Letters to the Editor

No more music

On March 30, I received an email from the music listserv declaring “beginning instrumental or vocal instruction will no longer be offered, either as studio or as class instruction.” I must say that I’m appalled.

In the past couple of years the music department has been a hotbed of activity for the adjunct professor’s movement to unionize. The University administration has not had remarkable success in suppressing the movement. It appears they’ve chosen to retaliate through eliminating music classes and cutting the pay of even more adjunct music professors. But who are they really hurting?

As a result of these changes, students who do not already play an instrument will not have the opportunity to learn to play an instrument. GW is not a music school and most music students understand that, but that is all the more reason why students should have the opportunity to learn an instrument when they get to college.

This school prides itself on its International Affairs and Political Science departments, but what good is it to graduate students going into society who don’t possess a rudimentary knowledge of the arts? Music is the universal language and can function as a mechanism to unite people. I think that everyone should be granted the opportunity to experience playing a musical instrument not just so they can serve the school, but to learn something about themselves and others.

Nobody ever told me that I couldn’t study something in college just because I hadn’t already studied it in high school. I don’t think college should mark the end of the quest of academic interests, rather the beginning. And how about all the incoming freshmen arriving this fall? Did anyone send them a memo saying that they would be deprived of this wonderful opportunity?

I think this decision by the administration should be reevaluated in terms of its consequences. If the University is that strapped for cash, they should try chucking some of the plasma TV’s in the Marvin Center. They shouldn’t deplete the substance – of the GW academic experience.

– Corey Brekher, Junior

Just another store

While it is certainly nice that the World Bank is opening a fair trade store in its headquarters building, this is not at all a new idea, despite what Bank advocates wish the public to believe. In fact, fair trade advocates have been working for many years to connect local producers in developing countries with first-world consumers to combat destructive World Bank programs. These groups include umbrella organizations such as IFAT, the International Fair Trade Association (www.ifat.org), as well as organizations with bricks and mortar stores, such as Ten Thousand Villages ( www.tenthousandvillages.com), a non-profit, Mennonite-associated group that has more than 160 retail outlets in Canada and the United States.

So, yes, “It’d be good if some people saw something positive” about the World Bank, to quote IFC “grassroots business initiative” director Harold Rosen in “Students help create new store” (April 17, p. 1), but please keep this in perspective. As is so often the case, this World Bank program is not new, not different and certainly not an antidote to the Bank so often limiting human agency in practice.

Particularly interesting is Mr. Rosen’s rationale for running this store as a for-profit business. Maybe he was misquoted: certainly the World Bank is not an organization that would ever dare to make a profit off the poor, would it?

-R.J. Shepherd, Associate professorial lecturer in anthropology

Consider divestment

The University’s administration, in the past, has made it known to the GW community that it is proud of the level of student awareness in local, national and world issues. Students are encouraged to “made a difference.”

That is why I find it disheartening that the administration is not open to the option of divesting in Sudan. I guess being socially aware and active only works for the University if it doesn’t affect the financial bottom line.

-Caren M. Calamita, alumna

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