The Foggy Bottom Association has filed yet another complaint with the city against GW. The latest grievance concerns iron gates constructed at the east and west entrances to the I Street pedestrian mall, which remains open because the gates only frame the area. Residents claim the gates violate an agreement GW signed in 1979 to acquire the mall. The FBA, while having some legitimate concerns, will only hamper its attempts at stopping University expansion by continuing to initiate frivolous complaints.
An article in the current edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education outlines the convoluted legal battles between GW and the community, making it clear that the ongoing struggle is now the premier case of town- gown relationships gone awry in the country. While most Foggy Bottom residents remain realistic with their concerns, a radical fringe of residents exists that initiates complaints against GW even when changes stand to make substantial improvements. Recent battles over such items as the pedestrian mall, the height of a proposed residence hall near Francis Scott Key Hall and the GW Hospital buttress these claims. Because a small group of residents continues to initiate superfluous claims against the University, the relationship between GW and the community is becoming increasingly litigious and impersonal.
While the FBA should address legitimate concerns of community members, it must continue to keep the big picture in mind. By attacking GW over every minute issue, the FBA only discredits its broader agenda of limiting University encroachment into surrounding neighborhoods. Gates are not the problem, and opposing every possible University action is counterproductive to both camps.