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Building Options: A Construction Update

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Goucher College Construction Timeline Credit: Goucher College

It’s not only buildings that have been affected by construction plans; campus construction has physically divided the campus and impacted everything, from club and event spaces, to the general appearance of the campus itself. According to the discussion in the October Town Hall Meeting that took place on the 10th in the Hyman Forum, we will be getting more functional and useful spaces as Mary Fischer and the Freshman Village take shape. Organized by the Office of Student Engagement (OSE), the Town Hall meeting focused on providing updates and answering student questions relating to the construction of new campus spaces. Associate Director of FMS for Planning, Linda Barone, Senior Associate Director for Events and Conference Schedules, Angela McDonald, and Associate Dean of Students for Community Life, Stacy Cooper Patterson, were all present at the meeting.

To start, Linda Barone explained the current timeline for construction. While construction on campus will not be entirely complete until after 2021, all construction on Mary Fischer and the Freshman Village is expected to be completed by next Fall. Additionally, construction on the Interfaith Center will be beginning at some point within this semester and is also expected to be completed by next fall. Next fall, construction will begin on Stimson and continue until the fall of 2020. While there are no official plans drawn up yet for Stimson, it is possible that it will become upperclassman housing, offering more options for suites and on-campus apartments. There may still be housing in Stimson next year, but again, details regarding Stimson’s future are tentative. Lastly, there will be intermittent construction of various athletics spaces, such as the new tennis courts, and construction on the Science Research Center will begin in Fall of 2019, likely to not be finished until January 2021.

Each new building on campus will have air-conditioning and administration is trying to keep accessibility for  all Goucher students in mind. Barone, Cooper Patterson, and McDonald all stressed that the new buildings were planned with student community in mind. The new dining halls in Mary Fischer, for example, were set in the center of campus so that students can more easily access all-you-care-to-eat and grab-and-go options. Additionally, there will be more reservable and free spaces for students to use for club meetings, group projects, events, etc. Sit-down dining rooms on the bottom floor of Mary Fischer will turn into public space during its closed hours, but will also be reservable. Buildings 1B and 1C of the Freshman Village will have plenty of study spaces available. They will also offer reservable kitchens, and building 1C will have a dance studio. When the Passport Cafe at Heubeck is replaced by Mary Fischer dining, the space will become a multi-purpose room again, and also be available to reserve for meetings, events, rehearsals, etc.

At the Town Hall, students asked about the buildings and their accessibility or uses and raised concerns about dividing the campus the way construction has done in the past. Some students expressed how they felt their freshman year was improved by living on multi-class floors and worry that by creating the Freshman Village, freshmen will be disconnected from the rest of the campus. This is a phenomenon that many other upperclassmen have noted. The concern was noted, and Stacy Cooper Patterson mentioned that administration is currently housing some first year mentors on freshman floors to see if having upperclassmen besides RA’s on first year floors is potentially beneficial.

While studying and/or living on a campus with construction is not ideal, it appears that Goucher College will come out the other side a better campus. The worst of Mary Fischer and the Freshman Village’s construction is happening now, as foundations and overall structures of the buildings are being put in place. The worst of the construction should be done by next semester, leaving students to wait for new dining facilities, as well as a more accessible and functional campus.

What is up with Rohingya?

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Rohingya in crisis. Photo Credit: Google Images

In 2013, the United Nations described the Rohingya ethnic minority in Myanmar as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities. The majority Muslim ethnic group has lived in Myanmar for centuries. The population endures systematic oppression from the Myanmar government that has denied over a million Rohingya citizenship and displaced around 140,000 Rohingya Muslims. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW) the “Burmese authorities and members of Arakanese groups have committed crimes against humanity in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State since June 2012.”
So, why is news of this large-scale human rights violation only now circulating around the news? Like the Nazi Party during World War II, the Burmese government is arguing that nothing wrong is happening, going so far as to blame the media for spreading false information. Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy in Myanmar and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Myanmar “know[s] very well, more than most, what it means to be deprived of human rights and democratic protection,” and that the government is making sure “all the people in our country are entitled to protection of their rights as well as, the right to, and not just political but social and humanitarian defense.” Researchers at Queen Mary University London argue that her silence on the issue and her inability to act amounts to “legitimizing genocide” and embeds “the persecution of the Rohingya minority” (Khan).
Many nations have spoken out against the Rohingya crisis. Bangladesh has called on the international community to intervene, as the country is now facing a large influx of Rohingya refugees. According to the HRW, international aid has been suspended which means “more than 250,000 Rohingya Muslims” are left “without medical care, food, and other vital humanitarian assistance.” The U.S. State Department announced their plans to allot around $32 million in aid to those oppressed in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. When the United Nations Human Rights Council approved an investigation of the persecution, the Myanmar government denied entry of the investigative group in June. Representatives were able to enter the country in July, though they were greeted with hostility. Other groups have been involved in helping the Rohingya Muslims, with India sending aircraft assistance to Bangladesh to help the refugees. Many Bangladeshi citizens are also helping by offering assistance and accommodation to many of the refugees. Let’s hope that the international community steps up and does more to help the Rohingya. Doing nothing makes the world a collaborator in their persecution and oppression.

Works Cited
Burma: End ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ of Rohingya Muslims. Human Rights Watch, 3 Oct. 2017,
Khan, Shehab. “Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi Accused of ‘Legitimising Genocide of Rohingya Muslims’.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 25 Nov. 2016,
Pirani, Fiza. “Who Are the Rohingya Muslims? 7 Things to Know about the ‘World’s Most Persecuted Minority.’” Ajc, Cox Media Group , 20 Sept. 2017,
Staff, Al Jazeera. “Myanmar: Who Are the Rohingya?” Myanmar: Who Are the Rohingya?, Al Jazeera, 28 Sept. 2017,
What’s Happening in Burma? United to End Genocide, endgenocide.org/conflict-areas/burma/.

The Roots of Change: Students Learn to Mobilize

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

CERT: A Team That’s There To Help

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Join CERT to help prepare your community for emergencies. Credit: bosquecounty.us

After all the recent natural disasters, you might be wondering–what is Goucher doing to prepare for natural disasters and other emergencies? And what can I, here at Goucher, do to help?
One possible answer is CERT. CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. CERT is a group of trained volunteers who have the knowledge and equipment to assist at the scene of an emergency before professionals arrive. They can manage crowds, and perform basic search and rescue, triage/first aid, and fire suppression. In the case of a hurricane, for example, they would lead people to safe zones, assist Public Safety, and provide any other necessary assistance.
CERT members also have backpacks that are equipped with a variety of supplies, including first aid kits, helmets, gloves, goggles, flashlights, and other safety tools.
Nothing is a substitute for preparedness in the case of an emergency. Community members can prepare on an individual level. CERT president Sam Meir-Levi, ‘18, recommends having a backpack stocked with: a first aid kit, flashlights, batteries, filled water bottles, a blanket, non-perishable food, sanitation and personal hygiene supplies, and any necessary medications. An emergency backpack could also include rain gear, duct tape, scissors, whistle, plastic sheets, etc. When an emergency hits, “you shouldn’t be just thinking about these things for the first time,” said Duncan Miller, ‘19, the treasurer for CERT.
In addition to preparing supplies Goucher students, faculty and staff can ready themselves by being aware of their surroundings, and knowing where the nearest entrances and exits are in buildings on campus. This is especially important given the obstacles created by construction, which may limit access to entrances and exits.
The kind of community action that CERT organizes and supports is especially important because of the internal knowledge of the community that its members have. People within a community will have a better understanding of resources, needs, hazards, and strains, argues Kayhla Cornell, assistant registrar in the Graduate Programs in Education, who is also a member of CERT.
Cornell, who has an environmental justice perspective when it comes to disaster preparedness, also mentioned that the number and severity of natural disasters around the world is increasing. Rather than rely entirely on external aid, community members should work together to prepare for them. Cornell encourages involvement in organizations like CERT, that help people to be involved in the community, advocate for themselves, as well as be better prepared for emergencies. Cornell also hopes that, in the future, the Goucher program will work more closely with local organizations, and serve as a local flagship, encouraging other schools to become certified.
The more people who are trained and involved in CERT, the wider their range of communication, the more ground they will be able to cover, and the more people they will help. To get involved, reach out to David Heffer <David.Heffer@goucher.edu>, Sam Meir-Levi, or Duncan Miller. CERT will also be sending out emails and putting up fliers with information about upcoming trainings.

Goucher Poll Fall 2017

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According to the poll, 75 percent of Maryland Republicans approve of President Trump’s work in office. Photo Credit: WBalTV 11

The first iteration of the bi-annual Goucher Poll concluded last week and the results were released over the course of the last several days. The poll, which is conducted out of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center by Dr. Mileah Kromer, asked Maryland residents for their opinions on a variety of statewide and national issues, from September 14th-18th. As the poll of record in Maryland, the results were picked up by most local news outlets, as well as national ones, including the Washington Post.

This rendition of the poll asked many of its typical questions, such as the approval ratings of President Trump, Governor Hogan as well as other elected officials in the state, and inquiring about resident’s opinions on the direction of the state. Unsurprisingly, President Trump still has an extremely poor approval rating in the heavily Democratic state; only twenty-five percent of residents approve of the job he is doing, while 71 percent disapprove. This is not to suggest that the President does not still have the support of his base, which appears immune to most if not all of the controversy surrounding him; 73 percent of Republicans in the state approve of how the President is handling the job. Governor Larry Hogan still enjoys a great deal of support from Marylanders across the political spectrum with his 62 percent approval rating, which breaks down into 82 percent approval from Republicans and 59 percent among Democrats. His continued support from all areas of the state, combined with the fact that 47 percent of Marylanders see him has a moderate and 57 percent currently hold a positive view of the economic situation in the state, suggest that Governor Hogan has a strong chance of re-election in next year’s gubernatorial race.

Residents were also asked other more controversial questions pertaining to their views on several hot-button issues. Marylanders tend to believe that there is racial discrimination against minorities on the job or at work; 64 percent of respondents said they agree with this claim. However, when broken down along racial lines, the numbers tell a somewhat different story. Only 55 percent of whites agree with this statement, while a more substantial 79 percent of African-Americans said they agreed. When asked about the most recent polarizing topic, removal of Confederate statues and monuments, 49 percent of the state thought they should be removed from public spaces. When answers were examined across race however, the difference was stark; 70 percent of African-Americans believe they should be removed, compared to only 38 percent of whites who feel the same way. One of the more surprising and perhaps unfortunate statewide developments, is that only 38 percent of Marylanders believe people of all races in their communities receive equal treatment by police. This is an 11-point drop in the belief that everyone is treated equally by police since the question was last asked on the poll in February of 2016.

Additionally, Marylanders were surveyed on their opinions about DACA and climate change, issues which they find themselves in strong agreement on. 75 percent of residents support DACA as a policy, and 94 percent believe that climate change is real—59 percent think that it is the result of human activity.

The Goucher Poll, which is administered by student callers and operates using only funding from Goucher College, continues to do the vital work of representing public opinion in Maryland and brings a great deal of positive publicity to our school. The full results of the poll, as well as previous polls can all be found on Goucher’s main website.

DogFest

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Pip the Corgi smiles for the camera. Credit: Paige Harris

Every September, the Baltimore Humane Society hosts DogFest, their biggest annual fundraiser. People bring their dogs to participate in a dog walk and other festival activities, such as the Biggest Dog Contest, Best Dressed Contest, and more.

Goucher’s Community Based Learning animal welfare program is partnered with the BHS, and they help out every year at DogFest and other events they hold.

Kathryn Vajda, ‘19, who has attended DogFest for the past two years, says, “It’s a great way for volunteers to learn more about the Humane Society before working with the animals there. It’s been an amazing way for myself and other students to learn about the different pieces that go into supporting animal welfare groups and non-profit organizations.”

Every year, the volunteers are different. One such first-timer, Rachel Haslett, ‘19, comments, “This has probably been the best day I’ve had thus far this semester. There were so many dogs. I got to pet so many dogs I lost count.”

Dogs of every shape and size were spotted at DogFest. Java, an Irish Wolfhound, was an immediate favorite among her canine companions. She and her owner sat on a bench close to the Walk-a-Thon volunteer table, allowing everyone who came through a pat. Later on, Java was spotted making friends with a golden labradoodle named Chelsea.

“Java is one of the biggest dogs I’ve ever seen in my life, but my favorites will always be the Huskies and Samoyeds. I love seeing my favorite breeds and can’t wait to own one myself someday,” said Haslett.

Other than contests, there were a variety of activities for dogs to take part in. There was a pool where dogs could swim in, fit with lifejackets and a handler in the pool to help with dogs who couldn’t swim well. There was also a tetherball available for the dogs.

“There was a bulldog who was ready to chase that ball until she collapsed. The owner kept trying to get her to leave but she was having too much fun. Eventually the owner had to carry her away,” says Paige Harris, ‘19, who also attended the event the first time this semester.

In addition, there was a ball throwing station, where owners could play fetch with their pets. There were also a multitude of vendors at DogFest, including a German Shepherd rescue group, artists, and dog-treat makers. One booth also sported a small blue-grey kitten who drew attention from many festival goers. Another non-canine guest that garnered a lot of attention was Darwin the tortoise. He arrived early to the festival in his own trailer, wearing a purple bandana to match the black and purple trailer.

Another interesting aspect of the festival is its costume contest. Though there were many beautifully dressed dogs, some of the most memorable costumes were the black lab dressed as Superman, a cream-colored dog dressed as Supergirl, the gaggle of pugs wearing tiaras, and a mutt dressed as a sailor.

“I’m definitely going next year,” says Haslett. “It was so much fun. I love being able to see so many dogs and pet them. It was definitely the best day I’ve had in a long time.”

Though DogFest has come and gone, there are still plenty of BHS events to go to this year.

Where The Money Goes: A Budget Update

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On Wednesday, April 5th, the Goucher Student Government (GSG) held a Budget Update in an attempt to inform students about the college’s budget and where their money is going. Both GSG and the administration have been making efforts to increase transparency and communication between students and the administration.

Goucher has two budgets: an Operating budget and a Capital budget. Photo credit: Google images

In July 2016, Goucher College hired Malcolm Green-Haynes as Director of Budget and Financial Planning, creating a position that did not previously exist. While Goucher had, more or less, been financially operating  on a “one-day-at-a-time” framework, Green-Haynes is now looking a year ahead, planning next year’s budget. Part of his job involves looking at more long-term strategies for the college’s financial stability and success. Green-Haynes also serves a strategic role as a point person between the Vice Presidents and Senior staff who make budget decisions, and the functional units of the college, such as academic departments, athletics, co-curricular centers, the library, etc. Green-Haynes communicates with each area to see what sort of funding they have had in the past and what they will need in the future. While this type of communication has existed in previous years, it may not have been happening in the same “holistic” and “systematic fashion” said Green-Haynes.
Green-Haynes is very open to talking to students about the budget and hopes to clear up any misconceptions there might be.
“Let’s do a little Budget 101,” he said, when interviewed for this article.

Budget 101
Goucher currently has two budgets–an operating budget and a capital budget. The Operating Budget, at about $65 million, goes toward the day-to-day operating costs that keep the college running: paying for electricity, people to cut the grass, microscopes for the biology department, uniforms for the lacrosse team, etc. The money for the operating budget comes from tuition, room and board, as well as some state assistance and miscellaneous business activities (for example, renting out Kraushaar Auditorium to outside groups). The administration is trying to increase these miscellaneous business activities in the coming years, in order to increase the operating budget but avoid increasing the cost of tuition, or room and board. Freezing the tuition this year was already a big step, a demonstration, Green-Haynes said, that “this administration is committed to accessibility and affordability.” However, the administration was unable to hold the line on room and board “because that would’ve meant pretty significant reductions in expenses, all in the same year,” said Green-Haynes.
Goucher’s other budget, the Capital Budget, goes toward large expenses and fixed assets: buildings, land, large equipment, IT infrastructure, etc. This budget, at about $36.1 million for the upcoming year, is financed by debt and philanthropic support. The Capital Budget currently funds the construction projects. Revenue for these projects comes largely from specific campaigns for alumni donations with the stated purpose of generating money for construction projects. Alumni support for the Capital Budget will not roll over to the operating budget once construction projects are finished, because the fundraising campaigns focus on construction.
“The fundraising base is fairly limited, so once that’s over, it’s over,” said Green-Haynes. However, he also states that there is an alumni support base in the operating budget, consisting of about $2 million.
There have been no major changes in the budget that will directly affect students, faculty, or staff. In fact, the budget for faculty is growing significantly, due in part to the creation of the new centers and the need for new faculty to teach particular classes.
The college also has an endowment of about $200 million. However, rather than dipping into the endowment for large projects, it makes more sense, financially, for Goucher to secure more debt.
“Debt is part of the business portfolio,” said Green-Haynes. “It is necessary to finance these projects to make Goucher more attractive and more modern, for prospective students, and current students.”

For more information
Members of faculty and staff managing expenses are able to view the budget in real time. The budget is not available to the wider Goucher community, most likely for “proprietary reasons,” said Green-Haynes.
“If you google ‘Bard college budget,’ ‘Johns Hopkins college budget,’ you aren’t going to find anything, and that is probably by design,” he said. Green-Haynes wants to make clear that the reason the budget was not on the website was not due to a lack of transparency, but rather, because the college has not yet figured out a way to make the budget visible to students without it being shared outside the community.
Last year, GSG put together a finance committee, with members of GSG Senate, to meet with Malcolm Green-Haynes. These students then passed on what they learned to the student body in the budget update. This year, the committee will be open to the entire student body, not just students from the senate.
“It is a good opportunity to learn about budgeting and finance, and it looks good on a resume,” said Lilith Saylor (‘20), of her involvement in the GSG Finance committee.
To view audited financial statements put together by the Accounting department, from 2007 through 2015, search “Goucher college financial statements” in Google. Malcolm Green-Haynes also welcomes any students interested in the budget or who have more questions to email him at malcolm.greenhaynes@goucher.edu.

Center for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching (CAST)

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C.A.S.T is here to support students. Photo Credit: CAST’s Facebook page

All students have complained about a professor or an assignment or a particularly bad incident in a classroom at least once in their lives. Maybe you’ve written these complaints in an end-of-course reflection or approached a professor directly about the issue. But how do faculty know the best ways to resolve these issues and navigate the feedback they receive? What can they change in order to make the next renditions of their courses more successful?
As of last year, Dr. Robin Cresiski at the brand new Center for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching (CAST) is that support system, which will “provide resources to faculty to help them be the best teachers and scholars they can be.”

Cresiski will help faculty integrate the latest research in effective teaching in their classrooms, promote undergraduate research, and cultivate student success. “Making faculty happier without increasing student performance is a failure,” according to Cresiski.
There is a variety of ways she is and will be undertaking this role. Faculty workshops and Lunch & Learns about a variety of topics are one route. The topics are selected from a survey Cresiski administered to faculty at the beginning of the semester to gauge the ones that are most in demand among Goucher’s faculty. Topics include “best practices for week 1,” “transparent assignment design,” and a variety of topics surrounding inclusivity and accessibility. While attendance is optional and some professors’ schedules may conflict with such workshops, Cresiski is working on a website where recordings of all the workshops will be available for faculty to consult if they could not attend.
She is also available for individual consultations to help faculty revise areas of their curriculum where students are falling asleep, to discussing ways to address a classroom incident, to anything else faculty made need support for. Faculty research is another area Cresiski will help with, such as thinking about research design and organizing research into a publication plan. Faculty may reach out to her or may be referred to CAST by another faculty member, administrator, or department chair. When faculty wish it, Cresiski will also observe their classes.
“The administration was very forthright with me about various issues on campus before I came forward,” says Cresiski, “[such as] the change in curriculum and the video from students about their experience as diverse students on campus. I am absolutely going to be a resource for faculty to make their classrooms more inclusive.”
In an effort to confront these issues, Cresiski has already started collaborating with the Academic Center for Excellence in order to help faculty reinforce the messages that ACE tells students and the Center for Race, Equity, and Identity about not only the Phoenix Program, but also what kinds of faculty programming CAST and CREI can collaborate on.
“Several of the workshops will revolve around helping faculty make their content and curriculum and lessons accessible and engaging for all students,” Cresiski promises. “There have been limited opportunities for faculty to learn how they might do that up to this point.” She cites the transparent assignment design workshop as an example of how she will empower faculty to be more inclusive. “Faculty that make just two of their assignments more transparent have smaller equity gaps between white and non-white students and between continuing and first generation students.” She also knows that addressing the issue of inclusivity and accessibility will require deeper work, more self-reflection and confrontation of the implicit bias one has when regarding examples used in class, hiring students for research or teaching assistant positions, and orchestrating class discussions.
Cresiski’s previous experience has definitely prepared her for this new role at Goucher. After completing a PhD in Immunology and serving as a visiting biology professor at Mt. Holyoke College (she will also teach biology at Goucher), she was hired at a small start-up college in Nevada where more than 50% of the student body were students of color, 67% were first generation, and almost all were low-income. Cresiski helped build a biology program and an undergraduate research program before becoming an administrator. As an administrator, she oversaw faculty development because she had become “very interested in developing faculty practices, especially in relationship with students who are very different than themselves and their experiences.”
In order to best serve the faculty, Cresiski is trying to figure out the best way to get feedback from students about their experiences with faculty at Goucher: “I’m a nice neutral resource…I’m nobody’s boss. So if students would love to see something happen differently in a classroom, I’m a place where they can come talk to me and they’re not getting anyone in trouble.” She’s hoping to figure out how students can compare and contrast their experiences and point out trends that they see, which students currently don’t have the opportunity to do in end-of-course reflections. Other colleges have advisory committees or pizza hours, which Cresiski has considered. In the meantime, she has been in conversation with ten students from a variety of disciplines that Dylan Margolis from GSG put her in contact with. She intends to form a working group including these students to think about the new center pair exploration courses—curriculum development being another aspect of faculty support that CAST will be a large part of.
In the meantime, students are welcome to email Robin.Cresiski@goucher.edu their ideas about how things could be better. She’s also welcoming students to tell her about really positive experiences they’ve had with faculty so that she can highlight such great teaching in her faculty newsletter.
“I’m really excited to be here!” Cresiski says, not only because her great-grandmother was a Goucher alumna, but also because she is “so inspired by [President Bowen’s and Provost Lewis’s] dedication to building Goucher into an accessible, transformative liberal arts institution.” Their dedication to accessibility is very important to her and she’s excited to contribute to the process of implementing the changes that will ultimately achieve this vision.

Class of 2015 Employment Data

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On March 6th, 2017, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness sent an email to Faculty and Staff concerning employment and continuing education data for the class of 2015 graduates. The Q staff, finding this information relevant to the current student body, received permission to publish the email.

Dear Faculty and Staff:

For years, the value of a college degree has been measured by significant outcomes of a college education. One of the most evident outcomes is the job and graduate school placement of bachelor degree recipients. Goucher has been systematically tracking and reporting our career outcomes data. This issue of the data brief focuses on employment and continuing education information for the Class of 2015 graduates.

Methodology

The Class of 2015 outcome data was collected from multiple sources. First, we administered the Graduate Follow-up Survey to the Class of 2015 graduates one year after graduation. Survey reminders were sent to non-respondents. A total of 128 out of 308 graduates responded to this survey, yielding a survey response rate of 42 percent. Second, in order to increase our knowledge rate, we collaborated with HEPdata, a reputable national company that offers student career tracking to enhance outcomes reporting. Third, we tracked post-graduation data, via the National Student Clearinghouse. Fourth, we solicited information from student affairs directors who had remained in contact with these students after graduation. Data collected through these four sources were merged together to form a final follow-up data file for the Class of 2015 graduates. Information for a total of 267 out of 308 graduates was included in the file, yielding an overall knowledge rate of 87 percent.

Results

We are delighted to share the excellent news of our graduates with you: within one year of graduation, 93 percent of the Class of 2015 were employed; 31 percent were pursuing graduate education, and 99 percent were employed and/or pursuing graduate education. In addition, for the first time with this survey, we asked the recent graduates when they obtained their first job after graduation, and how satisfied they were with Goucher’s role in their career preparation. The survey results indicated that 93 percent of respondents found their first job within six months of graduation and 91 percent of graduates reported that Goucher prepared them for their first job. These results speak volumes about the quality of a Goucher education and the effectiveness of all the work you do each day helping our students pursue lives of meaning and purpose. At Goucher, we change lives—one student at a time.

In addition, the results suggest that Goucher’s extraordinary liberal arts education has led to professional opportunities in a variety of fields. Here is an overall breakdown of employment by industry

Further, each graduate’s major was retrieved and merged with its respective academic center, allowing us to summarize the employers and graduate schools by this new affiliation.

A special thank you to each one of you who helped solicit these data. We are extremely grateful for your efforts. We are also beginning to collect data for the Class of 2016. You can continue to help us by sharing the post-graduation status of Goucher students who have finalized their plans for employment and/or graduate school.

If you have any questions or suggestion about career outcome information, please feel free to contact any of our Career Outcome group members: Harry Bielas, Bill Leimbach, Shuang Liu (co-chair), Traci Martin (co-chair), Janet Shope, or Corky Surbeck.

Sincerely,

Shuang Liu, Ph.D.

Senior Director of Institutional Effectiveness

Traci Martin, Director of Career Development

Smoke-Free Initiative Builds Steam, Encounters Roadblocks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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