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IS MICHAEL DOLAN LOOKing for a job at George Washington University (GW)? That’s the impression I got after reading his profile of GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg (“Biggest Man on Campus,” 10/14). Dolan displays a fascination with everything that is Trachtenberg and a corresponding ignorance of some of the most resounding criticisms of the Trachtenberg administration.
Just a little research would have revealed the massive diversion of tuition funds from GW’s National Law Center to the coffers of the university administration. According to a recent report by the American Bar Association, this “unprecedented” diversion amounted to $11,546,000 (40.7 percent of total law school revenue) for the 1992-93 school year. When law students pay their tuition, they can take little comfort knowing that nearly $9,000 of what they pay per year does not even go to their legal education. This is consumer fraud on a daunting scale.
When these facts came to light, nearly 500 law students closed down a street in front of Trachtenberg’s office in an April protest, which was supported by many faculty members. Students demanded the university obey ABA guidelines which limit the maximum a university can take from a law school for overhead to 20 percent of law school revenue. With the exception of WJLA-TV Channel 7 and Legal Times, the local news media decided that massive fraud in a local university does not merit attention. Score one for Trachtenberg! He may not have the last laugh as continued protests and litigation over this issue loom in the future.
Dolan may want to re-evaluate his comparison of Trachtenberg with Woodrow Wilson and Dwight Eisenhower. It seems to me he bears a greater likeness to P.T. Barnum, who said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
Law student, George Washington University, Adams Morgan