‘Did You Know?’ encourages campus community to pose concerns

A ‘Did You Know?’ poster hangs in a bathroom in McCabe. (Holly Smith/The Phoenix)

A recently launched campaign taking on the title “Did You Know?” has set out to encourage members of the Swarthmore campus to question their overall community. Grounded in the belief that it is important to think critically, the group has sought to unveil previously unknown information, making it available to the campus at large. Through its posting of flyers, “Did You Know?” hopes to uncover facts and figures specific to not only Swarthmore, but other institutions of higher learning similar in size. By making information of this sort available to the public, the group hopes “to spark conversation and raise information.”

The group has posted bulletins that contain information pertaining to professors’ salaries and the racial/gender breakdown on faculty positions have been posted in several locations, such as the bathroom stalls in McCabe Library and the bulletin boards in Trotter Hall. Sourcing the Chronicle of Higher Education and administrative documents belonging released on the college’s website, the flyers display pie graphs and other percentage-based and monetary data. A noticeable statistic on the top of the flyers reveals that President Rebecca Chopp earned a salary of $330,725 during her first year at Swarthmore in 2009, which is 2.6 times that of a full professor in the same year. More data discloses the the fact that while men make up 56% of all tenured/tenure track positions, women make up only 44% and minorities make up 18%.

According to an anonymous source, “Did You Know?” is still in its beginning stages, yet hopes to continuously change as it develops as a group. One of the organization’s primary objectives is to encompass all of the contributions, criticisms and suggestions it receives from members of the campus body. Also, since the group is not affiliated, its focus is on “the information presented [to it] rather than the people ‘behind the curtain.’”

According to an anonymous member of the organization, “Did You Know” intends to be “as visible and accessible as possible.” Open to multiple formats and media, the group invites the campus community to participate in the effort by contributing questions, ideas and facts.

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