February 26, 2024

Update regarding recent events on campus

Dear Parents of Current Goucher Students, 

I am writing today to inform you about two recent events on the Goucher campus that you may have heard about from your students. 

First, in addition to heightened tensions regarding the Israel/Palestine conflict, which resulted last semester in several reported incidents involving posters that could be interpreted as antisemitic, we had two reported cases of anti-Black racist graffiti in non-residential buildings on our campus. One of these incidents occurred last semester; the most recent incident was discovered last Thursday evening in the interior of a women’s bathroom stall in one of our academic buildings. Campus Safety removed the graffiti. Unfortunately, because these incidents occurred in bathrooms of frequently traveled buildings, no definitive video surveillance is available.  

I sent out a communication to our campus community on Friday morning, strongly condemning these hateful, racist acts, and reaffirming that they will not be tolerated on our campus. I also stated that we are investigating the incident, the perpetrators will be subject to discipline under our student code of conduct, and that everyone has a responsibility to help us identify the perpetrator. Information can be reported anonymously via our Silent Witness web page.  

Unrelated to this incident, on Friday afternoon, in coordination with the Baltimore County Police (BCoPD), we asked our students, faculty, and staff to shelter in place for about 45 minutes so the BCoPD could apprehend two unarmed individuals who had allegedly run into the woods on our campus to avoid being arrested.  

I want to reinforce that at no point during this time were any of the members of our campus community in danger.  

However, out of an abundance of caution, we asked everyone to remain inside with all campus building doors automatically locked so the police could quickly locate and apprehend the individuals. The police successfully apprehended one individual, and by using their K-9-unit, aerial surveillance, and on the ground investigation, determined that the other person was not on our campus. 

I want to acknowledge and thank our Campus Safety team who acted quickly and in complete coordination with the BCoPD to bring this incident to a successful conclusion with minimal interruption to our campus. 

Our country’s colleges are a microcosm of society, which means that unfortunately, we are not immune to the ills of society. These types of incidents occur on college campuses nationwide. Moreover, because of the intimate nature of students living and attending classes together in the same community, the angst present in our society is often magnified.  

We at Goucher are proud of the diversity of our student population, and the increasingly diverse staff and faculty we are attracting who share our values. In that diversity we find strength and the ultimate expression of a true liberal arts education.

However, we do not live in a vacuum and understand very well the need for all our students to feel safe, seen, and heard on our campus without fear. We are fully committed to advancing a myriad of anti-bias education and inclusive campus initiatives so that all Goucher faculty, staff, and students feel safe and welcome on our campus.  

In closing, I would like to remind you that as a practice we do not inform our current students’ parents about everything that happens on our campus. We recognize that our students are adults, and we respect that. However, due to the severity of these two unrelated events late last week, I felt it important to share this information with you.  

Thank you for our ongoing support of your student and of Goucher College. 

Kent Devereaux