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Goucher Poll Results Are In

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Drew Phillips, Staff Writer

March 5th, 2017

This academic year’s second rendition of the semi-annual Goucher Poll released its full results Monday. The poll, which operates out of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center, surveys a random sample of Maryland residents about their political opinions by having trained Goucher students call landlines and cell phones in the state, over the course of five days. Dr. Mileah Kromer has directed the poll since its conception five years ago, and in that time has taken it from non-existent to the most highly regarded poll in Maryland. She describes the goal of the poll as attempting to continue to be a very solid statewide poll, while also “asking questions of a national interest.”

The poll was scheduled to be conducted from February 18th—22nd, but higher response levels than anticipated allowed calling to conclude on the 21st, having surveyed 776 Maryland adults. The results were not particularly shocking. President Donald Trump is exceedingly unpopular, with a 29 percent approval rating in heavily Democratic Maryland, however it should not go unnoted that he has a 71 percent approval rating among Republicans in the state. Republican Governor Larry Hogan remains popular with Marylanders, boasting a 63 percent approval rating; a 7 percent drop in support from last September, but a number which is still quite impressive. Additionally, Maryland’s congressional representatives Benjamin Cardin (D) and newly elected Chris Van Hollen (D) hold approval ratings of 45 and 44 percent, respectively. Congress continues to sit in the approval ratings cellar, only 21 percent of Maryland residents approve of the job they are doing.

Among questions about their representatives, Marylanders were also asked about a range of political topics facing the state. Among the most interesting and relevant topics, 60 percent of Maryland residents support raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, 58 percent support legalizing recreational marijuana, and 70 percent of the residents in the heavily gerrymandered state support having their congressional and legislative districts drawn by an independent commission rather than by the state’s elected officials. As usual, the poll has garnered a large deal of attention in the state, and even some national outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post and reporting the results. Fortunately, I was able to talk to Dr. Kromer for a bit so she could give The Q some insight into the Goucher Poll.

DP: First, I want to ask about polling in general. There was a lot of backlash against polling on the right and left following Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in the general election this fall—do critics of polls have a point, or was there more of a misreading of the polls than the polls themselves being inaccurate?

MK: I think it was certainly more of a misreading of polls. The issue is, we have all these different individuals giving predictions and they all assign their own probability of an outcome—people really focused on the idea that Hillary Clinton had a 75 or 80, sometimes even 90 percent chance of winning. When you start to break it down and look at individual polls, what you see is that a lot of them were within the margin of error. For example, polls that were tracking Hillary Clinton nationally were correct, she did win the national popular vote. There were some polls that were off in states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, they were a little bit outside the margin of error—Florida had issues with this as well. However, by and large most of these polls were within the margin of error. Keep in mind that there’s a plus or minus [with each poll] and if it’s at three percent or four percent and the poll has somebody up 49-48 over the other, that person is not up, they’re statistically indistinguishable from each other.

DP: And the Goucher Poll margin of error is usually at about 3.5, right?

MK: Right, we usually end up with between 600 and 700 or so interviews which puts us around a 3.5 percent margin of error.

DP: So in terms of the Goucher Poll, do you have any big takeaways from this round?

MK: Sure, so what I think is really interesting is that Governor Hogan’s approval ratings are back to what they were last year, exactly. In September of 2016, they reached a really high level—I think in a lot of ways an unsustainable level. It’s impossible for any politician, much less a Republican in a blue state to maintain a 70 percent approval rating. Now they’re back down to 63 percent, which is still really good.

DP: And that kind of has to do with my next question. Having read the press release I know that you don’t really think this dip in approval rating has to do with any sort of “Trump Effect,” so I guess your take on it is that this is sort of a regression to the mean?

MK: I guess my take on it is this: I think if there was a “Trump Effect” in the numbers, one, when we asked about whether Hogan is spending too much, too little, or the right amount of time addressing Trump related issues, if there was a true Trump effect you would see in the responses more people saying “too little time,” that number would have been very elevated. Secondly, when you actually run an analysis looking at Hogan’s approval ratings crosstabbed against Trump’s, 51 percent of those who disapprove of the way Trump is handling his job as President, approve of the way Larry Hogan is handling his job. So there isn’t a natural overlap of one pulling the other one down. Finally, when we asked people who disapproved of the job Larry Hogan was doing, we asked people why, and only 12 percent of those individuals said they disapproved of Hogan because of Donald Trump. So we’re talking about a very small percentage of people within a very small percentage, and to me that just does not show a significant “Trump effect.”

DP: So when you started the poll five years ago, what were your aspirations for it?

MK: I think five years ago, my aspirations were to just get it off the ground. Then, I would have told you I would be completely satisfied to produce two methodologically rigorous and appropriate polls a year. Now, we’re starting to enter into a stage where we’re looking to the future. The Goucher Poll is certainly interested in expanding our offerings to maybe doing focus groups, and perhaps increasing the number of polls we do per year. Those are all things we’re thinking about for the future. We’ve really established ourselves as a poll of record in Maryland; we’re the go to poll, and so I think it’s really important that we start to now build on that reputation. I spent the first five years trying to build a very solid reputation for the poll, now it’s time to advance on that.

A Letter From President Bowen

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A few weeks ago our Sports editor, Michael Layer, reached out to several people on Goucher’s campus regarding the controversial photo of some Goucher lacrosse players. (You can read Layer’s article on the incident here).

Goucher’s president was among the few that got back to Layer. With President José Bowen’s permission, we wanted to publish the letter he wrote to The Quindecim‘s editors.

Dear Editors,

Thank you for your thoughtful letter regarding the College’s response to the men’s lacrosse incident last fall. I share your serious concern about the incident, especially in light of the current national climate. Here is what I can share.

As you know, Bryan Coker and I issued a joint statement immediately following the picture being posted, expressing our serious concern, and condemning the behavior. The men’s lacrosse team took prompt internal action with the responsible team members as well as the overall team membership. The matter was also referred to the Bias Education Response Team (BERT), which reviewed the matter and recommended educational measures. Since that time, our Title IX Coordinator has conducted educational sessions with the team as has the Assistant Dean of Students. The coach has been a model of responsiveness and the players have taken this very seriously.

While suspension from the team or public shaming might seem to offer a quick and strong response, such a sanction seriously diminishes opportunities for student learning and growth. We are an educational institution.  We invite students on to our campus to learn from their mistakes. Our approach to this incident has been – and will continue to be – learning-oriented. We probably should have provided some follow-up communication regarding these efforts before now, but I also think that what the public needs to know has to be weighed against the potential for real educational gains.

I have also attached my remarks from our Opening Convocation in January as they may also be informative of my position.  We are in a highly polarized moment in American history. When there is not much listening, there is not much learning and little chance for new communal understanding to emerge across thickly drawn lines of opinion. In my remarks in January, I asked student to expand their empathy this semester. I still think that is key. We need to have higher standards for dialogue and disagreement, but we also need to make sure we are having real dialogue–and that means some tolerance for failure. Exile is typically reserved for offences for which there is no chance of reconciliation. If we as a College cannot find some tolerance for failure in each other, then we will not be preparing you to be potential listeners, builders, creators, and healers in the wider world where you will soon find yourselves. There are very few places in the U.S. right now where such a diverse collection of people are living together and trying truly to get along. We are a long way from perfect. I am proud of our ambitious goals and high ideals, and I also know that brings more pain, misunderstanding and hurt along the way. We have chosen to confront the reality of our society. This is not the safe path and if we are to make progress we must both have higher standards for dialogue AND all be brave and willing to support each other in the effort.

BERT will soon be releasing an overview of cases they have considered over the past year, which will show all that is being done to address bias-related behaviors in our community. We are thankful to now have BERT, and hope to expand the opportunities for effective and educationally-based options for responses to bias incidents.

I am committed to learning, growth, and development as the ultimate outcome for this incident.

Sincerely,

José Antonio Bowen

Goucher’s Response to Men’s Lax Photo

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Michael Layer, Sports Editor

February 25th, 2017

In the first issue of this semester, the professors in the Center for Geographies of Justice and Cultures published an open letter addressed to President Jose Bowen. The letter urged Goucher College to take further action to address a racially insensitive photograph taken by members of the Goucher men’s lacrosse team on November 8, 2016.

The team was celebrating the end of their fall pre-season with a scrimmage organized by the captains on the team. The scrimmage took place on one of the practice fields behind the Eline von Borries pool nearly a week after Halloween. The team dressed up in costumes, which included various fuzzy animals, an assortment of characters from video games, and a policeman. The team seemed to enjoy their costumes, most of which seemed to be hooded onesie pajamas on top of their lacrosse gear, and posted their collection of pictures on Facebook and Instagram.

One student dressed up in a Donald Trump shirt, khaki shorts, American Flag suspenders, and a Make America Great Again hat. He posed for a picture with two other white students in style ponchos and sombreros, suggesting to be Mexicans, and posted the photo on Instagram. The post was saved as a screenshot and shared on Facebook by a student who identified the photo as an example of cultural appropriation. Other students and alumni on Facebook shared the post and the photo quickly became public knowledge within the Goucher community.

In the following hours, Goucher College sent out an email and Facebook post titled, “An Important Message to our Community,” which was signed by President Jose Bowen and Dean Bryan Coker. At the time, certain members of the Goucher community were assuaged by the Goucher administration’s response. The open letter from the Center for Geographies of Justice and Cultures represents a community patience that has been tested one too many times.

In the article, the faculty published four recommendations for constructive action in response to the photo, which included individual suspension, a public update from Goucher’s Administration, and that “the entire Goucher men’s lacrosse team participate in cultural literacy training.” Before the article was published, President Jose Bowen and Andrew Wu addressed these concerns with The Quindecim in a personal email and a follow up interview.

On February 14, 2017, President Bowen revealed that the team took “prompt internal action with the responsible team members, as well as the overall team membership.” Head Coach Bryan Kelly reached out to Luz Burgos-Lopez, the assistant Dean of Students for Race, Equity, and Identity. According to Burgos-Lopez, “Coach Kelly was interested in having conversations with his team to address what happened, and was seeking guidance on the best approach to these discussions.”

Both Coach Kelly and Burgos-Lopez made the decision that the team should hold a workshop series conducted by Lucia Perfetti Clark, Goucher’s Title XI Coordinator, and Luz Burgos-Lopez. These classes began in small groups of three or four students and then expanded to lecture style courses intended for the entire team.  Burgos-Lopez claims that “the workshops are not a punishment, nor an institutional response to what happened. They are the result of a partnership with Coach Kelly to try to build some greater capacity within the team.” According to President Bowen, “The coach has been a model of responsiveness and the players have taken this very seriously.”

President Bowen, as well as Luz Burgos-Lopez feel that these courses, not expulsion or suspension, are the best way to address the issue. Bowen remarked, “While suspension from the team or public shaming might seem to offer a quick and strong response, such a sanction seriously diminishes opportunities for student learning and growth.” For Bowen, making mistakes is an integral part of learning, and Goucher students would not feel safe enough to make mistakes if others are being suspended or expelled. Because he believes that these Goucher students are capable of learning from their mistakes, he feels that the educational workshops are the right course of action by saying, “Exile is typically reserved for offenses for which there is no chance of reconciliation.”

Luz Burgos-Lopez knows that systems of accountability haven’t been in place at Goucher for very long and, in her opinion, “people have the right to be upset and angry.” However, she is critical of a Goucher community that seeks to criticize the men’s lacrosse team or the Goucher administration. Burgos-Lopez claims that students were responsible for spreading misconceptions and that “people were having conversations that were toxic and out of fear.”

President Bowen commented on this issue, saying, “We probably should have provided some follow-up communication regarding these efforts before now, but I also think that what the public needs to know has to be weighed against the potential for real educational gains.” Burgos-Lopez agreed and is critical of The Quindecim even publishing this article: “Historically, students haven’t been able to handle sensitive information… who are the people you’re trying to hold accountable?”

Though there is significant student backlash on the men’s lacrosse team and the Goucher administration, Burgos-Lopez believes that the Goucher “doesn’t have the capacity to talk about race across the board, to really engage the community.” She claims that when certain students talk about issues of race on campus, they fail to consider other marginalized groups, and that certain issues become coded messages for avoiding social equity. “It’s elitist to claim that one has the capacity to know how to address this situation,” she says.

Racism both globally and within our campus won’t be resolved quickly. Burgos-Lopez stands behind the educational measures prescribed to the team: “No one changes overnight; the classes are supposed to bring about an awareness, but this is not a punishment.” Neither BERT, Goucher’s Bias Education and Response Team, nor CREI has any power of adjudication and cannot sanction any punishment on individuals or a team. BERT plans on emailing an official report of the incident outlining the school’s response before Spring Break.

President Bowen spoke in January for Goucher’s Opening Convocation and said, “we need to have higher standards for dialogue and disagreement, but we also need to make sure we are having a real dialogue – and that means some tolerance for failure… There are very few places in the U.S. right now where such a diverse collection of people are living together and truly trying to get along. We [at Goucher] are a long way from perfect… if we are to make progress, we must both have higher standards for dialogue and all be brave and willing to support each other in the effort.”

Goucher Professors Discuss the Evironmental Protection Agency

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Image courtesy of Google Images.

Madeline St. John, News Editor

February 25th, 2017

When the EPA came into existence in 1970, during Nixon’s administration, it was backed by relatively strong bipartisan support for environmental regulation, likely due to politicians recognizing and responding to real, visible environmental problems across the country. “It was an era in which rivers were catching on fire and people were dying from respiratory diseases related to air pollution,” said Robert Neff, a professor in the Environmental Studies (ES) department.

In the current political climate, the topics of environmental protection and climate change have become divisive ones. A Senate hearing was called to “modernize” the Endangered Species Act, with the argument that it prevents mining and the creation of jobs. Carbon dioxide may be removed from its classification as a pollutant, preventing the EPA from regulating it. Congress approved a resolution to overturn a Stream Protection Rule that prevented companies from dumping waste in local waterways. The U.S. will likely quit the Paris Climate Accords. The list goes on.

Already, the White House has frozen EPA grants and federal contracts, cut in half the number of EPA employees attending an environmental conference in Alaska, and, along with other federal agencies, ordered the EPA to halt their communication with outside organizations.

Scott Pruitt is the new head of the EPA. Pruitt has lobbied directly against EPA regulations. More specifically, Professor Neff cited Pruitt’s opposition to the EPA’s pollution regulations in the Chesapeake Bay. The EPA calculates the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) of the bay–the amount of pollution that the bay can handle each day–and divides these waste quantities among the surrounding states. These regulatory efforts for cleaner water have been proven effective. “The dead zone is shrinking, the oysters are coming back…Pruitt was opposed to this approach,” said Neff.

Pruitt’s “agenda would include providing new permits to drill oil and extract natural gas for energy production,” wrote Marko Salvaggio, a professor in Goucher’s ES department. “Not only will this increase carbon emissions, but [it also] threaten[s] our fresh water supplies and the health of the people who rely on this water.”

“Recent reports have demonstrated the petroleum industry’s efforts to confuse the public about the impacts of climate science – in the same way the tobacco industry worked to obfuscate the links between smoking and cancer…these types of campaigns that are now promoted by Scott Pruitt in the EPA,” wrote Emily Billo, a professor of Environmental Studies.

There has also been discussion of subjecting the EPA to political review. Typically, scientific research undergoes rigorous peer review, which, at the EPA, is followed by additional EPA-led review. If the White House adds its own review process, Neff stated, “this will be a complete corruption of that [scientific] process…How do we know that findings haven’t been altered for political reasons?”

Under the current administration, scientific research in general is threatened. Scientists expect to receive cuts in funding, and some will likely lose their government jobs. Cuts in national government funding for science will lead to job loss. This will affect recent graduates looking for jobs, who will have to compete with more experienced workers who will be back to job-hunting. Funding cuts will also likely result in less funding for graduate students.

Cynthia Kicklighter, a professor in the Biology Department, worries that changes in government will particularly impact funding for basic research. Basic research–research to improve scientific theories and understanding rather than, say, “find the cure for cancer”–is the kind of research almost all Goucher faculty conduct, and is the kind of research often “deemed as wasting taxpayer money,” said Kicklighter. She cited the example of a study which put shrimp on treadmills, with the purpose of seeing the effect on shrimp of low oxygen concentrations, which are often caused by algal blooms, in, for example, the Chesapeake Bay. “It sounds ridiculous,” she said, “but there was a legitimate scientific basis. Basic research is often made fun of. It’s misunderstood…Across the country, there is a lot of disconnect, and a lot of people don’t value it.”

Republican senators confirmed Pruitt, knowing that, only a few days after his confirmation, he had been ordered to release the 3,000 emails and other documents of correspondence that his Oklahoma office exchanged with fossil fuel interests during his time as attorney general.

In response to Pruitt’s nomination, about 700 former EPA officials sent a letter to the U.S. Senate opposing the nomination. This letter was covered in over 150 news outlets, raising awareness of the strong opposition to new EPA leadership. Among these former EPA employees was Goucher professor Dan Engelberg, who recently retired from 15 years at the EPA.

“This isn’t a new thing,” said Engelberg, in an interview, referring to the obstacles that the EPA now faces. “All of this has happened before, with Reagan, Gingrich and Bush. When was EPA last in a truly comfortable position?” he added, in an email.

Part of the EPA’s mission is to enforce regulations related to the Clean Air Act of 1970 and Clean Water Act of 1972, as well as create and enforce other legislation related to pollution control standards. In 1986, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act required that people know about toxic chemicals present in their communities. In the 2000s, the EPA’s role expanded to include climate change and the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.

The EPA plays a big role in environmental protection, and has been very influential during the 47 years that it has been in existence. Engelberg, who worked there for years, was critical of the agency. He stated that “the old structure really wasn’t working as well as it should,” and that there are “chronic issues” in the agency that “are less urgent, but more important.”

“In the early days, the agency was being sued all the time, on both sides,” said Engelberg, meaning that environmentalists, as well as businesses and industry, took the EPA to court, holding them accountable to their own regulations. Certainly, with recent occurrences in Flint, Michigan, the EPA has come under fire, and Engelberg expects, and hopes, such attacks will continue.

However, according to Engelberg, 90% of the enforcement action of environmental regulation is conducted by states. Also, one-third of the EPA’s budget goes directly to states. Engelberg expressed his belief that changes in EPA administration will result more in a “shift to the right” than a “u-turn” or “sinking” of the metaphorical environmental protection “ship.”

“The EPA has roughly 15,000 employees,” said Engelberg. “The president can appoint about 80. That is less than one-half of 1 percent of the EPA’s employees.” He also emphasized that, in general, employees at the EPA “really believe in the mission,” a fact that will make it more difficult to run the organization in a way that goes against its stated purpose. “In a way, I’m optimistic,” said Engelberg.

All of the professors interviewed for this article stressed the importance of optimism, in conjunction with activism. “What makes Trump different [from previous presidents who opposed environmental regulation] is his manner,” Engelberg said. “He’s not intellectual; he’s not well-schooled. People are reacting to his language.” And Engelberg is hopeful that this can be a positive thing–that the pushback to Trump will “energize the public” and cause young people to “take a stand” and invest their time and energy in environmental issues.

Professors also commented on the importance of paying attention to marginalized communities. “[Native American] communities often rely on funding through EPA grants to monitor groundwater pollution, and without this support they are less likely to be able to halt projects that will have detrimental effects on their land and people,” wrote Billo. “Those who are protesting to protect their communities’ rights are also being investigated as criminals by the government, and in some cases forcibly and violently attacked.”

The options for counter-action are numerous. Kicklighter discussed the possibility of citizen science–citizens can volunteer to collect scientific data and make observations (cataloging when flowers bloom, for example), increasing the body of scientific knowledge, particularly in the area of climate change.

Alternatively, one can donate money to environmental organizations, or fundraise for money to donate. Volunteer to clean up streams. Vote, and vote for representatives that value the protection of the environment. Call representatives. Educate yourself on local issues. “There are daily occurrences of oil spills, water pollution, etc. that often go unreported or unnoticed,” wrote Billo. She cited the example of the Curtis Bay, Baltimore, where protesting high school students were able to prevent the installation of a high-polluting incinerator project in their area, where air quality is poorest in the city.

Write letters to your senators on issues related to the environment (for example, on the “modernization” of the Endangered Species Act). Plant trees. Decrease your personal environmental impact. Write an editorial. Take to the streets. Participate in the March for Science, on Earth Day, March 22nd, in Washington D.C.

“Persistent resistance,” said Neff. “Collectively, we’re terrifying.”

Campus Construction Update

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Erika DiPasquale, Associate Editor

February 25th, 2017

On Friday, February 17th, Linda Barone, the FMS project manager, and the Whiting-Turner Construction Team co-hosted a community update on the campus construction plan. Despite free pizza, attendance was extremely low.

This was the first of a series of updates that will occur every other Friday at 3pm in Heubeck Dining Hall Room A. Although the next update will likely be the same presentation they gave on the 17th, once the construction gets moving, the meetings will be updates about what has happened and what changes have been made. The meetings give students the opportunity to ask their questions, see an interactive digital 3-D version of the Mary Fisher Project, and watch a video about how the Wolfe House & Building Movers Company will move the Froelicher building across the street. Future updates will take place on the following dates:

-March 3rd

-March 31st

-April 14th

-April 28th

In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact Lee Block, our GSG Senate Representative and Chair of the Student Life committee at leblo001@mail.goucher.edu .

Mary Fisher: present-Summer 2018

The reason there hasn’t been much progress is because there is a permit pending to carve a temporary access road between the chapel and Bacon for moving building materials. Once they have the permit, this temporary road will be built and the Mary Fisher Lawn will basically turn into a temporary parking lot.

Bacon, Dulaney, & Hooper will remain open as residence halls for the duration of the project. For those living in Bacon, there is an area of refuge within the fence so that in case of an emergency, you can exit the building at any exit. In such an instance, public safety will let you out from within the fence. Otherwise, the area around Mary Fisher enclosed by the fence is completely off limits to students. Public Safety monitors the cameras that overlook this off-limits area.

Two additions will be made to Mary Fisher in addition to completely renovating the interior of the building as it currently stands. Ultimately, the top floor will be the only all-you-can-eat dining hall on campus, featuring a Mongolian Grill and a large seating area. A retail dining hall (think former Pearlstone/current Heubeck) will be on the entrance floor. The Office of Student Engagement (OSE) will have an entire wing in the final building.

Mary Fisher is projected to be complete by Summer 2018, so current Sophomores and First-Years will be here to enjoy its services.

Froelicher: this Summer

Sometime between June and July, Thorman & the Froelicher courtyard will be demolished, but Alcock, Gallagher, & Tuttle will literally be picked up and moved to the SRC side of the street where the basketball court, swingset, and old garage are located now.  Expect to see some digging and pipe-laying on the SRC-side of the road in mid-to-late March to prepare for this move. Attend a future construction update meeting to see a video of the Wolfe House & Building Movers Company in action! This decision to move Froelicher instead of demolish it will be half as expensive as building a new building and save a lot of time.

The First Year Village: this summer-2018

Once Froelicher moves across the street, the construction of Buildings B & C where Froelicher currently stands will begin this May when the semester ends. For safety reasons, a fence will be built around the entire construction site, closing the current pathway from the Residential Quad to the SRC and P Selz. Consequently, until the buildings are complete in 2018, you will have to walk to Loop Road in order to reach the SRC from the Res Quad.

Interfaith Center: July-January 2018

This project will hopefully begin this July and be complete as of January 2018 to the left of the Chapel.

Equestrian Center: 

This will be located behind the President’s House. Toward the end of this summer, some trees will be removed back there in order to grow grass for the horses to pasture. The reason for this edition to campus is that the current paddocks are too small for the amount of horses that we have.

Hoffberger: 2019

An addition and renovations to this outdated building are projected to begin in 2019.

But what about Stimson?

According to Barone and the Whiting-Turner Team, a lot has to happen before this. The current plan is to demolish Stimson Dining Hall to plant a grassy area once the new Mary Fisher opens in Fall 2018. In the early 2020s, they will demolish one section of the Stimson dorms at a time. Senior Apartments will be built in this space.

Area between front gate & Peabody:

Goucher has a permit to rezone this area and is in the process of talking with developers to build something on this land as an additional source of income for the college. Some trees have already been removed in this area.

Where will everything be?

The Post Office is in its permanent location. The self-service lockers are here to stay. The Bookstore will continue to do online books as they started this semester and its current location in the ATH by Alice’s is also its permanent location, “At least for the foreseeable future,” according to Linda Barone. Whether the Commuter Lounge will move back to its former location—where OSE is now—is unclear.

The Athenaeum:

No construction will be happening there, but there will be some internal changes. The current conversation is how to make better use of the Info Commons Space. The computers aren’t going away, but they will likely be moved. Speak to a Librarian for more information and to share your ideas about how future changes can serve how you use the library resources.

Concerns: 

One of the students in attendance raised the concern about the trees that will have to be removed in the construction process. Barone said that the law requires them to replace every tree they remove and that they are making an effort to take down as few as possible.

Another question was about the plan to use a ton of glass in the Mary Fisher editions like the Athenaeum. 6 windows in the ATH have shattered in the last 6 years for no explainable reason, despite many engineers investigating the situation. John, the Whiting Turner Project Manager, says that the shattering glass is a “freak accident” and that they can’t do anything to prevent it from happening in the future buildings other than build the building correctly. The glass panels are designed to expand and contract with the changing temperatures, and hopefully will not shatter in the future.

There are still a lot of questions to ask and concerns to raise. Please attend future updates in order to join the conversation and ensure that all your concerns are addressed before the construction is finalized.

Goucher Students March for Women’s Rights

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Usha Kaul, Staff Writer

February 15th, 2017

On January 21, 2017, the day following the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump, over 4,956,000 people all over the world marched through the streets in order to send a bold message to our new administration. The Women’s March on Washington’s (WMW) Organization stated, “we are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.”

The Women’s March on Washington (WMW) was founded by a group of white women. Its intentions are that everyone can participate regardless of race, gender, class, religion, status or way you chose to vote. Hundreds of thousands of people took planes, trains, cars, buses to get to their nearest march. Almost all the major cities superseded their expectations of numbers of participants. There were a total of 418 Marches in the Unites States and 97 marches internationally, from the Antarctic Peninsula to the Congo, in countries such as France, Germany, and India. These numbers do not include the virtual marches and many pop-up marches that took place. Online marches made the Women’s March more accessible to people with disabilities.

The Women’s March was a time for people to  come together and recognize that women’s right are human rights and that discrimination is unacceptable. The WMW stated that, “The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us – immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault – and our communities are hurting and scared.” The march on January 21st was just the first step in combatting this new challenge. Since this was the first day in office for President Trump, many individuals took this opportunity to protest other issues that affect the targeted communities listed above. There were signs about women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, Black Lives Matter and many more. Protesters sported posters supporting racial diversity. But don’t get me wrong. There was also an emphasis on the women’s issues. Many posters conveyed messages in support of planned parenthood and women’s empowerment in general.

A group of Goucher Students led by seniors, Usha Kaul and Sophia Robinson, departed from Goucher around 4:30AM. They were able to secure a spot on Washington D.C.’s stage where a handful of important speeches were taking place. They stood for around 7 hours and marched for another 2 hours. Speakers at the Washington D.C. March included actress and chair of the Artists Table of Women’s March on Washington, America Ferrera, Distinguished Professor Emerita at UC Santa Crus Angela Davis, filmmaker Michael Moore, actress and activist Scarlett Johansson, the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Dontre Hamilton, Eric Garner and Jordan Davis along with many other wonderful activists and directors. Sofia Robinson stated, “The Women’s March was an incredibly empowering experience. People from all walks of life came together in solidarity, and stood up for themselves and everyone who is marginalized and not regarded as equals in the social, political, and private realms.”

Personally, I, Usha Kaul, was in awe of the immense amount of support from the entire world as we took a stand against our new government. As an Indian-American, I take pride in who I am and I want to continue to live in the United States and thrive here as such. I never want to be told I can’t. It’s part of my existence. My grandparents were a huge influence on me growing up. They fought for peace in India during partition and then I am proud to say that my grandmother, once in the United States, put on her sari and was the first Indian woman to run as a democrat for the NJ state assembly. I march for her. I march because I want the same freedom. I march because I am Indian and proud.

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