Staff Editorial: A year in review

After another year of passing judgment on a slew of University changes, The Hatchet thought it pertinent to revisit the good, the bad and the in-between changes that took place during the 2002-03 school year.

Thumbs up

* 4-RIDE – Administrators were able to find an extra $181,000 to improve and expand the 4-RIDE system, operated by the University Police Department, in the midst of a University budget crunch. 4-RIDE has become one of the most popular services provided by the University – usage went up 41 percent over the past year. Robberies early in the year showed the importance of providing a safe means of transportation at night. This is an example of administrative responsiveness to student requests. 4-RIDE will use the money to purchase new vehicles and hire new operators, hopefully allowing for shorter wait times.

* Printing fee – Under heavy scrutiny, the administration launched a printing fee of seven cents per printed page this year. The Hatchet and the Student Association assumed the University was up to no good, trying to sneak in another fee to nickel and dime students. But then there was a revelation – students can survive without wasting millions of pages. The library has saved one and a half million pages and has grossed $30,000 to purchase new, faster printers that are worth more than the seven cents students have to pay.

* Colonial Cash – The combination of debit dollars and meal points might be the best idea of the year. Giving students a greater choice of where to eat and Aramark competition can only be good. Although there is a fear that students will blow all their “cash” on sweatshirts and beer mugs at the bookstore, leaving a lot of hungry students. It is a rare instance when the University can make more money and make students happy at the same time.

Mixed feelings

* Greek expansion – The administration’s commitment to Greek-letter life is evident. The $27 million investment in Townhouse Row will help it achieve its goal of making 25 percent of the student body Greek. But there are problems with going too Greek too fast. The addition of two new fraternities in one year has the potential to dilute the pool of pledges and weaken all the fraternities as a whole.

* Zoning battles – While we understand GW’s decision to ignore city zoning orders to satisfy students in the short term, the choice could have negative long -term effects. This decision continues a trend of poor long-term planning and may aggravate community resentment.

Thumbs down

* New package system – Nobody understands the need for it. It is a simple inconvenience for most students that increases red tape and frustration.

* Study Abroad – The restrictive study abroad policy enacted this year limits students to studying with affiliated programs, which are often more expensive. This limits academic freedom for students under the guise of ensuring “academic integrity.” It is among the most detested policy changes at GW this year.

* Technology – Webmail outages, slowdowns and malfunctions have plagued students and caused some to start using alternative e-mail addresses. A system that could be useful is plagued by inadequacy. Housing selection glitches caused unneeded confusion and made some students give up on the whole concept of on-campus living. And cutting alumni e-mail may have negative effects on the much-needed alumni donations for GW’s lagging endowment.

* Academic schedule and credit changes – The consideration of a mandatory summer session and a four- class, four-credit system have been taken too lightly by the University. Any such changes need greater student input and more than a semester of research. The proposals show no signs, thus far, of improving academia, only of bolstering the University pocketbook.

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