Westward ho! — staff editorial

GW’s purchase of about a quarter of the Columbia Plaza apartment complex, while a compromise with Foggy Bottom residents, entails extra responsibility on the University’s part to its students.

For some Foggy Bottom residents who have voiced opposition to GW’s expansion into the neighborhood, the University’s acquisition of Columbia Plaza strikes a balance between the two sides.

First of all, students will live in Columbia Plaza whether GW owns it. Student residents now will have University supervision, simply meaning they will be subject to the Student Code of Conduct. Thus, non-student residents of Columbia Plaza, who have complained to the University about students’ unruly behavior in the past, will have a measure of remedy.

Moreover, Columbia Plaza is a relatively new addition to the Foggy Bottom neighborhood – built about 30 years ago. So the argument that GW is infringing on historic Foggy Bottom fails to apply to this case.

The acquisition also holds important ramifications for students. Walter Bortz, vice president for Administrative and Information Services, said Columbia Plaza could be used to house students who are left out of the housing lottery.

This newest move seems to be part of a larger trend over the past few years. The University has expanded its undergraduate population while neglecting to incorporate a comparable increase in the amount and size of necessary services and facilities.

The University’s sometimes myopic focus on increasing the undergraduate student body has left students frustrated with long lines, overcrowded facilities and yet more red tape.

The University’s acquisition of Columbia Plaza is good news for local residents worried about unruly students and preservation of historic Foggy Bottom. But GW students should stay vigilant against a disturbing trend – services and facilities must keep pace with the growth of the undergraduate population.

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