by The Tripod
Apr 04, 2016
“Campus Safety has recently warned students to take extra care in protecting their valuables and belongings. Along with the Hartford Police Department, they will be increasing patrols on the periphery of campus in an attempt to decrease crimes and robberies.”
by The GW Hatchet
Apr 25, 2016
“Media Credit: Dan Rich | Photo Editor
Each year, graduating editors are given 30 final column inches – “30” was historically used to signify the end of a story – to reflect on their time at The Hatchet, published in the final issues of the year.
When I came to GW, I never, ever wanted to be a journalist. I was going to be a history professor, or bullshit around on the Hill or do literally anything else except report. Journalists were unpaid, overworked dreamers, and that’s something I never aspired to be.
But I lived on the Vern my freshman year, and it was a slow night. Somehow, be it divine providence or a friend leaving it behind, an application for The Hatchet multimedia section ended up in my room, behind my bed.
And well, because it was The Vern and there’s nothing better to do on a weeknight during your second week of freshman year, I filled it out. It took me about an hour total to do it. Worst case scenario, I wasted an hour of an otherwise slow night trying to join another student org.
What could possibly come from one application?
As it turns out, a lot. A whole lot. That dumb, rushed application turned into my entire life in college, and it turned into my home. The Hatchet has been an institution I have poured literal blood, sweat and tears into. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
For nearly my entire time at college, my home base has never been my dorm room or Gelman or whatever - it has always been the Hatchet townhouse. From the moment I walked in the doors of 2140 G, I knew I found where I wanted to be. One of my earliest memories was my first editor stopping a meeting to make us watch a concert of diva singers, and him regaling us with his deep, fawning affection for Aretha Franklin. And as weird as it sounded, I started to think that here’s where I would fit in.
And for a reason still beyond me, I was made an editor at the end of my freshman year. And I ran with it - right into a wall. I’ve never felt more in over my head then in those first couple of months - and never more certain that I wasn’t cut out to be a journalist. Sure, it was fun bopping around D.C. shooting videos, but all this could ever be was a hobby, right?
But I stuck with it, not because I thought I was any good, but because I wanted to be with my friends. I would hang around the townhouse my sophomore year, getting coffee and food for other editors just because I wanted to be with them. I huddled up in my chair at all hours of the day, butting in on meetings and peppering other editors with questions about what exactly they were doing. And inch by inch, I started to get better.
But my biggest problem has always been confidence. Despite all my bravado, I never think I’m really the guy for the job. I would never say I’m a good reporter, or a good writer - I just happened to be in the right place at the right time or the most willing to fall flat on my face. And in the last two years, The Hatchet has helped me break that problem - that maybe, just maybe, I could do this.
The Hatchet moved onto bigger things (say, a brand new townhouse) over the next two years, and so did I. I finally grew into my metaphorical paws. I stomped (shoeless) around the townhouse, teasing editors when they needed it and trying to help when they needed that too. I didn’t have to pretend I knew what I was doing, because sometimes I actually did. I knew I finally figured out what I was meant to do, and that was to be a journalist.
And as I accept that reality, I also have to accept another more crushing one - it’s time to let go. Time to move out of my home of the last four years, out into the real world and into newsrooms where I can’t kick off my shoes and scream about the Mets at all hours of the night. The Hatchet gave me some great experiences that all seemed to revolve around stalking the District’s dogs. But it also gave two other important things – the confidence to walk into these new newsrooms with my head held high and a group of lifelong friends to catch me when I fall. It gave me the strength to forge ahead, to infinity and beyond:
Sam, Molly, Maddie and Sean : Thanks for always putting up with my Hatchet crap, even when you really, really didn’t want to. You guys have kept me grounded in the outside world and each deserve far more words that I can give here.
Mom and Dad : I’m sure you couldn’t have been thrilled to watch me dive headfirst into a career with awful job security and even worse pay. You’ve both worked so, so incredibly hard your entire life so that could be a choice I could make, and there’s nothing in this world I’ll ever be able to do to repay that. Thank you so much for your support, I love both of you. Syd , thank you for being my long distance support system. You were always the better twin.
Gabe : There’s no better place to start my list of Hatchet folks than with you, right? I stumbled blindly into your section, and you let me stay. You were the first person who ever showed any confidence in what I was doing here, and the first one who pushed me to do more. Thank you for that, thank you for the impromptu concerts during multimedia meetings and thank you for everything. Without your guidance during my freshman year, I quite literally don’t know what I’d be doing with my life. Gabby, Marie, Francis and Gabe, thanks for adopting me into the bigger visuals family years ago. It’s been a blast.
Cory : As you put it much more elegantly than I ever could, where would I be without you? The answer is probably nowhere near where I am today. Thank you for hiring a dumb New Yorker who had absolutely no right being on staff. I hope I haven’t let you down because everything I’ve done at The Hatchet has been to prove that you made the right decision then. I miss yelling about baseball with you, and it looks like my eternal devotion to the Mets is starting to finally pay off. I selfishly hope you grow tired of the west coast so you move back here so that we can go to more ballgames.
Diana : One of my earliest memories as an editor was you basically threatening me into being your date to our first Hatchet prom. I was a huge dork who insisted on getting a matching tie, so thank you for putting up with that. But beyond the time, thank you for being my partner in crime. I don’t think either of us really knew what we were doing, but together we made a really phenomenal team. Nobody can light up a room like you do, and I miss your infectious happiness in the townhouse. The next time I’m back in New York, you owe me a bagel.
Big Gabe : Your “Hey, I’m Zach Montellaro” accent still needs some work, but I can forgive that. Besides the time you made an attempt to kill me, you were always there with a great joke (or a good beer) to lighten the mood. I’m still drinking crappy beer because you haven’t guided your mini-me, and that’s something we need to change now that I’m (almost) a real adult.
Culture crew : Some of you were the coolest folks I ever worked with ( Morgan, Tati, Holla ) and some of you ( Ally ) were the lamest, but there was never a time I didn’t enjoy spending time with each one of you.
Justin : Thank you for always making everyone laugh, and putting up with staff on Sunday mornings when all you wanted to really do was go home and sleep. You time and time again opened your literal doors to staff and helped make us into a family.
Jacob: I miss being able to bounce down to the first floor to give you a hug, because you give good hugs. You’re one of the smartest folks to ever walk through the townhouse doors and one of the most eloquent writers I’ve ever met. If there’s one college class I’d want to take in the future, it’d be whatever one you’re teaching. Move back to the east coast.
Nick Ong, Cam and Sean : My single greatest Hatchet memory is our road trip for the NCAA and joking about the hammer. I never had more fun than being on the road with the crew. There was nothing better than shooting the shit on the sidelines with you, Cam. And thank you, Nick and Sean, for letting me invade your first floor enclave to yell about sports. You guys always kept me humble. J Solo, thanks for helping to fill that sports void with our trips to The Tuck.
Chloe : I used to always joke I was always a bit afraid of you, but I was afraid of you because you are so damn good at what you do. Thank you for building up our news team to what it is. Nick Rice , you’re genuinely the coolest fucking dude I’ve ever met. I aspire to that.
Mel : On more than one occasion, you’ve saved me from being a total absolute wreck. Thank you for helping me make sure my shoes match my belt and making sure that I can pass off being a real adult to the outside world, both physically and mentally. I’m still not sorry for all the mean things I’ve said about your only true love, Tom Brady.
CNN’s Jeremy Diamond : There is not a person on the face of this planet who got more shit from me than you did, and probably not a person who gave more back to me. Thanks for always going beyond the headlines to bring us the story behind the story, and for busting your ass to get where you got to today. No one deserves it more. Once you’re finally off the trail, you owe me that drink.
RJK : When I joined staff, I was scared – scared that I wouldn’t fit in with everyone else, scared that nobody else would like me and scared that I wouldn’t last. And then I met you. You were the first person on staff to be my friend, and I’ll never forget the first Hatchet prom with us awkwardly huddling in some backyard not knowing anyone. You’re the most badass, kickass woman I’ve ever met, and I’m truly happy you’re in my life. Some of my favorite Hatchet memories here are the little things with you - just watching a ballgame or splitting mozzies from Gallery. Last year, you said you adore me - but RJK, the truth is I adore YOU.
Ferris : You’re an asshole and a half, but… you’ve also been one of the best parts about The Hatchet for me. You dragged me kicking and screaming out of my shell and into life in D.C. If it was up to me, I’d be curled up inside for my entire life and you don’t let that happen. And even though you give me a hard time, you’re always there with help with whatever I need. I don’t say it enough, but thank you Ferris. For everything.
Volume 113 : I’m taking a bit of a cop out here, because there’s so many of you I don’t know all too well. That fills me with great pride - to know that there’s plenty of smart, dedicated folks still willing to give up their time to help make this institution shine. Nathan and the rest of the crew, I can’t wait to see what you guys do next year.
And a special shout out to you, Sam Hardgrove. I was crushed when you went abroad, because people like you are the heartbeat of this institution - dedicated and talented sure, but also a great friend. I hope Volume 113 will fully appreciate how lucky they are that they get to spend their time with you.
Melissa S : It was a crushing blow to find out you were a Yankees fan, but I’m glad we’ve moved past it. The second floor is quite literally a zoo, but every time I walked in you were the calm in the middle of the hurricane. The Hatchet needs more people like you who have the patience and poise to not only catch everyone’s dumb mistakes, but to fix them as well.
Grace K : One of the first things you ever said to me was pointing out how loudly I chew gum (which is a totally valid complaint). I’ve tried to chew more quietly, and as a reward I’ve gotten to know you. Thanks for letting me take up some of your space on the third floor, and for all the incredible stories I can live vicariously through. I was a bit shocked that someone on staff out-Disneyed me, but you’ve managed it. Please stop stealing my stuff and poking me.
Victoria, Grace and Regina : You guys were all put in unenviable positions of running sections with little notice, and you’ve all handled it like stars. Grace and Regina, I hope you guys keep trying new things to make the section your own, and Victoria I hope you tweet your heart out. Let every snow day be your prime.
Avery and Andrew : I’ve only gotten to know the pair of you this semester, but you two have been rockstars. Avery, you crack me up with your random asides, and I’ve never seen someone become so good at their job so quickly. Andrew, you come on staff in some of the hardest circumstances - replacing an editor in the middle of the semester. Your talent as a reporter has shown this last couple of weeks. Unlike the weird lady at the Nats game, you can always sit next to me.
Katie : Your dedication has been unmatched. Thank you for always being the first one at breaking news and the last one to leave and for running away with my hat.
Ryan : I’ve caught myself saying “aw man, I miss Ryan” a lot of times this semester. Your quippy jokes in the townhouse always made me laugh, and you can grow a hell of a beard. I’m so excited for Volume 113 that you’re coming back next year, because a bit of everything was missing without you in the townhouse.
Melissa H : No one else understands or cares about my rants about bagels or pizza, and even though I tease you about your boyfriend (hi Gary!), you still let me hang around. I was worried that when there was another Long Islander on staff, I wouldn’t get along with them. That was until I met you, because you’re one of the nicest folks I’ve had the pleasure of working with here. You’re better than awesome, and I can’t wait to see what you do with your section next year.
Tyler : The thing I admire most about you is your pure dedication to the institution. In less than a year, you’ve worn so many hats - and have excelled at all of them. If we actually lost you in the metro, The Hatchet would be lost as well. I’m also happy to see you’re already carrying one very important part of my job forward - making fun of everyone else.
Eva : I don’t know why, but the moment I caught you falling off that stool at the party, I knew you’d start catching everyone else. You’re one of the rocks that the Hatchet has - that no matter what your title is, you’re there to catch everyone else when they’re about to fall. Thank you for doing that, and for weathering the storm that was last year’s playoffs. Melton , I think the only thing you want to hear from me is a simple thing - let’s go Mets. Can’t wait for this year’s World Series parade.
Dez : Thank you for always being my biggest fan in the stands during basketball games. This year, as I moved off the court and up into the crowd, I’m glad I always had a friend I could watch the games with. I remember butting into all those photo meetings in 2140 G, and you made it a point to help me feel included. Thank you for showing me that everyone from Philly isn’t someone who throws batteries at Santa - a select few of you are awesome people. I’m so excited for you for Columbia next year.
Robin : I’ve never met someone so full of life as you - and someone who lets everyone know it. If I could have half as much fun in life as you did just a karaoke, it’d be a great one. And while I encourage you to give up your residency in the townhouse, I’m glad I can always wander in and find a friend at any hour of the day.
Video squad : Out of all the sections, you guys have had to put up with me the most because I could never really let go. I know that wasn’t particularly easy, so thank you for humoring me this year. Blair , you’re one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. A lot was dropped on your plate at the beginning of the year, and you’ve handled it with grace. I’m so proud that you’ve made your mark both on The Hatchet and in outlets around the city. Deepa , one of the best things I did for video was steal you away from the photo department. Thank you for bringing a new set of eyes to everything on The Hatchet and helping push video to do bigger and grander projects. Halley , your constant cheeriness has never failed to brighten up my day. Just being around you always put a smile on my face. Jake , we’re not there yet, but maybe someday you’ll earn the honor of watching pay-per-view wrestling with me. You’re going to be such a champ next year.
And Sarah - remember when I dragged you onto the paper? Even before you started here, I knew you’d be infinitely more talented than I’d ever be. There’s been nothing better than having a friend on staff who I knew outside of this crazy place first to tell me when I’m getting too ridiculous and remind me to see the outside world. Thank you for loaning out Andrew so I had someone to harass in class and for keeping me grounded.
Lillianna : There’s a lot of secrets you’ll never get out of me, and that’s going to drive you crazy forever. But one secret I will let you in on - I do wander into the townhouse to make sure the lights get turned off, but I also do that to spend time with you. You’re a good reporter and an even better person who never fails to make me laugh. I’m sorry it took me a bit to get to know you outside of the L&L Connection - but I’m so glad I did, because you might just be one of my favorites here (but I’ll never admit it).
Jeanine : One day, I want to be as half as cool as you. But until that day, I’ll just have to spend my time admiring you instead. Everything you’ve put your mind to, you’ve knocked out of the park. No matter the craziness that’s going on at some party, you’re always there to try to get me to loosen up and have some fun. I will never be an exciting man, but I get a lot closer to being one by just knowing you.
Brandon : My one true friend, Brandon Lee. If you asked me if I ever wanted to be on a watchlist, I’d say no. But after meeting you, it is one small trade-off that I’m willing to make if it means keeping you around. Your intelligence is matched only by your enthusiasm for libertarianism, and that’s quite alright. Even if it means dragging you out of Sign of the Whale every once and awhile, you’re one true friend I’m always glad I’ll have.
Dan : I thought there was only enough room for one grump on staff, but you proved me wrong. You’re one of the most talented shooters I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, but more importantly, you’re one of the most kindhearted folks I’ve met. I’m glad you’re going to carry my mantle as Hatchet staffer who acts like a 43-year-old on the verge of retirement.
Mark : Big Mark! Thank you for putting up with all my crappy jokes and my dumb hugs. Watching you grow into the absolute phenomenal writer you are today has been awesome. Getting to meet people like you are what made The Hatchet worth it to me. One day, I hope to earn a “savage” from you - but until then, I’m glad you are my buddy.
Jax : I’m so, so, so, so proud of you. I don’t ever say that enough, but I really am. Watching you transform from some dope I suckered into joining the multimedia section into such a strong journalist has been one of my proudest moments here. You’ve handled such a stressful job here and the paper would be nowhere without you. Thank you for taking my jokes well, and thank you for making me proud.
Ellie : The paper couldn’t be in better hands than yours next year. Being in charge is never easy - but I already know you’re going to do phenomenally. In the less than two years you’ve been on staff, you have already helped transform your team and the organization as a whole. My only regret from working with you is that I never met your dog, because in everything else you’ve done, there can be nothing to regret.
Sam LaFrance : I’ve been spoiled with a lot of things at The Hatchet - but the thing that’s spoiled me the most is you, because if you’re the mortal enemy I’m going to have in this world, it is going to be a pretty easy life. You took on so much more than you signed up for here, and most of that involves dealing with me. Every time I hear a One Direction song I can’t help but smile, because I know somewhere, you’re laughing at my discomfort. I don’t think I want to be a sack of skin or a skeleton, but if that’s a decision I had to make to keep you around, I’d make it 10/10 times.
Bluge : One of our first real conversations was me making fun of you’re selfie face, so we had nowhere to go but up. I’m glad you let me burst your little ops bubble you had on the third floor, because I came to realize how much I admire you. There’s nothing easy about being the opinions editor, because you have to let everyone know how it really is. I can only dream of being as smart, poised and confident as you are, and I can’t think of a better way than to close out my time at The Hatchet with you at Hatchet Prom.
Nora : I said it during my hotseat, but you really do light up my world. There’s been countless number of days that I’m down and out, but just being you around you turns that all around. I’m glad me driving you off a tiny ledge didn’t drive a wedge in our friendship, but only gave you fodder to make fun of me. I’ve also been incredibly proud to work alongside you on the court. I’ll be hard-pressed to ever work with someone as fearless and as smart as you ever again.
RSG : Thank you for always being there for me. Through my highs and lows, you were always there when I needed to spill my heart out about something dumb on the long walk back from some party. You are simply an incredible person I’ve been blessed to know, and there has never been another person on this staff who has shown me as much genuine kindness as you have. Live that slug live forever.
Colleen : Well it looks like we made it, huh? Thank you for letting me take this wild adventure with you. You said that I’ve always been there for you, but it’s really been the other way around - you’ve always been there for me. I’m loud, whiny and angry a lot of the time, but you still put up with all my quirks and let me help you build the institution I love. From the day we joined staff, I knew you would be the one running the show one day because I knew you’d be the best at it - and I am so incredibly happy to say that I was so right. I’m convinced that nobody could’ve handled everything that happened this year - nobody but you. I’m so happy I have a lifelong friend as we both get ready for the next steps in our lives.
Bri : There’s no way in hell that I forgot about you, right? I have written and deleted what I wanted to write to you about 15 times now because I just don’t know what to say. Truly, I can’t write anything here that fits, because there isn’t enough words on this planet to sum up what you mean to me. The Hatchet has given me a lot of important things for sure. But by far, the absolute most important thing it has given me is you. You’re my best friend, and everything else The Hatchet has given me doesn’t even come close to adding up to a day with you. The best memories on The Hatchet that I have isn’t a particular one, because it is just about every single second I’ve spent with you. Whether it’s carrying you down a boardwalk in Ocean City or curling up and watching Game of Thrones with you, there’s not a moment that goes by that I would ever take back. Not a day that goes by where I don’t think about how lucky I am to have you in my life, and I don’t want to imagine it any other way.
by The GW Hatchet
Apr 25, 2016
4/12/2016 - 11 p.m.
A female student reported that her roommate, also a female student, had pushed her during an altercation. The Arlington County Police Department responded but did not take a report.
- Referred to Title IX
Liquor Law Violation
4/13/2016 - 3:35 a.m.
University Police Department officers responded to a report of students drinking alcohol in a study room. One male student admitted to bringing the alcohol, which was disposed of on scene.
- Referred for disciplinary action
Lewd and Indecent Acts
4/13/2016 - 8:50 a.m.
UPD officers observed an individual at the intersection of 24th and H streets fully disrobed. Metropolitan Police Department officers arrived and determined the male subject was in an altered state of mind. D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services also responded and transported the individual to GW Hospital.
- No further action
4/14/2016 - Unknown Time
A staff member reported to UPD that she observed pry marks on her office door when she had arrived for work the next morning. The staff member recalled securing her door the previous night.
- No suspects or witnesses
Drug Law Violation
4/16/2016 - 12:47 a.m.
UPD officers responded to the report of students on the Mitchell Hall roof. Officers detected the odor of marijuana, and a student admitted to smoking marijuana.
- Referred for disciplinary action
4/17/2016 - Unknown Time
UPD officers responded to the report of damaged ceiling tiles.
- Ongoing investigation
Assault on Police Officer
4/17/2016 - 9 p.m.
A student reported to UPD Officers that an individual was yelling from a 5th floor window. Officers determined the room which the student was yelling from, and upon entering the room, a male student approached the officers in an aggressive manner. The male student disobeyed orders given to him and struck an officer with a closed fist. EMeRG responded and transported the male student to GW Hospital because of injuries he suffered from shattering lamps in his room with his hands. UPD arrested the individual at GW Hospital and MPD transported the individual to the Second District Police Station.
- Subject arrested
Drug and Liquor Law Violation
4/18/2016 - 11:15 a.m.
UPD responded for an administrative search of the room where an incident had occurred the previous night. The search yielded drugs, paraphernalia and alcohol. The subject had already been arrested previously for an APO.
- Referred for disciplinary action
- Compiled by Sam Eppler”
by The GW Hatchet
Apr 17, 2016
“You probably haven’t spent much time recently thinking about the role the University Police Department plays in your life on campus.
While UPD has tripled its amount of arrests in one year, it’s not clear if officers are connecting with students in any other way.
In August, UPD Chief RaShall Brackney said she wanted to prioritize face-to-face relationships between UPD and students by hosting monthly meetings over coffee to hear feedback. Brackney also said she would expand UPD’s presence on campus through the Connect program – which hosts events for officers and students – and use Twitter to talk directly to students about safety tips and information. But we haven't seen much of this happen.
It also seems like students haven’t prioritized a relationship with UPD this year. After years of students advocating for more emergency alerts and increasing the number of blue lights on campus, students seem far less focused on UPD now. There were no mentions of UPD in the SA elections, and SA Executive Vice President Thomas Falcigno proposed a student advisory board for UPD in January, but we haven’t heard anything since.
When former UPD Chief Kevin Hay resigned last year, and a task force was implemented to choose a new chief, the editorial board called for certain changes in the department. We asked for more communication between students and UPD and a more positive top-down leadership approach within the department.
Hay’s tenure was marred by lawsuits over sexual harassment and discrimination in the department. While it’s great that we haven't heard of similar incidents happening recently, students shouldn’t stop advocating for more information about the department.
After a year in the department, it seems like Brackney has yet to make headway on creating more connections with students – something she said was her top priority last summer. And that’s a problem because open lines of communication would create a more educated student body and less of an “us vs. them” narrative between UPD and students.
In an email, Brackney said that this fall she met with students over coffee to discuss safety tips for Halloween and held a coffee series in Gelman over finals, among other things. That’s a good start, but it doesn’t seem that that momentum carried over into the spring semester.
And that’s disappointing. Brackney was lauded for her efforts to reach out to community members on a monthly basis as commander in the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. That’s something that would make a positive impact at GW. While Brackney met with Student Association leaders last summer, those students aren’t always the ones who would benefit most from talking to Brackney or other UPD officers.
Face-to-face meetings aren’t the only way Brackney could create more communication with the student body. In fact, it would be beneficial for Brackney to get a Twitter account to communicate with students. If all students could talk openly with Brackney, like they do when interacting with Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski on Twitter, students could tweet at UPD about suspicious activity and UPD could send out safety tips.
“An ongoing priority is our continued engagement with the community,” Brackney said in an email. “Campus safety is not the single responsibility of GWPD. It is the responsibility of the entire campus.”
UPD should take a proactive approach in student engagement. Rather than host spaghetti nights or root beer pong, UPD should consider bringing speakers to campus. Speakers on topics like legally protesting on a college campus or reporting a sexual assault could bring students and officers together in a positive dialogue.
Brackney hasn’t done a bad job since she started as chief. But it’s disheartening that her goals for student and community engagement have fallen to the wayside. It’s time for Brackney to reprioritize the goals she set in August and for the student body to force this dialogue once again.
The editorial board is composed of Hatchet staff members and operates separately from the newsroom. This week’s piece was written by opinions editor Sarah Blugis and contributing opinions editor Melissa Holzberg, based on discussions with sports editor Nora Princiotti, design editor Samantha LaFrance, copy editor Brandon Lee, managing director Eva Palmer, culture editor Grace Gannon and research assistant Tyler Loveless.”
by The GW Hatchet
Apr 17, 2016
“Media Credit: Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor
Each year, graduating editors are given 30 final column inches – “30” was historically used to signify the end of a story – to reflect on their time at The Hatchet, published in the final issues of the year.
I’m not the same person I was four years ago. Not even close.
Everything about me – the length of my hair, my political ideology, my relationships, the music I like, my writing ability and anything else you can think of – is drastically different. In fact, if I could meet my freshman self, I think she would be pleasantly surprised at what the future holds for her. Honestly, I doubt she’d recognize me.
I think most graduating seniors would say the same about themselves. But for me, the difference between my 18- and 22-year-old selves is so stark that it’s almost overwhelming. When I came to GW, all of my problems stemmed from my timidness. Back then, I was afraid to stand up for myself. I based my opinions on what people around me thought. I had little confidence in myself. I was scared to try new things, or push myself.
For a while, I was worried that wouldn’t change. I lived on the Vern my freshman year, and while I made incredible friends there, I felt disconnected. I was jealous of everyone who had already found a community in Greek life, on a sports team or in a student organization. I worried I would never find my place, or my passion.
But in the second semester of my freshman year, I took a chance and applied to join the opinions section of The Hatchet. I remember sitting next to the Vern’s water fountain when I opened the email from the opinions editor, and realized that somehow, I had been accepted. Then, everything about me started to change.
The funny thing about growing up is that, in the moment, you don’t realize it’s happening. But then all of a sudden you look up, and wonder where the time has gone, and realize how much you’ve changed. Looking back on my time at The Hatchet, I think I finally understand what it means to grow up, and to grow as a person.
When I was promoted from columnist to contributing opinions editor at the end of my sophomore year, of course, I went into my job hesitantly – unsure that I could be trusted to do anything but sit quietly in editorial board meetings or WordPress columns. But before I knew it, I was spending extra time in the townhouse. I hung out with my new, welcoming Hatchet family nearly every weekend. I was voluntarily speaking up in meetings, writing what I really felt, chatting bravely with Hatchet staff members who were more talented than I could ever hope to be.
Now, I’ve spent a year as the opinions editor, and that year went by faster than I ever could have anticipated. Every day I’ve spent in the townhouse is a day I’ve been confident in myself, in my work, in my passion for writing. Every rude comment, subtweet or backhanded Facebook post about something I’ve written has made me stronger. Every friend I’ve made at The Hatchet has taught me something, and encouraged me to keep going when the going gets tough.
These past few years, the townhouse has been one of the few places where I’ve been completely and unapologetically myself. That building and the people in it have been my home. There, sitting on the third floor by the window under a “Feminist Killjoy” banner, is where I came out of my shell. I felt more confident. I stood up taller. I changed, for the better.
I owe my happiness at GW to this newspaper, and I will always be grateful for that. I never dreamed that one organization or group of people could have such an effect on me. But this one did.
Working for The Hatchet gave me more than just a portfolio of clips. It gave me a group of dedicated and loyal friends who have loved and supported me in every way they can. It gave me a new outlook on life, and taught me that while nothing is easy, you can make some real change with a bit of hard work. It gave me a community to call home, both literally and figuratively, at a school that ruthlessly enforces independence and self-reliance.
The Hatchet gave me the courage to figure out who I am – and to grow. And I know it will keep changing people’s lives, just like it changed all of ours.
Media Credit: Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor
Justin: Without you as my mentor, I wouldn’t be here. I’ve always needed a push to leave my comfort zone, and you pushed me. I can’t thank you enough for teaching me how to opine, encouraging me to take on more responsibility and being my (smart and funny) friend. Thank you so much for believing I was capable of more than I ever thought I was. Even as a baby freshman, you made The Hatchet feel like home for me. And even more importantly, you (and Jenna) gave me the string of nicknames that hung on for the past few years – which, you’ll be surprised to learn, made my sophomore self feel incredibly cool. Much love, Bluge Bluger the Blue Jeans Blugis.
Jacob: I think you’re one of the coolest, most interesting people I’ve met at this newspaper. You made me feel so at ease about taking over as contrib, and I appreciated that more than you’ll ever know. I often look back at your columns for inspiration, trying to emulate your effortless humor and ability to argue. I think of you every time I open the Twerkflow.
Patrick: Everything started with you, so thank you for hiring me! As my first editor, you made me feel so welcome – and that’s the main reason I stayed with The Hatchet. You had a way of making writers feel at ease (even when we pitched dumb ideas), and I’ve always admired that.
Cory: As a writer and a columnist, I was often intimidated by the daunting number of comments you left on every column I submitted. In retrospect, I’m incredibly impressed by and thankful for the high standard to which you held The Hatchet, and by extension, young writers like me. I learned so, so much from you.
Bri: I’m so glad I got to know you last year. You pushed both me and Robin to do our best work, and reminded me how important it is to make sure everything we do at The Hatchet has a purpose. Thank you for taking a chance by hiring me.
Robin: My fellow feminist killjoy. I've definitely missed last year's late night staff ed sessions in the Zen Lounge and gossiping with you on our way home from the townhouse – and it hasn't been the same without you there to yell, "Little Bluge!" every time I accomplish something. As contrib, I looked forward to working with you/having fun every day, and I don’t think I’ve ever gelled so well with another person. You’re one of the hardest working people I know, with an incredible amount of courage and a willingness to take on brand new things. You laid the groundwork for Melissa and me so that we could run an incredible opinions section this year, and you’ve been there every step of the way. Thank you for answering my panicked gchats, reading over my columns and corralling Justin into happy hours for me to vent. I’m so lucky to have had you as my editor, my teacher and most importantly, one of my best friends.
Colleen: I believed our predecessors when they told us the opinions editor–editor in chief relationship is always the most contentious on staff. But we beat the odds. From the first day you shared me on your perfectly thought-out editing schedule and I shared you on mine, I knew we’d be a solid team. Our working relationship has been super smooth, and our friendship has, too. I’ll miss standing in your office doorway for my standard 20-minute goodbye at the end of prodo. Thanks for indulging some of my wilder staff ed ideas and letting me play around with my personal essay project. You’ve been such a caring, understanding and driven leader of this staff, and I think I speak for everyone in saying that we love and appreciate you so much.
Rachie: My love, my light, my beautiful friend. Over and over again, I’m amazed at how much joy and happiness you bring to The Hatchet – even after you’ve left. Everyone lights up when you’re around, and with good reason. You’ve made our townhouse feel like home for everyone, myself included. You’re an incredibly smart, talented and motivated person, a fellow Hatchet feminist, and an extremely caring friend. I’m so glad that I met you, and I can’t wait to continue drinking wine and talking about boys with you throughout our time in D.C.
Jacqueline: No one on staff makes people laugh the way you do. Your love for this newspaper is unmatched, and it’s clear from your unending dedication to your work. I know you’re going to kill it next year, and the news team will thrive with you leading them. Here’s to all the selfies you, Eva and I took at our first few awkward parties, and the confident Charlie’s Angels poses that followed. Make sure you keep the staff wild, and make sure they have fun.
Nora: I can’t believe it took so long for us to get to know each other, and I wish it hadn’t! You’re such a genuinely cool person. I love how much life you bring to the townhouse (especially the third floor) and to the sports section. You’re a force to be reckoned with, and I know you’ll make The Hatchet proud as one of the best ladies in sports journalism.
Grace: I’m so lucky to have met you on our Alternative Break as little sophomores, and I’m even luckier that you decided to spend every Sunday with us at the townhouse. You make the third floor a much friendlier place, and I’m so happy The Hatchet helped us stay friends outside of that cramped bus down to Alabama. You’ve taught me a lot about the world, and I’m really glad I met you.
Brandon and Mark: First, let me say I’m so glad that Ed Board infighting over UPD didn’t tear you two apart. I couldn’t bear being responsible for a tragedy like that. Of course, I knew it would be great to have both of you on Ed Board – but I didn’t anticipate how quickly I would come to appreciate each of you as friends. Brandon, thanks for keeping me and Ed Board grounded, making sure we all laugh, rapping “Gold Digger” with me at parties and being a great Hatchet Prom date. You’re one of the most vibrant personalities on staff, and I’m constantly in awe of your intelligence and creativity. Mark, you’ve been such a calming presence. I appreciate how hard you work, your Snapchats and how much you care about the people around you (thanks for running over to check on me when you saw me after a certain ~controversial~ editorial published). You’re going to be an incredible sports editor next year.
Desiree, Katie and Dan: One little known fact about me is that I wish I would have been a photojournalist, and I think that’s why I’m so amazed by the work you all do. You’re all so creative, team-oriented and fun to be around – and you’ve done a great job photographing our little piece of Hatchet history. Thank you so much for that.
Jeanine, Ryan, Robin, Lillianna and Avery: I’ve watched the news section grow and change a lot over the past few years. Despite everything, you all have done so much for this paper. I couldn’t do what any of you did – come into your positions ready to roll, and eager to take on unfamiliar territory. I have a tremendous amount of respect for each and every one of you, and I’m glad to have known you. Whether you’ll be a part of the news team next year or not, thanks for doing your part to keep this school (somewhat) honest.
Ellie: Your organizational habits are proof that you and I are cut from the same cloth. Trust me, no one appreciates a well-structured planner system more than I do. I admire your bravery so much, and wish I had half the confidence that you do. Your reporting skills are off the charts, and I know you’ll leave an important mark on this paper. Next year, you’re going to lead the staff to do great things – and I’m so excited for you.
Melissa: I’m so proud of you and how much you’ve grown over this past year. From the moment you spoke up in your very first Ed Board meeting last spring, I knew you’d be a great partner in crime. You’re smart and witty, willing to step up and always an efficient worker. I constantly find myself admiring your desire to speak your mind and make sure others know exactly what you have to say – and that will make you successful, not just as the opinions editor, but in life. Thank you for all of the help and support you’ve given me this year. Keep pushing the boundaries and calling people out next volume. I know you’ll be great at it.
Irene: You’ll be a great addition to staff next year as contrib. Welcome to the family! It’s been a privilege watching you grow as one of my writers. Thank you for being so dependable and willing to pitch in. I can’t wait to see what you and Melissa accomplish next volume.
Zach: Well, well, well. Despite your endless taunting for my Snapchat presence and the face I make in every photo I’ve ever taken, I’ve enjoyed spending this volume sitting across from you. You let me (and everyone) vent, distract me with pictures of dogs when I need them most and constantly boost staff morale while making sure we’re still doing our best work. The Hatchet would not exist without all of the love you have for it, and every day I appreciate how much you put into it. I know you’re going to go out there and kill it because you already do. I hope when you read this, you say, “Hmm, true.” By the way, will you go to prom with me?
Eva: My friendship with you has undoubtedly been one of the best things about being a part of The Hatchet. You’ve let me cry with you, you've always had my back and you've indulged my introversion by standing with me in the corner at parties. Our collection of selfies is very, very important to me. I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to come to you when things are good, or when they’re bad. This volume, you’ve been a great support system for me and everyone on staff because you care so genuinely about us, and about this paper. You are, without a doubt, one of the kindest and funniest people I’ve ever met. I promise, next year I’ll be around for plenty of endless apps nights at T.G.I. Friday’s.
Sam: Remember junior year when I told you to join The Hatchet, and you said no? But then you did, and now you’ve spent more time in the townhouse in front of InDesign than you ever thought you would? You’re welcome. In all honesty, though, I’m so glad you joined our Hatchet family because you fit right in. I don’t think I could have gotten through this year without you there to help me – and more importantly, to listen to me. You’re my rock. I’m really, really proud of you for taking on design this year, and of course, I appreciate you putting up with all of my picky requests to change headlines and move pull quotes. I know feelings are gross. But since you’re my Hatchet coworker, roommate of three (nonconsecutive) years and literal twin, I have to say that I love you. I know I’m really lucky to have you in my life. Thank you.
My Vol. 112 editorial board: I love each and every one of you. It’s been a fantastic volume, and we’ve done incredible work – I don’t care what anyone says. Thank you so much for supporting and helping me get through this year. I truly would not have survived without you. I’m so proud of you all, and I’ll miss Ed Board the most. You were my favorite part of the week. xoxo.
Jonah, Jonah, Jonah: You’re my writer, my college dad, one of my best friends, my love. Together, we’ve endured many Hatchet parties, edits from three different editors in chief (yikes) and so much more. The things you’ve written over the past few years have been some of our most-read, most popular pieces of opinions content. And well, really, that says it all.
Eric: Thanks for keeping me grounded (i.e. laughing at me and making me laugh), and for making sure I remember what The Hatchet looks like to the outside world. Sorry you never got to be the subject of an expose.
Karen, Sam, Peri and Hannah: So rarely do people stay this close all throughout college, but we did it. I remember warning you all when I became an editor that it would take up a lot of my time. None of you even blinked an eye. Thank you so, so much for that. I love you.
Mom, Dad and the family: I told you all to stop reading the comments, but I know you never did. No matter what they said, though, I knew I could fall back on all of you. Thanks for all of your love and support, and for sharing all of my work. It means so much.
Vol. 113: Keep it up, keep them honest and keep calling them out. Most importantly, let this newspaper change you. I promise, it will.
by The GW Hatchet
Apr 14, 2016
“A group of former students filed a class action lawsuit against the University over one of GW’s online graduate programs last week.
Four students who received master’s degrees from the College of Professional Studies in security and safety leadership filed a lawsuit against GW in D.C. Superior Court on April 7. The complaint alleges that the students did not receive the instruction they were guaranteed when they registered for the program.
The former students are suing GW for unjust enrichment, fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation, and for allegedly violating the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act, according to the complaint. The complaint does not name an amount of money the students to receive – in class-action suites, a jury determines payment amounts.
GW markets the online and in-person versions of the program as identical, the complaint shows, but the former students believe the education they received was “far inferior, but more costly, to the in-class program” and forced the students to “fend for themselves” in learning the material.
The former students are suing on behalf of all students who have taken the courses or are currently enrolled in the program, according to the complaint. Three of the students who filed the lawsuit graduated from the program in 2012 and paid more than $28,000 in tuition, and the fourth graduated in 2013 and paid more than $40,000.
The former students request GW pay back money that they believe GW received as “disgorgement of unjust profits,” and other damages and fees, according to the document. They asked for statutory and punitive damages, in addition to monetary damages for "unjust profits," according to the complaint.
University spokeswoman Candace Smith said in an email that the University has not had a chance to respond to the lawsuit in court. She said the University cannot comment on specific cases involving current or former students because of federal privacy laws.
Smith said 341 students have graduated with degrees from the program since GW began offering it in 2009. She added that “many have gone onto successful careers in the military, law enforcement and other government agencies.”
“Overall, the program has been successful for many of our students,” she said.
Brice Bradford, David Forman, Casey Schreiber and Kenneth Bell filed the lawsuit. Forman declined to comment, deferring to his lawyer. Bradford, Schreiber and Bell did not return requests for comment.
The complaint includes examples of some of the complaints that students in the course made to instructors in 2012. In November of that year, Bradford emailed Lemieux about the program’s quality.
“For what we’re paying, it is simply very disappointing, and perpetually frustrating,” Bradford wrote, according to the document.
The complaint alleges that the students took classes without instruction from professors assigned to the class. It also alleges that their materials included “often nonsensical PowerPoint slides pilfered from other instructors’ in-class lessons” for the 12 online courses.
“There remains one crucial difference between the two programs: the in-class program actually provides instruction, while the online version does not,” according to the complaint.
Students in the program were promised professors who "specialized in distance learning," but the complaint alleges that instructors were not qualified to teach online courses.
"The instructors were consistently unresponsive and demonstrated an unfamiliarity with the subject matter and material," the complaint reads.
The complaint also states that 11 students who took the course in 2013 wrote a letter to University President Steven Knapp complaining about the quality of the course. After Knapp received the letter, the dean of CPS called several of the students and apologized for the dysfunction and offered to make amends, but GW did nothing to improve the situation, according to the complaint.
Frederic Lemieux, the program director of the program, said in an email to students on April 9 that the University does not agree with the students’ allegations in the complaint and will respond in court, according to a copy of the email obtained by The Hatchet.
“Please be aware that the University disagrees with these former students’ allegations and does not believe they have any valid legal claims against GW,” Lemieux said in the email. He declined requests for further comment on the suit, deferring to the University.
The complaint lists eight ways GW allegedly misrepresented the program through advertisements to students, including a claim that the program is “universally lauded by alumni.” The complaint states that there were no alumni during the time this was advertised.
Hassan Zavareei, the lawyer for the former students, said in an email that the classes were a “fraud and a clear violation of the DC Consumer Protection Act.”
“This is an important and serious case because it implicates two critical issues: national security and online education,” Zavareei said. “Factually and legally, however, the case is quite simple.”
Joe Konig contributed reporting.”