As I opened my mail this summer after I returned from London, I realized that many changes had occurred while I was away. The School for Media and Public Affairs had recently opened and the Health and Wellness Center was well on its way toward completion. However, when I received the tuition bill for the upcoming 2001 fall semester, I then realized that students will be charged to use these facilities. This made me think.
I recall near the end of my sophomore year, there was a controversy surrounding the additional fee that students in SMPA would have to add to their already staggering tuition bills. However, I agreed with the administration in that proposal. The one clincher that sold me to that idea was the limited and private access to that building that only SMPA students would be able to use. That seemed fair. Why should students pay for facilities that they are not able to use?
However, with the new Health and Wellness Center, that is not the case. The new athletic monstrosity on 23rd Street is open to all GW students. I am an athlete, and I use the old Smith Center complex almost everyday. Therefore, I do not intend to bring up the case that those who do not use the complex should not be charged.
This situation is different in the sense that if anyone wanted to use the new Health and Wellness Center they could at any time, they just decide not to. In the previous case, non-SMPA students do not have the option to do so. In essence, the administration is making students pay for the private use of the varsity athlete gym.
Students who are not varsity athletes are not allowed to use the Smith Center. That in the mere mentioning of it sounds like a private club in itself, and the University thought they needed a higher quality of facilities if they were to bring their teams to national recognition. How then are we being charged to use something that should be included in a majority of college campuses nationwide?
I called a local University to see if they had charged their students to use the gym facilities. Georgetown University charges $23,952 for the year, all of which includes use of the gym. I understand that the creation and building of the new Health and Wellness Center must have cost GW a pretty penny, but that is no excuse to charge the students for something that should already be included in the price tag. GW should be promoting students to participate, not discourage them by penalizing them for not being varsity athletes.
Tuition has been raised again this year, and it seems the more tuition goes up, the less the student body receives. GW already has more students then it can house in residence halls, yet the University somehow does not have adequate funding to pay for the Health and Wellness Center. I did the math; it does not add up. Where is it all going?
-Cristina M. Craig