Letters to the Editor

Check the facts

I read with interest the story entitled “Academic departments deal with cuts” (Sept. 1, p. 1), which cites an interview that I recently conducted with a Hatchet reporter. Unfortunately, the section on the Elliott School contains several important errors that I need to correct:

The article says that the Elliott School’s enrollment has “more than doubled in the last ten years.” What I told the reporter was that the Elliott School’s undergraduate enrollments have doubled over that period. However, graduate enrollments are about the same now as they were then. Overall, therefore, total enrollments have increased by around 63 percent since 1996, from 1,570 then to a budgeted 2,563 this year. The other enrollment data in the article, stating that undergraduate enrollments increased 31percent from 2001 to 2003, are correct.

The article says that the “Elliott School will receive nearly $50 million this year, an increase of more than $8 million from last year.” What I told the reporter was that the Elliott School is budgeted to bring in nearly $50 million for the University this year, almost entirely from tuition paid by its graduate and undergraduate students, and that this figure is around $8 million more than the tuition revenue it generated last year. However, I went on to say that the Elliott School will receive about $7.6 million for its own expenses which, despite the budget cuts we have implemented, is also somewhat higher than what we received last year. The University retains the remainder of the revenue we generate.

The article says that the School will hire “two Shapiro Professors, both of whom will act as co-directors of the Elliott School.” What I said to the reporter was that we have appointed two co-directors to head the Elliott School’s largest undergraduate program, the major in International Affairs. One of these will be Ambassador Skip Gnehm, who is our new Shapiro Visiting Professor of International Affairs. The other will be Hibba Abugideiri, Assistant Professor of History, International Affairs, and Honors.

My first statement in my interview with the reporter was that “budgets are complicated things.” I know that these are complex issues that are hard to report accurately. However, if the reporter had any questions about the information I provided her, she could easily have double-checked with me before submitting her article. That way, these errors could have been caught before publication, rather than after.

-Harry Harding, Dean and Professor of International Affairs and Political Science

No diploma

I recently graduated in May 2004 from The George Washington University with a degree in political science, but it turns out that I have been unable to prove this because I have not received my diploma yet.

I understand that we were supposed to receive them a few months after graduation. However, I was informed that since I was “cleared” for graduation on June 20th – apparently, two days after all undergraduate information was supposed to get sent to the Graduate Affairs – I now will not receive my diploma until October. Even though I knew I was cleared for graduation, I find something inherently wrong in this process taking over four months. What I find more troubling is that someone in the Columbian College was unable to process my information in a timely manner. What would have happened if they took even longer? Would I be punished and never receive a diploma? Having the diploma in my hands at this point, would be the only reassurance I have that there were not any similar mistakes made in the review of my completion of my undergraduate studies. Should I be upset that I do not have a diploma yet? Absolutely not, but I should be worried that mistakes like this are happening in one of the most crucial points of my college career – the end of it. On another note, while I write, does the Cherry Tree actually exist? Hopefully, the PVC pipe that the photographer gave us in our “senior pictures” is not the only diploma that I ever get to physically touch.

-Ted Blumenthal, Class of 2004

Out of touch

Matt Grieger’s recent column (“Not out of touch,” Sept. 1, p. 4) only pointed out how out of touch the left on campus is from the rest of society. At one point he notes that another Bush administration would be “four more years of ultra-conservative religious fanaticism.” Since Bush is a Christian, it is acceptable to label him a religious fanatic, but if one were to refer to any other religious group as such the Hatchet and campus left would be quick to label them “bigots.” The double standard surrounding treatment of Christians by the left belies their general distaste for anything from traditional Western values. The last acceptable prejudice are against those who hold any kind of Christian thought, which can be quickly condemned by those high minded liberals who know so much better than the millions of Americans who follow the Christian faith.

Greiger’s article talks about how Pelosi, Boxer, and others aren’t “liberals” because they in one fashion or another supported traditional values. Mr. Greiger then goes on to take up the liberal mantra himself to decry traditional marriage, advocate irresponsible abortions, and other causes. Moreover, he incorrectly labels LBJ as the last “liberal.” The last classical liberal in the Democratic Party in the true sense of the term was JFK (Kennedy not Kerry), who cut taxes, asked us to sacrifice for our country, fought against the evils of communism, and believed in the value of Christian principles. Classical liberals, those who fight for the free market, individual liberty, and constitutional governance are now all largely Republicans. Come November 3rd, Mr. Greiger may very well wake up to another four years of “religious fanaticism,” because the rest of America that Mr. Greiger so decries will have put Bush at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

-Mark Harris, sophomore, Public Relations Director, College Republicans

We exist

The treatment that Zej Moczydlowski endured during his summer job was unfortunate and wrong. His column, “A ‘Breeder’s’ Tale” (Aug 25, p. 4), is also unfortunate and wrong. To be clear, I would not have had a problem with a straight man giving me coffee, and on a larger scale, I welcome our straight allies to help us in our fight for equality. That said, I understand why that man acted the way he did. Moczydlowski was introduced to the term “breeder” as a sophomore in college and thought it was funny. I was introduced to the term “faggot” in lower school, middle school, high school, even here at GW, and was scared.

My ex-boyfriend had it carved into his door at GMU and was scared.

In 2002, six gays attacked straight people for being straight. Even though we are called names, attacked, killed, discriminated against, not allowed to marry or adopt children, and at the time not even legally allowed to have sex – all because of the actions of some straight people – only six gays committed hate crimes against straights. Conversely, 1,432 straights committed hate crimes against gays. Why, because we similarly repress and attack straights? No, because we exist.

I am not saying that I agree with the man’s words to Moczydlowski or that he deserved to say them, but considering all that gays deal with from some straights, I think we’re doing a pretty great job of keeping a natural anger and frustration over outright discrimination in check. Rather than comparing an outwardly angry gay man to the Black Panthers (spurious), alleging we want special treatment (erroneous), expecting us all to stay “rational” and “reasonable” (hypocritical and ignorant), or demeaning hate crime legislation (offensive), Moczydlowski might be thankful that it was only one person, instead of all of us, who wished to equally revenge what is done to our community by some members of his community.

-Benjamin B. Williams, senior, Computer Science

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