Staff Editorial: Spring semester ‘course objectives’

Vacation is over, and school is back in session. At the close of last semester, The Hatchet’s editorial board gave the University a report card with grades that were far from a 4.0. And as GW launches into its spring semester, there is huge potential for all members of the community to start fresh.

If we were to create a syllabus for the University’s spring “course goals,” these would be its major objectives.

Student housing changes:

In just a few short weeks, undergraduates will be tasked with the annual responsibility of searching for next year’s housing. But this year, there will be some significant changes in housing options.

Starting in the fall, the University will begin the creation of a “superdorm” in place of The West End, The Schenley and Crawford Hall. This translates to 300 more beds in the long run but might cause a temporary bed crunch for upperclassmen. While the University must guarantee housing for freshmen and sophomores, juniors and seniors need to realize that living on campus could become more difficult.

To compensate for this construction, transfer students will be housed in Mitchell Hall next year, Lafayette Hall will once again serve as a freshman dorm and approximately 100 triples in Munson, JBKO and Guthridge halls will be converted into quads to maximize space.

Whether students like them or not, the bottom line is that these changes have very real effects. And it is the housing office’s responsibility to communicate these changes to students – particularly upperclassmen, whose chances of residing in University housing may diminish.

Student Association:

Last semester’s Student Association initiatives ranged from student space proposals to transcript fee overhauls, which brought some tangible improvements, like opening up academic buildings for longer hours. But there were some notable shortcomings, such as a debate over whether it should be mandatory for SA senators to attend a certain number of meetings. It’s disappointing that some student leaders aren’t fully committed to the jobs they were elected to do. Hopefully this semester, more senators will attend meetings and fight for legislation that will improve student life.

While second semester is often packed with distractions, like the spring election season’s promises for the future, current leaders have a responsibility to continue to advocate for student needs. Even though there is only a short amount of time left to enact any meaningful changes, it shouldn’t go to waste.

Office of Admissions:

To say that fall was a rough semester for the Office of Admissions would be an understatement. Last semester, the office disappointed the University community when it announced that it had been misreporting data for more than 10 years, and exacerbated the situation when it failed to disclose an audit report from Baker Tilly that outlined the error.

But former admissions dean Kathryn Napper’s resignation at the end of 2012 offers an opportunity for fresh leadership and the chance to start this admissions cycle on positive footing. It will take time for the community to trust the administration again. But the admissions office should take care to focus efforts on hiring a new leader who is enthusiastic about restoring GW’s commitment to high academic standards. Releasing a formal audit report would begin the semester on a positive note and allow the community to finally move on from this humiliating scandal.

As the admissions office reviews applications and prepares to notify accepted students in the spring, the office must pledge to be as open as possible with both current and prospective students.

This editorial was updated Jan. 14 to reflect the following:
A previous version of this editorial stated that construction on the “superdorm” would begin in the fall of 2013. It will begin over the summer.

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