Leading up to Goucher’s 150th anniversary in 2035, the administration proposed a campus master plan to guide the college through the next 15 years. The plan is supposedly student-centered, accessible, and sustainable for future Gophers.
Our campus is working with the campus planning and design firm Sasaki, who worked with Goucher on our second campus master plan in 1957. Some things coming with this plan are a new science building and new outdoor and woodland classrooms. This would undoubtedly enrich our Gopher community.
“Not only is this an important milestone in our strategic plan, but this will be an important moment in the college’s legacy of innovative campus planning and furthers our commitment to sustainability and accessibility on our campus,” said Goucher’s President Kent Devereaux in an email in January.
“Goucher is a thoughtful community committed to investing in creating inclusive and sustainable environments. It was this ethos that initially attracted our team to the project,” said Caitlyn Clauson, Sasaki’s Principal and higher education planner.
The one thing that concerns me is the accessibility on campus. Disabled students like myself are worried about how disabled students can live, study, and have fun on campus. We should have to worry about this, but we are! We already have inaccessibility issues, such as elevators breaking down constantly.
The administration and Sasaki have not had a real sit-down with disabled students and staff about these plans. It’s frustrating because we want this plan to happen, but we want it to be inclusive for everyone! Working on the accessibility issues already on campus before focusing on these bigger things would be a good first step. Below are some concerns from Goucher’s community members about the matters on hand.
Equal Access is a club where disabled people can come, talk, and be supported by other disabled peers. Co-President Autumn Krist ‘23 “finds it ironic that they have a whole section dedicated to accessibility, given it is for car accessibility and not people accessibility.”
“[The plan has] so many maps that make it inaccessible for people to fully understand the extent of what they are planning to do,” said Krist, “The organization of the master plan materials is confusing, and the timeline is confusing as well. Equal Access is trying to advocate for students’ needs based on the information that we have, and it has been taking us a while to understand and get in contact with people.”
Autumn and the other members are tired, angry, and frustrated with the system. Goucher is supposed to be an inclusive and accessible campus, but it’s not.
Sam Rose ‘26 is frustrated with the 15-year plan because it’s not focusing on the issues already on hand. One of the most annoying things that everyone has to go through anywhere is the elevators, especially people in Pagliaro Selz Hall, like Sam and myself. It has been a constant issue since day one of living on campus.
“I had a neighbor in the first semester who had a wheelchair, and someone had to move them up and down the stairs physically,” Rose said, “As far as I know, it is illegal to have this as an issue.”
Not just elevators are an issue, but so are some buildings as a whole.
“One of our writers for The Q is currently in a wheelchair and can’t get to our Q meetings physically because there aren’t any ramps in Mary Fisher,” Rose said, “They have to Zoom in. Why aren’t there more ramps at this college?”
So, in conclusion, students are for the plan and remodeling campus, but on the condition that it focuses on accessibility.
Feature image of Campus Master Plan courtesy of goucher.edu.