Best and worst of this week’s headlines

One month into summer break, GW is changing things up. Students will soon no longer look to the Colonials moniker as their mascot. Officials abandoned their plans to offer all-you-can-eat buffet-style dining at District House. And the longtime director of the Multicultural Student Services Center is leaving the University.

To catch you up on all these developments, here’s the best and worst of this week’s headlines:

Thumbs Up:

The Board of Trustees voted to discontinue the Colonials moniker, announcing plans to pick a replacement by the start of the 2023-24 academic year. Rightfully so – student activists fought for this change for years, calling the Colonial an outdated and insensitive mascot that fueled the legacy of colonialism, a practice driven by a false belief in a superior race and explicit racism. Historically speaking, colonialism is not an icon to be admired, and the retirement of the Colonials is vital to creating a more inclusive environment on campus.  I am personally rooting for the Hippo, more accurately named the River Horse, to take its place. The Hippo is much more acceptable, remains relevant to the history of GW and is already beloved by much of the student body, as seen by the statue with ears that students rub outside Lisner Auditorium when looking for good luck.

In national news, The White House announced it would pay its interns beginning in the fall, creating a great precedent for all other internship programs, seeing as many interns in D.C. continue to go unpaid. An estimate of one million interns are unpaid by their employers, according to a University of Wisconsin-Madison study published in March. Paying interns is essential to making these opportunities more accessible to low-income applicants and removing financial barriers that cause inequities among economic classes. Moving forward, internship programs should follow suit and compensate their interns for the hard work they accomplish.

Thumbs Down:

Officials walked back their plans to open a dining hall in District House next school year, and the space will instead continue holding restaurant-style vendors. Many students planned where they wanted to live based on proximity – or lack thereof – to dining halls, and GW going back on its word complicates students’ original thoughts with meal plans. Officials claimed that the all-you-can-eat dining hall in District House was meant to address food insecurity. Now, a meal swipe, called a “meal block” by the University, will only grant students one entree, drink and side at a restaurant in District House instead of unlimited buffet-style food. Re-introducing restaurant-style vendors does the opposite of ending food insecurity – it perpetuates it.

MSSC Director Michael Tapscott is the third official to announce his departure from the University in the last month, joining Dean of Students Cissy Petty and Executive Vice President and CFO Mark Diaz. Tapscott worked at GW for nearly 19 years, supporting underprivileged and underrepresented students. His dutiful efforts to promote diversity and inclusion on campus will be missed.

The gun violence epidemic continues to rage on in D.C. A 17 year-old was fatally shot in Southeast D.C. Tuesday, and a 16 year-old was fatally shot in Northeast Sunday. Shootings of teenagers and younger people remain frequent in the District but do not receive enough attention. These preventable deaths speak to the larger issue of rising homicides and crime in the city as well as lack of gun control in the United States. Efforts like the gun violence prevention grants that Mayor Bowser awarded and bipartisan deals in the U.S. Senate must garner the support they need to end the tragedy that is the gun violence epidemic in this country.

Riley Goodfellow, a rising sophomore majoring in political science, is the contributing opinions editor.

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