How Fall Sports Teams Are Handling COVID-19

Written By: Lily Tender

Over the summer, St. Mary’s released that no fall sports teams would be having their seasons due to COVID-19. And this was definitely a necessary protocol for safety, many student-athletes were distraught with the news. Junior Owen Smith mentioned that “the season being canceled was definitely hard for all of us at first. Although we’ve been able to adapt and do as much as we can while staying safe.” Staying safe is definitely a priority for athletes as they begin to phase into their practices. Aidan Kelley continues by saying that“Phase one practices are only up to ten people and require athletes to stay six feet apart with masks on. Phase one has larger groups while still keeping a six-foot distance and masks, phase three looks like a normal practice with masks on.” 

As of now practices are being pushed back as far as the school needs to ensure safety and it is unlikely that practices will get to phase three given the rising number of cases on campus. While discussing past seasons, Smith recounts how much he misses the social dynamic of soccer as he states“Just being around everybody all the time on the field, in the locker room, and on the bus.” He especially misses Coach Oliver. Luckily they are able to still maintain the social element while being safe. Many of the freshmen are missing out on the amazing moments that Smith describes that make not having a season so hard. However, Kelley says the upperclassmen are making sure that the freshmen feel included as he remarks“We hang out with them in small groups at the docks.” He continues“We try to make them feel at home because we feel bad they are missing the first part of their first season. We’ve been able to still get close to them.” Missing the end of their senior year of high school, and having a far from normal first semester at college can be tough, especially if you the students athletes were excited to play collegiate soccer. However the upperclassmen have their back. 

This school year is chaotic to say the least, but safety is extremely important, especially in major populations like sports teams. Making sure individuals limit their exposure, wash their hands, wear masks, and do not hang out ingroups larger than ten can help to keep the campus safe. While it is hard to predict the future, hopefully, if students follow safety protocols, the men’s soccer team, along with other sports teams, can have a spring season. Kelley was disappointed about not having a fall season, but he reports that “[he is] still optimistic about the future.” Hopefully, for the sake of the campus community and surrounding area, Kelley’s optimism holds true, as a spring season would mean a decline of COVID cases and an amazing opportunity for sports teams and other activities to do the activities that they have been missing.

St. Mary’s Volleyball Continues to Work, Hopeful For Possible Season

Written By: Devin Garner

As the Fall 2020 season was postponed earlier in the summer, the St. Mary’s College of Maryland Women’s Volleyball team has had to find a way to stick together. Despite some of the players deciding to go fully remote this semester, they have still found a way to workout and bond. Taylor Wigglesworth (‘22) and Fatima Bouzid (‘22) have been key players for the team in years past and have had to find a way to adjust to having the season postponed. 

Wigglesworth opted to go fully remote this semester. While going fully remote can come with challenges, she has handled it in stride. She stated, “Since I am off campus, it takes more effort to make sure that I am still connecting with my teammates.” To accommodate the players that are off campus, she remarked that the team has been holding bi-weekly Zoom meetings. While the zoom meetings have not been the same as being in-person, they still have given players an opportunity to connect and hang out with one another. As she states, “It’s really hard not being at school together since the volleyball team is my main group of friends, so I enjoy having the opportunity to connect over Zoom.”

In these difficult times, coaches have had to step in and keep their team together. When asking Bouzid of how the team’s head coach Kelly Martin has had an impact throughout this time, she argued that, “Coach Martin has done an awesome job by keeping us updated whenever she can and by being very understanding when things pop up during these odd times.” Experienced players have also had to take a bigger role in leading their younger teammates through this time. When asking Wigglesworth of how she has served as a mentor to her younger teammates, she stated, “When the pandemic began, we began weekly Facetimes with each freshman entering the program… It was the perfect opportunity to get to know each other better and give the freshman a chance to ask questions to ease any anxiety about the transition into college.”

While Bouzid acknowledges that the first practice had been pushed to Sept. 23, many of the players remain hopeful for a potential Spring season. Wigglesworth shared her excitement about the possibility of a Spring season by remarking, “We are very hopeful that we will be able to compete in the Spring. Although we do not want to get our hopes up… we are still staying focused.” Training comes with a lot of detail and hard work. As Wigglesworth argues about the efforts of the team, “We are continuing to work hard to make sure our bodies and minds will be ready to compete in the Spring if we are given the opportunity.”

Regardless of whether or not there is a Volleyball season in the Spring, the efforts and the preparation of the team have not gone unnoticed. As Bouzid explained, “I am just so proud of everyone for adapting to this situation and still working hard even though we cannot compete at this moment.” When the team does get back in action, be sure to go out to the Michael P. O’Brien Athletic Center to support the hard work put in by the St. Mary’s Volleyball program.

NFL Season Starts Up Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

Written By: Annilee Hampton

The 2020 NFL season began as scheduled on Sept. 10th, 2020, with defending champions the Kansas City Chiefs defeating the Houston Texans with a score of 34 – 20. However, this season looks much different than those in prior years. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, a multitude of changes were implemented in order to create the safest environment possible for players and fans.

Stadiums will be admitting fans if it is possible under local health orders. During week two of the season, only three out of 16 stadiums will be admitting fans, with other stadiums leaving open the possibility of admitting spectators later in the season should conditions improve. The idea of only certain games having spectators has sparked discord amongst many coaches, arguing that spectators create a competitive advantage. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell disagreed, stating that there is no advantage in some teams having spectators present while others would not. “We do not see that. We obviously have varying capacities across the league, and from our standpoint, we want to invite our fans in if we can do it safely and we can do it with the full support of local officials. We think our fans want to come to the stadium,” he said. Fans will be required to wear face masks, and the rows of seating closest to the field will be closed. 

The NFL also has a complex contact tracing system in place. This summer, teams began using SafeZone tags, proximity recorders developed by German-based company Kinexon. Both the NBA and the NFL have been utilizing the devices to assist with social distancing and contract tracing in order to prevent further spread of the coronavirus. When two people come within six feet of each other, the device will flash or sound an alarm as a warning signal. In addition, the devices will log a person’s contacts, providing information on who will need to take precautions in the event of a possible outbreak. This includes gathering information on in-game contact between players. “We all know that football and physical distance do not go together as far as on-field activity,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer. “So we really want to dive in and have the most accurate information we can have about exposures on the field, but also off the field as well.”

The league has banned television and radio reporters for the current season from the sidelines for the current season. Most reporters will now be stationed in the first few rows of the stands. Television broadcasters will be allowed only essential employees at field level. Each network will be permitted up to 46 employees on the field, with masks mandatory. Masks will also be required for coaches and staff members in the bench area. As a result of this, many game officials have opted to use hand-held electronic whistles rather than wearing regular whistles underneath their masks. 

After opening week, not one player was added to the league’s COVID-19 reserve list — an indication that the new guidelines have paid off. Still, says Cleveland Browns center and NFL Players Association president J.C. Tretter, players must remain vigilant. “If there’s one thing we can all agree on,” Tretter stated, “it’s that we wish our reality today looked a bit different. The sooner we stop fighting each other and instead frame the virus as our common enemy, the closer we’ll get to the sense of normalcy that we all miss.”

Under New Leadership, the Washington Football Team Begins the Season Strong

Written By: Devin Garner

After ousting former head coach Jay Gruden in the middle of the 2019 season, the Washington Football Team seemed to be at a crossroads. Not only was the team struggling on the field, they were also struggling off the field with numerous conduct violations. Washington knew that they must hire a head coach who could change the culture of the team while also being a stabilizing figure, something that the team has not had for many years. Therefore, owner Daniel Synder went out and hired former head coach of the Carolina Panthers, Ron Rivera as the new head coach. After a 27 to 17 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at FedexField on Sunday, Sept. 13, it appears that the Washington Football Team might have finally found the right coach for the job. 

Rivera was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in a lymph node in the Summer, but stated that he still has plans on coaching his football team. However, he did acknowledge that he would be occasionally unable to attend practices, which would leave veteran defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio in charge of the team’s operations. Even though Rivera has begun his treatments, he still found a way to coach and inspire his players in their victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, snapping the six-game win streak that Philadelphia had previously held against Washington. 

On Sunday, the head coach’s first challenge came when he was unable to address his team at halftime due to the fact that he had to receive an IV for his cancer treatment. In Rivera’s absence, second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins stepped up and addressed his team as they were down at halftime. Les Carpenter of “The Washington Post” states that, “the fact it was Dwayne Haskins, the team’s 23-year-old, second-year quarterback and the player that Rivera has perhaps pushed hardest to be a leader, seemed to please [Rivera] more.”

While the team started out slow in the first half facing a 17 point deficit early, many Washington Fans considered this season to be a repeat of last season, when the team finished 3 and 13. However, in the hands of the new and experienced coaching staff and with the help of the stacked defensive line, Washington was able to rally together a win for their team, their city and most importantly, their ailing head coach. 

The defensive line was a major factor in Washington’s victory. With the addition of second overall pick and Ohio State phenom, Chase Young, the defense looks nearly unstoppable. The Washington defense sacked Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz eight times for a loss of 62 yards, according to “CBS Sports.” Every player on the Washington front looked impressive, however, Ryan Kerrigan and Chase Young stuck out. According to “Pro Football Focus,” Young was the highest graded rookie in the first week of play. In addition, Ryan Kerrigan surpassed Washington great Dexter Manley on the all-time sack leaderboard with 92 sacks. When asked about his feelings about standing atop the all-time Washington leaderboard on sacks, Kerrigan had glowing remarks in his interview with “106.7: The Fan.” He stated, “I did not know what to expect when I was drafted here in 2011. I wanted to come in and be a contributor, and now to be at the top of the sack list of the franchise’s history… to think about guys that have come through here, like Dexter, it’s pretty cool.” Numerous other members of the defensive line made their presence felt as well, such as Montez Sweat, Matt Ioannidis, Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen.

Regardless of what the predictions are for the team for the rest of the season, it is important that fans appreciate what the team did in week one. Behind their new coaching staff, newly schemed offense and defense and a second-year quarterback at the helm of the team, Washington was able to do something that they had not been able to do for the last couple of years: beat the Philadelphia Eagles. Rivera has kept one goal in mind throughout his brief tenure in Washington and he vows to keep it that way. His goal is to establish a culture. According to Les Carpenter of “The Washington Post,” “So much of this year for Rivera is about creating a culture upon which the team can build into a winner.”

Whether or not the team is able to have a winning season, the fans must sit back and appreciate the leadership of head coach Ron Rivera. He is building the team into a contender that will be built to win for years to come.

SMCM COVID-19 Library Changes

Written By: Maggie Bennett

Just like every place else on campus, the Hilda C. Landers library is opening up again, but this time with some changes. The library opened on August 17th for this fall semester, but there were several changes added towards it due to the corona virus (COVID-19). Many rules that we, as students are going to have to follow to stay safe include: 

  • Not moving the chairs on the first, second, and third floor (or any floor for that matter) of the library because they are now six feet apart 
  • There are plexiglass panels installed at the circular tables, so we can follow social distancing  
  • Face masks, just like in any other place on campus, are required in the library as well
  • There are hand sanitizing stations all over the library, and they recommend to wipe down the desks and chairs before and after sitting on them 
  • Students have to make an appointment to reserve one of the rooms also, but they’ve been resorted to being study rooms; so, all students can use them, as long as you keep social distance guidelines. 
  • Food and drinks are allowed in the library as of right now, but if the situations in the library with food and drinks become unhealthy; then they have the right to ban food and drink items. 
  • The public computers and scanners require a special solution, so we cannot clean them 
  • Be wary of tight spaces, like up the staircases and bookstacks of the libraries; we must maintain as best of social distancing as we can when in tight spaces. 
  • There are no longer paperbacked books to take out of the library, because COVID-19 can be transferred through paper (a student has to fill out a form to take out a paper journal, but they have to use this journal only in the building). 

There are so many other rules that a student can brief themselves on with the InsideSMCM email page; these are just a few of them. As time goes on these rules are likely to change, because the campus has changed and will probably continue to change as the semester goes on. 

Life at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) has changed and the library wants to create a safe working environment for all students, but they also want to follow the COVID-19 guidelines. They want to do what’s best for the students here, which is why they created such strict rules. 

The library times have changed as well, they are now mainly open from 8am-10pm every day. An exception to the library being open, is that it will now be closed on Saturdays and it will also close at 7pm on Fridays. 

Michael P. O’Brien Athletic and Recreation Center Adapts to Mitigate Spread of COVID-19

Written By: Olivia Sothoron

With the reopening of St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) for the return of students, the Michael P. O’Brien Athletic and Recreation Center (MPOARC)  rules and regulations have been adapted in order to reopen for the use of students. Although students, staff and faculty are able to return to the MPOARC, exercise this year looks very different, as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the College to institute various limitations to mitigate the spread of the virus. 

The MPOARC website lists the various guidelines which must be followed in order to use the facility, including: completing health screening and a temperature check upon entry, arriving in workout attire (no use of locker rooms), wearing a face mask at all times and wiping down equipment after use. In addition, the purchase of guest passes is not permitted this year in order to prevent people outside of the SMCM community from entering into the facilities. 

Another new guideline in place for the MPOARC requires all who wish to use the facilities to register for a specific time to use the equipment. In order to register for a time slot, one must download the IMLeagues application and create an account. Then, through the app, one can select the equipment which they wish to use, and they can reserve a time slot for that equipment. Time slots are limited to 45 minutes, before that time is up, patrons must clean their equipment and leave. After the patron leaves, an employee of the MPOARC will also wipe down the equipment, ensuring that it is properly sterilized before the next time slot. 

Lily Pohlenz (‘21) typically goes to the MPOARC between four and six times each week, where she visits both the fitness center for weightlifting as well as the cardio room, where she likes to use the stairmaster. In addition, since Pohlenz is a member of the SMCM Women’s Basketball Team, she will visit the auxiliary gymnasium to shoot around. 

Although Pohlenz agrees with the efforts being taken to prevent the spread of the virus, she expressed wishes to have an extra ten minutes added to each time slot to allow for her to thoroughly clean her equipment upon finishing her workout. She explained: “Sometimes I find myself just quickly wiping down and not really thoroughly cleaning the equipment I used just because I feel like I am short on time. The ARC employees do come by after we leave and clean all of the equipment for a second time, though I definitely would appreciate at least a full 60 minutes when working out.”

Pohlenz explained that IMLeagues is fairly easy to navigate, and she recommends that one register at least 48 hours in advance of their desired workout time in order to reserve the equipment and time slot they desire. Pohlenz remarked that she thinks having to reserve a time slot is good not only because it limits the amount of people who can use the facilities at one time, but also because it “is a great way to motivate people to go to the gym.” She continued, “If you have to sign up to workout, then you are more likely to go because you went through all of the effort of signing up in advance.”

However, Pohlenz mentioned that having to wear a mask, although necessary, complicates physical activity. It causes her to take more frequent breaks in order to avoid becoming lightheaded while engaging in extraneous physical activity. She also stated that wearing a mask during exercise is definitely more conducive to light intensity workouts, however, workouts of a higher intensity can be difficult with a mask as they make it more difficult to breathe. Pohlenz explained, “I have been and will continue to wear my mask while working out, because I do not want to get sick and I also want the ARC to stay open, but sometimes it is a tad bit difficult.”

It is obvious that wearing a mask is not ideal in an exercise setting, however, as Pohlenz explains, it is more important to be grateful that the MPOARC is open for use. Pohlenz stated, “I am just thankful that the gym is open and I would much rather be slightly light headed/irritated with my mask on than actually be sick with COVID and not be allowed to workout!”

For more information on the new guidelines or to make a reservation, visit the MPOARC website at smcmathletics.com. For more information on the College’s policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 around campus, visit the COVID-19 Dashboard on the College’s website.

Interim VP of Student Affairs Discusses Plans at SMCM

After Leonard Brown, Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Affairs, left St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), his position was split into two. Taking the place of Dean Brown are Derek Young, Interim Dean of Students, and Shana Meyer, Interim Vice President of Student Affairs. 

Derek Young

As Meyer explains it, she and Young are responsible for “a lot of administrative work.” She in particular is tasked with overseeing the Wellness Center, Public Safety, Residential Life and counseling. All of this, said Meyer, is to “focus on student needs and conduct,” which she described as “most important.” However, the future responsibilities of these positions have not yet been determined. Meyer went on to say that we will just have to see how it all “shakes out.” 

Meyer and Young have high hopes for this year. They are rolling out Campus Labs Engage for students, a program that can be accessed in one’s browser as well as in the app store by the name “CORQ.” Club leaders have been tasked with inputting information about their extracurriculars so when it is finally opened up to the campus community, students can use it to browse and schedule different club activities. While the school is placed under COVID-19 guidelines, communication becomes far more difficult, and this app, Young believes, will help with planning and outreach. 

Shana Meyer

Meyer also intends to increase collaboration with other departments. In particular, she is excited to work with the newly appointed Interim Chief Diversity Officer, Kelsey Bush, and the Director of Public Safety, Tressa Setlak. This cooperation can benefit the school in multiple ways, but one of the biggest issues Meyer wants to handle is COVID-19 policy. She is impressed with how well students are following regulations, and acknowledges that these regulations will not be around forever. She referred to SMCM’s previous work with a Student Advisory Committee, which helped to create the current policies. Meyer intends to put this to use again “as a sounding board” to try out new ideas in the future. 

Meyer regrets that she has not “gotten the full picture of campus,” as many student activities are restricted to Zoom. Last weekend, she said, she began to see “more students walking around,” so she is optimistic about more in-person involvement. She views it as a result of fear– students want to be here, but they are also scared. Meyer plans to increase the number of available programs for students in hopes of eliciting further activity, with a particular emphasis on the Student Government Association. 

Finally, Meyer wanted to leave the student body a note of reassurance. She found there were feelings of mistrust between students and administration, which disheartened her. She stressed that admins have “[students’] best interests at heart,” and that she wanted to build a positive relationship between the two groups. Even her emails, she says, are sent with the intention of “increasing transparency” for the campus community. 
To this end, Meyer (mailto:slmeyer@smcm.edu and 240-895-4208) and Young (mailto:dmyoung@smcm.edu and 240-895-4207) have opened themselves up to speak to students about any and all concerns they may have. Both are moving about campus regularly, so the best way to get in touch may be to call or email. Or, as Young suggests, if you see him, “just stop [him] and say hi.”

Real Noose or Just Rumor?

Written By: Nicholas Ashenfelter

On Sept. 4, the student body received an email from Shanna Meyer, Interim Vice President of Student Affairs, referencing a potential noose sighting in the woods on south campus near Prince George (PG) Resident Hall. This caused an uproar– one that turned to confusion on Sept. 9, as another email materialized, this one revealing the noose had never been. This left many St. Mary’s College of Maryland students wondering what happened.

The investigation began at 12:15 a.m. on Sept. 2, when Campus Security received a report from Coach Christopher Harney after  a student had informed him of a noose in the woods behind PG. At 12:30 a.m. that same morning, Coach Harney and Sgt. Wendell Wade investigated the woods themselves, but due to the darkness and mud, they considered the route impassable and decided to return the next morning. 

At 7:15 a.m. on Sept. 2, Sgt. Nataisha Young and Officer Mary Bowles worked together to investigate the woods. At 9:00 a.m. they were joined by Captain and Assistant Director Christopher Coons, who accompanied them based on his greater knowledge of the area. In these trips, the security personnel trekked the entire area from PG to Route 5 to the library, backtracking their steps to ensure every inch of ground was covered. 

Young, Bowles and Coons documented and photographed their findings, which indicated a far more innocuous explanation than was initially perceived. The three found what was known to be a gathering site for students–complete with a collection of tables, chairs, and tarps. The officers also found several ropes, some on the ground and some tied to trees, which had historically been used to hang tarps and section off the area. One of these ropes was “positively identified” by the initial reporter as what they had believed to be a noose the night of the incident. Based on the evidence and a follow-up interview with the initial reporter, Campus Security produced a formal report on the event. 

Meyer described her goal throughout this process as ensuring the“safety and health of the community.” In pursuit of her “goal of transparency,” when Campus Security alerted her to the tip of a potential noose, she made this knowledge public. Her email reads that Campus Security found ropes “that were perceived to be nooses”– neither confirmation nor denial of the potentially malicious nature of these ropes, as she herself did not know. This email also included links to different school-sponsored programs about race. 

When Student Affairs received the full report from Campus Security, they sent an email to update students on the results of the investigation, informing them that what was found in the woods was not a noose. However, Meyer did not consider this to mean the administration’s efforts were pointless. The newly appointed Interim Chief Diversity Officer, Kelsey Bush, explained that “perception is reality,” elaborating that perceptions, even false, can impact people as severely as something real. To illustrate this, he recalled a case as a student where people at a party had built a bonfire near a large cross–a benign act that he noted could come across as much worse.  

Bush and Meyer agreed that these perceptions can create “situations that we don’t want, especially right now, in the climate we’re in,” as Bush phrased it. He said he did not want “to tear the house down” in his position, he simply wanted to provide help where he could. Meyer added that “we all need grace”–so neither she nor Bush are asking for anything extraordinary, just care and concern for the members of our community. 

When speaking to Tressa Setlak, Director of Campus Security, and asking about the history of SMCM in relation to instances like this, her reply was optimistic. It has not been “ very often” that they received reports of racial intolerance. She referenced a past case in which hateful messages were being distributed in the area, but on campus it did not become a substantial issue. It was “very short-lived,” but throughout the duration, the office resolved to be “extra diligent” to keep the community clean.

#ScholarStrike: How St. Mary’s Professors are Participating in a National Anti-Racism Movement

Written By: Angelie Roche

One of the most defining moments of 2020 was the unlawful killing of George Floyd. In the months following, there have been numerous racial justice movements across the nation, from the “I Can’t Breathe” protests in June to the removal of Confederate monuments in July and August. Now, in September, activism continues with the #ScholarStrike movement, which arose following the NBA and WNBA boycott. Its founders, Athea Butler and Kevin Gannon, define it as “a movement designed to bring recognition to the mounting numbers of deaths of African Americans and others by excessive use of violence and force by police.” #ScholarStrike quickly gained recognition in millions of academic institutions including at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), wherein our very own professors are speaking out and taking action. 

According to its creators via a CNN interview, ScholarStrike is “a two-day action on September 8-9 where professors, staff, students and even administrators will step away from their regular duties and classes to engage in teach-ins about racial injustice.” This strike has taken many forms — several professors who did not “strike” in the traditional sense have taken the opportunity to educate themselves and their students on inequalities and police brutality in the U.S. Those who are able to have replaced their regular classes with statements of solidarity on their social media platforms and online teach-ins in order to raise awareness about the issue. This mirrors the “teach-ins” that were done in the 1960s during the Martin Luther King, Jr.-era civil rights movement, wherein scholars and professors would use their powerful voices to speak up for the rights of people of color. Now, in the digital age, professors can amplify their voices even more with the use of social media via YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. SMCM professors posted “teach-in” lectures on a new #ScholarStrike website, which can be accessed at http://bit.ly/scholarstrikeSMCM.

Two professors who helped organize the ScholarStrike teach-in lectures, Dr. Barrett Emerick, associate professor of Philosophy, and Dr. Sahar Shafqat, professor of Political Science, certainly had quite a bit to say about the racist systems that were created and are enforced to benefit the privileged. In her teach-in, Shafquat examined the issue of the “cops in our heads and our hearts” — how “positive” ideas about policing have been so ingrained in society that it is hard to imagine them as fallible or corrupt. Emerick spoke about how racism is understood through interpersonal interactions, institutions and ideologies; in an interview, he said he participated in the teach-in because “that’s what justice required,” going on to say that it is of the utmost importance to educate others about the structural racism so ingrained in our society. 

On September 8 and 9 — the Tuesday and Wednesday following Labor Day weekend — students at SMCM most likely had at least one professor, or heard of one, who was participating in ScholarStrike in some way. Two such professors were Dr. Cjersti Jensen, visiting associate professor of Psychology, and Dr. Nadeem Zaman, visiting instructor of English.  Jensen participated in the strike by cancelling classes on Wednesday, urging her students to focus on racial justice issues. When asked about her participation in the movement, she stated, “there is racial injustice in academia… [and] I am willing to take steps, no matter how small, to disrupt the status quo until those with power take notice and make change.” Specifically, she said, the racial disparities in academia included hiring biases, who gets into published and into PhD programs, and the groups of individuals who are studied.

 Zaman used #ScholarStrike to incorporate racial issues into his classes, and teach his students about the importance of racial equality during class time, speaking of current issues occurring at and around SMCM, such as the possible nooses found in the woods. Nadeem says he contributes to the #ScholarStrike movement to “be an ally in creating space for raising awareness about issues of racial, social, economic, and other forms of justice”. Many professors are not opting to fully strike in the traditional sense because professors are not unionized, so there is some risk and striking does not guarantee change in the academic field. 

No matter how professors at SMCM chose to engage in ScholarStrike, many are making efforts to be allies to the movement. As Jensen put it, “this is a widespread problem which St. Mary’s and other schools have been increasingly working to address, but systematic and individual change takes time, support, and reminders – like strikes!”

Construction of New Academic Buildings Continues

Written By: Angelie Roche

Photo By: Angelie Roche

Many St. Mary’s College of Maryland students who are on campus this fall — especially those living in the Townhouse Crescents– may have noticed the huge construction site just behind the Michael P. O’Brien Athletic and Recreation Center. The building under construction is a soon-to-be new academic building and auditorium, which will not only house the Music and Education Departments, but will also feature new amenities including a cafe, study area, more green space and several specialized music studios. According to the St. Mary’s website, the project will cost approximately $66 million dollars and will provide the college with a larger venue for future “concerts, lectures and other events.” 

The ongoing construction is broken up into two buildings: the larger, which will house the Music Department, will feature a 700 seat auditorium, with a 2400 square foot two-story lobby, a 125 seat recital hall, eight sound-isolated practice rooms, two ensemble practice rooms and three group practice rooms/classrooms along with dedicated percussion, piano, harp and electronic music studios. The other, which is adjacent to Goodpaster Hall, will house the Education Department, as well as a cafe and a common study area, which will be great resources aimed towards students living in Waring Commons, Lewis Quad and the Townhouses. Additionally, these buildings will continue in the St. Mary’s legacy of sustainability, including high efficiency cooling units, solar panels, and electric vehicle charging stations. 

According to Maurice Schlesinger, the Director of Facilities Planning, these buildings will benefit the students in several ways. Besides expanded space for the Music and Education departments, there will be a “direct walkway from Waring Commons to the Goodpaster Courtyard” as well as a “large lawn area for student outdoor activities” in the form of a new campus courtyard. In the long term, the completion of these buildings will cause space in Goodpaster and Montgomery Halls previously used by the Education and Music Departments to be opened up. The classrooms currently being used by Education in Goodpaster hall will be converted into labs, and Montgomery Hall’s old music classrooms will be renovated to create space for the Art, Theater, and Media Studies departments. The key downside, Schlesinger says, is “the potential disruptive effect of construction” and, for some students, “extended walks around the former athletic field.”

For those concerned that the work being done may have been disrupted by the coronavirus, Schlesinger assures that the Holder Construction Company has “taken significant steps to implement best practices with its subcontractors in its effort to prevent any effects on the project.” In March, one construction team had to quarantine, but the company had another team take over in the meantime. Because of this, there have been no major delays, and the buildings are still set to open in the Fall of 2022 as planned.