Staff editorial: RHA misses the point

The Residence Hall Association is allocated thousands of dollars every year to represent the student voice to housing officials regarding on-campus housing. The RHA’s main job is to help the administration determine what residence halls go to what classes. As of last week, however, their projected numbers show there will be 100 extra beds next year. They are way off.

When told by The Hatchet that the administration is looking for new housing options to accommodate an expected 500-bed shortage, RHA president Emily Naden’s response was that it was “news” to her. One of the group’s main tasks is to study housing numbers with the administration, yet they could not figure out that the housing lottery was not postponed for trustees to reevaluate room prices, as GW first told the RHA, but rather tofind 500 more beds for students to avoid a huge waiting list.

RHA members should be more aware of actual housing issues facing the University rather than spots cut from Martha’s Marathon, an insignificant cause compared to persuading GW to find new housing suitable to students’ needs.

Naden represents about 6,100 students living on campus and her main point of contention with recent housing changes is to keep the administration from eliminating five picks in the annual housing selection number auction, as noted in her Jan. 23 op-ed (“GW ignores student housing concerns,” p.4). She is missing the point completely.

The money from Martha’s Marathon really only acts as a buffer for the financial aid office when giving housing scholarships, it is unlikely that fewer Marathon numbers will mean less scholarship money. Furthermore, Naden should be concentrating on the real issues – like keeping new residence halls in the District with adequate transportation.

RHA’s ineptitude is a diservice to students – it limits student voice in the housing process.

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