Students occupy rooms in the State Plaza Hotel and Thurston Hall study lounges because the GW simply does not have adequate space to sustain its growth – a deplorable and unacceptable situation.
Sixty freshmen have been placed in State Plaza rooms, and many more students are living in common areas in Thurston Hall. The University plans to move hotel-bound students to residence halls by September 10 but students are experiencing detrimental effects from overcrowding now.
Recent history and conventional wisdom inform newly arrived freshmen that their class is the largest ever, albeit by a small margin over last year’s swell in enrollment. Tuition and fees increase steadily, but few improvements keep pace with the surge in the number of GW students.
The University purchased properties in recent years to accommodate students. This year, GW added the Shenley and the West End to the residence hall line-up. But even those acquisitions fall behind GW’s voracious appetite for students and tuition dollars.
Several buildings under construction address overcrowding, including a new athletic facility and classroom space, but only one project includes a residential component. Having enough desks is important. A state of the art weight room is an added bonus. A modern student center is a worthy use of students’ money. But having enough beds should be the paramount concern of a University that guarantees housing to first-year students.
Certainly everyone is happy to have a place to sleep – things could be worse. But often the most hurtful aspect of a predicament like this is the way students are treated. Rather than admit a mistake or apologize for the inconveniences that come with transitional housing, University officials blame students for not submitting housing applications on time and spin the situation by espousing an desire to integrate new students while segregating them from other freshmen.
The students who must reside in hotel rooms and study lounges are caught up in an institutional nightmare. No one department is at fault. Instead, the entire University bears the blame for admitting too many students and promising too much.