Welcome Freshmen: Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
All of you who are thinking that the above quote was from Shakespeare, well you’re wrong and should no longer be wondering why you did so poorly on the SAT verbal section. The quote is from Dant?. No not the Dant? from Clerks, the medieval Italian writer Dant?. It is the inscription above the Gate of Hell as detailed in The Divine Comedy – no Chevy Chase is not in it. It is not even a movie, it’s a book. Some of you may be wondering if I’m proposing that GW change its motto to this. Well I’m not, although it would work well above the entrance of Rice Hall. More on that later.
The reason why I began with this quote, other than to finally put my English major to practical use, is to remind you freshmen that you are entering a sometimes hellish, sometimes humorous, world known as The George Washington University. To help you on this journey I will act as Vergil (dead Roman poet you probably won’t encounter on your way to a political science, biology, or business degree, so, like Dant?, most of you can forget that I mentioned him) and offer you some pointers and observations I have made during the past three years.
Your next four years (or, for those of you who have left domineering parents, wound up in Thurston, and are now planning on a wild orgy of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll) will be a time filled with various pitfalls and temptations. Perhaps the two most ruthless, putrid, vile, bilious, treacherous, etc. of these dangers are the administration – here’s where Rice Hall comes in – and the Student Association.
The administration is headed up by our beloved President, Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. Now I’m not going to go so far as to say that he’s ee-vil as in the frew-it of the dee-vil, I mean the guy bought the school a bronze hippo, so perhaps he’s just ill-tempered.
SJT did bring GW up to the top tier of schools, for a little while, at least. He built the professors a gate on the new Mid-Campus Quad – where the part-time faculty has been protesting lately. I think it is interesting how the graduate assistants are forming a labor union just in time for a few bodies to get dropped into the foundation of the new SMPA building. I wonder how long it’ll be before campus security is taken over by the Pinkerton detectives. I think that even an ill-tempered SJT would have more luck with U.S. News & World Report and keeping the help in line. In honor of these stumbles, I refer to SJT as that ever so persevering cartoon mouse Brain who tries every night without succeeding to “take over the world!”
The Pinky to the administration’s Brain is our oh-so-effective Student Association helmed by Phil McManus, err, I mean Meisner. These guys want to hear from the students, at least during the election. There will be big to-dos about bold new initiatives that never materialize and sincere desires to help students from our elected officials, who are in reality too busy plotting the downfall of each other to care about the little people who get crushed under their carriage wheels.
In the spirit of cooperation that makes the North Ireland peace process look like a Girl Scouts meeting, undergraduate senators work to position themselves for the next election while the graduate senators wonder how much longer they’ll have to suffer the presence of the undergraduates - looking forward to a day when they are fully emancipated from us. You may read things in this paper from time-to-time on the SA but really all articles could be titled “Student Leaders Waste Perfectly Good Air.”
So what can we expect from the administration and SA? What we can expect every night, comedic misadventures as they try to take over the world.