Letters to the Editor

Don’t complain, get involved

Lonnie Giamela’s April 5 letter to the editor (“Helping each other out,” p. 4) made a good point – despite all the negativity that can often take hold during election season, the Student Association can do good things for the students, like the SA test file.

But the work of the Student Association doesn’t get done automatically. Students need to get involved in the SA for it to work. By getting involved, I don’t mean writing negative letters to The GW Hatchet.

It’s amazing how often I see letters to the editor bashing the SA from people who have never even tried to get involved, or from hacks so bitter from losing too many campaigns that they attack the Student Association to assuage their own bruised egos. If these people would just stop their whining and actually take steps to get involved, we’d all be better off for it.

If you are looking to get involved, I’d encourage you to apply for a position in the Student Association this week. The SA is accepting applications (submit a r?sum? and a cover letter) until 5 p.m. April 9 in Marvin Center 424.

I was appointed to a position in the SA three years ago, and I found that if I worked at it, I could actually affect some positive change. I’d encourage everyone out there (especially freshmen who haven’t yet had a chance to get involved) to apply and work at making GW a better place.

-Jeff Baxter

Rankings oversight

Each year, U.S. News & World Report releases a special edition on the rankings of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.” For the past five years, U.S. News has ranked GW’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development among the top 50 graduate schools of education in the nation. In 1995, GSEHD was ranked No. 45. This year, the school was ranked 34, down slightly from 30th in 1998. The school’s Rehabilitation Counseling master’s degree program is ranked eighth in the nation.

When compared with other institutions accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teachers of Education (NCATE), the school ranks third in the U.S. among private institutions and 13th among all NCATE-accredited schools, public and private.

In addition, Black Enterprise magazine recently rated GW 36 among the 50 colleges and universities where African Americans are most likely to succeed. Of the magazine’s top 50 institutions, only GW and one other has a U.S. News top 50, nationally accredited graduate school of education.

On March 25, The GW Hatchet ran the article “U.S. News overlooks SBPM” (p.1). While the article focused on the School of Business and Public Management and mentioned that the Law School had slipped in the rankings, there was absolutely no mention of the fact that another GW School, GSEHD, was also ranked by the report.

This letter is written to correct the omission by The Hatchet and to give the Graduate School of Education and Human Development faculty, students and staff recognition for their fine achievement.

-Mary Hatwood Futrell
GSEHD dean

Excluding by name

We are greatly disturbed by the trend most recently demonstrated by the newly created student group, “Jews in Shoes.”

Countless GW student organizations already in existence focus either entirely on religion and ethnicity or manage to link culture with traditionally secular activities. “Jews in Shoes,” GW’s first student running group is clearly an example of the latter.

Co-founder Aaron Bernay told The GW Hatchet, “You don’t have to be Jewish to join Jews in Shoes.” Despite any assertions to the contrary, however, the name itself likely will discourage non-Jewish students from joining, and in the end will prove to hinder its goal of getting “as many people as possible to enter the race.”

Whether as a matter of principle or simply to bolster their membership, “Jews in Shoes” would have done better by choosing a less exclusionary name.

-Neil Gauthier

Rally for Mumia

Freedom is the most precious torch that is passed from generation to generation in America. Our forefathers fought for it against the British to liberate America, our grandparents fought for it against the Nazis to liberate Europe. With all of this history known to us, how can we, the next generation of freedom torch bearers, enjoy our freedom when there is a man awaiting death due to injustice on our own soil?

Mumia Abu-Jamal, a blatant example of racism and injustice in our current justice system, needs to be freed. At the very least, he should be given a new, fair trial, with a competent lawyer and new evidence that destroys the prosecutions’ case.

In order to show our support for justice, freedom and Mumia, a coalition of like-minded organizations are rallying D.C. to go to Philadelphia for the Millions for Mumia march April 24. The coalition is headed by Anti-Racist Action, the Campaign to End the Death Penalty and the Millions for Mumia Organizing Committee. Members of European governments will be in attendance, as well as students from all over America. Key celebrities include Pam Africa of MOVE and John Gilliam Price, the brother of wrongfully executed Tyrone X. A large group of GW students needs to be there, and we will.

On April 10 there is a student summit, at GW’s Corcoran Hall where student groups from a variety of D.C. colleges and local high schools will meet to plan for the march in Philadelphia. Other events are planed to educate and organize students to help Mumia.

On April 12, there is a showing of “A Case for Reasonable Doubt,” a documentary on the Mumia case, to be shown in the TV lounge of Thurston Hall. Then on April 23, the day before the march in Philadelphia, there will be a student walk-out. GW students will walk out of class, meet on the Quad and march to the White House to protest the imprisonment and death sentence of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Change can only be made by many voices speaking as one. This is the lesson learned from the civil rights movement and throughout the 1960s. As the future leaders of America, we cannot stand by and advert our eyes as injustice mocks us. If we do not stand in defiance together, who will be the next outspoken, award-winning, “voice of the voiceless” like Mumia to be executed?

-Jeff Becker

Same ol’, same ol’

As another election season has ended, I have that warm, fuzzy feeling that only campus politicians can provide. Next year, things truly will be different: lower tuition, Coke on campus, and so on. You know – Real issues, real solutions! Well, thank God for our campus leaders, a real bunch of go-getters.

What I have realized is that the structure of student leadership is not the problem, the student leaders themselves are. If these individuals would stick to small, tangible goals instead of shooting for the stars through campaign literature and rhetoric, the Student Association would command far greater respect.

Ensuring that Gelman Library stay open later for students is a legitimate accomplishment, as is opening avenues of communication about Greek-letter life on campus. Fighting to upgrade sexual abuse and rape crisis centers on campus is another indispensable accomplishment of this year’s crop of would-be leaders.

These issues always take a back burner to the more ridiculous goals that will never happen, however. That thing with Pepsi – it’s called a contract, folks. It is not up to us to change. And until Coke offers to provide us with what Pepsi already has, get used to Pepsi.

And those who take to the street for every tuition increase need to give it a rest. This year’s increase was the smallest in a decade, but to hear some of our leaders tell it, it was equivalent to the Vietnam draft. Taking protests to the street is an invaluable tool of free speech. However, it loses its effectiveness when every other issue is debated with life-and-death measures. Such protests become downright silly.

And now, next year’s leaders bring into office a botched election, dirty campaign tricks, flaming posters, rape and bl
ackmail accusations and a whole laundry list of uncertainty and goofiness. I can’t wait!

-Matt McGrath

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