Letters to the editor

Prime example

Last month, The Hatchet ran an op-ed I submitted regarding the coverage the Student Association gets in the paper. In Thursday’s issue there was a perfect example of how The Hatchet makes the SA look bad by not getting all sides of a story. Although Sen. Ben Traverse was quoted explaining what happened accurately, the bias of the article (“SA Notes,” April 8, p. 2) was definitely unfavorable to the Senate.

The fact is, Sen. Justin Neidig obviously did his research and thoroughly explained his position. Even those who did not agree with him on the merits cannot help but be impressed by the level of preparedness he demonstrated in his remarks. Although some of his colleagues, myself included, good-naturedly teased Sen. Neidig about his “filibustering,” that word is too loaded and can easily be taken out of context.

Will Donovan is correct in saying that a vote was taken neither for nor against the resolution, but his direct quotation in the article is misleading. He says it is unreasonable for the Senate to “offhandedly stifle students” and the Senate should “let the students speak.” As the first paragraph in the article indicates, students did show up to speak, and many of them did speak. There is public comment for a reason, and nobody was prevented from taking advantage of it.

The rules of the SA Senate do not allow for the filibustering we here about in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Neidig did not start reading names out of a phone book just to kill time, and he would have been called out of order if he did. The Senate’s prerogative to extend debate time can continue to be invoked so that one senator’s long-windedness in no way impinges on the right of others to speak.

It is the responsibility of the Senate, both in committees and as a whole body, to make sure legislation makes sense and is based on accurate premises. Concerns were brought out that made recommitting the responsible thing to do. Just because the Senate does not do what certain students wish does not make us unresponsive or badly motivated.

Christopher Jenkins
graduate student,
SA senator (G-CCAS)

Anti-peace

On March 29, GW, our home university, the place we have come to live, grow and learn, declared war on peace. As students exercised their right to peacefully protest policies they believe are wrong and do not want their tuition dollars supporting, GW turned its usual deaf ear. About an hour later, in an admirable display of compassion and courage, 11 students occupied the Great Hall of the Marvin Center with the determination to remain there until meaningful dialogue with the administration was established. They were promptly arrested.

About six hours later, as these same students sat in jail, it was announced to students attending what may have been the last session of GW’s Peace Studies seminar that due to a “complicated” set of reasons, the Peace Studies program would be no more. Mere coincidence that these events transpired on the same day? This writer thinks not. Bitterly ironic? Yes. Coincidence? No.

The question we must ask ourselves is this: What kind of a university prides itself on having a world-class school of international affairs, on being located at the heart of American politics, and then discourages student participation in peaceful politics? My answer: Not one that this student will be proud to graduate from unless the administration makes a significant change in attitude before May 2005.

Alison Trapp, junior

Include students

I agree wholeheartedly with The Hatchet Editorial Board that the lack of student input in the planning of SMPA’s future was a mistake by the GW administration. Oftentimes students are invited to sit on these committees; in this case, an unusually secretive process excluded students and most faculty. Without student input, task force members were unable to see the school from the ground-level perspective of its students. For the leaders of the Student Association, the organization the Board of Trustees chartered to ensure student representation in important University issues, the situation was unacceptable.

In response, the SA invited several SMPA students to volunteer a good deal of their time to review the recommendations of the task force and offer a few of their own. This Student Review Group on SMPA Reorganization has already had two meetings and has set an agenda that will allow it to provide a thorough commentary on the issue, including how current students will be accommodated if their program is to be eventually eliminated. Their report is to be given to the new SA administration by May 15. It is my hope that the implementation committee will take a close look at the report so that they may fully understand the student perspective.

But a report is no substitute for a committee member, and the interim director of SMPA should invite the SA soon to nominate students to participate in their meetings so that the ground-level perspective that is exclusive to students can be presented throughout the process. SMPA students are focused and concerned, and their participation would be of tremendous benefit to the implementation committee and SMPA.

Aaron Connelly
vice president for academic affairs
Student Association

Library love

Every day, our nation’s libraries and librarians connect students, families, senior citizens, business people, teachers and professors nationwide with the information they want and need to be successful in our ever-changing society. More and more Americans are relying on libraries to help find a job, get accurate and up-to-date health care information, conduct research, and connect with their neighbors and colleagues. Gelman Library has reached out to its patrons by providing one-on-one research support and assistance. Venues exist such as the Gelman Library Student Advisory Board (next meeting to be held April 14 at 6 p.m.) for students to voice their concerns and needs directly to the staff and administration at the library. It also sponsors events such as Caf? Gelman in association with the Program Board to provide a relaxing and fun evening study environment to patrons.

During the week of April 18, schools, campuses and communities across the country will celebrate National Library Week and the valuable contribution of our libraries and librarians. Libraries are part of the American dream – places for opportunity, education, lifelong learning, and free and equal access to a world of resources no matter your age, income or background.

It’s easy to take our libraries and librarians for granted because they are always there for you. I encourage everyone to take a moment to thank our librarians for the services they provide and to remind our university that libraries provide vital programs, collections and services, each and every day.

If you haven’t been lately, National Library Week is a great time to check out why there’s something for everyone at your library.

Damien T. Gardner
student liaison to the Gelman Library System

The F-word

Let’s talk about the F-word. And by the “F-word,” we’re not talking about what you do in your dorm room on Friday nights. This is about the other F-word, the one we don’t talk about. The F-word we want to talk about is the one notorious for arousing feelings of suspicion and disgust. It’s the one that evokes images of women who aren’t appropriately playing out their prescribed gender roles in society – the unshaven, man-hating, bra-burning brutes. That’s right, we’re talking about feminism.

There are so many misconceptions about feminism and what it means to be a feminist. In fact, there is a feminist living and learning community right here on the GW campus. Who knew? But don’t be wary, this is a house of 16 women who are dedicated to redefining feminism and who certainly do not fit the outdated feminist stereotype to which people still cling so tightly.

What’s the point of feminism? Who can be a feminist? Can a man call himself a feminist? How does feminism play a role in our everyday lives? For answers to these questions, and many more, please join the Curves Ahead living and learning community Tuesday, April 13, at 8 p.m. at 2028 G St. for an open discussion of The F-word: Feminism at GW.

Kate Armstrong and Kimberly Richardson
sophomores

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