Author Archives | mroberts13

Cornwell meets with students to talk tuition

Kristen Sween

Staff Writer

Last Thursday in the Governance Room of the Scot Center, President Cornwell, along with other members of the administration, met with students to participate in one of SGA’s Fireside Chats. This particular talk focused on an important issue to both students and faculty: tuition and budget cuts.

Laurie Stickelmaier, vice president for Finance and Business began the talk by giving an overview of the budget and discussing where our tuition money is spent. President Cornwell then took the reins, assuring students that he knows the student population is unhappy with recent budget cuts and the increasing tuition. He also noted that Wooster gives out a huge amount of financial aid in comparison to other schools; 95 percent of students receive some amount of financial aid.

“There was a call to action, and he was answering it.” Ginna Rich ’14, committee chair for Outreach and Diversity in SGA, said about President Cornwell.

Cornwell opened up the talk for discussion and welcomed any questions that the students had. The students who attended the discussion were looking for answers, and definitely did their homework. Their questions showed that they were very well informed and not afraid to ask hard questions. One student even asked Cornwell if he would be willing to cut his own salary. Cornwell responded saying, “I have a high salary. I get paid what presidents get paid. And if I were to go somewhere else, Wooster would hire another president that would make what I do or more.” He also noted that while his salary is “significant,” it “wouldn’t make a big difference.”

The reactions from Tuition 101 seem to be split. Some thought the talk was very successful, while others were left unsatisfied.

Jordan McNickle ’14 thought the event went well. He appreciated that the administration took time out of their afternoon to meet with students, and felt that they did their best in answering questions. He also noted that, “A greater push toward transparency was one of the other positive results of the event, as students and administrators in attendance agreed that the information presented should be available to everyone on campus.” He continued, “I think if the student body can continue to have conversations like this with the administration, faculty and staff moving forward, then we can achieve greater transparency and address some of the student body’s biggest concerns.”

“The students want to be heard, and the administration wants to hear us. I think SGA fulfilled its role in doing that,” said Molly Recka ’14,

Some students have voiced concern that Cornwell doesn’t understand the situation that international students are in. They do not receive the same types of grants that American students can receive, and transferring to a new college due to financial concerns is not as easy as it might be for American students.

At the end of Tuition 101, President Cornwell asked Rich if they could hold an event like Tuition 101 every year before the budget comes out in hopes of having better communication between the administration and the student body.

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Student group continues to combat rape culture on campus

Ian Benson

News Editor

With a report to the administration from the Committee investigating the incident at Lip Sync expected later today, the campus discussion on sexual assault has continued through the week. Students who met to discuss the original incident organized an event on Thursday called “What is Rape Culture?: Sexual Misconduct at the College of Wooster” with the aim of raising awareness about the issue on campus.

Throughout the week, students tabled in the front of Lowry lobby explaining this event and handing out teal bandanas and cards listing local resources for survivors of sexual harassment, assault and violence. At 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, the library bells chimed and students who participated put on the bandanas and gathered in the Oak Grove. The event featured speakers and students discussing what rape culture means and how it affects them. The event concluded with the group signing a statement about ending rape culture.

Scott McLellan ’15 was one of the students who helped to plan the event and is a member of the new campus group End Rape Culture at Wooster.

“People often think that you become a survivor of sexual harassment or violence when you are physically or verbally attacked,” McLellan said. “This group is important because I feel it to be our message that we create survivors when we perpetuate a culture in which it is a single person’s responsibility to not be harassed or assaulted.”

Both McLellan and Gina Christo ’14 acknowledged that while the group and the event are reactions to the Lip Sync incident, the problem is far larger than just what happened. “This is not Beta’s fault; their performance was a breaking point,” McLellan said. “I don’t think there was any conscious malicious intent associated with that performance.”

“The objective of this new student group is not to punish one group that made a mistake,” Christo said. “It’s to make a larger commentary on the culture.”

Kelsey Jandrey ’13 was one of the speakers at the event on Thursday. Jandrey regretted that the group did not get its start until near the end of her senior year when this problem has existed for a very long time here.

“It saddens me that it took this incident to make people care, but at least people care now,” she said.

McLellan and Christo plan on continuing the End Rape Culture at Wooster group into next year. They hope to replace No Means No at first-year orientation with something more accessible and less jovial in nature. Both also see problems with the infrastructure of the College on the issue of sexual assault, ranging from the responses of Security, the Wellness Center and the Administration to the general climate of comfort reporting these assaults. Their hope is to work towards changing these issues next year.

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Budget allocations cause major cuts to campus groups

The African Students Union’s budget was cut by more than 81 percent; multi-ethnic groups cut on average by 49 percent

Sarah Carracher

Senior News Writer

The student organization budget allocations resulted in large cuts to multi-ethnic organizations’ budgets much to the chagrin of their members. All student groups, on average, were cut 38 percent, and the 14 multi-ethnic groups on campus were cut an average of 49 percent.

Campus Council usually undertakes the budget allocation process. This year, however, the budget was done by the SGA budget committee, which consists of SGA members as well as non-SGA students. “Representatives were selected to include connections to as many groups on campus as possible,” Kalinay said.

Furthermore, the committee adopted a practice of item-cutting at the urging of Campus Council, because they would rather fund whole events. However, “Any group can reallocate funds from one item to another as long as it was part of the original budget,” Kalinay said.

“Council chose to allow SGA to be the budgetary review body in the hope that the process would become more transparent to the campus community, and that outrageous budgets would be kept ‘in-check’ by the student body,” said Campus Council representative Eric Painting ’14.

Despite these hopes, the budget committee was greatly affected by the very small amount of time they were given to decide the budgets for more than 100 student organizations. Consequentially, cuts were made that have been called in to question by some groups.

One of the most prominent examples is the African Students’ Union (ASU), whose budget was cut by more than 81 percent. Their budget was one minute late, but the group considers the cuts extreme. The Africa Night performance, which is their biggest event and serves to educate the student body about African culture, was cut in its entirety. The SGA budget committee explained in their budget allocation letter that they believed “similar events are hosted by W.A.C.” Ainslee Robson ’15, the vice president of ASU, felt offended that the groups were considered to be “under the same umbrella…it just seemed very wrong and insensitive.”

Peter Jeffy ’14, the public relations representative and vice president-elect for Men of Harambee, quickly organized a meeting among the multi-cultural groups to discuss and troubleshoot the issue. The meeting on April 28 was attended by a large number of multi-ethnic group members as well as members of the budget committee: SGA Treasurer Steven Hardy ’14, Justin Kalinay ’13, Thanh Dang ’15 (International Student Association, SEA-US) and Joe Weston ’16.

Mamoudou N’Diaye ’14, who is on W.A.C. Cultural Topics committee as well as ASU, affirmed that the two groups are not comparable, saying that W.A.C.’s central purpose is to entertain and that there is never any guarantee that they would do an event similar to the Africa Night performance.

“It’s belittling us to entertainment and only putting on spectacles,” Robson said of comparing the two groups.

Other items on ASU’s and other groups’ budgets were cut for “lack of specificity.” Deja Moss ’14, president-elect of the Black Student Association, commented on the budget form: “It did not present us with a way to prepare the best budget.”

Furthermore, the groups were not given much chance to defend their budget requests: the time slots that were available to do so were ten minutes long, and groups stated they were given about five minutes to talk.

Furthermore, Robson tried to appeal ASU’s budget, but upon doing so learned that all the slots had already filled: a problem that many other groups have encountered. These issues may in part be symptoms of the severe time constraint placed upon the budget committee to complete the allocations.

Hardy stated that the item-cutting method will not be a part of the budget allocation process in the future.

“There will be a lot of things that are different about the way budget allocations are done next year,” Hardy said. The budget committee, like many students, was not entirely satisfied with how the budget process worked.

Despite this assertion, students are concerned about next year’s budget and feel that these cuts are evidence of general insensitivity and a lack of knowledge on campus, asserting out that SGA may not be very familiar with the student body that they are supposed to represent.

Hardy, upon being asked if he had a good understanding of the multi-ethnic organizations and their missions, answered that he did not.

“They are not knowledgeable or actively trying to be engaged with the students they represent,” Jeffy said.

Ngozi Cole ’15 also voiced her concern: “It shows layers and layers of insensitivity and it’s a much bigger problem than just budget allocations.”

Africana Studies Professor Boubacar N’Diaye, advisor of ASU, is also concerned about what the budget cuts signify: “Budgets are not just a number: they really signify value choices, and I think that should never be forgotten…what does it say to cut any student organization by a whopping 81 percent?”

In 2012, Danny Ha, Program Coordinator for Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and Office of International Student Affairs, formed a Multicultural Student Council, which students hope can be utilized to prevent higher budget cuts for multi-ethnic organizations in the future. Jeffy hopes that each multi-ethnic organization will be required to have one representative at each meeting, and that this council can be used to solve budget issues as well.

Some students proposed the budget committee to set aside a lump sum for the multi-ethnic organizations, and have the groups divide this amount amongst themselves. Since the budget cuts apparently stem from a lack of communication and understanding between SGA and the groups, they are hopeful that this issue could be resolved amongst themselves.

If SGA were to maintain control of the multi-ethnic organizations’ budget allocations, Moss suggests, “there should be some new requirements put on the ballot for us to have someone be on SGA.” Currently, the BSA and ISA alternate with one representative on SGA each year. Furthermore, they suggest that SGA members should be required to dedicate a certain amount of their time to different types of events across campus, in order to gauge the student body more accurately.

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Put Yourself in My Chair: Students advocate for disability awareness

Tanvi Sood

Staff Writer

A group of students independent of organizations, put together an event to raise campus awareness about people with disabilities. “Put Yourself in My Chair” was a wheelchair obstacle course organized at Lowry Circle on April 17th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event grabbed the attention of students, faculty and staff as they passed by Lowry center.

Kanika Issar ’15 created the event after she spent the summer in Latvia volunteering with Apeirons, a European organization for raising disability awareness. While in Latvia, she helped the organization put together a wheelchair obstacle course at a music festival. “I came back to campus and saw everything in a different light, so I began thinking about what I could do to make people more aware,” Issar says.

As part of her on-campus job as a college tour guide with the Admissions Center, Issar recounts instances of visiting families being unable to access buildings, or having to take a tedious route to get up to Lowry Dining Hall. Inspired, Issar started mapping out disability access points on campus. She suddenly realized that certain buildings had impractical floor plans for people with disabilities.

“Babcock has restrooms for the disabled on the second and third floors, [but] the building has no provision for these people to get up there.”

Issar, the primary director of this initiative, found four other students that were interested in the project. Andrea Roganovic ’14, Susmit Tripathi ’15, Sreyan Chowdhury ’14 and myself came together with Issar as part of fulfilling Dr. Charles Kammer’s social action project requirement for the Religious Studies class, “Ethics in a Social Perspective.”

The event’s organizer hopes to raise student and faculty awareness and come together to note the access points on campus. “The point was to make people literally put themselves in someone else’s shoes by putting them into the wheelchair for just one minute,” said Issar. The obstacle course was comprised of a small wooden ramp that participants had to cross before signing a poster with their reaction.

Roganovic said “It was strange to feel so stuck.” This was a shared sentiment as participants, prior to jumping into the wheelchair, laughed at how seamless the obstacle course would be, realizing only afterward, how hard it was to maneuver and balance on the wheelchair.

“It started off like a game,” said Tripathi. “But the obstacle course did a good job of showing us how frustrating and inaccessible campus could be.”

Faculty and staff members came together with students to raise awareness for people with disabilities. Over 80 people, including President Cornwell and his wife, Peg signed the poster.

“Initiatives like this would promote equality,” said Chowdhury. “No one in society should be marginalized, and handicapped people should face less inconveniences than they do already.”

Issar and her team are confident that they will come together again at the start of the next academic year to drive the point home to the College community. Without revealing the specifics of their agenda, Issar did say a brochure with a campus map of accessibility points and a video could be in the making to raise awareness in the future. The event coordinators hope that the participants remember how they felt in the chair for just one minute.

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Wooster excels at math and scientific modeling competition

Ben Taylor

Staff Writer

A group of Wooster students that competed in an annual mathematical and scientific modeling competition  after finished in the top 45 percent of the prestigious competition. Both teams placed well at the international event held in February against thousands of teams from schools like Harvard and Princeton. The teams gained honorable mention status and outperformed teams from a variety of prestigious schools (Cornell being just one example) along the way.

The teams, both composed of three students, each worked on a different problem over the course of a 96-hour time period. Amanda Steinhebel ’15, Joseph Smith ’15 and Xiaomeng Ye ’15 worked on an MCM (Mathematical Contest in Modeling) problem. The question required that the members develop a model for a brownie pan that would allow an even distribution of heat while also maximizing the available oven space.

The group chose between two options for their task. The problem they picked, said Steinhebel, demanded a great deal of ingenuity from the team members: “The [problem] that we ended up choosing, that seemed more creative [and involved] thinking-outside-of-the-box type solutions, and the other one seemed a lot more straightforward and, frankly, a little more boring.” Steinhebel notes that some of the other teams were likely intimidated by the creativity of the question and proceeded to opt for its simpler counterpart instead.

At the same time that Steinhebel’s team was working on this problem, Tyler Poppenwimer ’14, Norman Chamusah ’14 and Hunter Vanhorn ’14 were all completing an ICM (Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling) question for which they had to design a computer program that could accurately predict the future state of a number of Earth’s ecosystems. This team couldn’t choose their challenge and were not given all the required data up front. They had a scant 96 hours from the time the problem was released at 8 p.m. on January 31 to research, answer the question and write about their process, which was no small task.

“It was so difficult to find because we were looking at different variables” said Chamusah. The sources they were using to find the relevant statistics did not always line up with one another. Ultimately, they had to decide which sources they trusted the most and go from there, creating a model which was able to predict all the variables accurately.

The event itself was grueling. On top of answering the problems, both teams had to write a 20 page paper describing the process they had used to come to their solution, all of this while still managing their regular routines. Chamusah notes that most members of his team were only able to sleep between four and five hours a night.

Some of the schools let their students miss class to work on the problems, but Wooster students didn’t have that advantage.

“At the end of the day we are here to go to school and this is just an extracurricular project,” noted Steinhebel, who even had to take a break for a Scot band concert in the midst of everything else.

While that may be the case, the competition is certainly in line with Wooster’s academic goals. “The MCM/ICM competition is a great experience for the students and right in line with the College of Wooster’s mission of independent minds working together, undergraduate research and being leaders in an interdependent global community, and we should be proud of what these six talented students accomplished,” said Mathematics Professor Robert Wooster, and he is most certainly right. These students ought to be applauded for their hard work and how well they have represented the College through it.

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Moizuk departs for Case, graduate school

 

Eric Moizuk

I’m the class of 2014, but I was lucky enough to successfully apply to the 3-2 social work program Wooster has with Case Western Reserve. So while I am not a senior, I will be going to grad school in Cleveland this fall. As such, having to reflect on my experience at Wooster after having only spent three years here feels unreal. It seems like yesterday I was moving into Bissman as a freshman with the coolest RA ever, trying to understand what college was.

But there are a few things I think everyone should keep in mind as they go through not just college, but life in it’s entirety.

Do stupid things. Not like harmful stupid things, but things like holding a concert on your apartment’s roof based only on a friend’s suggestion that you should do so. Make memories with the people around you, because your best friend in the world right now is someone you met a few years ago, maybe even just a few months ago. Always make sure to keep in touch with these people, even if you don’t see them at all in ten years. They were an important part of your life and you should never forget where you came from.

And with that, remember that nothing is permanent. Everything changes, so go with the flow. Don’t fight change, embrace it and let yourself be changed. Looking back at yourself in 10 years, do you want to be the same person you are today? And don’t just let change happen, make it happen. Better yourself. You know what you hate about yourself and now is the chance to do something about it, because you’re in college and have all the time in the world. Do what you fucking want to do. Don’t let yourself get weighed down and be negative, enjoy every single part of life that you can because one day you just might wake up and have a year less of your life at a place which you love dearly, and is your home. Cherish every moment and memory you have here at Wooster, because it doesn’t last forever.

Going to Wooster, each and every one of us has so many great opportunities in life make sure you take advantage of those, and don’t let time pass you by too quickly.

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