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George Washington University

Sports
GWU Campus News
Importance
1
Underperforming softball team hopes for clutch final stretch
by The GW Hatchet

Apr 18, 2014
“Media Credit: Katherine Keimig | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Sophomore Morgan Matetic leads the team with five home runs this season.
At the beginning of its season, the women’s softball team hung a sign in the locker room that read “Road to Oklahoma.” The team had set its sights on the program’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Women’s Softball World Series.
While it would be a hefty feat for any program to make it to college softball’s dream destination, the opportunity was within GW’s reach. The team was coming off its best season in program history. It was picked to finish second in the Atlantic 10 standings, and its entire pitching staff and several offensive standouts were returning.
Now, with 11 games left to play in the season, the 16-24-1 Colonials find themselves dead last in the A-10 standings, fighting just to grab a spot in the conference tournament.
This time last season, the Colonials were in a similar position, and they responded with the longest winning streak in program history, with 12-straight wins. But now, an underperforming pitching staff and lackluster defense has held GW back from capturing on the season they wanted.
Offense gets the job done
The Colonials' offense has served as the team’s bright spot for much of the season. GW ranks third in the conference in total runs scored, total hits and total bases. They rank second in the conference in runs batted in, and first in the conference in steals.
Freshman Megan Linn emerged early in the season as a big bat for fourth-year head coach Stacey Schramm and has continued her tear for the Colonials. The freshman ranks in the top five of the conference in runs batted in, runs scored and hits.
“We’re doing our job offensively,” Schramm said. “Megan Linn – our lead off, a freshman – I mean every time she gets on, I feel like there is an opportunity for her to either hit it out, hit a double, whatever.”
The Colonials have also received a boost from sophomore infielder Morgan Matetic, who after batting just .086 last season is batting .333 and leads the team in home runs, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.
But even with GW’s young offensive bright spots, its producers from last year have struggled to carry over last season’s success.
Junior catcher Samantha Dos Santos has struggled to find a rhythm at the plate, batting just .184 with 21 strikeouts, after ending last season with 26 total.
While GW’s offense is powered by the team’s young talent, the Colonials rely on experienced hitters when the team is down late. The team is just 1-19 when trailing after four innings.
Junior Victoria Valos, one of the few upperclassmen who has had a solid offensive season, said the team too easily loses momentum.
“Hitting is very contagious and we feed off each other. When one person gets a hit we can keep going in that same inning,” said Valos, who tied the GW career home run record Wednesday against Hampton after she belted her twenty-sixth career shot. “On the flipside of that, if we don’t get that base hit or if we don’t get our leadoff on and reach those offensive goals, we feed off that energy too.”
Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo
Highs and lows on the mound
Senior Courtney Martin, the veteran pitcher who was slated to be the Colonials' ace this season, has not lived up to expectations. Martin finished last season with a 14-13 record and a 2.10 ERA, earning herself a spot on the A-10 First Team all-conference.
In her senior season, though, Martin has floundered, pitching only 88.2 innings this season, while racking up 100 walks and a 5.53 ERA. Last season, Martin only walked 53 batters over 193.2 innings pitched.
“It just seems like when she throws the ball, automatically in her head, it’s like, ‘Oh, no, I don’t want to walk this kid’ instead of ‘I need to come back and throw a strike,’” Schramm said.
But the coach said she was confident Martin could get over her funk.
“She’s our strongest kid, as far as physically and mentally, so we are still depending on her to kind of overcome this little mental battle that she’s having and be there for her team,” she said.
Meanwhile, sophomore Meghan Rico has stepped up her performance on the mound and earned more playing time. Rico has recorded a 3.96 ERA through 159 innings on the season. Rico leads the conference with 135 strikeouts.
But with the long days and extra innings have come a few hiccups.
Instead of switch starting pitchers in between games as Schramm did effectively last season, she has opted to let Rico pitch against opponents for the entire series. Against La Salle on April 5, Schramm stuck with Rico the entire day. But with this strategy comes a caveat. While GW won the first game convincingly, it dropped the second as La Salle’s batters were able to face Rico for the seventh or eighth time, allowing them to adjust their approach and take bigger risks in at the plate.
“At this point I have to do what’s best for the team, and if that means Meghan Rico starting and playing every inning, then that’s what it is,” Schramm said. “Courtney has to prove herself in practice everyday for me to feel like she can hold her own on the mound and get over this little piece of adversity that she’s got.”
Defensive breakdown
Good pitching must be complemented by solid fielding, another area in which the Colonials have yet to find their rhythm: They are tied for last in the conference in fielding percentage at .948.
The team has already committed 56 errors on the season, the second highest number in the conference. The team errors have resulted in 46 unearned runs so far this season, compared to last year’s 44 unearned runs. Schramm said the increase in errors stems from poor weather and field conditions early in the season, which kept them off the field.
“We really have not been able to consistently get outside on the dirt, on a full field, since two weeks ago,” Schramm said. “From February to the end of March we were outside maybe a total of six times. So it’s no surprise, you only get better and more consistent with practice and reps, and we weren’t able to do that.”
Players like Valos, the Colonials' shortstop, said the errors have a mental component as well. She leads GW with 17 errors, after only committing 11 errors last season.
“It’s not a matter of remembering those errors but more about forgetting those errors,” Valos said. “I think our defense has been struggling when our pitchers need us the most.”
The team and coaching staff have to pull off a major comeback to finish the season on a high note. With eight conference games still left against Saint Joseph’s, Saint Louis, Dayton and Rhode Island, the Colonials can make it to the conference tournament if they take the majority of those matchups.
“We haven’t given up yet,” Valos said. “We understand we only have eight [conference] games left, but we are going to give it our all and believe in each other and believe we can turn this season around.””

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Importance
1
Robin Jones Kerr: Remembering the Vern's charm in somber times
by The GW Hatchet

Apr 08, 2014
“Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo
Students make their way on and off the Vern Express on their way to class.
When I found out the University had assigned me housing on the Mount Vernon Campus for my freshman year, I was outraged. I had never imagined living anywhere other than Foggy Bottom for the duration of my GW career.
I thought the campus had few redeeming qualities. I didn’t see how I could possibly find my place in the cool crowd if I was miles away from those wild nights in Thurston Hall. I emailed dozens of strangers who had been lucky enough to be assigned to a main campus residence hall, begging them to swap rooms with me.
But my grandmother, with her steadfast wisdom, predicted that if I stayed where I was assigned, I just might end up loving it. At the time, I wrote her off. I knew she was ill-informed about GW, and besides, I was a bratty teenager, and I had convinced myself this housing assignment was the end of the world.
Now I’m not going to tell you that you should always listen to your elders, but damn, did she know what she was talking about. After just a few weeks of living on that 23-acre campus, I grew to love the Vern in a way I never could have imagined.
I often take these feelings of adoration for granted. But after the Vern was dealt a blow last week in losing its third student in as many months, I felt I needed to be intentional in recognizing them publicly.
I wanted to take some time to remember why I love that place, to remember all the amazing things it did for me and continues to do, in the hopes of shedding some light on the Vern in the midst of a dark news cycle.
The first time I ever set foot on the Vern was move-in day. As my mom drove our over-stuffed car up the rolling hills, past the flowering trees and red-brick buildings, she said, in a reverent tone, “Oh, this is very Robin.”
Media Credit: Nicole Radivilov | Hatchet Staff Photographer
West Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus.
That’s where my GW experience started. Since then, my time at this University has been tied to that little campus up on Foxhall Road. I got a job there that I’ll hold for four years. I made friends there that I’ve kept for three years. I fell in love with and for two years dated a boy I met there.
Even if I wasn’t a student staffer at Eckles Library, which requires me to take the Vern Express twice a week, I think I’d go to GW’s other campus just as often. There’s too much about the Vern that keeps me coming back.
There’s the immediate comfort I feel when I get there. As soon as I step off the bus, breathe the fresh air, feel beams of sunlight touch my face and see real green grass and trees, my shoulders drop and my jaw unclenches.
I’m also greeted by some of my favorite memories, like trudging from Somers Hall all the way down to Pelham Commons in West Hall for dinner almost every night of freshman year. Or the time I burst into my friends’ rooms and ripped open their curtains because it was snowing for the first time. I made us run out to the athletics field to play as if we had never seen snow before.
Some of my best memories are of just sitting around Somers’ second-floor common room on a Saturday night, when our Thurston counterparts were probably out getting drunk and buying greasy food at Carvings. We were content to just order good Chinese food and watch bad action-adventure flicks.
More than the memories, though, I think what keeps me coming back to the Vern is knowing that everything that was so comforting my freshman year. From the scenery to the campus staffers to the classic hang-out spots, it’s always right where I left it.
On Foggy Bottom, the campus changes with the seasons: New buildings rise each semester, conflicts with neighbors boil over, and with so many city and University employees traversing campus every day, it’s hard to keep track of which faces are familiar.
After what has been a tough semester for this campus and this school, we shouldn’t sideline or forget great stories about the Vern. Most students have at least a small connection to the campus, even if it’s just that they had to take University Writing there.
And I know I'm not the only one who has fond memories of the Vern. In fact, so many of us who have lived there insist passionately that no experience on Foggy Bottom can quite compare.
It’s hard to make sense of this place that at first isn’t anything particularly remarkable and that I once tried desperately to avoid. But what I can say is that even after living away from it for more than two years, going to the Vern today still feels like going home.
Robin Jones Kerr, a junior majoring in journalism, is a Hatchet opinions writer.”

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Importance
1
Constantly surrounded by friends, freshman remembered for magnetic presence
by The GW Hatchet

Apr 07, 2014
“A few weeks after arriving at GW last fall, Benjamin Asma and his friends walked past the dozens of tables at the student organization fair in University Yard.
But when his friends tried to move on from a booth, they had to stop and wait because Asma was signing up for another group’s email list.
Media Credit: Photo courtesy of the Asmas
Benjamin Asma is remembered by friends as someone who could walk into a room and leave with 10 friends.
“It was hilarious, but that was Ben,” said freshman Emily Deanne, one of Asma's close friends and neighbors in West Hall. "He had such a wild spirit and a kind heart."
The 19-year-old freshman's death last week, the result of an apparent suicide attempt, stunned his self-proclaimed "West Hall family" and sent shockwaves across a campus still grappling with the death of senior Lynley Redwood on Tuesday. Both were residents of West Hall.
Asma was active in five organizations in his first year at GW: He played the trombone in GW Band, was a star breast-stroker for the club swimming team and a pledge in the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He was also a member of the University Honors Program and told his family he wanted to be a doctor like his uncle and grandfather.
Still, he made plenty of time for his friends, playing Mario Kart and watching comedies with his roommates and hallmates nearly every day. On Sundays, the second floor cooked dinner together, and after everyone else went back to their rooms, Asma would stay to wash the dishes. Other nights he would stay up late having deep conversations with classmates who needed to open up to someone.
Asma, a biomedical engineering student, also made new friends quickly. One of his neighbors in West Hall said he could walk into a party and leave with 10 new friends, drawing people in with his infectious smile and easygoing personality.
Freshman Jessica Ryabin, who lived in Somers Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus, said he always pushed her to work harder during class, at the gym and in the pool during their club swimming practices.
She once called him asking for help studying for a mathematics exam, and he appeared by her side in the library within minutes. She had worked on one problem for an hour, and he showed her how to solve it in five minutes.
But Ryabin said that just before spring break, Asma told her he wasn’t happy on campus. He had said his classes did not challenge him and that he wanted to transfer.
“I was shocked. Everything was going great for him,” Ryabin said. “And it wasn’t that it was hard. It was the opposite. It was too easy for him.”
Freshman Walker Smith had also met Asma through the club swimming team, and the pair quickly became close friends who talked every day and once walked around campus talking until 5 a.m.
He had last spoken to Asma on Sunday, two days before his suicide attempt. Asma told him that he hoped Smith would find happiness in his life, words that resonated with Smith only after learning of his friend's death.
"I can honestly say that Ben changed my life. He was the first person I ever felt truly like myself around, like I could do anything or say anything and he wouldn’t judge, he wouldn’t care, he would just listen," Smith said.
His mother, Leann Asma, said while her son was outgoing, he was also very private.
“We would talk to Benj, and everything was great. He was busy, he was engaged, so we assumed everything was fine. And it wasn’t,” she said. “And we won’t know probably ever what was really going on with Benjamin, and that’s going to be hard, but hopefully we’ll come to some peace with that.”
His mother also said she would remember him for “his big smile and his there’s-nothing-I-can’t-do attitude.”
Asma, who lived in Lake Bluff, Ill., is survived by his parents and two siblings.
His father, Benjamin Asma, Sr., said after the memorial service Thursday that his son’s legacy will be “the breadth of friendships that he has developed. It cuts across the entire spectrum of persons.”
This post was updated April 7 to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly spelled the name of Jessica Ryabin. We regret this error.”

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Importance
1
Senior leadership taking men's tennis into national rankings
by The GW Hatchet

Apr 07, 2014
“Propelled by a streak of 11 wins in its last 13 matches, the men’s tennis team is playing like it wants more than just its fifth consecutive appearance in the Atlantic 10 finals later this month.
With four wins against ranked opponents, the Colonials have risen from unranked to No. 53 in the nation in just a month, nudging up against the conference's perennial powerhouse, No. 45 VCU.
Behind this rise, however, is a team that still remembers its humble beginning this season, knows it still needs a win against top-50 competition and understands that a midseason surge doesn’t always lead to postseason success.
“We haven’t really succeeded, we’ve just done well. But there’s still a lot of work to do,” head coach Greg Munoz said.
The Colonials started the season with a harsh schedule, heavily slated with ranked opponents and little recovery time between games. The result: a rocky 1-4 start with few signs of being a top contender – all four losses coming against ranked teams.
“We didn’t play bad in the beginning we just had trouble clinching matches,” junior Francisco Dias said. “But as we kept playing those teams, we started gaining confidence in playing at that level.”
GW's first statement moment of the season came on the last day of February, during the beginning of a North Carolina road trip. The squad reeled from three straight wins, including a dominating 4-0 win over No. 70 Charlotte and a 4-3 upset over No. 60 UNC Wilmington.
“It was 3-3, and Ulrik [Thomsen] was playing, and he clinched it for us. After that, it kind of turned our season around. It was one of the biggest wins in our program’s history,” senior Nikita Fomin said.
While the Colonials have clicked at the right time – winning their first two conference matchups this weekend against Fordham and Richmond – the team still has plenty of obstacles, primarily their admitted individual inconsistencies. And the parallels to last year’s loss in the finals still loom large.
A year ago, the squad started 3-3 and finished the season 17-7. They started the season unranked and peaked midway through the season at No. 49, until they fell out of the national rankings and eventually out of the race for an NCAA bid.
But there are reasons why a dropoff shouldn't plague the team this time around. Thomsen has elevated his play this year, while his doubles partner, senior Viktor Svensson, has stepped up as another team leader – unexpected factors in the team’s recent success.
Though they play farther down in the order than their younger counterparts, Svensson and Thomsen have earned their teammates’ respect as the team has excelled.
“[Viktor] was always the quiet one, but this year he has brought a lot of energy and proven himself to be very vocal and that’s helped the team a lot in focusing and getting energy for fighting tough matches,” Dias said.
Since starting the season with a 1-4 doubles record, the tandem has gone 7-2 and proven that they can be vital to the team’s success, even at the No. 3 doubles position. With such a small roster, Munoz has been forced to play the senior duo every match, despite their limited experience on the court together.
Last year, Svensson rarely saw action in competition, but has contributed in every match this year, usually in the form of match-sealing points. On Saturday against Richmond, the duo clinched the vital double points for GW with an 8-7 victory.
The team takes on Georgetown and George Mason this week before the A-10 Tournament begins April 17.”

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Importance
1
Lawsuit filed by former cleaning workers at GW alleges mistreatment, unfair pay
by The GW Hatchet

Apr 04, 2014
“After eight months of protesting, more than a dozen former workers have filed a class-action lawsuit against a GW-contracted cleaning company alleging unfair treatment and withheld wages.
The 13 employees, who cleaned three GW residence halls last year for BRAVO! Building Services, claim they are owed a combined $150,000 in unpaid wages and damages for working up to 16 hours a day.
The workers claim they were promised $12.50 per hour for cleaning Thurston and Potomac halls and Ivory Tower after move out, but were instead “grossly and unlawfully” paid below minimum wage, according to the lawsuit, which was filed last month.
For example, one of the plaintiffs Luis Diaz said he worked 120 regular hours and 127 in overtime, but was paid just $1,328.13, which is about a third of his wages he should have earned. Another plaintiff Jose Monge said he worked a total of 127 hours and 157 in overtime, but was paid $2,012, less than half of what he should have earned.
BRAVO!, which worked at GW for three years, didn’t formally track workers’ hours and instead asked them to write their timesheets on paper towels or napkins, which is illegal under D.C. law, according to the documents.
They will face a hearing at the D.C. Superior Court on June 13.
University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said BRAVO! last worked on campus in August. There are no current or pending contracts for them to work at GW again, she added.
“The university is not aware of the details of the current situation between BRAVO and its employees, but is hopeful that the parties are able to resolve their outstanding issues,” Csellar said.
The Progressive Student Union has helped the workers in their fight since last year, petitioning and meeting with officials to push them to ban future work with BRAVO!
Junior Cavan Kharrazian, an organizer in the group, said he was “extremely disappointed” by the University’s decision to ignore the actions of its contractor.
“Wage theft is theft,” Kharrazian said. “When it comes to white-collar crime against the members of our community who ensure that our university runs at its most basic level, the university seems defenseless.””

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Importance
1
VIDEO: Fake news, real reactions
by The GW Hatchet

Apr 02, 2014
“Video by Little Camera Man Zach Mozzarella and Roving Reporter Gray Rant.
Did you know the University plans to nix the Vern Express?
How about this: GW will soon add a men's softball team.
Don't worry, these news stories are fake – but the reactions are not.”

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Importance
1
To help free-throw shooting woes, men's basketball enlists beer-pong frat stars
by The GW Hatchet

Apr 02, 2014
“Media Credit: Camera Lenscaster
The Colonials practice their free throw shooting skills during the offseason in pickup beer pong games.
Reader's note: This story is satirical in nature and published in a spoof issue.
After signing his seven-year contract extension, men’s basketball head coach Madeya Careagain has enlisted a group of unlikely assistant coaches to help with the Colonials’ putrid free-throw shooting.
Four brothers of Pi Beta Epsilon fraternity, who each made it to the finals of their chapter’s beer pong tournament championship, have run the men’s basketball team through a series of drills and mental coaching sessions so far this offseason.
“I watched some tape on these guys and I thought they could really have the tools to help us out,” Careagain said. “Their form is just textbook. I mean, they went 12-0 at an Apple Delta Pi mixer – that’s getting it done under pressure.”
The beer pong superstars have already put the men’s basketball team through a rigorous training program, during which they would finally learn what most basketball players were taught to do in first grade: shoot free throws.
The hires come after GW missed almost half its free throws in the NCAA Tournament loss to Memphis. All season, the Colonials sank just 65 percent of their shots from the charity stripe – forcing pundits to reconsider whether to actually continue calling it “the charity stripe.”
“The fact that we won a bunch of games and dunked the ball lots made all those new fans in the Smith Center forget that we couldn’t shoot for shit from the free throw line,” sophomore guard Cor Fore said. “Until we lost because of it.”
Careagain acknowledged that as a head coach pulling in close to a half-million dollars a year, he should be able to improve his team’s free-throw skills, and said hiring the group of frat boys was “humbling.”
When the fraternity brothers came into their first practice, they made their presence known, rolling in a rack 30’s instead of basketballs– but they knew they had their work cut out for them.
“It was hard to watch – like a couple guys getting trolled by some drunk biddies,” Nathaniel Icicle said. “They didn’t even have the right bro tanks on.”
Despite their significant beer pong knowledge, no frat bros could speak to any real basketball experience.
“I played on my middle school’s ‘B’ team a while back, but I realized pretty young that beer pong was just more of the sport for me,” Ronald Rock said.
Similarly, although they had never felt what it's like to play in front of sold out Smith Center – much like the men’s basketball team – they felt their past experiences had prepared them with the right techniques to handle pressure.
“I remember this one game just a few weekends ago – I was down five cups on the rebuttal. My partner whispered in my ear, ‘this is your time,’” Icicle said. “I went up there and sank all five cups, the last one behind the back and sent the game to overtime. It was out of body man, out of body.”
The training had its problems at first, with the unorthodox teachers not used to the rules of the game. They ordered each player to call island before every shot and were surprised when the players didn’t ask for balls back after they somehow made both free throws.
Things quickly turned strict, though, with screams of “elbow” being called after every shot and players seen running laps around the gym without their pants after missing all of their attempts.
By the end of practice, Careagain said he felt the training was a huge success. Though his team wasn’t at all better at free-throw shooting, they were sufficiently drunk after replacing the water in the baby-blue Powerade water bottles with beer.
When asked if beer would be put in the water bottles during actual games, Careagain responded: “As long as it’s Natty.””

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Importance
1
In tense exchange, Board leader calls out tenured faculty
by The GW Hatchet

Mar 27, 2014
“Media Credit: Camille Sheets | Senior Staff Photographer
Board of Trustees chair Nelson Carbonell, who spent six months meeting with more than 600 faculty members, said lower-ranking professors told him that their voices have been suppressed by the minority of tenured professors at GW.
Within the University’s core of 3,889 faculty, there is a minority group with enough power to pressure deans out of office, handpick new hires and sway promotion decisions.
The leader of the Board of Trustees told a group of GW’s highest-ranking faculty Friday that the influence of tenured professors has been largely unchecked for years, tipping the University’s balance of power and feeding a culture of inferiority among the three-quarters of GW professors who do not have lifetime appointments.
“There’s a lot of bullying here. There are things that happen here that would get you kicked out of fourth grade. And it’s intolerable,” first-year board chair Nelson Carbonell said on the floor at the Faculty Senate on Friday. “We have heard over and over again that research and clinical faculty feel like second-class citizens.”
Carbonell said the stark imbalance between tenured and non-tenured professors surfaced during six months of meetings in which he heard from about 600 professors.
In about three weeks, Carbonell will return to the Faculty Senate – a group of about 30 professors elected by tenured faculty in their schools – with an official set of recommendations to better balance faculty power. Those proposals will likely spark a debate as faculty leaders are forced to decide how and whether to limit their own power.
In a room filled with top administrators, including University President Steven Knapp, members of the Faculty Senate stayed mostly quiet after Carbonell’s 30-minute speech. Some faculty applauded how Carbonell spent time to meet with them, which they said was rare for a board chair.
But the former head of the senate executive committee, Michael Castleberry, immediately stood up to defend the way the University split responsibilities among faculty.
“We have a harassment policy if someone is bullying. I don’t want to be bullied by the chairman of the Board of Trustees. I don’t want to be bullied by the president or my department chair or the provost,” said Castleberry, a long-serving professor of special education and disability studies.
More than just changes to faculty code
The conversations with faculty across the University, led by Carbonell and three other trustees, three professors and an administrator, shed light on what they say is a fractured system of faculty governance.
The effort began as a probe into the University’s faculty code, the highly guarded set of rules that lays out faculty governance, outlines academic freedoms and establishes the process for promotions.
But the findings that Carbonell shared Friday extended much further, calling attention to years of escalating tension among tenured faculty, non-tenured faculty and University leadership.
Carbonell said non-tenured professors want more say in processes like dean hires and promotions. He suggested that GW could adopt a University-wide committee to decide tenure, potentially taking power away from individual departments.
He also said the clout of tenured professors hurts GW’s ability to hold onto deans. Four deans in the last four years have left their positions after facing mounting faculty discontent.
About 78 percent of the University’s faculty are not on the tenure track, according to 2013 faculty data.
The recommendations for more shared power would fall in line with a report from the American Association of University Professors two years ago, which pushed leaders to allow more faculty to assume governance roles.
Knapp, who said he was informed of the conversations but had not taken part, called the review an important method of soliciting input across GW as leaders strive to update the Faculty Code to bring it in line with the University's research and academic goals.
“There are always things you can improve in any document. Even the constitution had to be amended multiple times,” Knapp said. “I’m sure we’ll come up with things we can do to bring the code even more into alignment with what we’re looking to do as an institution, but I’m not inserting myself into that process in a specific way at this point.”
Carbonell said the governing structure must be changed before major University initiatives settle in, such the $300 million strategic plan that will bring on up to 100 professors over the next decade.
The power to outrun a dean
The Board’s attention on governance comes after deans of the GW Law School, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, College of Professional Studies and the GW School of Business all left their positions shortly after facing a swell of faculty distrust.
Doug Guthrie, the former business school dean who administrators said was fired in August after a disagreement on how to close a budget deficit, also faced faculty opposition to his plans to tighten tenure standards and raise expectations for professors.
Guthrie, still a GW professor, said in an interview that deans across the University have been concerned with the power that tenured faculty hold. In particular, tenured professors in some schools can review deans' job performances, which have been leaked publicly.
The key issue lies in "an entire faculty governance system" that University leaders should rework, Guthrie said.
“This isn’t just about tenure. This is about a culture at GW where some faculty think shared governance means that faculty should have the final say on all important issues,” he said.
Guthrie, an expert in sociology, management and governance, said his efforts to deny tenure to professors was dragged out in a year-long appeals process, which he said was unique at top universities. At his former school, New York University, deans’ tenure denials tend to stand.
“Tenure is not a right, and it shouldn't be because it’s such a great opportunity and gift for anyone who gets it. No one should expect that they get lifetime employment," Guthrie said. "GW has done this to themselves. They have allowed the problems in the system to persist by not taking the issues on directly."
Law school faculty were planning to hold what they said would have been the first successful vote of no confidence in GW’s history last year, accusing then-dean Paul Schiff Berman of closed-off decision-making. Berman quickly moved into a new vice provost role after Knapp and Lerman asked faculty not to go forward with the vote, according to faculty accounts.
Tensions also ran high among top faculty leaders last summer. Emails between members of the Faculty Senate executive committee revealed outrage at administrators for not having been involved in conversations about expansion in China, and allegations that Guthrie and other top administrators were receiving money through GW’s partnerships there. Those allegations were determined by GW to be false.
Kim Acquaviva, an associate nursing professor with tenure and former member of the Faculty Senate’s executive committee who called attention to the allegations earlier this year, wrote in an email to Knapp and Lerman that deans did not have the support to stand up to tenured faculty.
“If shared governance is to be effective, both sides of the equation need to be strong. Unless the deans can count on your support, they’re at a distinct disadvantage in the shared governance equation," she wrote last summer. "And if deans can’t count on your support in situations like this, we’re going to have a hell of a time trying to recruit and retain deans in the years to come."
Carbonell stressed that when school leaders prematurely leave their posts, fundraising struggles because it often takes years of growing relationships for deans to bring in seven-figure donations.
And at schools where interim deans are in charge, fundraising tends to drop as donors pull out due to the school’s uncertain future.
At the law school this year, fundraising decreased $4.3 million after its dean was reshuffled into a position in the provost’s office. After Guthrie’s highly-public firing over a $13 million spending gap, fundraising dropped by about one-third.
- Cory Weinberg contributed reporting.”

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Importance
1
Media professors to investigate unsolved murder in documentary
by The GW Hatchet

Mar 27, 2014
“Assistant professor of media and public affairs Will Youmans was 7 years old when prominent Palestinian-American activist Alex Odeh was killed by a bomb planted in his Santa Ana, Calif. office in 1985.
The act of terrorism was never prosecuted, hitting home for Youmans because his Palestinian parents and Odeh had been active in the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
Thirty years later, Youmans and colleague Jason Osder will use a $15,000 grant from the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program to dig into the circumstances of his death.
Media Credit: Lexi Berger | Hatchet Photographer
School of Media and Public Affairs professors Jason Osder, left, and William Youmans, right, earned a Sundance Institute grant to work on their next film project.
“Right now it exists in the Arab-American community as a piece of folklore,” Youmans said, adding that they are the first independent researchers looking into the case. “The facts haven’t been corralled.”
The project comes on the heels of Osder’s own documentary, “Let the Fire Burn,” which was nominated for the top prize at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.
His project, created entirely from archival footage, focused on the 1985 bombing of a Philadelphia apartment complex that housed a black liberation group called MOVE. One of the most disastrous police actions in recent history, the bomb killed 11 people, including five children, and left a mark on Osder, who was 11 years old and living a few miles away at the time.
“Let the Fire Burn,” which premiered in 2013, won the award for Best Editing and earned a nomination for Best Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival. At the 50 film festivals it was shown at worldwide, it received nominations for over a dozen awards.
When Youmans first saw Osder’s film, he immediately recalled the mystery around Odeh’s death, which he said has been largely forgotten outside the Palestinian community. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has offered a $1 million reward for information leading to an arrest on the case, but has not identified any subjects.
“There seems to be a lack of governmental interest in solving the case. That sends a message to the Arab-American community,” Youmans said. “This was a major act of intimidation, but the identity of the killers is still unknown.”
Osder and Youmans, both assistant professors in the School of Media and Public Affairs, partnered on the project last year and have scheduled several big shoots this summer. They plan to film over the next year and expect to complete the project in three to four years.
“It’s a very good partnership because it’s a division of labor,” Youmans said. “While he’s a filmmaker, I’m the subject matter expert. I know the story really well and I have access to the community of interest in this story.”
After several conversations with Youmans, Osder agreed that the story had cinematic potential. With less of a personal connection to the story, Osder said he comes to the project mostly as the filmmaker.
He pointed to several advantages of already having one documentary under his belt as he begins work on this project – more experience, patience and connections.
“There’s a big difference between being a first-time filmmaker versus being a filmmaker with a track record,” Osder said.
Kimberly Gross, acting director of the School of Media and Public Affairs, said the grant, which was received shortly after Osder’s previous documentary success, was a reflection of his growing achievements and the strength of their project.
“It’s historical but so relevant to today to our culture, and the larger geopolitical world,” Gross said.
- Hanna Wilwerth contributed to this report”

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In tense exchange, Board leader calls out tenured faculty
by The GW Hatchet

Mar 25, 2014
“Media Credit: Camille Sheets | Senior Staff Photographer
Board of Trustees chair Nelson Carbonell, who spent six months meeting with more than 600 faculty members, said lower-ranking professors told him that their voices have been suppressed by the minority of tenured professors at GW.
Within the University’s core of 3,889 faculty, there is a minority group with enough power to pressure deans out of office, handpick new hires and sway promotion decisions.
The leader of the Board of Trustees told a group of GW’s highest-ranking faculty Friday that the influence of tenured professors has been largely unchecked for years, tipping the University’s balance of power and feeding a culture of inferiority among the three-quarters of GW professors who do not have lifetime appointments.
“There’s a lot of bullying here. There are things that happen here that would get you kicked out of fourth grade. And it’s intolerable,” first-year board chair Nelson Carbonell said on the floor at the Faculty Senate on Friday. “We have heard over and over again that research and clinical faculty feel like second-class citizens.”
Carbonell said the stark imbalance between tenured and non-tenured professors surfaced during six months of meetings in which he heard from about 600 professors.
In about three weeks, Carbonell will return to the Faculty Senate – a group of about 30 professors elected by tenured faculty in their schools – with an official set of recommendations to better balance faculty power. Those proposals will likely spark a debate as faculty leaders are forced to decide how and whether to limit their own power.
In a room filled with top administrators, including University President Steven Knapp, members of the Faculty Senate stayed mostly quiet after Carbonell’s 30-minute speech. Some faculty applauded how Carbonell spent time to meet with them, which they said was rare for a board chair.
But the former head of the senate executive committee, Michael Castleberry, immediately stood up to defend the way the University split responsibilities among faculty.
“We have a harassment policy if someone is bullying. I don’t want to be bullied by the chairman of the Board of Trustees. I don’t want to be bullied by the president or my department chair or the provost,” said Castleberry, a long-serving professor of special education and disability studies.
More than just changes to faculty code
The conversations with faculty across the University, led by Carbonell and three other trustees, three professors and an administrator, shed light on what they say is a fractured system of faculty governance.
The effort began as a probe into the University’s faculty code, the highly guarded set of rules that lays out faculty governance, outlines academic freedoms and establishes the process for promotions.
But the findings that Carbonell shared Friday extended much further, calling attention to years of escalating tension among tenured faculty, non-tenured faculty and University leadership.
Carbonell said non-tenured professors want more say in processes like dean hires and promotions. He suggested that GW could adopt a University-wide committee to decide tenure, potentially taking power away from individual departments.
He also said the clout of tenured professors hurts GW’s ability to hold onto deans. Four deans in the last four years have left their positions after facing mounting faculty discontent.
About 78 percent of the University’s faculty are not on the tenure track, according to 2013 faculty data.
The recommendations for more shared power would fall in line with a report from the American Association of University Professors two years ago, which pushed leaders to allow more faculty to assume governance roles.
Knapp, who said he was informed of the conversations but had not taken part, called the review an important method of soliciting input across GW as leaders strive to update the Faculty Code to bring it in line with the University's research and academic goals.
“There are always things you can improve in any document. Even the constitution had to be amended multiple times,” Knapp said. “I’m sure we’ll come up with things we can do to bring the code even more into alignment with what we’re looking to do as an institution, but I’m not inserting myself into that process in a specific way at this point.”
Carbonell said the governing structure must be changed before major University initiatives settle in, such the $300 million strategic plan that will bring on up to 100 professors over the next decade.
The power to outrun a dean
The Board’s attention on governance comes after deans of the GW Law School, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, College of Professional Studies and the GW School of Business all left their positions shortly after facing a swell of faculty distrust.
Doug Guthrie, the former business school dean who administrators said was fired in August after a disagreement on how to close a budget deficit, also faced faculty opposition to his plans to tighten tenure standards and raise expectations for professors.
Guthrie, still a GW professor, said in an interview that deans across the University have been concerned with the power that tenured faculty hold. In particular, tenured professors in some schools can review deans' job performances, which have been leaked publicly.
The key issue lies in "an entire faculty governance system" that University leaders should rework, Guthrie said.
“This isn’t just about tenure. This is about a culture at GW where some faculty think shared governance means that faculty should have the final say on all important issues,” he said.
Guthrie, an expert in sociology, management and governance, said his efforts to deny tenure to professors was dragged out in a year-long appeals process, which he said was unique at top universities. At his former school, New York University, deans’ tenure denials tend to stand.
“Tenure is not a right, and it shouldn't be because it’s such a great opportunity and gift for anyone who gets it. No one should expect that they get lifetime employment," Guthrie said. "GW has done this to themselves. They have allowed the problems in the system to persist by not taking the issues on directly."
Law school faculty were planning to hold what they said would have been the first successful vote of no confidence in GW’s history last year, accusing then-dean Paul Schiff Berman of closed-off decision-making. Berman quickly moved into a new vice provost role after Knapp and Lerman asked faculty not to go forward with the vote, according to faculty accounts.
Tensions also ran high among top faculty leaders last summer. Emails between members of the Faculty Senate executive committee revealed outrage at administrators for not having been involved in conversations about expansion in China, and allegations that Guthrie and other top administrators were receiving money through GW’s partnerships there. Those allegations were determined by GW to be false.
Kim Acquaviva, an associate nursing professor with tenure and former member of the Faculty Senate’s executive committee who called attention to the allegations earlier this year, wrote in an email to Knapp and Lerman that deans did not have the support to stand up to tenured faculty.
“If shared governance is to be effective, both sides of the equation need to be strong. Unless the deans can count on your support, they’re at a distinct disadvantage in the shared governance equation," she wrote last summer. "And if deans can’t count on your support in situations like this, we’re going to have a hell of a time trying to recruit and retain deans in the years to come."
Carbonell stressed that when school leaders prematurely leave their posts, fundraising struggles because it often takes years of growing relationships for deans to bring in seven-figure donations.
And at schools where interim deans are in charge, fundraising tends to drop as donors pull out due to the school’s uncertain future.
At the law school this year, fundraising decreased $4.3 million after its dean was reshuffled into a position in the provost’s office. After Guthrie’s highly-public firing over a $13 million spending gap, fundraising dropped by about one-third.
- Cory Weinberg contributed reporting.”

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