Letters to the Editor

Deserve health care
I’ve been a housekeeper, member of SEIU Local 82 and part of The George Washington University community for 22 years. I’ve raised four children during my time at GW and I’m blessed for the relationships I have with my coworkers at Mitchell Hall. It means a lot to me to have a union contract because of the security it provides. Our contract expires on Dec. 17 and we are negotiating for better wages and health care benefits. My children are grown, but I am worried about my coworkers who have families and cannot afford the benefits. Our union local 82 has all the experience and resources we need to win a better contract.
One of the most important issues is that our health care payments are too high. Many of us have to pay $80 to $400 dollars a month for our plan. GW should be responsible for providing the benefits we work hard for. Workers deserve affordable health care, fair wages and dignity at work.
During my time here I have come to know many of the students, and we treat each other with respect. One student said she thought of me like her mother because she could ask me for advice. I think of GW students as my extended family, and after 22 years I’ve made a commitment to be there when they need me. My work helps the University provide the students with the daily support they need to be able to focus on their education. My dedication and hard work should be rewarded with the health care benefits I need to sustain my family and myself.
I am standing up now because I feel we are being taken advantage of. We are the backbone of GW and we work hard. We are the union, and we are the ones who can make a difference in our lives. As members of Local 82 we are committing ourselves to this cause because it’s a fight about our children and we won’t back down.

-Harriet Sims
Housekeeping employee

Worthy lawsuit
In the October 30 edition of The Hatchet two undergraduate students wrote letters to the editor condemning the recent decision by the GW Law School faculty to join a law suit concerning federal funding and the sexual orientation policy of the military.
To begin, I find it offensive that one student would evoke 9/11 within this context (“Act of Cowardice,” p. 5). One has nothing to do with the other, unless someone’s sexuality determines their valor, which I believe even Reverend Jerry Falwell would be hard-pressed to posit. More generally, I find myself wondering why there is such a venomous response to the Law School faculty’s decision to join the lawsuit. The decision of the faculty is right on for three reasons: the current policy needs to be moved forward, the lawsuit has a chance of winning and GW will not lose federal funding. When former President Bill Clinton created the current “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy he did so only because it was a baby step in the right direction. Had he gone all the way the policy would never have been instituted. It is time to move the policy forward and make the military not discriminate based on sexual orientation. Forty eminent attorneys would not have voted by a majority to join a suit that was hopeless. It must have some breath of life.

-Jesse Gessin
GW Law student

Bright spot
In response to your article on October 30 (Science depts. seek upgrades,” p. 1), I want to point to one small bright spot in the report on the science departments’ needs for upgraded spaces. The unified campus – extending from Foggy Bottom to Foxhall Road – includes the newly renovated Acheson Science Building. In this building on the Mount Vernon Campus there are four airy, well-equipped, new teaching labs. There is one lab for chemistry, one for biology, one for geology and one computer lab for astronomy.

-Shelly Heller
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Mount Vernon Campus

Block party thoughts
I read with interest Sarah Brown’s article on the block party (“Neighborhood holds block party,” Oct. 27, p. 3). There was much I could argue with, and some not. For instance, I hope Pat Patterson’s comment that the Foggy Bottom Association and GW will never get along is not true, but assuredly there is “a way to go” before mutual compatibility comes to pass. And yes, we did have block parties, and they were wonderful – when it didn’t rain! But many of the residents who worked on them and participated have been replaced by students, whose interests lie elsewhere; animosity with GW was not the reason they were discontinued. And Gloria Wold’s comment that GW has “to do more than something like this” struck home. Might we suggest smaller enrollment and halted expansion into our neighborhood?
At the same time, we did not sponsor a booth; perhaps the somewhat offhand and last minute invitation had something to do with that.
All that being said, we all hope the future holds happier and less contentious times.

-Ellie Becker
Foggy Bottom Association

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