The Student Association hosted a town hall with administrators Monday to discuss the controversy over GW’s unranking. It was an opportunity for University leaders to quell student concerns.
But while it may have appeased some, it left others scratching their heads.
Administrators were asked why the University has not yet released a report from Baker Tilly, the firm the Board of Trustees hired to audit its admissions data. University President Steven Knapp answered: if he could, he would.
But nobody ever received a formal report of the audit from Baker Tilly.
Yes, you read that correctly. The University has no proof outside of an oral report that the category in question – how many freshmen fell into the top 10 percent of their high school classes – was the only set of inaccurate admissions data.
No papers, no reports, no summaries, no nothing.
There is nothing to hand the public, which is still wondering how the mistake happened. By the way, GW says the firm never found out.
It’s unacceptable and unfathomable that the University paid a firm to conduct an audit of its records but never received any documentation of the findings. Many at the forum were happy that administrators took the time to talk to students. But the president and the provost don’t deserve a pat on the back just because they attended a meeting.
At a time when distrust in our administration is running high, now more than ever, it is essential that GW provide as much information as possible to assuage legitimate concerns. GW should ask Baker Tilly to document their investigation and release that report to the public.
GW’s situation isn’t unprecedented. In fact, when Claremont McKenna College intentionally fabricated admissions data last year, for example, it generated a written report and made it public. And the release of audits for public scrutiny is standard practice at public schools.
Whether or not it is true that no report exists, the failure to release one makes it look like GW is intentionally withholding information.
Releasing a report is the least the administration can do restore trust at a time when the University’s reputation has been tied to this scandal.
The writer, a sophomore majoring in political communication, is The Hatchet’s contributing opinions editor.