City Desk

Chatter: Howard Hawks

eduissueWhat you said about what we said last week

When it comes to the state of Howard University’s finances, the school’s trustees and administrators seem to be of two minds, as Aaron Wiener reported in a piece in last week’s Education Issue. It may be unclear whether Howard is struggling or merely sputtering, but our readers still had plenty of advice to dispense.

“I wonder if they could move some student housing to close-in properties on or near campus and get rid of some that are further out,” wrote JGK. “For example, there’s a pretty massive dorm at 16th and Euclid that would probably be of interest to developers.”

David C offered a drastic fix. “We have two struggling universities in D.C.: Howard and the University of D.C. Would it make sense to combine them? Make Howard D.C.’s state school?” Much more extreme: “The old guard may not like to hear this, but maybe Howard needs to downsize and sell its campus,” wrote New Urbanist in DC. “Just think of the potential for vibrant, more upscale mixed-use development that would add to D.C.’s tax rolls...”

“Bzzzz! No! Wrong answer!” wrote HU’s BABAY. “Howard University has been a major draw for students for nearly 150 years now—students who come to Washington, eventually become residents, raise a family, and spend their income in a manner that has a citywide economic benefit. ”

The College Cry

Students at some D.C. universities are agitating for a greater say in city policymaking, Sarah Kaplan reported in her contribution to The Education Issue. Readers like Jim Ed weren’t having it: “So nearly all of them aren’t registered voters or citizens of the District? Then they should be treated exactly like the downtown office commuters who don’t pay towards the city coffers; their influence can go as far as their jerkass Congressman back home in Topeka is willing to meddle in District affairs. Otherwise, they can piss off. I do get a huge chuckle hearing the scions of the upper-middle class complain about being treated like second-class citizens, though. How dare the local residents who are invested in the community have a bigger say than I? MY DAD IS THE 3RD BIGGEST DIVORCE LAWYER IN THE GREATER GRAND RAPIDS AREA, AND I WILL BE RESPECTED AS SUCH.”

Heh. But reader DC quickly poked holes in Jim Ed’s argument. “Agreed. I think how much a resident had invested should directly correlate to his vote. If your house is worth $1 million, you should have more votes than some plebe student renter. Similarly, if your house is worth $5 million, you should get even more votes. That just makes sense, seeing as the starting assertion is that nobody should have a voice if they’re not ‘invested’ in the community? Why stop at half-measures like one man/one vote? If we can ignore people for being younger or for being students, why not ignore them for being poorer or (let’s just face it) blacker?”

Ratcheting up the level of sarcasm even further, Jim Ed replied: “You’re right. The plight of the overwhelmingly wealthy and white students comfortably ensconced at private schools west of the park is JUST LIKE the struggles faced by poor minority residents in the eastern half of the city. They’re basically the same.”

Department of Corrections

An article about D.C. Public Schools’ compliance with Title IX regulations contained two reporting errors. It incorrectly reported that the Title IX High School Accountability Act died in Congress; in fact, the bill died in a D.C. Council committee. It also misidentified the National Women’s Law Center as the National Women’s Legal Center. And due to a reporting error, last week’s Chatter page misspelled the last name of Washington Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt.

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