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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Patrick Rochelle: Where The Post went wrong

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo
Patrick Rochelle

If The Washington Post really wanted to catch a glimpse of GW nightlife, the reporter should have gone to McFadden’s any Tuesday night.

The Post reported in a story published Thursday that GW kids frequent a Foggy Bottom club called Cities and pay hundreds for bottle service. I’ve never heard of Cities. Neither have my friends.

If The Post wanted to quote drunk GW students, reporters could have lined up along Pennsylvania Avenue at McFadden’s or Froggy Bottom Pub, and watch them leave with a tab of less than $10.

That’s just one side of GW that The Post failed to see while comparing campus culture to “The Great Gatsby” in an article filled with questionable reporting and severely lacking context.

It also included interviews with a few drunk students who claimed that to be popular here, you have to have money, drive fancy cars and get bottle service at clubs.

It is flawed, shortsighted and biased to suggest that this entire University – or any, for that matter – is just a campus full of designer clothes and daddy’s money.

If anything, students here care more about whether they get to write policy briefs or handle press calls at their Capitol Hill or K Street internships. Students party at every school, but here, they fit bar crawls into their already packed schedules.

When students here cry out, it’s not because they couldn’t cut the line to get into a club. It’s because they are rallying for their candidate or outside the Supreme Court.

More than 60 percent of the student body receives some form of financial aid, and about 45 percent of 2011 graduates left with debt, not a trust fund. According to the Project on Student Debt, the average student exited owing an average of $32,714.

That’s not a picture of excess. If anything, it’s a troubling sign for my generation, a sign of an uncertain financial future.

Maybe GW deserves some flak for becoming the first school to let its sticker price shoot above the $50,000 mark. But that was in 2007. In the last five years, most of the administration has turned over, and new scholarship funds are pulling in money to make this school more affordable.

And affordability isn’t just a catchphrase: GW’s average cost of attendance is about $28,000, according to the White House College Scorecard. This is a high number, but it is on par with top private schools across the country.

If there’s one thing The Post’s article got right, it’s that this school is trying to improve its reputation as a research hub that is attractive to top students and faculty.

So in those 2,350 words, The Post didn’t quite find the entire story. But maybe the reporter was just looking in the wrong places.

Patrick Rochelle, a senior majoring in English, is The Hatchet’s opinions editor.

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