The week’s best and worst

Each week in The Forum, The Hatchet’s opinions editors give their takes on what stood out this week at GW and in D.C.

Thumbs Up

After much anticipation, U.S. News & World Report released its college rankings for the new school year.

And GW landed at No. 52.

Typically, this wouldn’t be too newsworthy – GW dropped only one spot from its original rank last year. But after the University was unranked by U.S. News for submitting inflated admissions data, GW had something to prove.

U.S. News matters because so many high school students rely heavily on these rankings  to make their college decision.

But let’s say this upfront: This rankings system is heavily flawed. It rewards schools based on metrics that don’t matter, like how much they spend and how solid their “reputation” is among other colleges.

This year, U.S. News did get one thing right. U.S. News’ assigned less statistical weight to the percentage of incoming students who were in the top 10 percent of their high school class – the same statistic the University admitted to flubbing.

So it’s good news that GW didn’t fall too far in an era when the University is looking to bolster its academic programs and improve its reputation. But those who care about the University should hope it continues to move up as more people in higher education see GW in the top tier.

Thumbs Down

 The University is no stranger to high-profile speakers sharing their thoughts and experiences on campus.

In the last year alone, students have gained insight from Supreme Court associate justices Sonia Sotomayor and Antonin Scalia, taken classes instructed by celebrity chef José Andrés and received words of wisdom at Commencement from alumna Kerry Washington.

But students were let down this week when, after much rumor and anticipation, the University informed students that Mikhail Gorbachev, the former president of the Soviet Union, cancelled his speaking gig at GW, citing health reasons.

This news came a mere four days after the University officially announced he would be coming to Lisner Auditorium.

Though his presidency ended more than 20 years ago, Gorbachev remains one of the most polarizing and politically important leaders in world history. His policies of “perestroika,” or restructuring, and “glasnost,” or transparency, have paved the way for Russian-American relations over the decades, and it is a shame GW’s “most politically active” students won’t have the opportunity to hear his insight into politics today.

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