Now approaching the end of his first year at The George Washington University, President Thomas LeBlanc said his top priority over the past year has been to learn as much as he could about what makes this university special, comparing the process to “drinking from a fire hose.”
In an interview with WRGW News, LeBlanc said that he is conscious of George Washington’s motto (“deeds, not words”) and that, “after a while, the talk has to turn to very specific actions that I can help facilitate or help lead.” He continued, saying, “I’m happy to say that we’ve already taken some steps that will be very beneficial even though I’m still in the first year and still really learning about the institution.”
When asked about the departures of the Vice Provost of Student Affairs and the Associate Dean of Students, LeBlanc said that there will be “comings and goings in any organization.”
As for the future of student experience at the University, LeBlanc said “we are developing principles around the student experience, and we will build an organization that supports it.” He did not offer any timeline on the announcement for a new Vice Provost of Student Affairs.
Regarding the racist Snapchat post made in February involving members of GW’s Alpha Phi chapter, LeBlanc clarified that when he made a commitment to bring specific plans to the University community within 45 days, that this was meant in business days and to expect communications “in the next week or two.” He also made it clear that the University administration is making bold moves and taking actions in response to the incident.
Dr. LeBlanc responded to a question about students’ responses to Dr. Marcia McNutt being selected as commencement speaker by saying that the selection process involves a balancing act of availability of speakers, an individual’s willingness to speak and whether or not the University believes that they are “an appropriate carrier of the message [they] want to have on commencement.”
After the interview, a University spokesperson gave this statement to WRGW News:
“The university is proud to welcome Dr. Marcia McNutt, the first female president of the National Academy of Sciences, former editor-in-chief of Science, and a renowned geophysicist to speak at commencement. Dr. McNutt has been a leader on behalf of women in science and held influential and prestigious positions throughout her career. We are additionally thrilled that three-time Olympic medalist and proud GW alumna Elana Meyers Taylor will be part of the commencement program.”
The full interview can be found here: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/14468519.