Staff Editorial: An introduction to the editorial board

During your time at GW, there will be things you wish were different.

You might wish the Student Association focused more on issues that are important to you. You might wish University administrators would notice that there are problems with certain departments and offices. You might wish officials were more open about how they’re spending money.

Our editorial board wishes some things were different, too.

The goals of The Hatchet’s weekly staff editorial are simple: Make our voices heard and affect real, tangible change. This piece is placed in the opinions section, and becomes the official opinion of the paper.

Sometimes, we focus on very specific issues: Last year we suggested ways to improve the student organization sanctions website, proposed a plan for what GW should do when the J Street contract ends and endorsed SA candidates for upper-level positions.

But much of the time, we aim to tackle bigger patterns and trends: the University’s lack of transparency, the best strategies for student advocacy and how GW has cautiously moved forward on the issue of sexual assault prevention.

Over the next year, you can expect us to cover topics ranging from GW’s fundraising campaign to the new chief of the University Police Department. And already, we’ve made a list of ongoing storylines that are sure to affect the entire GW community, including the University-wide budget cuts and the SA’s complicated relationship with student organizations.

Our editorial board is comprised of editors from varying sections and positions, including opinions editor Sarah Blugis, contributing opinions editor Melissa Holzberg, managing director Rachel Smilan-Goldstein, design assistant Samantha LaFrance, sports editor Nora Princiotti, copy editor Brandon Lee and assistant sports editor Mark Eisenhauer.

We represent different parts of the GW community, as well. Some of our editorial board members are involved in Greek life, come from both ends of the political spectrum, have different majors and represent the Class of 2016 through the Class of 2018.

Most importantly, though, we represent as much of The Hatchet as possible — and operate separately from the news section. To make sure that our news editors stay objective, they cannot take part in writing or shaping any content from the opinions section, including the staff editorial. Plus, any member of the editorial board who has a conflict of interest will recuse himself or herself from the editorial meeting that week.

And to further separate ourselves from our news team, the editorial board does all of its own reporting, too. We do research, call experts and get comments from student leaders, professors and administrators.

Common questions we ask our sources include how policies from higher up affect professors, what problems impact students or why officials make certain decisions. We also look at studies or recently released reports, and regularly follow broader national and higher education news. Each member contributes to the research, and we discuss our findings and ideas in an email thread before we meet.

But our opinion, of course, isn’t the only one — and it shouldn’t be. The point of the staff editorial is to generate feedback, conversation and even criticism. We put our opinion out there so we can hear yours.

As freshmen in the Class of 2019, it might be easy to think that your opinion doesn’t matter. You’re new to GW, you aren’t involved in the community yet and you might not have a sense of the way the University works. But your voices are just as important as everyone else’s.

If you read a staff editorial — or any opinions piece — that makes you feel angry, excited or anything in between, we want to hear from you. We read the comments, share emails we receive and notice when people talk about our editorials on Facebook or Twitter.

And we can also publish your opinion right here in The Hatchet. At the bottom of every opinions piece, you’ll find a link where you can submit an op-ed or letter to the editor. If you’d just like to tell us what you think, you can email us at opinions@gwhatchet.com. Better yet, consider joining the opinions section.

At any university, students might easily feel helpless. The administration and student leaders are powerful, though sometimes it may feel like they aren’t listening to students’ concerns or suggestions.

But each week, the staff editorial is for you. We do our best to represent student interests. And if we don’t get it right, let us know.

Welcome to GW, Class of 2019. We look forward to hearing from you.

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