Letters to the Editor

Resources available

This letter is written in response to sophomore Alison Devenny’s and another unnamed student’s concerns about the availability of eating disorder resources at the University Counseling Center (“UCC Faulted over anorexia,” Oct. 7, pg. 1).

The UCC does not provide long-term treatment programs for eating disorders. Rather, UCC counselors provide short-term counseling where disordered eating may be one of the presenting issues. This counseling may lead to a community referral for more open-ended treatment options. The UCC maintains and updates annually an extensive listing of private practitioners, specialty services and sliding scale clinics. The UCC group that was mentioned in the article is designed for students who have already begun their healing process.

In addition to the UCC, GW has several other resources on campus for students who are struggling with eating disorders. There is a registered dietitian at the Health and Wellness Center. The Student Health Service is an option for students experiencing physical effects from their behaviors. If a student is already in treatment with a therapist in the D.C. area, they can make appointments for medical evaluations and follow up at SHS.

GW’s Medical Faculty Associates Department of Psychiatry at 2150 Pennsylvania Ave. has an outpatient program specifically for the treatment of eating disorders. Their program consists of a number of forms of treatment including an initial 90-minute evaluation, individual psychotherapy, consultation with a nutritionist, medication as indicated and group psychotherapy as appropriate. Questions about the Department of Psychiatry’s eating disorders services can be directed to Barrie Seidman at (202) 741-2895.

The UCC is involved in outreach efforts concerning eating disorders and related issues. We provide programs in response to requests from student groups and faculty. We have reached out to a number of campus communities, including CLLC, the Panhellenic Association and Athletics, to offer such programs. The Committee is currently planning their annual Wellness Week and weeklong activities for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week in February 2005.

GW students have access to an initial consultation at the UCC. The UCC provides short-term individual counseling to help students get back on track when personal, family or academic problems begin to interfere with their ability to succeed in school. We also provide educational workshops on issues frequently facing by college students. In addition to scheduled appointments, there is a counselor on call during each hour of the day. If a student is in crisis and cannot wait for the next available appointment, they may say so and ask to speak to the counselor on call. After hours, students can reach the counselor by calling UPD at 994-6111. The toll-free numbers for local hotlines include CrisisLink (1-800-784-2433) and the D.C. Helpline (1-888-7WE-HELP).

As counseling professionals we agree that eating disorders and related difficulties are serious issues. It remains very difficult for us to estimate the number of students who have an eating disorder on this campus. As the National Eating Disorders Association’s Web site explains, “Because of the secretiveness and shame associated with eating disorders, many cases are probably not reported. In addition, many individuals struggle with body dissatisfaction and sub-clinical disordered eating attitudes and behaviors.” Our message for anyone who believes that they or a friend is struggling with an eating disorder or any related issue is that there are many resources for help on this campus. Talking with a counselor can make a difference.

-Gabriella Pessah, Psy.D, staff psychologist, , University Counseling Center

Orientalism and colonialsim

I’ve never physically become sick at reading anything in The Hatchet before today. It’s fine to voice one’s opinion about the 2004 election but Gary Livacari’s article (“Not clear and coherent,” Oct. 4, p. 4) was frankly put, disgusting. I know plenty of Republicans; some are even my friends. I might even let my children one day talk to their children. The problem with Livacari and the hardcore faction of conservatives at this school is their lack of understanding of the world around them. Or even, for that matter, any semblance of historical context.

I wonder if Livacari has ever been to a foreign country. My guess is that it’s unpatriotic to spend your parents’ hard-earned money on foreign soil. Let me guess, you lease a nice big SUV because it is your constitutional right to do so.

I want Livacari to learn a term; its called orientalism. Orientalism – what can be referred to as the “WASP’s view of the world” – is how those famous British historians and now Gary Livacari see the Middle East a.k.a. the “Orient.” There is us and there is them, and they’re either with us or against us. What’s happened in Iraq has happened before; it is called colonialism. A foreign Western power invades a “less civilized country,” removes the government and installs in its place a friendly one, the natural resources are monopolized and the people’s resentment grows. And please never use the words soaring into history, vision and Bush in the same sentence. My stomach can’t take it.

-Geoff Bendeck, sophomore

Poor planning

As a freshman, the people I have met while at GW has amazed me: Jim Lehrer, Clinton speechwriter Vinca La Fleur and several congresspeople. When I learned former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara would be speaking at the Elliott School, I jumped at the opportunity – so did hundreds of other students. Unfortunately, due to poor planning by the University, I, along with many others, was unable to attend the event.

The University hosted the event in a relatively small classroom in 1957 E St. Conversely, comedians Mo Rocca and Dana Carvey were scheduled for Lisner Auditorium. It is disturbing that GW would assume McNamara would not draw as many students as Rocca or Carvey. I saw Rocca and can’t wait to see “the church lady” in person. I was also ecstatic, however, at the opportunity of meeting one of the most influential members of a presidential cabinet.

There is a reason why GW was ranked the No. 1 school for political junkies: at GW, Robert McNamara will draw as many students as Dana Carvey. I hope the University has learned from its errors and will invite McNamara back for an encore – I know I’ll be first in line.

-Gillian McHale, freshman

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