The best and worst from this week’s headlines

Student employees can now take paid sick time, furthering officials’ efforts to boost employee satisfaction. But students may be disappointed to learn that GW was left off The Princeton Review’s list of most politically active universities for the second straight year.

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

Thumbs Up:

Student workers have the opportunity this fall to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 37 hours of work.

The policy change demonstrates that the University’s ongoing commitment to alter institutional culture is not just about faculty and staff – it also extends to student employees. Allowing student workers to earn paid sick time is necessary for those who cannot afford to miss work because of an illness.

Taking on a job at school can be tiresome. Student schedules are already busy without work, but many students need to work to afford tuition and the relatively high cost of living in D.C. Ensuring students are still able to earn money when they are sick shows that the University respects and values their employees.

Officials have announced several improvements in their treatment toward employees, including the ability to roll over paid time off into the next year, more time off during the holidays and hiring a new chief people officer to manage payroll and human resources. Most of the changes were geared toward University workers, but offering student employees paid sick time shows that officials are committed to accommodating all of their workers. While the University can still do more to improve the culture for student employees, like honoring the D.C. minimum wage for summer employees, even a tweak in the University’s student employment policies is a step in the right direction.

Thumbs Down:

For the second year in a row, the University will not be among the 20 schools listed on The Princeton Review’s list of the most politically active campuses in the nation.

But The Princeton’s Reviews methodology – which asks students to self-report how politically active they are – does not accurately represent GW’s politically active campus. Students were involved in several protests over the academic year, from protesting President Donald Trump outside of the White House to marching across D.C. to push for women’s rights and representation of indigenous people. Students are just as politically active as the years when they held the title, but The Princeton Review does not accurately reflect GW’s advocacy.

The University is in the heart of the District, allowing students to be more politically active here than at any other school in the country. Students flock to nationally covered protests, like protests opposing Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court and the March For Our Lives protest to end gun violence.

GW held the title for four consecutive years before dropping to No. 10 in 2017 and falling off the list last year. The missed recognition may be disappointing for students who flock to marches on and around campus, but students should know that rankings do not always accurately indicate a school’s level of activism. Regardless of the University’s placement on a list, GW students are at the front of every major protest in the District. Prospective students should know that coming to GW means opportunities to join thousands of protestors and contribute to real change.

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

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