U.S. News and World Report has decided to reclassify GW as “unranked” in light of the University’s disclosure of an error in the way one statistic, percentage of incoming freshmen who graduated in the top 10% of their high school class, had been reported. This unfortunate move on the part of USNWR is explained by its director of data research here.
I’d like to offer a few thoughts about this story to our students and their families, and to our faculty, staff, national council members, current and future employers of our graduates, alumni, and other friends in the community.
First, we can all be proud of the way President Knapp, Provost Lerman, and Vice Provost Maltzman handled the discovery that data had been reported incorrectly: they came right out and said so, voluntarily, quickly, and with complete transparency. We should applaud this decision, which included a full independent audit and restructuring of internal oversight procedures, because it makes clear that for GW ethics precedes expediency. As President Knapp notes in his public statement to the community, “we [disclosed the mistake] without regard to any possible action that U.S. News might take as a result…”
Regardless of your ideological or political preferences, this year’s election results were a powerful reminder of what’s special and perhaps unique about the American system. Just over the bridge from here, “swing-state” Virginians swung toward President Obama and elected Democrat Tim Kaine to be their Senator, while in the Richmond area they overwhelmingly voted for Republican (majority leader) Eric Cantor. Up the road, our friends in Maryland approved gay marriage, rights for immigrant children – and casino gambling. Californians, seemingly fed up with years of education cuts, supported Governor Brown’s plan to raise taxes to support needed reinvestment in what was once among the best university systems in the world; and they rejected the proposal to abolish capital punishment. In Florida, where we still are waiting to see where the state’s swing will land when the final votes are counted, an initiative to overturn the prohibition on public funding of religious organizations failed; as did a proposed amendment that would have banned use of state funds for abortion. (Maybe I’m out of touch, but I don’t think I would have predicted these outcomes from Floridians!) Voters in DC expressed their concerns for good government by approving draconian measures authorizing the Council to expel members for “gross misconduct,” requiring the mayor or a council member to resign immediately if convicted of a felony, and prohibiting elected officials convicted of felonies from ever holding office again.