The hypocrisy of Convocation

I love hypocrisy. Especially when it comes from the GW administration. GW students were given the afternoon off from classes Tuesday so they could attend that always profound, life-altering event – Opening Convocation.

Well, students didn’t get the entire afternoon off, but classes were canceled between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Why was it so important for students to attend Convocation?

“Convocation is supposed to generate excitement about the academic mission of the University,” said Jim Hess, an administrator in GW’s special events office, in The GW Hatchet earlier this week. “It sounds trite, but academics are, after all, what a university is all about.”

So the University’s way of stressing its academic mission is to CANCEL CLASSES! How thick can the irony get?

I enjoy an afternoon off as much as the next person. But whether students want to miss class isn’t the issue. What is disturbing, even bordering on negligent, is that the University canceled classes to boost attendance at a pointless event.

I don’t have to remind anyone how much money we shell out for these classes. So, when they get canceled, I expect it’s because some disaster has struck. A blizzard, typhoon, giant lizard attack. Not so we can march off to hear bagpipes and have pointless drivel tossed at us.

Convocation is a nice tradition and should be continued. But let’s be honest, it has no practical value. I admit, I didn’t attend Convocation Tuesday. But I’ve been to it before and from speaking to people who did attend, I gather that this year’s edition was as useless as those of the past.

What could President Trachtenberg possibly have left to say to students that he hadn’t already articulated in his lengthy opinion pieces published in The Hatchet, The GW Independent and By George!, all in the first week of classes.

Enough already. Hold Convocation on a Saturday or have it at night, it doesn’t matter. But canceling classes for Convocation was a terrible public relations move of pure hypocrisy. If the University really wants to stress its “academic mission,” I suggest actually holding classes.

-The writer is managing editor of The GW Hatchet.

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