LeBlanc talks Vern campus culture, student experience at town hall

Media Credit: Hadley Chittum | Hatchet Photographer

University President Thomas LeBlanc spoke to a crowd of about 30 people at a town hall on the Mount Vernon Campus Thursday night.

University President Thomas LeBlanc continued his series of community meetings with a town hall on the Mount Vernon Campus Thursday night.

In his fourth town hall since talking office, LeBlanc fielded questions about academics, the University’s campus plan and the culture and identity of the Mount Vernon Campus. He said he wanted the student experience on the Vern to merge more seamlessly with the Foggy Bottom Campus.

LeBlanc will hold another meeting at the Virginia Science and Technology Campus later this month.

Nelson Carbonell, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, moderated the discussion.

Student Xavier Adomatis said undergraduates who come to GW with with previous credits are often still restricted from taking more than two majors or two minors. LeBlanc promised to look into what he called an “arbitrary rule.”

“I pledge to you that I’m going to move heaven and Earth to either change that or know the reason why,” he said.

LeBlanc was also asked about the University’s campus plan, which regulates future development on the Vern, and how it would be renegotiated with residents of the Foxhall neighborhood who live near the campus.

He said officials would try to come up with solutions to neighborhood concerns, like noise from campus events, when renegotiating the deal. The Vern’s current campus plan is set to expire in two years, LeBlanc said, making renegotiations imminent.

Students who live on the Vern told LeBlanc about difficulties they face traveling back and forth from the Foggy Bottom Campus, which leaves many Vern residents feeling isolated from the rest of GW.

LeBlanc, who has made the student experience a major priority in his first year in office, appeared open to changes in transportation between campuses because he said the Vern should be a full part of the overall campus community. He said he would consider adding other means of transportation – like a bikeshare system – between the two campuses.

“Now if it’s hard to get back and forth, you can’t really eat out here and there’s no social life out here at night,” he said.

LeBlanc said he would continue to listen to students’ concerns about their sense of community, potentially with events like breakfasts with freshmen.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.