Best and worst from this week’s headlines

Across the city, D.C. drivers should be happy to hear that they can now select a gender neutral identifier on their license. But for the negative news of the week, there was another instance where the University lacked transparency in a staff vacancy.

Here’s the best and worst news from around campus and the District this week.

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The District now has a non-binary gender option on driver’s licenses.

D.C. residents applying for driver’s licenses have the option to choose a gender neutral identifier. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced last Friday that applicants can choose the letter ‘X’ on their District-issued licenses, meaning gender neutral. This option took effect Tuesday and the District’s motor vehicle department worked with the National Center for Transgender Equality to implement the change.

This decision came into effect at an optimal time. June is annually celebrated as National Pride Month, where people celebrate the LGBTQ movement with Pride parades and marches. Gender neutral IDs reflect positively on the District’s commitment to LGBTQ rights and inclusivity. Although Oregon was the first state to approve the gender neutral ‘X’ option on driver’s licenses, the District was the first region to implement the gender neutral identifier.

The current presidential administration, unlike President Barack Obama’s administration, didn’t issue a proclamation declaring June as National Pride Month. Although the reasons for this are unknown and discouraging on a national level, it is encouraging to see the District taking steps to promote diversity and inclusivity. It’s critical to see D.C.’s support for inclusiveness go beyond rhetoric. And this might even make a visit to the DMV a little more bearable for some.

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Victoria Pridemore, the associate director of the Office of Military and Veteran Students services, quietly left office last October for active military duty.

A University spokesperson confirmed last week that Pridemore has been off-campus for the last eight months. Students who worked with Pridemore were informed of her absence and were directed to other officials to work with during her absence.

The University made no public announcement regarding Pridemore’s departure last October. Furthermore, a University spokeswoman declined to comment on the officials who were stepping in for Pridemore during her absence.

GW’s lack of transparency regarding the situation is unnecessary — the University doesn’t need to hide the fact that one of their staff members is going to serve in the military. And this isn’t the first time that the University hasn’t been forthcoming about details regarding staff vacancies. The Title IX office has only one full time member, and although the University has informed students about vacancies in the Title IX office, they haven’t given updates about the searches to fill these positions.

Lack of clarity about the officials filling in for Pridemore paint a picture that GW is withholding information. Students should be aware of changes in staff positions and should know who they can contact regarding their issues.

Vacancies directly impact students, therefore the University needs to be upfront about staff changes in offices that serve students.

Shwetha Srinivasan, a senior majoring in international affairs and economics, is The Hatchet’s contributing opinions editor.

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