From the release of the Asian American minor studies courses to experiencing the progress and setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic, this past week’s headlines were a mixed bag. Sadly, this week also brought difficult and extremely heartbreaking news regarding a fellow student.
Here’s the best and worst from this week’s headlines:
Officials released the required coursework for the Asian American studies minor this week, which is an exciting prospect for students interested in broadening the scope of their studies. Student advocates rallied in favor of the minor for three years until their hard work finally paid off when officials approved of the minor this past spring.
The curriculum is delightfully diverse, allowing students to blend courses on Asian American history with gender, psychology and immigration to create a rounded understanding of the subject. The minor seems to be geared toward giving students a variety of perspectives to understand Asian American studies, which is a refreshing change from GW’s usual Eurocentric approach to education.
In D.C.-related news, the Fourth of July boosted Metrorail ridership to the highest levels since the pandemic began in March of last year. Coronavirus-related deaths are also at their lowest, as most D.C. residents are vaccinated, and it’s exciting to see D.C. hustling and bustling again.
Officials announced last week that students will not have the option to complete their coursework remotely in the coming semester, which is a bizarrely stringent requirement, given the unpredictable nature of the pandemic. Not only are we still dealing with the threat of coronavirus, students who are unable to take the vaccine, whether for health reasons or lack of accessibility, might still need a remote option.
Moreover, if the pandemic takes a turn for the worse again, officials should have a backup plan to make a transition from in-person learning to virtual learning much smoother and easier on students than the one in March of 2020.
In other administration-related news, officials have made little movement on the issue of changing the Colonials Moniker. University President Thomas LeBlanc said in January that he expected the Special Committee on the Colonials Moniker to finalize its renaming recommendations by the end of the past academic year, but the Board of Trustees has still not made a final decision. It’s time that trustees take their commitment to ridding GW of systemic racism seriously.
With great sadness, we heard that fellow student Deborah Berezdivin’s body was recovered and identified following the collapse of a condominium in Surfside, Florida. Rivky Steiner, the co-director of GW’s Rohr Chabad Center, wrote a heart-warming tribute to her last week. Our thoughts are with Berezdivin’s friends and family.