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Wooster field hockey celebrates record-setting season

Ben Blotner

Senior Sports Writer

Saeed Husain

Sports Editor

 

For the first time since 2010, the Wooster field hockey team made it all the way to the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Championship game, but the impressive run fell just short as Denison University edged out the Fighting Scots for the title. A 2-1 overtime victory over Kenyon College on Wednesday, Oct. 31 had sent Wooster to the final round before the Big Red came out on top 2-0 on Saturday, Nov. 3.

In the semifinal, home at the John P. Papp Stadium, Sydney Schuster ’21 came up with the game-winning goal in the 77th minute of the semifinal game, propelling Wooster into the finale. Caitlyn O’Connor ’21 got the assist as she executed a pass to Schuster, who faked out Kenyon keeper Suzy Deems ’22 before scoring the decider. It was Schuster’s 21st goal of the season, topping the NCAC charts.

The score had been tied at 1-1 for over 50 minutes before the Scots finally broke the stalemate. Maeven Barry ’19 got Wooster on the board first with a goal in the 21st minute, also on an assist from O’Connor. Kenyon tied it shortly after when Paulina Mendez ’21 scored in the 24th minute.

Scots keeper Katie Shideler ’21 was impressive throughout, blocking several tough Kenyon shots in the early going and racking up 10 saves overall. The Ladies’ Tara Shetty ’21 was robbed on a pair of point-blank shots in the eighth minute, then set herself up for a one-on-one opportunity against Shideler in overtime only to be denied again.

In the championship game, Denison’s offense came up with a pair of goals in the first half and never looked back. The Big Red’s AC Veith ’22 scored in the eighth minute off an assist from Abby Scully ’21 for a 1-0 lead. Denison then missed three different chances to add to the lead, thanks to strong defensive work by Shideler and Emma Hambright ’20. However, in the 18th minute, Charlotte Godfrey ’21 tipped in a pass from Kat Swan ’19 to make it a 2-0 Denison edge.

Shideler and the other defenders continued to keep it close, as Wooster tried to find its stride offensively but ended up with only two real scoring opportunities. The first time, Denison’s defense bore down and did not allow the Scots to get a shot attempt off. In the 60th minute, Wooster caught a bad break when a would-be goal by Sammi Pavlecic ’21 was nullified because it hit Erika Womack ’19 on the way into the cage. Considering that the Big Red took 18 shots compared to Wooster’s one, the Scots did a remarkable job of hanging in the game.

“In no way should we be disappointed with how we played; we gave it everything we had until the clock hit zero,” said Womack. “I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my last 70 minutes as a [Wooster field hockey] player with anyone else.”

   A record season

The second spot was their highest position in the conference since 2010, which coincidentally was also the last time they won the conference championship, against Wittenberg University.

“I wanted us to finish in the top half of the conference this year,” said Coach Jill Dixon, who is in her first year managing the team. 

The last time they finished at least fourth was in 2013, with a negative overall record of 9-10 and a tied NCAC 7-7. This year, the Scots were 15-6 overall (playing two more games because of their final appearance), NCAC 10-4.

Additionally, on home turf this year, the Scots were nearly insurmountable. Their lone loss out of 10 games was against eventual tournament winners, Denison, losing 2-0, which was coincidentally the same margin with which they lost to the Big Red in the final. 

Strong forward 

line and backend

The team has been an offensive powerhouse this year, scoring 69 goals at an average of 3.3 per game, both numbers being the highest overall amongst conference teams this year. The Scots outscored their nearest competitor in the most goals, Denison, by 19, and in the average by 0.7, from Ohio Wesleyan University. Shooting 376 shots this season, they trailed from the top flight by just five. 

The team overall improved their average goals per game by 0.8 from just last season. This was also their highest average since 2010. The Scots kept a more disciplined year on the field as well, accounting for six green cards compared to 14 last year.

For Wooster, Schuster scored as many as her class year, leading the conference overall. Her teammate O’Connor, scored 15. Schuster also led the pack with 72 shots on goal, leading fellow teammate Womack by 21. 

Schuster, O’Connor and Womack were also in the top-five of the leading points for the conference, accumulating 47, 33 and 26 respectively, with Schuster once again the NCAC leader. 

Shideler, the netminder for the Scots this year, has blocked out a 146 goals, only second in the conference overall, and has kept a save percentage of .844, leading the NCAC.

Changing the 

team’s culture

In an earlier interview with the Voice, Coach Dixon had emphasized how the team dynamic was to shift each year depending on the squad, and how constructing a team culture was critical to the sustainability of the program. 

“I knew coming in that we were going to make a culture change. Players were going to be exposed to a new system and coaching style,” she said. 

For the senior class, Coach Dixon is the third coach they have had in four years. After long-time Coach Brenda Messe left, Elizabeth Ford, the fulltime lacrosse coach, came in as an interim coach.

“Coach Ford did a really good job with them last year, not only preparing them for the transition to a new coach, but also pushing them physically and pushing them mentally,” said Dixon.

“Evaluating a successful season for us was that we were elevating the program from last year. We were moving in a direction that was building a type of team culture that we believed was going to get us towards the championship game, and we did it all in one season.”

The building of a team culture off the field was perhaps important as well, with Dixon herself a biology and math double major at her alma mater. 

“Of course off the field I think they take care of the academic side very well on their own, so I never felt like I needed to micromanage or anything like that,” said Dixon.

The Scots received the National Team Academic Award from the NFHCA for their academic achievements last year, and 11 members were individually recognized.

Focusing on the 

big picture

Dixon cited looking at the big picture as the major difference between this season and the last one. The team philosophy revolved around being ready for games late in the year, and consistently performing throughout the season.

“I think the biggest difference was that I was able to come in with a bigger picture plan, and then articulating to the girls how every day fit into that. We’re not just trying to win on Saturday, we’re trying to win on Nov. 3. We have to get better knowing what our end game is,” she said.

Practices were different for the team this year as well, with Dixon letting her players know beforehand what they should be ready for. 

“I would post the practice plans prior [to practice], and so they would know what to expect leading up to gameday. We were always preparing for those teams that weekend and the different challenges they would present us, but it was always within the bigger picture of what we were trying to do,” said Dixon.

Womack commented how this was something new for the team this year, how it allowed the players to be focused on what they were doing.

“We knew that we were going for 20 minutes of conditioning that day, so we could go hard and get it done, but if we didn’t know the practice plan we could think that we’ll be doing this forever,” she said.

Standout moments

There are sometimes moments in a season where a coach or team knows that they will achieve special things. For Coach Dixon, this was the very first day of practice.

When Coach Dixon was confirmed as coach late last year, the team was given a conditioning packet which even held expectations for each class year. Individuals were also given free reign to improve themselves in areas they felt they needed to be stronger. 

On the moment where she felt the team had it in them to be contenders this season, Dixon commented, “The very first day of preseason, them [the team] coming in and crushing our fitness tests. That told me that they bought in the beginning of the summer. Regardless of if they did everyday of the workout or not, that wasn’t as important to me as the fact that they were ready to go come day one,” she said.

This was integral to how Dixon had planned out their practice and season schedule. A lack of fitness would have meant that more time was required before they could move onto other facets of the game.

Giving the player perspective, Womack agreed, saying that the team knew what had to be done even before their first practice. 

“It was very well understood that we needed to come in with a lot of conditioning so that we didn’t have to spend a lot of time working up to that level. When we had our first meeting with Coach Dixon, she was very adamant that ‘We’re gonna come in, and we need to be here [at this level,’ so we could start focusing on other things.”

Regarding gameplay in particular, Dixon stated that the match against Kenyon in the regular season at home was a moment that stood out. In that game, the Scots and the Ladies were locked at 2-2 when the game was forced into double overtime and then a penalty shootout, where the home team scored on three strokes to take the win.

“When we took Kenyon into double overtime and beat them in penalty shootouts, at that point I knew that we were going to do big things,” said Dixon. “There’s so much behind the scenes that happens that I think people miss, and just so much growing for myself and for the girls on the team, but at that point it was clear to the conference and clear to everybody else that watched us that, we were a threat,” she said.

“During that game, to have players coming into the circle and saying like, ‘This is why we do conditioning in Tuesday practice,’ or ‘This is why we do one vs. ones,’ and so it’s really nice to see how the players connect practice to a game,” she said.

Pride in the program

Dixon was especially pleased with how the profile of the field hockey team grew this year.

“I had professors I had never met before emailing me about players, I had people stopping me and saying, ‘Oh, you’re the field hockey coach!’ and I can only imagine the same happening for the girls too,” she said. “And just like getting that recognition, especially for the seniors looking at their first year to their last year — that’s a huge accomplishment, and so I think we built a lot of pride into who we are as a program and where we’re going.”

Learning from 

the lows

The team had a phenomenal start to the year when in their first game they crushed Wells College 14-1. That took them on a 5-0 win-streak which broke against Denison on Saturday, Sept. 15.

“Denison is a great team, and you don’t ever go into a game expecting to lose, but the reality was that we would probably lose a game this year. I know how I would respond as a player, and there were times that I responded like that where I should have responded as a coach.”

“There are moments in those games where the players start to get down, and it took a few losses for me to learn how to communicate with key players on the field in certain games to pick up the team morale.”

That led to Dixon changing things around, focusing on individual strengths and understanding her team better. 

“I have things which I do with a certain player on the sideline which I don’t do with anybody else, and so the understanding is that if I’m screaming her name, she knows what that means,” she said.

That brought the season back on track for the Scots again, going back to winning ways. “Once those started happening, we were able to pull it together in those tough moments where we started playing individually, started yelling at each other and things were breaking down. It would just allow in that moment for everyone to re-center and remember that we still have a job to do and we still have time in the clock — that this isn’t about me, this is about the team,” said Dixon.

Plans for the 

Scots’ offseason

This will be the first off-season with the Scots for Dixon, and her plans are to dissect areas of weakness. Coach Dixon emphasizes the need to get faster and stronger, and in the next semester, taking a more skill-oriented approach to develop play and incorporate them into matches.

Dixon knows that this season’s finish has set the bar high. For the following season, she does not mince words, saying, “I expect that we will make it to the conference tournament next year.” 

“We have six seniors graduating this year, with four starting positions, and so if first-years come in and crush it, they might see the field really early. The following year is really exciting because we only have three graduating, and if we make the championship next year, win or lose, we will win the next year. Our current sophomore class is strong, and looking at three years of direct coaching for them, I think that will lead them to great things,” she said.

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Pay scale changes to affect future RAs

Laura Haley

News Editor

Due to a budget prediction much lower than the College’s estimations, a change will be implemented in future Resident Assistants’ (RAs) pay, active in the fall of 2019. The change was made known to RAs in an all-staff meeting headed by Nathan Fein, director of residence life and Scott Brown, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, on Oct. 4. In the past, RAs’ salaries were raised each year they returned as staff members. Due to an increase in returning staff this year and not enough resources to fund their pay, the yearly compensation will be adjusted. 

Indicating that RAs will still be paid for their service year to year, Fein specified that the new pay scale will be constructed as a single room at a double rate, with first time RAs receiving 50 percent off of room and meal plan, second-year RAs receiving 60 percent off of room and meal plan and finally, third-year RAs compensated with 70 percent of their room and meal plans. Fein also emphasized that all RA payments act as a direct credit to their student account for room and board, so students would not have tax deducted.

“Like every other department, Residence Life needs to be responsible stewards of the College’s limited resources. The new pay structure will not cut anyone’s pay, and we will still be able to reward and recognize good service by increasing pay from year to year,” stated Fein. 

Although the pay modification will occur for new RAs, it will remain as initially promised to those employed during the 2018-19 academic year who are selected to return for a third year.

“While I’m pleased that the starting pay will remain the same, I am slightly disappointed to see the decrease for second-year RAs specifically. For many, this job helps them afford college, and the second-year decrease will likely push people to work additional jobs to offset the difference, which I’m sure will affect RA productivity in the long term,” stated Holden Hall RA Jordan Griffith ’19. 

Although there is no known plan to eliminate the College’s RA staff, some voiced concerns on the future of their employment.

“There had been rumors of an RA pay reduction and also about removing the entire RA staff as a whole last year,” said Holden Hall RA Saeed Husain ’21. “Now that I’m an RA and I look at all the issues that my residents have sometimes … there is no way a campus could work without RAs.” 

Additionally, Griffith mentioned, “This change in pay also sparked a conversation about what duties RAs may be assigned, and I would hope that with the change in pay, RAs’ roles will be more precisely defined.” Prior to their arrival on campus, RAs were not informed of their mandatory participation in cultural competency and sex education training undergone in RA training. 

 “As RAs we sometimes feel we are underpaid compared to other schools. A lot of RAs, including me, were upset that some of our duties were not exactly defined to us because the contract [reads] ‘other duties as assigned,’ but the intensity of those duties is never defined,” said Griffith.  

Concerning the pay alteration, Fein affirmed, “The most important thing to note is that no one is getting a pay cut. Base pay for all RAs will remain the same.” Despite the pay modification, current RAs believe the update will not prohibit those interested in the job from applying. 

“I think people will still apply to be RAs … [students] may be less motivated, but [it is] still a great role to have on campus,” stated Husain.

 “The logic makes sense, but I think the dean of students and the ResLife leadership need to seriously consider the work RAs do and are expected to do in relationship to their compensation,” stated Griffith. 

 

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Women’s soccer claims NCAC Division III title

Chloe Burdette

Sports Editor

 

For The College of Wooster Fighting Scots women’s soccer squad, their eyes were on the ultimate prize: A chance at the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) trophy. From the start, the team was young, talented and ready for any obstacle opponents threw at them. With perseverance and a winning mentality, the Scots advanced their way through their season with a significant win against a hard-fighting Kenyon College Ladies team in the NCAC Semi-Finals on Wednesday, Oct. 31, and patiently waited to see where their travels would take them next. As the no. 2 seed, Wooster would travel to Granville to take on no. 1 seeded Denison if the Big Red were victorious in the other semi-final. However, with Wittenberg’s huge upset win at Denison, the highest-seed remaining Scots got to host the Tigers at the John P. Papp Stadium in the NCAC Championship game on Saturday, Nov. 3.

With the stakes at an all-time high — an NCAC Championship and a berth in the NCAA national tournament on the line — the Fighting Scots came out of the gates ready to fight. Playing in front of an energized home crowd of 280 fans, Wooster used a stifling defense and an aggressive offense to punch their ticket to the national tournament with a 4-0 rout of the Tigers. The win was the first women’s soccer NCAC tournament championship in school history and the first NCAA appearance since 1996.

The total domination started early as NCAC Tournament MVP Erica White ’19 opened the scoring eight minutes and 31 seconds into the game with a rebound at the goals doorstep that she buried into the back of the net. When Devin Frisby ’19 scored 14 minutes later, the showdown was on. Wittenberg was fortunate to get to halftime only down a couple of tallies, as Wooster dominated both first half possession and shots on goal.    

Any realistic hope the Tigers had of making the game difficult for the Scots evaporated 21 seconds into the second half. With the help of a Wittenberg own goal, the Scots took an insurmountable 3-0 lead after a cross ball deflected off a Tiger defender, trickling into the back of the net and out of reach for the goalkeeper. The scoring ended two minutes later as Miura Wiley ’21 gave the Scots their fourth goal of the day off a nifty assist by White. The second half was similar to the first as Wooster again dominated in all statistical categories.

Not lost in the offensive explosion was the stellar play of the defensive unit, led by goalkeepers Maddy Ireton ’19 and Molly Hutter ’21.  The two net-minders split the game with Ireton playing the first half and Hutter the second. The sophomore made the lone save for the Scots in the 60th minute, going full stretch up to block a shot from Wittenberg’s Missy Bernhardt ’19, to parry the ball above the crossbar.

Bigger Goals: An NCAA Championship

Reflecting on the team from the beginning of the season and their overall journey, there were many goals that were set for the Scots to reach. First came goals from the mind of David “Geordie” Brown, well-known coach at the College for his winning seasons and advancing to the NCAC tournament title three times in his career. This season marks his fourth time reaching the title game overall. “Our goal for the season was to develop a winning mentality and give us the chance to compete at the top of the NCAC,” Brown said. Brown was keen on making sure the team progressed through the season with a sense of teamwork, but also individuality in order for each player to be the best they could be. “We needed to figure out how to get the best out of the group we had and for everyone to have a role. We have given the team the room to have its own individuality but also tried to foster a sense of competitiveness,” Brown added. 

From the players’ point of view, the overall attitude of the team is what helped them progress throughout the season, and eventually snag themselves a championship. Ireton, stellar goalkeeper for the Scots and crucial leader for the team going into the championship game, said the road to the championship was definitely not easy. “There were disagreements, conflicts and sometimes it felt like it was never going to work out. Our team dynamic isn’t perfect, no team’s is, but the key is respect,” Ireton stated. She added, saying, “This year we had a common mission, and we knew that a strong team dynamic could make all of the difference. We have worked as hard off of the field as we have on it, and we know we have to continue working on it for the rest of this season and in the future.” 

Ireton stressed the importance of the “little things” that contribute to the creation of a championship-material team. “The moments that stand out to me are the small ones, the ones that most of the time nobody notices, like when I see one of my teammates going out of their way to cheer up another, or when I see a player giving it their all during a rainy practice and sliding into mud and bench to keep a ball in play during a scrimmage. Thousands of those small moments are what make a championship team.” 

Anna Hartig ’20 also chimed in on the team’s road to the NCAC final. “One of the most important goals that our coach always encourages is to focus on the little things. A team doesn’t win a championship overnight, and we worked on perfecting every little thing to help us win.” She further added, “the work and effort that everyone has done to be where we are now is what makes this team so special and this win so incredible.”

White knew the team had what it took to accomplish such a special win. “I knew we had it in us even before the season began. I remember talking to Maddy [Ireton] over the summer saying how this is our year to bring the ’ship home to Wooster. We did just that. Never this season have I doubted the ability of our team to go all the way. Everyone but ourselves doubted the level of talent on the team, and we turned it around and showed them how great we can really be.”

As the team prepares for their next game in Round One of the NCAA Division III Soccer Championships, Coach Brown strives for a set game plan. We need to figure out our plan for the next game and start implementing that over the next few days of practice,” he stated. “We are playing against other ‘champions’ now, so every team is playing with confidence. We have to figure out how we adjust following some unfortunate injuries in the last week and prepare to play our best at the weekend,” Coach Brown is confident in the team with their future endeavors, stating, “[This team has] a lot of skillful players who have blended themselves together into a tough, hard-working, quick passing and functioning unit.”

On the Road: Postseason

Next up for the Fighting Scots is an NCAA tournament game at Centre College versus the Centre College Colonels on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 11:00 a.m.  With a win, they would face the winner of the University of Chicago versus Grove City on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 1:00 p.m.  

The Fighting Scots know what it takes to win a championship, so they will be bringing that same mentality when playing against their next opponent. 

Overall, the team is proud of their accomplishments and is happy to bring a championship back to Wooster for not only their coach, but also for their supportive fans. In the words of Ireton, “I feel proud of my teammates, coaches and all of the people who support us inside and outside of the College. I feel proud of everyone who has been a part of this program in my four years here. The preparation to win this championship didn’t start this year or the year before that or even the one before that. It has been a lot of hard work on and off the field for many, many years. We are more than ready.”

Photo from Wooster Athletics

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LWC reacts to administration’s post-protest response

Mackenzie Clark

Editor in Chief

In an email sent to the student body on Thursday, Nov. 11, President Sarah Bolton provided updates on the meetings of the Board of Trustees, which took place Oct. 24-26, and addressed the recent work of the Living Wage Campaign (LWC). The LWC protest held before the meeting of the full Board of Trustees on Friday, Oct. 26 had approximately 200 students in attendance.

“Equitable compensation is an important issue, and one which we work on regularly and seriously,” stated Bolton in the email. She also stated that the College is invested in the long-term well-being of each member of the campus community and is committed to providing equitable compensation, which includes both wages and benefits, to all staff. 

In response to Bolton’s email, Margaret McGuire ’20, co-president of the LWC, felt that Bolton neglected to comment on the LWC’s arguments for a living wage. “We seek to assure everyone that we are committed to a much more complex set of issues than just a higher minimum wage at the College,” stated McGuire. “Raising the minimum wage to a living wage has several far-reaching circumstances for the school, including increasing the size of the job applicant pool, slowing the turnover rate and improving staff morale and productivity.”

“It seems to me that the administration is trying to frame us as a group without a platform, because if they acknowledge our platform I don’t believe they can provide a sufficient argument against it,” said Robyn Newcomb ’20, co-president of the LWC. “If they can, I haven’t heard it yet.”

Bolton cited several actions that have taken place in the past three years that support the College’s commitment to equitable compensation. These include (1) instituting a tiered premium structure based on annual income for the College’s healthcare plan, which lowered premiums for more than 220 employees; (2) raising minimum wage by 22 percent in 2016; and (3) performing a campus-wide study of every staff position in 2017, reviewing the wage structure for campus equity and against the local wage environment and increasing the compensation of 170 employees with a commitment to additional increments in each of the next two years. 

“Firstly, the College administration frequently cites ‘benefits’ as a perk that sets the College of Wooster compensation package apart from other local employers,” said McGuire. “We respond that you cannot pay for basic living necessities with benefits. People need money to pay their rent, utilities, food, etc, and many staff members cannot do this even with the benefits package.”

“Second,” continued McGuire, “President Bolton cites raising the wages in 2016 by 22 percent. This corresponds to raising the individuals who were paid the approximately $9 minimum up to $11. So 22 percent may sound like a lot, but it only corresponded to about a $2 increase to the lowest paid staff.”

“Our goal is, always, to offer a compensation package that will continue to attract and retain good people, and compensate them fairly, while working responsibly within the resources we have, which are not increasing,” stated Bolton. Regarding the recent fundraising of the Wooster’s Promise campaign, Bolton explained that the funds raised for that campaign were largely designated for specific purposes by the donors. “The campaign has made a great impact on campus, but it generally does not increase the funds we have to provide raises or to pay for salaries, benefits or other annual expenses,” Bolton continued in the email.

Bolton also stated that in the future, the College will continue to work with the Strategic Planning and Priorities Advisory Committee, which includes staff and faculty representatives, as well as student participants, and with the Staff Committee to consider options moving forward to help achieve the administration’s “shared goals with the Living Wage Campaign of equitable compensation for the great work our employees do.”

“In her closing remarks about forthcoming work President Bolton does not mention including the members of the Living Wage Campaign in discussions,” said McGuire. McGuire emphasized the LWC’s recent meetings  with members of administration, advancement, finance and human resources looking for avenues forward after the demonstration.

“We have done an unfathomable amount of this school’s own work for them, and they have responded by attempting to ignore, trivialize and delegitimize us,” said Newcomb.

Newcomb also commented on the current climate of fear among hourly staff regarding speaking up for their concerns. “To my knowledge, the school is doing nothing to ameliorate the clearly existent fear of speaking up among our staff,” said Newcomb. 

Newcomb noted that, when Bolton responded to her prior emails concerning the violation of staff’s right to dissent on Thursday, Nov. 1, the response email did not address the errors made or cite efforts to work toward a solution other than discussions within the Freedom of Expression Task Force. 

“Just alluding to potential plans is not enough when so many people are terrified of raising their voices on an issue that directly impacts them. I have literally had friends on staff call me to tell me that I can’t talk to them at work anymore because they’re scared of getting caught talking to me. That is just utter insanity.”

“We have been absolutely flooded with staff expressing appreciation for the work we’re doing — although personally, we know that it’s us who should be appreciative for the crucial, difficult and valuable work that our staff are doing for such painfully little compensation,” said Newcomb, speaking to the conversations the LWC has had directly with staff in recent months. “We shouldn’t be patting ourselves on the back because staff are thanking us for listening to them and caring about them — that should have been the bare minimum all along. I hope deeply and urgently that we can live up to what our staff are hoping we can accomplish, but the most important part is that students are caring. As long as students care, this fight is never going away.”

“I think some people are viewing this, perhaps maybe especially on the school’s end, like we built up to this and we did the demonstration and now we’re going to wait a year to hear if they do anything about it, and that is absolutely not the case,” said Newcomb.

“I also want to impress upon the everyone that Living Wage Campaign also saw support through a petition with over 1,200 signatures from students, their families, alumni and faculty,” said McGuire. 

The LWC has also immediately begun work on a letter writing campaign. They plan to send weekly letters from parents, staff, alumni and students to Chair of the Board Don Frederico and to Bolton. The LWC will also be adding new material each week, such as updated numbers in their cost analysis, photos of students holding signs and video interviews with members of the campus community.

A main goal moving forward for the LWC is to organize a public panel before the end of the fall semester featuring key administrators and decision makers from the College. “We’re constantly being deflected and told to look other places. I think it will be really helpful for all of the students looking for answers to have people in the same room answering them publicly,” said Newcomb.

On Monday, Nov. 5, the LWC recieved a follow-up from the Chair of the Board, Don Frederico expressing support, but confirming that decisions regarding future changes to wages are ultimately the president’s.

 “We have a lot of attention right now and people are listening and actively waiting to hear more, so we’re going to keep giving people that,” said Newcomb.

“I think one thing we’re really trying to do this week, most of the problem is that people just don’t realize what the reality is on our campus,” Newcomb continued. “It’s a matter of consciousness. I think the more that people hear, the more they care, and the more they’re willing to do, and I think that’s what we’re really going to press on with, doing so much outreach and educating people about what’s going on, and trying to open up more channels for conversation, discussion and learning.”

“I want to spread information and answers to questions, while building community with each other and building momentum,” said Newcomb.  “I think we’re making it extraordinarily clear that especially right now, urgently, this semester, this is still a conversation.”

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Wooster’s Promise Campaign exceeds expectations

Samuel Casey

Staff Writer

In 2013, Wooster’s Promise: A Campaign for Our Future kicked off with a $15 million donation from Ruth W. Williams and A. Morris Williams, Jr. for the support of science education.  On Oct. 27, while the Board of Trustees was on campus, the campaign came full-circle with the dedication of the Ruth W. Williams Hall of Life Science amidst a celebration for Wooster’s Promise, which concluded over the summer.

Wooster’s Promise, the largest fundraising campaign in the College’s history, focused its support on five major priorities: the life sciences, financial aid, academic strength, experimental education and The Wooster Fund.  The original goal of $165 million was surpassed by 15 percent with the help of 5,790 first-time donors and the participation of over 42 percent of Wooster alumni.

Wayne Webster, vice president for Advancement, spoke to the nature of fundraising campaigns and how Wooster’s Promise got started.  “Campaigns are meant to provide the funds to make strategic plans [for the College] a reality,” Webster said.  “[Strategic plans] are where the priorities are identified through conve sations with the Board and external constituents.”

Rebecca Schmidt, director of Donor Communications & Stewardship/Development, emphasized that these conversations are where Wooster’s Promise originated.  “These were extensive conversations we had with members of the staff, faculty, students, the Board and alumni.  It was a lengthy conversation, so we could get everyone’s priority list,” said Schmidt.

During and following the strategic planning, Webster discussed that there is a “leadership phase” where the people associated with the College reach out to possible donors and engage with them about the priorities in a way that could promote philanthropy.  After that there is a public phase where Wooster’s Promise is extensively advertised.  “By the time the campaign went public in April 2017, we were at $150 million of the $165 million goal,” Webster said.  “So the bulk of campaign gifts come from our closest friends early in the process.”

Webster added that Wooster’s Promise directly affects students and is important for the future of the College.  “Generally, it provides the resources to really help us be innovative and continue to be accessible for students,” he said. “We continue to think about how we can be affordable and accessible to students regardless of their backgrounds.”

President Sarah Bolton stated in Wooster magazine that the campaign will have a great impact on the College and students.  She said this includes 71 new scholarships for students to attend the College regardless of family means, three new professorships, Williams Hall, Brush Hall and the Alley.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have people who are willing to give so generously so that students can live and learn at Wooster and prepare for life after graduation,” Bolton accentuated.

Both Webster and Schmidt said that even though the campaign is over, the College will still be committed to the five priorities as the campaign’s title implies.  “Whether it’s the future or our future, Wooster’s Promise is not an end but a beginning,” Schmidt articulated.

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Campus responds to racist symbolism

Claire Montgomery
Senior News Writer

On Oct. 25, Dean of Students Scott Brown sent an email to inform the campus community of an investigation into a potential bias incident. In the email, he wrote, “Yesterday, a student reported seeing a half-dozen individual bananas hanging from pieces of cord in a tree near Andrews and Armington halls. There is a long and ugly history associated with the use of bananas as symbols of racist hatred … and more specifically with the hanging of bananas from trees.” Brown then invited the campus community to gather in the Babcock Formal Lounge that same day “to discuss this incident, and to learn more about the history embodied in this ugly symbolism.” Shadra Smith, associate dean of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) stated that the Bias Incident Response Team had organized the meeting so “folks could learn and be educated more about the symbolism related to the incident and realize there is historical context that folks might not be aware of.”
Brown started by giving an update about the investigation: “In terms of the investigation, we consider it closed. The folks that were responsible have come forward immediately after the email went out.” In a separate email to the student body, Brown said that after the initial email was sent out, “two students came forward to claim responsibility for placing the bananas there and we will be addressing their involvement individually.”
After Brown informed the group of the updates pertaining to the investigation, Dr. Shannon King of the history department gave an overview of some of the symbolism associated with racially motivated hatred. First, he laid out the basis of scientific racism, saying that “scientific racism … reflected the claims of European colonizers and their American counterparts that black people were inferior to whites and others. To do this, they often compared black people to monkeys.” These images became connected to popular culture and permeated all parts of American society, King continued. “Part of the question becomes how is this connected to the past … in my mind … there is a clear connection for how white people make caricatures of black bodies.”
Dr. Pam Frese of the department of anthropology further demonstrated some of the context associated with bananas and racism.
“The banana wasn’t even indigenous to Africa or the Caribbean, it was brought by the Arabs,” Frese began. Bananas originated in “Southeast Asia, mainly in India, [and were] brought West by Arab conquerors in 327 BCE.” From there, bananas were “brought from Asia to Africa, then brought to the New World — South America and Latin America — by missionaries and explorers.” Bananas became mostly produced in areas associated with the slave trade. “Plantations are required to grow bananas. The banana plantations were planted with slave labor, were harvested with slave labor — it’s labor-intensive. You need people who could do heavy labor for very little or nothing at all,” said Frese.
From there, the conversation turned to campus culture and the importance of cross-cultural and historical education, in light of many students not initially understanding the associations found with bananas hanging from a tree. Dr. Charles Kammer of the religious studies department commented, “One of the things we clearly need to do better on campus is do more cross-cultural education. What is important, however, is for the dominant culture to take the initiative on learning and not always leave minority groups with the burden of educating [the majority]. When you have power, you have the responsibility to use it wisely and not to harm others either intentionally or unknowingly.”
“Although there is a long history of ropes and bananas used in racist and intimidating ways, we have also learned that there are many people who were not aware of its significance,” Brown added. “In general, we hear about most incidents very quickly, and this took four days for the incident to come to my attention. Many people shared they saw it, though they thought it odd, did not make any of those connections. That is why educating ourselves of this history is so important for all of us.”

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