The independent student newspaper of Goucher College

Category archive

News - page 8

High Number of Goucher Grads Teach for America

by
Rae Walker ‘17 is is currently teaching at Dr. Carter G. Woodson Elementary/Middle School (PK-8th). Photo Credit: TFA Baltimore

This past year, Goucher was among the top colleges and universities to contribute new members to the Teach For America 2017 corps. With six alumni joining, Goucher contributed significantly to a nationwide network. This past year was also the first year that students were able to apply early to the program–during their junior year of college. Two Goucher students did so and were accepted.
Teach for America (TFA) is a national organization that certifies recent graduates and others without teaching certification to work as teachers in low-income communities. Applicants fill out an online application and complete a group interview online or in-person. Once accepted, applicants fill out a form with their location preferences from a list of 53 different regions across the nation. TFA teachers commit to teaching for at least two years as full-time salaried employees of the school in which they are placed.
As an organization, TFA focuses on understanding and combating educational inequity, an angle that tends to appeal to Goucher graduates. For Rae Walker (‘17) this was one of the reasons he decided to apply. “[As a public school student], the quality of your education literally depends on your zipcode,” Walker said in an interview. “In Parkville they have iPads while in Cherry Hill, we’re struggling for paper. And that’s needed for the curriculum, because they [the school] don’t buy textbooks.”
Walker graduated from Goucher as an English major with a concentration in creative writing. He knew he wanted to be a teacher, but he dropped his major in education because he believed that focusing on his content area (English) was more important than learning theory.
Walker is currently teaching special education at Dr. Carter G. Woodson Elementary Middle School (PK-8th) in Cherry Hill, Baltimore. He is also working on his Masters in Education at Johns Hopkins and is on track to receive a doctorate in five years.
Walker was drawn to the field of special education because of its relationship to inequity, and the situation that results from the over-diagnosing of students, particularly poor black students. “For gen-ed teachers, [labelling students with an IEP or Individualized Educational Program] is like code for ‘I don’t want to teach you, so I’m going to put you in another class,’ and this can happen as early as 1st grade,” said Walker. Once students are labeled as in need of special education, the effects of that label are difficult to reverse. For Walker, one of the important aspects of teaching special education is advocating for his students.
Teaching in low-income communities requires teachers to be very committed and invested in their students. Lila Stenson (‘17) appreciates the connections she’s been able to make with her students, “learning about their lives and telling them about mine.” Stenson graduated with a degree in Sociology and Spanish and is currently teaching 7th and 8th grade Spanish in Memphis, Tennessee. “It’s really fun to see [my students] grow and get excited when they can say new things in Spanish,” said Stenson.
Walker has also certainly become invested in his students. The Saturday after this interview, he was planning on taking one of his students to the movies because it was their birthday. “I’m a black male figure [in this student’s life], so we’re going to the movies,” Walker said. “On Friday, we’re going to celebrate with a cake.”
Because his special education classes are self-contained, Walker spends all day with the same nine students, who range from 5th grade to 8th grade. According to Walker, it is actually illegal to have over three grade levels together in the same class, but it often happens in Baltimore public schools because of understaffing. TFA works to combat understaffing in schools, but it is not enough. As Stenson states, TFA “really isn’t a long term solution to ending the problems in education.”

Goucher was among the top colleges and universities to contribute new members to the Teach For America 2017 corps. Photo Credit: Teach for America

Stenson became interested in education in part because of her experience working at a summer camp called Breakthrough Collaborative that works with students from under-resourced urban schools. Stenson’s experiences working in local schools through the Office of Community-Based Learning (CBL) added to this interest.
Walker also mentioned one of CBL’s programs, Middle School Mentoring, when talking about what influenced his decision to stay in Baltimore and teach. Both Stenson and Walker highlighted the way in which Goucher encourages students to engage with equity and social justice.
One thing that TFA corps members seem to have in common is their passion for what they do. “I think it is really cool to have a lot of new energy in the teaching field, as a lot of teachers who have been teaching for a while are burnt out,” Stenson wrote in an email interview.
However, because many of the applicants for TFA are young and inexperienced, they also face extra challenges. Stenson has twenty-seven students, which she said is actually a pretty small number compared to some of her coworkers’ classes. She is fortunate to teach a subject (Spanish) that is not tested at the state level, because it comes with more freedom. On the flip side, however, there is also no pre-prepared curriculum for her to use. “I did not major in education and while TFA does pack a lot into their summer training institute, you are still pretty unprepared for teaching everyday on your own. Classroom management and behavior issues are something that I struggle a lot with,” Stenson wrote.
Eliezer (EC) Cartagena (‘18), who did study education and was one of the juniors who applied early to TFA last year, critiqued this aspect of TFA. “TFA tries to train teachers in the summer, which is literally impossible. A lot of people will be woefully unprepared,” said Cartagena.
Cartagena also critiqued the fact that many people use TFA as “a stepping stone,” and move on to other careers. Cartagena emphasizes that students need consistency. “Two years seems like an injustice,” he said.
While many TFA alums move on to other careers, there are also TFA alums who stay in the world of education. As Walker points out, some of the biggest changemakers in Baltimore public schools, the principals of “turnaround schools,” are TFA alums. Cartagena hopes to stay in the school system for at least four years, while Walker sees himself continuing to teach ten years from now.
One of the incentives for applying to TFA are the benefits that come with the program. In addition to offering the opportunity to become certified to teach, TFA offers a summer training institute, an extensive alumni network, affinity group networks with other TFA members, mentor partnerships, and online location guides. TFA also has partnerships with graduate schools. Regional programs either require or encourage TFA corps members to work towards a Masters in Education. Fellowships and awards are also available to help teachers get a financial boost. For Stenson, who was moving to an entirely new city, she appreciated having the support network that came with TFA. “Memphis is a new home, so it is nice to have other people who are new and trying to explore the city as well,” she said.
TFA tries to draw a diverse group of members, and they advertised that their 2017 corps was more diverse than ever. Cartagena highlighted that TFA considers diversity factors besides race, like gender identity and sexual orientation. Walker also mentioned the diversity of educational backgrounds of corps members: “you’ll meet people from across the gamut, from Harvard, Stanford, from your local community college.”
However, despite their diversity of backgrounds, many teachers will face the same challenges. “Teachers are overworked and undervalued, and you need to be really dedicated, because financially you won’t get much from it,” said Cartagena. “Only apply if you’re really passionate about making change happen in school systems.”
Stenson emphasized the importance of flexibility and adaptability. “Things will not run smoothly, materials will not be available, school schedules and student behavior are always unpredictable,” she said. “A lot of this experience is just trying to roll with things.” Walker seconded this. “If administration emails me tonight and says, ‘we’re teaching in the dark tomorrow,’ then I’ll say, ‘okay, I’ll bring a flashlight,’” he said. Walker suggested that teachers should have a “growth mindset”–not just believing that their students can grow, but that, as teachers, they can, too. “You can’t enter the classroom thinking about what happened yesterday,” he said.
Overall, Goucher’s recent graduates who are members of the TFA corps seem proud of the work they’re doing. “It’s a noble profession,” said Walker.
For the 2018-2019 school year, there are a number of TFA application deadlines approaching, through March 2018. If you are interested in applying, Cartagena, who asked several people to look over his application, advises other students not to be afraid to ask for help. “People think that they have to do things on their own, but that’s not true,” he said.
For assistance with the application, students can also take advantage of on-campus resources like the Career Development Office.

The Indictments: A Briefing

by
Paul Manafort (left), Rick Gates, and George Papadopoulos Photo Credit: The Yeshiva World

On Monday October 30th, Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia made its first indictments public. Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos were all indicted. These indictments were filed five months into the investigation, which began in May. The process has been  extraordinarily fast for a federal investigation.
Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, was hired in March 2016 and left in August 2016. Manafort has a long history of working with Ukrainian oligarchs since 2005. Manafort was hired to provide image consulting for a pro-Putin Russia-friendly Ukrainian party and he provided consulting services for former Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovych. Manafort lobbied on behalf of Yanukovych in D.C., and Yanukovych is currently in Russia, though he is wanted in Ukraine on charges of high treason. Manafort’s connections to the region and tendency to align with foreign leaders make his appointment as Trump’s campaign manager highly suspect. Manafort has been charged on 12 counts, including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principle, and false and misleading US Foreign Agents Repetition Act statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports financial accounts. He pleaded not guilty on October 30th. He is currently in house confinement with a $10 million bond and must report daily to law enforcement by phone.
Gates is Manafort’s protege. He started working for the Trump campaign during Manafort’s time, and stayed on as deputy campaign manager. He helped form the pro-Trump non profit group America First Policies and was eventually removed from the organization due to his connection to Manafort. He faces the same charges as Manafort and has entered a not guilty plea. He is currently on home confinement with a $5 million bond. His and Manafort’s trial has been set for May 7th 2018.
Papadopoulos was a member of Trump’s foreign policy advisory panel, and according to his LinkedIn page, he is an oil, gas, and policy consultant. A Trump campaign official told CNN that Papadopoulos had a significant amount of contact with the Trump campaign during the 2016 election cycle. Alex Ward reported for Vox News that Papadopoulos was arrested on July 27th and pleaded guilty to charges on October 5th. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about having contact with three individuals who he believed had contact with the Russian government. Two of those individuals were Russians. It is currently unclear whether these individuals were actually authorized by the Russian government to speak to the Trump campaign.
This is just the start of the Mueller investigation and there will most likely be more indictments. News sources have compared the process of the Mueller investigation to mob investigations, in that the investigation is using smaller, low level participants to take down larger members of the organization. Going forward, it has been widely speculated that Mueller’s next step will be to attempt to flip Manafort, to persuade him to become a cooperating witness and to give information about the connection between the Trump campaign and Russia. News sources have suspected that Mueller will use the same strategy to go after Trump that he used with Manafort: targeting his past potential financial crimes in order to gain his cooperation.

MASON BAGGETTE & TERRIN ROSEN

Building Options: A Construction Update

by
Goucher College Construction Timeline Credit: Goucher College

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

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

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

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

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

What is up with Rohingya?

by
Rohingya in crisis. Photo Credit: Google Images

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

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

The Roots of Change: Students Learn to Mobilize

by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

CERT: A Team That’s There To Help

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

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

Goucher Poll Fall 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

DogFest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where The Money Goes: A Budget Update

by

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

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

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

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

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

Center for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching (CAST)

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

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

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

1 6 7 8 9
Go to Top