Letters to the Editor

Students care about the GSPM search too

The students of the Graduate School of Political Management come from different parts of the country. We come from different backgrounds, and we each come hoping to achieve different goals. It is easy, however, to understand why so many of us were drawn to this specific graduate program: because it is different. We were drawn to its dynamic focus on practical politics as opposed to theory, its storied reputation as the West Point of political wars and its unmatched proximity to hallowed halls of power.

As the search for a new executive director of the GSPM begins anew, following an initial failed attempt, the students of this program urge Kathleen Burke, the dean of the College of Professional Studies, as well as the outside firm conducting the search, to keep these reasons in mind. They must commence their search understanding that what the GSPM needs is an executive director who has lived and breathed the ethos of practical politics, and would be ready and able to use such expertise to take the GSPM to the next level.

Many have disapproved of the initial search process. Alumni and adjunct faculty, especially, have been vocal in their criticism of how the first search bore out. Among their concerns were a lack of inclusion, a dearth of transparency and a concern the recruitment standards were too rigid to yield the kind of leader we need. In other words, the search was tone deaf to the needs and desires of the people who make this school what it is.

As current students of this program, we share those concerns. After all, we are the ones who breathe life into the school each night, and we are the ones who walk around this city espousing the merits of GSPM.

Throughout the last few months, I spoke with many students who were simply put off by the fact that many of the initial search’s candidate forums were held during inopportune hours. And the notice for such forums was inadequate and honestly a bit insulting, since it came in the same week the forums would be held. As a school within the CPS, organizers should assume that many of its students are full-time employees or interns who could not leave work to attend.

However, what has troubled the students most is the stated requirement that a candidate for executive director must hold a terminal degree, such as a doctorate or law degree, to even be considered for the position. By enforcing this requirement, the search committee will only harm GSPM’s chances of attracting the very best candidates in our unique field.

Just look at Karl Rove, Robert Gibbs, David Plouffe and Dana Perino. Besides being high-profile role models in the field of political management, these notable people have another thing in common: None of them possesses a doctorate or law degree.

With the current requirements, all of these people would be shut out from even entering the search process. The reality of this undermines the spirit of the GSPM. We are a school that values the practical application of politics. It should make sense that we appropriately value the practitioners of this field of work. I would hope that in the process of working with the firm to hire a director, those who make the decision abandon the doctorate or law degree criterion.

The students of GSPM ask for the same consideration any school at GW would get in selecting a new leader. But we also ask those directing the process to understand that we are different, we embrace this difference, and we want to see Dean Burke and the firm to do the same.

Angelo Dalmacio, is the president of the GSPM Student Association.

The Anti-Affirmative Action Bake Sale

As a member of the Asian-American community at GW, I was extremely offended by the Anti-Affirmative Action Bake Sale hosted by the College Republicans and the Young America’s Foundation. Despite what one’s position on affirmative action may be, the means by which the CRs and YAF members chose to illustrate their cause were absolutely uncalled for and extremely offensive. While the CRs and YAF members claimed that there was no actual price discrimination, the sign that listed different prices for different racial groups was unnecessary and disgusting.

If the CRs and YAF members want to engage in a discussion and debate about affirmative action, I would think that members from both sides of the argument would be willing to do so. However, engaging in acts such as the bake sale does not create a healthy environment for dialogue.

After the bake sale Monday, GW’s Black Student Union and NAACP held a discussion on affirmative action in the Multicultural Student Services Center. The atmosphere created an open and informative dialogue about affirmative action.

Moreover, I am upset with the administration’s response – or lack of response – on this issue. I am not saying the administration should come out and support one side or the other, or even shut down the bake sale like many other universities have across the country, but it should have done more to encourage a healthy debate.

The University cannot ignore these issues any longer. It needs to step up and address them with more authority and not hide behind the image that we are a “diverse” school. Illustrate that the University is committed to creating a diverse environment, don’t just state it.

Christopher Wang is a freshman majoring in international affairs.

The Ivory Tower incident

On March 5, University Police Department officers responded to a report of a fight between two men on the second floor of Ivory Tower residence hall. The initial investigation determined that one man was severely beaten.

Witnesses identified the alleged assailant, and he was arrested a short time later and placed into the custody of the Metropolitan Police Department. The incident is still considered an open investigation and has been referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A recent opinion piece printed in The Hatchet states an alert was not issued warning students of the crime until after The Hatchet reported on the incident. UPD issues Safety and Security Alerts only when officials believe a serious and continuing threat exists to the campus community. A Safety and Security Alert was not immediately issued because the alleged assailant was arrested, placed into custody and no longer posed a threat. However, the incident was published in the daily Crime Log, which is printed in The Hatchet and posted on the UPD website.

Much has been written indicating this was a bias-related crime. Although MPD labeled the incident a bias-related crime at the time of the arrest, the matter was referred for prosecution to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which has not treated the incident as a bias-related crime, but rather has charged the crime as an assault. The U.S. attorney retains the discretion to enhance or reduce the charges.

Since my arrival on campus a little less than a year ago, I have met with advocacy groups, student organizations, faculty and staff that make up and enrich the GW community. I have also met with students in one-on-one settings. The purpose of these meetings is to discuss safety and security on the GW campuses and to emphasize the fact that safety and security is a collective effort. I am committed to continuing this dialogue and collaboration as we work together to ensure the safety and security of our community.

Darrell Darnell is the senior associate vice president of safety and security.

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