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Goucher Reacts to the 2020 Presidential Election

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By Jibril Howard ’22

Three days on from the 2020 Presidential Election and it’s only just now that the picture becomes clearer on who will be elected President of the United States. At the time of writing, the Democratic nominee, former Vice-President Joe Biden sits on 253 confirmed Electoral College votes. Many news organizations, including MSNBC and Fox News have projected Biden winning other states, although vote counting continues in Nevada, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Alaska and North Carolina. Incumbent Republican President Donald Trump has amassed only 214 votes.

Despite the ongoing vote count, Biden looks set to win Arizona and Pennsylvania (11 and 20 electoral college votes respectively) and remains competitive in Nevada and Georgia. Regardless of the final Electoral College breakdown, Biden has won the popular vote by almost 4 million votes more than Trump and, with an ongoing vote total exceeding 71 million, received more votes than any other US presidential candidate in history. Throughout the election Trump has lambasted efforts to count mail-in votes and stir false claims of voter fraud. Speaking at a press conference the evening of November 6th, Trump accused Democrats of stealing the election and sought to sow doubts about the integrity of the election. The speech was widely derided as authoritarian with many major news networks cutting away mid-broadcast.

Despite the seemingly rosy picture at the top of the ticket, Democrats suffered surprising losses in down-ballot races: failing to make gains in rural and exurban districts, losing six seats in the House of Representatives, and failing to take back control of the Senate, despite massive fundraising hauls on candidates running in South Carolina, Kentucky, Iowa, Kansas, and Maine. However, control of the Senate does remain in play as the candidates in the Georgia regular and special senate races failed to clear 50 percent thresholds, triggering automatic January runoffs. Additionally, vote counts remain ongoing to determine the winner of the Alaska Senate race.

Nevertheless, the House and Senate losses overall will prompt concern and rancor among Democratic lawmakers over the direction and strategy of the party moving forward, especially in messaging and outreach to growing Hispanic/Latinx communities and continuing to speak to and address the needs of Black communities across the country. In-fighting has already begun between moderates such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) against progressives such as Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

Naturally, the Goucher community is not estranged from the political atmosphere. While existing in an online space due to the ongoing mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic by President Trump, the rights of LGBTQIA+ students and the right to abortion for thousands of people with uteruses remain at the whim of a conservative Supreme Court, leaving many Goucher students with liberal political perspectives nervously waiting for a Biden victory. I collected some reactions from a quick convenience sample of Goucher students. Here are their collected thoughts and responses to the 2020 Presidential Election.

Junior and former Quindecim copyeditor Steven Van Riper ’22 in a group message text exchange explained his reaction succinctly “AAAAAAAAAAA!”

Fellow junior Kayla Thomas ’22 provided a lengthier reaction to the election. “I can give [my reaction] to you in one word: anxiety. I’m trying my hardest to remain hopefully cautious. I remember four years ago that all politics were progressive and left-leaning and I was hurt when Trump won. I hope that I can be proven right this time.”

In an exchange via Instagram DMs senior Casey Braun ’21 was also nervous about the result of the election.

“I would say I’m cautiously optimistic [about Joe Biden winning] especially regarding Pennsylvania. I think it has a chance to go blue, but it would very close, so I don’t want to jinx it!” Regarding President Trump’s false claims of election rigging Braun replied: “Also our President doesn’t understand what a democracy is…”

Another junior Alex Riefe ’22 remarked on the endurance of President Trump’s ideas.

“…it’s been eye-opening to look at a physical map of the United States and see how these ideas that Trump has pushed, in denying science and facts and subverting democracy, have taken root. This is the most important election I’ve lived through in that for the first time our democracy and way we choose to govern our country is being challenged.”

First-year Andrea Casique ’24 took an international perspective via Instagram DMs.

“As a Venezuelan, I grew up watching crazy elections and being constantly terrified by the government, so I never really thought an American Presidential election could be this terrifying. I’m enjoying the memes and TikToks [about the election] though – it’s the only thing keeping me from losing it.”

Quindecim staff writer and first-year Mich Rouse ’24 reflected in an email on the unexpectedly competitive races in Republican-stronghold southern states:

“Some people in [majority-blue] states poke fun of the South because they’re not the same as them. What they don’t recognize is that by doing this, they’re erasing the work of southern BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, & People of Color] organizers who have been pushing for transformation since the beginning. As an organizer myself in North Carolina – and we all see how my state is doing right now – I’m just constantly frustrated. The Biden/Harris ticket is not what I personally wanted, but I pushed extensively to make it a reality, and I hope these efforts don’t go under the rug.”

Sophomore Whittaker Miller ’23 gave a scathing indictment of the US political process.

“Waking up and seeing the millions of votes for the man who embodies the white supremacist and oppressive ideals of this nation is a gut-sinking feeling I should have seen coming. 50 million people chanting ‘All Lives Matter’ while simultaneously deciding that the 200,000 that have died [from the Covid-19 pandemic] at the hands of this man and virus don’t matter. As I continue in my career in academia as well as community building in my hometown where I will be for as long as this pandemic persists, I have come to realize that all of this is intentional – the division, the defunding of education, the propaganda, and the eventual fall of America into complete fascism as my friends and I watch weeping at the thought that what little rights and hope we have lies in the hands of the ancient electoral college established 300 years ago. Biden is nowhere near what we need [for this political moment] and we only have so much time left.”

Quindecim Co-Editor-in-Chief Neve Levinson ‘21 argued in a similar vein:

“Our electoral system is rooted in white supremacy. As BIPOC activists have said for generations, we have to fundamentally change our systems in order to truly value life. [Scholar and activist] Ijeoma Oluo condensed this message when she tweeted on Thursday, “This election doesn’t change the work we need to do, it just determines how much harder that work may be.” All the available data show in no uncertain terms that white folks, and especially white women, have decolonizing work to do in the political sphere. We have dinner conversations to have and silences to break. This week has sucked.”

However, they ended with a piece of positive advice for folks as the election rolls on: “Take a nap, drink some water, and invest in community.”

Electoral College Map as of November 6th. PC: ABC7 News San Francisco

Goucher Still Lily-White Teach-In Series Continues

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By Neve Levinson ’21 and Jake Pellett ’24

Since its founding over fifty years ago, Goucher’s Black Student Union (GBSU) has published lists of demands necessary for combating anti-Black racism in Goucher’s community. Current GBSU members released their most recent list of demands to their Medium page in June. While it has been updated since then, the demands serve as a clear and present outline of what changes are necessary for us to dismantle white supremacy within our institution.

Accompanying the demands, the GBSU has committed to hosting a series of teach-ins entitled “Goucher is still Lily-White” to further explore the need for, and background behind, many of the demands.

As both a white first-year student who had not previously known of these demands, nor how to navigate allyship at Goucher, and a white senior who has tracked their growth in college in relation to this movement, these teach-ins have been incredibly informative. The first teach-in began with a small-group activity involving both exchanging introductions and reviewing the Administration’ section of the demands list. From the perspective of a first-year, I had many terms (such as the Race, Power, and Perspective requirement) and unique Goucher historical events (prior hate crimes committed on campus) explained to me for the first time. Following this brief discussion, the GBSU led a presentation highlighting the necessity of each stated demand, again drawing on key events that have transpired in recent Goucher history. To conclude, a Q&A session allowed participants to ask clarifying questions regarding (but certainly not limited to) the provided demands.
Throughout the teach-in, it was revealed that the GBSU had extended requests to discuss these demands with President Devereaux, though it is unclear if any lengthy or notably significant conversation has yet transpired.
The second teach-in centered on the Education demands laid out by the GBSU. Movements members have focused on each year of the undergraduate experience, choosing to highlight existing gaps in the still-being-built Goucher Commons curriculum, offering their time and expertise as they have experienced these gaps firsthand.
The main theme throughout this section of the demands list centers on the Race, Power, and Perspective requirements laid out by the GCRs. GBSU members are calling on the general administration (that is, staff members in the President’s Cabinet who have decision-making power on curricular issues) to make the program more comprehensive. By recommending that we fold in the required first-year reading into the first year WRT 181 course, Black students are asking for more integration of thought and deep learning about systemic racism and white supremacy into every facet of our undergraduate education. The third teach-in focused on the two demands related to the Hallowed Ground Project. The first demand calls out white virtue signalling, reframing how we anti-Blackness on campus. The second demand centers around building traditions to celebrate the successes of Black people both on and off campus.

The demands list details ways to expand the RPP requirement generally, giving specific guidance on how to challenge students studying abroad to recognize and name systemic oppression outside of a United States-centric worldview. In doing so, GBSU is offering a vital roadmap for how to mobilize ourselves to truly pursue justice. The Quindecim firmly supports GBSU and these demands. We look forward to the the third installment of this series. We will keep you updated with when it is happening. See you there.

Goucher Is Still Lily-White. PC: GBSU Umoja

On the Rocks, and the pain of waiting for uncertain news

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Screenshot from On the Rocks, courtesy of Empire.com

By Sam Stashower ’22

I first saw Lost in Translation, Sofia Coppola’s first collaboration with Bill Murray, about five or so years ago, and at first I didn’t get it. I thought it was slow, and ponderous, and that it didn’t really have the depth to back its languid pace up. Then it kept going, and something inside me just *clicked*. Maybe it was the fact that I spent a fair amount of my childhood suffering from jet lag before visiting relatives in Scotland, and I finally clocked to that being the vibe the movie was going for. Maybe it was something else, something to do with the film’s central theme about loneliness, and wanting to connect in a world you don’t recognize. I don’t know. Either way, Lost in Translation ended up being a movie I wasn’t super hot on at the start, but by the time the final scene rolled around, I had gotten something real out of it.

Now they’re back together, Murray and Coppola, in their first proper film collaboration since Lost in Translation (they’d previously done a 2015 Netflix Christmas special, but that’s it). The plot this time around has to do with Rashida Jones, playing Murray’s daughter, who begins to suspect infidelity on the part of her husband (Marlon Wayans, 50 Shades of Black). She’s been estranged from her father ever since he and her mother divorced following an affair, but he’s the one she turns to. He jumps at the chance to engrain himself in her life, offering her words of wisdom and advice on the true nature of man, and animal instincts, and the psychology of romance.

I have to say, I don’t think it was quite as good as Lost in Translation. The direction is flat, with the film affecting a very gray color palette that only really picks up in the nighttime sequences. It’s a deliberate choice, meant to underline the rut that Jones finds herself in, but it doesn’t work. It creates a boring movie to look at, which, for as lethargic as some of Lost in Translation could be, that movie never was. And the conversations Jones and Murray have are charming, but very basic. Murray’s “theories” about male psychology vs the female one, and gender relationships, are nothing you won’t have heard a million times before, and while the underlying character motivations behind them are resonant – the one woman this famous womanizer can’t win over is his own daughter, and she’s ultimately the only person whose opinion of him he values – it does lend to a certain repetitiveness in most of their scenes together, which is especially deadly for a movie that’s only 90 minutes long.

But I still got something out of On the Rocks, and it has to do with the same kind of universality that was present in Lost in Translation. See, I saw this movie as a form of distraction from the current events, which at this point are out of my hands. I woke up early yesterday morning, realized it was going to be a long day of indecision, and then spent a while planning out a method by which I could reasonably avoid checking the news or Twitter every couple of seconds. Because that’s what yesterday was, and that’s what today is currently shaping up to be; a whole bunch of sitting, waiting, and hoping. You know that at this point, you’ve done your part, but in some ways that only makes you feel worse, more helpless.

So I weirdly connected a lot to this movie, which mostly sees Rashida Jones waiting for the other shoe to drop. She grows suspicious early, starts testing the waters subtly, asking one or two pointed (but not too pointed) questions, and then once her dad forces himself into the picture, she starts following her husband to his work, to restaurants, and in one rather extreme instance, to Mexico, all the while waiting for the worst to be confirmed. And typing that out, I’ve made her actions sound more active than they really were, when in fact she spends a lot of this time sitting back and waiting, preparing for the worst.

Hoping for the best while preparing for the worst is something we’re all familiar with, so this isn’t exactly a moment-specific movie Coppola has made. But it still feels especially relevant, today of all days. Waiting for uncertain news is one of the worst things in the world, because all it does is leave you with time, endless time, with nothing to do but imagine how bad the eventual bad news might be. Right now, the whole country seems to exist in this weird liminal space, a limbo where everything seems to hang in the balance, and yet it’s all so maddeningly still.

On the Rocks, to no one’s surprise, ends on a hopeful note. This isn’t a spoiler, as it’s clear from its opening minutes that this isn’t the type of movie to go any other way. I bring this up because, at time of writing, we still don’t know how this whole situation is going to pan out. It’s looking like things might turn out for the best, but at this point, it’s hard for me to even allow myself that degree of hope. But in situations like this, where you’ve done what you can and all that’s left is the waiting, sometimes hope is all you have.

Spring Reopening: What to Think?

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By Nicholas Enoch ’23

With less than four weeks left in the semester, speculations on what the Spring 2021 semester will look like and whether we will be coming back to campus is still up in the air, which is leaving students confused and in the dark about what to expect. During the current Fall 2020 semester, only students who fit certain criteria could come onto campus and as a result less than 10 percent of the undergraduate population is currently living on-campus. Due to the ongoing success preventing an outbreak of Covid-19 cases on campus, Goucher has decided to allow at least 700 students to come onto campus in the spring and is promoting the rollout of hy-flex [hybrid online and in-person] courses. However the response to the news has been mixed at best.

Sophomore Anna Williams ‘23, who currently lives on campus, expressed concern that allowing a large amount of students back can create more problems:

“I am concerned that if we do come back, then we will get shut down again and will hurt the students who need campus housing like myself.”

In a recent email by Student Success, students who apply for on-campus housing are subject to a system of prioritization which is ordered as follows: first-year students, student-athletes, sophomore students, non-athlete seniors, non-athlete juniors, and then students currently residing less than 25 miles from campus placed last. This priority list has garnered frustration to juniors and seniors who are in need of campus housing, as they are the least priority and may not receiving housing, even if they apply for it. Following the email, students took to the Gopher app to express outrage and vent over the prioritization of on-campus housing, especially the perception of leaving juniors and seniors out in the cold.

Sophomore Tara Abdullah Nri ’23 said, “I do find it weird that sophomores are being prioritized over seniors as a sophomore myself.”

Junior Sarah Ohana ‘22, a biology major, also noted that some of her classes would require her to be on campus for some of her classes:

“My major and minor are very intense and they require many classes that I’ll need to take one after the other or else I will be behind in my graduating requirements, which is not my goal to be behind in at all. I was told that possibly one of my science classes will have a mandatory lab in person requirement and if that is the case, then I will have to live on campus or close to campus most likely.”

Not only has the priority list have received criticism, the level of safety and enforcement of CDC guidelines such as social distancing and staying 6 feet apart has received mixed reaction. In an email by the Spring Reopening Task Force, it is stated that each resident on campus will be living in single rooms.

First-year Autumn Custis ‘24, who currently resides on campus, believes that Goucher will be able to follow CDC guidelines: “I feel very comfortable with coming back to campus because of the frequent testing and mask regulations they put in place.”

However, students who are currently not on campus, like junior Quinn Tran ‘22, feel otherwise about returning to campus: “I don’t want something like Fall happened when they said to reopen, [sic] yet they moved online. Will they assure us that this won’t happen again?”

Abdullah Nri also spoke about returning to campus:

“I feel like there’s a good chance that there will be a breakout on campus which would be risky for the whole population and in that case I wouldn’t be able to go home because my parents are both in the at-risk category in multiple ways and I wouldn’t want to risk it.

From reading the emails and speaking with students both on and off campus, my opinion on students coming back to campus is up in the air. I do feel that the priority list of students that should come back should be changed or revised to acknowledge students who need housing. Also, there is a reoccurring pattern that what happened last Spring and this Fall will happen again, and I myself fear that too, being a first-year who needs campus housing. My hope, like most if not all of the students, is that Goucher makes a decision and stands by their choice instead of committing and then backing off. With coronavirus cases rising all across the country, my biggest fear is coming on to campus and then in a matter of weeks having to leave. With the Spring 2021 semester still looking up in the air, who knows what kind of semester we will all be walking into when classes start in February.

A lonely Welsh Hall. PC: Nicholas Enoch ’23

An Interview with Aarika Camp

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Conducted by Jibril Howard ’22 and Neve Levinson ‘21

On July 9th, Goucher announced the appointment of Aarika Camp Ph.D. as the new Vice-President and Dean of Students (VP & DOS). Overseeing the administrative division of Student Affairs, Dean Camp is tasked (among other things) with overseeing student life, Title IX compliance, tackling and or addressing diversity and discrimination, and helping students naviage and manage life at Goucher college in myriad ways. The VP & DOS position was among several filled over Covid-19 lockdown and summer including that of Associate Dean of Students for Diversity Equity and Title IX Juan Hernandez; Vice President of Campus Operations Erik Thompson; and Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Elaine Meyer-Lee. The Q staff will be interviewing all these new staff members – below is our conversation with Dean Camp. 

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Jibril: Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself, such as your previous position, what led you to Goucher, and your top three fun facts about yourself?

“OK, so before Goucher, I was at Nova Southeastern University. It’s a school in Fort Lauderdale [Florida] and it’s about 20,000 students, we had seven campuses, and most of the students were professional or grad students so I’ve worked with every type of med school student you could possibly think of from orthodontics to osteopathic medicine – like everything. I was there for 13 years. I’ve been in housing most of my career before I started being upper administration (loved it) and before there I was at Florida International [University]. I was in Florida for a lot of years at different types of institutions.

I realized – I think through the pandemic a lot of people had reflection – and being locked in my condo for months and going through obviously social unrest and figuring out what was important to me and my values. I was going to try and do that type of work, now being at a school that…is still trying to push it and the students are pushing it as well. It’s really important to me. That’s what attracted me to Goucher.

Three fun facts? Well no one would be surprised if anybody else was here…my first fun fact is I’m obsessed with BTS. I’m definitely a member of  BTS I’m a definitely a member of Army [US BTS fan group] so this past weekend I watched about 16 hours-worth of BTS live concerts and all in Korean Time not in Eastern Standard Time so Saturday it was 6:00 AM and Sunday Morning it was at 3:00 AM. Anything BTS I’m on it. Another fun fact: I don’t wear colors. So, you’ll never see me outside in navy blue, grey, or black. This is actually the most fun print I have [black and white polka-dots]. Another fun fact is I’m the shortest in my family and I’m six feet tall. Even my nephew who is 15 is already 6’2 and he’s turning 16 in two weeks.”

What drove you to take on this position at Goucher?

“So it really kind of started…I felt like I had been proceeding according to my career goals there but then once everything really started happening from the pandemic it really started…I had always been a proponent in trying to get students to be more engaged in not only their experience on campus but also so they’re just experienced in the world and helping them to find what their identity was, and it was time that I start pushing the students and myself more in those types of conversations and so just it came to a point where I had written with a bunch of faculty to our president about how the social unrest was impacting us and the president received the email and the letter but I didn’t feel like it was received well enough to do work and so even now [at Goucher] GBSU [Goucher Black Student Union] has reached out a couple times and I’m about doing the work. We can have all the conversations in the world but until the pen hits the paper and things start happening…that’s where I felt like here would be the right place, in the right position, for me to start doing that whereas I didn’t have the position there to do that. I think also doing my interview process, the students that I met with all are looking for someone that could speak that same language of “how do we do this?” “How can we push the needle forward?” Not everything is going to go the way that they want but knowing that somebody is willing to listen – because I know that was important to me – that’s really what led me here.”

That leads me into my next question. What do you kind of see as your long- and short-term goals for your position? And you brought up working with GBSU, do you see their goals as being intertwined with your own?

“Well I think part of my short and long-term goals is to really assess what the student experience is, and not just for GBSU, but for any student on campus. I was always one of those students in college, I didn’t really know what group I fit into most of the time, and even now it’s not often you see a 41-year old African American woman at a BTS concert. You just don’t usually. Making sure students can find their niche on campus takes a lot of digging and investigating and asking questions about what your experience is, what are you looking for and what you want. Really trying to figure out what students are not tapping into that we really need to understand what their experiences is [sic]. I think again that with GBSU that would fall into the category for right now. The students who identify as Black and or African American don’t feel as engaged on campus and so how do we address that? Every year it can be a different population and so I just always have to be open to hearing that and addressing that.

 I think another goal is that I haven’t worked with GCC [Goucher Consent Coalition] yet, but I’ve heard the safety concerns on campus. I think that’s another important goal I need to tackle in my role is what does a safe campus look like and not just safe in regards to Title IX issues. Just safe in terms of even if there is a student that doesn’t go with the norms of the college, so let’s say if it’s an extreme conservative student, they still have the right to share their opinions and be heard. Making sure that there is a safe campus for all of us to share our ideas in a constructive way that doesn’t hurt anyone else but that we still feel like we’re celebrated for who we are is important.

I think another goal is really trying to find what students expect out of a Vice-President. Some students here had Bryan [Coker] before, some of the grad students [who] went here for undergrad may have had somebody even different than Bryan. And so what the expectations are; I think another thing is I’m very authentic and transparent if you can’t already tell by conversation with you so just making sure that I’m able to forge relationships with students where they do feel right there is an upper-level administrator that they could go to and we may not always be on the same page but there going to always be heard.”

Neve: I think one question we have…it’s related to the GBSU demands out right now, you were talking about putting in the work and not just talking about stuff. How do you see that moving forward and where do you see your role in that besides being a listener?

“Well I think it’s open communication with them. We’ve exchanged some emails and trying to figure out when is a time we could meet to collaborate. I also think the ownership is the cabinet as well – I shared that with my interview process as well. I was born up Black and I’m probably going to leave this earth Black. My experience has been trying to understand what their experience has been and that some of their demands they shouldn’t have to tell us. As a person and as a part of the community I should be able to identify some of the demands on campus myself and start addressing them separately than GBSU. I think that’s where my philosophy is: what work can I be doing separately without them having to point to me and then what issues can they point to me that I can also address?”

Such as building those partnerships you were talking about before?

Exactly. I think the other part is we can’t rely on the students to always identify issues. We also have to be able to identify some issues that they may not see readily. That means also building a rapport where hopefully in years to come there won’t need to be a demand letter because I would’ve already had conversations where we can start fostering that regular communication that doesn’t have to lead to that type of request. If you think about our global society now, Black people have always either tried to vote to get that respect for their rights, tried to peacefully protest, tried to peacefully write to people, have done all of these things that didn’t necessarily pan out in the way we wanted so yeah people are mad now. My thing is if you’re responding appropriately along the way you don’t have to wait until people get so frustrated and mad that it turns to anger if you’re doing it the right way before. In my ten-year year that’s what I want to get to the point where people don’t have to write demand letters because we’ve been communicating and talking and looking at issues before it got to that point.”

New Vice President and Dean of Students Aarika Camp PC: Goucher College Official Website

Jibril: You brought up GCC earlier and their work obviously falls under the national context with the Presidential Election coming up and with the new Title IX guidelines that Goucher has had to adapt to which of course may change another six months from now. Can you address and speak to how you’re managing the [uncertainty surrounding the new Title IX policies]? Can you set expectations for students?

“I think the hard part right is that none of us can set expectations around it. I mean just in the last three and half years there’s been so much change that no one can even predict what will come out next. I mean there’s been a recent recension of the Clery Report, the Clery Handbooks that come out, that none of us expected. Who would’ve expected the recension of a reporting book such as that! That’s where I could have all the expectations in the world but until I get a real understanding of where we’re going to stand politically it’s just going to keep coming down the pipeline. I was talking to one of my colleagues probably a couple months ago and I can’t believe now the opportunity for cross-examination and an in-person cross-examination as a part of Title IX. I mean none of us would have expected that year ago and so that’s where it’s hard. It’s hard because as Student Affairs and as open-minded people, and as just people, we want to do what’s right by people involved in situations like this but then if we have regulations that we have to abide by or we’re going to get in trouble then there’s not a whole lot we can do. We’re kind of bound to that. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what the next regulations are going to be. You’re absolutely right – after six months it could be something completely different if the government shifts [or] if the government stays the same it could be something even more different in three months not even six. I think that’s where we’re all concerned about. There hasn’t been enough consistency. There hasn’t been enough time. I mean even to put out regulations during a pandemic and give it when colleges aren’t open. I can’t even begin to tell you why the expectation was “Hey! Colleges aren’t open so let’s put out new Title IX regulations” while we’re trying to stay alive in a pandemic.  It’s those sorts of things where I think every vice president of student affairs is frustrated right now. We’re trying to implement things on our campus to keep people safe but then we’re given regulations that kind of make it difficult to do that in certain aspects.”

You’ve already touched on this a little but how are you adjusting to your job in the middle of the pandemic? How is it different to what you were envisioning coming into your position?

“The hard part is I’ve always been a student-centered type person. Even on social media I still keep in touch with students from my last institution and I’m trying to connect to a student here. It’s hard when you’re trying to forge relationships with people that you haven’t met in person. I can pick up social cues from you over Zoom but it’s very different than if you’re sitting right here and so I think that’s different. I haven’t met a lot of people yet so that’s been interesting. What I’m trying to do is that anytime anyone has asked me for a meeting, kind of like how you emailed me the other day, I try to respond quickly and say “when are you free?” and so I think that’s trying to be accessible in that. It’s also helpful where no student feels like they can’t get time with me. That’s a good part about Zoom and I’m a night owl so it’s like I’ll find the time. That’s been the challenge…setting that identity and tone now where if you have emailed me and say, “can we meet?” [the response would be] “absolutely, let’s find the time.””

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This interview with Dean Camp is the second in a series of interviews with new staff hires. We have included the entire transcript of the interview because we are in a critical position on campus right now. The enormous amount of administrative turnover that has taken place in the past two or three years is finally culminating in the hiring of people to hold key positions of influence. As Goucher’s independent student newspaper, we see ourselves as students tasked with the responsibility of seeking out information from members of our community and re-expressing it to our readers. The transmission of information is crucial to give our peers access to this knowledge so we can shape student activism moving forward. Please stay tuned for future interviews.

I Will Not Buy Upvotes

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By Marquis Kurt ‘22

Getting exposure on a project you’ve worked for long is a gratifying and difficult process. Marketing takes time and effort to master and you’re guaranteed to make mistakes along the way. However, taking the time, effort, and motivation to get your project known to the world pays off; people notice your project and others may reach out to work with you. One of the ways you can get a project noticed is through Product Hunt, a website and platform that lets creators publish their product and receive feedback from the community as people tumble across your product. If people are interested in your project, they may upvote it. I joined Product Hunt this past Friday morning in hopes of getting exposure on two of my major projects this semester: The Costumemaster, a puzzle game about switching costumes, and Unscripted, a visual novel video game about software development. When I woke up the next morning, I was greeted with a handful of emails and Twitter messages regarding my work on Product Hunt.

At first, I was ecstatic: I was getting more traction than before with the marketing on Twitter and other social media. My reaction quickly changed its tune when I began reading the emails and messages. All the messages were business pitches, which I am familiar with since I get many of them as a result of Unscripted. These requests, however, were unusual; these requests offered “guaranteed top spots” on the homepage or an influx of upvotes (i.e., buying upvotes). Thus, a moral dilemma arises. Getting on the front page or having a lot of upvotes is ideal; it indicates that your project is popular enough and that people will notice it more than before. However, is it worth it to pay for a shortcut or cheat the system to get there? Should you have to do these kinds of things to get the exposure you want?

A Screenshot of the ProductHunt website PC: Marquis Kurt ’22

For your work to be the best it can, you need to have integrity in your work and the people you work with. Having this integrity shows that you deeply care about the work you’re doing and the people that look at that work. It shows that you prefer to go more honest and transparent routes to benefit you, the people you work with, and your customers/consumers/players/what-have-you. This integrity is a small portion of the pride you have for accomplishing your work, and taking those shady deals undermines that pride and integrity. Furthermore, you may be like me where I value upvotes as more than popularity points; they are a crucial piece of feedback that gives you a sense of how people understand and react to your work. Taking the aforementioned deals and routes takes that information away from you, leaving you clueless as to how people honestly feel about your work.

In the end, I went through every email and message with those deals for front page privilege and guaranteed upvotes, declining every single request. I posted to Twitter as a warning to everyone who attempts to pull the same stunt. Let my experience be a lesson to all who are getting started with publicizing their work; don’t let anyone persuade you to be dishonest with your work.

An Interview with Juan Hernandez

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Conducted by Jibril Howard ’22

In an August 28th email to the Goucher Community, Kent announced the appointment of Juan Hernandez as the new Associate Dean of Student of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Title IX. This mouthful of a title, with its acronym “ADOS DEI & TIX” is still irritatingly long. The DEI & TIX position was among several positions created and or subsequently filled over Covid-19 lockdown and summer including that of Vice President, Dean of Students Aarika Camp; Vice President of Campus Operations Erik Thompson; and Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Elaine Meyer-Lee. The Q staff will be interviewing all these new staff members—below is our conversation with Dean Hernandez.

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Tell us a bit about yourself? What are some fun facts you’d like people to know?

“What I can come up with really quick on the spot is I’m a huge sports everything. I love watching basketball, football, baseball, soccer…you can’t get me away from the TV if there’s some sports happening so obviously, I was struggling pretty much since March with Covid-19. It was a struggle. I’m originally from Chicago; so Chicago everything, Chicago Bears Chicago Bulls, [Chicago] Cubs, specifically no White Sox please…another fun fact is I was a former elected official…I ran for office and was elected as a member of the Board of Education here in the capital city of Connecticut so that was always which was a wonderful experience. It was actually a really good time to be able to learn policy.”

New Associate Dean of Students: Diversity, Equity, and Title IX Juan Hernandez PC: Goucher College Official Website

What led and or attracted you to Goucher?

“I was really interested in the Study Abroad [requirement]. Not necessarily because I’m going to be able to study for fun but for me that tells me as students are hopefully going away and coming back coming back with a bit more of a global perspective. The fact that you know a lot of the problems that we’re dealing with here in the United States don’t only the belong to us; there is discrimination and bigotry all over the world and people are dealing with those with those issues in very different ways. I love the fact that students are required to have some sort of global perspective via the RPP [Race, Power, and Perspective GCR] but then also specifically study abroad.

I also really wanted to get back to some big city living. It’s a very different experience being in a bigger city or being near a bigger city where you can see you can see the impacts of systemic racism, in homophobia, transphobia, those phobias and isms you can see it right in front of you in a big city it is very easy for us to avoid them in cities like Towson or Hartford or West Hartford where I lived. In cities like Baltimore you can’t ignore [the systemic racism] its right in front of your face. I’ll also say I’m very happy to be working with and working for people who seem authentic when it comes to their conversations and their commitment to anti-racism, to battling hate, to making sure our campus is as safe as possible and as healthy as possible. I’m also excited about working with [new Dean of Students] Aarika Camp who is amazing and that’s not just because she’s my boss. It’s also because she’s authentic and her leadership style is one that I’ve been craving for a while.”

How does this position compare with previous jobs you’ve held?

“This position certainly comes with more responsibility and visibility than any of my previous positions. But it is similar in the sense that my job is to be present and supportive of all who are not at the tables that I am privileged enough to sit at. I hold that responsibility very close to my heart.”

In terms of this position, what do you see as being your primary objectives? And do you feel like you have the space and freedom at Goucher to accomplish those goals?

“I’m gonna answer that in two ways. The first one is a very typical new employee answer but I’m going to give it anyways because I really mean this. I really do want to sit back a little bit and listen to what you all want.

I’m not going to go around and do a listening tour. I think that listening tours are technically pointless in the sense. What I really want to do is I’ve been trying to schedule time and with students as much as possible now that I’ve had a couple weeks to get acclimated to the campus. I really want to hear what you all have to say because two of my bigger goals are to try to change the culture around CREI and specifically around the Office of Title IX.

What I mean by that is I want the Office of Title IX to be an office where you can go to receive education. It’s not it’s not just an office where you need to receive resources as a survivor or as a victim; it’s also an office where you can come and have conversations with someone like me about areas where you as a student, or you as a faculty member, or you as a staff member need more knowledge and maybe I can provide some of that knowledge and if I can’t provide it myself I will put you in contact with it with the folks that can give you some of that knowledge.

I want CREI to be a center, a space, that people can come to and sit down and do homework and hang out and meet new people and do that without being worried about being judged because you might not look like everybody else in the space or you might not come from the same spaces or places as the folks who are using the space in that moment. I want it to be a center where we offer programming and trainings and workshops and conversations that are very random and impromptu but can be heated. I want that space to be because I think that that’s when we’re craving. We’re craving a space where we can be ourselves and breathe for a moment instead of being out on campus in that moment and having to code switch just to survive. I want CREI to be that space for everybody. And it’s my job to make it that space for everybody.”

I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up the new Title IX regulations. I was wondering if you could provide like a little bit of an idea or an update on where Goucher stands on implementing the new policies?

“I’m very glad you asked that question. This is one that I’ve been struggling with and through a little bit. We do have interim policies that are that are in place for right now. It is my job… it is on my plate to organize a working group of folks, faculty, staff, and students 100 percent, so that we can review those policies and so that everybody has a say in where we go permanently right starting moving forward. Where I’ve been struggling with that…we’re in the middle of a presidential election and that election is going to impact we’re trying to accomplish right now. I’m struggling because let’s say for example that we create this working group to examine these interim policies and to offer feedback. [Because of the Presidential Election] we might actually have to change these interim policies within the next six months again. That’s where I’ve been struggling with that a little bit. All I can do is laugh because in my head I want to cry – it is sitting in my to do lists that we’re going to be creating a working group of folks that includes students.

Either [myself] or Aarika Camp will eventually be sending out an interest form for students to fill out if they are interested in joining the working group…I want people to actually be interested in this work and…so students will be able to express some interest in helping us review these interim policies and have some input in the development of the permanent policies moving forward.”

GBSU has been mobilizing recently around specific demands that they like to see about changing the culture and conversations on campus around discrimination and racial justice. I was wondering how you see those demands fitting into the scope of your job. I know you’ve at least at one the GBSU teach-ins so I was wondering if you could speak to that a little bit?

“What a very good question. I see that I almost see that as a personal mandate for myself. I am in a position of what I think you all will consider to be pretty significant influence, right. What I consider my relationship to those demands to be is I am going to be using that as part of my platform as I determine what my long-term and short-term goals are moving forward. Will I be able to tackle everything on GBSU’s demands? Absolutely not. But I think we know that. I can tell you that I am having conversations with Aarika Camp every day; she is going to be taking on some of those things personally on her own plate, I will be taking some of those demands on, the President is taking some of the demands on. I’m using that as guidance, believe it or not, on how to do my job for the first year my first thing to do is to say thank you.”  

Many students favor a restorative justice approach towards dealing with issues of racial bias and TIX issues. Do you plan to incorporate this approach into your work as ADOS DEI & TIX and if so, in what way?

“I am a strong proponent of restorative justice. I have actually, in the past, utilized restorative circles in my work. I also led an initiative during my time on the Board of Education to prioritize the use of restorative circles and peer juries for high schools. While I am confined by the TIX regulations and the Code of Conduct, I will always support restorative approaches.”

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We have included the entire transcript of the interview because we are in a critical position on campus right now. The enormous amount of administrative turnover that has taken place in the past two or three years is finally culminating in the hiring of people to hold key positions of influence. As Goucher’s independent student newspaper, we see ourselves as students tasked with the responsibility of seeking out information from members of our community and re-expressing it to our readers. Mr. Hernandez has named his stances on issues of systemic racism and the process of addressing harm within the community. The transmission of information is crucial to give our peers access to this knowledge so we can shape of student activism moving forward. Please stay tuned for future interviews.

But Are We Filipino Or Not? Celebrating Filipino-American Heritage Month

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By Mich Rouse ’24 & Jibril Howard ’22

In October 2009, Congress passed House Resolution 780 officially designating October as Filipino-American Heritage month. Due to the history of the American colonization of the Philippines, there has been a long but understated Filipino-American history. The 1960s and 1970s saw the largest waves of Filipino immigration to the US – largely driven by the (often false) promise of American citizenship and escaping poverty back home — as they came to provide work initially as “low-skilled” farm laborers, then as nurses, and now as teachers in rural areas where there are shortages. Since the first waves of immigration there have been some famous Filipino Americans who have broken into the mainstream including High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens, comedian Jo Koy, labor leader Larry Itliong, among many others.  

As biracial Filipino-Americans struggling to find our way in the Asian-American diaspora and in the modern so-called “mainstream” American context where Eurocentricity remains supreme and where almost everything, especially identity, is constantly being packaged and categorized and placed into boxes. The following is a condensed conversation where, thinking on Filipino-American Heritage Month, we reflected on what it means and what it has meant to identify as part-Filipino and to ask ourselves, perhaps inconclusively: are we Filipino or are we not? 

What are some things you connect with as a Filipino-American? 

Mich: Balikbayan (care packages sent by the Filipino diaspora to family living back home), anything ube, lumpia, and whenever my great-grandmother comes to the U.S.

Jibril: Visiting my grandmother and cousins in California, ube ice cream, tinikling (traditional Filipino dance), and halo-halo (traditional Filipino drink) made by grandmother, and rolling lumpia (Filipino spring rolls) in the kitchen with my grandma and mom.

Where in the Philippines is your family from? Where do you self-identify as being from?

Mich: To most people, I say that I’m born and raised in Durham, NC, but I await the look of confusion (and sometimes disappointment) in their eyes. I keep it short and simple. When I was younger, I’ve definitely had the question followed with, “Where are you really from?” – And again, I say Durham, NC. They still look confused so I end up explaining how my mother was born in the Philippines and my father was born in Raleigh. My mother is from Cebu City, in the Cebu province of the country’s Central Visayas region. Honestly, my response varies from person-to-person, though. If it’s someone I won’t have much interaction with in the future, then I keep it to Durham. In other settings, such as college and activist/organizer spaces, then I’m comfortable providing a bit more detail. 

Jibril: My answer will depend a lot on who’s asking since “where are you from?” is often a loaded question asked of people from non-white backgrounds. I tend to say I’m from Atlanta which is where I was born and have lived my entire life. If someone is genuinely curious I’ll explain my background. My Filipino roots come from my mother – her family is from the northern city of Loag, in the province of Ilocos Norte. My grandfather, my “papa,”  immigrated in the 1960s as a farm laborer in Hawaii and California. As someone involved in left-leaning politics I often like to talk about him because he was involved in the labor movement spearheaded by Cesar Chavez in California which pushed for equal rights and equal protections for farmworkers. My papa eventually went back to the Philippines and married my grandmother before returning to settle down and live in Sacramento, California where my mother was born. 

Have you visited the Philippines? What was that like?

Mich: I visited Cebu when I was 13 around early July for my mother’s birthday. I remember the nauseating taxi rides from my Lola’s (great-grandmother’s) home to the hotel and back and wherever else we went. Sadly, upon arrival, I got sick, and I was sick for 4-5 days because of the 12-hour time difference and the humid climate. Another thing: for some reason the hotel pancakes were the best things I’ve ever had in my life, yet I’m certain they’re just boxed mix. During the trip we also went to the beach and had a cookout, but most of the time it was raining. The beach was very beautiful regardless. I do wish I took more pictures, but I guess that brings me more reason to visit again (post-pandemic, of course).

Jibril: I visited when I was around 8. I don’t remember much except how beautifully tropical it was. We drove from Ilocos Norte to Manila through Luzon which was amazing. I got to go swimming in the South China Sea which I remember being crystal clear. I also got a horrible sunburn. We also visited Baguio which was a resort town constructed in the mountains by the American colonial government (I didn’t learn this history until later) but it was a beautiful and picturesque city, and surprisingly chilly despite being near the Equator. 

Crystal-clear beaches in Cebu, Philippines. PC: Mich Rouse ’24

Did you learn about the Philippines in school? What about since you came to Goucher? 

Mich: Nope. There were snippets of Filipino “history” in some of my history classes but never in-depth. I’m tired of having to seek out my family’s history. I just wish it was common to know stuff about the Philippines and have it easily accessible to learn. I guess that we live in a world where it is very much possible to do so, especially with Wikipedia, Youtube, and general Google. However, I can’t help but feel this intense void of immediately not knowing enough about a huge part of my identity primarily because the American education system just doesn’t cover that. 

Jibril: Nope. Never. The first time I felt people actually cared about what was happening in the Philippines was when current President Rodrigo Duterte was elected and everyone started to compare him to Trump. I think the lack of discussion about the Philippines is somewhat deliberate since the Philippines was colonized by the US for 48 years, fighting a secretive but brutal war of oppression against the Filipino people. Given the international image the US likes to project of itself as “a liberator” standing for freedom and human rights it makes sense to exclude the atrocities the US committed against Filipino people since they wouldn’t fit into the national narrative. The US only granted the Philippines independence after World War Two as it began to set up the United Nations and European powers began to decolonize. 

Since I came to Goucher I’ve taken an International Relations class called “Democracy and Violence in Southeast Asia” where among other issues we discussed terrorism in Mindinao in the southern Philippines. It was overall a very interesting class, but I left feeling a little disappointed by the limited frame of the class – learning about terrorism was fascinating but I was left wanting more. I probably had too high an expectation thinking that one class would fill the 14-year void of Filipino history and politics but I was disappointed nonetheless. 

Did you ever feel excluded due to being mixed-race? From which group or both? Did the experience of exclusion feel different?

Mich: There’s this constant battle of belongingness and self-worth that I find myself immersed in. On one hand, I feel that I’m not “Asian enough” to have discussions on the whole “Asian-American experience” because aside from my mother and her friends at annual parties, I don’t hang out with many Asian people. I really only began hanging out with Asian people when I started high school. Before high school, I went to majority Black and Latinx student-populated schools, and only knew of barely a handful of Asian students. I recognize that social interaction doesn’t define overall experience; however, I’d argue that it’s a great factor in my own understanding of what it means to be “Asian.” On the other hand, I’m also not “white enough” because my skin color is literally brown, yet I know I have privileges with my father being white and even my eurocentric birth name. Whenever I spend time with the white side of my family, I’ve always felt uncomfortable because I’m uhhh “built different.” Overall, exclusion from both groups, and I have no clue how to navigate that. 

Jibril: I’ve often felt excluded from both groups to be perfectly frank. I feel like for me, being biracial is often seen by people as not quite one thing and not quite the other. And there has always been enormous pressure to choose one group over the other, to sacrifice one identity for the other but never quite fitting in either way. To my Asian grandmother I was always the “puraw” or “white” grandchild while to my white family any issue of race was a topic generally left undiscussed. As a result, I learned from an early age I learned to code switch between “appropriate” topics of conversation depending on the side of the family to make myself feel comfortable in a given space. Because of this experience, I feel like I can trace some of modern-day anxieties around personal space and boundaries to my struggle as a kid trying to appease half a dozen different types of people.

Have you ever been to Jollibee, the Filipino Fast-Food Restaurant?

Mich: I haven’t been since last summer. The one closest to me is in Virginia Beach, approximately 4 hours away. When I do go, I make sure to get nearly the entire menu – from the Chickenjoy (fried chicken) to the Jolly Spaghetti (spaghetti but with hot dogs) to Halo-Halo to multiple Mango Pies.

Jibril: I’ve only been to Jollibee once or twice several years ago because there are none of them anywhere near where I live in Atlanta. It’s hard to describe but Jollibee is Filipino chain restaurant that is basically a KFC on steroids. It’s never occurred to me to check for any Jollibees around Goucher until now but I’m already making a mental note for if/when we return to campus. 

The very welcoming Jollibee mascot PC: Mich Rouse ’24

What have your experiences been like in conversations regarding POC identity? Have you participated in any affinity group settings?

Mich: I went to a PWI (Predominantly/Private White Institution) for high school where I was introduced to Affinity Spaces. I loved the idea of having a space where I can feel that I finally belong somewhere and not be in this in-between zone of Asian and white. However, I found myself feeling the same thing, only exacerbated.

Jibril: I didn’t have much exposure to affinity spaces prior to Goucher. I had the privilege of attending private/predominately white institutions (PWIs) from elementary school through high school where I was typically one of only three people of color in the room and usually the only Asian. While Goucher isn’t exactly known for its racial diversity it was a significant breath of fresh air to not be the only Asian and Filipino I knew.

The only affinity space at Goucher I’ve been involved with is Asian Identity Alliance started by Claire Anderson’22 and Lia Fukuda’22 last year. They only had a couple meetings and it was nice and I hope to get involved more if it’s restarted back when we’re in-person on campus. I’ll also hope to attend a few meetings by the Asian Student Union.

What’s your favorite Filipino dish? Do you make a lot of Filipino food at home?

Mich: I don’t really cook Filipino food, but I enjoy lumpia (egg rolls), adobo (meat stew), leche flan (caramel custard), and halo-halo. My mother cooks pollo arroz caldo whenever I’m feeling unwell. I’m hoping to learn how to cook Filipino desserts such as biko (rice cake) and turon (fried bananas).

Jibril: I don’t really know how to cook much of anything American or Filipino but I love bibingka & suman which are rice-based sticky desserts my grandmother made. It’s also hard not to love halo-halo which is a cold drink with shaved ice, condensed milk, tapioca, and a mix of beans, ube, coconut shavings, among other things. I want to learn to cook lumpia which is an ambition of mine.

Do you consume Filipino entertainment? 

Mich: Sometimes. I enjoy my dose of Jo Koy comedy specials from time to time. My mom and I actually watched him perform a couple of years ago. I also listen to Unique Salonga, who is this indie-rock musical artist. 

Jibril: I don’t listen to a lot of Filipino entertainment unless I was at my grandparents house growing up when they always had soap operas or game shows on. I did go through a phase in high-school where I was super into Jo Koy who is a Filipino stand-up comedian. 

So, reflecting on all our unique and individual experiences as a Filipino-American growing up in the US, do you consider yourself Filipino?

Mich: (sarcastically) I’ve decided to be Filipino for only this month – Yes, I do consider myself to be Filipino. I’ll always continuously struggle in understanding my place in the world – and more specifically in the Goucher community – being biracial, but I’m hopeful that I’ll meet people who share somewhat of the same experiences as me. I’m also hopeful that they’ll let me know that I’m not alone in this.

Jibril: I always try really hard not to define myself and or tie myself to any one label or group but I do consider myself to be Filipino. I may not speak one lick of the Tagalog or Ilocano (Filipino languages spoken by my family) but I have ties to the community in other ways. I grew up with very unique experiences eating fish eyes on a dare, finding sketchy warehouses to pick up or drop-off balikbayan boxes, and rolling lumpia with my grandma and mom on rainy weekends. With these individual experiences I don’t think it’s possible for me to not self-identify as Filipino. 

Filipino-American Heritage Month. PC: FilipinoStarNews via Pinterest

Lebron James vs. Michael Jordan: Just Enjoy the Show

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By Alex Dominguez ’24

With the Los Angeles Lakers blowing out the Miami Heat yet again in Game Two of the 2020 NBA Finals, it seems inevitable that Lebron James and company are going to win this year’s championship. With Lebron just adding to his resume season after season, the debate over who is the greatest, King James or his airness Michael Jordan, only gets more intense year after year. I am here to say it does not matter. 

Let me start by saying I love Michael Jordan. My dad was around my age when Jordan won his first of many championships. By then, he, like millions of others, were deeply obsessed with the Chicago Bulls star. My dad passed on this love for Michael Jordan to me. Instead of growing up listening to fairy tales, my dad and I used to watch old Bulls games and I would listen to insane stories from Jordan’s prime. From growing up listening to my dad tell tales of how effortlessly MJ appeared to fly to watching his airness myself in the 2020 documentary series “The Last Dance”, Michael Jordan played a huge role in my early childhood. 

During this same time, Lebron James was still trying to claim his spot as a top player in the NBA. Right around the time I started watching sports religiously, Lebron was propelled to superstar status. I was fortunate enough to understand the cult of personality surrounding Michael Jordan, while also witnessing the transition of Lebron from a young and hungry star to one of the greatest to ever dribble a basketball.

Jordan created the greatest NBA resume to date, and Lebron seems to be chipping away at that every single season. This has created an immense amount of debate and discussion on who is truly the greatest player ever, Jordan, or Lebron. From it being a recurring topic in my podcast, “The Talking Ball,” to my uncle asking me every holiday dinner who is the better player, this question has followed me ever since the 2016 NBA championship. However, only mentioning the two in the same sentence to compare them undervalues the respective accomplishments both have achieved and ignores the main reason they are compared: their greatness. 

Each generation in pop culture has its own heroes. As time passes, certain styles and sounds grow and lose popularity. The world of sports is no different. As the changing of the guard occurs in basketball, different play styles and strategies change. Due to the competitive nature of sports, nothing is static. Athletes across all sports, but basketball in particular should be compared with respect to the era they played in, not the current era. 

By comparing players to the current era, fans misinterpret all that made certain athletes great. It is unfair to compare Jordan’s three-point shot to Stephen Curry’s or Lebron’s shot because that was not an aspect of his game that he was expected to rely heavily on. Furthermore, you cannot argue that Lebron is less than Jordan because he does not get bruised and assaulted every time he tries to score as Jordan did in his early playoff runs. We can only speculate how Lebron would react to Dennis Rodman trying to wrestle mid-game, and whether Jordan would be able to pull up from half-court and sink a shot. However, there is no doubting the heights both were able to reach throughout their respective careers.

This comparison is also not like comparing apples to oranges either. Instead, it is like comparing Ford automobiles with two different goals in mind. A 1966 Ford GT is incomparable to a Ford Focus for several reasons, but most of all because they served vastly different purposes. When engineers designed the GT, their goal was to create the fastest vehicle to ever grace the planet. The Ford Focus on the other hand was designed to focus on vastly different features of an automobile. Milage, safety, speed: these are differentiating factors, but help illustrate the successes behind the cars. 

Another reason why this argument is a distraction from enjoying the game of basketball is that it does not offer anything new. During the 1960s and 70s, similar arguments were made between players like Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. As time passed, those names became replaced with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs Moses Malone, then Larry Bird vs Magic Johnson to now Michael Jordan and Lebron James. These name changes over time illustrate how nothing in sports is permanent. If the arguments made during the 1960s or 70s amounted to anything NBA fans would be comparing Bob Cousy to the current best point guard in the league, but they do not. This is because the significance and status of a player is fluid. Just like these stars play basketball, our perception of players is sensational. If a shooting guard plans to pass the ball but sees an opening for a clean shot, his plans change, much like how our opinions change when the situation changes. Since each period of basketball focuses on different aspects of the game, the fans of each period admire those skills highlighted in that period. A lot of Jordan’s contemporaries go on ESPN and constantly bash small ball offenses much like current players hate the rugged fouls of the 80s. As times change and practices shift, so do the values we worship. If the arguments of the past have taught us anything, it is that there is no right answer, just what you enjoy more. 

This conversation of the highest-ranking basketball player ever tends to get the world’s greatest and best thrown around a lot, but the definition of these words has become looser and looser. Jordan had weak points in his game that are only becoming more prominent as time goes on. While he was widely considered the greatest scorer ever, this title is becoming more contested. The greatest to wear a Bulls jersey relied heavily on mid-range jump shots and driving to the hoop, two weapons that are decreasing in popularity among players in his position. With the dominance and efficiency of the three-point shot and small ball movement, Jordan’s game would be hard to manifest his style of play as successfully. This is not as much as a penalty for Jordan’s play as much as it is as a testament on how much sports change across only a couple of generations. While Jordan’s scoring arsenal is among the best in history and his defensive skills rank among the best, with a faster pace of the game and the rise of more efficient offensive strategies, each new generation’s best proves more and more effective than Jordan.

Regardless of who you think is the better player, there is no definitive way to prove it. Even his airness himself is hesitant to say he is the greatest despite being the competitive freak of nature he is. This polarizing conversation is drawn by generational lines, with “old heads” citing Jordan as basketball’s god and the youth claiming Lebron James as king of basketball history. It is only a matter of time until I watch Bronny win his first MVP as my son tells me Lebron would never be able to dominate in this era. So instead of arguing over 0.6 of a percentage, it is time to put down the pitchforks, pick up the remote, and just witness greatness.

Michael Jordan (left) and Lebron James in 2014. PC: The Charlotte Observer via The Guardian

Works Cited:

“LeBron James Stats.” Basketball,  https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jamesle01.html.

“LeBron James’ Career Timeline.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 2 July 2018, www.latimes.com/sports/nba/la-sp-lakers-lebron-timeline-20180701-story.html. “Michael Jordan Stats.” Basketball, www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jordami01.html. 

“Three-Point Progression.” NBA Math, 6 Aug. 2018, nbamath.com/three-point-progression/.

Adjusting to Goucher under Quarantine

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By Nicholas Enoch ’24

Walking on Van Meter Highway and being told the stories of students walking into Mary Fisher Hall with large groups of friends at night and sitting outside the Big Lawn, it felt weird seeing an almost empty campus coming to Goucher for the first time.

All residential students are living in Welsh Hall, with the option of getting one suite to themselves or having a roommate. For the first five days all residential students were on campus, everyone was required to be quarantined in their rooms, which means no leaving campus for any reason, and the only things we were allowed to do were walking around campus with no interactions. With meals being delivered and no roommates in my suite, I felt lost, alone, and totally up a creek. While the meals were exceptional, I had little to no motivation to go outside longer than 15 or 20 minutes because of my sluggish energy during the first five days on campus.

Van Meter Highway without students. PC: Nicholas Enoch ’24

When the day came, we finally got our test results back, it felt like the campus was lifted from all of our shoulders. With six-foot guidelines in effect for all on Welsh Hall and campus hotspots like the Mary Fisher Dining Hall, Athenaeum, and common rooms. After nearly a week of seeing no one and feeling separated from people, it was a refreshing surprise to be able to see people, eating outside Mary Fisher Hall, having conversations, and getting to know each other.

Two weeks later we all got retested for COVID, just to make sure that all the students did not develop symptoms once restrictions were lifted. All the tests came back negative, and so far, as I know, no students who are living on campus have COVID-19. Things felt like they went back to normal; my RA made a socially-distanced ice cream social with the residents on my floor, I got to have dinner with some students, and I felt like I was finally getting that Goucher Community feel, but I wanted to be able to get involved in clubs, get myself out there.

Thanks to events hosted by Goucher’s Office of Student Engagement, from the open houses, social hours, and the Student Involvement Fair, I have been able to meet and interact with clubs and organizations that sparked my interests. From engaging in the Involvement Fair, I have joined four organizations, from becoming a member of the Student Engagement Team, Secretary for the Goucher Eye, part of the Editorial Board for the Preface, and becoming the Foreign Language Editor for the Quindecim

After being on campus for the past five or six weeks, I think Goucher has done a good job of keeping the CDC guidelines and enforcing them. From only allowing certain people to come on campus to only having certain numbers of people allowed to be in the laundry room or being in a common room, these restrictions have helped keep COVID off campus or have people develop symptoms on campus. While I do wish we could have more on-campus engagement for the residential students who currently live on campus, I feel like Goucher Residential Life Staff and Public Safety are doing a good job of containing COVID on-campus.

While at the beginning, coming in as a transfer student, it was challenging to adjust to a new environment, but being willing to put myself out there and getting involved I have grown to find my community, friends, and happy to call Goucher my home away from home.


A Deserted First-Year Village. PC: Nicholas Enoch ’24
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