From the editor: Law, business school deans avoid interviews

Media Credit: Gregory Maggs, interim dean of the GW Law School. Hatchet File Photo

Gregory Maggs, interim dean of the GW Law School. Hatchet File Photo

Gregory Maggs and Christopher Kayes oversee about 5,000 students combined. They manage about 470 faculty. They are in charge of spending about $140 million, most of it from student tuition.

Gregory Maggs, interim dean of the GW Law School. Hatchet File Photo
Gregory Maggs, interim dean of the GW Law School. Hatchet File Photo

Those numbers are publicly available, but readers should know another fact: Both have refused to meet with Hatchet reporters this academic year despite repeated requests.

Christopher Kayes, interim dean of the GW School of Business. Hatchet File Photo
Christopher Kayes, interim dean of the GW School of Business. Hatchet File Photo

Maggs and Kayes are the interim deans of the GW Law School and the GW School of Business, respectively. But having “interim” in their titles does not absolve them of responsibility to answer questions about the colleges’ directions in interviews.

Both have plenty to answer for. The No. 21 law school was forced to widen its acceptance rate to 42 percent to amass more tuition dollars. That’s up from 17 percent a decade ago.

Less than half of Class of 2012 law graduates secured full-time, long-term jobs with salaries after graduation. And faculty plotted a coup against a former law dean in 2012.

The No. 56 business school has seen sliding student satisfaction, faced scrutiny from accreditors, and dealt with the shock, finger-pointing and financial repercussions of former dean Doug Guthrie’s firing last fall.

When Hatchet reporters sit down with administrators, we don’t only ask about these kinds of challenges. Deans also steer new programs, build research partnerships and cultivate GW’s future. We ask about all of it.

Maggs and Kayes have responded to some questions via email this year, but their statements typically lack depth or are written entirely by public relations staff members. In email interviews, reporters do not have the chance to follow up, clarify context or push for the whole story.

Top administrators – from Rice Hall to dean’s offices – usually meet with Hatchet reporters and editors in person several times a year. Even University President Steven Knapp has fielded multiple in-person and phone interviews this year.

There are other exceptions. The deans of the engineering, international affairs, and medical schools – David Dolling, Michael Brown and Jeffrey Akman – also have not accepted interview requests for at least the past academic year.

We note in stories when sources decline to comment or meet for interviews. And when that happens, readers don’t get the full story.

You should know that the top leaders of the law and business schools this year have made sure you aren’t getting the full story.

Cory Weinberg, a senior majoring in economics, is The Hatchet’s editor in chief.

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