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News

As Babson considers tightening credit policy, SGA censures “early graduation” press release

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On Wednesday, the Student Government Association passed a resolution criticizing a Babson press release that highlights options for graduating early. The resolution expresses the SGA’s opinion that the press release misleadingly portrays early graduation as a new program, even as Babson considers tightening advanced credit requirements, making it more difficult for some to graduate early.

The press release, entitled “Babson College Offers Accelerated Path To An Undergraduate Degree In As Little As Three Years,” describes ways in which students can graduate early by taking additional classes or transferring advanced high school credits. It also identifies the advantages of graduating in three or three-and-a-half years, including earlier workforce participation, entrepreneurship opportunities, and “[increased] return on investment for students.” In it, both President of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts Richard Doherty and Babson College Board Chair Joseph L. Winn are quoted describing these steps as a “new degree option,” and business school news website Poets & Quants released an article covering the press release entitled “Babson Launches Three-Year Degree Option.”

The SGA’s response, called “Statement on Early Graduation PR Piece,” claims that Babson’s press release falsely “[indicates] a change from the status quo” and that “the release of this information as an external PR piece rather than an internal announcement indicates lack of prioritization of current Babson students.” In response, it urges the school to “remove the piece” and “seek and consult student feedback on advanced credit and early graduation.” The SGA Constitution states that such resolutions represent “the official position of the Government.”

For some, the brunt of the issue lay in Babson’s concurrent efforts to change its advanced credit policy. “This announcement is meant to be perceived as, but does not represent, a change from current policy, nor does it constitute ‘news,’ especially so close to the incoming student deposit deadline,” former SGA Vice President of Communications Daniel Foltz said in a Facebook message. “Babson is currently considering restricting AP/IB credit acceptance, making it more difficult to graduate early.”

Currently, Babson allows students to apply advanced credits from most Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams, among other sources. A policy passed by the Undergraduate Academic Policy Committee would establish a 16-credit cap on advanced credits, a cap of eight intermediate liberal arts credits, and prohibit advanced credits from applying to free electives.

To move forward, the policy must pass the Faculty Senate. If approved, the policy will come into effect for the Class of 2022. According to Dean of the Undergraduate School Ian Lapp, it would affect a “minimal number of students.”

Although it was formally adopted on Wednesday, the SGA resolution’s path to the public eye was rocky. Its passage and release tested new SGA leadership, which assumed power mere minutes before the vote. And, in some ways, it highlighted the kinks still being worked out in the resolution process itself, which, before this academic year, had not been used in at least two years.

After the initial vote, senators were split on the manner of release, with a plurality agreeing to post the resolution on social media and others expressing concern that this would harm relations with administration. In the end, according to meeting minutes, a second vote established that “the resolution would be emailed [to administration] and then posted the following day.”

However, SGA President Jae Shin vetoed the official social media post on Thursday, in a move that came as a surprise to some senators. The veto came after a morning meeting with President Kerry Healey, Dean Lapp, and Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Chief of Staff Kelly Lynch, who, representing administration, pledged stronger relations with the SGA. In an email, Dean Lapp called the meeting “thoughtful, informative, and productive,” saying, “we all left the meeting better educated about the issues and committed to even stronger collaborations.”

Although it was not immediately released by SGA, the resolution became public on Wednesday afternoon when, after seeking confirmation from SGA leadership, Senator Michael Gorman posted it on Facebook with his personal account.

In Facebook messages, Gorman acknowledged the diversity of opinions within SGA and Babson’s own motivations. “We were not trying to attack Babson by calling them hypocrites,” Gorman said. “I am sure they have their reasons. But we as students felt it was wrong to advertise Babson in this way.”

The press release is still present on Babson’s website in its original form. A Faculty Senate vote on the changes to credit policy is scheduled for next Friday.

Chartwells makes an entrance

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This fall and spring semester, Babson College invited a new dining service provider, Chartwells, to campus in an effort to improve student’s dining experience. This major change has been met with much excitement, as students weigh in on the new food quality and selection across campus’ three eating venues.

After having served Babson and Olin College students for over 20 years, Babson viewed Sodexo’s expiring contract as an opportunity to revamp the food options on campus. Chartwells won the sought after bid for serving at Babson Peter Connors, Chartwells’ Resident District Manager, explains that “both Babson College and Chartwells share the same values for campus food services: we are committed to fantastic service, great food quality, and the ability to efficiently run an excellent business and preserve the environment for the future through our sustainable efforts.”

Although the battle for the bid has been won, there is an undeniable pressure that Chartwells feels to impress Babson’s students for renewal next year. Between the new self service hot food options, tailored seasonal menus, streamlined new food platforms, and many interactive, customizable options, Trim has received a much needed facelift. Within the first week of school,Chartwells set a high standard of service and tasty food, leaving many to question if the food provider will be able to continue to impress.

When asked about the issue, Connors reassures the College there are methods put in place to maintain a high quality of food, such as “management team conducting a series of audits,… mystery shoppers, and semester reviews with Babson constituents.” Additionally, there are “several mechanisms in place: email, social media, and text to solve, ‘Happy or Not’ kiosk, and in person feedback through table touching” to ensure satisfactory dining.

Even though, the feedback received about Chartwells has been overwhelmingly positive, there is still room to grow.

In the coming months Chartwells aims to address long lines and food shortages in due time “through the use of technology, menu engineering, and training.” Overall, Babson students are enjoying the change, taking it one meal at a time.

Class of 2020 Student Senators

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In the end of September, five students were elected as newest leaders in Babson Student Government Association. They were Yoni Bachar, Shiraz Khan Ghauri, Leo Liu, Nori Horvitz, and Kelly Song. SGA are divided into five sections: Academic, Clubs & Org, Campus Improvement, Ways & Means, and Student Life. Senators will need to take the responsibility under their divisions. They frequently hold meetings, talk about issues on campus and endeavor to solve them. This week, I had an interview with one of the new senators Leo Liu, and let us together take a close look at SGA.

I: Why do you want to be a student senator?

Leo: I think this is the best way to be involved in Babson. Being a Babson student, I always feel obligated to contribute to our school. I also worked in the student government back in high school, so I believe with my ability and experience I can bring more positive impact on campus. In terms of personal reasons, I always see myself as a leader, and being a student senator will bring me self-improvement and let me become a better one.

I: What do you do in SGA?

Leo: I am under the division “Ways& Means”. For example, if school organizations and clubs want to apply for funds to hold events, they need to ask our permission. We also take care of budget, distributing money to clubs as funds.  

I: How does SGA and senators work?

Leo: We have weekly meetings. On Wednesday, all senators must gather together and have a meeting for two hours. We will make a report, talk about issues, and discuss about solutions. As for each section, we also have a meeting every week. Being senator make me very busy, but I think it is totally worth it.

I: What is your relationship with other senators?

Leo: We are very close. We vote to pass policies when we have disagreements, which we always do. We often have internal debates regarding to the issues and solutions, but all of us are so willing to contribute to the school and make it better.

I: Do you get to many authorities a lot?

Leo: Yes, we do. We have the chance to talk to President Healey, Dean Lapp and discuss with them about the school. It is a cool experience and I enjoy it very much.

Five senators for the class of 2020 have been elected. They are all responsible, contributing, and always willing to help. Together with other senators, they will try their best to lead Babson into a better school.

PC: Annie Gao
PC: Annie Gao

Shuttle service to Boston resumes, with changes

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On Friday, November 13, Academy shuttle service to Boston was reinstated after its removal last year due to behavioral issues.

Whereas shuttles last year visited multiple locations around Boston, including Copley Square, the Theatre District, and Faneuil Hall, Academy will now only offer service to Copley. On Thursday nights, shuttles will bring students to Copley, but not back, and on Friday and Saturday nights they will both pick up and drop off. The regular circuit to the Woodland T station and back will continue as usual.

This unusual schedule is part of an agreement meant to address the factors that led to the service’s removal last year. These included damage to buses, disrespect of drivers, and numerous alcohol-related incidents. According to Student Government Association Senator Manuel Whitfield, the ride to Babson is longer than to most schools, increasing the chances of such issues. “The majority of the problems are when students are coming back from Boston,” Whitfield (’16) said. The new schedule has fewer, and earlier, trips to Boston.

Last year, the SGA explored multiple alternatives to termination of service, but ultimately decided to limit service to Woodland. At that time, it had reached the point where “no bus driver wanted to drive our route,” Whitfield said. “To the student body it seemed like a big change, something abrupt. It hasn’t been—this has been going on for some time.”

In the past, shuttle service was funded primarily by Babson College, with SGA contributing a small portion of funding. With these changes, SGA will contribute a larger amount.

Whitfield stressed that shuttle service is a privilege. “[Students] need to take care of the things [they] have around [them]. This gives the College the flexibility to do more things. We could have a lot more fun and fruitful events.”

Biggest class size in Babson’s history

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In the history of Babson College, the first-year class of 2020 is undoubtedly the biggest cohort that matriculated, with the numbers showing that at 588 students, about 60 more students chose to enroll this year as compared to the previous year.

The acceptance rate, which dropped from 28% to 26% last year, currently stands at 25%–the lowest it has ever been thus affirming that the admissions process has become even more selective. In addition, the yield rate which traditionally stands at 27-28% was higher this year, which means that although the admitted students are academically more competitive and are likely to have other choices among top notch schools, a greater number of the first-years chose to complete their undergraduate degree at Babson.

It is thus upon the Office of Undergraduate Admissions Office to adjust the algorithm used to determine selection and yielding of students because as the Dean of the Undergraduate School, Ian Lapp confirms, “The population growth seen this academic year was unintentional and will not be the class size for future incoming cohorts.”

This year’s large intake does reflect a growing level of interest in Babson and its commitment towards promoting entrepreneurship of all kinds, however, the size of the campus cannot fully support additional students. The population increase has had an impact on the availability of adequate housing on campus with the effect being that several transfer students lacked on-campus housing this year while several rooms in residential houses were subdivided to accommodate more students.

Similarly, despite the warm reception of the new dining services from Chartwells, there has been the tendency of long queues forming during peak hours of the day at both Trim and Reynolds. There has also been limited opportunity to adjust class schedules or take some of the required courses, which prompted the Registrar’s Office to add more sections to certain courses in order to accommodate the increasing numbers. Finding parking spaces in the designated campus areas has become an even greater struggle with students commenting that “I’m trying to find parking or I had to park far away” is currently a valid excuse for being a few minutes late to class.

Nonetheless, Dean Lapp states that there are currently no expansion plans underway for the campus but rather that the school is keen on pursuing alternative means of adjusting to the increased population. As he emphasizes, “This is no crisis just community, with the additional students adding to the intellectual enrichment of the campus.”

Faculty Senate Recommends Against Proposed Institute, Citing Concerns with Koch Foundation Support

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The Faculty Senate of Babson College, constituted in 2008 to represent faculty in communication with college administration, recently recommended against establishing an “Institute of Prosperity Studies,” rejecting up to $10 million in proposed funding. The Faculty Senate was especially concerned with the initial donation to the school, which came from Charles Koch Foundation, whose founder is a strong financial supporter of the Republican Party.  The Senate cited ethical concerns with accepting money from the Koch Foundation and were concerned with Babson’s name being associated with the Koch Foundation.

The Senate’s recommendation against the Institute of Prosperity Studies was approved as a response to a request by Provost Michael Johnson for input on the issue. The response reaffirmed “the academic freedom of professors to engage in whatever research projects they wish, and to pursue individual funding to support that research,” but in the end, recommended “that the college not move forward with the proposed Institute of Prosperity Studies.” The Senate was deeply concerned about establishing an “explicit institutional association” with the Charles Koch Foundation, which they implied was “linked to specific political and/or ideological causes.”

CWEL addresses equal pay equity

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CWEL’s first Disruption Dinner, sponsored by the Center for Women & Wealth at Brown Brothers Harriman, attempts to talk about gender pay equity by sharing six influential women’s career story and advice to 200 plus attendees.

Meg DeMarco, Director of Programs at CWEL, calls the room to attention and introduces Jane Edmonds, VP for Programming and Community Outreach at Babson, who has an impressive background in politics and entrepreneurship. Edmonds delivers an eloquent speech about the other guests and glides over the Equal Pay topic. Edmonds gives a promising anecdote about Kerry Healey’s impressive work ethic and passion for helping the underserved citizens of Massachusetts, especially women fighting for equal pay.

The moderator is Candy O’Terry, Massachusetts Broadcaster of the Year, President & Co-Founder of Boston Women in the Media and Entertainment, 25-year veteran of Magic 106.7, and a member of brand consulting company, Brunner Communications. She starts by beautifully singing Amazing Grace, which is most definitely one of the evening’s highlights. O’Terry manages the panel remarkably like a radio talk show host. She skillfully flows from question to question effortlessly while adding her own experience and answers.

The Panelists’ are Jackie Glenn, Global Chief Diversity Officer at Dell EMC; Nancy Joyce, Founder and CEO of Joyce Advisors; and Evelyn Murphy, Founder and President of The Wage Project. Each of these women reveal extraordinary career paths and valuable life lessons.

Each of these women reveal extraordinary career paths and valuable life lessons.

1. O’Terry (career in Media and Entertainment)

●Success is a conscious decision

●Don’t just show up, stand out

●Wisdom is recognizing a mistake before you make it again

2. Jackie Glenn (career in Health Care and Technology Recruiting)

●Own your difference

●Go above and beyond – sometimes doing so doesn’t pay off, but most of the time it will,and when it does, it will open doors

●Do not be afraid to travel for an opportunity

●Do not be afraid to ask for help

●Think outside the box, go above, below, sideways, and around to solve problems

●Do not give up because mindset is important; if you put down your foot to solve a problem, you will be able to succeed

3. Nancy Joyce (career in Brand Consulting and Entrepreneurship)

●Fostering and building relationships when you don’t need them is just as important as
when you need them

●When someone asks, “how are you,” don’t just say, “I am good.” Share something about
yourself, share a recent accomplishment because that will help you build a relationship
with them

●Learn to advocate for yourself in the workplace because no matter how diligent your supervisor is, he or she will be busy and will not be able to keep track of your accomplishments as well as you can for yourself

●Ask for what you want

●Don’t take everything personally, it’s business

●Research people in your desired career path

●Tips for negotiations: be comfortable with silence, ask for 25% of medium

4. Evelyn Murphy (career in Politics and Non-profits)

●Do not blink at opportunities, take them because they might be game changing

●If women act, then employers will react [in reference to the equal pay gap]

●”We [women] are just as educated and work just as hard [as men]”

●Sometimes, other people see things in you that you cannot see in yourself so use your mentors and people to help you

●The best way to protect yourself and obtain fair compensation is to understand laws and policies about Equal Pay; educate yourself on the topic for your specific company and position

●Attend free salary negotiation workshops

●Pursue your dreams, do something that matters to you

●Know how to translate skills that you learn outside of work into skills that you can use in
the workplace, example is team sports

An important resource for individuals interested in learning more about the Equal Pay Equity is Murphy’s non-profit organization:The Wage Project.

Virtual Reality in BabsonCODE

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Step into the shoes of a college student in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. The newest “craze” are personal computers – big, bulky machines that only displayed command prompts and weighed a ton. They honestly looked stupid.  And the people who sat hunched over those tiny screens might have looked like idiots – or worse – nerds.

Fast forward a little less than a decade and the Apple 1 comes out; soon computers start to become mainstream. A few short years later and a bright student from Harvard noticed that these computers lacked meaningful software, and launches a startup called Microsoft.

I don’t need to paint the picture any further. The point isn’t that computers started out as stupid machines and then became ubiquitous.

Students support Mizzou protesters

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Photo courtesy of Shatiek Gatlin

Students, faculty, and members of administration gathered in Reynolds Campus Center on Thursday, November 12 in a show of support to student protesters at Yale University and the University of Missouri, also known as “Mizzou.” Led by the Black Student Union, the meeting echoed a national conversation about campus racism, student safety, and free speech.

Over the past weeks, students at Yale and Mizzou have demonstrated against racial discrimination on their campuses. At Yale, protests were triggered after Associate Master Erika Christakis sent an email pushing back against Halloween costume guidelines. These guidelines, distributed by a branch of Yale’s administration, outlined what kinds of costumes may be perceived as offensive.

At Mizzou, protesters forced their president to resign after accusations that he had failed to address marginalized students. Students at the university have been subject to threats on social media and over the phone, as well as physical displays of racism on campus.

At Babson, students wore all black and posed in a photo to lend solidarity. “I think that it’s important when you’re in a place of privilege to just try to be an ally in whatever way possible, and I think that being here is a hugely miniscule thing I can do to be an ally,” Kai Haskins (’18) said.

The gathering was a major part of Babson’s reaction to the incidents, which also included a prayer service in Glavin Chapel a widespread response on social media. An email from the Student Government Association urged students “to discuss the events transpiring at these two universities and to consider the role students play.”

Such a showing is rare for Babson, a school typically resistant to social movements. “This is the first time since coming to Babson that I’ve seen a physical display of solidarity in a public place about something that’s happening not on our campus,” Brenna Leary (’18) said.

Yet participants in the gathering stressed that, although they are occurring elsewhere, the protests are relevant locally.

“These issues are very alive and real in our community as well. It hasn’t had the same bubbling-up effect as what’s happened at Missou and Yale, but this is very much a reality for a lot of students of color,” Victoria Bills (’16) said.

Administration hosts forum for student housing concerns

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On April 15, administrators held a meeting to address concerns about the year’s housing process, which some students alleged penalized rising seniors.

Representatives from Student Life, Facilities, and Public Safety spoke to a room of fifteen students. Led by Student Affairs Administration Assistant Dean Kate Deeb, the meeting was described in a student-wide email from the Student Government Association as “a space to address those questions, concerns, and the rumors that are out there.”

Deeb began by clearing up some misconceptions. “77 percent of suites are occupied by seniors,” she said. Some students alleged that 65 percent were occupied by rising juniors. She also revealed the gender breakup of rooms in Mandell, Pietz, and Mcullogh residence halls, which stand at 45 percent female and 55 percent male. This roughly matches the gender breakup of the College as a whole, countering rumors that suites are overwhelmingly male. Deeb also guaranteed the availability of housing on campus: “All the students that have applied for housing we are able to house,” she said.

These answers proved unsatisfactory for rising seniors, who focused on the quality, not quantity, of housing. Some proposed a housing process based on intended graduation date, or a return to a system of averages, in which groups of students are placed based on their average lottery number.

At times, the conversation turned emotional. Students expressed frustration at perceived injustices within the selection process, especially abuses of high lottery numbers. Some asked administration to better address situations in which a senior reserves a suite for juniors, then promptly moves out.

Midway through the meeting, a Facebook event created to protest the housing process, “Petition for Senior Housing,” was cancelled. Still, student attendees raised the possibility of a petition to effect change: “It’s a school for students; we should have a say.”

SGA Vice President of Communications Daniel Foltz was present. “SGA is looking to provide a forum for students and administration to maximize the effectiveness of our housing system and assist in resolving student concerns,” he said. Administrators maintained the possibility of working with SGA to tweak the housing process for future years and welcomed further student input.