As 2014 comes to a close, we looked back at the opinions pieces – from editors, columnists, writers and community members alike – that saw some of the most reads this calendar year.
1. Columnist Jonah Lewis kicked off the year with a bang, writing two pieces back-to-back that struck chords with the GW community. His first argued that dating apps Grindr and Tinder have helped jumpstart much-needed conversations about sex, and his second explained the financial reasons behind why stealing from Whole Foods is seemingly ubiquitous on campus.
2. In the second-most read opinions piece of 2014, former opinions editor Justin Peligri argued for including trigger warnings on class syllabi. He wrote:
“Certainly, there’s a need for this preventative measure to be put in place at GW, which offers many politically-charged classes that explore controversial social issues. Many of my classmates have shared instances of professors’ unintentional but nonetheless emotionally overwhelming use of commentary and course materials – especially video – that could be described as triggering.”
3. After Michael Milken and Sumner Redstone donated a combined $80 million to GW in March – the University’s largest gift to date – and the public health school was renamed after the Milken Institute, opinions writer Rachel Furlow pointed out that Milken was a convicted criminal and questioned GW’s ties to him.
4. In March, former opinions writer Rob Todaro noted areas across GW where he said we should push for more trans-inclusive policies and practices, like expanding housing options, building additional gender-neutral bathrooms and easing administrative headaches, like the ability to change the name on a student’s legal documentation. Later that same month, in the seventh-most read opinions piece of the year, he discussed his own cancer diagnosis, writing:
“Here at GW, we’re all obsessed with internships and job placement. But when I thought about my life being cut short, I realized I was more upset about never getting married or having a family than my inability to pursue a career in politics.”
5. Then-freshman Quincy McGee shared his experiences with an eating disorder and how he overcame his addiction to fast food in a February op-ed.
“Although I was aware of how heavy I was becoming, I just couldn’t stop. Food was on my mind every minute of every hour of every day. If I wasn’t able to get it, my body would shut down, and I would start feeling depressed or cut off. My entire days were planned around when I would be going to the drive-thru next.”
6. This fall, opinions writer Kirby Dzurny, who studied overseas twice in high school, encouraged her peers to consider their options before studying abroad as an undergrad. Her piece prompted a letter to the editor from a senior who studied in Madrid and now serves as a study abroad advisor.
7. In the spring, former columnist Chase Hardin, a member of Beta Theta Pi, wrote a pair of pieces about Greek life. In the first, he recommended that Greek chapters divorce themselves from GW and go underground, and in the second, he blasted the University’s plans to publish a list of sanctions brought against student groups.
8. After former University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg made controversial remarks about preventing sexual assault on college campuses – asserting that women need to be sober enough to “punch the guys in the nose if they misbehave” – he shared his follow-up comments in a Hatchet op-ed. Laura Zillman, the vice president of Students Against Sexual Assault, called on Trachtenberg to apologize and for GW to condemn his remarks.