When GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg called protests against the new, state-of-the-art GW Hospital a “non-issue” at the groundbreaking ceremony yesterday, he was right.
Foggy Bottom residents need to accept the fact that a new GW Hospital will be built. Instead of demanding unrealistic concessions, Foggy Bottom residents should be pragmatic about their appeals to the University.
Demonstrations by some local residents at the hospital’s groundbreaking ceremony yesterday were counterproductive. Asking GW to renovate its existing hospital, rather than build a new one across 23rd Street, is an absurd idea. The University isn’t going to suddenly have a change of heart and throw away plans for the hospital it has been working on for years.
Protesters should urge GW administrators to reconsider the hospital design to best meet community needs. Parking concerns already have been addressed, in part, by the addition to the parking garage on 22nd and H streets being excavated for construction.
University officials might work with Foggy Bottom residents if their demands are reasonable. Before calling for the end of plans for a new hospital, demonstrators should try to negotiate small changes from the University. GW could show good faith by moving the proposed location of the hospital’s loading dock. Traffic congestion may be eased if the loading dock were located on the 23rd Street side of the new hospital instead of on New Hampshire Avenue, which boarders on the Foggy Bottom community.
Some Foggy Bottom residents need to reexamine their tactics. Protesters risked trivializing their cause by senselessly yelling at doctors and students who have nothing to do with the decision-making process that brought about plans for the new hospital.
Protesters of the new hospital need to work toward their goals. Making outrageous demands from the GW administration will accomplish nothing.
This article appeared in the October 7, 1999 issue of the Hatchet.