with “Goucher Student Government officers and representatives.” An hour later, there was an “[o]pen forum for all students, Buchner Hall, Alumnae/I House. A livestream will be available.”

When asked via email why these listening sessions were conducted during winter break, Stromberg and Katowitz noted that, “[a]s you may know, our search consultant is headquartered in Boston and comes to meet with us in Towson at certain times. We were able to schedule a visit to campus at a time that worked for the consultant and the other constituent groups (alumni, faculty, administration, and board members) during January term. We made the decision to add a listening session for those students who were on campus during January term because the consultant would already be on campus. We recognized that not all students would be available on the January 22 date, hence we offered a live-stream opportunity.  We added an additional listening session on January 31, during the first week of the spring semester. Please note that the on-line survey was also available during this time.”
“It is important for us to keep the process moving forward and by holding four listening sessions for students (before break, two sessions on January 22 and again on January 31), versus one listening session for the other constituent groups, we hoped to get as many students involved as possible,” Lenrow added.

When asked a follow-up question of if the livestream was available online, Katowitz and Stromberg stated that, “[t]he listening sessions held on January 22 were one time confidential discussions for those in the room or on-line.  They were not posted on a public site or platform.”The online survey mentioned was open until February 8. In a February 15 email interview with The Quindecim, Rebecca Swartz, Partner at Isaacson, Miller, was asked to describe the survey results and number of responses received, as well as a breakdown between students versus faculty versus staff versus alumni. She was also asked, “[w]hat were variances in the written data from what information you received through the listening sessions?” In response to these questions, Swartz said of the survey results: “[a]bout 250 individuals participated in the community survey. Over 80 students responded, about 55 faculty and staff, and over 100 alumni and broader community constituents. Note that about 15 individuals did not indicate which group they identify with. Given the rich mix of respondents, a variety of perspectives were voiced in both the survey and the listening sessions (the latter of which was held with staff, faculty, students, alumnae/I, the Board of Trustees, and senior leadership). The most profound thread through them all is the shared, fierce dedication of this community to this institution and deep care for its future.”

While the next step of the search process is confidential, Swartz noted that, “[w]e and the search committee have synthesized our learnings into a comprehensive document called a ‘position profile’ which provides a picture of Goucher and the current institutional moment; and most importantly, it outlines the challenges and opportunities that the next President must lead Goucher in tackling. A final version of this document, which is a public document and which we will use in our recruitment of candidates, will be made available in the coming days.”

The Quindecim will post the position profile as soon as it is made available.

Two New Programs Approved By Faculty

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The faculty met on December 10th in order to finish its business for the semester. The only item on the agenda was to answer the question: will we create new programs at Goucher College?

As per Parliamentary procedure, this business item began with a Debate. The first program discussed was the Integrative Data Analytics major. Faculty members shared their opinions both in favor and in opposition to approving the program. A few main points were addressed:

  • What is the purpose of creating new programs for the College considering the motivation for undergoing program prioritization in the first place?
    • Multiple suggestions for how to answer this question arose. One argument is that the faculty must look at the curriculum holistically and fill in holes as needed. The professors arguing in favor of the program contend that data analytics, an emerging field of study, has the potential to fill some of these holes while still placing Goucher at the cutting edge of this program.
  • If this program is approved now, does that mean that new programs may not be implemented in the future?
    • Professor Scott Sibley, the Interim Provost, answered this question with a solid “no.” More programs, should they progress past their current initial stages, may be considered in the future.
  • Are there existing PhD and Masters programs for students who complete this major?
    • According to members of the Center for Data, Mathematical, and Computational Sciences, while all mathematics are related, because Data Analytics is an applied field that is just beginning to emerge, it is not currently well-defined. A few Master’s programs exist; there is an expectation that more Master’s and PhD programs will emerge within the next several years.

A paper ballot was conducted and the item passed 63-5.

The second program debated was that of the Professional and Creative Writing majors. Most of this discussion centered around the following subjects:

  • Tenured and non-tenure track positions, particularly in relation to advising
    • As answered by the professors proposing the program, they are already advising both first years and students in the Writing program.
  • Staying relevant as a liberal arts college
    • Members of faculty in favor of the major suggested that having a strong writing program is critical to the liberal arts
  • Promoting interdisciplinarity
    • If the college emphasizes writing as its own majors, then more students will be confident at writing, which will strengthen other programs with academic crossover
  • How to integrate the Race, Power, and Perspective aspect of the Goucher Commons into the courses offered

A paper ballot was conducted and the item passed 55-15.

“The next step is to submit new program proposals to the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). If approved by the state, then they will become official Goucher programs. As for timeline, I hope as soon as possible…The MHEC process though can take months,” said Professor Micah Webster in an email exchange with The Quindecim.

Announcements:

  1. The faculty listening session conducted by the Presidential Search Committee will take place Friday, December 14th, at 2pm in the faculty lounge.
  2. The Applestein-Sweren Book Collecting Contest is still going on! An an email blast sent out Monday afternoon by the Library listed Jenny Sataloff, Research Librarian/Learning Commons Assistant as the contact person for the contest.
  3. Charm City Ballet is presenting “A Christmas Carol” for this upcoming weekend only! Fun fact: both directors and three members of the CCB faculty are Goucher graduates.

Student Representatives of Presidential Search Committee Conduct Listening Session

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Notes taken by GSG co-President Samuel Anderson during student listening session.

Student Representatives of the Presidential Search Committee Marissa de La Viez and Josiah Meekins, both class of 2019, conducted a listening session during the evening of Sunday, December 9th. The session was open to any student who wanted to share their opinion about criteria the hiring firm should use when considering candidates for the position. GSG Co-Presidents Samuel Anderson and Noah Block, both class of 2019, facilitated the conversation.

One key theme that manifested from the opinions shared was a need for a president with a relationship to Baltimore. Students emphasized expecting their future president to establish a solid relationship with the city during their tenure. A suggestion was also made to encourage members of the community specifically to apply for the position.

In respect to the background of a future president, students expressed a desire to look at candidates with backgrounds outside of business. Students also indicated interest in welcoming candidates with expertise outside of Higher Education.

An encompassing theme to many of the opinions raised was a named desire for the future President of Goucher College to be an individual who will bring a sense of stability to campus. Students suggested that this will take the form of clear, authentic communication from the President both to the student body as a whole and through interpersonal relationships developed with students on campus. Students also indicated a need for a president devoted to the liberal arts with an interest in actively working to narrow the divide between student-athletes and non-athletes, a trend that students indicated had grown noticeably over their time on campus.

One student suggested that the president should be “visibly and emotionally present.”

To encourage students to envision more of what they hope from a new president, Block asked the group to imagine Goucher’s community in ten years. Students emphasized a desire to see the expansion of CREI and the hiring of faculty members of color, with an ongoing commitment being a quirky liberal arts school invested in integrative learning. Students also articulated a desire for the campus community to actively engage in difficult conversations with a focus on creating sustainable, student-driven change.

In addition to sharing the issues raised during the listening session to the rest of the Committee, de La Viez and Meekins indicated their intention to create and regularly update an online timeline checklist for the public to track the hiring process.

Arrest Made for Campus Hate Crimes

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Official statement released by Men’s Lacrosse Team about the recent arrest for hate crimes perpetrated on campus.

On the morning of November 29th, the second hate crime of the semester was found in the second floor bathroom of Jeffrey. President Bowen, Deans Coker and Johnson, and Director of Public Safety David Heffer infomed the student body of the crime by email.

The most recent graffiti included direct threats against Black members of the Goucher community. Additionally, it contained anti-Latinx threats.

In another email sent to the student body during the afternoon of December 6th, the same members of administration noted, “the individual who was arrested for these incidents is no longer enrolled with the College, and will have no future relationship with the College. Further, the campus removal and ban referenced in last week’s update remain in effect indefinitely.” The email also noted that the College’s conduct procedure is “completely independent” from that of the criminal justice system.

One way in which the procedures differ is in their decision to disclose or withhold the name of the individual arrested. While Goucher’s conduct process does not allow the release of the names of students involved in such proceedings, the Baltimore County State’s Attorney does not follow this regulation. Fynn Ajani Arthur was named as the student “arrested and charged […]with two counts of Malicious Destruction of Property,” according to the Baltimore County Government website. In an update from December 4th, the website noted that “[a]fter consulting with the State’s Attorney’s Office for Baltimore County, four additional charges have been sought against Fynn Arthur in the form of a court issued summons,” including “[t]wo counts of bias instigated destruction of property” and “[t]wo counts of animosity instigated harassment/destruction of property.”

The report also mentions that the Office of Public Safety “partnered with agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Baltimore Field Office” to conduct the investigation, a partnership which Heffer had noted in a December 6th interview with The Quindecim.

Heffer also stated during the interview that the Office of Public Safety is “continuing to work with [their] colleagues in Student Affairs to offer support to the students who were specifically targeted.”

When asked about next steps from an enforcement perspective, Heffer said, “We are conducting an extensive survey of campus facilities to determine locations to install cameras in the residence halls.”

As mentioned in much of the outside coverage of this story, Arthur was a member of the Men’s Lacrosse Team. This is not the first time in recent years that members of this team have received attention for racially motivated behavior. The Quindecim reached out via email to Brian Kelly, head coach of the men’s lacrosse team to comment about the team’s reaction and next steps in relation to Arthur’s arrest and beyond. Kelly’s reply included the team’s official statement condemning Arthur’s actions (pictured).

When asked about how he is cultivating a team culture that actively combats hate, Kelly noted that “we are very clear with our student-athletes, coaches, and recruits about our values and the potential we have to positively affect the pursuit of the college community’s values. As a team, we engage in conversations and trainings pertaining to issues of race and identity.”

As a part of these conversations and trainings, Kelly mentioned that, “…as a team we viewed a documentary titled ‘The Medicine Game’ which provides context for the origin of the sport of lacrosse and how it was conceived as an instrumental part of Native American culture to keep sickness from the tribe.  Also, it follows the struggles of a couple of brothers from the Onondaga Nation who dream to play collegiate lacrosse. We tried to view this video from the following perspective – The white man took Native American lands and now they have taken their ‘Medicine Game’ and made it their own.” Kelly mentioned several related discussion questions asking team members to empathize with the brothers in the documentary, while also asking student-athletes to consider if they themselves “honor the game in the same way these brothers honor the game? This is a discussion that is ongoing and will continue throughout the spring.”

Kelly also pointed to “recent, deliberate recruiting efforts” that are “actively committed to encouraging prospective student-athletes of color to join our program. We now have a significantly more diverse roster than was the case three to four years ago. We’re very proud or [sic] our successes to that end and believe that our team now has greater opportunities to learn from each other’s differences.” He concluded by saying, “[a]s a program, we ask that a player RISE UP each day to meet their daily challenges to make themselves better individuals in the classroom, in the community, and as teammates. Like all of us, we have much to learn, but we are proud of the progress we have made as a program and as individuals.”

As Heffer pointed out toward the end of his December 6th interview with The Quindecim, “…this is not the end, this is just a reminder that we need to continue to address racism and racist acts and now we know that we can do this together, as a community.”

The Quindecim will continue reporting both on the ongoing judicial processes related to Fynn Arthur’s arrest as well as the ways in which the Goucher community continues to address racism in the long term.

Presidential Search Committee Formed

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On Tuesday, November 27th, Board of Trustees Chair Ruth Shapiro Lenrow (‘74) announced to students, faculty, and staff through an Office of Communications email blast that a Presidential Search Committee had been formed. The committee will ultimately be responsible for selecting Goucher’s next president.

Led by trustees Miriam Katowitz (’73) and Lisa Stromberg (’83), the committee is comprised of two students, Marissa de La Viez (‘19) and Josiah Meekins (19), two staff members, three faculty members, and 11 trustees, three of whom are members of the Alumnae & Alumni of Goucher College (AAGC).

“As I’ve been sharing with many recently, the process for selecting a new President is exclusively the Board’s responsibility, with assistance and input from the campus community,” Dean Brian Coker commented over email.

De La Viez and Meekins will be representing the student body as the committee selects a search firm and eventually reviews applicants. “The presidential search committee co-chairs (both Board of Trustees members) and the current Board chair considered graduating seniors who have been involved on campus to serve as student representatives on the committee,” Coker explained. “They then chose a few students to be interviewed, and my office assisted in coordinating the interviews. Once the interviews were complete, the committee co-chairs and the Board chair then selected two of the students who had interviewed to serve as the student representatives.”

“It was totally out of the blue and I felt so honored!” De La Viez said over an email. “I hope that we find somebody who is able to connect with the students, someone personable, someone who is capable of empathy and understanding different perspectives. I also think it would be important to have someone who works on enhancing Goucher with the assets we already have rather than just bringing in a bunch of shiny new things to grab attention.”

Meekins was equally as shocked to be selected to the committee, though he wishes that there were more opportunities for student input in the presidential search process. “Even though I’m honored and happy to be in this position […] two students can’t speak for the whole student body,” he explained in an interview. “Being an African American male on this search committee is exciting because I experience Goucher in different ways than other people experience the Goucher community. Goucher needs diversity in choosing the next President.” When asked what qualities he would be looking for in candidates, Meekins said transparency, leadership, and compassion were his top priorities. “We don’t want any miscommunication between the President and the student community. We want a president who listens to students and faculty […] I’d like to see a candidate put in place that’s going to, not just be a president, but embody what the Goucher community is about […] but also see it grow.”

“I am grateful to these incredibly dedicated community members for sharing their time and insight. We feel confident that the committee will embody a wide array of viewpoints and perspectives as we search to find the next leader of Goucher College,” Shapiro Lenrow stated in her email announcement.

As reported previously in The Quindecim, Shapiro Lenrow had announced on October 19th that President José Bowen would be stepping down as President on June 30, 2019. Her announcement was followed by an open meeting held by Coker (livestream video for which is available on The Quindecim’s Facebook page) in which he described the typical hiring process for colleges and universities: 1) the selection of a search firm as an applicant “recruiter” 2) the chosen firm’s creation of a position profile based on a listening campaign (potentially including a survey for students) and collected data 3) a preliminary round of interviews 4) the final interviews and 5) the final selection.

The committee plans on creating a more comprehensive timeline in the upcoming weeks and has planned to provide an update to the Goucher community prior to winter break.

BY OLIVIA BAUD AND NEVE LEVINSON

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