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A Message from the President
November 15, 2011
President Steven Knapp sends a letter to the George Washington community.
Recent events remind us that we are living in an era in which universities and institutions in general are subject to intense scrutiny. It is always tempting, whenever a problem emerges and especially in today's environment, to circle the proverbial wagons and minimize the significance of what has occurred. But that temptation has to be resisted.
In any large and complex institution, there will always be surprises that point to the need for better systems, more communication, and a renewed emphasis on core values. The best we can do in these or any times is to remain consistent in following our principles, no matter what the consequences may be in terms of potential criticism in the media or elsewhere. This means we all need to ask the tough questions and take on the responsibility, when necessary, of reporting incidents that are inconsistent with our shared values. The result may be painful in the short run, but the long-term consequence will be a university even stronger than it is now.
I hope you will not hesitate to report a concern to a supervisor or a university administrator. If you suspect that criminal activity may have occurred, I urge you to call the George Washington Police Department (you can do so anonymously at 202-994-TIPS) or the Metropolitan Police. The university also provides an anonymous "hotline" -- officially, the Compliance Help and Referral Line (1-888-508-5275) -- through which faculty, staff and students can report anonymously any unethical or illegal activities they observe or hear about.