The Forum

Commentary

Irene Ly, a freshman majoring in psychology, is a Hatchet opinions writer.

We’ve all heard the warnings about posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr: We shouldn’t upload pictures of ourselves drunk, naked or engaging in other inappropriate behavior that would make our parents cringe.

But now it’s time to start practicing a new kind of restraint: on the words we post on social media when we’re emotional.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the landmark case Elonis v. United States. The plaintiff, Anthony Elonis, was sentenced to 44 months in prison for posting several violent rants on Facebook about his estranged ex-wife and an elementary school. He is trying to have the conviction overturned, and claims he was writing rap lyrics as a form of therapy.

In one post, Elonis wrote, “There’s one way to love you but a thousand ways to kill you. I’m not going to rest until your body is a mess, soaked in blood and dying from all the little cuts.”

This has spurred a heated debate about what should be protected under the First Amendment, particularly in the 21st century with the Internet changing what constitutes a “true threat.”

The Supreme Court will not announce its decision until next summer, but no matter the outcome, Elonis’ case has without a doubt prompted questions about how what we put on the Internet can come back to bite us.

Even if Elonis has his conviction overturned, we GW students need to take his story as a cautionary tale to watch our mouths (or in this case, our fingers).

We all have our bad days when we just want to rant, and the Internet can be an easy place to go. But most GW students actually want a job after graduation, or even hope to secure a lofty political office. I’m sure we’d all hate to one day come close to achieving that ambition, before having someone dig up old rants – joking or not, lighthearted in tone or not – about how much we hate our one lame professor or overly strict boss.

With Twitter, Facebook and other sites such a part of our lives now, it has become a more common practice for employers to screen the social media pages of job applicants. The worst-case scenario: people like Elonis have faced prosecution for questionable things they post. More often, people will lose the respect of potential employers and are passed over for their dream jobs.

The next time you want to post something, ask yourself, “Do I really want all 1,000 of my friends or followers to see this?” before you click that button. I definitely will.

Better yet, go old school and write it down in a journal with a key, scream it out to an empty ocean or just keep it to yourself, because nothing is ever truly gone in cyberspace. If it doesn’t return to haunt you today, it just might tomorrow.

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Sean Hurd, a junior majoring in exercise science, is The Hatchet’s sports columnist.

The men’s basketball team is looking to get back into its groove, and a blowout win over a winless team may have been what it needed.

Thursday’s 23-point toppling of local stepping stone UMBC allowed GW to begin to get back on the right track after a troubling loss to Seton Hall last Saturday, a game still fresh in the memory of head coach Mike Lonergan.

While the game wasn’t won with any particular flare or flash and wasn’t necessarily gritty, it was a good, physical victory, with the Colonials playing at the level they expect of themselves through every game of the season. A win is a win.

Against the Retrievers, most of what the Colonials were missing against the Pirates filled the stat sheet Thursday: ball movement, limited turnovers, bench scoring and emphatic performances from juniors Patricio Garino and Kevin Larsen. Those two combined for 37 points and 13 rebounds.

Lonergan’s goal Thursday was to get his big’s confidence back. Larsen has tried to return to last season’s form and move past his see-saw start through the first six games of the season.

Moving forward, the personnel formula will remain unchanged: GW will rely heavily on the core four, await further improvements from Yuta Watanabe and Darian Bryant and hope that either Ryan McCoy or Nick Griffin can get into a rhythm to extend Lonergan’s depth.

Lonergan will ride Griffin to boost a team that is struggling to find success from the 3-point range and is shooting just 29.3 percent from beyond the arc.

Watanabe, who has undoubtedly become this team’s spark plug, made a handful of plays through pure hustle and energy, including a huge block and dunk in the second half against UMBC.

With the team’s toughest stretch of competition looming, beginning with Charlotte at the Verizon Center on Sunday, strong all-around performances like the one against the Retrievers must continue. The team needs to consistently play at a higher level – something both Lonergan and Garino said after Thursday’s win.

“We’re not playing as well as I expected us to,” Lonergan said. “We’ve gotta play better. It’s no secret, these guys know it.”

“I think we’re all a little disappointed,” Garino echoed. “I think we all thought we would be playing a little better than we are right now.”

As the Colonials prepare to face off against the 49ers, there is no definitive answer as to what GW team will show up to play. But I can say one thing for sure: The tests the Colonials will face in the next three weeks will define the team’s non-conference résumé down the stretch.

It’s time to produce. How do the Colonials want to define their non-conference season?

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Steven Lerman is the University’s provost.

I’m writing in response to the article, “GW shakes up plan to cover massive SEH debt after fundraising flop,” by Colleen Murphy (p. 1, Nov. 17).

This article may have left the false impression that the University’s plan to fund construction of the building will leave GW in a financial bind and unable to afford other priorities. This is not the case.

The intention has always been to use the commercial leasing revenue from Square 54, also known as The Avenue complex, as a source of funding for construction of the Science and Engineering Hall. This plan was approved by the University’s Board of Trustees and announced publicly.

What is new is that because interest rates are lower, the revenue covers more debt than previously anticipated, and, in fact, will provide the majority of the funding for the building’s construction.

The ability to fund more of the construction from Square 54 revenue will compensate for a fundraising trend where donors give more to scholarships, academics and programs than to buildings.

As I noted at the recent Faculty Senate meeting, we have raised three times more for programming related to SEH than for the building itself. However, the University’s plan to build SEH inspired those gifts, and we anticipate that momentum will continue.

The bricks and mortar are the foundation for a learning hub that will significantly enhance our ability to conduct cutting-edge research to address today’s global challenges and educate future generations of pioneers of innovation and inquiry. With this foundation in place, our ability to fundraise will be enhanced and will continue beyond the building’s opening.

We have an exciting opportunity before us to make history in the classroom and beyond, and I look forward to seeing students and faculty at work in this outstanding new facility next semester.

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Jonah Lewis, a junior majoring in political science and sociology, is a Hatchet columnist.

Last week, students participated in GW Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week’s annual SNAP Challenge, living on just $4.15 a day for food – the average amount that Americans on food stamps receive.

While the challenge may partially educate students about how difficult it is to live on SNAP benefits, it’s a problematic way to advocate for one of the nation’s most important social programs. The whole event is an act masquerading as activism.

For starters, it makes a game out of people’s lived experiences. While it’s essential to push for expanding the SNAP program, this isn’t the way to do it.

In their initial Facebook post about the challenge, the organizers wrote, “Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor!” – a quote from “The Hunger Games.”

It’s inappropriate that organizers frame the SNAP Challenge as just that – a game of maintaining a budget, and a race to post to social media about it. This trivializes the actual experiences of people on SNAP, for whom participation in the program is no “challenge,” but a part of life.

For participants in the SNAP Challenge, failure means nothing more than losing the game and seeing briefly what it’s like to rely on food stamps. There are no real consequences, and any lasting lessons can be quickly shrugged off with a trip to the Whole Foods hot bar or a return to disposable GWorld dollars.

People actually on SNAP do not get to just fail out. They’re often forced to go into debt to buy food or go hungry, negatively impacting their education or work productivity.

Students can pretend like their week living on SNAP-like benefits gives them an understanding of the program. But unless they’ve really been on SNAP, it barely scratches the surface.

Many SNAP beneficiaries live in food deserts, where full-service grocery stores are inaccessible and residents must rely on corner stores or other retailers for food. In fact, the average SNAP recipient lives about 1.8 miles from a grocery store and does not own a car.

In contrast, the Mount Vernon Campus is located only a few blocks away from a Safeway, and the Foggy Bottom Campus has both a Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s within blocks, making it much easier for any student who lives on campus to access diverse food options.

While many SNAP beneficiaries work multiple jobs and raise children, students, on the whole, have much more flexible schedules to shop for and prepare food.

Instead of the challenge, GW Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week organizers could invite SNAP recipients from the D.C. community, or even students who were once recipients of SNAP benefits, to speak and educate us about the issue. We should amplify the voices of the people who are on SNAP to understand their experiences.

Maybe then we’ll learn why the SNAP program is a crucial part of our social safety net and should be protected and even expanded. We need to be concerned about the masses of people already on SNAP, for whom living on less than $30 a week is not a “challenge” to be won but a reality to live.

What SNAP doesn’t need is privileged GW students playing poor for a week to bring attention to it.

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Hope Ajayi, a senior majoring in sociology, is the vice president of the GW chapter of the NAACP.

I’m writing in response to the blog, “Don’t make debates over Ferguson about you,” by Sarah Blugis (online, Nov. 26).

I think we all realize the unequal state of races in our society is owed to a variety of factors – among them, institutional racism and a history of slavery that can and will never be erased. And, frankly, white people bear much of the responsibility when it comes to the minority state in society.

Even descendants of slave owners, while not directly participating in the creation of historical racism, do currently have just as much influence in subjugating minorities when they voice their support but feel it’s not their place to invoke any action.

That is false, false, false. If anything, white people can quicken the pace of progress so much more by lending a voice and lending a hand.

This does not mean necessarily marching out to St. Louis and calling black people your brother or sister, but it means taking responsibility and educating racist friends or advocating for the passage of bills that will actually help minorities. After all, whites are in the majority.

For individuals to sit back, observe and say nothing inherently and subconsciously says blacks are responsible for their progress and advocating for their own equality. This is not fair.

Blacks did not steal themselves from their continent, enslave themselves, torture and lynch themselves or pass racist laws to bar them from rising economically and socially. Blacks did not walk out of their houses and ask to be shot simply for having a darker skin complexion.

Blacks did not commit these atrocities against themselves, so why must they be asked to fix the system themselves?

When white people fold their arms and watch, they are playing more into their white privilege – and using the fact that they are not black to excuse themselves from participating in a movement that would require a shifting of not just laws but of inner consciousness.

It is not OK to say that you will respect the rights of black people and defer completely to them. I’m not saying you should tell them to calm down or be peaceful, as that might just incite more anger. But understanding the position of blacks comes also from a willingness to actively use the power of one’s white privilege and begin to actually making a difference – not just talk or think about it.

It is your place to control the conversation, and this movement does not belong solely to the “people of Ferguson and black Americans all over the country,” as the writer indicates. It belongs to everyone.

When citizens – black and white alike – begin actively contributing to the discussion and protest, this country will experience a breakthrough, and we will see the beginning of a much-needed revolution – and, as a consequence, the beginning of much-needed change.

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Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014 11:53 p.m.

Don’t make debates over Ferguson about you

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

Everyone has an opinion about Ferguson and the recent decision by a grand jury not to indict Darren Wilson.

I do, too. Like many others, I think Wilson should have been indicted, and I believe there’s a substantial need to examine the relationship between law enforcement and minorities in this country.

But unlike almost everyone else I follow on Twitter, I’ve kept my opinions to myself.

I’m a white, middle-class college student from a small, rural town. Plus, as I’ve said before, my dad is a police officer. All of this makes it clear to me that my voice isn’t a necessary, helpful or even welcome addition to the conversations that Ferguson has sparked. And that’s OK.

I’ll admit that it’s been difficult to keep quiet over the past few days. Though I agree with what many of my more liberal friends have posted, there are some sentiments that upset me. Tweets like “Fuck all cops” and “Police are racist pigs” are particularly hard for me to ignore.

My knee-jerk reaction is to fire back, defending my dad and all of the police officers out there who do their jobs well.

But I understand doing that would make the conversation about me, and completely derail the valuable discussions about racial prejudice that social media has fostered. In the same way that #NotAllMen destroys conversations about feminism, #AllLivesMatter does the same to #BlackLivesMatter. Inserting my white, middle-class opinion feels wrong, regardless of whether I’m agreeing or disagreeing with what’s being said.

It’s not my place to control the conversation – and those of us not personally connected to Ferguson should try to remember that.

For white GW students, of course it’s important for those of us who agree with the protestors in Ferguson to show our support. We can stand with them in solidarity, educate ourselves, take to the streets to provide strength in numbers and have meaningful discussions with friends and family.

But this movement belongs to the people of Ferguson and black Americans all over the country.

It doesn’t belong to white college students. We don’t understand, and absolutely cannot understand, what black residents of Ferguson are feeling. We can’t tell them to be peaceful, violent, angry or calm. We shouldn’t pass any judgment at all – because we have no points of reference and likely no connection to the situation.

I’m certainly not saying that we shouldn’t care about this issue. But the right way to care is to defer completely to the people who are involved. It’s their voices that need to be heard, not ours.

You won’t see me tweeting much about Ferguson, and I won’t be posting a monologue about my white point of view on Facebook. Instead, I’ll listen to what black Americans have to say – and we should all lift up their opinions instead of getting hung up on our own.

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Brandon Carr is a junior majoring in political science.

Sitting in my dorm room at the University of Oxford – more than 4,000 miles from Missouri – it’s bewildering to watch the community of Ferguson erupt into disorder and chaos. The city is only 15 minutes from Ladue, the affluent and predominantly white suburb where I first learned to drive a car, played football on Friday nights and graduated from high school.

In reality, Ferguson’s situation is not as remarkable as it may seem: The city of St. Louis and its surrounding counties have long been racially charged ticking time bombs. The informal segregation – between disadvantaged black communities and those of the white, middle and upper-middle classes – has withstood the test of time.

One only has to travel a few minutes north on the interstate I-170 to leave the safe confines of Ladue, where Starbucks and steakhouses line the streets, and reach the seemingly unrecognizable world that the black people of Ferguson face daily.

As a white, upper-class male, I have enjoyed an upbringing of substantial privilege and advantage. I have attended elite private schools, attained membership to exclusive country clubs and studied at GW and the University of Oxford.

For that reason, it would be difficult for most individuals to accept my point of view. But despite the favorable circumstances in which I was raised, I recognize from firsthand experience that the violence and disarray in Ferguson this year does not represent the black community of Ferguson or St. Louis as a whole.

Indeed, despite my upbringing, I’ve had the opportunity to share some wonderful friendships with individuals of considerable disadvantage and hardship. As a quarterback for the Ladue High School football team, I learned about the disadvantages that our players from the surrounding cities and communities racially and socioeconomically analogous to Ferguson had to face.

I visited my black teammates’ homes, met their parents and when needed, gave them rides to school and football practice. As a result, both on the football field and off, my teammates and I formed strong bonds.

We shared a common sense of unity, purpose and solidarity that cut across socioeconomic and racial lines. One of the memories I am most fond of is when nearly the entire football team gathered at my house to watch Game 7 of the World Series in 2011. My white and black teammates sat around the TV, waiting for the moment when Tony La Russa would hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy as a sure sign of St. Louis’ victory.

That’s how I think about the individuals involved in the recent protests in Ferguson. They protest not in the name of aimless violence or the need for attention – although instances of that behavior certainly do exist – but rather as a result of the disadvantages and lack of opportunity they face.

For far too long their interests have been ignored, and their calls for change have gone unheeded. This has resulted in a world where black Americans are nearly six times as likely to be imprisoned than white Americans, where the median income for a black family is $32,000 and that of a white family is $115,00 and where black men must work longer periods of time after leaving school to receive a promotion, relative to white men.

It is not until those barriers are torn down – barriers to education, fair employment, a decent wage – that the violence consuming Ferguson will cease.

It is from that perspective that I urge my fellow Americans and fellow students to view the recent events that have taken place in Ferguson.

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Hatchet File Photo

Fans watch a GW men’s basketball game. Hatchet File Photo

GW men’s basketball is back. Two opinions writers were in the stands last Friday as the Colonials took on Grambling State.

At last, energy in the stands

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

Suddenly, GW basketball feels real.

At the home opener last weekend, I almost couldn’t believe my eyes: The Smith Center was packed, and people were excited. Students wore their free Colonial Army shirts, waved pom-poms and even sang the fight song. The Smith Center felt different, too. New event staff had been hired, everything had shiny new labels and the entire experience felt legitimate – like a real college basketball franchise.

My freshman year, I went to my fair share of basketball games and vividly remember near-empty stands each time. I would drag my friends along, hoping for a big crowd and a competitive game, only to find that not many people cared much about our basketball team.

Even last year, I sat in nearly vacant stands once or twice at the beginning of the season. The Colonial Army cheered and the dance team performed, but that was it. The rest of the campus was indifferent until about halfway through the season, when it started to look like the team had a chance of heading to the NCAA tournament.

This year, everything feels different – and we should all be enthusiastic about the possibilities of success and postseason play that this season brings.

Since the team made its March Madness run last year, campus interest in GW basketball has seemingly exploded. I’ve gone from being one of the team’s few fans to one of many – and that’s a great feeling.

In my small hometown, supporting athletics – mostly football – is second nature. No one makes Friday night plans during the fall because it’s assumed students will be at the game, bundled up and sporting our high school’s blue and gold colors.

I didn’t initially find the same community here at GW, and though I knew that would happen when I put down my deposit, a small part of me hoped it would change – and it has.

The feeling in the Smith Center last Friday might be difficult to understand if you weren’t there, or if you didn’t go to past men’s basketball games when there were more players than fans. But when the updated NCAA tournament banner was revealed and the players took the court, there was an unexplainable electricity in the student section. People genuinely cared, and I could feel it.

At games last year and the year before, the entire experience sometimes felt like a performance – almost as if the University had thrown some players on the court just to say, “Look! We do sports!”

But now, the players and the fans own the season. It’s ours to brag about and enjoy. Having basketball games is no longer just a box for GW or its students to check off – it’s something to which we can look forward.

Our student body isn’t one that’s known for caring about sports. And yet, as our relatively unknown program gets ready to make a name for itself, it feels like students are standing behind it. More games will be broadcast nationally, people finally know the fight song and everyone has their fingers crossed for a spot on the March Madness bracket.

So before the conference season gets underway, take a look at the schedule. Come to a game, and see what I mean when I talk about the crowd’s electricity. You’ll feel it, and then you’ll be excited about GW basketball, too.

The negatives of home-court hostility

Elinoam Abramov, a junior majoring in political science, is a Hatchet opinions writer.

Last Friday, I went to my first basketball game. It was actually my first-ever college sporting event.

I absolutely loved it.

The constant cheering, shouting and singing for our school’s team made me feel like a true member of the GW community for the first time. Being an indifferent, verging on painfully apathetic Brit, this school spirit was not something I was used to, but it turned out to be something I enjoyed.

Yet something tainted a seemingly great game, ultimately leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth: I was shocked by the way our crowd treated the opposing team.

I felt truly uncomfortable when fans turned their backs and booed as the players from Grambling State were introduced. I felt even more uneasy when the game started and the men behind me started yelling at the players, “No one cares about the South,” and “Go back where you came from.”

One student who went to the game with me later said she thought those comments were racially charged, and that she was irritated and embarrassed by the way some GW students behaved.

Some might argue that students’ negative comments strengthen feelings of unity and belonging: Facing a common “enemy” would, in theory, bring us together. But the other players aren’t our enemies – they’re just the other team. And they have to play the game, just like our players.

In reality, these comments and the constant booing simply add a dimension of hostility to an otherwise great atmosphere. We should be cheering on our team, not cutting down others.

This kind of behavior not only seemed disrespectful, it also turned out to be unnecessary: GW defeated Grambling State by the team’s largest margin of victory since 1999.

Since these comments had no instrumental value in helping our team – which didn’t need a home-court advantage to pull through and win – they can only be described as needlessly offensive. It’s poor sportsmanship to kick the other team when it’s already down.

I’m sure some people will probably think I’m taking all this too seriously: After, all it’s just a college basketball game. But decency and respect for others is important in all contexts.

Negative comments are insulting to the other players, annoying to those trying to concentrate on the game and ultimately reflect poorly on GW.

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Nicole Alanko, a senior majoring in international affairs, has studied abroad through the GW Madrid program and is a Study Abroad Peer Advisor.

I’m writing in response to the column, “Don’t give in to the pressure to study abroad,” by Kirby Dzurny (p. 4, Nov. 17).

The author’s comments about study abroad were extremely short-sighted to all of the benefits that study abroad can offer.

Studying abroad is not just about the classes you take. Some of the institutions that students attend while abroad are ranked higher than GW internationally, like the University of Hong Kong, Seoul National University and University of Edinburgh. Additionally, many programs offer internships or research opportunities.

But even if you go abroad and don’t attend one of those institutions, it isn’t true that you’ll have to “catch up.” Language and cross-cultural experiences aren’t overlooked in the current job market.

Aside from the technicalities, the whole purpose of study abroad is to leave your comfort zone and become part of another culture. Study abroad is not a vacation, a trip or an Alternative Break. Study abroad is not leaving the Foggy Bottom bubble to explore an already familiar city, speak American English and live according to your usual cultural norms.

Study abroad is a leap of faith – a chance to really live differently, a chance to have your most basic assumptions challenged.

Anyone can take “Cinema of Spain and Latin America” at GW, but it meant so much more to me to take it in Madrid. I could go home and talk about the films with my host mom, who gave me better historical and cultural insight.

Anyone can see a Flamenco show at Lisner Auditorium or the Gala Theater in Columbia Heights, but it is completely different to watch your flamenco professor perform in the heart of the Malasaña district, surrounded by “¡Qué toma!” and “¡Guapa!”

Admittedly, reverse culture shock is very real, but it did not define my abroad experience. I’ve only found myself shocked at how much I’ve changed – my personality, my perspectives on family, politics and culture. All change takes some adjustment.

Studying abroad, like many other decisions in college, is a personal one. It is also a time when students experience a significant amount of growth. That’s the purpose of college – to grow, and to learn to live in a world that is bigger than what we initially imagined.

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Monday, Nov. 17, 2014 2:59 p.m.

How GW can help ease my fear of rats

Elinoam Abramov, a junior majoring in political science, is a Hatchet opinions writer.

I’ve had a fear of rodents for as long as I can remember.

But apart from the occasional sighting of a mouse scurrying across the Underground lines in London, this fear has never caused me any major distress. Then I moved to D.C.

I was shocked to discover that rodents, particularly rats, are everywhere in this city and seem to congregate around the Foggy Bottom Metro area, where I live. Not only are these pests omnipresent, D.C. rats seems to be a rare breed: they are unbelievably fat, with extraordinarily long tails, and seemingly unbothered by humans.

Instead of becoming accustomed to the presence of these creatures, as one would expect, my phobia only worsened. Walking home at night became an exercise in awareness: My eyes would scan the ground for any small, quick-moving objects, and my ears were alert, anticipating that horrible high-pitched squeak.

My fear of rats became so detrimental that friends started calling me neurotic, so I turned to my mother, a psychologist, for advice. She reassured me that musophobia – the clinical term for the fear of rats and mice – like all phobias, is irrational, for the most part. It normally arises from a combination of traumatic events from one’s past and internal predispositions.

She encouraged me to take a “rat’s perspective,” the classic method of reminding myself that they are more afraid of me than I am of them.

I felt better after my conversation with my mother, and my fear seemed to subside a little, too, after watching the Disney animated film “Ratatouille,” recommended by my 8-year-old brother. That showed me that not only can rats be extremely talented chefs, they can actually be quite cute.

As time passed, I made significant progress. If a rat ran past me, I no longer screamed and grabbed the arm of the first person I saw. Instead, I held my breath and repeated, “This fear is irrational.”

In fact, I had nearly forgotten about the rat problem in D.C. until The Hatchet wrote about Foggy Bottom Association President Marina Streznewski, whose 13-week-old dog died from a disease transmitted by rodent urine.

And after all the work I had done. This story tainted my newfound thinking that a fear of rats was irrational – clearly, they posed a serious health risk.

I started Googling: I was distraught to read about an incident over the summer at D.C.’s Providence Hospital, where a rat infestation was so out of control that rodents were feasting on corpses and attacking hospital workers, prompting several employees to sue for emotional distress. And that wasn’t all: In October, D.C. was named the third “rattiest” city in the country, which meant my fears weren’t too far-fetched.

The District’s health department claims to have “one of the most comprehensive rodent-control programs in the city,” but I’d sleep better at night if we were able to take steps on campus to help contain the problem as well (especially since the University has had infestations in the past).

Pest control action on a city-wide level is normally severe – methods in other cities have included rat poison or even sterilization of female rats so they are no longer able to procreate.

But effective action against rats need not be so reactive or morally questionable: For instance, New York City officials recently launched an initiative called The Rat Academy. It aims to educate New Yorkers about rat behavior and teach business owners and landlords how to make their buildings less attractive to rodents – all in a free, two-hour course.

A similar model could easily be employed by GW wherein students learn how to best keep their campus unattractive to rats. Think MyStudentBody or the workshops for how to be a good neighbor. It wouldn’t have to be mandatory, of course, but students like me with an interest in the matter could opt in to help ease some of our own concerns.

Albert Camus once warned “that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and enlightenment of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city.”

It’s about time we make that happen in this happy city.

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