The Forum

Commentary

Laura Porter is a 2016 alumna. 

After six long, difficult and amazing years at GW, I am proud to call myself an alumna. During my time at GW, I took three semesters off for treatment. I was living with an eating disorder, substance dependence, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. As a person in long-term recovery and an advocate for those still suffering, I was able to take my seat in the Smith Center, excited and overwhelmed with gratitude that I was finally able to experience the moment. It was incredible to be there and to see everyone cheering each other on, celebrating our times at GW.

As the ceremony went on, we heard from various members of the community, including the student speaker, Chris Evans. When Evans got up to address the graduates, his speech was, at first, lighthearted. Then, the theme of the speech shifted.

Throughout the rest of the speech after his initial jokes, Evans talked about what the University needs to do better to help students living with mental illness, mentioning the three students who died by suicide at GW on the Mount Vernon Campus in 2014.

As soon as he said “committed suicide,” I felt my face get hot. Slowly, tears started to form in my eyes and soon, I couldn’t seem to stop them from pouring down my face. These were tears of shock, pain and hurt. I sat there, shaking and repeating “Why? Why now?” I felt paralyzed, like I couldn’t escape.

Evans called on the community to support students with mental illness, and I understand why. I know that we need to address mental health on campus, we need to end stigma and we need to ensure that everyone can know what it feels like to sit in those seats in the Smith Center, join their classmates on the National Mall and call themselves GW alumni. And I also know the pain and despair that engulfed my mind when I attempted to end my life. I know the helpless and terrifying feeling of losing friends to addiction, eating disorders and suicide. I know what it’s like to want to do something so desperately to save someone and to want them to know that it gets better.

At GW, I’ve been so grateful to hear the conversation about mental illness emerge throughout my time here. It’s something we definitely need to talk about and I’m glad that we are. But I am tired of those of us living with mental illness being spoken to, not spoken with. I am not helpless. I am not a problem that can be solved through free counseling sessions. I am not a person without a voice.

To me, recovery from my struggles and support for those still struggling is not an accomplishment you can put on your resume. Support is realizing that I don’t know what someone else’s experience is like and asking what I can do to support a peer. Recovery is about speaking up when I see injustice and sharing my experience so that others can find hope. My recovery and advocacy are not about challenging the GW administration, as Evans’ speech suggested – it’s about challenging stereotypes and stigma.

Support is my friend who comforted me during that ceremony, offering her hand and saying “I know.” She understood me, she didn’t tell me what I needed. She sat with me, sharing in my experience and acknowledging, not “fixing” my pain. Support is the incredible compassion from the psychology professor who walked off the stage to ask if I was OK and even left the auditorium to find me tissues.

Recovery is finding my three-year sobriety chip in my purse and holding onto it through the entire commencement celebration and holding it tightly as I walked across the stage in honor of my friends who never had the chance to know what it’s like to graduate.

Ignoring the real, lived experiences of students like myself is to perpetuate the very stigma we want to eradicate. We are a community. Let’s listen to each other and let’s have a real, inclusive conversation about supporting students living with mental illness.

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Maya Weinstein graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and human services in January.

Since being raped my freshman year, I’ve been outspoken about my experience with the University as a survivor. Now, with Commencement looming, there is one last thing I have to say: I’ve been afraid to be completely honest about my experience.

I’ve been careful and calculated in what I have revealed about the way my sexual assault was handled by the University. I initially reported the rape to the Title IX office in order to gain a no-contact order. But a month later, I still felt unsafe on campus and chose to move forward and file a formal complaint in order to achieve justice. At this stage, the case was handed over to The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (SRR) for the investigation. SRR is the disciplinary body of the University and houses sexual assault investigations and proceedings. Case managers interview the parties involved to obtain statements, as well as interview relevant witnesses and collect evidence (text messages, police reports, photographs, etc.). Once the administrative review is complete, SRR staff determine whether the case should move forward to a hearing for further review. If there is a hearing, it is adjudicated by members of the judicial board (typically students, staff and faculty) and supervised by members of SRR. In cases involving students, SRR determines corrective actions and sanctions, and the outcome sometimes must be signed off by the Dean of Student Affairs and Senior Associate Provost.

My sophomore year, I shared my experience and proposed policy changes. But I chose to remain anonymous and hide details of my case because I was afraid. I have consistently feared that the University would retaliate against me. I have struggled to love my college experience because I have been helpless at the hands of my institution. But this struggle goes beyond just me.

I spoke with a survivor who went through the hearing process at GW last semester – two years after I did. When she told me her story, I felt like I was listening to my own. We had all the same problems – meetings with the administration, empty promises. Even though the survivor received a favorable outcome, the entire process consisted of fighting against an inadequate system. I realize I cannot walk away from GW without sharing truth, raising awareness and demanding change.

The SRR  investigation, hearing process and enforcement of sanctions were riddled with inconsistencies that jeopardized my opportunity to a safe education. While I feel that GW’s policies stretch and bend Title IX rules and guidelines to begin with, SRR outright ignored its own rules at times and failed to provide an equitable complaint process:

  1. Information was not provided to me in a timely manner. I was told the delay was because I reported my assault in the summer – as if somehow rape matters less if it’s reported during the summer. The U.S. Department of Education recommends 60 days for the full process to run from complaint to final resolution, including appeals. My case took 99 long, painstaking days.

  2. The student who raped me didn’t attend the hearing in person. Instead, he called in. I was verbally scrutinized in person, forced to defend myself while he could have been in a room surrounded by lawyers.

  3. The perpetrator and I were required to submit all evidence and statements two full days before the hearing, which I complied with. Yet, the perpetrator was allowed to present two witness statements in the middle of the hearing. I was not prepared for the slanderous statements his friends had written for him.

  4. The final decision wasn’t made by SRR until after students started moving back in for the fall semester. I had no idea whether I should anticipate seeing the rapist on campus.

  5. After the perpetrator violated sanctions and was called in for a disciplinary review, I tried to learn the outcome. The administration refused to disclose information, citing FERPA, even though any disciplinary action would directly impact the result of my hearing. I had to fight for a response.

  6. SRR granted the perpetrator an exception to his sanctions to attend a fraternity party and did not inform me.

The University failed me on many levels, and they violated my Title IX rights. While the administration absolutely needs to begin working on changes its policies, it must change its culture immediately. I have witnessed and experienced a pervasive culture of inaction and indifference. Through my time at GW I continuously tried to seek answers about why SRR provided the perpetrator a free pass to violate his sanctions. At one point, the director of SRR told me that I needed to understand “how difficult this has been” on the man who raped me.

One year ago, student groups co-sponsored a screening of The Hunting Ground, a documentary discussing how universities mishandle sexual assault cases. The screening was on a Friday night, and every seat in that auditorium was filled by a diverse collection of students who chose to spend their weekend watching a film about the mishandling of sexual assaults by universities. Only one GW administrator showed up. It was incredible to see how much the student body cared, and it proved that the administration doesn’t care as much. In fact – even though I doubt anyone would confirm it – a former University employee told me they were instructed not to attend.

While many people within the administration are well-intentioned, as a whole the administration is terrified by anything that may tarnish the institution’s reputation. Nothing will change unless we demand an open conversation, based on facts and motivated by seeking the truth. This is a problem at many universities, but that’s no excuse for my experience or that of the dozens of survivors. GW has an opportunity to be the model university. I want my alma mater to be that university.

After proposing policy changes to a group of administrators in Fall 2013, it wasn’t until Fall 2014 that I was invited to sit on the inaugural Provost’s Committee on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response – a committee that the Provost himself never attended” In order to actually participate, I was required to sign a confidentiality form for that was so strict it forbade me from discussing the content of meetings with entities ranging from the FBI to my own parents. It was an opportunity to work alongside, instead of against, the school. Instead of leading a transparent discussion about how to solve a real problem in the GW community, the administration hid behind confidentiality agreements.

That’s not to say there hasn’t been any progress. After over a year without one, a new Title IX coordinator was brought to campus at the end of 2014, and the Assistant Director for sexual assault prevention and response came to campus last year. Last summer, Colonial Inauguration and Welcome Week included education and programming surrounding sexual assault.  And in 2014, a GW climate survey was sent out with results that matched national campus sexual assault statistics.

But while officials are checking off some of the boxes of federal requirements and recommendations, glaring issues still exist in practice. There is no longer a sexual assault support group at the counseling center, and no plans in the foreseeable future exist to start one. The administration can try to say things have changed, but survivors disclose their assaults to me daily, and I hear the same thing over and over: “The University is not supporting me.” Survivors and allies are fed up and frustrated.

The last thing I want is to deter survivors from coming forward out of fear of the retraumatization I had to go through. If you want to report, you should. It’s not in the best interest of every survivor to come forward or speak out at all, and that’s OK. As students begin to work to change a negative culture, there will be a focus on administrators to take action. And that spotlight will force them to openly amend policies and receive student input. A university is nothing without its students.

I chose not to file a Title IX complaint against the University for many reasons. I had been advised to leave the University, and I had chosen not to. I didn’t want to do anything that could get in the way of me getting my diploma. But I am exhausted from fighting, feeling frustrated, getting stonewalled, rationalizing their inaction, and mostly, I am tired of being afraid. I do not want to walk away having squandered an opportunity to share the truth. I hope that this inspires people to speak up, even if they’re afraid, and to fight harder than I did – because this is not the end of the road.

I have my diploma, and I get to walk across that stage at graduation. With every step I take, I’ll be thinking of survivors who were not able to stay at their universities to graduate – those who were forced out, faced retaliation and those who took their lives because their institutions didn’t believe them. On May 14, I walk in solidarity.

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Raya Hudhud, a freshman majoring in exercise science, is a Hatchet opinions writer.

Every Wednesday, at half past noon, the area next to the Foggy Bottom Metro station transforms into a colorful market filled with freshly picked fruits and vegetables.

I hardly knew about the market until I started volunteering for FRESHFARM Markets through my Understanding Organisms Through Service Learning class. Each student is required to commit 20 hours of volunteer work to a local organization throughout the semester – the organizations I worked for was the farmer’s market.

On my first day as a volunteer, I immediately felt the impact local farmers could have on GW students if we took advantage of the market more. Students should spend time at the Foggy Bottom FRESHFARM Market to support local farmers, whose work often goes unrecognized.

In the spring and summer, almost 550 people come to the market every Wednesday. Working at the market has shown me that food can bring many types of people together. As a volunteer, I got to learn about farmers and business owners, and I got to taste the delicious food these people work hard to produce.

It’s important for GW students to get involved by volunteering or shopping at the market because this furthers our involvement in the Foggy Bottom community. While we may only be in D.C. to attend GW, we should contribute to the greater community because we are now a part of it.

Farmers markets are a great way to support small, lesser-known businesses that are too often forgotten in the shadow of larger, pricier grocery stores, like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. A simple trip to the farmers market can be a way to give back to the community we spend four years in and get fresher food than you could at a grocery store.

This hidden gem changed my perspective on local farming and local foods: Rather than spending the last of my GWorld money on the same food Whole Foods has each week, I’d rather give back directly to these farmers and businesses that rely on our community.

I feel more connected to Foggy Bottom and the community here because of my semester volunteering. Students who have time should get involved, too. This market operates right on our campus, and we should get to know our community better. Supporting local businesses is a fun and easy way to start.

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The trend of 2016 seems to be people caring about others. Strangers are willing to fight for the rights of other strangers, like fighting for LGBT rights. And millennials are finding their voice to support the presidential candidates they believe in.  But in a time when we are fighting for the equality for all, animals have been overlooked. I constantly hear people saying we must give a voice to the voiceless, but animals have never been a part of this mainstream discussion.

Last week, student organizations like GW Hillel and GW for Israel brought a camel to campus during the Israel Fest in Kogan Plaza. Apparently, the life of a camel – a native to the deserts of the Middle East and North Africa – isn’t highly valued. The health, happiness and standard of living of that camel was overlooked. That camel is forced to spend its life standing in a small pen on concrete, and in the back of a truck traveling between performances.

There was no need to bring an innocent animal to campus to be poked and prodded in the middle of a city where it doesn’t belong. The exploitation of an animal at an event to promote travel and exploration of another culture was not necessary. Rather than students learning more about Israel, students unknowingly belittled an animal.

Many GW students are outspoken about the terrible injustices that are done to cats and dogs in animal shelters and how they would give anything to volunteer their time. This care for the quality of life for cats and dogs is great, of course, but this advocacy shouldn’t stop at companion animals.

You don’t have to be an outspoken animal lover to realize that animals, including camels, aren’t meant to be used as an attraction, entertainment and a selfie partner in a Snapchat story. The use of a camel as a main attraction for the Israel Fest was a misguided decision.

Hannah Moskowitz is the president of GW Animal Advocates. Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.

 

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Mike Massaroli, a senior majoring in political science, is a member of Beta Theta Pi.

I’m writing in response to the article, “Greek life leaders left out of deferred recruitment decision” by Natalie Maher, (p. 1, April 10).

I’ve been a part of several organizations on campus, and I’ve made great memories and friends in each of them. Ultimately, though, no other organization or experience can compare to my time in my fraternity, Beta Theta Pi.

Before I joined Beta, I spent my first few weeks at GW unmoored, looking for a place where I’d fit in and feel at home. I ran for a freshman senator position in the Student Association and a Hall Council position in Residence Hall Association but didn’t get either. I felt like I’d made the wrong choice when I picked GW. There were times I’d sit in my room and cry, believing my four years at GW would be just like this – four years without any connections truly made. A long-dormant anxiety disorder sprung back to the forefront of my life.

This all changed when I took the plunge and joined Greek life during fall rush. Immediately, I knew that I was at home in Beta and that there was truly a place for me in the GW community. Since then, Beta has continued to improve my experience here at GW in innumerable ways.

I’m frustrated by GW’s recent decision to move toward ending fall recruitment for first-year students. First and foremost, I believe this decision will take away the opportunity for future first-semester freshmen – especially those in situations like the one I faced – to enjoy the supportive community that our fraternities and sororities provide.

Additionally, though, this decision presents several procedural concerns. It’s likely that, because of a lack of formal recruitment in the fall semester, we’ll see an increase in “dirty rushing” activities on campus. If rogue organizations seek to recruit underground fall classes, chapters that choose to abide by the rules will be left at a marked disadvantage in the spring.

The current new member process provides some of the most steady and engaging programming for both new members and initiated members alike. Taking away an entire semester of these structured and productive programs each year will likely lead many members to spend less time with their chapters, other than at social events or chapter meetings. Coupled with the recent move away from Greek affinity housing, this means that GW is effectively hamstringing Greek life’s ability to be more than a bunch of glorified social clubs.

The biggest issue with this change, perhaps, is a philosophical one. The move to deferred recruitment carries a rather large implication with it: that Greek organizations are uniquely harmful for a student to join and that these harmful effects must be tempered as much as possible. It only takes a cursory look around campus to know this is not true – from the SA to RHA, from your resident advisers to your teaching assistants, from GWTV to WRGW – Greeks have shown themselves to be extremely involved, engaged members of the GW community.

It’s time that GW stops hampering our Greek community’s ability to move forward and truly excel. The move toward deferred recruitment does just that, and student leaders should continue to push back against it.

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Christian Bohorquez is a sophomore in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.

Sean Kumnick is the current Student Association undergraduate-at-large senator as well as the chairman of the Student Life Committee. Yesterday, in a Facebook post regarding club sports members who said the SA did not allocate enough funds for them to travel, Kumnick made the comment, “#MulticulturalsTookYourMoney.” This suggested that the multicultural community had somehow stolen club sports’ money.

Apparently, we have some work to do in assuring that the marginalized multicultural community at GW is fairly represented and not discriminated against by those who claim to be our “leaders” in the SA. The comments Kumnick made are racist, discriminatory and immature. Though he has attempted to apologize, the comments he made have no place in an organization responsible with representing the values of our entire community. Furthermore, the comments hurt the process of unifying our fragmented student body and make the multicultural community feel excluded and unwanted.

Therefore, I am calling on Kumnick to resign from his position on the Student Association.

The University has been plagued by some students’ privilege. In order for us to really be an inclusive and proudly diverse community, we need to give funding to organizations that attempt to give a voice to the underrepresented members of our university.

The diversity that GW administrators claim to cherish is a farce. The man who is responsible for representing the entire undergraduate community has failed at his duties.

For those who will say that this is an assault on an “open-exchange of ideas,” I say that racism and the insinuation that the multicultural community is a group of thieves is not eligible for an open-exchange of ideas. Bigotry should not be debated, discussed, or represented on the Student Association. You cannot adequately represent student life by denying those who wish to participate in that student life a voice.

I join the multicultural community in their open letter to the SA, but without Kumnick’s resignation or his removal from the SA, we cannot continue to claim that this Student Association really speaks for us.

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Christina Witkowicki is the director of student involvement and Greek life in the Center for Student Engagement.

After a great deal of research, benchmarking and discussion, GW has decided to move to a deferred recruitment process for joining a fraternity or sorority on campus. This shift will occur during the 2017-2018 academic year, and will require all students wishing to join a fraternity or sorority at GW to have completed 12 credits on campus in order to be eligible.

In January 2015, the University formed a Greek Life Task Force to identify the “ideal Greek experience” at GW and to make recommendations to help our community move in that direction. This task force included Greek-affiliated students, unaffiliated students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni and members of fraternity and sorority inter/national headquarters.

The task force met throughout the first half of 2015, and the topic of deferred recruitment arose. The task force then recommended creating a committee to evaluate the current timing of recruitment, rush and intake at GW.

In December 2015, the Recruitment Evaluation Committee convened to research and benchmark GW’s recruitment practices and national best practices. The committee, comprised of affiliated and unaffiliated students, faculty, staff, advisers and parents, looked at recruitment practices among GW’s market basket schools, assessed campus climate and researched on Greek involvement.

The committee submitted its final report on its research and outlined arguments in support of deferred recruitment, along with arguments in support of open recruitment. This week’s decision was based on this research, as well as other recommendations around education from the Greek Life Task Force.

This decision was not made because the fraternity/sorority community did anything wrong. Deferred recruitment will afford the GW community many opportunities that the current recruitment timing does not offer. Deferred recruitment gives incoming GW students the opportunity to settle into GW prior to needing to make a decision on joining a fraternity or sorority – a lifetime commitment that shouldn’t be rushed.

Students will be able to establish friendships during the first semester without the stress of recruitment. They also won’t be left feeling out of place or rejected by one third of the student population if they choose not to “go Greek.” This will also give students a chance to establish a good GPA, and show that they can meet the minimum standards of membership – a basic requirement for our organizations.

The Center for Student Engagement and Greek leadership will help educate potential members on what it means to be Greek at GW and help them evaluate and determine if Greek membership at GW is the right choice for them. These opportunities will result in more prepared and committed members, and a stronger GW Greek community overall.

We are excited for the future of the GW Greek community. With a strong legacy of over 150 years at GW, we are looking forward to the next 150 years and beyond.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016 11:06 p.m.

Class attendance shouldn’t be mandatory

Varun Joshi, a senior double-majoring in economics and mathematics, is a Hatchet opinions writer.

At the start of the semester, students begin their new classes with a fidgety scan of their syllabi: Is there an emphasis on exams? Will there be pop quizzes? But more than anything else, it’s often a huge disappointment to see attendance listed as a major component of the final grade.

Attendance policies certainly come from a good place. Some professors say that class attendance is positively correlated with better grades. Others simply want to incentivize students to participate. However, mandating attendance and penalizing students who skip class may not always have the best outcome.

As college students and as adults, we should have the right to prioritize our time based on our needs. While our professors are well-meaning and want to see us succeed, they should understand that attending class is a tuition-paying student’s responsibility – and should be a choice, rather than an obligation.

During my time at GW, I’ve noticed that there is a big distinction between being “physically present” and “mentally present.” Mandatory attendance, in my experience, merely incentivizes physical presence: Those who would have normally skipped class only show up to avoid losing points, rather than out of a natural desire to learn. In other words, these students are simply present, rather than either processing the lecture or actively participating.

I strongly believe that students are rational enough to determine when to attend class and when to miss it. I have had some incredibly instructive professors who taught me material I could never learn on my own – like statistical programming – so I made sure to attend every one of their classes. My intellectual curiosity, along with my realization that it was a necessity, motivated me to always attend those classes – not any mandatory attendance policy.

In my experience, it’s common for classes with strict attendance policies to be filled with students sleeping, watching viral animal videos on YouTube or pinning to their dream wedding boards on Pinterest. This is often to the detriment of students who come to class to learn, and are then distracted by what their classmates are doing.

It’s important to remember that GW, like any university, is a service provider – much like a gym. People purchase a membership, and go work out whenever they choose. Because they’re paying for that service, there’s no penalty for staying home – and there shouldn’t be a penalty if students choose to stay home from class, either. Classes are just one service students receive for paying tuition.

Plus, class lectures aren’t always valuable. I’ve had several professors who instructed verbatim from textbooks, offering identical examples and reading paragraphs line by line – an educational experience that I can attain from the comfort of my apartment. By independently practicing problems and devoting time to tackling and processing core elements of the course, I can still be “mentally present” and succeed without being physically present at a time that might be less convenient.

Of course, I am not arguing that arbitrarily skipping classes on a regular basis is a good thing. Since we’re paying for these classes, it’s worth it to go as often as possible. But, given our busy schedules that often include work in addition to classes, students should not be penalized or forced to provide documentation of absences if events or other obligations conflict with lectures every now and then.

As a student already paying to attend each of my classes, I strongly believe that I should have the right to utilize my purchased service at my own discretion. Provided I meet the learning objectives of my classes, my physical presence in a classroom should therefore not be factored into my grade.

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Kei Pritsker is a member of Fair Jobs GW.

GW recently announced that University dining will transition from Sodexo, our current dining service provider, to Restaurant Associates. Officials have also announced that GW will do away with Dining Dollars, open new dining venues in District House and refurbish Shenkman Hall’s dining area.

More importantly, officials claimed that they will “help current Sodexo hourly associates” through the transition and that “Restaurant Associates estimates a reduction in fewer than 10 staff” members.

Instead of trying to placate the community, officials should listen to the 2,000 students who have signed the Fair Jobs GW petition, which demands a contract that guarantees a secure future for all dining workers.

First, dining staff should not be referred to as “Sodexo hourly associates” because it makes them seem like they aren’t connected to campus. Hourly associates wouldn’t spend decades maintaining and building a sense of community here. Many of these workers have been here longer than Sodexo has been in partnership with GW. To refer them as “Sodexo hourly associates” is an insult to the tremendous positive impact they have on the lives of students. They are members of the GW community.

These “hourly associates” include Armecia, who has committed nearly half a century to J Street and has just purchased her first home. They include Rosie, who has committed 55 years to GW and talks about GW students like she talks about her grandchildren. They include Barbara, who got teary eyed when students sang “Happy Birthday” to her. They include Valerie, or “Big Mama,” who has worked at GW for 14 years and wants to work here until retirement.

GW has previously insinuated that the fate of workers lies with contractors like Sodexo, but their recent announcement suggests otherwise. Officials have said that the Division of Operations will “work” with Restaurant Associates to help the workers transition. While the language is vague, it’s unreasonable to believe that the contractors slammed their demands on GW’s table without thoroughly negotiating first.

Additionally, we had little information about these negotiations before finding out that a deal had been struck. Therefore, GW proved that it went through these negotiations with little to no community input. The University’s statement announcing the change reflects that lack of community input. It’s hollow, and demonstrates no understanding of the integral role the workers play in our community.

Only students can attest to the impact Angie’s smile makes during finals. Only students know how good it feels when they’re thousands of miles away from home, stressed from classes and internships and Rosie calls them “sweetie.” At a time when our school’s Mental Health Services are in the spotlight, severing deep personal ties between workers and students would be counterintuitive. If officials understood these bonds, they wouldn’t even consider putting workers’ livelihoods on the bargaining table.

Restaurant Associates’ ambiguous agreement to “provide support to any employees who are not rehired” is not a proper commitment. Kind words will not make these cuts any less devastating for workers and students.

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Sarah Blugis, a senior majoring in political communication, is The Hatchet’s opinions editor.

Every year, students complain about Program Board’s choice for Spring Fling headliner. Usually, people are upset because the performer isn’t famous enough, good enough or mainstream enough. I’ve complained about Spring Fling in the past, too – for not including enough women as headliners.

But this year, students have an even bigger reason to criticize Program Board’s choice: Action Bronson, the headliner, is a blatant misogynist.

Bronson has a history of public transphobia, and has mocked transgender people on Instagram. He’s also been widely criticized for his song “Consensual Rape,” in which he describes drugging and raping a woman. One of his music videos, for a song called “Brunch,” depicts Bronson cooking a meal next to a woman’s dead body, putting her body in the trunk of his car, then stabbing her repeatedly while shouting gendered insults. Due to this controversy, he was pulled from the lineup of last year’s NXNE music festival in Toronto.

Rather than apologize or show any empathy for survivors of sexual violence, Bronson lashed out. In response to the criticism, he tweeted, “It’s so funny the song that is causing these Torontonians to have their panties in a bunch literally has never been performed, ever.” Then, he tweeted, “5 years ago a lost track. That’s what u base UR argument on? HOW ABOUT THE 9 PROJECTS THAT HAVE COME OUT SINCE? Don’t single me out.” He later deleted those tweets.

Now, this coming weekend, the University is paying this man to perform in University Yard – and a group of students chose him. I’m incredibly disappointed that more student leaders haven’t protested harder against the pick, and I think choosing him was a serious lapse in judgment on Program Board’s part.

“GW’s student organizations hold campus events in accordance with University policies and procedures,” University spokesman Kurtis Hiatt said in an email Tuesday. “The Program Board’s decision to host this artist does not imply a University endorsement of his views.”

But even if GW doesn’t publicly endorse Bronson’s views, officials still signed off on him – and they’ll still sign his paycheck.

I have a hard time understanding any possible justification for bringing Bronson to GW, especially given the importance students here place on progressive advocacy. Sexual assault prevention and LGBT inclusivity are two of the most prominent issues on campus, yet Bronson is the antithesis of those two causes. Choosing Bronson blatantly ignores survivors on our campus – as well as all the prevention advocacy students have spent so much time on over the last several years.

In a statement Monday, Program Board said it is “aware of the criticisms” and doesn’t condone the lyrics in Bronson’s song “Consensual Rape” – which won’t be performed at Spring Fling, according to the statement. But the statement comes off as the equivalent of Program Board shrugging its shoulders about Bronson’s reputation – and that’s a problem.

“We hope students will continue to discuss Mr. Bronson and the entirety of his work and decide for themselves whether it has merit,” the statement reads. “The Program Board strives to put on inclusive events for the entire student body and will continue to do so.”

In its own Facebook post, Students Against Sexual Assault said Monday it is “proud” of Program Board “for acknowledging this situation and for moving forward proactively, in order to hold events that are inclusive for all GW students’ experiences.”

I’m not proud, and I fail to see how allowing Bronson to perform is inclusive in any way. Regardless of whether his work “has merit,” some of it harbors harmful beliefs and normalizes violence against women and LGBT individuals. There are people on our campus who are likely afraid to even attend Spring Fling because of Bronson’s hateful rhetoric, music videos and social media presence.

It doesn’t matter that Bronson won’t perform his song about sexual assault. What matters is that the University is paying him to perform at our school, on our campus, for our student body – the same student body that forced GW to rescind Bill Cosby’s honorary degree just a few months ago.

Even though Program Board announced Bronson’s performance last week, students have only just started talking about it online. Some have argued that if you look, you can find something wrong with almost any artist – and that’s true. However, they’ve also argued that critics are “too sensitive.” But Bronson glorifies, embraces and glamorizes the rape and murder of women, and that’s something we should be sensitive about.

Yes, Program Board has a limited budget, has to work around scheduling conflicts and is tasked with the extremely difficult project of finding a suitable artist that appeals to as much of the student body as possible. But Bronson certainly is far from suitable – which is obvious from a quick Google search.

And allowing Bronson to come to campus highlights the University’s double standard when it comes to Spring Fling performers: In 2014, when Program Board tried to book rapper Angel Haze, GW requested that she avoid cursing during her set. But Bronson has a much more problematic history with vulgarity and violence than Haze.

I’m disappointed in Program Board’s choice. I’m disappointed in the University for signing off on that choice. Most of all, I’m disappointed in our student leaders who haven’t stepped up to protest this choice. GW’s most progressive student leaders are known for speaking up about things that make them angry – and I’m wondering why everyone is so quiet now.

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