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George Washington University

GWU Campus News

Officials, students celebrate Knapp's legacy at farewell event
by The GW Hatchet
May 08, 2017
“Students, faculty and staff paid tribute to outgoing University President Steven Knapp and celebrated his legacy at a ceremony in the Smith Center Saturday afternoon.
In his farewell address, Knapp, who is set to step down as president this summer, thanked faculty and members of the Board of Trustees for their support and spoke of his pride in watching GW’s growth and development during his decade-long tenure as University president.
“It has been an honor for Diane and me to serve this University and see it continue on to even greater heights,” he said, referring his wife Diane Knapp. “We’ll be watching that progress with great interest and we will always regard this university as our cultural and intellectual home at the heart of our nation’s capital.”
At the event, guests snacked on hors d’ oeuvres and listened to a performance by the GW Jazz All Stars, a band made up of both students and faculty. Knapp, who told the Washington Business Journal last year that he originally aspired to be a jazz drummer, took to the drums for part of the performance.
Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor Student leaders pet Knapp’s dog Ruffles at the event held in the Smith Center Saturday.
Speakers cited Knapp’s efforts to improve the University’s research reputation, expand its fundraising capacity and build relationships with the D.C. community as examples of the legacy he will leave at GW.
“President Knapp has unequivocally surpassed our expectations in all three areas,” Board Chairman Nelson Carbonell said. “Countless generations of students will benefit from his legacy for many years to come.”
Ward 2 D.C. Council member Jack Evans thanked Knapp for the University’s role in creating job opportunities around the city and for helping people in need. To honor Knapp’s tenure he presented the outgoing president with a ceremonial resolution declaring May 6 a D.C. holiday in Knapp’s honor.
“We’ve seen the University expand and it has just made such a difference to this community and to the city as a whole,” he said.
Alumni Association President Jeremy Gosbee recognized Knapp’s international outreach and focus on keeping alumni engaged in University news and events. Knapp has traveled extensively throughout his presidency to expand GW’s global footprint and court donors.
“He’s traveled countless times all around the world to connect with our alumni and he’s our strongest ambassador when he encourages us to get involved on campus,” he said.
Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor Knapp poses with former Student Association President Erika Feinman and Executive Vice President Thomas Falcigno.
Speakers also recognized Diane Knapp, who has focused on developing sustainable food options during her time on campus. Diane Knapp leads GW’s Urban Food Task Force, which hosts events and provides students, faculty and staff with information about healthy food, and works with the campus GroW Garden.
Former Student Association President Erika Feinman and former Executive Vice President Thomas Falcigno concluded the program by presenting the Knapp family with an orchid, meant to symbolize their commitment to growing the University.
“Many of our projects would not have been possible without their support,” Feinman said. “Thank you so much for your service.””

Student arrested for drug possession in District House
by The GW Hatchet
May 05, 2017
“The University Police Department arrested a student last week after finding marijuana and cocaine in his room in District House, according to a Metropolitan Police Department report.
Kaigen Jones-Talerico, 22, was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a controlled substance, according to an MPD Second District arrest report.
He pled not guilty to the charges and will appear in D.C. Superior Court on May 30, according to court documents.
UPD officers seized five storage bags containing leafy green substance, 29 vaping vials, a container with white powdery substance, another container with a white powdery residue, four blue pills, two scales and a bag with empty colored pill bottles and capsules, according to the report.
On April 28, UPD officers were sent to District House for a residence hall room search. At about 12:15 p.m., the two officers and area coordinator Ana Leskanich contacted Jones-Talerico and his roommate and asked they leave the room, the report states.
Jones-Talerico allegedly told police that he had drugs in the room and was distributing them. He showed the officers where the substances were located, according to the document.
An officer then tested the substances and found that they were marijuana and cocaine, according to the report,
At 1:15 p.m., MPD was notified, and when an MPD officer arrived, the student said he was feeling ill. The MPD officer requested an EMeRG at 1:48 p.m., but EMeRG decided it was not necessary to provide the student with medical treatment, the report states.
Shortly after 2 p.m., an MPD transport vehicle arrived and police took Jones-Talerico to the MPD Second District station for processing. Leskanich recovered the evidence and photos were taken of the seized items, according to the report.”

RAs to hold unionization election next week
by The GW Hatchet
Apr 26, 2017
“Updated: April 25, 2017 at 10:34 p.m.
GW resident advisers will vote next Wednesday to determine whether or not to unionize, organizers confirmed Tuesday.
A labor board ruled Friday that RAs at private universities are employees and have the right to formally organize, originally setting the election date for May 5.
Calla Gilson, one of the unionization organizers and a former RA in Shenkman and Somers halls, said Friday that organizers were trying to push the election date to May 17, after final exams.
She said the National Labor Relations Board set the date Monday night and that it is no longer negotiable.
If more than 50 percent of RAs who participate in Wednesday’s election vote to unionize, the advisers will form a union and collectively bargain their employment contracts with the University.
Gilson said there will be places for RAs to vote on both the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses. The locations will be open for several time slots throughout the day, she said.
GW RAs partnered with a local labor group last year and filed a petition to unionize in November. RAs said they were unsure what actions could cause them to be fired and that they wanted to negotiate clearer contracts.
The University appealed the petition and contested efforts to organize, saying that RAs are not GW employees. The NLRB heard the case Dec. 7.
Ahead of the vote, organizers of the unionization movement are hosting a series of town halls with RAs this week to give information about the effort and address concerns with the movement.”

Former press secretary and homeland security secretary talk compromise
by The GW Hatchet
Apr 25, 2017
“Democrat and former White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest squared off with Tom Ridge, a republican and the first Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, at the annual Only at GW debate Sunday.
The debate was moderated by CNN’s Chief Political Correspondent and GW alumna Dana Bash. Earnest and Ridge debated on Obamacare, the proposed border wall and the complicated process for compromise between parties.
Here are some highlights from the event.
1. Working towards compromise
The debate began with the two speakers discussing how the major political parties could work together.
“I don’t think ‘compromise’ should be an attack word,” Ridge said. “The Constitution is a series of compromises and those who put their arms in a warm embrace around the Constitution ‘ought to read it.”
Both Earnest and Ridge went on to discuss how the current political climate came to be. Earnest said he believed it became most noticeable after Obama’s election in 2008.
“We saw Congressional Republicans engage in a specific strategy to put opposition to Barack Obama above all else,” he said.
Ridge, on the other hand, said that the disagreement was the result of concerns over the effectiveness of policies like the stimulus program.
“There was legitimate debate about whether paying people to install windows and weatherization was really the kind of stimulus you needed,” he said.
2. Debating the border wall
The debate then moved to President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall and the threat by the administration to cause a partial shutdown of the government if Congress fails to fund the wall in the next spending bill. Ridge said Trump’s advisers should redirect their focus to other issues of concern more relevant to the average American.
“Mr. President, you want to do Obamacare this week, you want to do taxes this week,” Ridge said. “Let’s not get it all torn asunder by focusing one this one small item, important to you, but not so much for the average American and for the government to keep functioning.”
Earnest said the fact that Trump demanded the federal government help fund the wall hurt his argument.
“I feel like I would be particularly challenged to make an argument that made sense to shut down the government over funding for a wall that I had spent the last two years saying that somebody else was going to pay for,” Earnest said.
3. Defending Obamacare
The conversation then moved to Obamacare and the political figures discussed its effectiveness. Although Ridge said that Republican leadership failed to provide an alternative to the bill, Earnest defended it.
Earnest said that Obamacare reflected the free market ethos that Republicans value.
“Obamacare is actually centered on a Republican idea,” Earnest said. “This idea of free markets, competition and fostering that kind of competition to drive down prices to benefit the consumer.”
Freshman Emma Young said that the debate was a good break from the combative discourse of the past few months.
“It was certainly a relief to not see them arguing the whole time,” she said.”

Man arrested after allegedly punching right-wing activist at demonstration
by The GW Hatchet
Apr 25, 2017
“A man was arrested by the University Police Department Sunday afternoon after he allegedly hit another man during an anti-fascist demonstration in front of Lisner Auditorium.
Sydney Ramsey-LaRee, 24, was charged with simple assault after allegedly biking up to the demonstration and hitting Jack Posobiec, the Washington bureau chief of Rebel Media, a Canadian right-wing media outlet, according to a Metropolitan Police Department arrest report.
Posobiec showed up at the demonstration with a friend and was filming his interactions with the D.C. Anti-Fascist Coalition – a left-wing activist group – when Ramsey-LaRee allegedly punched him in the hand as he was recording video on his phone at about 3:50 p.m.
UPD officers stationed across the street at the corner of H and 21st streets responded immediately after seeing Ramsey-LaRee punch Posobiec. They arrested Ramsey-LaRee and took him to MPD’s Second District station, the report said.
The man was not affiliated with the D.C. Anti-Fascist Coalition, members of the group said at the scene.
Posobiec said the man rode up on a bicycle and after members of the D.C. Anti-Fascist Coalition called him a “Nazi,” he punched Posobiec in the hand.
“He screamed ‘Where’s the Nazi? Where’s the Nazi? And then a bunch of them pointed at me and said “‘He’s the Nazi. He’s the Nazi,’” he said.
Posobiec said he wanted to see what the anti-fascist activists were doing on campus and was trying to hand out Pepsi to the demonstrators – in a nod to a widely vilified online advertisement from the soda brand depicting protesters and police sharing the drink together. He said the demonstrators didn’t take any soda.
Members of the D.C. Anti-Fascist Coalition were holding a community outreach demonstration to recruit new members, Jason Charter, a member of the group, said. Representatives from the group wore masks over their faces and handed out fliers to passing pedestrians.
The group came to campus in response to signs promoting the United States as a “white nation” that were posted in various places in the D.C. and Maryland area, including on campus last month, Charter said.
“Since this has been as the center of activism for many years and it’s known as the most politically active campus in the country, we thought it would be a good place to go,” he said.
Lacy MacAuley, a member of the D.C. Anti-Fascist Coalition, said the man pushed the video camera away because he didn’t want to be videotaped.
“What happened was a whole lot of nothing,” she said.
MacAuley said Posbiec and his friend came to the demonstration to antagonize the anti-fascist activists.
“They just came to harass us, and unfortunately that’s what’s happening right now,” she said.”

Men's basketball inks third recruit
by The GW Hatchet
Apr 25, 2017
“Six-foot-three-inch guard Terry Nolan Jr. committed to GW for men’s basketball Monday afternoon.
Nolan announced his commitment for the 2017-18 season on Twitter.
“After recent discussion I have decided to close my recruitment. I thank everyone that has recruited me since I opened my recruitment,” Nolan said. “I would like to announce I’m committed to George Washington.”
The Our Lady of Mount Carmel guard, who previously verbally committed to Chattanooga last September, earned second-team All-Baltimore Catholic League honors his junior year.
Former Chattanooga head coach Matt McCall, who recruited Nolan, is now at the helm of Massachusetts after being hired March 29.
Nolan joins guards Justin Mazzulla, who signed a National Letter of Intent in November 2016, and Maceo Jack, who signed an NLI in January.
After the announcement, GW and head coach Maurice Joseph now have four open scholarships for the upcoming season.”

Staff member arrested on child pornography charges no longer employed at GW
by The GW Hatchet
Apr 25, 2017
“A male staff member arrested by federal agents earlier this month on child pornography charges is no longer employed by GW, University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar confirmed Monday.
The staff member was arrested on April 12 for possessing and distributing child pornography, University Police Department Detective Matthew Robinson said in a meeting with The Hatchet.
Robinson said a federal agency contacted UPD about the arrest.
Csellar said in an email the man was arrested at work, but the crime occurred off campus.
She declined to provide further details citing a University policy not to comment on pending litigation.
The man was arrested by agents from the Homeland Security Investigations unit of the Department of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Matthew Bourke, a spokesman for the department, said earlier this month.
He said the arrest on GW’s campus was part of an ongoing investigation and he could not comment further on the case.
James Levinson contributing reporting.”

Sustainability affinity aims for zero-waste living
by The GW Hatchet
Mar 09, 2017
“As members of the sustainability affinity in District House prepare to live in the space for a second year, they have a new mission in mind: to live completely waste-free.
Leaders of the FoBoZero affinity say the 16 residents plan to create no trash and limit their use of nonrenewable energy sources to strengthen the impact of the environmental community on campus and educate more students about sustainable living.
Izzy Moody, the vice president of Green GW who helped coordinate the affinity but does not live there, said that during the first year, members of the affinity lived an eco-friendly lifestyle by recycling carefully and using the GroW Garden to compost food waste. Next year, the affinity’s members will use a “more intense” zero-waste plan, Moody said.
Moody said she hopes next year’s residents will encourage each other by hosting workshops on green living and composting and cooking together.
She added that next year’s affinity will feature a more intense effort than this year’s because more residents happen to be members of sustainability organizations or academic programs.
Dani Makous, a junior and the coordinator of the affinity, said educating people on how to reduce waste may should be easy because the people who choose to live there want to make changes to their daily behavior, she said.
“Being around people who are at least committing to learn about it and recognizing that they have more to learn does foster the kind of environment you need to grow and be better in your behavior,” she said.
Makous said that this year, affinity residents had conversations about the kinds of products and practices they could use to have a more sustainable lifestyle.
“Teaching them one thing that they didn’t know when they came in was important,” Makous said.
But there will be limits to how waste-free the students can be – the electricity and water in the affinity are supplied by GW, meaning students have little control over how they are produced, Makous said.
Dyan Harden, a front desk educator at Ecocycle Solutions, a non-profit organization focused on recycling and zero-waste, said transitioning to a waste-free lifestyle can be hard for college students because of the electronic waste they produce, like ink cartridges and used cell phones.
“It’s very expensive to recycle electronics,” she said. “Electronics have a lot of hazardous materials in them like heavy metals.”
She added composting reduces the impact of waste more than most people think, even though waste being composted is biodegradable.
“Because of the way landfills are made, they don’t biodegrade in the way they normally would,” Harden said. “It produces a lot of methane, which is one of the biggest gases of concern for climate change.”
Robyn Hathcock, a zero-waste administrative services manager at the University of Oregon, said going zero-waste in college is challenging, but that it’s a good time for students to try it out, especially if they are living with other people aiming for a zero-waste lifestyle.
“People are there to learn and experience new things and be exposed to opportunities and experiences that they may not have had available to them where they were coming from,” Hathcock said.”

DC officials look to boost national support for statehood
by The GW Hatchet
Mar 09, 2017
“Updated: March 9, 2017 at 1:56 a.m.
Four months since 80 percent of D.C. residents voted in favor of D.C. becoming a state, a Republican Congress stands in the way of statehood.
Although it is unlikely the bill Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., proposed last Wednesday will pass a Republican Congress and president, D.C. officials and statehood supporters said they will continue to counter House Republicans who attempt to intervene with local politics, and that they will make the statehood campaign national.
“It’s an uphill climb, and we know that, but the bill keeps the momentum going for statehood when we have the requisite parties in place,” Norton said in an interview.
Norton presented the Washington D.C. Admission Act with 60 percent of Democrats in the House of Representatives as original co-sponsors, after introducing seven similar bills that were unsuccessful in past Congresses, Norton and Benjamin Fritsch, her communications director, said.
Norton said leaders of the movement are working to get more Democratic support and expect most Democrats to sign on as additional co-sponsors by the end of the year. She added that no Republicans currently support the bill, which she expected because of contention between parties.
Republicans have historically opposed statehood – D.C. is heavily liberal, guaranteeing Democrats additional votes in Congress if the District were to become a state. And the move would strip federal lawmakers of their ability to pass legislation that impacts D.C. – a move by legislators who want to curry favor without having to pass national laws.
The purpose of proposing the bill was not to get it through the Republican Congress – a goal Norton said will not be reached – but to keep the effort moving forward and to put more pressure on Republicans, she said.
The District has a larger population than two states and pays more in federal taxes than 22 states, according to The Washington Post. Even though the District has a Congressional representative, Norton is only able to vote in committees and not on the House floor.
But a legislative approach may not be possible as long as Republicans hold the majority – GOP leaders stated in the party platform at July’s Republican National Convention that D.C.’s statehood should be earned through a Constitutional amendment, with 75 percent of states approving the measure.
D.C. Shadow Senator Paul Strauss said for now, he and other statehood leaders will combat what he calls an intrusion into local politics and gain more support across the country so the effort might succeed during the next session of Congress.
“The immediate plans in this session of Congress are to be successful at beating back Congressional intrusion into the home-rule affairs of the District,” he said.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R–Utah, attempted to strike down a “death by dignity” bill, designed to allow doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients, last month. But that bill never made it to the House floor, and the law went into effect Feb. 18, The Washington Times and the Post reported.
Chaffetz did not respond to request for comment.
Under the Home Rule Act passed in 1973, Congress reviews and approves all D.C. legislation and its budget.
Strauss said he thought Congress’ attempts to stop the assisted suicide bill were an inappropriate intervention in local government.
“I expect that Congress will cause problems for the District of Columbia any chance it gets because they seem more focused on micromanaging one jurisdiction instead of solving problems for the entire country,” he said.
Some District residents have combatted what they call Republican overreach into local government affairs.
Josh Burch, the co-founder of Neighbors United for DC Statehood, said that in the past two months, D.C. residents and citizens of other states have contacted his organization asking how they can help.
Burch said his organization will continue to find co-sponsors and “that one brave Republican” to support the bill.
“People are realizing that only statehood will set free and if we want it we have to work for it and work hard for it,” he said.”

Professors shouldn't require sick notes for miss classes
by The GW Hatchet
Mar 09, 2017
“Living in a residence hall is an easy way to quickly spread germs. Not only are people in close quarters, but students’ immune systems are weakened from a lack of sleep and stress, especially around midterms. When students do get sick and have to miss classes, they have to work around professors’ preferences for making up assignments – which often isn’t as easy or accommodating as it could be, especially when it comes to getting doctor’s notes.
Class attendance is a significant part of students’ grades in some classes, so professors require doctor’s notes before they let students miss class or make up an assignment without a grade penalty. But each trip to the Colonial Health Center costs $30, which is an out-of-pocket expense for students, unless they have GW health insurance .
Getting official proof of an illness isn’t affordable, and having a cold doesn’t always warrant a trip to the doctor. It is fairly easy to tell the difference between having a bad cold that requires extra rest and fluids and needing professional medical attention. It still may be best for ill students, and their peers, to skip class when they’re sick, even if they don’t need to see a doctor.
Professors can help make sure germs don’t spread and that ill students aren’t overwhelmed by missing class by not requiring doctor’s notes. Getting official documentation is an undue burden on ill students, so professors should be more flexible.
Going to the Colonial Health Center is especially expensive for low-income students. If GW wants to shed its image of being a “rich kid school,” officials should eliminate extra costs, like the Colonial Health Center’s.
The appointment expense isn’t necessarily Colonial Health Center’s fault. Although the $30 cost may be high for some students, having a flat appointment rate allows students go to the doctor for any number of reasons. If there were to be different prices for different types of appointments, scheduling appointments and the process to check in and out would be trickier.
The Colonial Health Center should lower costs for shorter visits. Peer institutions, like Boston and Emory universities, don’t have appointment fees at all. At BU , students aren’t charged unless they need a physical exam or additional services. At Emory , medical visits are included in students’ cost of attendance. Like our peer institutions, GW should find a way to either reduce prices for certain services or include medical coverage in our overall cost of attendance.
Clearly, this is a prominent issue on campus. A few Student Association candidates have even made it a point in their platforms to lower Colonial Health Center fees. Ideas that have been floated by candidates include waiving a fee for appointments at the Colonial Health Center that are less than 15 minutes and free notes for class excuses.
If it’s unreasonable to change health center costs, professors should instead not require sick notes. It’s understandable that professors want sick notes – they don’t want to waste time on writing make-up exams and don’t want to give students a free ride to skipping class. But if students are really sick but don’t need a doctor or can’t afford to see one, professors should be understanding and not require an excuse.
Realistically, most students will get sick one or two times during a semester. And in many cases, students don’t want to miss a class or test. Although there will always be students who manipulate the system, most just need flexibility when dealing with an illness. But when students feel that they need to attend class, even if they are sick, peers are more likely to catch that illness. GW should help students stay healthy, and both the Colonial Health Center and professors can help do that.
Sara Brouda, a sophomore majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet opinions writer.
Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.”

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