We all stayed up

UB’s reaction to the unexpected election results

By Zachary Nelson

“I stayed up till 3:30.” That was the case for a lot of students at UB the morning after the election. I have noticed that students here have a lot of heart and a lot of passion for political matters and how the proceedings might affect themselves and those they love. I spent some of Wednesday morning asking people on campus what they thought and felt about the election results. So, instead of telling you my opinion, I will give you their thoughts.

At UB, the conversation began with non-verbals. One professor observed, “There was definitely kind of a dark vibe – there was definitely a lot of tension.” One of my classmates recalled, “Five o clock in the morning and I checked my phone and I felt sick to my stomach.” It seemed that a cloud of despair had descended on Mount Royal and Charles.

Then people started speaking up. Their first reaction was one of surprise. Phrases like, “It was mind boggling,” “I am just surprised in the outcome,” and “I was just completely shell shocked” were commonly used. One student ruminated, “I am surprised on how misrepresented the youth are… I think that the way things are going is controlled a lot by the way they view the world and since they were under represented – I feel like we had a loss.” One professor explained, “My first thought was surprise but as I reflected on it I realized that I probably shouldn’t have been that surprised and then I kind of reflected a little bit on how we kind of isolate ourselves and surround ourselves with similar belief systems. I don’t personally know anyone who is going to vote for Trump, therefore is discounted the power of what he [President- Elect Trump] was bringing to people.”

The conversation turned to concerns for the future. A student explained, “At first I was worried, and now I’m a little afraid. I always considered myself a proud American… and now I am kind of embarrassed… He is not predictable… I don’t know what he’s going to do”. Things like are my friends marriages going to become invalid are people going to lose access to healthcare. Or a supreme court justice who gets it in their heart to overturn Roe v Wade.

When people say they’re scared for their life because Trump now has the nuclear codes… he has the mouth of an eight year old but I don’t think he has the mind of an eight year old. He’s not gonna go bombing people… I don’t think he’s going to cause any wars or anything like that just cause of his antics. I started with optimistic fear to like fearful optimism.

Amidst the gloomy dreariness which permeated Mount Vernon, there were a few sparks of hope. One student admitted, “This is really surprising… but since it’s happened already, I am eager to see what is going to happen next.” Another student said, “Maybe he can bring something different.” Another student says that we must, “Have more comfort in knowing that God is the person that makes the final decision.”

Many students stayed up until 3:30. Most students participated in the passionate discussions which inevitably sprung up in classrooms across campus. All students must come to grips with the election results and decide how they will respond. We will see what the future holds.


Is it their fault?

Students are often blamed for their disinterest in academic pursuits

By Zachary Nelson

The professor must first convince the student that the subject at hand is useful in real life. Only then will the student agree to care about anything the professor says.

It is a complaint of teachers and parents alike that students are not engaged in coursework. Professors and parents decry this apparent disinterest as laziness or another flaw of character (Kohn). They claim that video games and socializing, “is all they ever do.” To confirm this, I conducted a survey of UB students this past month (n=21). Student engagement in various activities was measured on a 1-7 scale (7 meaning high engagement). Electronic entertainment scored a 4.46 while spending time with friends scored a 5.95. Meanwhile, academic pursuits (class lectures and homework assignments) scored only a 4.1. (See Figure 1)

Figure 1 shows how engaged students are in the corresponding activities. A score of 7 indicates “very engaged.”
Figure 1 shows how engaged students are in the corresponding activities. A score of 7 indicates “very engaged.”

To understand the reasons behind this undesirable deficit, we will consider the average day of a gamer who attends UB. First, this student listens for an hour and a half to a lecturer talk about a subject which does not seem to have an application the real world. Then, during their study time, the student attempts to memorize this seemingly meaningless information and so he can fill in the correct little bubbles with a led pencil at the end of the month.

The student then goes home and unwinds by playing a video game where he is participating in a breathtaking rescue scene. As the student is playing, he reacts emotionally as if he was actually doing the act himself – which would certainly be an exhilarating and engaging experience (McGonigal).  

Wouldn’t it be more natural for our brain to engage in the video game instead of the class lecture? Wouldn’t it be natural for our brain to tune out a lecture that is perceived as irrelevant to normal functioning? Wouldn’t it be natural for the student to pursue the next most productive alternative? (i.e. texting or watching sports highlights in class).

Perhaps students are harshly critiqued by parents and teachers unnecessarily. Talking down to someone for following a natural mental process may be quite misinformed and potentially hazardous to the portion of the student’s brain that dares to think beyond the PowerPoints and scantrons.

Please understand, I am not suggesting that the content UB lectures are irrelevant or meaningless. Nothing could be further from the truth. Much rigorous work has been put into building the theories that are taught in the textbooks. However, I am suggesting that if the contents of the lecture are perceived by the students as being disconnected from reality, students will perceive the lecture as a waste of time.

Fixing the problem does not require an overhaul of the wealth of knowledge we have accumulated over years of rigorous academic research. The solution, instead, lies in the presentation of the information. This is where further research should be done.

Image Source: Zachary Nelson

Text Citations:

Kohn, Alfie. “From Degrading to De-Grading.” High School Magazine Mar. 1999: Print.

McGonigal, Jane. “Gaming Can Make a Better World.” YouTube. TED, Web. Dec. 2016.

Surviving Life: Chapter Three

People. I thought to myself. I rushed out of my car and dashed to the sight of the crash. Screw being alone. People could have survived that.

As I approached the crash site, I heard shouting and screaming. I saw shapes moving erratically away from the plane, clumped together, dragging one another away from the flames. The ashen bodies wept and pleaded for help. And help them I would.

I ran to the first person I passed and grabbed their hand; it was a young boy, no more than twelve years old, his blonde hair was covered in soot and he squinted his green, bloodshot eyes. I led him to the SUV “Wait here! I’m going back.” I told him as he collapsed against the door.

More people were running away from the plane “Come with me!” I shouted at them “Please, follow me!” several people approached me and allowed me to lead them back to the SUV.

“What happened? Why did we crash?” they were asking, their panicked tones rising, repetitively begging me for answers that I did not have.

“I don’t know why your plane crashed,” I began “There was a nuclear explosion about an hour ago, that probably has something to do with it.”

“Why?” One of the women screamed at the notion.

“I don’t know, miss” I shook my head as I shepherded the small crowd of survivors back to the SUV.

There were now ten of us. We gathered ourselves into the vehicle, the young boy sat on the lap of one of the female survivors in the very back of the SUV. “Where are you taking us?” one of the men asked.

I stared at the wheel, unsure of where to go “Where do you want to go?”

Everyone was silent, no one knew what they wanted, there was nothing to be had. “You said there was an explosion?” the man reiterated.

“Yes, about an hour ago.” I nodded my head.

“Did the government announce an evacuation center?”

“I don’t know; I was out camping.”

4bae2One woman groaned “Let’s just get to a town, there has to be someone alive that knows what’s going on.”

There were sounds of agreement being made throughout the vehicle. “Alright, we’re about two hours from the nearest town.” I started the engine “Look out for any more survivors.”

“What do we do if we find anyone else?” the woman asked.

“We help them.” I told her.

“We have nothing to give them.” The man said.

I shrugged and began to drive “We’ll figure it out as we go along.”


University of Baltimore (UB) Sexual Assault Campus Climate Survey Results

By Elizabeth Paige

The University of Baltimore is committed to maintaining a university setting and educational environment that is healthy and nondiscriminatory for students, including an environment free of sexual misconduct of all types. In February 2016, UB’s Title IX Advisory Committee contracted with the UB Schaefer Center for Public Policy to administer a sexual assault campus climate survey to students to seek student input about the University’s climate and student experience regarding the incidence of sexual discrimination, misconduct and relationship violence. Thank you to the students that took the time to participate in this important research. Your survey responses and opinions matter to help inform the development of University programs and services.
The following information summarizes the results of the survey:
Between February 12 and February 29, 2016, 4,960 UB students were invited to participate in the sexual assault campus climate survey. Of those invited, 680 (16.65%) completed the survey with an additional 106 completing some of the survey questions:

  • The majority of students responding were aware of the UB Police Department and the UB Counseling Center as places to report instances of sexual misconduct.
  • The majority of students responding felt that UB would take reports of sexual misconduct seriously, handle the report fairly, maintain privacy, take steps to protect the safety and support the reporter of sexual misconduct and address factors that led to misconduct.
  • At the time of the survey, the majority of students responding had taken some sort of training about sexual assault or violence.
  • The majority of students responding correctly identified as “responsible employees” the UB Title IX Coordinator, any UB staff member, and regular UB faculty members.

The results of this survey will help the University in its work to keep the campus environment free of sexual discrimination. Such efforts include plans to make an effort to tailor sexual assault-related outreach and awareness activities to meet the needs of students within the individual colleges at UB, when possible and appropriate, noting that students’ needs may differ in certain colleges. UB will institute a cycle of providing students with notice about the Secure Escort and LiveSafe app to increase the number of students who have this app and to increase overall student awareness. UB will also seek additional methods to increase the response rate of campus climate surveys in the future.
To view the full report, please visit ubalt.edu/titleix
Please contact the Office of Government and Public Affairs at 410-837-4533 or ogpa@ubalt.edu with questions.