Regarding your editorial (Security snafu, Sept. 7), thank you for taking an interest in Gelman Library. Often the accomplishments and problems of the library are ignored, so I’m glad for the attention, even if it is negative. In the future, if you want all the facts before you write an editorial or article about the library, I suggest you contact either me or Stephanie Weinstein, the library student liaison, as Hatchet reporters have done in the past. If you had done so this time, you would have learned the following.
For years, students and faculty who forgot their cards have been granted access to Gelman. They have simply come to the guard desk, given their name or ID number for verification, signed their name on a list and walked in. Contrary to what you suggest, it’s very easy for students to get a new or corrected card simply by going to the GWorld office in the Marvin Center. Unfortunately, we do not control the classrooms in Gelman, nor is it easy to get an accurate list of students signed up for classes from the Registrars Office during the first week or two of the semester, when students are changing courses so frequently. Hundreds of students attend classes every day in Gelman throughout the year without incident. Contrary to what you imply, we do have patron records (of registered students) on a computer database at the guard desk (next time you enter Gelman, notice the small computer screen sitting on the desk).
The difficulty many students had this semester was the result of invalid GWorld cards issued by the GWorld office, not the fact that they didn’t have their card with them. The guards were swamped by a huge number of GWorld card problems beginning the first day of classes and continuing to this day – many more than usual. That’s why we referred students with invalid cards to the GWorld office, where the situation could be immediately corrected. We had to have as many as four people at the desk to handle problems arising mostly from invalid cards, but also from students without cards, students claiming to be registered but with no IDs, and the constant problem of textbooks purchased at the GW Bookstore setting off security false alarms because they weren’t deactivated at the bookstore. Clearly, we made a reasonable effort to accommodate all students.
Finally, regarding the matter of requiring students to have their GWorld card to get into the Library: Is it really too much to ask GW students to assume the responsibilities of an adult, especially since they insist on being treated as adults?
While we now know from GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg that paying attention to rankings indicates one isn’t smart enough to go to GW (Sept. 5, p. 1), the US News & World Report evaluation of colleges is perhaps the only comprehensive, independent validation of the administration’s efforts to improve GW’s reputation. Why does GW currently rank 3.3 out of a possible score of five for academic reputation?
Perhaps the answer lies in an adjoining article, Enrollment reaches 7,200. What is the University’s strategy for improving academics? Is the extra tuition from additional students being used to recruit and retain additional excellent, full-time faculty, adjuncts and teaching assistants, to purchase library materials, to provide scholarships to attract the best undergraduates?
Apparently, the money will be spent on more comfortable classrooms, technological advancements, improved food venues, new residence halls and the new Health and Wellness Center, the article quoted vice president of Student and Academic Support Services Robert Chernak as saying. Do these amenities represent initiatives that will achieve Vice President Chernak’s admirable goal of making GW qualitatively better, not just in perception, but in reality?
Wellness and comfort are fine, but the issues holding GW back are, more academic. President Trachtenberg, our eyes are wide open.
political science Ph.D. candidate