Letters to the Editor

Pay problems

I recently read in The Hatchet that the University will put off pay raises for its professors (“University to put off pay raises,” April 7, p. 1). Does this mean the University will put off tuition increases this year? It seems that GW’s administration has its head in the wrong place.

While desperately failing to enter the top 50 colleges in the U.S. they have overlooked the easiest route: improve academics. Roughly 50 percent of the professors at our school are adjuncts who receive little pay, no health insurance and few thanks from the administration. While this does not deviate very much from the national average, it seems ludicrous that year after year we continually are forced to pay a tuition that is headed toward $50,000 while the quality of instruction seems to be on a slow downward slide.

It seems illogical that professors should not receive a pay raise. What is the purpose of academia? Where is our money going? Perhaps the University should divest itself from some property and attempt to become only just the third largest land owner in Washington, D.C. This would surely fund a quality of academics which would be unrivaled in the District.

When our tuition increases we expect tangible results. Clearly this year we cannot expect this. It is interesting that people remain so silent on this issue. It is possible that if not for an inspiring professor I too would have followed suit. It is time for the students of this college to hold the administration accountable for their misuse of our tuition.

-Benjamin Morrissey, sophomore

Return to tradition

I was disappointed by Jennifer Nedeau’s column on the future of the Roman Catholic Church after the death of our beloved pope (“Catholic Church: Time for an update,” April 7, p. 4). She was correct on one point, though: in recent years, the Church has faced many challenges, including the sad reality of the child molestation scandals. But her assertion that the answer to these challenges is to “update” the Church and “bring the Catholic faith into a modern era” is one that I pray will not be shared by our new leader.

Perhaps unlike Nedeau, it seems to me that the Church did address the issue of modernizing as recently as Vatican II. A result of those meetings was an increased availability of the faith to a greater number of people, in turn resulting in a Church that now claims 1.2 billion faithful followers. Masses are now said in the vernacular, rather than Latin, and lay people have more opportunities to actively participate in their faith. While many issues of modernization were addressed, the changing of Church doctrine on some of its most important teachings was not. These included the ban on the ordination of women and the prohibition of birth control.

As Nedeau pointed out in her column, the Catholic Church in the United States is facing a shortage of priests. This is not a global crisis, however. In fact, Asian and African countries have a surplus of priests who often choose to come to the United States to serve. The meaning of the word “Catholic” is universal and thus, we should celebrate that our faith has a truly global reach and that many of these followers have heeded the call of God to the religious life.

I realize that the Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life and birth control is a divisive issue in a time that is plagued by teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. However, rather than relaxing its stance on birth control, the Church should steadfastly assert that abstinence, in addition to being a central part of the Church teaching on the sanctity of life, is the most effective form of birth control. The problems created by teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases might also be construed as an indication that the loss of moral values in modern society should signal a return to the more traditional values and teachings of abstinence and respect for life.

Unlike Nedeau, I will be praying every day until April 18, when the cardinals begin their conclave to elect a new pope, that the man they select will be a man whose moral values and religious beliefs are steeped in over 2,000 years of Church tradition and who possesses the courage to stand firm against popular societal beliefs that go against the teachings of the Church that he is chosen to lead.

-Catherine Leugers, junior

The liberal farce

During the months leading up to and after Bush’s election I have noticed that the popular liberal view is to not to create an original agenda, but to play political poker and try to bluff the Republicans out of theirs. In Reading Will Dempster’s “Just another charade” (April 4, p. 4), the liberal strategy becomes clear: make enough noise so no one notices we don’t have any idea what to do. Dempster claims Bush and his staff deserve “no credit for” freeing the people of Iraq and only half-heartedly admits things are improving. The facts are Iraqis have access to more water, electricity, democracy and employment since the United States invaded in 2003. As for Dempster’s claim that Bush’s “neo-conservatism will hinder, rather than improve American security,” I pose the question: How many terrorist attacks have occurred on American soil since 9/11?

Dempster continues to assail the right with claims of helping terrorism by participating in talks with several countries in the Middle East from which the terrorists originate. While the countries that we are in alliance with my not be our perfect representation of fairness and democracy, they continue to make headlines for allowing us access to their intelligence, taking terrorists down themselves and giving us the ability to search their mountains for Osama.

As a last attempt to tug at the heart of the young, rich liberal idealist he cites two of the biggest American aristocrats ever — FDR and JFK – as pillars of international policy. But what of FDR’s constant attempts to involve America in a war that did not directly affect it? Even so, they still have JFK, right? Even JFK saw the importance of heading off a potential threat before it actually became a problem during Bay of Pigs. While the latter failed in his mission to liberate Cuba, both of these men’s ideas were correct. So, young and budding East and West Coast liberals: next time you’re fantasizing about these men, take a moment and reflect back on a time when the Democrats valued homeland security at all costs.

-Justin Estep, senior

Be a good neighbor

Dear students,

One of the great benefits of attending The George Washington University is its location in the Foggy Bottom/West End and Foxhall communities. We enjoy numerous cultural activities as well as world class shopping, restaurants and entertainment opportunities.

The George Washington University is committed to being a good neighbor in our community. One of the concerns we often hear from our neighbors is about noise. Our neighborhoods are filled with working professionals, senior citizens and families with young children. The lifestyle of students can be very different from the lifestyle of our neighbors.

To help us all be better members of our community we are introducing the Quiet Zone initiative. As a gentle reminder to students leaving their residence halls, Quiet Zone posters will be placed on building doors. We encourage everyone to keep these tips in mind: 1) When walking in a group, make sure that your talking and laughing are kept at a moderate level. 2) Pay special attention to residential buildings. D.C. laws make it illegal to shout or make a disturbance outside a building at night. 3) Try not to congregate beneath windows of a residential building. 4) Keep your mobile phone conversations at a reasonable volume.

We encourage you to follow these tips, and your own common sense, in our neighborhoods. Practicing this small bit of courtesy can reap tremendous benefits for our communities. Please help us all to be better neighbors and encourage others to take part in the Quiet Zone.

-Brian F. Hamluk, Director, Off-Campus Student Affairs and

Michael Akin, Director, DC & Foggy Bottom/West End Affairs

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