Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Why the housing mandate stings students

University administrators are often criticized on this campus for nearly every major decision they make. And not every one of those complaints levied by students is reasonable or fair.

When the University announced it would force all juniors to live on campus starting with the Class of 2018, the decision was met with a swirl of complaints because the financial burden of attending GW is only increasing.

But this time, the criticism is justified because students know that GW is lying to them.

Peter Konwerski, the dean of student affairs, said in a press release that the change will create an environment where students are “more engaged and connected to their overall GW experience.”

That would be true – if upperclassmen living in off-campus housing took up residence in Capitol South or Navy Yard. But juniors and seniors who seek the often more affordable option of living with a few friends off campus usually aren’t Metro stops away. They’re practically on campus and often literally across the street. Apartments in The Statesman are actually closer to the Marvin Center and most academic buildings than Thurston Hall, where about half of the freshman class lives.

Even though administrators didn’t say it Monday, GW’s decision isn’t about fostering a stronger sense of campus unity. It’s about furthering its bottom line. In fact, the idea was initially pitched in 2011 as a way to bring in $2.6 million for the University, even though most students have never heard of the proposal until now.

That’s unacceptable. We already have the fourth highest tuition in the country. It’s also strange, given that administrators have supposedly been working to counteract the University’s infamous status as a school for only the wealthy elite. That reputation will never change as long as GW continues to price gouge students.

Yes, the University is in the midst of a series of multi-million dollar construction projects – one of which is a new residence hall. But this should call for putting our fundraising resources into high gear or pushing more money-saving Innovation Task Force ideas – but never on the backs of students.

Bringing in revenue is, of course, essential in sustaining academic programs, providing top-notch counseling and medical services, and hosting renowned campus speakers and performers.

But after this big executive decision, administrators should be asking themselves: Are we adding just another financial burden to the students we’re here to educate?

The writer, a junior majoring in political communication, is The Hatchet’s opinions editor.

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