GW’s silence

It’s been a few weeks since everyone has returned to campus, and, as often happens, serious issues have gone unanswered by GW’s administration.

Granted, GW students are notorious for complaining about anything and everything. “Mom, why can’t we have (insert item here) like those kids at Harvard!” However, in the early weeks of the semester several good points were made about the problems being faced by the University. Since the first week of school, not much else has been reported on the Graduate Teaching Assistant Adjunct Alliance, or on how students are really reacting to having classes two doors down from where they sleep.

As a six-year veteran of this University (about half the time that our president has been running the show), I felt it was about time to make one request of the administration: ANSWER OUR QUESTIONS.

President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg recently engaged in a live “chat” with The Washington Post’s Bob Levey. In this chat, I kid you not, he actually said that he has never heard a complaint from a GW student. In the Crystal City Magazine, our very same president discussed the salaries paid to University administrators, suggesting that the complaints that University heads are overpaid was unfounded. In fact, he said that just like any other individual, he should be permitted to make an honest wage to support his family.

Taken together, these two comments show a great disconnection between what the president believes and how the students feel. We would love a new building for the School of Media and Public Affairs but not at the expense of being unable to find a book in Gelman Library. We would love a new Health and Wellness Center but not when students have to sit on the floor in Funger Hall classrooms, or take an English class in Thurston Hall.

This letter serves as a wake-up call to students, to encourage the administration to find answers for these problems.

If you advertised a student-to-faculty ratio of 15 to 1 since I have been here (1994), you must have hired 66 new teachers within the last year to keep that ratio steady (since you accepted more than 1,000 new freshmen this year than in any past year), correct? Why is it that the most recent figures available on where the tuition increase went are from 1997? Do you have any plans to limit the attrition of qualified teaching assistants and adjuncts by paying them a more equitable wage?

Granted, I am one student, but according to our President, he’s never heard these complaints. So here they are.

Complacency is no way to run a University and certainly no way to be a student.

Michael Zolandzsecond-year law student

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