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Because of its location in a large and globally prominent city, the GW student, faculty, and staff populations are quite diverse in nature. People at GW are generally seen as being quite tolerant of different cultures and situations, and there are many opportunities on campus for students to interact with other students of both similar and different backgrounds and beliefs.
Although the stereotypical GW student is from New Jersey, New York, or Boston, GW consists of students and faculty from around the United States and around the globe. Most students from the United States come from outside of the District of Columbia but on the East Coast. Because much of the student body consists of affluent students, distance is not always the biggest concern for students when applying to GW. Many students frequently take plane rides home over breaks. Freshmen and sophomores are allowed cars on campus, but many students find it expensive and cumbersome to have a vehicle on campus, so most students do not travel home on the weekends, even if they live within a few hours of the university.
In 2008, the University accepted students from more than 1,300 high schools in 48 states and 48 countries. The only two states without representation from the class of 2012 are North Dakota and Wyoming. New Englanders make up 18% of the class, 38% from the mid-Atlantic area, 14% from the South, 8% from the Midwestern region, and about 12% from the Western and Rocky states. 9% of the incoming class of 2012 are from U.S. territories and abroad, an apparent increase from the freshman class of 2007-2008.
Being the second most expensive universities in the world as of 2009, GW can mostly be afforded by high-middle or high economic classes. Many students around campus TRY to sport expensive clothing and/or accessories as well as flashy cars. However, despite it's expensive price, GW also gives out the most financial aid of any school in the US. Therefore one can usually find other students who are not rolling in wealth if needed, but it does not seem to be a huge diversity issue at GW.
Most GW students are white, although as mentioned before, there is a large foreign student population consisting of students from many different countries, perhaps in largest quantities from eastern Asia and India. There is a moderately small population of African-Americans at GW. The following are the racial statistics on the freshman class of 2007-2008 according to Collegeboard.com:
- <1% American Indian/Alaskan Native
- 11% Asian/Pacific Islander
- 6% Black/Non-Hispanic
- 6% Hispanic
- 60% White/Non-Hispanic
- 4% Non-Resident Alien
- 13% Race/ethnicity unreported
The 2007-2008 freshman class was 56% women and 44% men.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender population at GW is usually considered to be quite large compared with other universities, probably because of the liberal-leaning attitude and tolerance of the university population as a whole. In one study by psychology professor Steven Forssell, 15% of his students who responded to an online survey reported being gay or bisexual. The LGBT student organization on campus, Allied in Pride, is a strongly visible gay rights activism and support group.
Main article: Religion
There are large populations of religious minorities at GW. The Jewish population at GW is probably the largest minority religious population on campus, and has its own campus foundation, GW Hillel. The Islamic and Hindu religious populations at GW are smaller but still visible on campus, each with their own student organizations and groups. There are many Christian student organizations on campus, including the Newman Catholic Student Center, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and Agape Christian Campus Fellowship.
The Princeton Review in 2008 named GW as the second "Most Politically Active" university in the United States. The main university student political organizations, the College Republicans and the College Democrats, both received awards from their respective national organizations for being particularly active and successful in 2007. Generally, like most universities, GW is seen as a university with liberal-leaning student and faculty populations.
Discrimination and ControversiesEdit
Main article: Controversies
A number of posters in October 2007 surfaced at GW satirizing the "Islamofascism Awareness Week," which was attributed to the GWU Young American's Foundation. On October 9, the GW Hatchet reported that the posters were not the work of the YAF, but rather an attempt to discredit the YAF for their involvement in promoting the Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. Later that day, seven students advocating against alleged discrimination inherent in Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week emailed their statement of responsibility regarding the posters to the GW Hatchet. Adding further to the controversy, the president of the school, Steven Knapp, announced that he would not discipline the seven students who set up the hoax fliers despite previous promises of disciplinary actions, as well as increasing calls for action by the YAF for their expulsion.