After over 100 years in print, The Q didn’t publish any editions during the Spring of 2021, and had been printing sporadically in recent months leading up to that, with a very minimal digital presence.
Virtual learning flipped every club on its head, and caused others to simply cease to exist. It’s one of many changes Goucher is still recovering from, even though many pretend we’re “back to normal.”
In the case of the Quindecim, the lapse of publications is not entirely the fault of our past editors. The time it takes to set up meetings, pitch and assign articles, communicate with fellow editors and writers, edit and fact-check articles, report and write one’s own stories, obtain and use club funds from SGA, coordinate print editions, upload articles to the website for online editions, and make social media posts promoting our content is incredibly taxing and seemingly impossible in addition to being a fulltime student who is not compensated for any of those tasks. The cherry on top is virtual learning’s lingering effects, which like many other clubs, left a gap in intergenerational knowledge and newsroom rhythm that was typically passed down from each editor to the next, meaning our current staff had to start from scratch and learn as we went.
This year, I’m proud, relieved, and excited to say we did a full 180. However, if my financial background was different and I had to work to support myself during school, The Q’s resurgence would not have been possible to this degree on my watch.
It’s important to note that this goes beyond The Q, and that I believe all club leaders should be compensated for their labor and service. I am simply speaking from my experience and my work with The Q. Student leaders across different clubs put in countless hours to put on events on an otherwise desolate campus, as well as provide community and social opportunities to their members.
In the last half of this semester, we’ve seen this come to fruition with Goucher Black Student Union’s (GBSU) Student Showcase, Al-Jalia Arabic Club’s Foreign Film Festival, Independent Music Club’s monthly concerts, the 1021 Hip Hop Team and Dancers of Color Coalition’s (DOCC) Dance Festival, and The Cookout – an event collaboration between Movimiento Estudiantil Hispano Americano (MEHA), 1021 Hip Hop, DOCC, and Goucher Women of Color Circle (GWOCC), just to name a few.
The various positions within the Student Government Association (SGA) recently became paid. There’s funds set aside for senators to be paid $14.50 an hour, even though some of those positions are vacant and available to apply for on Handshake. Why not pay students who are already doing the work in different student organizations?
The Quindecim’s origins date back to January of 1916, when it was called The Goucher Weekly. The paper predates Goucher’s co-ed status, the move to the Towson campus, and even the purchase of the land that Goucher is currently on.
At any higher education institution, student publications are as essential to collegiate life as a student government or having residential assistants (RA’s) in each dorm. Virtual learning created a huge blow to The Q, The Goucher Eye, and Goucher Radio. The Eye simply doesn’t exist anymore, and Goucher Radio is still trying to make a comeback. This issue is urgent, and is something I don’t think those in leadership positions are paying enough attention to.
Small liberal arts colleges typically do not have journalism-specific majors or academic programs, making student publications the place to be for any student with a passion for or desire to explore journalism. This opportunity is made inaccessible to students who have jobs in addition to their course load. Several of our current reporters have to miss weekly meetings due to their work schedule, making it harder for them to work collaboratively with the team and stay engaged with the paper.
Goucher Magazine ran a story last fall on half a dozen alumni who are working in journalism, all of whom credited some of their success to the time they spent at The Q and mentorship from our Faculty Adviser, David Zurawik. The Q is an asset to the college, and to ensure that it not only survives, but thrives, and becomes more accessible to low-income students, editors and staff should be compensated. If not by hourly pay, then by a stipend. If not by a stipend, then through course credit.
Since Goucher does not offer a journalism major, minor, or concentration, working at The Q is one of the best ways for students interested in reporting or professional writing to gain experience outside the classroom. The Q’s lapse last year not only disadvantaged the Goucher community, but left aspiring writers with limited options to work outside of the classroom. For many reporting, communication, or writing internships, experience with a campus publication is a bare minimum qualification. I myself ran into issues getting a reporting internship last summer, partially because I did not have enough published writing samples to submit or robust experience in a campus newsroom to meet eligibility requirements. Last year’s “newsroom” was then-closed Alice’s, and operations were random and informal, and some of the articles I submitted were never published.
What would the Goucher community be if administration was the only source relaying information to the students? What if there was no outlet for students to voice their opinions, provide accessible news updates to the community, or put their writing skills into practice?
When a hate crime occurred on campus in 2018, The Baltimore Sun reported on it. Last semester, however, neither The Sun nor the new Baltimore Banner published stories about the hate crime in Heubeck Hall, meaning Goucher community members who are not in our email threads were not directly informed of the incident. But The Q reported on it, and continued to provide updates on the situation to the best of our ability, giving current students, faculty and staff crucial information and analysis, as well as extending the channel to alumni, trustees, and parents. Our coverage of the hate crime and the developments that followed it, such as the Board of Trustees sit-in this past March, are some of our most-read stories this year, showing how important it was that this topic not be ignored.
The Quindecim has proved itself as relevant and important, though we shouldn’t have had to get to that place to begin with. This paper is a cornerstone of student life, Communication and Media Studies, and Goucher as whole. To recognize the work our members do, maintain the paper’s quality and guarantee longevity, and make it more accessible to students from all backgrounds, we should be compensated.