GW housing and higher administration officials have done a disservice to students by keeping quiet about substantial changes in the University’s housing policies.
Associate Dean of Students Jan-Mitchell Sherrill reports knowing as early as September that all sophomores would be required to live on campus. Even more, he knew the University would be flexible on the policy and essentially allow any student who wanted to move off campus to do so, as long as they filled out a form. Why this information trickled out to students in a secret and vague manner over three and a half months is a slap in the face to any student who pays exorbitant prices to live in residence halls. Students deserve to know about decisions that will affect their GW experience.
Apparently Dean of Students Linda Donnels told Sherrill everything students know now in September or early October (Sherrill doesn’t recall the exact timing). Then she told the Residence Hall Association about the new requirement in December, failing to mention the possibility of a lenient exception to the rule. GW also failed to point out this nice, new exception to The Hatchet when we told students about the new requirement in December. We only were able to get the whole story in January. Even worse, students still haven’t been officially informed by GW.
The Community Living and Learning Center was planning to wait to alert sophomores of the new requirement when it distributed housing information to students next month. This is unacceptable considering that many students have already made off-campus housing arrangements for next year.
CLLC must do a better job of informing students of policy changes as soon as it makes a decision, not when the decision is most convenient. A letter to The Hatchet, an e-mail or simply a campus mailer are all acceptable ways of communicating. GW certainly has no problem informing parents and students about new approaches to campus safety.
Although it is commendable that the University will allow sophomores an out clause for next year, it is laughable that University officials feel the system will not be abused.
Sophomores who have already made off-campus arrangements for next year now have the moral dilemma to decide whether or not to bend the truth on their housing forms. But if you have run out of creative ideas, we have developed a few excuses to consider:
o You have bad allergies, now that GW housekeeping no longer services residence halls.
o You are prone to anxiety attacks, especially at the site of a University Police officer.
o You need halogen lamps to read effectively.
o You are a conscientious objector to University housing policies.
Don’t worry, the University will not investigate your request. You have the administration’s word.