Letters to the Editor

University must make violations known

The story “University busts APES leaders” (Dec. 3, p. 1) reveals what seems to be a frightening abuse of power by University officials that every student should know about. I am a third-year law student at GW and don’t know much about this group, but no matter what they were accused of planning to do, the University’s actions were shocking – pulling the students out of class to question them, searching their rooms, taking their property and suspending them based on what seems to amount to rumors of future conduct.

I admittedly have very limited knowledge of the situation, but it looks like the University has once again crossed the line between protecting its students and violating its students’ civil liberties. I understand the University is worried about liability if something criminal does occur. But they always seem to err on the side of abuse of authority. They allegedly seized a student’s validly prescribed anxiety medication, jeopardizing his health. One might think GW would remember the legal settlement it paid after suspending another student, Jordan Nott, for the non-crime of being depressed, based on the possibility of future criminal conduct. Punishing students for what seems to amount to unsubstantiated thought crime wasn’t a good policy then and it’s not a good policy now.

If there was enough evidence to show they were in violation of the code or the evidence substantiated some kind of imminent attempt to commit criminal conduct, the University should make that information known so students can rest assured this was not an abusive or arbitrary use of power. If the University doesn’t want to make that information public then it should create a board of disinterested students, faculty (especially law faculty) and staff to immediately review suspension, search and seizure decisions. There must be safeguards put in place immediately to prevent the University from ever again seizing a student’s prescription medication or something equally necessary to his or her health.

Adrienne Dail, Law Student

Focus on the present

As I was reading Alex Eisner’s “Is grad school a given?” (Dec. 3, p. 4) I couldn’t help but agree with the main point that graduate school is not necessarily the next logical step after an undergraduate degree. As I reached the bottom of the article, I was struck with amusement to find out that the writer was a freshman. The article would have been all the more poignant if he actually had reason to worry about grad school. As a first-semester freshman, you’re just settling into your classes, dorm life and everything else in college. You should be worried about upcoming finals and projects more than what’s going to happen in the next stage of your life.

Personally, I haven’t given grad school all that much thought. I haven’t decided between law school, business school or just heading out into a career. I’ve always focused on giving myself the greatest number of options to further myself whichever path I may take. That means focusing on the here and now. As Another Hatchet columnist cited an Education Trust statistic in the same issue: 21.6 percent of GW students fail to complete their undergraduate degree within six years. I would advise the writer to get back to studying for finals so they don’t end up as part of that statistic and not to worry about grad school just yet.

Troy Timmer, Junior

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