Friday, May 31, 2013

GUEST POST: so i hear there was a story in the baltimore sun about smcm?

so a lot of folks are upset about this terrible shitty article in the Baltimore Sun the other day which is understandable since the piece reads like it was researched by skimming halfway thru the list of SMCM’s first year seminars but ending up on youtube watching a montage of eric cartman whining about hippies instead. Some have focused their criticisms on Anne Neal herself, using the sort of language people always seem to feel more comfortable directing at women. realistically though, when a nonprofit president like Neal places an op-ed, the writing is the product of a team effort more often than not -- so it's worth taking a look at the team.

the American Council of Trustees and Alumni was founded by Lynne Cheney -- after 9-11 she used it to attack academics who opposed her husband's war(s). now, they’ve rebranded themselves as advocates for “academic freedom” crusading against "political correctness" -- most notably with their vocal support for ousted harvard president Larry Summers when he caught flak for arguing that women are underrepresented in science and engineering because they aren't as smart as men.

like most think tanks babbling about “market-oriented solutions,” ACTA doesn’t publicly disclose their donors, but they do have ties to charles koch, the kevin bacon of right-wing pigfuckers. oh and did i mention that edwin meese, best known for vocally opposing miranda warnings, having the national guard beat down beat down student protesters, and militarizing the war on drugs as Reagan's attorney general sits on their board too? shit!

ACTA put out a report whining that too few students are required to take a course on shakespeare, lamenting that students are instead encouraged to study "popular culture" -- apparently, critically analyzing work produced for mass appeal only has academic value if it was written before people figured out they should shit and eat in different rooms. really, the entire op-ed drips with that same parochial mentality that education's value can only be measured in terms of quantifiable knowledge about particular dead white men -- she literally invokes our WGSX program for laughs.

and this clayton christensen guy she quotes, his studies in "disruptive innovation" look at technological advancements that displace older markets (iTunes replacing CDs, etc.) one of his favorite examples is how for-profit online degree mills like the University of Phoenix (with help from "reformers" like ACTA) will eventually supplant traditional higher education. To these folks, education is just another industry to make money off of, and educators are only here to tell us factoids about the war of 1812 before we join the workforce. fuck changing lives.

bottom line, St. Mary's has an amazing faculty and staff, and blaming rising tuition on their -genuinely- innovative approach, rather than the financial crisis and the pressure it's put on state budgets, is bullshit. i have a lot of love for SMCM as an institution and it's facing hard times right now, so I guess my point here is don't let this hack distract you, or at least don't let the feelings this editorial evoked in you go to waste.

this isn't just about Anne Neal or even SMCM, shit like this is happening nationwide. chicago just shut down 50 public schools under this same market fundamentalist "narrowly defined results at all costs" mentality. there's a social mission inherent in public education -- we rely on it to make up for our sins, to provide for equality of opportunity and the american dream and all that shit, but it can’t do that if we let the Anne Neals and Arne Duncans of the world turn it into another way to make a quick buck.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

PANIC! Budget Cuts Redux~

The list of proposed/finalized (idk?) budget cuts got released yesterday via email. You can find the full report here and the cuts themselves here. Warning: this document is long and kinda boring. I went through and pulled out some interesting cuts.
  • The Oxford CMRS Exchange Program has been cut completely. Wonder how Maggie O'Brien will feel about that~
  • Most departments lost some money, some more than others
  • Larry Vote's summer program (I think this is the program that sends singers to Alba every summer?) got cut from 25k to only 10k.
  • Nitze lost a lot (all?) of its money
  • Alba-Italy Director position was cut
  • Audio-Visual is losing 25k which sounds like a position has been cut
  • Faculty Development lost 5k which sounds like a lot less Wine for faculty functions
  • Campus Wellness Program has been cut (idk what that is, maybe First Responders Network?)
  • They are removing a trash dumpster from PG FUCK THIS BULLSHIT
  • River Concert Series is being reduced from 40k to 15k :/ :/ :/ (this was bound to happen eventually)
All of this is from my understanding of the spreadsheet, which may not be 100% accurate because even though I took a lot of accounting classes in high school, I never really understood it (we just shared our classwork via email, shoutout to B.A.T. c/o 2007 go Mavericks~) so I probably made some mistakes/have some misconceptions.

So there you have it, lots of cuts. I think International Education got his the hardest? Wonder how students will react~

Friday, May 17, 2013

EXCLUSIVE: A Look into the Home of Dean Bayless

Remember Dean Bayless? She was the dean for awhile, 2007-2011 as I recall. It's almost like we went to college together! Here at the SMCM LOL BLOG we got an exclusive look into her former residence, called "Mount Bayless" (via George Washington's Estate Mount Vernon).


Woah pretty sweet house, looks like it has at least 7 windows and a door! Also check out that garage, could totally store a ton of soccer balls and lacrosse sticks. However, some of the shutters appear to be different colors, which I do not approve of.

She has cultivated a pretty nice garden with lots of colorful plants and stuff A+++, no 'weed' plants tho so I'mma knock her grade down to a A++

Actually I'm pretty sure those are "the weed" plants so let's push her back up to an A+++

This is where the magic happens~

I really dig that wreath, gives off a good "white lady who hangs seasonal wreaths during non-winter months" vibe. Wonder if she made it herself or got it at a farmers market/etsy/craft fair. Also the small TV on the fireplace, really sends the message that she "is into reading more than TV" which is pretty chill.

Wow check out all of those teapots, wonder what her fave tea is? Is she more of an early grey, black, or green kinda girl??? Chandelier is pretty chill too.

I love that cat throw blanket. And I definitely had one of those futons in LQ one year, so I kinda hope she picked it up during move out day one year.

Overall it's a pretty sweet house. It can be yours for $300,000 which seems like a pretty reasonable price for the size of the house, but IDK how much houses are worth in Southern MD. I also don't know how much non-LEGO houses cost so...

Plus it was built in 2006, so it has memories of a pre-recession America!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Open Letter to the Administration from Alumni

Yesterday Michael Grunseth '08 (wow cool name) composed an open letter to the administration expressing his frustration over the whole "lack of 150 new students" issue. Kinda wish there was a 'Watergate' type name for this ordeal.

You can read the full letter here, or even co-sign it here.

The current edition of the letter is below, but I wanted to point out something really great I saw during the development of the letter. In the original Facebook chat where Michael contacted a few dozen other students and faculty members, one of them commented,

"Well done! Glad we spent all that time on your writing during SMP"
And it made me remember how close and supportive of a community SMCM can be, that your professor and SMP advisor from years ago will look over your letter to the administration, and still remember you and be just as supportive as they were all those years ago.

And that one tiny interactions makes me worry less about all of this.

To the Offices of the President, Vice President for Advancement, Noted Faculty & Staff,
I write on behalf of myself and the XX co-signed to express our deepest concerns regarding the recent enrollment shortfall and resulting $3.5 million loss in revenue.
We're confused why we heard about such important news through Facebook and the Washington Post, rather than through our alumni communications or outreach.  We request an explanation for why alumni were not notified of these problems before advancing to such a critical mass.
We remain extremely concerned with the staff changes in the Office of Admissions.
When the news spread through alumni circles about the enrollment shortfall and the consequences it could have on our school, the unanimous response was, “What can we do?”
We want to help. St. Mary's is such a special place and we are so proud to call ourselves alumni. We want to ensure that the St. Mary’s experience lasts for generations to come.
As alumni in various stages of establishing our careers, we're not all able to give much in yearly donations. But there is great value in what each of us do have; our knowledge, experience, and position in the “real world.”
We’re teachers, web designers, tech entrepreneurs, grad students, librarians, non-profit pioneers, copywriters, editors, government employees, photographers, scientists in newly developing fields, and everything in between.
Most importantly we’re products of an amazing liberal arts education. Which means we have legs, mouths, brains and the ability to use them at the same time.
All you have to do is ask.  We’re here for you.
We’re open to anything that we can to do to help, but we’re not open to standing by and watching our school lose its greatest asset: its character (in every sense of the word). We’re not open to witnessing stellar faculty and staff members find new jobs away from St. Mary’s, whether they’re from the Arts, Sciences, or any number of supporting areas.  Finally, we’re not open to being left out of such an important conversation.

Many of us are returning to campus for Alumni Weekend in June, and plan to attend the 9am Alumni Council meeting to again voice our concerns and offer assistance. We look forward to the discussions to come.

Thank you for your time,

Michael Grunseth ‘08
English, Art History & Theater, Film, and Media Studies
Resident Assistant 2005-2008

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Alex Walls Speech

Alex Walls gave a speech at the Board of Trustees meeting last Friday.

I don't remember when I first met Alex. I know it was during SGA in the Fall of 2009, but I don't recall the exact circumstances. But within those first few meetings (I know this sounds cliched but it's true) I knew that he would go on to do big things at St. Mary's.

I looked through the archives and pulled out some things I wrote about him over the years on this blog, via memories~

  • "Alex Walls is standing against a wall, I think he is tired of sitting"
  • "Alex Walls now has heat in his bathroom, I totally care"
  • "Alex Walls annoys me"
  • "Why is everyone laughing at Alex Walls :["
  • "Alex Walls said 'piggybacking' take a shot"
  • "Alex Walls just killed a bug"
  • "Gonna abstain from voting on this legislation to annoy Alex Walls"
  • "I bet Alex Walls will be SGA president one day (EDITORS NOTE: ugh so close on this prediction)"
  •  "Becky White just walked in and Alex Walls said "Late as usual""
  • "Alex Walls is eating a banana and it's funny because bananas looks like penises"
See you back on the board one day dude

video

(video stolen from Dorothy Fisher, idk who she is but I think we follow each other on tumblr)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Victory!

Mere hours after publicly shaming @SMCMconf3ssions on 'twitter' they have changed their logo and 'apologized'.

Wow amazing #progress. What will they call this event in the future, LogoGate? #logotheft???

This was a pretty solid A+++ apology.

Or was it?

It seems like they are sorry about the "confusion." I am not sure what confusion they are talking about... I don't think anyone was confused regarding this issue.

I mean, one time I was driven to Sheetz (don't drive drunk [too much] yall) and the next day I woke up with a sandwich in my pocket and a receipt. But the receipt was for two hot dogs (AKA 'hoddogs' they are 2 for a $1). This was 'confusion theft.' I was tweeted an apology to Sheetz for the confusion as to how transactions work. But I don't think there was confusion in this situation. Also this may have contributed to Sheetz no longer being open at 2AM on weekends

Phew finally changed the world is safe again via lack of piracy.

In the end I think this 'gimmick twitter account' now has more followers than yesterday so I guess the moral of the story is...

CRIME PAYS
(I have no idea what that image is but I found it on google let's hope I didn't steal it~)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Logo Theft!

I was updating my 'twitter' account earlier today when I noticed a novelty account called "SMCM (sic) Conf3ssions. It seemed like your average novelty twitter account, until I took a closer look.


Let us zoom in a bit (via CSI: Miami, Las Vegas, New York) and see what is up with this dude

WHAT IS THAT LOGO? IS THAT MY LOGO?

I commissioned the logo a few years ago and someone (idk Sean Allerd???) emailed me a logo and I was pretty pleased. At least I think that is what happened, I don't actually remember the email, I just remember waking up Saturday morning and suddenly my blog had a logo. As Hemingway said, "edit the logo and layout of your blog drunk, be surprised about it sober."





As you can see this gimmick account has not been used very much. And why would anyone want to leave their bed? Here is a short list of great things to do in your bed

  • sexual intercourse
  • sleep
  • eat breakfast
  • eat lunch
  • make a blanket fort
  • sexual intercourse
I confronted the account owner via 'tweeting at them' #confrontation


 And they actually got back to me pretty quickly



 You are correct, gimmick blogger, it is a good one.



Pretty sure this counts as 'plagiarism'. Gonna report him to J-Board and get him expelled for plagiarism.

"Environmentally Responsible College"

"St. Mary's College was recently ranked by the Princeton Review as one of the 322 most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada. This recognition was awarded to the College for its use of renewable energy sources, recycling and conservation practices, and environmental course offerings."



Credit goes to Kyle M, former Green Door Bartender and pinball wizard

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Class of 2013

Here is one of my fondest and earliest memories of the class of 2013. I was dating one of them during the "Snowmageddon" of the 10-11 school year, and she and her friends had run out of booze.

I had half a bottle of Rikaloff. I emptied half of that out into a nalgene (leaving 1/4 of vodka left), filled the rest with water, and sold it to them for $8.

Since then they have proved themselves to be some of the most intelligent, creative, and pretty people I have met.

A lot of them are probably dreading life after college. Don't worry yall, life is pretty sweet, and you can even have kegs.

hugs and kisses,

- SMCM LOL

p.s. make me proud i love most of u~

St. Mary's is still accepting applications with "limited space"


Board of Trustees Meeting Today @ 3PM

Show up to the Board of Trustees meeting today @ 3PM. Show up and have your voice be heard/your presence felt.

Check out the facebook event
https://www.facebook.com/events/109761315896076/








Thursday, May 9, 2013

PANIC: New Budget Cuts

There has been a lot of discussion the past week or two regarding the lack of "new student college deposits."

Vocabulary
New Student College Deposit - n - a $500 deposit that students pay to the school, showing their intent to attend St. Mary's. A student who makes this deposit generally attends the school, but some may "melt" and never attend.

The Issue
These deposits are a really good indicator of how many students are actually going to show up in August. This year the school got a lot of applications (in part due to the new Common Application, which makes applying to SMCM as easy as "checking a box") and the college accepted a good number of students. The issue is that not enough students have "accepted" St. Mary's as their choice, resulting in a lower than expected number of "new student college deposits."

Apparently this shortfall comes in the form of about 150~ less deposits than previous years (including last year, which already had a shortfall). The school was looking for around 124~ more in-state and 24~ more out of state students to submit these "new students college deposits," indicating their intent to attend SMCM.

The fallout
This represents, according to indicators, a budget shortfall of approximately $3.5Million.

(Math? 150~ x $23,000 = $3,500,000~)

This is, obviously, a lot of money. And it is going to have a big impact on several areas of campus (more on that later~) and departments and positions. Faculty and Staff had meetings this week where they were briefed with this new information, which has obviously upset many. The new budget (one where $3.5Million has been cut) is being taken to the Board of Trustees this Friday.

How did this happen?
Apparently (according to Anonymous [still don't know who that dude is but they seem to have a lot of opinions]) Urgo has blamed the lack of enrollment on "failures of facilities and faculty curriculum, but it has nothing to do with changes to admissions in the past two years." Could this be the ghost of Rich Edgar, haunting admissions and causing this to happen? Could this be the result of sacking Rich Edgar and Lisa Crowe last year?

"Failures of facilities and faculty curriculum" seems like a tough sell (hello, let's also take a moment to recognize that this quote may not necessarily be accurate nor correct). When students apply to a college, how much do they look into the specifics of the faculty and curriculum? I feel that there is only so much that a prospective student can know without actually sitting in on a classroom, which very few do (or maybe a lot do this, IDK). Does "the failures of facilities" refer to the various mold incidents over the past years (really decades...)? The "Mold Ship" got SMCM a ton of press #allpressisgoodpress.

What about admissions then? According to students working at the admissions office some "early admission" (I did this!) prospective students received their letters of admission until later than usual. Additionally, these students have stated that "counselors have been encouraged to go to private institutions rather than public."

But why? Could it be at the request of Maureen Silva, new (2010) Vice President for Advancement (AKA fundraising) for the college? It's no secret that more rich people go to private high schools, and rich people are probably more likely to give money to the college. Could this shift be part of this issue?

Theory: More public high school students view SMCM as a reach school, whereas more private high school students view SMCM as a safety school. This could explain the lack of students accepting their admission into SMCM. But this is just a theory, one based in stereotypes and assumptions.

Impact
So what does this impact? A lot of things. Less money means smaller budgets. According to the same Anonymous from above (who appears to be "in the know") and other "sources"the following may be cut
  • No new staff positions
  • No visiting professors
  • No sabbaticals 
  • Boyden Gallery will be closed 
  • No cost of living adjustments for staff
  • Staff job cuts
  • Other cuts that will be made throughout the summer
 And a staff that once again feels like they have very little input.

Solution
Is there a solution? Maybe "don't fix what ain't broke" #southernsayings. 

The faculty is obviously upset. They want to delay the voting so that there can be faculty input.

Something clearly went wrong here.

You should be
Mad? Scared? Angry? Disappointed. This is all really disappointing and I hope it does not lead to further big changes. I really just want an explanation.

Note:
This is long. I did not proofread. Some of this information may be inaccurate. Comment with thoughts, corrections, etc. <3 br="">

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Senior Gala/College Prom Omnibus Guide!

Senior Gala (AKA College Prom) is coming up soon! A magical night of dancing and drinking with your fellow students and professors. It's a pretty pricey event though, so here is a guide to sneaking in, as I did circa 2010:

How to sneak into Gala
  • Don't arrive early, and make sure it is dark outside! That way when people with flashlights try to follow and apprehend you, it will be more difficult and you can escape
  • Don't try to go through the main entrance. walk around the whole perimeter until you find a quiet area to sneak into
  • Act confident
  • If you are worried that the people behind you with flashlights are trying to kick you out, just keep walking and blend in with the crowd
  • Dress fancy
  • Pregame to the extent that you are comfortable with sneaking into a $70 event, but no so much that you will be stumbling around
Just when is Gala? The date and location has changed over the years, let's look at a quick recap
  • 2010 - At the Brome Howard Inn, starting around 8PM?
  • 2011 -  At the Brome Howard Inn, starting around 8PM going until 12AM (idk I bought a lot of those lil' drink tickets)
  • 2012 - The location changes to Maggie O'Brien's house, time remains the same. Location probably changed because Brome Howard Inn employees didn't feel like cleaning up until 4AM. Nearby residents complained about a large bacchanalia occurring on a Thursday night, so this location was not used again
  • 2013 - Back to the Brome Howard, but now it starts earlier? 7-11 so that there is more clean up time.
IDK how accurate that is, but for staff and professors the Gala goes until the next morning apparently #typos


What to do at Gala
  • Get a plate full of shrimp, walk over to a log overlooking the river, and proceed to spend half an hour eating shrimp by yourself
  • Dance with Bob Paul
  • Take a limo there
  • Confess your affections to First Year crushes
  • Dance
  • Drink
  • Cry over the fact that you graduate in 36 hours
Enjoy seniors!!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Unpopular Opinion

I hate midnight breakfast

Because of one incident

Never forget

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May Day!

:3