Monday, July 23, 2012

School soon

Little over a month til school yall, what class are u takin'???

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The bookstore should sell these

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Sorry yall about incorrect figures about the incoming freshman First Year.  My 'source' was incorrect which made my 'investigative journalism' incorrect.  The actual number of incoming freshman is a normal number of students. 

So, sorry.  Blame is on my 'source'.  Here are some clues as to her identity:
  • She is a girl
  • She is a student
  • She is a NARP
So that should narrow it down for yall to speculate as to who this HORRIBLE SOURCE was.  Sorry again.  Also sorry for waiting like...several days to edit the post.  I am ~lazy~

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Urgo Responds to Criticism EDITED/UPDATED

Urgo, a week later, sent out the following email about the Admissions changes:
Dear St. Mary’s College Community,

News of changes in Admissions and Financial Aid took many by surprise. I want to outline the reorganization of our admissions and financial aid functions and articulate why these changes will move the College forward in significant ways. The new strategy has necessitated a reorganization of positions, which included the departure of colleagues who have contributed a great deal to the College over the years. We will miss Rich Edgar and Lisa Crowe. I want to thank them for their hard work over many years in the service of St. Mary's, and wish them the best in their future endeavors.

For years, St. Mary’s College separated its admissions from its financial aid processes. In Admissions, we admitted students regardless of their financial profile and awarded merit aid to the highest achievers. Then, in Financial Aid, we distributed our limited budget for need-based aid equitably among accepted students who qualified, and capped the amount any single student would be awarded. These policies resulted in many students being left with a large gap between what they were awarded and what they could afford, and we lost many students whom we believed would benefit from  a St. Mary’s College education. 

We need to do better—and we will. 

In order to offer prospective students the opportunity to benefit from the St. Mary’s experience, we will integrate admissions and financial aid and, for this reason, the reorganization of these two divisions at the College is critical.

Under the guidance of our legislative charge to be “affordable to all and thriving on diversity,” we will admit students and strive to make their attendance at St. Mary’s College financially possible. Wherever we are able, it is our plan to offer larger grants and smaller loans to students with financial need. We are in the planning stages of a campaign to raise private funds to help us move toward the goal of placing St. Mary’s College within financial reach of any student whom we admit.

We will also continue to award merit scholarships in strategic ways. In 2012-13, students will be required to apply for merit aid, and scholarship applicants will also be asked to submit the FAFSA to determine if they might qualify for federal and state funds.

In order to achieve the best possible mix of students in our community, it is imperative that we select our classes from a broad and deep applicant pool. To date, our entering classes have been consistently strong. We must secure that strength going forward in an increasingly competitive environment.

We are casting a wider net for qualified applicants, revising recruitment materials, and stepping up fall recruitment travel schedules. We have streamlined the admissions process by becoming exclusive users of The Common Application. We’ve altered application deadlines, aligning them with other colleges in and out of state. Our applicant pool will be evaluated by committee to assure we continue to build the kinds of talented, quirky, independent-minded classes for which St. Mary’s has always been known, but which we risked losing without significant realignment of the Admissions and Financial Aid offices.

We’re not changing our end-goal, but our strategy is evolving. My commitment to you is to work to preserve what we hold most dear, and what we know as the essential spirit of St. Mary’s College. As always, I am available to discuss the reorganization or any other issues of concern.
This was a long email!  Let us ~analyze~ it.

Urgo states that "the news of changes in Admissions took many by surprise," which if we are to believe various rumors and comments on this 'student' blog would include Rich and Lisa themselves.  According to comments Rich had "and hour to clear out his desk" and "Lisa had no time to say goodbye to coworkers."  IDK how truthful these comments are, but that would be kinda 'shitty' if they are true.

So, according to Urgo this is all the result of decreasing number of applicants.  According to some INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM the 2016 class is comprised of LESS THAN 250 STUDENTS (usually it's like 400~)Which is an absurdly low number.  Obviously something had to be done.  Urgo's first plan was to make St. Mary's less unique via jettisoning the old application and using the increasingly popular 'Common App'.  The Washington Post writeup covers this and explains it a bit (along with the whole situation, and links to but failed to reference this ever important 'student' blog) that basically you fill out on application and you can send that to lots of expensive fancy schools.  So, the idea was that by making St. Mary's, a college that is often described by many as being 'unique', less unique via a simpler application process more students would apply.  But clearly that didn't work since the incoming freshman class is UNDER 250 STUDENTS (btw this figure comes from a really reliable source). 

I would like to pause here because it seems like no one has even commented on the fact that perhaps applications are down BECAUSE TUITION HAS BEEN RAISED FOR FIVE OF THE PAST SIX YEARS.  And that tuition had doubled over the past decade.  Tuition has literally doubled over the past decade.


Moving on, the 'mainstream' Common App clearly failed, so Urgo's next plan is to restructure how Financial Aid is distributed.  In the past St. Mary's used 'blind-based-need admissions,' meaning that you get admitted regardless of how much financial aid you need.  Which makes sense.  Actually I think I used the wrong term just now, but you should read the WaPo article for a fuller explanation.  Urgo wanted to change this system to 'need-sensitive' meaning that admission of a student will depend on the family's ability to pay for college.  I don't really understand this.  Are people's families actually able to pay for college, like...100k over the course of four years?  I thought everyone just took out loans that will stick with them for the rest of their life.  IDK.  Anyway, the idea is to admit people whose families can pay for college (is this a real thing?) and then to only admit some people whose families cannot pay for college.  By admitting fewer people 'whose families can't pay for college' they will be able to support those people better financially.

Okay, so the above got a little difficult to understand by the end because I forgot how to write coherently.  But the basic idea is, increase the amount of financial aid PER STUDENT that really needs it, and decrease the amount of financial aid going to other students.  So I THINK this means increasing for financial aid for really poor kids, and reducing financial aid for middle class kids who can't fully pay for college, via college is fucking expensive.  Which sounds okay, via getting more poor kids into college.  Also the total amount of financial aid money that is going towards 'need based' vs. merit is increasing from 25% to 50%, according to comments.

Sorry if none of the above made sense.  Some of my explanations may be way incorrect.  Anyway, it would seem that Rich and Lisa did not agree with this plan, and so they were sacked.  There are also allegations that the new VP Pat Goldsmith just wanted her own people in charge of Admissions and Financial Aid, and that she selected a friend for the job.  Who knows if those ~rumors~ are true though.

Okay so I think most importantly, what does this mean for the future of ~St. Mary's~ ???

I think that some people would agree that over the past few years as tuition rates have increased the number of really affluent students has increased.  I can honestly say that if St. Mary's cost what it does today, when I first applied, I would not have applied.  So, with the new system that gives financial aid for fewer people (but those that do get it will get a lot, which is great via supporting people who cannot afford college) I would imagine the number of 'affluent students' will continue to increase, similar to how nearby private liberal arts colleges (George Washington, Georgetown, American, St. John's, etc.) have lots of 'affluent students'.  Which in a sense is good for the school, via they will probably donate more.  And if the students are affluent/prestigious, then the institution will begin to be seen as 'prestigious.  The new policy seems like a deliberate effort to make permanent the changes that have occurred over the past few years, the increase in 'affluent students,' via pricing the college out of range of many students, those who can't afford the 15k+ tuition without any financial aid.

So IDK, that is my ~tin foil hat~ theory.  What do yall think ???  Any important points/issues I forgot to address?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Parking on Grass

This past February Urgo sent out an email urging us to no longer park on the grass on campus.  I never really noticed anyone parking on grass on campus, so I had not realized it was an issue.  Here is the email in question:
Dear Campus Community,

We all recognize and celebrate the beauty of our campus; it’s among the hallmarks of St. Mary’s College. The establishment of a certified Arboretum is perhaps the most tangible, recent expression of that recognition. And we’ve all worked hard to keep the campus – our academic home – free of trash and marked by points of natural and cultivated beauty. I am especially grateful to the students who participate in the Sunday “Keep St. Mary’s Beautiful” clean-up tours on campus, to the physical plant and groundskeepers who tidy up, remove full trash containers, and maintain the campus, and to each and every one of us who picks up, rather than passes by, a stray piece of litter.

A beautiful campus is conducive to academic contemplation as well as to spiritual renewal. It’s been our goal at St. Mary’s College to move parking off campus and on to perimeter areas. We’ll soon be starting a project to make our one thoroughfare – State Route 5 that bifurcates our campus – a safer area through traffic safety and calming. On campus, I have asked Public Safety to be diligent in enforcing traffic and parking prohibitions. We should not be parking our cars on grassy areas, in front of academic buildings or residence halls where parking is not allowed, and we should not be driving cars on walkways. We don’t like to do so, but violators will be ticketed. When going across campus for meetings or events, let’s take advice from the wellness committee and make it a walking, not a driving (and parking) opportunity.

Please continue to help to maintain the integrity of our grounds. Our campus landscape is a fundamental aspect of our identity; a sense of place is inherent in the way we think of the College.

I appreciate your help in preserving the beauty of our campus.

Joseph R. Urgo
A pretty reasonable request.  Even though parking on campus is not always easy, there is generally enough room for everyone.  The only major downside to this is that (apparently) Admissions was no longer allowed to let perspective students park on the Admissions field/SMUT field (via people play ultimate there).  This is a huge issue because tons of cars come on those Saturdays for open houses and they need somewhere to ~park~.  So that obviously upset Admissions people (notice a ~trend~?).

But then during a recent River Concert Series performance people were allowed to park on that field, on the grass.

So what is the deal~.  Are people allowed to park on the grass or not ???

File this under: incredibly minor things that normally wouldn't bother anyone, but will probably piss people off via general mood of anger towards SMCM.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Great posts from the past

Seeing a lot of ~new visitors~ via the Rich Edgar posts etc.  Let me explain what this 'blog' is.  This is a 'student' blog about St. Mary's.  Posts are usually 'kinda funny' or informative.  The blog initially got popular via liveblogging SGA meetings.  Anyway, here are some posts from the past that were popular and that you may find 'entertaining':
Those are some of the most popular according to page views.  Here are some personal favorites:
And my favorite post of all time, the one that made it all worth it.  Hands in dresses.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Zylak Sacked

Gonna miss u Zylakbro.  Good times.  You were such a dad figure to me...coming around the night of Gala...taking pictures with us...reminding us not to get 'too crazy'.

Sry that the picture is so blurry via I don't have a $1,500 camera that the SGA bought me, unlike some terrorist news organizations.  But there he is...chillin with his bullhorn...posing for photos....gonna miss u dude.

As yall may remember, Zylak took over after the first new Director of Public Safety was revealed to not have the credentials he said he had.  He was a glorified mall cop, I believe.  So then the school went with former Sheriff Zylak.

So, earlier today the new Dean Ifill sent out an email regarding the Zylak removal.  Except Ifill seems to be incompetent when it comes to emails.  It was pretty entertaining.  Here is a transcript:
To the St. Mary's Community:

With the departure of David Zylak as Director of Public Safety, the College will immediately institute a search process for a new director. The search committee, drawn from our faculty, students and staff will be announced when it is confirmed.

I am pleased to announce that Melvin A. (Mac) McClintock will supervise the officers and staff of Public Safety on an interim basis. Mac has provided strong leadership as Assistant Director of Human Resources and as Affirmative Action/EEO Officer in the five years he has been at St. Mary's, following a distinguished 20-year career in the military.

With the assistance of the search committee and the participation of the larger campus community, we hope to appoint a new Director as soon as possible.


Bert Ifill
Interim Dean of Students

From: Ifill, Roberto N
Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 4:10 PM
To: Mercer, Sally; McClintock, Melvin A
Subject: FW: Draft statement on Campus Safety

Hello, folks. I will delete the reference to a specific timetable, and just need info on the number of years Mac has been here (I think it's been five, but I want to make sure). If there are no other changes, I would like to send this out on all campus mail on Monday afternoon. By the way, how did things go today?

From: Ifill, Roberto N
Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 3:57 PM
To: Botzman, Thomas J; Urgo, Joseph
Subject: RE: Draft statement on Campus Safety
Consider it deleted. Mac can fill me in on his length of tenure at St. Mary's. I presume that, if it's good to go, I send it out on Monday?

From: Botzman, Thomas J
Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 1:59 PM
To: Ifill, Roberto N
Subject: RE: Draft statement on Campus Safety
I would delete the final bold print. We can hope but probably shouldn’t promise that speed.

From: Ifill, Roberto N
Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 12:14 PM
To: McClintock, Melvin A; Mercer, Sally
Cc: Urgo, Joseph; Botzman, Thomas J
Subject: Draft statement on Campus Safety

To the St. Mary's Community:

With the departure of David Zylak as Director of Campus Safety, the College will immediately institute a search process for a new director. The search committee, drawn from our faculty, students and staff will be announced when it is confirmed.

I am pleased to announce that Melvin A. (Mac) McClintock will supervise the officers and staff of Campus Safety on an interim basis. Mac has provided strong leadership as Assistant Director of Human Resources and as Affirmative Action/EEO Officer in the (number of) years he has been at St. Mary's, following a distinguished 14-year career in the military.

With the assistance of the search committee and the participation of the larger campus community, we hope to appoint a new Director as soon as possible (by the beginning of the academic year?)

Bert Ifill
Interim Dean of Students
Okay so what happened was that Ifill sent out the email, along with the draft and discussion about the draft.  I don't know how someone makes this mistake.  And then he sent out the 'EMAIL RECALL' which you see every few months.  I don't think anyone understands the whole 'email recall' thing can't recall an email.  I think it's an 'old people thing'.

Anyway, it doesn't really explain how/why Zylak left, if he was fired/sacked or if he left of his own accord.  He was a pretty chill dude.  Either way we now have yet another Directory of Public Safety!  That makes 4 in 2 years (I think) and soon to be 5 when they find the actual next director.

Also of interest is the July 6 (Friday) email where Ifill asks "By the way, how did things go today?" which I can only assume is referring to the whole sacking of Rich Edgar and Lisa Crowe.  It was sent less than an hour after the email announcing the departure of Rich.  INTERESTING.  Not much else to say about that.

So, another situation where we don't know the whole story, and thus can only speculate.  Here is my theory:

Actually I couldn't think of anything funny.  I'm guessing he left of his own accord.  Maybe he got bored with it, or it wasn't what he was looking for.  I feel like Sheriff and director of Public Safety are two very different jobs.  One deals more with 'law enforcement' and the other with 'college policy enforcement'.  The two have some overlaps, but in one realm having some weed can result in jail, and in the other it results in a slap on the wrist.

Anyway, good luck Zylakbro...gonna miss u and yer cool name.

Monday, July 9, 2012


btw yall can always contact me at with leaks, stories, etc.  Especially fun stories about SMCM that are lighthearted. 

Also this is the same email I use for Craigslist casual encounters, so...

Rich Edgar Follow Up, feat. PANIC

The recent post about Changes at Admissions (from a few days ago) resulted in a huge outpour of support for Rich Edgar, to the extent that a petition was created, asking that Rich be reinstated, which already has over 500 signatures.

Additionally, it seems that the removal of Rich and Lisa has sparked a PANIC among staff members, that they could be next.  This is evident from many staff members supporting the aforementioned petition, but not signing it to avoid being publicly associated.  And the following is a leaked (via Investigative Journalism ) email which shows that the fear has even inhibited some staff members from initiating a going away party.

Faculty are generally safe from being fired, but staff are not.

That being the case, it would be helpful if one or two tenured faculty would sponsor a party for Rich and Lisa, determine a location, and then ask all of us  (staff included) to   bring little bits of this and that. I think so many of us would like to “be there” for Richard Lisa.
Are staff members overreacting, via this PANIC?  PANIC regarding whether or not hosting a party for Rich and Lisa could get them sacked as well?  Hard to say, but I don't blame them.  It seems pretty clear that this was done during the summer, weeks after Alumni Weekend so that students and alumni alike would have a diminished reaction towards the news.  The email above resulted in the following response

It's very sad that we have to fear being fired for attempting to honor respected and beloved colleagues, who have worked here for decades and deserve our support.  I suggest that one of the first things we take up in the fall is to rededicate ourselves to the "spirit of community" that is proclaimed in our mission statement.  A humane workplace is essential for all of us -- staff and faculty alike.
A response that is hard to argue with.  And granted, we don't know the whole situation inre: why Rich and Lisa were sacked, but any workplace where people are removed so easily is only going to create tension and PANIC among the employees.

Wonder what is gonna happen.  Lots of alumni in the comments on this blog and on the petition saying that they are gonna 'vote with their wallets'.

Also the bay net picked up the story...I think primarily using what I had already written.  And they referred to this as 'a student blog' LOLZ.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Check Out the Latest Cook's Sign

Newest Cook's sign is in reference to popular Sir Mixalot (not sure if he is a legit knight or not...) Kelis song Milkshake.  I found this very entertaining.  Source of image:  Lauren T on The Twitter (the source of 40% of the content these days...).  This image is a few weeks old now actually.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

SMCM Athlete of the Week: Women's Lax Team

SMCM Athlete of the Week goes to the Women's Lacrosse Team for their wonderful Call Me Maybe music video thing.  What a cute way to develop team bonding sans alcohol.  My roommate recently yelled at me for playing this song earlier today.  Feelin like she is shaming me for enjoying 'good' music.  IDK what her deal is...

ANYWAYS Check it out via it's somewhat entertaining and I wish more sports teams did funny things like this. 

Also this reminds me of when the school was accepting applications via YouTube videos (but IDK maybe they still do...still not sure how I feel about that...)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Changes over at Admissions

Some big changes going on at Admissions!  Here is an email that was sent out recently (actually IDK if it got sent out yet, found it on LinkedIn):

Dear Campus Community: 

Admissions at St. Mary’s College is in the process of launching an ambitious, national recruitment campaign designed to improve the quantity, quality, and diversity of our applicant pool, which has been shrinking in recent years. 

A bold campaign requires positions that are both thoroughly grounded in traditional best practices in admissions and financial aid and that are creative, innovative, and forward-looking. We’ve combined two traditional assistant director positions to create an Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid position. We anticipate the creation of one or two additional new positions that will create vital linkages among admissions, financial aid, and other key constituents. 

In the reorganization, two positions - the Director of Admissions and the office administrator - have been eliminated. Rich Edgar served St. Mary’s College of Maryland for 25 years, and Lisa Crowe gave St. Mary’s an astonishing 37 years. We thank them for their many contributions, and wish them well in future endeavors. 


Pat Goldsmith 
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid

Didn't really know who Rich Edgar was so I used some Investigative Journalism to find out some stuff about him.  His name is 'Rich', which I imagine means that he is an affluent dude.  And his last name is he related to the Baltimore poet?  Maybe he was let go because of this morbid connection?  I found this small photo of the dude:

He is pretty attractive, so I don't think he was let go due to being ugly or anything.  I think I met him once, maybe.  Also he is an ass. coach for soccer.  Other bro that got 'let go' (read: fired?) was Lisa Crowe.  IDK who she is, but she worked here awhile.

So what caused this?  According to the email Admissions is tryna go in a 'new direction'.  Personally I think they should go in One Direction:

Unfunny jokes aside, it seems like they are tryna have a position that combines multiple roles and creates greater 'synergy' between offices.  Which makes sense I guess.

But also this could be another example of 'letting people go due to clashing personalities/visions' via the sacking of Bayless, repositioning of Officer Mary,  and others, which has been going on since Urgo took over.  My guess is a greater emphasis on positioning the school as a 'nice school' and moving away from the image of SMCM being a 'chill hippie school'.  As the institution becomes more expensive it will be vital to make it seem to be 'worth the money', and the easiest way to do that is to make St. Mary's seem like a serious institution.

It's the same thing that has been going on since the 90s.  President Lewis (or at least he was around when it happened) got the school to be an Honor's College, in part to help move away from the notion that St. Mary's was a hippie liberal arts school.  And Maggie did the same thing when she took over, working to rebrand St. Mary's as a fine institution of learning.  And it just continues to the most recent graduation, which banned the distribution of beer to graduates.

So, my guess is that St. Mary's will continue to brand itself more and more as a 'good school'.  And this is just another part of it.

It's no secret that the number of applicants to SMCM has steadily been on the decline.  It's almost as if raising tuition consistently for several years in a row has had a negative effect on how many students apply to and can afford SMCM.