Staff Editorial: Transparency in the rebranding effort

GW is about to get an extreme makeover.

The University has hired two firms to overhaul our branding and messaging, which will ultimately affect the way GW is presented to prospective students and across the higher education community.

This rebranding effort will update GW’s visual presence, from its logo to its media message, making this change no small undertaking.

That’s why it is concerning that the University has declined to publicize the budget for this project.

As the University is a private institution, it is not required to report its specific budget data. But when it decides to proceed with a major task like rebranding, the community, which will ultimately be affected the most by these changes, should be informed of the costs and investments associated with the undertaking.

Our tuition dollars are likely going toward this rebranding project. If the community is helping pay for this image overhaul, then it should know the details of the process.

As students are ultimately the consumers and recipients of the rebranding effort, withholding this vital information from the community stops students and alumni from being able to evaluate the project fully.

The University needs to provide the community with information about how our dollars are being spent.

The revamped image will shape the association that outsiders have with current students and alumni. The University’s visual presence will influence many facets of the institution for years to come, and given the importance of this project, it is not unreasonable to ask for the financial information associated with the University’s facelift.

Budget information also illustrates the University’s directional priorities. If it has allocated a relatively small or large portion of its budget to this rebranding project, the community can glean from that data just how dedicated the University is to its messaging.

Just because the University can decline to share its budget information doesn’t mean it should. This sort of information enlightens the community about the University’s priorities and affects each student.

It should not be kept from the public.

The University is clearly devoted to projecting a positive outward image, but, in the process, it has created a poor brand for itself: one of nondisclosure and opaqueness.

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