Letters to the Editor

Keep focus

I have read many articles that The Hatchet has printed on the problems that the Student Association has been facing in the past few months.

Despite being only a freshman attending GW, I know the SA has been in worse predicaments than what I have been subjected to. Presidents who have abused their power have literally thrown money away. Issues that have been occurring lately are minute compared to that of prior presidents. If any student has taken the time to attend one of the Senate meetings or town meetings, they would be displeased to see their so-called “senators” in action. Many of these students use their power on the Senate to further their own political agendas. They see the student issues they should be working to fix last.

If any student has made any use of their executive officers they know how helpful President Omar Woodard is to answering their questions and meeting with them. Woodard furthermore makes himself accessible to his constituents by being on instant messenger whenever he himself is online on his personal account. We need to continue to support the executive officers we have put into office, because they do whatever is in their power to help each and every student they represent. We need to stop dwelling on issues that are sometimes irrelevant to the existence of the Student Association. We need to continue to focus on the issues that should always be put into focus first, the issues of the everyday student of GW.

-Kathy Elie, freshman

Far away from goal

Megan Roarty’s piece on “Confronting Homelessness” (Jan. 31, p. 6) reads like a parody of all the negative stereotypes traditionally applied to GW students based on their relative wealth and privilege. The fact that it was meant to be read as an investigative account on homelessness in the local area is a sad reflection on just how far we are from understanding the true purposes of a “metropolitan” education.

At best, this article seems uninformed and uncompassionate about a way of life that 600,000 Americans are forced to accept. At worst, it perpetuates the underlying prejudices and arrogant mentalities that dominate society’s approach to this issue. The students cited in the article echo popular assumptions that the homeless are nothing more than a potentially dangerous eyesore. If the author had actually interviewed a member of the local homeless community, rather than simply reiterating the opinions of seven different students, maybe she could have provided us with a more honest and objective look at this issue. She may have even discovered that homeless individuals can be kind, hard working and humble.

Even a brief mention of the fact that most homeless individuals are war veterans, mentally or physically handicapped, or families with young children would have made this article less morally repugnant and more substantive.

Most disturbing of all is the official university policy, which is “not to allow the homeless to ‘set up camp’ in our buildings or on our property,” as Matt Nehmer described it to Ms. Roarty. It is clearly conveyed that Mr. Nehmer and the administration value a facade of affluence in Foggy Bottom more than they value demonstrating their compassion for the people who are actually living on those benches out of necessity, not just “camping” because they enjoy the January weather. If GW is about building a diverse, open-minded and forward thinking community, then the ideas espoused by this article just show how far away we are from that goal.

-Graham Safty, freshman

Unfair attack

Given how I am apparently the senator whose “arrogance surfaced during a presentation by the Student Activities Center” and who “grill(ed) the presenters with self-serving questions intended to prop up (my reputation),” as portrayed in Will Dempster’s Jan. 27 opinion column (“Fix the inept Senate,” p. 4), I would appreciate the opportunity to respond to opinions editor whose misreading of the situation was as striking as it was complete.

My questions were directed at informing certain SAC representatives that their too-often outmoded and incongruous expectations will do nothing to help students run competent elections. The questions were directed at reminding those representatives – many of whom gratuitously reiterate the importance of designing and operating a stable electoral system, and yet do nothing help students keep the system from failing year after year – how it is incumbent upon SAC to behave in accordance with its mission. The questions were germane, respectful and at all times entirely appropriate. And they were delivered in such a pointed manner precisely to drive home to ignorant loudmouths like Mr. Dempster that the ill-conceived, haphazard results they thoughtlessly advocate amount to nothing but the rebuilding of a house of cards.

For my part, no member of this campus community has ever had reason to doubt my integrity, my devotion to the cause of serving student interests or my judgment in pursuing such a cause. The time and effort that I and other senators have put into making the laws of the Student Association reflect their drafters’ intent may seem irrelevant to a junior in college who evidently cannot see more than two feet in front of his own grinning face. That’s not my problem. I’ve neither the inclination nor the time to slow down and expound in second-grade language upon the transparent proposition that major refurbishment of student laws is prerequisite to achieving lasting enhancement of the collective student voice on this campus – certainly not to an opinions editor who sits for a mere hour-and-a-half at a Senate meeting and believes this somehow gives him legitimacy to spew pre-determined conclusions based on premises he clumsily creates out of thin air.

I defy Mr. Dempster to find one provision of the current Joint Elections Committee Charter written well enough such that its desired aims have not been boldly and thoroughly subverted. The truth is that he cannot, because the electoral system on this campus is shattered. It is essential that the Senate create a new electoral system capable of withstanding the rigors of campus politics. This is true regardless of the idiotic braying of persons incapable of realizing how the goal of creating such a stable system can only materialize through unceasing student governmental attention to every last detail. Indeed, the deleterious musings of Mr. Dempster only prolong the time students must wait for that goal to be achieved.

-Jason Karasik, graduate at-large senator, law student

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