Commencement leadership

Tuesday night saw one of the largest gatherings of students brought together by a single issue in recent memory. Can it possibly be that the apathy usually associated with students at GW is no longer prevalent?

People rarely involved in campus issues have found themselves establishing grassroots efforts to keep Commencement on the Ellipse. The administration cannot claim it is unaware of the student body’s opinion about where to hold Commencement ceremonies. Students are overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the Ellipse tradition, plain and simple.

Several hundred students gathered in Funger to listen to members of the Commencement committee and offer their opinions. The result was a calm and intelligent discussion between the decision-makers and those most affected by their decisions.

The committee reassured students several times that no final decision had been reached. The members gave honest answers to students’ questions. But on certain issues, the members admitted they did not have the necessary information to give students – namely the cost of having the Commencement at the MCI Center. Such key and pertinent information should be known and made public. If the committee’s desire for openness and public support for its honesty and integrity is to be maintained, all information should be presented to students.

The administration claims that it places a high value on students’ views. Regarding the Commencement issue, some in the administration said only a “vocal minority” wants to keep the Ellipse ceremony. But minority does not describe the hundreds of people who showed up for the meeting. The issue is an emotional one for thousands of students, not for just a few vocal ones.

Students deserve praise for their show of force. They made it clear to the members of the committee, as well as others in the administration, how they feel about the issue. Those who organized the event, as well as petition drives and letter writing campaigns, also deserve to be congratulated. For the most part, they put the interests of the entire student body ahead of personal glory.

Students want to be told all the information that the committee has in its possession. They want to be dealt with in an honest, open and mature manner. And they want the Ellipse tradition to continue.

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