Staff editorial: Secrecy as policy

Does GW’s administration have something to hide? In light of the lack of interaction between students and administrators, this is a valid question. Some administrators are reclusive and secretive, sending the wrong message to students. University administrators too often treat students as the enemy, a waste of time, a nuisance. Every GW student deserves access to every University administrator. Unfortunately, this ideal is rarely fulfilled.

How many students know a University vice president, meet with the dean of students or recognize the dean of their respective school? Too few. These officials hold tremendous sway over students’ lives, yet they blend into a nameless, faceless bureaucracy. Students often express frustration with red tape when they cannot find a solution to their problems. That is no surprise when the flow of information from administrative offices is barely a trickle.

University administrators do a good job behind their office doors, but too rarely are they seen either on campus or in print. Endless no comments and other evasions frequently follow administrators’ names as poor excuses for answers to reasonable questions.

Administrators often avoid appointments with student journalists, resulting in disturbingly incomplete news stories. Administrators work very hard and are busy people, but so are students. If students take time away from their commitments in order to seek an appointment with a University official, administrators must recognize this and make an effort to accommodate them. Students do not ask to be heard immediately, but they do demand to be heard.

Some GW offices are responsive to students and afford them a great deal of respect. Many of these departments are staffed by student workers, who make the interface between the administration and students more user-friendly.

Student employees are an important component in improving the relationship between the administration and students. Still, every University official must assume responsibility for his or her own visibility. Every administrator must be responsive to students concerns. Hiding from students and – more importantly – hiding information from students is unacceptable.

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