Best and worst from this week’s headlines

Students worried about overcrowded residence hall rooms and oversized classes can breathe a sigh of relief after officials announced plans to shrink the undergraduate population by more than 2,000 students.

But the District is in hot water after a costly Fourth of July celebration sent city funds used for safety and security into bankruptcy.

Here’s the best and worst from this week’s headlines:

Thumbs Up:

Last year’s freshman class was the largest in at least a decade, with more than 2,800 students. To accommodate the relatively large size, first-year students packed into Fulbright Hall and officials added more freshman courses like University Writing to avoid overflowing classrooms.

But offering more courses spreads faculty’s time thin and reduces the quality of education for students. When University President Thomas LeBlanc said he wants to cut back on the total number of undergraduates, he did everyone at GW a favor.

Officials have previously aimed to grow the student population in an effort to increase revenue for the University. But GW cannot bring in more students without providing more resources, like staff and faculty, for its larger population.

Students frustrated by long wait times when contacting the Office of Student Financial Assistance, seeking medical help at the Colonial Health Center or requesting repairs through FixIt should celebrate the University’s announcement. Decreasing the undergraduate population might not sound like good news, but matching the number of students with the facilities and staff available will allow students to have more individualized attention.

There are consequences associated with an overcrowded University. Larger classes means less one-on-one time with professors. More students means longer wait times to access departments like the CHC or the financial aid office. By reducing the undergraduate population, officials are ensuring they can meet students’ needs promptly and efficiently.

Thumbs Down:

Visitors flocked to the District last week for a controversial Fourth of July celebration, which was headlined with a speech by Trump in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Festivities included fireworks, flyovers and a military parade, but the event also brought in massive crowds and multiple protests.

Keeping the peace while Trump addressed the crowd costed the D.C. government $1.7 million, depleting the District’s Emergency Planning and Security Fund intended to cover security costs during major events. Mayor Muriel Bowser demanded in a letter to Trump that the federal government reimburse the District for the pricey Fourth of July celebration, saying D.C. still owes the federal government millions of dollars for Trump’s 2017 inauguration.

Experiencing the Fourth of July in D.C. is a perk of living in the District, but the celebration should not exhaust the city’s security funds. If the federal government uses the District for major national events, then the city should be compensated for maintaining a safe and secure environment. Other large cities may also hold Independence Day celebrations, but those events do not require security with the same price tag.

While D.C. residents get to enjoy the benefits of living in a city where highly publicized events take place, they should not be expected to foot the bill. The safety of residents and visitors to the city is a priority, but the D.C. government cannot be solely responsible for the costs.

Kiran Hoeffner-Shah, a sophomore majoring in political science and psychology, is the Hatchet opinions editor.

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