This week’s best and worst

Thumbs Up: An important new student organization

GW has nearly 500 student organizations. You’d think with that many, they pretty much cover everyone’s issues and interests.

But good news came in the form of a new student group this semester, geared toward helping college students cope with eating disorders.

Students Promoting Eating Disorder Awareness and Knowledge – or SPEAK GW – tries to combat a problem that looms large but quietly: Eating disorders affect about 20 percent of women and 10 percent of men, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.

And for students who are members of sororities, the problem can fester. An female student struggling with an eating disorder told The Hatchet in a Nov. 4 article, “When I’m with the sorority and I’m with the girls, it’s really nard not to make comparisons on bodies and image.”

Hopefully at least some of these body image issues can be alleviated with the emergence of this proactive student organization.

And it is also reassuring to see that administrators have jumped on board as well. A leader of SPEAK has met with Tim Miller, director of the Center for Student Engagement about ways to better serve this underrepresented segment of the community. And next semester, an eating disorder specialist will be available to students at the University Counseling Center.

Thumbs Down: A missed opportunity for an apology

In a meeting with The Hatchet this week, University President Steven Knapp spoke candidly about GW’s negative publicity in recent months.

Here’s what he said:

“I could’ve come in and said, ‘Let’s keep a lid on everything the way it is and I’ll be here for a number of years and I’ll retire and live happily ever after.’ That’s not why I came here. I came here to improve the institution. If you’re driving change in the institution, things are going to happen that people are unhappy about.”

Now, it is of course good to understand the broader context behind Knapp’s vision for improving the University. But that’s also just pretty good spin.

President Knapp, here’s a wake up call: You don’t deserve kudos for coming clean about lies perpetuated by the Office of Admissions that GW was need-blind even though it is, in fact, need-aware. You don’t get a pat on the back for doing the right thing.

Knapp’s interview was an opportunity for him to publicly apologize for the misleading rhetoric that occurred for years under your presidency. While other top administrators have admitted wrongdoing, we’ve yet to hear an admission of fault from GW’s top leader. And that’s discouraging.

The writer, a junior majoring in political communication, is The Hatchet’s opinions editor.

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