Letters to the Editor

Org. funding still an issue

In a recent letter to the editor (Oct. 1, p. 4), Jon Gottschalk makes some observations on funding for the College Democrats that require further review. Jon suggests that the College Democrats should “try first asking for support from their members then from an increase in funding from the student body at large.” Perhaps the writer is unaware that our organization does have a small lifetime membership fee that we use to help offset the operational expenses of our organization and aids in bringing first-rate Democratic speakers and programming to campus. In addition, we have employed numerous other fundraising opportunities to help us be more self- sufficient.

Jon is correct about one thing: we traditionally have gotten a large allocation from the Student Association. As a nationally recognized group and the largest student organization on campus, at the most politically active school in the country, this seems fitting. The College Democrats have been good stewards of the student’s money, looking for cost-saving options whenever possible. For example, we were able to bring James Carville to campus last year for a small fraction of his initial request. We understand that the more economical we are today, the more opportunities we can provide to our members tomorrow.

It seems inconsistent that the author hails the recent rejection of the student fee increase in one breath, and then suggests that the SA should give more money to smaller organizations, at the expense of larger ones in the next. Had the fee increase passed, the SA could have more easily funded all student groups large and small. The small fee increase (one dollar per credit hour) would have added $60,000 for student organization funding next year alone. This would significantly decrease the burden placed on the finance committee to make tough funding decisions. It is our hope that the next time the fee increase comes up, students will view it as a reasonable avenue to provide the additional funding that all student groups desperately need.

Michael Weil, Vice President, GW College Democrats

University lacking in insurance communication

I was saddened to read the watered-down version of my health care plight in The Hatchet (Oct. 1, p. 6). The real point of the story was to be that GW health officials were most guilty of severe marketing communications blunders more than anything. As a former board chair of an American Marketing Association chapter and a student of marketing, I know that basing all outbound communications hopes on just one letter, placed perilously into the hands of the U.S. Postal Service, does not a successful marketing communications package make. For the University to say that they have done their utmost to communicate this radical (and seemingly positive) change of our entire health care system, according to basic rules of direct marketing, would have mandated no fewer than three “touches” to each student.

From my experience and from a cursory index of our student body demographics, one text message and one e-mail, in addition the letter the University purports to have sent would have been a minimal baseline. I also note, curiously, that on the date that I was originally told that this story was to run the University finally emailed the student body to alert us of the change – nearly a month into the first semester. The most egregious marketing error I’ve saved for last. If a tree fell in the woods of Maine, would you hear it in California? (Probably not.) To that end, just because something is published in your own little space on the Internet does not mean that people read it or even magically know that your page has been updated. I strongly encourage GW health officials to recognize the difference between “push” and “pull” communications and to learn from their mistake that left myself and others barren of health care for over three weeks.

Elvis Oxley, Graduate Student

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