To: Ilana Feldman, Interim Dean, ESIA
Paul Wahlbeck, Dean, CCAS
From: Bruce Dickson, Chair
Re: State of GW
Date: August 21, 2020
On behalf of the Department of Political Science, I am writing to share our concerns about the actions of GW’s administration over the past several months. To be clear, we fully recognize that the university is facing both financial and logistical challenges related to the global pandemic. And we stand ready to do our part to help address them. This letter follows a faculty meeting on Thursday, August 20, 2020.
Our concerns include the following:
• Claims about the need for financial shared sacrifice are based in part on overly pessimistic enrollment projections that have not held up.
• The tuition cut may have been well intentioned, but many students are telling us that the lower tuition also reduced their financial aid by similar amounts. As a result, the tuition reduction provides little actual benefit to these students. It is clear the plan and rollout were not carefully thought out and it has created an impression that our lower-income students are not valued.
• The Heather Swain hiring debacle revealed a startling lack of good judgment and was not consistent with the university’s values and hiring procedures.
• The administration has not meaningfully engaged with the Faculty Senate’s proposed alternative spending reductions that would help diminish the need for layoffs and pay cuts.
We believe that some of these concerns would be addressed if there was a greater commitment to transparency, better communication, and a meaningful shared governance process. Such a commitment would strengthen our confidence in the university’s leadership, lead to better decisions, and create a shared sense of purpose. Without these, we are in danger of coming out of this crisis a much weaker institution. We hope that as our Deans you can express our deep concerns and ensure that GW has a bright future.