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It has been a few years since I lived in Washington, but I always enjoyed reading the Washington City Paper during my time there. Your paper always got to sources of news that you could not find in the more traditional media outlets.
I was surprised when a friend told me that you did a cover story on, of all things, J.P. Blackford and the George Washington University’s Student Association Senate (“The Comeback Kid,” 3/21). As a former SA senator-elect, I had the opportunity to work with Blackford for a brief period of time. I would not call it pleasure, because, as your article points out pretty clearly, he is not an easy person to work with.
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However, how this story merits your attention is beyond my understanding. Participation in GW’s student government is abysmally low, despite the best efforts and intentions of many who participate in the SA and have tried to change it over the years. Raising awareness of how dictatorial one member of this body can be and that he can always get re-elected because he represents a group of students who believe they have little or no stake in student government can have some benefit, but I question if readers of your publication are actually going to derive any significant benefit from that.
Many people have tried and failed to reform student government at GW. That is not to say that the effort is without merit. I learned a great deal from my experience that I still use today, and I have Blackford and other student leaders to thank for that. However, I don’t think that telling people about how awful one student government official can be is that beneficial to your readers, the SA, or the official himself.
Fort Wayne, Ind.