Dan Grover: GW could have done worse than this admissions scandal

When I went home for Thanksgiving, I made an offhand remark about GW’s unranking at the dinner table, only to find something surprising: Not a single member of my family had heard about it. In fact, I had to explain the gory details of how it had occurred.

It just goes to show that GW could have done worse than this admissions data scandal.

This isn’t to trivialize the administration’s admissions mistake by any means. A decade or more is a long time to continually use a system of estimation and inflate freshman profile statistics. And the University hasn’t handled the unranking situation with much transparency. In fact, GW has refused to release a formal audit report, claiming that it never received one.

But this misstep shouldn’t stop people from giving back to GW, and alumni shouldn’t ditch their alma mater. They have to realize that the University is reliant on their continued support. GW can recover from this, and over time, it is likely it will rebound from this and ultimately emerge even stronger than it was before.

In the past decade, GW has made strides in alumni fundraising. In 2012, the University raised $120 million in donations, $31 million of which was from alumni. Plus, the University is in the quiet phase of a capital campaign, in which administrators will call upon donors and supporters from across the country to ask for their support. As a school that has been playing catch-up in fundraising, this trajectory must be maintained.

U.S. News & World Report rankings actually mean very little and appeal to few other than high school upperclassmen who are just beginning the college application process. GW’s unranking will not change the quality of the education we receive here, and it will not alter students’ quality of life.

The University has an opportunity to turn this disaster into something positive. But it must call on its alumni to help.

In November, the University emailed alumni and donors to help curb any potential concerns. During this time of uncertainty, it’s even more important for the development office to remind its supporters of how essential their commitment to the University is today and will continue to be in the months and years to come.

Just because GW made a very public mistake doesn’t mean we have to lose support from the larger community. If anything, it is a time when the development office should increase its push to solicit donations.

After this scandal, the University should do everything in its power to keep alumni giving flowing.

Dan Grover is a freshman in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.

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