Well, hooray for George Washington University President Lloyd Elliott, who made the unpopular decision -- and stuck by it when asked again -- not to turn the Smith Center over to the media during the summit {Metro, Nov. 17}.

Hooray for Mr. Elliott for weighing the needs of students against the potential disruption, and the dubious "value" to the students of having the media on campus, and coming out with a firm no. Boo to the White House and its spokesman, Marlin Fitzwater, for resorting to intimidation and scolding by suggesting the rejection constituted a "black eye on . . . the international studies program." Poppycock.

Here we have a man with the courage of his convictions. It looks to me like either political party could put this man to good use -- the Republicans as an appointee, or the Democrats as a presidential candidate.

It's hard to believe, with all the federal buildings in town, that there's no place for a media center. But if that's the case, why can't the White House go bully the D.C. Convention Center to cancel the car show and leave the university alone? SUSANNE McCOY Washington

In response to GW's refusal to host the media in its gymnasium during the superpower summit, Marlin Fitzwater accused the university of taking a "narrow-minded attitude" and called the refusal "a black eye" for its international studies program.

I am a GW law student with a strong interest in international relations and international law, and therefore have as much to gain from a boost in GW's already considerable reputation in the world-affairs area as anyone. Nevertheless, I wholeheartedly support President Lloyd Elliott's decision to reject the government's plea.

While I regret that my school cannot serve the federal government this time around, I believe that this decision reveals the high character of GW's priorities. Hosting the summit would have resulted in large crowds, traffic jams, police lines, the closure of most athletic facilities and a general administrative mess -- the week before final exams.

Many students work very hard to prepare for these exams. In rejecting the summit, Mr. Elliott chose the preservation of academic achievement over publicity that would have been dubiously earned through the fortuitous circumstance of having a gymnasium near the White House. Contrary to Mr. Fitzwater's remarks, I believe Mr. Elliott's decision will result in a great deal of respect for the university. ADAM F. GREENSTONE Washington

I find it ironic that representatives of the White House are "scolding" GW and not respecting Lloyd Elliott's decision. Education is both "practice and preaching." Harmonious coexistence, whether in the family, community, nation or world, is based on freedom of choice and respect for one another's rights. These are basic social values that are nurtured in all educational settings and certainly must be practiced by leaders and others with influence. LANA O. SHEKIM Washington