Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Letters to the Editor

Plain dirty politics

No matter what his supporters say, nothing can change the fact that President Omar Woodard has not followed through on one of his most important campaign promises.

After last year’s election debacle, President Woodard promised to restore integrity to Student Association elections. I want to know how President Woodard expects to fix Student Association elections by proposing last year’s rules, the rules that created the scandal in the first place. I want to know how President Woodard expects to return integrity to the process by supporting rules that allow bribery. I want to know how President Woodard made elections run more smoothly by submitting his Joint Elections Committee nominees months after the Student Activities Center deadline.

Stalling nominations to ensure your candidates for the JEC are forced through the Senate is just plain dirty politics. Restoring integrity to Student Association elections? Yeah, thanks a lot President Woodard.

-Marc Abanto, freshman

Complicated character

To use a euphemism, I was not impressed by Matt Monaco’s review of “The Merchant of Venice” (Jan 27, Web Extra). Monaco argues that Michael Radform “transforms” Shylock into a tragic figure, as opposed to – I suppose he means to say – playing him as some sort of absolute villain. First of all, Shakespeare was too smart to believe in absolutes, and, if one reads “The Merchant of Venice” carefully, one sees that it is not Radford, but Shakespeare, who makes Shylock such a complicated character.

Monaco says that when Shylock is about to cut Antonio’s flesh, he “actually found (himself) wanting him to collect his pound of flesh.” Indeed. If this play is done well – and in my opinion, Radford does it superbly – then we are must both pity and hate Shylock. It is the only way the play works. Shylock is supposed to make us think. The film is not “lost somewhere between a romantic comedy and a tragedy” nor is it “muddled in political correctness.” Rather, the play itself is “lost” – if we must use that term.

-Taylor Asen, junior

Don’t cross the line

Colonial fans have long been the scourge of the Atlantic 10. When we were in school some years ago, we were called the “ugliest crowd in the conference.” Sure, we said a few cuss words and had a few off color chants. We even took our own twist on the “G-W” chant by adding the word “spot” instead of W. One of my boys even heckled the priest from St. Joseph’s one time, but you know what? It was all in fun.

When we beat Xavier in ’99 on Shawnta’s miracle shot, it was the greatest feeling ever. Folks stormed the court and celebrated with their team. While I do not necessarily condone jumping over the media table onto the court, I definitely do not condone throwing things from the stands.

You want to have fun? Chant “overrated” or make beeping sounds when the fat girl is running backwards. Don’t throw things. It’s dangerous and stupid. Go GW.

-Matthew Osborne, alumnus

Apology needed

In today’s complex business world, it is often difficult to fully understand all the intricacies of relationships and associations between institutions. And let’s face it; The George Washington University is a business that must form these ties in order to further its own goals. Without such involvement, our school would have become stagnant long ago.

Principally, all private and public universities are heavily reliant on the acumen and judgment of their president when forging these relations with others in the community. Unfortunately, it has recently become embarrassingly apparent that two failures in policy and oversight have occurred; President Trachtenberg’s role as a member of a special board at Riggs Bank and the University Trustees’ oversight of his involvement.

Last week, Riggs Bank pleaded guilty to bank-secrecy violations and was placed on probation and fined $16 million. According to a Jan. 17 article in the Washington Post, during the time these illegalities occurred, Trachtenberg was one of nine members on a separate committee “whose responsibilities include making sure the bank operates in a safe and sound manner and dealing directly with the Office of the Comptroller of Currency examiners.” What is not clear to me is whether Trachtenberg had any special knowledge or understanding about the fraudulent activities that were taking place “during his tenure.” Or, did company executives spurn him when he raised concerns? In any case, he miserably failed in his fiduciary duties to the shareholders and the employees at Riggs Bank.

Trachtenberg, since arriving on campus in 1988, has done an excellent job and has exceeded all expectations. No one can argue this point. I am proud of my University and all the progress it has made since I graduated in 1991. But I find it difficult to accept the lack of accountability the University has placed on his involvement and the poor oversight by the University Trustees. It is clear Trachtenberg lacks experience when dealing with Board members of a public company whose shareholders and employees depend on him to protect their interests. I have not seen any public apology by either Trachtenberg or the University Trustees to the GW community, nor do I know of any new policies or procedures that have been put into place to prevent future similar embarrassing situations.

Private and public universities build their community by operating closely with other institutions within and beyond their region. Their ability to generate growth for more than just their own operation brings goodwill and opportunities for others to succeed. By contrast, Trachtenberg’s actions – or non-actions – were selfish and consequently gave the GW community a “black eye” that will take a long time to heal. Over the last ten years, our University has taken many steps forward in building a great institution for higher learning, but these recent events have forfeited some of that progress.

-Daniel A. Kane, alumnus

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