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Teach For America Faces Cuts Under Trump Administration

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Teach For America provides opportunities for both limited income students and recent college graduates. Photo Credit: teachforamerica.org

Teach for America (TFA) has served underprivileged American children for 27 years, and has helped to improve the education of millions of kids, from Louisiana to Idaho, and now faces issues such as budget cuts and teaching grants repurposed as loans. A fair number of Goucher alumni join the program, with six Goucher alumni joining the 2017 corps, as Madeline St. John reported for the Quindecim this past year. The Trump administration’s proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year has all but eradicated federal funding for the program. Additionally, at least 12,000 TFA teachers have had their grants turned into loans they are now required to pay back by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Education (DOE), according to a recent government study reported by NPR.

One of the draws of working for TFA to many aspiring undergraduates and soon to be graduates is the grants offered in return. More specifically, the Department of Education’s Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grants, which are $4,000 a year, and come with requirements that teachers must meet. Teachers are required to teach a subject, such as math or science, in a low-income school for at least four years, and must submit paperwork annually to remain certified for the grant. If a teacher fails to meet the qualifications to continue their certification for the grant, it is then turned into a federal loan with interest. This is where TFA has recently experienced issues.

Unsurprisingly, the grants (and then loans) are not actually handled by the Department of Education, but contracted out to a third party called FedLoan. This March, NPR discovered a Department of Education study (both linked to below) that found that 63% of grant recipients failed to continually certify their grants and had them converted to loans. While a significant portion of that 63% was disqualified for legitimate reasons, at least 12,000 teachers are now being forced to repay their grants as loans in full, with interest that began accruing before some were even aware their grants had been converted.

Teachers affected said that they sent in their forms to FedLoan annually for certification, and had met all requirements, only to be told by FedLoan and the federal government that their paperwork was not processed correctly, and that they must repay the new loans in full. In response, lawsuits have been filed by former teachers and the Massachusetts Attorney General, who says the Trump administration DOJ and DOE  has mandated that companies such as FedLoan are not subject to state laws or lawsuits. This means that you now have much less legal protection, or likelihood of a successful lawsuit, if you are a  TFA member who has accepted grants or a hopeful undergraduate applicant to the program in the future, in the case that the Department of Education or FedLoan incorrectly processes your paperwork.

To add to the TFA’s difficulties, the Trump administration’s proposed budget for 2019 does the organization no favors. The proposed FY19 budget cuts DOE funding by $3.6 billion, and includes elimination of funding entirely for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). This is not a direct cut to the TFA, but does not need to be, as the CNCS runs AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps is important to the functionality of the TFA, as they declared in their response to the budget “…AmeriCorps Education Awards reduce the financial barriers to service, enabling Teach for America and other organizations to provide a route to service for a diverse group of individuals.”

While both of these issues are not either direct conversion of grants to loans or federal budget cuts leveled by Trump directly l at TFA, they hamper the organization’s ability to function, and show a lack of regard for the program’s continuation. Both recent developments additionally paint a worrisome future for TFA. Besides the outrage stories such as grant-loan conversion due to a government agency incorrectly processing paperwork, and budget cuts to federal community service programs may rightfully inspire, they may also dissuade future Goucher applicants from applying to work with TFA.

Perspectives on Pagliaro Selz: The First Building in the First Year Village

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Visualization of one of the new first year buildings, which will include a gas fireplace in the common space. Photo Credit: GOucher College FMS

In the Fall of 2016, Pagliaro Selz Hall opened. This dorm is a first-year only building, and the first of three new buildings that will comprise the first-year village. The intentions behind the first-year village are to create a space for integrative learning, strengthen co-curricular community space, bring faculty back to live on campus, and help to better prepare students for the jobs of the future. This community of first-years is said to be a living-learning environment planned for interaction, with prominent communal areas for students to come together to cook, share, and learn.

“Goucher College’s focus on innovation extends beyond our classrooms and approach to learning and also encompasses student-life. That vision is reflected here in Pagliaro Selz Hall,” said President Bowen.

With this vision in mind, President José Antonio Bowen speaks about how the design features of Pagliaro Selz, the long hallways and distance to the bathrooms, the glass walls of the laundry room, and the increased speed of wifi in common rooms as compared to in rooms, are all measures intended to increase student interaction, prevent isolation, and ultimately increase first-year retention rates. Contrary to this objective, first-year retention rates have actually decreased since the implementation of Pagliaro Selz in the Fall of 2016. In the Fall of 2015, there were 82% returning first-years, 79% returning first years in the Fall of 2016, and 78% returning first years in the Fall of 2017.

Linda Barone, the Associate Director of Planning, Design, and Construction said in an interview, “The first year village [is] so central to Jose’s vision. And I think it really is going to make a huge difference for first year students coming in, in terms of creating community.” She discussed the amenities that will be in the first-year village, such as an outdoor fireplace, a rehearsal space, a gaming lounge, and a student success center.

While the first-year village aims to build community among students and ultimately increase first-year retention rates, student’s experiences with a first-years-only dorm give insight into the effectiveness of a first-year village and if Goucher was successful in its intentions.

The idea of a first-year village, with brand new buildings and facilities can be a major attraction to a prospective student. While touring Goucher, current first-years received mixed information on what their dorm situation would be for the 2017-2018 year. Some were told that the first-year village would be finished by the time they started at Goucher, others were told that all freshman would be living in PSelz, and some were told that P. Selz would only hold some freshman, while the rest would be housed elsewhere while construction of the first-year village continued. The last situation is what this year’s first-years actually got, although not what all freshmen were told when touring Goucher.

When asked about their experiences with living in Pagliaro Selz, first years currently living in P. Selz and current Sophomores who lived in P. Selz last year commented:

“My experience is unfair. I live in P. Selz, and my other friends live in air-conditioning-less buildings like Probst and Winslow. We are all paying the same for housing on campus, but some are stuck in buildings that get no A/C and are not taken care of.” -Brandon Rodriguez ‘21

“I think living in P. Selz as a freshman is incredibly isolating. It feels more like an apartment complex than a dorm facility. It feels really sterile and divided, there is definitely a lack of community. People in the Stimson buildings seem much more close knit and integrated into the campus as a whole. P. Selz is really cut off due to construction and everybody keeps to themselves.” -Natalie Simendinger ‘21

“It was mixed. It was nice to always have acquaintances around and the common rooms were really cozy. Problem was a lot of people did a shit job of keeping them clean. I also didn’t like how cut-off it felt from the rest of campus especially since pretty much all my friends were seniors and I had to go to wherever they were. It was nice to experience living in a newly designed residence hall but I definitely don’t miss it.” -Sophomore Communications Major

“I feel very lucky to have lived in P. Selz. It was certainly cool to be able to control my own air conditioning and to have a brand spankin’ new dorm room and furniture. I did find, however, that most of my friends that I made my first year ALL lived in P. Selz. It’s almost like a lot of those friendships were just out of convenience— you live down the hall from me, it’s easy to see you and hang out… I felt like I did not make ANY upperclassmen friends since all I did was chill in P. Selz. but I felt that I was missing out on experiences that other first years who DIDN’T live in P. Selz had— shitty dorms, older neighbors, and just SPACE from fellow first years.” -Kallie Blakelock ‘20

“I think it is a great place to have your first year at Goucher, being able to all be together and get to know each other while you go to class and commiserate with each other. There was definitely a culture of privilege and students not appreciating what they had within the freshman village last year, and well as this year and is something that I assume with continue into the future.” -Antonia Pettit ‘20

When asked about their experiences living in Pagliaro Selz last year, as compared to their living situation this year, current sophomores said:

“Now I live in Mary Fisher, and it’s pretty disgusting but it’s comfortable. I can’t explain it but it’s got a really cool vibe to it. It also helps that it’s right in the middle of campus which makes everything easily accessible.” -Sophomore Communications Major

“This year i lived in Stimson Probst. I LOVE Stimson. the rooms are more homey than P. Selz— The Stimson people also have a shared story. Everyone has this opinion that Stimson sucks, but once you live there, you realize that it is actually pretty cool. It is close to food, close to my parking spot, and has a plethora of age groups throughout. My friends did not live near me so i was forced to go over to their different dorm rooms which was good for me.” -Kallie Blakelock ‘20

When asked about a potential social divide among Goucher students created by Pagliaro Selz, there are conflicting views points. Some simply state that no social divide exists…

“I don’t think the social divide is really there.” Ramona Kamb ‘21

“Not really, they just happen to live somewhere else.” Dina Diani ’21

And others believe that the social divide is present and problematic…

“P. Selz is far from most buildings and it requires others to walk along the construction. P. Selz is for first-year students. Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors are excluded from the

residential side of the building and it is not fair. But how will first-years create relationships with upper-level students if they [upperclassmen] can’t step foot in a residential common room without waiting for somebody to open the door?” -Brandon Rodriguez ‘21

“I think since P. Selz is a strictly freshman filled place it can be hard to mingle with other  classes. In Stimson there is more variety and it’s easier to find friends who are older. P. Selz has very limited options in terms of who you can become acquainted with.” Natalie Simenginer ‘21

“I absolutely think that there is a divide; before I even moved onto campus upperclassmen felt cheated out of the newer, nicer dorms that they typically worked for and now these brand new first years are just getting these amazing, “hotel like” dorms handed to them. The first years living in Frolicher or Stimson are definitely valid in their feelings in that they have been cheated out of something. They are all paying the same amount of money to live in extremely different living conditions.” -Antonia Pettit ‘20

When asked for their opinions on the up and coming first-year village, students had mixed feelings. Some believe it will be a mostly positive addition to the campus and community:

“I like the idea of the first year village because I hope that the new buildings will help create a community of first years that will be able to have more interactions with each other and build a stronger community that can grow past their time at Goucher.” -Antonia Pettit ’20

“Once there is a first year village, I feel first years will be brought together and be closer. At that point, all first years will live closely so there won’t be any physical separation” -Dina Diani ’21

“Once it’s completed I think the campus will flow better since construction will be out of the way. The construction is one of the biggest isolating factors by far. Hopefully it will create a community but also allow the incoming kids to explore campus with ease. I hope it also holds events and gatherings for different classes so there is some diversity for the freshman.” -Natalie Simendiger ‘21

While some students foresee major issues with the first-year village:

“Once the First-Year Village is complete, upper-level students will lose 1/4th of the student population. This means that first-years will probably have their own bubble. Most upper-level students may feel excluded and unable to enjoy everything that the first-year village has to offer. Yes, they will probably have access to the first floor. But the residential space will not be welcoming.” Brandon Rodriguez ‘21

“The first year village will be good for establishing a tight community with incoming freshman but I can’t shake the feeling that a lot of the money and effort put into the FYV should’ve been put into fixing the dingier parts of campus that the majority of the students live in. It feels like most of the school’s money is being spent on people who don’t go here yet.” -Sophomore Communications Major

“While I can see how in theory the first year village would be a good idea. In practice, though, I foresee big problems. If all of the first years live together – ALL OF THEM- it is very likely that they will spend most of their time in that complex and therefore not make friends with upperclassmen, which I think is crucial. they will get sick of each other, just like my friends and I did. They will grow together through their shared first experiences in this new chapter in their life— but part of that chapter is making older friends and being uncomfortable sometimes (I mean this in terms of meeting new people or living in NOT top quality dorm rooms). I think all dorms should be grade mixed. Sectioning them off will not do them good in the long run.” -Kallie Blakelock ‘20

While Pagliaro Selz and the first-year village may seem like a beneficial addition to the campus in theory, students’ personal experiences with the dorm say otherwise. Will the up and coming first-year village achieve the goals of increased interaction and development of a stronger community, or will it have the opposite effect, creating a more significant social divide between first-years and upperclassmen?

Campus Construction Continues, “Undaunted”

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Construction Plans: The orange indicates construction locations for the new science, interfaith, Mary Fisher Dining Hall, First Year Village, new athletic facilities, and new equestrian facilities. Photo Credit: Goucher College FMS

On March 10th, Goucher announced Undaunted, a new fundraising campaign to raise $100 million. A large portion of this campaign is dedicated to raising funding for new construction projects. There will be no major construction of buildings during the fall semester of next year (Fall 2018), but the new tennis center will be under construction. Both the first year village and the new campus dining hall are on track for completion in August 2018, while several other projects are in the works.

The First Year Village will feature a gaming lounge, a rehearsal space, a student success center, a demonstration kitchen, and an outdoor courtyard with tiered seating, a gas fireplace, and spaces for hammocks. The courtyard amenities in the First Year Village were inspired in part by a student workshop on creating community spaces. The new buildings are part of an initiative to prevent isolation and increase social interaction through the design of buildings. (See P-Selz article on page 5).

The new dining hall opening in Mary Fisher will have a retail and a to-go area on the first floor and six stations on the second floor which will be all-you-care-to-eat dining, including a pizza oven and Mongolian grill. There will also be a Kosher station; rather than being a separate space as it is currently, Kosher will be integrated with the main dining hall.  There will also be a small reservable dining room in Mary Fisher. (See Dining Hall article on page 1 for more details).

With the re-opening of Mary Fisher, the Gopher Hole will return and the dining halls in Stimson and Huebeck will be converted into student spaces. In general, there will be many more spaces on campus available next semester for student meetings and performances.

Counseling Services will also be moving to new, larger, facilities on the third floor of Mary Fisher, along with Case Management (See article on Counseling Center on pg. 2).

This summer, there are a couple smaller projects planned for Van Meter that will be funded in part by capital renewal funds. A tiered seating classroom in Van Meter will be converted into a recording studio (with funding by the Sherman Fairchild Grant and Academic funding from the capital renewal budget) and a student hub/gathering space will be created on the first floor of Van Meter, in the location of the fishbowl classroom across from the Writing Center.

Construction for the new science addition to Hoffberger Science Center is slated to begin June 2019, with possible completion date in 2021. The new Tennis Center, featuring 12 new tennis courts, stadium seating, and new lighting, will also be underway, thanks to a generous donation from 100-year-old alumna Evelyn Dyke Schroedl ’62.

Goucher will be relocating the equestrian program to facilities on the back part of campus,  around and including the area of the old equestrian fields. The plans for the facility include building two new barns for the varsity team and a barn for broader use. The plans include classroom space, indoor and outdoor arenas, and a residential cottage for the equestrian center residential staff person. Goucher is also partnering with the state of Maryland to bring the Maryland Horse Breeders Association to Goucher. Their facility which is planned to be in a reclaimed local banker barn, and it will include a museum, an office space, and an archive for the Maryland Horse Breeders.

The project will require the removal of a number of trees. The college has surveyed the area for “specimen trees,” meaning trees are particularly unique or old, and will attempt to keep as many of them as possible, although it is unlikely that they will be able to keep all of them.

The project will occur over the course of three years, in part because two years are needed for the grass to grow. According to a study of the Maryland horse industry, cited by Goucher’s “In the Loop,” Maryland horse farming brings in more than $1.15 billion in economic activity every year.

Construction plans for an interfaith addition to the chapel are also complete. The addition will include six offices, four prayer spaces, a great room, a space for Hillel, a community kitchen, and a quiet meeting room for groups like Surviving Together and the bereavement group. The offices are intended for the chaplain and the executive director of Hillel, with additional offices for any part time staff, which will currently most likely be used by student interns and Goucher Christian Fellowship staff and the Israel Fellow to Hillel.

The goal of the Interfaith Center will be to create spaces for people who practice a variety of religions. One of the prayer rooms will include a Muslim absolution station. While the other spaces could change intentions because their religious affiliation will be determined

by furnishing rather than by architecture, the plan is to have Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian prayer or meditation spaces. In an interview, Chaplain Cynthia Terry also made clear that the interfaith addition will be open to all students, not just students who are religious.

The original projected start date for the Interfaith Center was much earlier, but the plans for the building turned out to be considerably more expensive than initially expected, with a cost estimate of $4.5 million. In order for construction to begin, more fund-raising will be necessary.

This is generally the case for the building plans. The new science center is projected to cost $22.5 million, and that is only in hard construction costs, not including costs like architects or paying for furniture.

“It’s a tough time to be a liberal arts school,” said Darragh Brady, project manager. “Liberal arts colleges are fighting to stay alive, fighting to survive. It is smart of Goucher to do this construction. They are recognizing that in order to lure students, they have to have science labs like the ones at University of Maryland, otherwise students will just go to the University of Maryland.”

Down the road, Goucher plans to lease the land for a building between the main entrance of the college and the Sheraton and Edenwald. While they currently have proposals from about twenty developers, it is still undetermined to whom the ground lease will go and when construction will begin.

For more information on Dining Halls, see page 1. To read about student perspectives on the First Year Village, flip to page 5.

New Counseling Center in the Works

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With the re-opening of Mary Fisher in the fall semester of 2018, the counseling center will have new, larger facilities on the third floor, with seven offices instead of the current four. The center’s staff will also increase in number. Currently, there are two full-time staff, three part-time staff, and three graduate externs. Next year, there will be three full-time and one part-time staff members, for a slight decrease in active staff hours. The largest increase will be in graduate and doctoral externs, going from three externs to six in the fall.

These new facilities are part of an effort to respond to the high demand for mental health services. According to the 2016-17 Healthy Minds Study, about 49% of Goucher students have a previous diagnosis as of a mental disorder. Students also display a high rate of anxiety and depression, with 37% screening positive for anxiety and 43% for depression.

On-campus counseling services are highly utilized. The center has needed a wait list for the past three semesters, with an average of 10 students being on the list. In 2016-17, the center completed intakes for 354 students and there were 97 crisis walk-in sessions. Of the 2017 graduating class, 45% of graduating seniors used counseling services at some point during their enrollment at Goucher.

Currently, the center’s clinical services are limited by its space. The center has two full-time staff three part-time staff, three graduate externs, and four offices. Because they have expanded, the counseling staff also sometimes holds counseling sessions in their lunchroom in urgent situations, and one of their offices is a re-purposed laundry lounge room. Counseling in this re-purposed office is more challenging because of the room’s distance from the other offices, which makes it difficult to consult with other counselors if necessary.

Monica Neel, Director of Counseling Services, hopes that the new facilities will provide more than enough space for counseling services. “We’re pretty much getting what we need out of it…I think we’ll have ample space…and a capacity to grow,” she said.

The new counseling space in Mary Fisher will also be separate from health services. The current counseling space is attached to the health center, and students are processed in a waiting room that is focused on physical health. With the new facilities, the space will be more centered around mental health. The center will include self-care spaces such as a self-use resource library and a small, low-stimulation meditation room, that students will be able to access without passing through the counseling center.

The new counseling waiting room will also be equipped with electronic medical software. Monica Neel, Director of Counseling Services, hopes this technology will give students a sense of “ownership…for their own care and progress.” The electronic software will also allow the school to more easily and efficiently collect and analyze data regarding students’ mental health.

Case management offices will also be in the new space, for easier communication between counseling staff and case management.

The plans to use this space in Mary Fisher as a new location for the counseling center happened very quickly. Previous plans for the third floor space had included the possibility of putting in dorm rooms, but after the decision to move and preserve the Froleicher building, the beds were no longer necessary.

Conversation about using the space as counseling facilities began this semester, with Vice President Brian Coker, Dean Andrew Wu, and Monica Neel. The first mock-ups of plans were prepared within a month after conversation started. “I think we’ve got great ‘buy in’ everywhere,” said Neel. “It’s not like we have a VP or President who is resistant to talking about mental health.”

The project is part of efforts Goucher is making through its partnership with the JED foundation, a non-profit dedicated to emotional health and suicide prevention for young adults. The JED Foundation provides a framework to ensure that the school meets certain benchmarks of best practices regarding mental health. Prior to Monica Neel being Director of Counseling, there was no director; the counseling center was part of the health center. Because of this, there was no mental health model on campus or frame of reference as to how the counseling center compared nationwide. After Monica Neel learned about the JED Foundation at a conference in Fall 2016, Goucher began its partnership with JED in January 2017.

The new counseling center facilities have been authorized to be completed in the fall, although the funding has not yet been secured. The college is currently looking for donors among alumnae/i.

Dining Hall Nearly Done, Meal Plans Get Makeover

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Come fall, the campus will be different. Fences will be gone, halls will be re-purposed and the center of on-campus dining will shift. What this dining will be like in practice is hard to say but there are plenty of concrete details that can be shared before the fall semester.

Meal Plan Changes

Current state of construction (top) and visualization (bottom) of the new dining hall, which will include a Mongolian grill station. Photo credit: Linda Barone

To begin, let’s talk about the new meal plans. For the upcoming year, the campus has shifted from a semester-long block meal plan to a weekly one. We used to have seven different plans (five if kosher and commuter are excluded) which have now been consolidated into four different plans (three if the commuter is excluded). The new plans are 10, 14, and 19 meals a week with $250 dining dollars and a commuter plan that is exclusively dining dollars although the amount is yet to be determined.

A quick comparison of meals (assuming there are around 15.75 weeks in a semester) shows that the old 100, 120, 150 Kosher and 190 plans have been cut, leaving just the 150, 240 and a modified commuter plan. While they are not exactly one to one, the 10 block is roughly equivalent in number of meals to the 150, the 14 to the 240, and the 19 to a new, 300-ish meal plan. In terms of money, the new 10 (at $2,550 per semester) is approximately equal to the old 150 plan, the 14 ($2,920) to the 190 and the 19 ($3,315) to the 240. All figures are from the 2017-2018 Goucher Meal Plan Information Sheet and the current Goucher Meal Plan website.

What this means is that, on the whole, prices per meal per plan are down, and those on the old 150 plan, if staying on the 10, will pay slightly less than last year. This does mean that the cheapest plan is now more expensive than it used to be. However, if you do need to change your meal plan, you will be able to change mid-year. Additionally, all first years will be required to be on the 19-meal plan. Norman Zwagil, a Manager for Bon Appetit, said this decision was made in order to reduce food insecurity on campus and to make it easier to manage meals week by week.

Dining Hall Changes

On the dining hall side of things, Stimson, Huebeck, and The Van will all be closed starting next fall, replaced with the new dining facility in the building that used to be Pearlstone. Alice’s will remain open and the Gopher Hole, a late-night hangout that has been closed since construction began, will re-open. There has not been any confirmation on the Gopher Hole’s re-opening date as it is not run by Bon Appetit.

Inside the new dining hall will be two areas to grab food, one requiring a meal swipe and one that takes dining dollars as well as meal swipes (during certain hours). The one that takes dining dollars will be located where the old bookstore used to be and will function like the old Passport Café (Pearlstone) used to and how Huebeck currently functions. There will be grab and go

Pizza oven in the new dining hall under construction. Photo Credit: Linda Barone

options, both hot and cold, as well as a full visible grill, a pizza station, an ice cream station, an entrée station, and an expanded deli/salad station. Two registers will service this section.

The other dining hall will be upstairs and there will be two stations where you can swipe to enter the food area. According to Norman, it will be all-you-care-to-eat and will contain a multitude of stations, such as the Mongolian Grill (which can make stir fry), the Bakery that is currently in Huebeck, a Kosher station, Global Bowl, Entrée, Allergen Free, Salad bar/deli, Breakfast, Piatti (pizza, calzones, pasta) and two beverage stations. How this will be laid out within the space has not been made clear as of yet.

Another new aspect of dining will be mobile ordering, which will allow a student to call up the dining hall and they will prepare the order for you. While details on this are still being figured out, it seems this will be useful for those with allergies and those on the go.

In terms of what will be done with Huebeck, Linda Barone, Associate Director of Planning, Design, and Construction, says that they’ll be able to open the wall back up and use it as a multipurpose space. “The thing that’s missing most right now on campus is general meeting space, spaces for presentation, so that space, when you open up the wall, can hold about 250 people. With the wall closed, each side can hold about 100. The lounge [in Huebeck] will become—what is currently now seating—will turn back into a lounge.” As for the Stimson dining hall, she says that they’re taking out all the equipment, all of the refrigerators will be gone and that the tables in the middle will also be gone.

 

 

 

PUBLIC SAFETY BLOTTER

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The Quindecim is granted access to information about violations of the Goucher College Code of Conduct and Academic Honor code. The information is compiled by Andrew Wu, Goucher’s Associate Dean of Students for Student Development. This report is comprised of incidents that occur during the two weeks leading up to each issue of

The Quindecim. 

Public Safety Incident Reports

 April 17th, 2018 – April 30th, 2018

PUBLIC SAFETY INCIDENT REPORTS

Alcohol/Drug

  • Public Safety received a report from JHU that a Goucher student was arrested for possession of marijuana (over 10g)
  • Information alleging two students smoked marijuana near Stimson, no evidence found
  • Two students found in P-Selz in possession of marijuana and pariphernalia

Fire Safety

  • Accidental fire alarms in Conner and Welsh

Harassment/Disorderly Conduct

  • Student reported ongoing harassment/intimidation by another student

Injury /Medical Emergency

  • Two students transported to hospital for medical reasons

Theft

  • Wallet stolen by unknown individual in Robinson, BCPD contacted to respond

Vehicle Incident

  • Student vehicle damaged in Dorsey lot
  • Damage to guest vehicle reported near Alumni House
  • Vehicle stuck in mud near Stables
  • Campus guest accused of reckless driving on loop

Damage/Vandalism

Other

  • Student physically assaulted another student in Jeffery

STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT DECISIONS

  • Student found responsible for possession of marijuana over 10g – restricted from entering campus other than for purposes of attending class
  • Student found responsible for underage possession of alcohol, possession of marijuana (under 10g), possession of drug paraphernalia – issued educational sanction, $50 fine, parent notification
  • Student found responsible for fire safety violation – issued $250 fine
  • Student found responsible for damage to property – issued $680 restitution fine

Spin Bikeshare Comes to Goucher

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Goucher’s Bikeshare Program. Photo Credit: Madeline St. John

What’s orange, has two wheels, a couple gears, and makes me think of popsicles and summertime? That’s right. I’m talking about those neon bikes we’ve all seen around campus. They showed up sometime within the past few months, and everytime I see someone on one, I wish I could drop everything and go for a ride. But where did they come from? How can I use one?

I sat down with Gabi Silver, ‘21, to help me answer these questions. Gabi told me that he first saw Spin back in October, when he was visiting D.C. for the weekend. He reached out to Spin personally, asking about potentially bringing a bunch of bikes to campus, and they responded enthusiastically, saying they’d love to bring 25 bikes to Goucher. The following is a piece of my interview with Gabi. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

NL: If I wanted to rent a bike, what steps would I have to go through to do so for my first time?

GS: It couldn’t be more simple, especially from a user’s point of view. It requires an app, so for iPhone users you go onto the App Store, and for Android users you go onto Google Play. You just search for an app called ‘Spin Bike Share.” It’s an orange app with an orange logo, and once you log on, and you use your goucher.edu email, it automatically sets the rate from $1/half hour to $1/hour. You put in a credit card [number], and from there, you just scan any of the QR codes located on the bike itself, and start your ride. It just kinda charges you for that: from the time the bike unlocks to the time you put the lock down.

NL: Are there rules about taking bikes off campus? How does that work?

GS: Since we’re on a campus, the agreement we made with Spin and the Goucher administration is that when you take a bike out you have to bring it back to campus within 24 hours. So that means that you might want to go to the Post Office, Target, or Walmart, [or anywhere off campus], but as long as the bike is back in the region of Towson within 24 hours, which you can see on the map on the app, you should be good. You shouldn’t get an email from us saying “Please bring the bike back.”

NL: But if someone rents the bike after I end my ride and before I can bring it back to campus, then it’s not my problem.

GS: Exactly. Yes. The actual bike relocation happens between me and the local bike repair company, and that’s not your problem if it happens. And if you do get an email saying you didn’t bring it back, just let me know, and I can definitely forward it to the right party.

NL: How long can I rent the bike for?

GS: We have 25 [bikes], as I said, on the Goucher campus, and there’re 100 at Towson..if you keep it for for 24 hours, you will be charged [the $24] for keeping it for that amount of time. So it’s not the kind of system where we want you to claim it as yours. In fact, that’s highly discouraged and against the Spin user agreement. The intention is to make it a system that’s fun and shareable for everyone.

Hope this helps! If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out to Gabi at gasil001@mail.goucher.edu. Happy riding! 

Neve Levinson

 

Restore the Night: Events

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Restore the Night. Photo Credit: Sarojini Schutt (’18) and Maggie Ratrie (’18)

Events

Friday: To begin the campaign, a resource fair was held on Friday, which included off-campus organizations with resources for survivors, allies, and information on how to get involved. Friday night’s event was similar to the original Take Back the Night. This event was for survivors and their support systems, and provided a safe space for survivors to speak and share their stories. When entering the event, a question was proposed that people could contribute to, and there was a conversation about Goucher’s Sexual Conduct Survey. A speaker from Know Your IX, a D.C. organization, came to the event to talk about Title IX as well as survivor and activism work.

Saturday: A talkback about the zine, “Hear My Voice”, organized by Jamison Curcio (’19) and Elaine Millas (’20), was held. The talkback discussed how the zine went and the reactions is received on campus.

Sunday: A brunch was held for survivors, and afterwards there was a self care through movement workshop for the survivors, led by Jamison Curcio. This workshop explored movement as a form of healing.

Tuesday: Lydell Hills (’18) held a masculinity workshop, for male identifying people. This workshop aimed to break down the masks of masculinity that people live in, and discussed what to do to combat the status quo. This workshop targeted unhealthy vs. healthy masculinity and encouraged male identifying people to spread and normalize this concept.

Tuesday night, was the event Sex in the Dark: Clap Back at the Clap. This event aimed to spread awareness and knowledge about STI’s, with a goal of de-stigmatizing STI’s.

Wednesday: A Rape Culture 101 event was held and led by Summer Torres, the assistant director of the CREI. The same day, a Healthy Relationship Culture conversation was held, where Goucher’s hook-up culture was discussed. This event created a space for students to voice opinions and vent about the hookup culture at Goucher and why it is the way it is. This event also provided a space for people that don’t call themselves survivors or victims to talk about what they are going through. Later, an LGBTQIA survivor comfort space was provided.

Thursday: On the final day of the campaign, an activism teach in, led by speakers from Know Your IX, was held. This teach in provided ways to be an activist with all this information, and spoke about the different levels of activism. Restore the Night ended with a community open mic, which gave a space for people to share poetry, or any form of artistic expression, regarding what they are going through.

Goucher Students Organize Restore the Night

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Restore the Night is a weeklong campaign of events and workshops that intend to raise awareness, create a sense of solidarity, and ultimately put an end to sexual and gender-based violence. While this campaign’s ideology is derived from the worldwide campaign Take Back the Night, it is not the same. Take Back the Night events have been held on Goucher’s campus in past years. The event consisted of a single-night gathering where survivors’ stories were shared. With only a single night to focus on such an emotionally charged topic, it can often be a very heavy, upsetting and somber night. Sarojini Schutt (’18) and Maggie Ratrie (’18) wanted to do something different, and organized a campaign addressing different aspects of the multifaceted topic of sexual and gender-based violence through different events over the span of a week.

Restore the Night differs from Take Back the Night in regards to the focus on restorative justice – an approach that aims to mend the harm caused by a crime, emphasizing accountability of offenders and healing for victims. With Schutt’s senior Peace Studies capstone project, her focus of study is restorative justice in the survivor community, while Ratrie’s senior thesis holds a focus on restorative justice on the side of the perpetrator. Schutt is hopeful that this method will take hold, saying that, “When I leave Goucher, I want people to understand that restorative justice is just one of many methods that can and will work on this campus.” Another goal of Restore the Night is to create a more inclusive space than that of Take Back The Night.

Concerning the new goal, Schutt said “[At Take Back the Night] there never feels like a space for other stories, of people who don’t identify as survivors, people that know something happened to them but are not really able to call themselves a victim or a survivor. This week-long campaign is giving a space for so many people to jump into the conversation, whether it is just a guy that doesn’t know what his role is, or a nonbinary person that doesn’t feel comfortable labeling themselves as a survivor because the term is so feminine.”

Schutt also hopes to dispel any myths surrounding sexual violence and rape culture, perpetuated through certain language and dialogue, stating, “Take Back the Night doesn’t shatter the myths enough for me, and does not include the multitudes of stories that need to be told.”

The events held over the week-long campaign share an emphasis on community. Ratrie hopes for more of a community effort, rather than one person doing all the work or feeling alone in the matter, stating, “Injustice anywhere in our community affects all of us.”

Photo credit: Sarojini Schutt (’18) and Maggie Ratrie (’18)

Schutt believes it “takes a community to be able to say enough,” and so we must work together in support of each other to put an end to sexual and gender-based violence. Every community member holds responsibility in rape culture, and has a hand in being able to demolish it.” As Schutt aptly described it, Restore the Night is “a place to understand what your role is.” Additionally, Schutt said that Restore the Night is “about raising awareness of power and privilege” among different groups and individuals within a community.

 

Through months of hard work and emotional labor that began in October, Restore the Night has finally become a reality. Sarojini Schutt and Maggie Ratrie are the main organizers of the campaign, but mentioned they could not have done it without the work of Lydell Hills, Kate Erickson, Jamison Curcio and Elaine Millas. This is the first time this campaign was held at Goucher but Schutt proclaims, “This is the first Restore the Night, and hopefully not the last.”

Goucher Ranks High in Percentage of Students with Mental Health Conditions

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Charts comparing percentage of students who screened positive for anxiety at Goucher in comparison to other schools that took the Healthy Minds survey. The red bar is Goucher. Photo Credit: Healthy Minds Network Data Interface

In the 2016-2017 school year, for the first time, Goucher administered a Healthy Minds Study, an annual web-based survey that specifically examines mental health and the use of mental health services on college campuses nationwide. 49% of Goucher survey respondents said that they had a previous diagnosis of a mental disorder, higher than the national average of 36%. Goucher students are also more likely to have anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation than students at other universities and small liberal arts colleges.

In the 2016-2017 school year, 54 institutions completed the survey. Goucher had a student response rate of 30%, which is higher than the national average of 23%. Healthy Minds also receives demographic information on the entire student body, which enables the college to see if the students who responded are demographically similar to those who didn’t respond. This ensures that the data is more likely to be representative of the entire student body, and not only of students who took the survey.

According to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health’s sixth annual survey, anxiety and depression remain the top two mental health conditions experienced by college students across the country. The Healthy Minds Study results show that 37% of Goucher students screened positive for anxiety and 43% for depression. These percentages are high in comparison with national averages of 26% for anxiety and 31% for depression. At Goucher, 14% of students also screened positive for severe anxiety and 20% for major depression. This news may be unsurprising for many students. “I know a lot of people on campus that generally suffer from trauma…depression…anxiety is a huge one for a lot of people,” said Katie Monthie ’19.

The percentage of Goucher students who reported suicidal ideation and non-suicidal self-injury is also higher than the national average. 15% of students reported suicidal ideation, higher than the national average of 11%. Of schools surveyed, Goucher also has one of the highest percentages of students who have self-injured in the past year, with 38% of respondents reporting self-injury, compared to 21% nationally.

These statistics are spurring action by the administration, although, due to a lack of publicity around these initiatives, students may be largely unaware of the steps being taken. “[Administration] should be saying, ‘this is what we’re going to do to address it,’” said Olivia Gallegos-Siegel, ‘18. “I don’t see that happening. Maybe I’m out of the loop…but you would think that, with what has happened on this campus, there would be a more immediate response.”

Administering the Healthy Minds Study is part of a number of steps Goucher is taking to improve mental health services on campuses. In January 2017, Goucher formed a partnership with the JED Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to emotional health and suicide prevention for young adults. When the survey is administered again in 2019-2020, it will demonstrate whether or not there have been changes in the culture of the school and/or benefits from Goucher’s partnership with the JED Foundation.

 

According to Health Minds, Goucher students also rank low on The Flourishing Scale. This scale is used by the Healthy Minds Study to determine the percentage of students who are deemed to be “flourishing.” The scale is based on a summary measure of responses in eight categories, including relationships, optimism, purpose, and self-esteem. According to this scale, 32% of Goucher students met the criteria for “flourishing,” a lower percentage than the national average of 44%.

“My general perception of mental health for myself and my peers at Goucher is that I feel as though people often put their mental health second,” said Jacob Givelber, ‘19. “It’s usually done unintentionally and through no lack of effort on their part…It’s very easy I think to let life get you down and feel like you have nowhere to turn.”

Another section of the survey looks at how mental and emotional difficulties affect students’ academic performance. Of the survey respondents, 30% of students said that they had had 6 or more days in the past four weeks during which mental or emotional difficulties had hurt their academic performance. This is higher than the national average of 18% of students. Additionally, only 15% of Goucher students reported that they had had zero days in the last four weeks during which their academic performance was affected by their mental or emotional health, a significantly lower percentage than the national average of 26%.

Many Goucher students are, however, taking action regarding their mental health, and those that use the counseling services generally have positive things to say. According to internal statistics, in 2016-2017, the Goucher counseling services completed intakes with 354 individuals, which is roughly 25% of the student body. 1,349 individual counseling sessions occurred, and there were 97 crisis walk-in sessions, for an average of three a week while classes were in session. Of the 2017 graduating class, 45% of graduating seniors used counseling services at some point during their enrollment at Goucher.

“I’ve personally had a really good experience with counseling center,” said Monthie. “They technically say that they do have a policy you’re not supposed to go back-to-back semesters but I’ve done it. You just fill out a new form.” Director of Counseling Services Monica Neel confirms that there is no hard limit to the number of sessions that students can have, although the center does operate from a short-term treatment model.

In the Healthy Minds Study, students also reported high satisfaction with the counseling services. 87% of students reported having knowledge of mental health services on campus, 37% thought counseling was “very helpful” for mental health, compared to a national average of 31%. Student satisfaction with hours, scheduling and quality of therapists at the campus counseling center was all in the high 80% range.

The stigma surrounding mental health and mental health services is also relatively low at Goucher. In the Healthy Minds Study, only 38% of students reported perceived stigma, considerably less than the 47% nationally, and only 4% of students reported that they would think less of someone who received mental health treatment, compared with 6% nationally. “[At Goucher,] it’s pretty accepted to take a mental health day,” said Adina Karten, ’18.

The Healthy Minds survey also examines whether students use alternative routes to seek help for their mental and emotional health, such as talking to professors, academic advisors, or other staff. At Goucher, a high percentage (77%) of students reported participating in this kind of informal help-seeking. “I’ve really loved having a professor I can trust. This may not work for everyone, but I have a few professors I know that if something goes down, I can go talk to them,” said Monthie.

This statistic helps the counseling center to justify mental health-related trainings for faculty and non-clinical staff, which they refer to as “gatekeeper training.” Through this process, counselors train faculty and non-clinical staff in understanding warning signs and how to refer students to counseling services. “It’s a bigger bang for the buck,” said Monica Neel, Director of Student Counseling Services. “Whereas I can only work with one student who comes into my office, if I can train faculty…they have much farther reach than I do.”

Of students who had sought help through Goucher academic personnel, 95% of students found them to be “supportive,” or “very supportive,” greater than the national average of 91%.

While the counseling center has internal statistics on the students who use their services, the benefit of the Healthy Minds Study is that it creates a picture of all the students in the college, and not just the ones who are seeking out services. This allows the college to better target their outreach, create more effective programming, and to justify the increase of funding around these areas. “To some degree its important how we compare nationally, and to some degree it doesn’t matter, because we need to just be dealing with what’s happening in our campus community,” said Neel.

To read more about the initiatives emerging from the partnership with the JED Foundation, including the construction of a new, larger space for the Counseling Center, look for an article in the next issue of the Q. Future issues of the Q will also include more on student experiences and mental health resources on campus.

For more information about the JED Foundation, visit: https://www.jedcampus.org/our-approach/

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