New members inducted into Hood’s biological honor society

On April 13, five new members were inducted into the colleges Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society’s chapter, called the Alpha Omicron chapter.

Among those inducted were Matthew Ball, Andrea Christmas, Elien Comhaire, Jenna Hasson and Melissa Nisonger.

The advisor of the chapter is Dr. Georgette Jones.

Beta Beta Beta, or Tri Beta, is a nationwide organization dedicated to understanding and improving biological studies.

There are currently over 626 chapters in the country, totaling over 20,000 members overall. 20170413_191351

Photo courtesy of Georgette Jones

Pictured:  Alpha Omicron Chapter members(from left) Elaine Cerchin, Dr. Georgette Jones (faculty advisor), Dr. Ricky Hirschhorn (faculty), Melissa Nisonger, Matthew Ball, Elien Comhaire, Jenna Hasson, Andrea Christmas, Alana Thomas, Catherine Knight, Kelsey Decker, Fatimah Spall, Dr. Debbie Ricker (provost), Alyssa Denikos

 

Controversy Over Hood College Republican Display Case

By Maya Douglas, Mary Milligan & Christie Wisniewski

This story will continue to be updated as we get more quotes and information

The display case on the second floor of Whitaker has been changed from Protesting Peeps to a showcase of quotes from celebrities voicing some beliefs of the Hood College Republicans.

This display was constructed by HCR club’s Vice President Brice McAndrew and Treasurer Brendan Mahoney.

They came up with the idea after seeing previous displays about transgender and pro-choice awareness put up by Hood College’s LGBT club and Feminist Student Union, according to McAndrew.

“We think it’s only fair for the other side to to have a chance to be represented,” he said.

However, to many, this display is being seen as hateful, transphobic, and misogynistic. Many students are quick to point out that Hood should not be condoning this kind of rhetoric and that it should be taken down.

“I would like to say that Hood College is a place of inclusion, community, and fostering  acceptance and harmony among students,” said senior Jennifer Forester. “It is not a place for hateful inflammatory rhetoric to be spewed, which will only further divide us against each other.”

Students are quick to ensure that they want to promote free speech but not hate speech. Senior Molly Masterson said, “We support discussion and disagreeing opinions. What we don’t support and why we are upset with the display is hate speech. The rhetoric the Republicans used regarding trans rights and abortion was hateful, discriminatory and ignorant. It has nothing to do with the fact we don’t like opposing opinions. We don’t like discrimination.”

On The Blue and Grey’s Facebook post, Jeff Robert seemed to disagree with this above sentiment. Robert wrote: “Freedom of speech. If people find it offensive, they have the option of moving on. If its offensive, it creates discourse which is a good thing. I haven’t seen it myself, as I haven’t had the need so far this semester to be on campus, but I find it to be informative.”

Others were quick to point fingers, like alumnae Caitlin Clark who wrote, “Seems like @Christopher Gardner has some personal issues he needs to work through. Sad!”

Christopher Gardner is the president of the group responsible for putting up the poster.

Senior and staff writer CJ Blickenstaff wrote: ” There is an abundance of free speech throughout the halls of Hood College; Art, Religion, Literature… Politics. Whether you agree with it or not, censorship is not the answer. If we all censored what we didn’t agree with then no opportunity for communication and dialogue would exist. Without those opportunities no one ever learns and hot topics such as those imposed on the board never come to the center. Censorship is divisive. Rejection of opposing ideals is divisive. Let’s find common ground. I do not discuss politics at school because someone is always offended; some sit silently…others shout their discourse.  Let’s accept each other’s points of view as valid. We don’t have to agree; just see the other point as legitimate and respect it.”

The first panel of the poster includes anti-abortion and anti-transgender material.

The first panel of the poster includes controversial quotes about abortion and the transgender community.

Staff and students’ opinions

Travis Eichelberger, the assistant director of student engagement and coordinator of diversity and inclusion, said that the Hood College Republicans approached him for the space, but didn’t specify the content. According to Eichelberger, the club claimed that they wanted a space to display some conservative hot topics and current discussions.

The next morning, he said, he walked out of his office and saw the current poster.

Views from students, faculty, and alum all seem to be mixed. Some dislike the material, but are quick to stress the importance of the First Amendment. Others believe that the speech is hate speech, and some others believe that all opinions have a place, even if these opinions aren’t popular.

“Everything that gets put up you don’t have to agree with,” said Hood Professor Timothy Jacobsen. “[People] have a right to disagree with you. That’s fine. Free speech protects all speech, whether you like it or not. I think it’s a great opportunity for discussion. I will say putting up something like this and saying that it’s to start a discussion… it’s kind of a cop-out.”

He continued to say that as long as the content is respectful and not derogatory, and as long as it’s not “filled with venom”, people have to respect it.

“You don’t have to agree with it,” Jacobsen said. “People have a right to speak their mind. It doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences. It doesn’t mean by putting this up, there aren’t going to be some sort of consequences.”

Senior, Gabrielle Cavalier, was present during the creation of the display.

“I just thought of it as joke…” she said. “I didn’t think it would blow up to what it is right now.”

Free speech or hate speech?

Cavalier, a member of the Hood College Democrat club*, believes the language on the board is “definitely inflammatory.”

On Wednesday night, President Andrea Chapdelaine issued an email statement to the Hood community stating that discussions are being held with students, administrators and faculty to “come to a resolution that is most consistent with the values of our institution.”

Action is being taken, according to the email.

The Hood College Republican Club issued a statement on their Facebook page last night stating the following:

“There has been some members of the Hood Community who have expressed their outrage towards the display. We encourage all of those who have questions or disagree with us to approach us on campus or come to our general meeting in Whitaker Commons at 7:30 on Sunday. The intent of this display was to help encourage constructive political discourse on campus. We have been fortunate enough to have many great conversations with people of different backgrounds and ideologies the past couple days. Conversations with people who may have never voiced their political opinions on campus before. This unprecedented level of discourse wouldn’t have occurred without the presence of the display, which we still believe holds value.”

“I think it deserves all of the outcry that it’s getting right now but I will fight forever for the right to be able to express your view point,” said Cavalier.

“This is the messy side of politics. Things like this have to happen to start discussion. This campus has always been divided and this just highlighted it,” said McAndrew.

The Hood College Republican Club president has had approximately $200 donated to Planned Parenthood in his name, according to The Frederick Extra.

The Hood College Democrat Club will not be doing a board in response to the Republican display. According to Cavalier, members of both clubs are cordial and collaborate often.

“There isn’t any tension between us,” said Cavalier.”[We] don’t want this to get any bigger than it is…it isn’t tit for tat.”

In a second email statement from President Chapdelaine, she stated that the administrative team gave the HCR a chance to remove the display voluntarily, however, the club refused to do so.

“They have the power to take it down if they want to, but we won’t do it,” said McAndrew in response to the request.

“I have requested that we follow College procedures to determine if these messages have violated policy, with appropriate sanctions to follow should such a determination be made,” Chapdelaine said in the campus wide email.

If determined by administration, the board may have violated Policy 55 of Hood’s Student Handbook, which protects against bullying, hate speech, and harassment. Some students are comparing this controversy to the vandalized Black Student Union display in 2014, which featured pictures of unarmed victims of police brutality and a Black Lives Matter poster.

“I’ve put up with so much at this school and I just think it’s interesting how nothing this big happened when the same thing was done to the BSU,” said Chanté Moore, a senior majoring in social work.

“Hood picks and chooses what they want to correct,” she said. “It’s frustrating.”

The third panel of the poster.

The third panel of the poster.

The poster states "We invite everyone to our meetings, regardless of political ideology. If you would like to discuss the display or our stances further, please come to our meetings, message our Facebook page or approach us on campus. We meet at 7:30 Sunday nights in Whitaker Commons. Sincerely, The Hood College Republicans."

The poster states “We invite everyone to our meetings, regardless of political ideology. If you would like to discuss the display or our stances further, please come to our meetings, message our Facebook page or approach us on campus. We meet at 7:30 Sunday nights in Whitaker Commons. Sincerely, The Hood College Republicans.”

Retaliation

Around 7 p.m. on Thursday, a third of the display was ripped down. The person responsible was caught immediately by campus security and the display has been repaired.

Campus security escorted the person out of the building. The meeting room that allows access to the poster has been locked, and a sign on the door tells people to contact campus security if they want access to this room.

There is no word whether the person was disciplined by security or was just removed.

A chance to speak

The HCR held their regularly scheduled meeting on Sunday April 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Whitaker Campus Commons. They invited all to come for a “constructive discourse.” Over 50 students and faculty were in attendance, and people streamed in and out of the meeting that ended shortly after 9:15 p.m.

Hood College will hold an official community forum on Tuesday April 25 at 9 p.m. in Whitaker Campus Commons. The public is invited to come and listen to the club’s discussion of the poster, as well as ask questions.

 

 

*Gabrielle Cavalier’s opinions do not reflect those of the entire Hood College Democrat Club

 

Title IX organizes Red Flag event

Left to Right: Chris Gardner, Zac Kauffman, Le Nguyen, Samuel Kebede. Anne Lessard represent organization involved in the event.  Photo courtesy of James Brown

Left to Right: Chris Gardner, Zac Kauffman, Le Nguyen, Samuel Kebede. Anne Lessard represent organization involved in the event.
Photo courtesy of James Brown

Contributing Writer James Brown

Hood College prides itself on making members of the community feel welcome and safe while providing an exceptional education to students.

Colleges and universities across the country have begun to try and maintain their healthy learning environments by raising awareness about sexual assault and unhealthy relationships among students.

An organization named ItsOnUs has dedicated itself to helping raise awareness about sexual assault on college campuses.

Last semester, Hood hosted an event called #WhatIsYes. Students may remember seeing posters around campus that dealt with consent.

One of the leading causes of sexual assault is the lack of consent.

Assistant Director and Captain of Campus Safety Errol Birch worked sex crimes in the Montgomery county area for over 20 years. Birch said that lengthy prison sentences are given to those who commit a sexual assault ranging from 10 years to life in prison depending on the nature of the assault.

However, many who commit sexual assaults are never charged because the incident was never reported by the victim. Although sexual assault and consent is a touchy subject, students were receptive to the messages about consent on campus and Hood is hoping to do the same about unhealthy relationship signs.

Hood will be hosting an event called Red Flags.

Le Nguyen ‘17 has been managing the event along with the assistance of the Title IX committee, The Brotherhood, Sisters Aspiring to Success, as well as Hood Republicans and Democrats clubs.

When asked why the Red Flags event was being held, Nguyen said, “[It is] mainly designed to empower and educate students to recognize, avoid, and intervene unhealthy relationships.”

Anne Lessard ’17, the co-chair of SAS, wanted to have her members involved.

Lessard said, “[We] felt that this campaign was something near and dear to our hearts and needed more student involvement”.

Nguyen cites lasts years #WhatIsYes event as one of her motivations to continue educating students about issues that all college campuses are facing.

Nguyen said, “I received a lot of positive feedback and constructive criticism from several students, faculty, and staff”.

A criticism of #WhatIsYes was that one gender felt as though they were being targeted. The Red Flags event intends to show unhealthy relationship signs that can be applied to either gender.

This year’s messages will use he/she/they pronouns to avoid one gender feeling singled out on a double sided issue.

The Red Flags Campaign has a wide range of organizations working closely together which shows that despite differences, sexual assault and unhealthy relationships are an issue that everyone agrees on.

Le Nguyen is hoping that the messages around campus will spark conversation and get people thinking about the issue of unhealthy relationships.

A forum will be held on Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. to discuss the posters and messages that are around campus. Students who have any questions about the Red Flags campaign should feel free to contact or speak with any of the leaders of the organizations involved.

New Chair of the Board Scholarship

Contributing Writer Rebecca Grackin

Next fall, in 2017, Hood College will offer a new scholarship, the Chair of the Board Scholarship. This scholarship will cover a student’s full tuition, and is renewable up to four years, so long as the student maintains a 3.5 GPA and works continuously towards a bachelor’s degree.

All accepted first-year students will be considered for this award based on their high academic ability. It will be highly competitive, and students will need to attend Scholars Day on February 11, 2017 to be interviewed for the award.

The Chair of the Board scholarship is funded by Judy Messina ’66, Hood alumna and vice chair of the Board of Trustees, and her husband David Fleischer. This scholarship comes after Judy Messina’s 50th class reunion, and she has funded it in hopes of attracting top academic students to Hood College. The scholarship itself is unrestricted, rather than endowed.

Every applicant to Hood College for next fall will be eligible for the award, but only the top academic students will be considered. Students who are considered should attend Scholars Day, February 11, 2017 in order to meet faculty and current students and be interviewed for the award. Two weeks following, four Chair of the Board Scholars will be named to receive the award.

According to Nancy Gillece ’81, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, most of the scholarships that Hood College awards annually are funded by alumni or certain classes that wish to give back to the college. On average, the total amount of funding that Hood College receives annually from supporters comes to about $8-9 million, $6-7.3 million of which is for scholarships and around $1.7 million goes to Hood’s operating budget for building projects and other maintenance.

As for the number students who receive awards every year, Gillece says nearly 100% of students receive something from Hood College. There is a lot to go around!

Hood College football team: Is it feasible?

Contributing Writer John Curran

Why doesn’t Hood College have a football team? Many have asked this question. I should warn you that I did not expect the topic to be so complex. After all, I knew nothing about football. My first interview was with Tom Dickman, Hood College Athletic Director. As I was walking down the long isolated hallway to get to the interview, I thought, “what have I gotten myself into?”

In 2014, the board of trustees requested that a feasibility study be done to see whether or not Hood College should establish a football team. A committee was setup to facilitate the study and manage the research process. The committee was chaired by Dr. Olivia White, Dean of Students. “The rationale behind the board’s decision was to increase enrollment and to draw interest to the college within the Frederick Community,” said Chuck Mann, Vice President of Finance and Treasurer. College enrollment among high school graduates has been down nationwide.

The feasibility study was never completed. The board of trustees along with President Andrea Chapdelaine, decided to put the
study on hold indefinitely when Chapdelaine became president. “President Chapdelaine put the study on hold, because she thought there were more pressing issues,” said Dickman. When I asked Tom Dickman if he was a proponent of a football team, he never answered the question. He went straight into the history of the football team discussion.

If you are interested in what these pressing issues were, you are not alone. I went into my interview with Chuck Mann wondering what were these concerning issues? So I asked. “The most important issue was that it was unfair to President Chapdelaine to have to deal with such a controversial debate in the first months of her presidency,” said Mann. The feasibility study was going to be presented to the board of trustees in October 2015. President Chapdelaine didn’t start until July 2015.

Included in the feasibility study was a survey. The survey was given to current students, faculty and staff, as well as alumni. “The results of the study showed that the majority of respondents had a negative opinion on whether the college should establish a football team,” said Mann.
“One of the major concerns expressed in the comment section of the survey was that Hood’s academic quality would diminish.” However, Georgetown is a Division III school; they have a football team, and their academic rank has not been affected.

When Hood was considering the idea of a football team, they looked at other schools within Division III. A school that they had particular interest in was Stevenson University. Stevenson was also experiencing low college enrollment and had established a football team in 2011. “They have had really good results,” said Mann.

While Hood never reached the point of conducting a cost/benefit analysis, expenses were an obvious factor. “One of the major problems we would have to face is that we are land locked,” said Dickman. Therefore, in order to even build a stadium, we would have to buy land away from the campus. Other expenses would include equipment, a locker room that would house at least 160 players, and a practice field.

A desire to increase enrollment was the basis of the board’s decision. “When you have a football team you need to have at least 100 players,” said Dickman. Enrollment would increase through the recruitment of players and the creation of a marching band. According to Dickman, with an enrollment increase would come the expense of building more dorms.

The college also considered a football program as a way to engage the Frederick community. “Football is more than just a sport, it has become such a part of American culture,” said Mann. Many people watch football games for the social aspect. The football season would increase social life on campus. The college saw a football program as a way to bring alumni back to campus. “Schools with a football team often have a more engaged alumni, “said Dickman. “If you think about it, many homecomings are centered around a football game.”

Those opposed to a football program argue that there have been other programs put in place to increase enrollment. Hood has established two new Masters programs, a doctoral program in organizational leadership, and added several new majors. “The college is like any other business, it has to keep evolving,” said Mann. “If you aren’t evolving than you will constantly be behind.”

With growing concern over concussions and the negative effects it has on the brain, would it be worth it for Hood to invest millions of dollars into creating a program that could harm the health of its students? “If we decide not to set up a football team we won’t be preventing students from getting concussions because potential players will go to other schools; however, that doesn’t mean we have to have blood on our hands,” said Mann. Mann was originally supportive of a football team until he watched the movie “Concussion”. “The movie was eye- opening,” said Mann.

With the school’s strategic plan coming to an end this June, the board of trustees along with the college’s administration is in the process of drafting a new 10-year strategic plan. The new strategic plan will be approved in June. “If there is wording in the plan to the effect of increasing enrollment through sports, then maybe we will revisit the feasibility study,” said Mann. “If the wording is not in place, then there is no need.”

Will there ever be a football team at Hood? Stay tuned

 

Hood’s disabilities resource

Contributing Writer James Brown

Title IX is not simply about athletics. Hood College has a Title IX resource for disabilities and disability services coordinator, Lauren Reis. Lauren Reis has been the Title IX resource for disabilities for five years now and her position is similar to that of Molly Frazier.

Reis is responsible for making sure there is no discrimination towards those with disabilities whether it be physical or mental. Students who choose to speak with Lauren Reis must reveal the disability with her, but professors and students won’t know exactly what disability a student is dealing with.

Once proper documentation has been provided to professors, students are able to receive accommodations such as a testing space or extra time.

Reis’s sole focus is individuals with disabilities, but students having other issues won’t be turned away. Students are able to have their information remain confidential and Reis is able to point them in the right direction to help solve their issue once they have expressed their issue or concern.

For students wishing to reach out to Lauren Reis, she can be found on the 3rd floor of Rosenstock suite 330 in the CAAR center or reached via email at reis@ hood.edu.

Title IX staff update

Contributing Writer James Brown

Molly Frazier was recently named the Title IX resource for athletics this summer following the resignation of Staci Brennan.

Title IX is “the Education Amendments of 1972 to protect people from discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal assistance”.

Hood College needed to choose a new Title IX for athletics after Staci Brennan decided to further her career at another institution as athletic director.

Upon hearing the news about her new position, Frazier was “ecstatic” and “prepared to build upon the foundation that had been set by Ms. Brennan.”

Although her position for Title IX is specific to athletes, Frazier was adamant that her door is always open and she also said “if anybody needs me, I’m here.”

As a resource for students, it is important to understand that any information is confidential in most cases, except for sexual assault. Sexual assault must be reported to the necessary 3rd party due to the serious of the situation.

Frazier has only been the Title IX resource for athletics since July and anticipates students approaching her in the future.

Frazier earned her Bachelor’s degree from Monmouth University in communications in 2011. In 2014, she graduated with a Master’s degree in corporate and public communications from Monmouth as well.

During her stint at Monmouth, she also enjoyed a 5 year playing career as a midfielder/attack on the women’s lacrosse team. Frazier said that her most memorable moment was winning the Northeast Conference (NEC) during her 5th year. She has also worked as a program director for Next Level Athletics in Bethesda, MD.

Frazier will be entering her second year as the Head Coach of the Hood women’s lacrosse team. Frazier said that the atmosphere of the school immediately drew her in and she loved the school. Frazier believes that it’s “a great challenge and accomplishment to build the program”.

Featuring Hood’s ombudsperson

Wanda Ruffin Photo Courtesy of Marketing and Communications Department

Wanda Ruffin
Photo Courtesy of Marketing and Communications Department

Contributing Writer James Brown

The ombudsperson office offers a safe place where students may speak confidentially about conflicts and other matters of concern and can obtain guidance in a candid and authentic manner without fear of reprisal.

Hood College has its own ombudsperson, Professor of Psychology and Thanatology Wanda Ruffin. Professor Ruffin’s role is to “be a confidential source and help students if they want it.”

Professor Ruffin isn’t responsible for solving students’ issues, but rather a listening ear to help students resolve issues or point them in the right direction.

Information provided to Professor Ruffin is confidential in all situations except for sexual assault and sexual misconduct. Issues of that nature must be presented to the necessary administration to determine disciplinary action.

Meetings with Professor Ruffin are typically more than a one-time session because some issues need to be resolved over time and students need emotional support during the process.

The most common issue seen by Professor Ruffin as the ombudsperson has been students feeling as if they are being treated unfairly.

However, Professor Ruffin has discussed a variety of issues with students including roommate disputes, relationship issues, discrimination, and many more.

Professor Ruffin only gets about six to eight ombuds cases a year, two cases so far this semester, and would love to help more students that need or want it.

Professor Ruffin is a resource for all students, faculty, and staff to use. If you would like to speak with Professor Ruffin about an ombuds related case she can be contacted through her email ombuds@hood. edu or by phone at 301696-3295.

To read more about Professor Ruffin and the role of the ombudsperson please visit the Hood website, click on “Current Students”, and “the Ombudsperson” link will appear on your right.

The transition into the new decade

IMG_3091

Shriner Hall Photo by Ellie Blaser

Contributing Writer Nailah Russell

As many recall, 2002 was quite a pivotal year, marking one of the largest changes that Hood College residential life underwent: integrating males into the dorms.

While it was a difficult decision met with opposition from many sides, the benefits of the transition soon came to fruition. However, in an attempt to hold on to the traditions of Hood College, which many alumnae and current students appreciated, one residence hall remained under the all-female status: Shriner Hall.

Now, as of 2016, that status has been revoked and the building is now open to all genders.

“I was excited to hear that Shriner would be open to males,” said senior, Gideon Fischer. “[Living here] has improved my college experience.”

For those who wish to continue living in an all-female community, the third and fourth floors have been designated as such, and the first two floors are mixed gender. The first two floors have one female and one male bathroom, and the third and fourth floors have one female and one all gender bathroom.

Some Shriner residents who had lived there prior to the change meant that they would be losing a tradition they had gotten used to. They felt as if it was not one of the things that needed to change.

Though, after living in the newly co-ed building for about a month, residents of all genders seem content in their environment. Matt Troutman, head of Residence Life, even goes as far to consider this a “seamless transition” with no negative feedback.

Many students regard this as a positive change and hope that this will improve gender relations on campus as a whole and create a more welcoming climate open to gender-diversity. Upon announcement of the new Shriner order, there was some discomfort among the student body, particularly Shriner residents looking to remain in an all-female space. Yet, new residents feel welcomed and fit well into the community.

“I feel just as a part of the community as anyone else,” Fischer said. Despite worries that Hood traditions will be lost, many students look forward to the creation of new traditions and memories among new communities at Hood College.

“I would like to see Shriner continue to be co-ed,” said junior Ashley Schanken

Labor Day experience

Contributing Writer Nina Walton

This past weekend, Hood students, faculty and staff were granted a small break for the Labor Day weekend holiday. With two weeks of classes under their belts, it was a much-needed chunk of relaxation before getting back into the swing of things full time for the semester.

Several students decided to go home for the weekend to reunite with their parents to catch them up on the first few weeks of college. For first-years, this was their first chance to return home and share tales from orientation week and what it was like to attend college courses with their new professors.

Many students were also able to enjoy a home-cooked meal or grab a bite at one of their favorite restaurants. Whether people traveled home, went on a mini vacation, or stayed local, everyone seemed to have enjoyed the weekend.

Debbie McCutcheon said that she stayed at home. “My son John has a metal detector and he has been digging holes on my property, so I helped him.”

Dwight Bowie said: “I went to a family picnic. There was a lot of food [and] there were two bands as well. There were around three hundred people.”

Others, like Mary Hoag, were not able to take time off for the weekend. Hoag was available through campus safety around the clock in case of an emergency.

Teresa Case, however, was looking forward to having time off of work to enjoy a hike.

Other breaks included attending cookouts, heading home for a visit, going to a lake, visiting Chicago, and everyone’s favorite, catching up on some much needed sleep.