The independent student newspaper of Goucher College

Category archive

News - page 2

Mixed Reaction to Changes in Mary Fisher Breakfast

Mary Fisher Dining Hall. PC: Jibril Howard

Returning students were met with a surprise on the first day of classes: the weekday breakfast period of last semester in the upstairs Dining Hall of Mary Fisher had been replaced in favor of scaled-back pre-prepared options available through the Student Market. In an email update sent to the student body on August 22, Vice President and Dean of Students Bryan Coker explained:

“An analysis of last year’s dining hall data showed consistently low utilization of breakfast in the upstairs dining hall. With that knowledge, we have amended the morning dining approach for weekdays…”

Citing the utilization data, the updated changes to the dining hall cut the 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM sit-down breakfast period and replaced it with a 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM period during which hot pre-packaged breakfast combination platters would be offered in the Student Market alongside the returning “Pick 3” meal plan from last year. 

In an interview with the Quindecim, Dean Coker clarified the reasoning behind the breakfast changes:

“We’ve been looking at utilization as far as when students are coming through, how much they’re eating, especially in proportion to how much food [the staff] prepare. We across the college have been looking at cost saving efforts due to the realities of American higher education…We knew that utilization of Mary Fisher dining during breakfast, especially upstairs, was low…We asked Bon Appetit to help us identify areas where we can save from a sustainability perspective as well as with cost [so that] we can put more money into other areas of the college and breakfast was one of those [areas].” 

Dean Coker also apologized for any confusion caused to students during the breakfast switch:

“The change could’ve been and should’ve been smoother. We [Bon Appetit and Dean Coker’s office] share responsibility. We collectively could have messaged [the switch] better to the student body and got it out sooner. We fully acknowledge that.”

When asked about the gathering process of the utilization data, Dean Coker stated Bon Appetit gathers their data from the meal swipes. An email follow-up to the interview provided a table of the specific utilization data of the dining hall during breakfast:


Table 1. Mary Fisher Dining: August 2018 – March 2019
Average Swipes by hour per open days                
Hour 18-Aug 18-Sep 18-Oct 18-Nov 18-Dec 19-Jan 19-Feb 19-Mar
7:00-8:00 AM (4) (2) (2) (3) (2) (6) (4) (4)
8:00-9:00 AM (112) (89) (82) (73) (60) (68) (58) (59)
9:00-10:00 AM  (46) (39) (44) (46) (39) (35) (36) (34)
10:00-11:00 AM (19) (22) (25) (21) (23) (23) (23) (23)
Total Breakfast (180) (153) (154) (142) (123) (132) (121) (121)


The new changes to the breakfast routine in Mary Fisher drew a mixed response from the student body. In a post taken with permission, sophomore Juliet Birch ’22 expressed her frustration on the GopherApp messaging board:

“In my opinion, if there has been a low utilization of breakfast in the upstairs [dining hall], then they should continue allowing that space to be available while better limiting resources… [in addition] we are not able to choose how much food we receive and therefore produce a lot of food waste…those of us who are vegetarian are not given ample options for a healthy meal [and] those of us who are vegan and/or gluten free have almost no options.”

When asked for comment by the Q, Goucher Student Government (GSG) Senator Derrick Burnette ’22 stated: 

“My initial reaction to the changes was that of anger. Being a first-year last-year you’re used to going to the dining hall for a buffet-style breakfast and then [the college] drops this huge bombshell – now you have to get breakfast from the Pick 3… I would say the [main problem] was a lack of communication. They didn’t announce that they were doing [these changes] to anyone and now this is it.” 

While the changes were greeted with hostility by some students on campus. Another student, sophomore Casey Braun ’22 had a different take on the changes:

“I feel like it is a better change for Goucher and will help [the college] spend more money where money needs to be spent. I know firsthand that the dining hall was so under-utilized last year – the three times I went all of last year it was always just me. No one would be there. I think it makes so much more sense for them to have it downstairs in the Student Market so they’re not using all that energy.”

In response to emails and queries from the student body, some slight modifications were made to the updated breakfast. The August 22nd email update from Dean Coker stated that three cereal options and oatmeal would be made available to students in the upstairs dining hall. The email also clarified that weekend brunches would continue to be served at 11:00 AM, in keeping with the dining schedule from previous years. Fielding concerns from students about sustainability in the Student Market, a second email update sent out August 30the to the student body from Dean Coker explained:

“On the first two days of this semester, Bon Appétit used plastic containers to expedite service, but then returned to last year’s packaging. Bon Appétit is now in the process of evaluating more sustainable alternatives for the plastic items which are still in use and [is currently] working with Daniela Beall (Sustainability Coordinator) regarding education about compostable items.” 

In an interview with The Q, Goucher Sustainability Coordinator Daniela Beall responded to student concerns over sustainability in the Student Market:

“I wasn’t involved in the [breakfast] switch so I can’t really speak to what exactly decision or what factors were considered…I’ve had a conversation with David [Friendlich] the new Bon App manager recently to discuss to how things are packaged in the marketplace and what options we can have moving forward…no decisions have been made but I welcome student involvement in exploring the options we do have…if folks are interested then they can come talk to me or send me an email.”

While the new changes to breakfast have proven somewhat divisive, students such as Braun and Senator Burnette have taken a pragmatic view and have simply incorporated the dining hall updates. 

Braun opined: 

“I feel like [the reaction] at first was very negative but now people have settled more into their schedule and now it makes more sense to people…I feel like the positives outweigh the negatives.”

GSG Senator Burnette agreed:

“I found a way to adapt it to my schedule because now I got [sic] a routine in the morning where I go to [Mary Fisher] at 7:30 in the morning, get my breakfast, and go back to my room to do homework. I made it work with my schedule. But I still feel like a lot of students are upset with the changes.”


Quindecim News Roundup



  • Changes have been made to the breakfast at Mary Fisher Dining Hall. The updated changes to the dining hall cut a two-hour sit-down breakfast period and replaced it with a 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM schedule during which hot pre-packaged breakfast combination platters would be offered in the Student Market alongside the returning the “Pick 3” meal-plan from last year. In an email to the student body, Dean Brian Coker cited “consistently low utilization” of the upstairs Mary Fisher Dining Hall. 
  • New changes have also been made to the hours of the Athenaeum and Library. An August 5th email sent to the student body cited “faculty utilization data” and a move towards greater sustainability as the basis for the updated hours. The new and updated Ath and Library hours are as follows:
    • Fall 2019 Library hours:
      • Sunday: Noon to 2:00 AM
        Monday to Thursday: 7:30 AM to 2:00 AM
        Friday: 7:30 AM to 9:00 PM
        Saturday: Noon to 9:00 PM
    • Fall 2019 Alice’s Restaurant hours:
      • Monday to Friday: 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM and 7:30 PM to midnight
        Saturday and Sunday: 2 PM to midnight
    • Fall 2019 Athenaeum hours (for building spaces, excluding the Library):
      • Sunday: Noon to 2:00 AM
        Monday to Thursday: 7:30 AM to 2:00 AM
        Friday: 7:30 AM to midnight
        Saturday: Noon to midnight
  • Goucher College Student Government Co-President Sam Anderson (’21) has resigned his post effective August 14th due to personal health reasons. Remaining Co-President Noah Block (’21) will assume Anderson’s role as the sole Goucher College Student Government President. 

    Goucher Students at the Baltimore Climate Strike September 20th, 2019. PC: India Fleming-Klink. 
  • On Monday, September 16th Goucher College President Kent Devereaux held a Town Hall from 11:00 AM to 11:55 AM with concerned students in Kelley Lecture Hall to field questions about the role of the Pagliaro Selz family in the Goucher community. Over the summer, an article by the Washington Post revealed that Goucher Alumni and Trustee Lisa Pagliaro Selz and her husband Bernard Selz – for whom the new first-year dormitory Pagliaro Selz Hall opened in 2016 is named – have made large donations to anti-vaccination organizations.  

    Sophomore Gia Grier (’22) and Senior Zahir Muhammadza (’20) hold a sign at the Baltimore Climate Strike September 20th, 2019. PC: Mikaela McCray
  • As part of the Global Climate Strike between 25 and 50 students from Goucher joined students from high schools, universities, and colleges from across Baltimore in skipping class on Friday, September 20th to attend the Baltimore Climate Protest. Beginning at 12:00 PM, students marched from the Inner Harbor Amphitheater to Baltimore City Hall with the strike concluding at 2:00 PM. Inspired by 16-year old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, the Baltimore Climate Protest was among hundreds of similar protests across the US and worldwide which demand greater political action on curbing climate change.
  • The pickup/drop-off station for the Collegetown Shuttle has moved! Students can now catch the shuttle into Baltimore from outside Froelicher Hall, Tuttle House and from outside the side entrance of Van Meter Hall. Look for a small light green sign which denotes the shuttle stop. 
  • The College Store has been revamped! Drop by the store on the bottom floor of the Ath to pick up some basic toiletries, snacks, and new, redesigned SWAG! 


Check it Out: New Free Store Now Open!

Yes! It’s happening!
Photo Credit: Neve Levinson

It’s official! The new Free Store is OPEN!

Gavin Stewart ‘21, shared with The Quindecim last Monday that he has “been enlightened by Brett [Rapkin-Citrenbaum ‘20,]’s dream and idea of a year-long Free Store.” Stewart described the purpose of a Free Store as “a place where people can put their stuff that they don’t really use or don’t want, and they can pick up stuff that they want to use or they have a desire for. So if you go in there in need of pants, and you see some pants that fit you, and they’re kinda cool pants, you can take ‘em, and that’s just a thing.” This Free Store is replacing the one currently located between Hooper and Dulaney.

As Stewart pointed out, “[t]here’s no money. It’s moneyless. We’re destroying capitalism.”

Beyond this, Stewart emphasized that “really, this place is something that I want the school to define for itself. I have some good ideas, but I really want it to be a community space” where community members can implement their visions for a communal space.

One example of a creative idea emerging from the new space is that “the Fashion Club is linking up with the Free Store and making clothes, and making their own fashion out of clothes that are donated to the Free Store, maybe showcasing it back into the Free Store, so you could have your own brand and you see people wearing the clothes that you created. There’s sort of a sustainability aspect linked to it, as well.”

Related to the sustainability aspect of the Free Store, Stewart pointed out that, to make all of this happen “takes people and people’s time. I have a great team of people working with me this semester, great staff who have been helping me out: Daniela [Beall], the [Sustainability Coordinator]..and it kinda just takes like time too…we need to find a space, and it needs to be cleared out, it needs to be clean, and it needs to be designed so like it doesn’t get obliterated, and it takes a lot of planning, and rules, and anticipation of what could go wrong.”

An email to the Goucher faculty, staff, and students and signed “the Free Store,” noted that “[t]he Free Store will open at 10 a.m. and close at 10:00 p.m. everyday.”

Stewart is stipulating that items brought to the Free Store are clean and free from holes — basically, “it’s clothes that you can see other people wearing.”

Stewart closed the interview with a clear directive: “You know, Goucher, I’m putting this in the hands of you. I love you…let’s make it happen.”

Find the new Free Store in Heubeck 128 next to the laundry room.

Phone Free Day Reflection

Phone free day founder Reilly Musgrave, ‘20, unknowingly shakes hands with disgraced shirt-winner Cameron Stewart. Photo Credit: Dylan Margolis, ’19.

This year’s celebration of Phone Free Day had the largest turnout in all of Goucher’s history! A documented thirty-nine people wore stickers pledging their support that proclaimed them “phoneless” – a whopping 2.5% of students! While not everyone sported a sticker, it was clear that everyone on campus could feel a certain phoneless aura in the air that day.

No one felt that phoneless aura more so than the select few that vowed not to use their phone for the entire day. Only the bravest and most tactful dared embark on this journey from dawn to dusk without the warm embrace of a phone, and this measure did not go unrewarded; those few were allowed to put their name into a drawing to win a hand-embroidered shirt made by none other than Goucher’s Eliza Owen-Smith, ‘20.

During what seemed like a normal rambunctious Mary Fisher dinner, a hush fell over the crowd of attendees in anticipation of the announcement of the shirt-winner’s name. I had no idea that the next moments would go down in infamy. The hat chose Cameron Stewart, ‘19. The crowd erupted, as they thought they should. It was “the best day of his life,” according to Stewart, but others didn’t feel that same sense of elation, especially Sinaia Campora, ‘21 (also a registered entrant in the contest).

Campora, who herself went completely phone free for the entire day, alleged that Stewart had in fact used his cell phone on April 2nd. These allegations were not denied by Stewart, who insisted that he “used his phone less,” pointing to the sticker.

Phone Free Day staff members do not condone loopholes of any kind, so judicial action must be taken. While the shirt cannot be revoked and the picture cannot be un-taken, the title can be moved. So here, forever in print, Sinaia is named the phone freest of 2019. May next year’s celebration be a more just one.



April 22nd, 2019.

Minor grammatical edits were made.

News Corner With Neve: Official Stimson Shutdown, Earth Week, and the Reemergence of The Preface

Earth Week flier, courtesy of GESAC.

If you’re looking for ways to reconnect with the earth in time for April 22nd, GESAC has you covered! The group has created ten programs (pictured) to help unleash the inner green thumb that all gophers are known for having.

In a prime manifestation of the rebirth and newness of spring, The Preface has arisen! In an email to people interested in learning more about the publication, the forces behind its regeneration shared how to access the Preface online! They are hosting a reading on Thursday, April 18, from 4-6pm in the Publications Office, which is located in Mary Fisher between Hooper and Dulaney. Find them on Instagram @prefacelitmag

Trying to figure out when your finals are? Look no further!

Thinking about next year? In an email interview with The Quindecim, Linda Barone, who is both the Interim Director of Facilities Management Services and Associate Director of Planning, Design, and Construction, said, “We will not be using Stimson next year for student housing. There are really several reasons that factor into this decision. Stimson Hall, because of the type of construction is not conducive to being renovated and in its current condition, is harder and harder to keep up to a standard that we want our residence halls to be in. Parts of the infrastructure and even the built-in furniture is worn out and needs to be replaced.  We are not able to add air conditioning to the building without a major renovation and as we saw this past fall, it can get pretty hot in the building when we have a warm fall or spring. We also have enough beds to support our student population in the other buildings on campus without needing to use the rooms in Stimson. It is also not cost-effective to heat and clean it, when the building is only partially occupied.”

The proposed changes to CPEs passed unanimously at the April 3rd faculty meeting. The changes were formally released to the student body in an email from the Office of the Provost on April 4th. A related email sent by Ann Duncan, Curriculum Coordinator and Emily Perl, Assistant Provost for Integrative Learning, announced several dates when students may come learn about how the changes will affect us and plan our schedules for future semesters. Send all your questions to

In recent news, Goucher Hillel’s “Shabbat 100” initiative took place the evening of Friday, April 12th. A whopping 106 people attended, shattering all previously held records for Shabbat dinner.

And finally but arguably most important for local goings on, G.I.T. produced their final piece of performance humor for the year to a packed audience in the common room of P.Selz on Friday, April 12th. The troupe, known widely for their award-winning comedy, produced enough laughs to lift the mood on campus for one shiny moment of joy.

BONUS: In intergalactic news, “The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) — a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration — was designed to capture images of a black hole. [On April 11th], in coordinated press conferences across the globe, EHT researchers reveal[ed] that they have succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow,according to the EHT website.

To the rest of us, this means that Dr. Katie Bouman “help[ed] develop the algorithm that created the first-ever image of a black hole,” according to the BBC. The image was “captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) – a network of eight linked telescopes – [which] was rendered by Dr. Bouman’s algorithm,” according to the same article. If you haven’t seen it already, check it out.

The first-ever picture of a black hole. Image compiled by Katie Bouman and the rest of the Event Horizon Telescope team.

GIT (Goucher Improv Troupe) Wins BIG at Tournament and More: News Corner with Neve

Tea bag found in Undercroft. Photo by Neve Levinson

On March 27 at 8:30 p.m., the GIT (Goucher Improv Troupe) took the stage at March Mayhem. Subtitled “The BIG College Improv Competition,” this tournament featured four colleges battling to see who could win over their audience most effectively through laughter and general jolliness. This year’s GIT is comprised of Langston Cotman ‘19, Dylan Margolis ‘20, Sarah Dreyfus ‘21, Olivia Hollender ‘19, and Cameron Stewart ‘19. In a zippy and electric interview with Cotman, and Margolis, the duo described the event: “It was two rounds, and four schools faced off against each other. We did long form improv for eighteen minutes, and then one team goes first, one goes second, and then the audience votes” on who the winner should be, said Cotman. In the championship round, Margolis added, “we chose to do realism, and we portrayed boarding school students preparing to say goodbye to the school to the school they’ve literally never left before graduation.” The accompanying trophy is theirs for the duration of this year, until they “hopefully will be the defending champs so we can keep it in our house,” Cotman added with a laugh. Keep your eyes peeled for where this trophy will appear on campus.

In other news, the majors and minors fair took place in Mary Fisher during Common Hour on March 27. With an energetic turnout, students were able to talk to QR tutors as well as professors in each of the academic programs currently offered at this institution.

Wondering what the fancy green tablecloths were doing on the Forum’s tables this week? It was for the Mary Fisher Tea, held on March 26 from 2-3:30 p.m. According to the program for the event, “Mary Fisher was a beloved figure among students at the Women’s College of Baltimore, and after her death in 1902, alumnae gave the college a triptych of Tiffany windows in her memory. For her 100th birthday in 1950, the Goucher community gathered to honor her with a tea and to dedicate the four houses of Mary Fisher Hall, the first building on the Towson campus. In later years, Goucher alumnae clubs worldwide met each spring to recognize her life.” Want to find out what happened to those Tiffany windows? Yeah, me too. When asked about the experience of performing at this event, Chris Elliott ‘19, noted performing “[f]our songs [at the tea]. The first was ‘Amazing Grace,’ by H. Leslie Adams, which isn’t your typical Amazing Grace, but a version that Adams wrote with African-American and jazz influences in it. The next three songs were all jazz tunes: ‘Fly Me to the Moon,’ ‘Cry Me a River,’ and ‘All of Me.’” Elliott continued, “[t]he event consisted of mainly older Goucher alum who’ve graduated many years ago. President Jose Bowen and Bryan Coker were there, as well as other current workers like Lynn Satterfield and Rob Ferrell.” To those of you wondering, “the ‘pinky up’ rule was not enforced, nor was it talked about during the event unfortunately.”

The Office of Title IX released the “2018 Reports of Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking” data to the student body via email on Thursday, March 28. This data, available through the link embedded in the email as well as the website for the Office of Title IX, is federally required of the college in order to “participat[e] in federal financial aid programs” under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. While the official email announcing the release of the 2017 data noted that, “[s]ince Spring 2015, the Title IX (TIX) Office has shared an annual report of closed cases with the campus community,” data from 2016-2018 is on the Title IX website. According to this year’s data, “55 incidents or suspected incidents were reported to the Title IX Office in 2018,” down from 61 the year prior. Both of these figures are above the “total of 49 incidents or suspected incidents were reported to the Title IX Office in 2016.” In an interview with The Quindecim, Title IX Coordinator Lucia Perfetti Clark said “…the number [of reported cases] tends to be holding steady [year to year]…I’m glad that the numbers stay on the higher side…I always take the higher numbers as a sign that students feel like they can report, which is what we work pretty hard to foster.”

The Office of Communications announced via email on Friday, March 29 that the College will now be partnering with eCampus as our “new online textbook partner.” This partnership will be replacing the current one between Goucher and Barnes & Noble. Members of GSG who were involved in advising the decision noted that this partnership, while establishing the provider of textbooks and resources for courses, does not cover the management of the campus bookstore next to Alice’s.

A final newsy tidbit for this week is that the sun has been making its appearance more frequently this week, and, in quintessential Goucher fashion, we gophers have begun to poke out of the ground from hibernating all winter. The Mary Fisher patio is being frequented more often by seekers of Vitamin D who also intend to do homework. Is it possible the groundhog was correct and spring will really come early this year?

Potential Changes to the CPE Structure

Image courtesy of Goucher Magazine

Within the current Goucher liberal arts curriculum, there are a series of courses designed to provide an interdisciplinary education and skills to solve complex problems called Center Pair Exploration Courses (CPEs). According the Goucher College website:

“[The CPE model] revolves around eleven academic centers …Between their second semester at Goucher and the end of their junior year, students will take 3 Center Pair Exploration (CPE) courses outside the Center Pair to which their major belongs.”

However, with all the different centers, overlap between majors, and the potential for students to change majors, it has become clear that the CPE structure has proven abstract and confusing to many students.

Noting the concerns of students, the Academic Policy Committee which oversees changes made to the class curriculum, has proposed new changes to the CPE structure which would be potentially be implemented for the Fall 2019 semester. Senior Nancy Rosen ’19, an International Relations and French double major and student representative on the Academic Policy Committee, explained the mooted changes in an email interview:

“The proposed changes for the CPEs are to first change what the acronyms stand for; they will be known as ‘Complex Problem Exploration.’ Secondly, students will only have to complete 2 CPEs instead of 3. Thirdly, the CPEs that students take will meet the MHEC requirements, they could count towards the Environmental Sustainability or Race, Power, and Perspective requirements, and they could meet major and minor requirements.”

Ann Duncan, Associate Professor of Religion, is the Curriculum Coordinator and the Chair of the Academic Policies Committee. As the Curriculum Coordinator, Duncan worked with other faculty members to develop the proposed CPE changes and put it before the Academic Policies Committee, who finalized the proposal and brought it before the faculty for a vote. When asked about the goals of current CPE structure and what issues had arisen, Duncan stated:

“The CPE courses were designed to build on what have always been strengths of the Goucher education…As with any new program, new challenges and possibilities emerged as implementation of the curriculum took place. For the CPEs, we recognized that students need more flexibility in balancing Goucher Commons requirements and their majors and many programs were having trouble offering enough CPE courses in the wake of program prioritization.”

Robin Cresiski, an Associate Professor of Biology who serves on the Academic Policy Committee echoed, the same information:

“The [current] CPEs envisioned two things: to supply the full breadth of a liberal arts education…and to engaged students in studying complex problems…they were also designed to provide the students the skills to work within a team or group framework and provide the skills necessary to be good collaborators…problems arose when students tried to change majors and ending up taking four CPE classes.”

Duncan and Cresiski have both worked to get feedback from faculty, faculty advisors, and students to reflect the needs of the students. Cresiski hopes that the proposed changes “reflect intensive listening” and helps to make advising students and changing one’s major easier. Both Cresiski and Duncan both stated that faculty are always aware of the challenges for students and challenges in staffing as they advise students and plan course offerings. Duncan is hopeful that the proposal will pass and ultimately be implemented: “I think it will make it much easier for students to balance their majors and…give students more flexibility in exploring various disciplines across the college.” Cresiski also expressed her optimism over the changes: “We hope to facilitate high levels of student engagement and encourage students to choose courses they feel are impactful. We want student enthusiasm to increase.”

Goucher Student Government (GSG) Co-President Sam Anderson ’21 described the changes as “exciting” and expressed his hope that the proposed CPE changes will give students more interdisciplinary choice. Anderson also stated that the changes could free students who would potentially be forced into a major by their CPE requirement. Fellow GSG Co-President Noah Block ’21 agreed, stating that in GSG discussions, the consensus towards the CPE changes was supportive but that he could not speak for all student government members. Block also felt that the CPE changes would remedy many of the concerns within the current CPE structure and was personally supportive of the proposal.

The mood among students when told about the changes was cautiously optimistic. First-year Simon Wickwire ’22, currently taking “Alien Planets,” an astronomy-focused CPE, said: “The name change seems unnecessary, but I like the overall concept. I think it will reduce a lot of the stress related to choosing classes and choosing a major.” Sophomore Christina Panousos ’21 was also supportive of the changes, describing the current CPE structure as a good idea as a necessary cross-curriculum component at Goucher but also as burdensome series of classes which are “unfair” for undeclared majors. Panousos said she was happy with the proposed reductions in the number of CPE classes and that the courses could be counted towards the Race, Power, Perspective and Environmental Sustainability requirements.  

The proposed CPE changes are still in the process of being revised by the faculty and the Academic Policy Committee. Nancy Rosen stated that while the goal for rolling out the changes would be for the 2019 Fall Semester, she cannot say with confidence that any CPE revisions will be implemented by then. According to Ann Duncan, the faculty will be voting on the proposal during the upcoming faculty meeting on April 3, during Common Hour in Merrick Lecture Hall.

Club Council and Individual Clubs Are Facing Deficits

Photo Credit: Olivia Baud

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

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

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

Understanding the Club Council Budget

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

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

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

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

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

The Deficits- An Interconnected Problem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Club Council Changes Moving Forward

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

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

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

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

Updates forthcoming.


March 14th, 2019.

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

News Corner With Neve

Picture Credit: @gouchercollege on Twitter 
  • Ground was broken on the Evelyn Dyke Schroedl ’62 Tennis Center on Friday, March 1. The soil used for the groundbreaking is still in the parking lot next to Alcock.
  • As announced in a January 14 email to the campus community, “Dr. Andrew Wu has been appointed as the college’s Associate Dean of Students and Director of Athletics (AD), effective immediately.” Wu served as the Interim Director since Spring 2018.
  • Congratulations to this year’s winners, runner ups and honorable mentions for the Appelstein-Sweren Book Collecting Contest (pictured)!
  • The Middle States team doing Goucher’s reaccreditation will report their findings from 10:30-11:30 a.m. in Merrick on March 13.
  • At the faculty meeting on March 6, Interim Provost Scott Sibley said, “I think we’re ready” in relation to the arrival of the Middle States accreditation team the week of March 11.
  • The interview process is underway for three undergraduate advisors who will advise all undeclared students beginning August 2019. The three advisors will serve in lieu of faculty advisors for students who have yet to declare their majors.
  • The dance program is looking to offer two concentrations within the existing major: one in Dance Studies and the other in Dance. The proposal, unanimously endorsed at the March 6 faculty meeting, will cost no additional money, as all courses within each track already exist on campus.
  • Sneaking into the last few minutes of the faculty meeting, a new program proposal was introduced, tentatively entitled Applied Science and Technology. The goal of the program, explained Associate Professor Rodney Yoder, is to support students who begin their college careers in highly structured STEM majors and decide to study a different subject partway through. The proposal includes tentative tracks in Physics, Chemistry, and Environmental Science, and will hopefully add a track in life sciences, said Yoder. The cost of the program will be three additional courses that do not currently exist.
  • Faculty Chair Micah Webster announced that he will be stepping down from this post at the end of the year due to health concerns. Professor Nina Kasniunas will carry out the rest of Dr. Webster’s term.

GSG Had Their Annual Retreat and Here’s What’s Up

Goucher Student Government, 2018-2019. Photo Credit: Neve Levinson

On February 10 in the Pinkard Room, Goucher Student Government (GSG), held its first retreat of the semester. In its current iteration, GSG is comprised of sixteen Senators, and two Co-Presidents (all listed at the end of this article). Their advisors are Stacy Cooper Patterson, Associate Dean of Students for Community Life, and Aisha Rivers, Director of Student Engagement. (Both of their offices are in the Office of Student Engagement, which is in the left side of the Mary Fisher lobby.)

GSG is in a transitional stage in terms of both structure and in creating institutional memory and continuity. An ongoing conversation throughout the retreat centered around the goals of GSG and how its members go about achieving those goals. Underpinning this conversation was a larger discussion about how GSG has been organized on an interior level in the past, and how to use that knowledge to create an institution that fulfills a need within the Goucher community. A key piece of this is that the GSG constitution now allows for two Co-Presidents to hold office, an amendment made last fall.

GSG Co-President, Samuel Anderson (‘21), explained that the reasoning for having two people hold this position model is to “ease the burden of one individual.” He added that both Co-Presidents are on the same level of the horizontal hierarchy as one another: there is no President or Vice President split. Co-President Noah Block (‘21), added that a key goal of this configuration is “collaboration.” As presented and discussed during the retreat, GSG in its current iteration seeks to model a horizontal leadership structure that shares power and responsibility evenly amongst its eighteen members.

Given this framework, a conversation that members of GSG began and returned to throughout the retreat centered around what the role of a Senator is right now, and to imagine what it can possibly look like. One senator mentioned that as a Senator, they are here “because we are all student leaders.” They discussed how horizontal structures allow individual senators to bring their personal passions to the group and work on them collaboratively, without taking orders or instructions from the top of the hierarchy. Senator Jibril Howard (‘22), spoke of Senators as visible connectors between students and each other or other members of the campus community. Senator Lilith Saylor, (‘20), raised concerns about this allowing GSG to be “too fluid,” and Senator Terrin Calder-Rosen (‘19), added that members of campus administration have questions about how Student Government functions and who to consult when seeking student feedback.

Other discussions that began at this retreat included ways to build on the record-setting 40% voter turnout for GSG elections last semester; ways to learn from previous leaders within GSG and its precursor, Student Government Association (SGA); and personal campaigns each senator was interested in taking on in order to build coalitions across campus with the common goal of improving Goucher, its climate, and how it functions as a whole. Senator Campbell Shepard (‘22), a member of the men’s soccer team, mentioned working with head men’s lacrosse coach Bryan Laut to generate continuing dialogue among athletes relating to toxic masculinity. Senator Em Lassen (‘21), proposed building on their role  as secretary of Equal Access in order to work with student groups to improve accessibility across campus life.

The Quindecim will continue reporting onGSG meetings that are open to the student body as well as potentially reporting future retreats such as this one.

Goucher Student Government members:

  • Samuel Anderson (Co-President), class of 2021
  • Noah Block (Co-President), class of 2021
  • Terrin Rosen, class of 2019
  • Sarah Piohia, class of 2019
  • Lilith Saylor, class of 2020
  • Zac Kassay, class of 2020 (currently abroad)
  • Marie Mokuba, class of 2021
  • Claire Corliss, class of 2021
  • Em Lassen, class of 2021
  • Xavier Rivers, class of 2021
  • Alexandra DiGiovanni, Class of 2022
  • Yuchen Ding, Class of 2022
  • Alistair Watson, Class of 2022
  • Derrick Burnette, Class of 2022
  • Ty’lor Schnella, Class of 2022
  • Derek Borowsky, Class of 2022
  • Campbell Shepard, Class of 2022
  • Jibril Howard, Class of 2022
1 2 3 4 9
Go to Top