Letters to the Editor

Be fair to campus criminals

While reading the article “Athlete kicked off team after arrest” (Oct. 19, p.1), I was surprised to see the name and photo of the freshman charged with intent to distribute marijuana. When I was a Hatchet editor, I refrained from making such disclosures in stories about ordinary GW community members charged with minor crimes. The newspaper’s present leadership has departed from my policy, which is fine – there are good arguments for and against printing names and photos.

My main problem with Thursday’s revelations is that they can’t be replicated in most instances in which students are busted for misdemeanors. The result will be unfair treatment for offenders, with some seeing their names printed and others remaining anonymous.

The problem lies with University Police, which, thanks to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, chooses not to divulge the names of student criminals. The polo player in Thursday’s article was unlucky – if UPD didn’t call in Metropolitan Police officers to make an arrest, Hatchet staffers likely couldn’t have printed his name. In most misdemeanor drug cases, UPD can opt not to inform MPD – thus keeping the case in-house and under FERPA protections.

In cases where the offender is a campus celebrity, his or her name and photo should be printed, regardless of the charge. Campus celebrities – which include top administrators, the Student Association president and basketball players – are the faces of this University. As such, they should be held to a higher standard when they get in hot water, even lukewarm water.

A freshman water polo player is not even close to being a campus celebrity. Yes, he’s an athlete, but few people care about his team. Yes, he’s on scholarship, but so are most students. And even if his arrest is indicative of a larger drug problem on a team that is rarely tested for drugs, I still don’t see why that means this student should be treated differently from the small-time Thurston pot dealer – which is what he is accused of being.

Reporters, because of their thoroughness and competitive zeal, tend to follow the adage “If you have it, print it.” But I hope that The Hatchet’s editors will reconsider a policy that denies equal treatment to the people who need it most.

-Michael Barnett,
Hatchet editor in chief 2005-2006

Seinfeld editorial got it wrong

I am writing to refute inaccuracies in last week’s editorial in the GW Hatchet regarding the Jerry Seinfeld performance at GW (“Create an event for the whole community to enjoy,” Oct. 19, p. 4). As GW Ticket Manager, there are a number of issues that should have been researched in preparation for this editorial.

First, with regard to ticket sales to the community, no tickets were sold to the general public for the two Jerry Seinfeld shows at GW. As was contractually mandated by our agreement with Mr. Seinfeld, all sales were sold only through the University, to those associated with GW. In fact, every single ticket sold for the two Jerry Seinfeld shows were purchased directly through my office on campus.

My staff and I personally managed ticket sales through our online GW ticket Web site and GW’s TicketMaster Box Office, located on the ground floor of the Marvin Center. As a result, all sales required some affiliation with the University (student, parents, alumni, faculty, staff).

Additionally, only on-campus marketing efforts were employed to alert the campus to the sale of tickets, including internal University communications, various campus listservs and virtual ads placed on various Web sites.

For the first time in GW history, all proceeds from certain floor seats are actually earmarked to go toward future scholarship funds as well as the Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholarship fund, which provides tuition, fees and room and board to select students from the Washington, D.C. public school system. These sales were managed by the Office of Advancement and coordinated with my staff to ensure that major donors would be tapped to join us for the show and make a contribution to the ongoing scholarship legacy of current and future University students.

While tickets prices ranged from $57 to $125 and went on sale beginning July 24, the slightly higher price is only reflective of the caliber of performer. Seinfeld is clearly America’s foremost funnyman, and he will no doubt entertain our GW audiences with a unique style, as one of the nation’s best comedians.

Unfortunately the materials cited in your editorial do not accurately portray the entire picture of how this event was managed, who had access to seats or who would ultimately benefit from the contributions various major donors. Better research on behalf of staff writing for the Hatchet could have avoided this misinformation being cited in your editorial, which unfortunately tarnishes the actual story behind this wonderful community-building event.

-Gilma Cockram
GW Ticket Manager

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