(Christine) Muchanic’s recent letter criticizing President Trachtenberg for his lack of visibility on campus and lack of interest in the student body (“SJT invisible to campus,” June 10) is a perennial complaint that surfaces in The Hatchet. As a fellow alum from the class of 2001, I would like to offer an opposing view.
Ms. Muchanic is upset because she is unable to count the number of times she has seen Trachtenberg on campus without using her hands. This is upsetting, however, students can avoid what happened to Ms. Muchanic. They can attend an event where President Trachtenberg is speaking, say hello to him if they pass him as he is walking from the gym to Rice Hall, or even send him a letter with burning questions.
Most of the students who come across President Trachtenberg’s path seek him out and not vice-versa. What’s wrong with that?
Ms. Muchanic offers suggestions to President Trachtenberg such as going to J Street a couple times a month for an hour or two, or walking on the Quad or Kogan to initiate conversation with students sitting outside. These are both great ideas, both happen all the time. President Trachtenberg regularly lunches at J Street, strolls through campus, visits with student leaders and invites students to his home.
Furthermore, many other points of interest occupy much of Trachtenberg’s time. Namely a large graduate and professional student body across several campuses, alumni who must be cultivated across the country, a rightfully demanding faculty, one of Washington’s largest payrolls, disgruntled neighbors and a chaotic city government to name a few. So if you don’t see him in the Jamba Juice line, maybe he’s working on some of the above.
Class of 2001
I write in response to the June 10 letter to the editor that claims President Trachtenberg does not interact with students to the extent he should.
Trachtenberg’s visibility only begins with his office hours and freshman sleep over. This is not where it ends.
As co-chair of the Freedom Quilt project, I can say that Trachtenberg is directly responsible for much that the Freedom Quilt has achieved and will achieve.
When students call upon the Office of the President in a professional manner, they will be assisted in a professional manner.
Trachtenberg wrote, “The Freedom Quilt will become an enduring and vivid reminder of our nation’s commitment to freedom.”
Likewise, if searching for an “enduring and vivid reminder” to the accomplishments Trachtenberg has brought to our University, one only need to look at the caliber of students in the class of 2006. In the tradition sought by Trachtenberg and the admissions department, these students represent diverse geographical regions, diverse political views and diverse ethnicity.
I can confidently say that the Freedom Quilt is assisting Trachtenberg in his mission of unifying our diverse University community and in the process bringing GW back into that legendary top 50.