Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GU Shirks Duties to Undergrads

Earlier this year, 20 members of the Georgetown faculty and administration released a report on Georgetown’s intellectual life. The report correctly asserts that students at Georgetown arrive at the Hilltop expecting their minds to be assaulted with knowledge and hoping to develop an insatiable appetite for learning, but that we soon become disillusioned with our university and spend more time running our clubs or socializing than studying. I would have to agree. But the report doesn’t just tell students to try harder. It reflects the university’s uncanny ability to make students feel as though they are either merely statistics with pulses – Rhodes scholars and also-rans – or average dues-paying customers of a business that hands out basketball tickets and latin on parchment. And the apathy that the Intellectual Life Report so accurately described may be students’ feeling that somehow Georgetown is a little, well, hypocritical. Between Georgetown’s students and brilliant faculty lives a disgusting mire of bureaucratic nonsense which causes many students to become disenchanted with the college life. In a speech to an environmental youth conference last semester, a friend of mine explained that it is a failure on the part of Georgetown that its administration “holds its students to a standard that it’s not willing to meet.” The Intellectual Life Report is proof of this. Administrators responsible for perpetually delayed projects like the Multi-Sport Facility and the Darnall cafeteria are rarely held accountable for their failures. Over the past decade, two separate administrators were found to have embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars. And one of the university’s most beautiful buildings – the old Jesuit Residence – remains in a state of advanced rot just a few feet from the president’s office. In day-to-day functions, students view these failures as indicative of a general lack of effort by its administration. Perpetually broken doors, inexcusably poor security, run-down facilities and abandoned buildings are much more important than the university’s administration seems to realize. Living in discomfort and fear takes its toll on Georgetown’s students and reduces their will to try. Of course, students should recognize that their reason for being at Georgetown is to learn. Being a student is our primary function, not being presidents of clubs or hosts of parties. But why should students care if their work brings renown to a university so seemingly unconcerned with its own performance? Some students find refuge from this frustration by becoming active members of any one of Georgetown’s student groups, but many become annoyed or downright angry with the frighteningly unnecessary and obsolete bureaucracy of the Center for Student Programs. While the administration advertises Georgetown as an elite school, it fails to allow such basic resources as an independent student government or student newspaper, often resorting to excessive acts of repression. (Remember, THE HOYA could already be independent if the university hadn’t threatened to sue its editors.) Georgetown students love to learn. But, more than that, we want to be able to enjoy the process of learning. One thing which would greatly increase the study habits of Georgetown students would be to return to students those spaces which were designed for (gasp!) studying. Some are offended that while we sit on floors in Lauinger Library and struggle to find space to work, our president and administrators host closed receptions in areas created for us. It may sound superficial, but it matters to some students that the university would criticize their academic performance while so arrogantly barring them from the places specifically designed for students’ study. Students are asked to work without having access to those areas of campus dedicated to the pursuit of academic excellence for and by students – places like the Riggs Library and the Copley Formal Lounge, the sights of which inspire students to want to work. The university knows this. These locations are featured prominently in its advertising campaigns to prospective students. Note to high school students: You will probably never see them. The administration should treat its students not as mere tenants and customers who pay rent and service fees, but it should also recognize them as the reason for the school’s existence. If the university plans to criticize its students’ productivity, it may be a good time to evaluate the institution’s efficiency, as well. When interpreting its Intellectual Life Report, I hope that the administration will concern itself with the question of why Georgetown’s students seem so disillusioned with their school. And I hope they ask that question in front of a mirror. D. Pierce Nixon is a senior in the College and contributing editor for THE HOYA. DAYS ON THE HILLTOP appears every other Friday.

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