Swarthmore's independent campus newspaper since 1881

Tag archive

Swarthmore

Field Hockey Thriving Under Coach Allison

in Fall/Season/Sports/Women by

If you happen to be by the athletic fields on a Tuesday morning, you will most likely catch a glimpse of Swarthmore’s Field Hockey team starting their day off with a 6 a.m. practice. It is this type of commitment that has contributed to their recent and unprecedented success. Having won six out of their last 10 games, Field Hockey has already won more games this season than in any other since 2012. The Garnet’s success can also be attributed to their new coach, Hannah Allison, who brings a refreshing new coaching style and a positive outlook for the team’s 2017 season.

Ellory Laning 18 shared her thoughts on her new coach and impact she has already had, and will continue to have, on the program.

“I think that we’ve always seen ourselves as a strong and talented team, but Coach Allison has dedicated a lot of practice time to helping us recognize where we break down and what has been preventing us from applying our strengths in games, which has greatly improved our play and helped us to connect and function as a united team,” she said.

Under Allison’s coaching, the Garnet have already won more Conference games this season than they have in the last four seasons. This newfound success must be attributed both to Allison’s coaching as well as her team’s ability to adapt and thrive under her new coaching style. This new coaching style focuses on the positives, creating a different team dynamic on the field. Instead of yelling when her athletes make mistakes, Allison tries to make each mistake a learning experience.

“I look forward to practices a lot more this season because I feel like I learn so much from them, as well as games. I think we just feel more confident playing our opponents this year knowing that we have a shot at winning,” said Zelda Bank 19.

The team have connected both on and off the field and all the players have really stepped up, especially the five first-years. Chelsea Semper ’21, who already feels like she has grown as a player under the guidance of Coach Allison, thinks that the team can became a competing force in the Centennial Conference.

“I’m really excited to see the program continue to grow this season and gain more respect in our conference. I’m thrilled to be a part of the group that is positively impacting the Swat Field Hockey program and helping turn it into a team that shouldn’t be taken lightly,” she said.

Having always been supportive and communicative, the Field Hockey team is making major headway in their level of confidence and winning mentality that will help them become a team to be reckoned with. Lizzy Stant ’19 gave some insight on a Centennial rival that she really wants to beat this year.

“John Hopkins! We had a tight game against them last year, and with our improvements over the past year we’d all love to bring them an even better game this year! We want to continue to improve in the conference and make other teams respect us and fear us! I believe in our ability to be able to do that this year more than ever before,” she said.

Field Hockey seems poised this year for their strongest season since 2012. With a new coach and new outlook on both practices and games, the team is set to grow and could be a solid contender in the Centennial Conference. While their much-anticipated game against John Hopkins is an away game on Oct. 14, Field Hockey faces Oneonta on Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. on Clothier Field.

Athlete of the Week: Marin McCoy ’19

in Athlete of the Week/Sports by

This past week, Junior Women’s Soccer player Marin McCoy won her third Centennial Conference Player of the Week award after scoring seven points in the Garnet’s two games. She set the program’s record for career points on Wednesday in a loss to Arcadia and tied the program record for goals in a win against Franklin and Marshall. She has 13 goals and nine assists this year. The Garnet have a rivalry matchup this Saturday against Johns Hopkins at 4 p.m.

Jack Corkery: What is your major, and what made you want to pursue it?

Marin McCoy: I am a biology major and have always really enjoyed learning about the way things work. I particularly enjoy learning about how the body works and understanding the various biological adaptations that animals have made over time to survive in their environments. While I enjoy all these aspects about biology, including the intimate relationship with the natural world, I find incorporating social justice into biological studies most compelling. If public health was a major option at Swarthmore, I would love to learn about how science can be used to stop injustices, systematic racism, and discrimination in our society.

JC: What appealed to you about Swarthmore when you were in the recruiting process?

MM: I really liked Swarthmore because it seemed to put a greater emphasis on academics than athletics. I wanted to be able to take advantage of all the things a liberal arts college has to offer, with soccer also being a part of my life. I really liked the emphasis Swarthmore put on social justice and I wanted to meet weird and quirky people.

JC: How did you feel when you set the school points record?

MM: I guess when I found out I was a little embarrassed. While I am sure my ego benefits from the limelight, sometimes I feel like it is unfair that forwards (those often scoring and assisting) get so much more attention over the midfielders and defenders. This record is without a doubt a testament to the opportunities that those teammates have created for me to finish. I am really proud of our team for creating so many scoring opportunities (53 shots in our last game!).

JC: You have a unique background not playing club soccer in high school, unlike most of your teammates, and you were also a three sport athlete in high school. How do you think your unique background prepared you for collegiate success?

MM: I think I avoided playing club soccer in high school for my own sanity. I was already beginning to get burned out of soccer, and I don’t think I would have been in the right place had I continued playing. I think having access to three different sports and all the coaches and teammates that came along with that really helped my enjoyment of the sport and the various aspects of different types of games. I also think that playing different sports might have given me a better field awareness, and it has possibly helped me better understand the sport from an analytical point of view.

JC: The team looks really good this year. What will the biggest key for success be going forward in the season?

MM: I think the key to success this season is continuing to play together as a team. When we play as a unit we are really, really hard to beat (and it’s super fun). I also think that when we score early, we are able to settle into our style of play, and if we can consistently do this we will have a lot more success.

JC: Do you have any goals, personal or team, for the rest of the season?

MM: Our team decided this season that we were going to focus on being present. This means that we don’t look up other teams, and we focus on playing our game regardless of the opponent. Personally, my goal this season has been to not regret the amount of effort I have put forth. It can be really hard to score goals while putting extra pressure on yourself. Instead, I try to focus on giving as much effort as possible and hope that this will help the team succeed.

 

Athlete of the Week: Michael Brown ’21

in Athlete of the Week/Sports by

Golfer and first-year phenom Michael Brown ’21 has made a historic impact on the Garnet in his debut season so far. Hailing from Reading, Conn., Brown finished first overall Sept. 10 at the Swarthmore-Neumann Invitational in a field of 82 competitors, shooting a 68 overall, one stroke off the Swarthmore program record. He was named Centennial Conference Golfer of the Week for his performance in the tournament and has continued to impress in both the Harrisburg Invitational and the Montgomery Cup in the weeks following. The Garnet return to action on Sept. 30 at the McDaniel Mason-Dixon Invitational.

Ping Promrat: How has the adjustment to college been for you, both academically and athletically?

Michael Brown: In terms of academics, Swarthmore is definitely a step up for me, as there is a lot more time management involved in balancing aspects of college life. I think I’ve adjusted well athletically, and it is a lot of what I expected coming in. The tournament atmosphere is very similar to what I had in high school and the tournaments I played in over the summer.

PP: What is your intended major, and what interests you about it?

MB: I’m currently undecided. That being said, I’m much more of a natural sciences kind of person, so I’m thinking about a potential environmental studies major. I also really like my Introduction to Economics class, too, so I’ll see where my interests take me.

PP: What has been your favorite part about collegiate athletics so far?

MB: I’d say bonding with the guys on the team. We’ve travelled together for multiple tournaments so far on the weekends, and I’ve had a great time with them so far. Also, it’s been great to see where my game stacks up on the collegiate level, as the field of competitors is much stronger than in high school.

PP: What are your athletic goals for the fall season?

MB: Hopefully to win as many tournaments as possible as a team. Personally, I want to stick to my routine of practicing with the team along with working out on my own. We have a great hitting net right by Mertz Field, so I plan to keep working on my swing daily, and making sure that every piece of my game is at its best for the upcoming tournaments.

 

An Athlete’s Perspective on Athletic Attendance

in Columns/Sports by

It’s doubtful that a Big Ten-esque, tailgate Saturday, type of environment was a top priority in the college decision making process for most Swatties. None of us opened our Swarthmore acceptance letter and immediately had visions of being in a crowd of students, decked out in Garnet gear, cheering wildly on the sidelines of some sporting event. However, most games, meets, and matches only boast a turnout of about 1 to 2 percent of the student body. This means that there is often a ratio of only 1 Swarthmore student spectator to student competitor. With twenty-two varsity teams, roughly 20 percent of our student body participates in NCAA athletics. This indicates that even athletes from other sports rarely show their support in the form of watching each other’s events.

Women’s Volleyball, who have been celebrating a lot of wins this season, had a game this past Saturday afternoon. There couldn’t have been more than twenty-five Swatties in the stands. While Women’s Soccer (currently nationally ranked at number ten in the country) is probably the most consistently attended fall sport, the bleachers are still rarely full.

The biggest exception to the low sporting events turn out were last year’s Men’s Basketball team conference championship games, which were held at home. Attendance at these games was highly encouraged by the administration. Robbie Walsh ʼ18 confessed that what stood out to him most about the stands last winter was how hard people cheered, and he recognized the excitement that comes with being a fan at a sports game, especially with being so close to the action in basketball. When asked about the unusual turnout at conference games, which he admits is the best since he has played for the Garnet, Walsh had a good guess.

“We had a successful year the season before, and [we] continued to build off that and won games, so more people kept coming,” said Walsh. Perhaps there was something about the notoriety of the team that made more people talk about Swat sports and feel motivated to go watch and cheer at an event.

Or maybe it was the fact that the games were well-advertised. We all know how easy it is to get caught up in our busy schedules, classwork and extracurriculars, and usually the furthest thing from a student’s mind is looking for a way to fill up an hour or two of their evenings or Saturday afternoons. Aside from the occasional Sharples cup-drop announcement or an @swatathletics Instagram post, the lack of spectators at games is probably due the majority of Swatties, athletes or otherwise, not knowing or thinking about what teams are competing when.

Many groups on campus advertise their events on the Dash or on bulletin boards, or even just by word of mouth.While some players on sports teams might mention to their friends that they have a game later that day and extend an invitation, they are usually not seen taping up a “Game: 7 p.m at the Fieldhouse” poster in the Science Center. In fact, most athletes seem to confine most of their talk about their sport within the friendships and conversations they have with their teammates, which, while understandable, makes it even less probable that word will be spread about their upcoming competitions.

I think last year’s basketball tournament displayed one of the most salient examples of community and school spirit, and it’s a shame that instances like those only happen every so often when the opportunities for them are frequent. Sports are just one of the many ways for this campus to come together and support one another. So next time you’re sitting near a Field Hockey player in Chem lecture, ask her when her next game is, spread the word to a few friends, and take a study break!

Men’s Club Soccer Profile

in Fall/Season/Sports by

While the Swarthmore varsity soccer teams are set to begin their conference campaigns, another competitive soccer team at Swarthmore has begun its season in earnest. Four matches into its 10 game season, the Men’s Club Soccer Team has posted a 2-2 record to date.

Despite the team’s .500 record, which equals its mark from all of last season, co-captain Toby Cavalier ’19 remains optimistic. He believes that the team has progressed over the past year, both in terms of its roster and its structure. The team added 10 first-years this year, while improving its organization and preparation regimen. However, Cavalier is also realistic about the team’s chances.

“We’re not yet structured enough and disciplined enough to do really well. This year, I think we’re doing better than last year, and I think we will continue to do better throughout the year.  However, I don’t know if it will be enough to get to regionals.”

Nonetheless, he hopes that as the team continues to grow, it will begin to compete for the divisional crown and eventually become a force in regionals, as well.

The club soccer team boasts one of the strongest rosters of the Swarthmore’s club sports. While the team includes players of all skill levels, about half of the team has either participated at the varsity level or could compete at the varsity level. Dimitri Kondelis ’20 is one of those who tried out for the varsity team when he first arrived on campus. During tryouts, he decided varsity wasn’t for him.  

“I realized I didn’t want that time commitment and stress during my college career. So when I found out about club soccer, I knew it was the perfect fit,” says Kondelis.  

He particularly enjoys that the team provides a competitive atmosphere that does not require its players to show up to practice every single day. The team practices three times per week in addition to weekend games.

While the team has a more relaxed practice schedule than its varsity counterpart, it is by no means simply a social club offering Physical Education credit (one can fulfill about half of their PE requirement from club soccer). The team plays all 10 of its games during the fall season, and the team’s captains, Cavalier and Tobin Feldman-Fitzthum ’19, run highly structured practices that include warm-ups, technical drills, small-sided games, and larger intra-squad matches. Often, however, when the team does not have an upcoming fixture, the captains allow the players to scrimmage for the entire practice. Organizing practice as such enables players on the team to stay in shape, improve their skills, and have fun with a group of soccer-minded friends.

Off the pitch, members of the team bond and spend time together in a similar fashion to the varsity sports teams on campus.  Kondelis discusses how club soccer has impacted his social life at Swarthmore.

“Because I’m a part of club soccer, I have a group of guys on campus that I can study with, that I can eat with, that I can hang out with.”

The team’s great camaraderie draws many people. Nearly all of the students interviewed pointed to brotherhood and friendship as some of their favorite aspects of the club.  

However, due to club soccer’s non-club status, the team faces many challenges. Currently, the team is designated as a student activity group rather than a club sport.  This designation makes obtaining practice space difficult.

“We have to fight for field space and have lower priority than all of the varsity teams,” explains Cavalier.  

Presently, ultimate frisbee, rugby, and all of the other official club sports have preference when reserving Cunningham Field, the club’s primary practice facility.

Despite the challenges associated with the team’s present status, men’s club soccer continues to grow, both in size and competition.  For those interested in supporting club soccer, the team plays two home games on Sept. 23 against Widener University and Millersville University.

What I Won’t Miss about Swat: Reflections Before leaving for the Summer

in Campus Journal by

Ah, summer, so close and yet so far. Various seedy “moving” companies have started emailing students, offering to take our clutter off our hands (they don’t say anything about returning it, though). The Rose Garden is starting to vaguely live up to its name. Shirtless show-offs fling frisbees around Parrish beach. How can I abandon all this for a 40-hour/week internship in D.C.? As a fun intellectual exercise (read: to actually contribute something to the last Campus Journal of the semester), I’ve decided to list the few things I won’t miss about Swarthmore this summer.

First, food: I am a lowly freshman. I am therefore overloaded with Sharples meals and am constantly bankrupt on Swat Points. For three brief months there will be no pasta bar, no badly boiled carrots, no fluorescent juices made out of suspicious ingredients. Also, I assume that D.C. has more than two streets of restaurants to choose from.

AND YET: Thanks to the OneCard, I can pretend that Swat Points aren’t “real” money and occasionally spend irresponsibly. In the world beyond Swarthmore, you actually have to pay with fun, adult things like dollar bills.

Second, housing. Shout-out to Willets residents: You do not have to spend the rest of your life in lounges furnished like a 70s waiting room in a dodgy doctor’s cabinet. There are floors without beer stains, toilets without vomit, kitchens without mice, and refrigerators without large amounts of moldy food. It’ll be hard to lose the smell of weed in the air, but I’m sure I’ll adapt quickly.

AND YET:…there is a Willets community. Sort of. We all get annoyed when someone dumps their ramen in the sink. And this dorm is a nice common enemy for everyone. Who will share my pain this summer? Nothing like irritation to bring people together.

And, lastly, Swatties. My fellow students, sufferers, lovers, thinkers, complainers, or whatever it is that brings us together. Believe me, I love you. You are all, for the most part, amazing people who will go on to do great things. And that is why we need a break from each other. Sometimes, I just need to walk around with my head in the clouds and not recognize everyone around me. I’d like to glimpse a stranger’s face and briefly imagine what their life may be like before losing them in the crowd, rather than recognizing them from a class or knowing way too much about their romantic history. It would be nice to not feel crushed by the weight of everyone else’s accomplishments and intelligent contributions to classroom discussions.

AND YET: I’ll miss late night discussions about random topics and having people to rant about French politics at. I’ll miss brilliant idealists describing a communist utopia and late night songs in Urdu and the most flamboyant figures tearing through campus in leather shorts and velvet headbands.

It’s been quite a year, Swarthmore. We probably need some time apart before I officially become a McCabe-dwelling bat that lives off Essie’s snacks. And I doubt I’m the only one who’ll be glad to take a break. Mountain Justice activists will probably enjoy not getting random citations for the grave crime of shredding documents. Members of the Conservative Society may not miss being one of twenty conservative students on a 1600 person-campus. Anyone who has struggled with Eduroam crashes (actually, that’s the entirety of the campus) will, hopefully, have the pleasure of finding a functional network; and, even if we miss our favorite professors and fondly recall our best classes, will we really long for the days of hunching over a laptop at 3 am, only halfway done with an essay due the next day?

No. Definitely not. The Swarthmore Bubble doesn’t mean the school is a perfect place, and a lot of people would benefit from a trip back into the real world. But then again, there probably will be the odd pang of nostalgia. We are Swatties, after all. Being here requires at least a small dose of masochism.

How did Swat get here? An abridged history of activism at Swat

in Campus Journal by

 

In the context of recent activism and student action regarding Swarthmore’s divestment from fossil fuels, I thought I’d take a look at past and ongoing activism both campus and related to the institution. Here’s a (brief) history of some historical progresses and moments of activism at Swat:

1869 – Nov. 10, the College opens with a tree-planting ceremony to honor the College founders Lucretia and James Mott, who were well known for their activism in the women’s rights and anti-slavery movements. At the ceremony, President Edward Parrish said “A peculiarity of this organization, as contrasted with most others for like purposes is the association of women equally with men in its origin and management.”

1905 – Swarthmore football player Robert “Tiny” Maxwell is photographed in a bloodied and battered state after a game against University of Pennsylvania. President Theodore Roosevelt saw this image of Maxwell, and declared that the sport had to be reformed or he would ban it. The legalization of the forward pass and the doubling of the yardage required for a first down were elements of the sport that came out of the reforms this spurred.

1907 – The Jeanes Bequest. Wealthy Quaker Anna T. Jeanes offered to bequeath her land to Swarthmore one on condition: the college permanently give up intercollegiate sports. The college refused.

1917 – Jesse Holmes, a philosophy professor helped found the American Friends Service Committee, providing conscientious objectors an opportunity to perform community service rather than fight.

1930 – The college organized and funded former area mill workers to clear paths, open trails, cut dead trees, and haul out trash from the woods. According to the Arboretum’s first director, after conducting this work from 1930-1932, they “literally transformed the dilapidated areas into a pleasant woodland park with attractive paths”

1933 – Sororities Abolished due to Jewish students being excluded from Chi Omega and Kappa Alpha Theta. The ban was repealed in 2012.

1943 – Student Body integrated, although some black students were already  black students already attending the College as members of the U.S. Navy’s V-12 unit stationed on campus.

1967 – Superweek. President Courtney Smith initiated the publication of “Critique of a College,” which was a review of the college. During the week in December, classes were canceled and instead students and faculty held meetings and discussion panels about the school and its policies. For the week, there was a daily student newspaper titled “The Egg,” which detailed topics covered. These topics included the creation of an engineering department, installing pass/fail courses, counting social/field work for course credit, the Quaker tradition, the College’s relationship with students, and the role of women in academics and education.

1969 – The black protest movement, led by the Swarthmore Afro-American Student Society (SASS) sat in the Admissions Office to demand increased black enrollment after there was dwindling numbers of black students and lack of administrative support for black students. The sit-in was eight days long, and the next year saw a large increase in the number of black students at the college.

1970 – students pushed for the Black Cultural Center and it was founded.

1971 – FBI files stolen from an office in Media reveal that Swarthmore’s Afro-American Student Society were under surveillance, and disclosed information on students and faculty

1974 – Inspired by the establishment of the Black Cultural Center and second wave feminism, members of Swarthmore Women’s Liberation pushed for their own center, which was established in Bond hall in 1974 and named after Alice Paul in 1975. (It no longer has that same purpose.)

1982 – Divestment from South Africa process begins when Student Council adopts a resolution calling the College to divest from all companies doing members in South Africa, and later members of the college’s Anti-Apartheid Committee interrupted a Board of Managers meeting by holding a demonstration outside their meeting room. Sit-ins and activism continued, and in 1986 the Board of Managers reached consensus to proceed toward total divestment, which was completed in 1990.

1983 – Swarthmore President David Fraser “mobilizes the College’s opposition” and testifies before Congress to oppose an amendment to withhold federal financial aid from students who failed to register for a military draft

1988 – First Sager Symposium. Richard Sager ‘73 created the Sager Fund to fund events exploring LGBTQ issues

1996 – Environmental Racism Conference – students organize a conference on environmental racism in Chester that leads to the formation of the Campus Coalition Concerning Chester

2002 – Shareholder Activism – Swarthmore became the first college or university to initiate a resolution against Lockhead Martin for discrimination against LGBTQ employes. Soon after, the company announced plans to add sexual orientation to their discrimination policy.

2003 – Swarthmore joins Amicus Brief along with other colleges to support affirmative action in college admissions. President at the time Alfred H. Bloom said “we believe that diversity is essential to our educational mission.”

2011 – Mountain Justice first meets with the board to discuss divestment from fossil fuels.

2014 Swarthmore gains an NGO observer status at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and sends a delegation of students, faculty, and staff.

2016 – In December, President Valerie Smith affirms Swarthmore as a sanctuary campus.

2017 – Mountain Justice spearheads a referendum, subsequent sit-ins, and a joint forum with president Valerie Smith, SGO, and members of the board to push forward the policy of divestment from fossil fuels, despite the college’s official policy since 1991 of not divesting for social purposes.

Swarthmore academic quality is dropping

in Opinions/Staff Editorials by

Year after year, Swarthmore College ranks as one the top institutions in the country. This year, the college currently ranks as number ten on Forbes’ Top Colleges list. Although a top ten ranking is not new for the college, it is still concerning. The reality is that the college has not been performing better, but rather worse, in Forbes’ rankings over the past several years. We once ranked as high as three, but have since clearly fallen to the tenth spot.

The downward trend is a concern to some, but for many students at Swarthmore, there is nothing to worry about. Swarthmore is an academically challenging institution, and students get reminded of that nearly every day. For some reason, many students correlate rigor of academics with quality of academics, and thus have no reason to fear that Swarthmore may one day fall out of the top ten.

But could they be wrong? Has the quality of academics at Swarthmore declined over the past several years, and has this decline been reflected in our ranking? The reality is that sometimes, students, faculty, and administration turn the other way and ignore the flaws within the college that have begun to harm the academic experience of Swarthmore students, and instead hide behind the statement that, “Swat is one of the best colleges in the country.”

We at the Phoenix no longer believe that Swarthmore is a great school, and that hiding behind the truth of the past has tarnished the quality of academics at Swarthmore. The decline in quality can be seen not only inside the classroom, but in the curriculum and academic structure overall.

Swarthmore brags about having small classes, but in reality, classes at Swarthmore are not very small, especially in departments with high enrollment. Although the student to teacher ratio is eight to one, according to the Common Data Set (most data in this article is pulled from the CDS), the average class size at Swat is 16.1. Some would say that the size of the larger classes are compensated by smaller subsections. However, the subsections are not much smaller than the classes, averaging at 14.3.

Although 16.1 is surely a small number, especially in comparison to larger institutions, the college uses several techniques to effectively lower this number as a statistic without actually providing students with the benefit of smaller classes. It is easy to see this if we ask the question, “Do most students at Swarthmore take courses that are, on average, of smaller sizes.”

The answer is no. Most students at Swarthmore College take courses that are much greater than 20 people in size. According to the Common Data Set, the top five degrees at Swarthmore are Economics at 16.4 percent of students, Political Science at 12.8 percent, Biology at 12 percent, and Computer Science at 10.6 percent, and Mathematics at 8.1 percent. These five majors alone sum to 59.9 percent of all degrees given by Swarthmore. Since about six of every ten students will major in one of these five departments, Swarthmore’s academic quality heavily relies on the experience of the students within these departments.

Unfortunately, in the top five departments, many of them have class sizes that are above twenty students, effectively falling into the “medium size” range. Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, which are both courses required for the Economics major, are both about 100 students in size every semester. With the exception of honors courses, many upper-level Economics courses are much greater than 20 students in size. Cellular and Molecular Biology is easily over 100 students every semester, with labs usually greater than 20 students. Without including the incoming freshman class, 38 students are already registered for this class for next fall. Every Intro to Computer Science section is easily over 30 students. Many reports have been posted before regarding how the Computer Science department is severely understaffed at the college.

Even in departments that fall out of the top five, some of the most important courses are large. Organic Chemistry, one of the most difficult courses at the college, will currently feature a robust 58 students. The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict course is set to feature 61 students with no subsections to complement the course. General Physics with Biomedical Applications has already reached 53 students for the upcoming semester.  

“At least courses are getting smaller.” This statement is false. In Fall 2010, the average class size was 14.8 and rose to 15.7 in Fall 2015. Subsections are rising in size as well. In the Fall 2000 semester, subsections were 9.9 students on average. In Fall 2016, they were 14.3.

“So the courses might be a bit larger than we hoped, but at least everyone always gets their classes.” Wrong again. For this upcoming semester, 74 Computer Science students were lotteried out of courses. This included upperclassmen in the department lotteried from upper-level courses. Many courses at Swarthmore end up being small because the college lotteries out students and forces them to take other courses in departments with empty seats. Foundation Drawing has already reached its enrollment limit of ten each for both sections, needing to lottery students to do so. Real Analysis I, a Mathematics major requirement, is also a vital course that was also lotteried out several students.  

It is easy to see that 16.1 is a skewed number, and that the College, on average, cannot provide its students with easily accessible small courses.   

“The College is financially in a place to fix this.” One could argue this statement is false. For the last four years, the College’s operating budget has broken even, so the College is not “losing money” in that sense. However, other financial trends are concerning. The Market Value of our endowment has decreased over the past three years. This is concerning because not only is the spending rate as a percentage of endowment been the highest since 2009-2010, but also that the college is not being compensated from its spending by return on investment. In 2013-2014, the spending rate was 3.5 percent and the College received 17.8 percent return on investment. In 2015-2016, the spending rate rose to 4.0 percent but return on investment dropped 19 points, falling to -1.6 percent. The College is not only eating into its endowment to cover operating costs and projects, but is also losing money on its investments.  

Although class sizes are an important factor in determining academic quality, it’s not the only thing. Other things to consider for academic quality include advising, quality of professors, resources outside the classroom, and quality control techniques. However, some students on campus would say that Swarthmore College also fails to meet its own standards in those categories, but that discussion is for another time.

We at the Phoenix encourage the administration to fix this problem by adding more sections to larger classes, which will decrease the average number of students per section and limit the total number of students lotteried out of classes. To do this, the administration might want to consider analyzing the amount of funds given to each department to make sure departments with larger numbers of students receive more adequate funding.

Hopefully, the College can find a way to reverse its current track and begin providing students with the educational experience we were promised.

1 2 3 10
Go to Top