Rocky Relationship for Goucher College Students & Administration

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Written by: Elizabeth Bobo ’23

After the first full semester online (Fall 2020) the decision was announced on Jan. 6 that Goucher College will continue virtual instruction through the 2021 spring semester. This decision, along with a slew of other significant announcements caused tensions to rise on the GopherApp, the platform which allows students to communicate amongst themselves as well as administration if need be. With this being said, one main concern was being voiced by the majority of students on the GopherApp. This concern was regarding the administration’s lack of transparency in reference to online instruction versus a proposed hybrid option. 

Only a few weeks after the announcement of a virtual semester, Present Kent Devereaux also attempted to answer a question regarding the news that the SI (Supplemental Instruction) program would now be under the responsibility of the librarians rather than the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE). 

“What’s the reasoning behind putting SI under the college librarian? Who was involved in this process and why didn’t students receive an email today?” 

– Derrick Burnette (Via Ask the President on the GopherApp

This shocked many students as changes to ACE were being made last year as well when faculty cuts were made. Where long-term and well-known staff members were also laid off. 

According to some students President Devereaux’s, responses on the Gopher App’s Ask the President were not adequate and fostered further confusion among the student body. He instructed students to contact the Provost’s office with further questions. This seemed to have frustrated some students as they were looking for the president to be able to answer their questions regarding emergency housing, SI, and a possible reopening policy along with when it will be officially put into action. 

The GopherApp is not the most ideal form of communication to convey such changes to the student body, as Town Hall’s can be in a regular semester. Though as Goucher faces’ the unprecedented circumstances that COVID-19 has produced, it is one of the only direct forms of communication that students have with administration right now. Especially in comparison to the response rate of emailing Goucher administration. 

“Texting is not conducive to these types of conversations […] students should contact the library or provost’s offices if they have any major concerns,”  

-President Deveraux (Via GopherApp)

President Deveraux is encouraging students to reach out to individuals that are physically working on campus and are readily available to answer emails.

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