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9:53 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014

Highlights from Bid Day 2014

Alex Roberts and Katherine Hurrell, two sisters part of Alpha Delta Pi, celebrate new members for Bid Day on the National Mall today. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Photographer

Alex Roberts and Katherine Hurrell, two sisters part of Alpha Delta Pi, celebrate new members for Bid Day on the National Mall today. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Photographer


This post was written by Hatchet reporter Ryan Lasker.

Sororities celebrated the end of recruitment Monday on the National Mall, cheering as their new members rushed towards their chapters on Bid Day. Current sisters decked themselves out in matching colorful outfits and chanted their chapters’ songs.

Here’s what you missed at Bid Day this year:

1. Relief at the end of recruitment

After a weekend of recruitment, each new sorority member picked up their bids Tuesday afternoon before meeting their new sorority in University Yard. The new members screamed as they met other students in their sorority and learned the organization’s chants and songs.

Mia Svirsky, a freshman who joined Alpha Phi, said though food should have been given out over recruitment weekend, she “could not be happier” with her bid.

“They worked really hard to impress us,” she said.

2. Loud cheering and equally loud outfits

Hundreds of Greek life members walked from University Yard to the lawn of the Lincoln Memorial, wearing coordinating shirts. Sisters wore sorority T-shirts, feather boas, Hawaiian leis, flower crowns and carried sparkly signs welcoming each new member.

Members of Chi Omega, while walking from University Yard to a lawn next to the Lincoln Memorial, chanted “Chi! Omega! Chi! Chi! Omega!,” as they crossed their arms over their heads, a signature move for the sorority.

Colleen Quinn, a freshman who joined Alpha Delta Pi, said joining Greek life at GW was an opportunity to make the school feel more comfortable.

“GW is new and scary, and Greek life was smaller and an easier way to meet people,” Quinn said.

Sisters of Alpha Phi add to the excitement as the sororities wait to welcome new members. Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Sisters of Alpha Phi add to the excitement as the sororities wait to welcome new members. Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer

3. Revealing the Pi Rho Chis

Pi Rho Chis, a group of sorority members who guide new members through the recruitment process, kept their sorority affiliation secret until Tuesday. On the National Mall, surrounded by hundreds of yelling and screaming members, the Pi Rho Chis peeled off their sweatshirts before running to formally introduce themselves to their new sisters.

Pi Rho Chi and senior Alex Hitchcock said part of her job on Bid Day was to teach the new member their sorority chants and hand signs – two key parts to blending in with a Greek organization.

“There will be a lot of us to help them,” she said.

4. Joining the family

In addition to making new members feel welcome, Bid Day is also an exciting time for current sorority members. Greek members make up about 30 percent of the undergraduate community, a number that has swelled over the last decade.

“It’s like a manifestation, in like 10 minutes, of how excited you are that all of them are your future sisters,” said Lucy Macintosh, a junior in Sigma Kappa.

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Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 8:15 p.m.

Georgetown student dies of apparent meningitis

A Georgetown University student died of “apparent meningitis” on Tuesday, the university told the Washington Post.

Andrea Jaime, a nursing student at the school, was receiving treatment at the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

“We are awaiting test results to confirm the exact cause,” Todd Olson, the university’s vice president for student affairs, wrote in an email to the Georgetown community, the Post reported.

“Proper medical precautions have been taken and members of the campus community do not need to take additional action at this time,” Olson wrote.

The disease can be transmitted through prolonged close contact and can cause brain damage and blood infection if not treated immediately.

Symptoms include a sudden high fever, severe headache and nausea, according to Mayo Clinic.

A GW student died of meningitis in 2011.

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Mayor Vincent Gray testified on Capitol Hill on Monday, calling for D.C. statehood. Samuel Klein | Senior Photo Editor

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C. and Mayor Vincent Gray testified on Capitol Hill on Monday, calling for D.C. statehood. Samuel Klein | Senior Photo Editor

Updated: Sept. 16, 2014 at 4:04 p.m.

The long battle for D.C. statehood made progress Monday, though the historic moment was touched by some cynicism.

The U.S. Senate held its first hearing in more than 20 years on D.C. statehood on Monday. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C. and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson testified at the hearing, led by Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who advocated for D.C  to become the nation’s 51st state.

Here are four key takeaways from the hearing.

1. “Not just a collection of government offices, monuments and museums”

Carper, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is sponsoring the bill that proposes D.C. become a state called New Columbia. He praised the vitality of D.C., and said the hearing was a way to “restart an old conversation.”

“This may not be the last chapter, but it attempts to right a wrong that should have been righted by now,” he said.

Carper argued that D.C., with more than 650,000 residents, should have representatives in Congress with the power to vote.

2. “No chance of success”

Coburn, the only other senator at the hearing, was more pessimistic of D.C.’s chances.

“Here we are again debating this issue, even though it has no chance of success,” he said.

Coburn pointed to past presidencies, such as Ronald Reagan’s administration, which found that several legal challenges would come with granting D.C. statehood.

3. D.C. is an “anomaly”

Norton, D.C.’s non-voting representative in Congress, was the first witness to speak during the panel, and argued that only statehood would allow her to fully represent the city’s residents.

She pointed to moments when she said she “felt” D.C. needed statehood, including when veterans from the District came home from Afghanistan and Iraq. She said they had fought for the democratic voting rights of citizens there, but they “came home without the same rights.”

“I feel it when the bell rings and I cannot vote on behalf of the residents,” she said.

4. Gray: “We were casualties of national politics.”

Gray spoke about the problems he saw with Congressional oversight of D.C. government. He cited the federal government shutdown last October, which prompted Gray to declare all D.C. government employees “essential.”

Gray added that under the New Columbia Admission Act, Congress would not have control over the District’s budget.

“We’re asking for the same treatment that all Americans get,” he said.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the federal government shutdown last year forced D.C. agencies to close. The city actually used reserve funds during the shutdown to keep agencies running. We regret this error.

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Faculty and researchers will start moving into the Science and Engineering Hall this December. Hatchet file photo.

Faculty and researchers will start moving into the Science and Engineering Hall this December. Hatchet File Photo.

Faculty will start moving into the Science and Engineering Hall this December, about a month earlier than expected, the University announced Monday.

The $275 million hall will begin holding classes next spring, with guidance from the building’s manager, Alex Weller. She’ll be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day activities in research labs, classrooms and a basement aquatic suite.

“The design team met with researchers, faculty and staff during the design process to make sure that the facility meets their needs, and it is truly a collaborative environment,” Weller said in a release. “I am excited to manage operations and become a part of what the university is doing academically through research.”

The announcement comes after an attorney for Clark Construction raised concerns that the project would be delayed in July, when a subcontractor that Clark hired to complete electrical work filed for bankruptcy.

Construction for the building, located at 21st and H streets, began in 2011. It’s the University’s largest academic commitment in recent history.

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke at Lisner Auditorium Friday for Constitution Day. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke at Lisner Auditorium Friday for a Constitution Day celebration. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Avery Anapol.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told a packed Lisner Auditorium on Friday that she sees one glaring error in the U.S. Constitution: It lacks an amendment that promises equal rights for women.

Ginsburg spoke opposite Maeva Marcus, a GW Law School professor and the director of the Institute for Constitutional History, as part of the sixth annual Capital City Constitution Day celebration. The conversation was centered on the theme of “Women and the Constitution.”

“If you pick up any constitution written since 1950, any place in the world, there will be a provision on the equal citizenship stature of men and women. It’s not in our constitution,” Ginsburg said. “I would like to see a statement of women’s full citizenship in the constitution on par with our freedom of speech, freedom of religion. It’s a basic tenant of our society.”

She said she felt “lucky to be born at the right time to advance women’s equality,” and said she has seen a great deal of change since she studied at Harvard Law School, where she was one of just nine women in her 500-student entry-level class.

“Employers were totally up front about saying, ‘We don’t want lady lawyers,’” Ginsburg said.

Since then, Ginsburg said several cases have helped advance women’s rights: One was the 1971 Sally Reed case, which overturned an Idaho law that allowed men to be chosen as the executors of an estate over women on the basis of sex.

Ginsburg had acted as Sally Reed’s attorney when she was a volunteer lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union. She fought for the divorced mother’s right to her deceased son’s estate, which had been handed over to her ex-husband because Idaho law gave preference to men.

Throughout her tenure as a lawyer and justice, Ginsburg has aimed to challenge the stereotypes of men as breadwinners and women as caretakers.

“No one, male or female, should be held back from opportunity,” Ginsburg said.

She also pointed to changes in the historically male-dominated Supreme Court. She said women are “no longer one at a time curiosities,” highlighting the strengths of her fellow female justices, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

“Those women are not shrinking violets, they are very active in the dialogue between the lawyers and the justices,” she said.

Last year’s Constitution Day event featured Justice Antonin Scalia, who told the Lisner crowd he believed the Constitution and Supreme Court justices cannot answer every moral question.

Members of the audience this year cheered for Ginsburg during the talk, with some wearing “Notorious RBG” t-shirts, and gave her a standing ovation.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporters Sam Morse and Ally Kowalski.

More than 200 students and faculty gathered Thursday in the Marvin Center to remember the fear that gripped the nation 13 years ago, with speakers focusing on themes of unity and hope as campus commemorated the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Provost Steven Lerman spoke about the impact of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks Thursday in the Great Hall. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Photographer

Provost Steven Lerman spoke about the impact of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks Thursday in the Marvin Center. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Photographer

Attendees of the vigil lit nine candles for each of the GW alumni who died in the attacks, and Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders led the gathering in a prayer. Provost Steven Lerman spoke about the legacy of the attacks and the lasting impact the events had on the University and the country.

The lacrosse stick of an alumnus who had graduated from GW that year and died in the attacks is now on display in a memorial at the 9/11 museum in New York City, which opened last spring.

Michael Massaroli, Jr., whose father worked on the 101st floor of the first tower and died that day, spoke about the time that has passed since he lost his 38-year-old father.

“It is up to those of us who remember to keep alive the memory of those who were lost,” Massaroli said.

He said the last 13 years have been “a blip historically, yet quite a long time for those who have lived it.”

Marking 13th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, a lone US flag stands along side a row of red, white, and blue lights placed by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.  Samuel Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Marking the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, a U.S. flag stands alongside a row of red, white and blue lights placed by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Vice President Joe Biden visited campus Thursday to help Points of Light volunteers prepare care packages for veterans, active military, first responders and wounded warriors.

A small group of administrators, faculty and students met at Veterans Memorial Park in Kogan Plaza for a wreath-laying ceremony Thursday morning. University President Steven Knapp spoke at the ceremony that honored those who died before joining attendees in a minute-long moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., marking when the first plane crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

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Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014 8:36 p.m.

Student reports forcible fondling in Potomac House

A female student reported that she was forcibly fondled in the freshman residence hall Potomac House last Friday.

GW has identified the suspect, a male student, University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said in an email.

The victim reported that she was fondled at about 1 a.m. on Friday. The University Police Department listed the report of a sexual abuse in the University’s crime log three days later.

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The Corcoran will transfer $43 million to GW to cover building renovations and program costs. Hatchet file photo.

The Corcoran will transfer $43 million to GW to cover building renovations and program costs. Hatchet file photo.

GW is set to receive $43 million in funds from the Corcoran College of Art + Design to cover building renovations and programming costs, the University announced Wednesday.

About $35 million of that pool will cover renovations to the Corcoran’s aging 17th Street building, while the remaining $8 million will fund the Corcoran School of Art + Design’s operations. The fine arts school officially moved under the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences last month.

The first phase of renovations, which will repair the building’s heating, cooling and mechanical systems is expected to cost $25 million – nearly a third of the total GW plans to spend renovating the building.

GW plans to sell the Fillmore building, the Corcoran’s Georgetown property, at the end of this academic year. Profits from that sale will also go toward the $80 million renovations and the school’s operational costs.

University Provost Steven Lerman said in a press release that GW has begun fundraising to support Corcoran renovations and continued programming.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the university to not only preserve the historic legacy of the Corcoran but also enhance and build upon the innovative arts education we provide in the heart of our nation’s capital,” Lerman said.

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Four GW alumni and political journalists returned to campus to talk about their reporting and the 2014 midterm elections. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Photographer

Four GW alumni and political journalists returned to campus to talk about their reporting and the 2014 midterm elections. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Photographer

Updated: Sept. 16, 2014 at 1:28 p.m.

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Brandon Lee.

A panel of journalists who graduated from GW returned to campus to discuss their reporting experiences and the upcoming midterm elections Tuesday.

Roll Call’s Emily Cahn, Reid Wilson of the Washington Post, Shawna Thomas of “Meet the Press” and The McClatchy Company’s Vice President of News Anders Gyllenhaal met at the Jack Morton Auditorium to share their experiences with students, faculty and fellow alumni.

Here are the big moments from the evening.

1. Americans don’t vote often in midterms, but they should

Why do so few Americans vote in midterm elections, moderator and School of Media and Public Affairs associate professor Cheryl Thompson asked to kick off the discussion.

Wilson took a stab at the answer by first recognizing that the lack of enthusiasm is understandable.

“The average American is going through a tough time right now,” Wilson said. “When you struggle to make ends meet, you don’t have time to read the paper everyday.”

And while a majority of eligible voters take a pass on the midterms, 1974 GW graduate Gyllenhaal said the stakes of the 2014 elections could excite people.

“It’s hard for people who aren’t as addicted to this stuff as the folks in this room to be excited about midterms,” he said. “But it’s also true that the Senate is up for grabs, and if you focus on that, you are looking at something very suspenseful.”

2. The GOP will most likely take the Senate

Thompson, who is also an investigative reporter at The Post, asked the panel how President Barack Obama’s shrinking approval rate will impact the outcome in November. All four journalists agreed the president’s numbers would have an effect.

“They can’t bring in the star power of the president anymore,” Thomas said. “You want the money that a president can bring in, but in these tight races, he is nowhere to be found.”

Thomas, who graduated from GW in 2002, added that Obama’s absence from the campaign trail is intentional. And that shows Democrats are trying to distance themselves from the President, said Cahn, a 2011 alumna.

“These important races are happening in states that Obama had already lost [in 2012],” Cahn said. “Then you look at how poorly he’s doing now, that’s going to hurt his party with even the base voters in his party. That’s definitely a big problem for the Democrats.”

3. Take advantage of opportunities at GW

The alumni also mentioned how attending GW shaped their careers.

Students get “to be in the center of everything,” said Thomas, who joined “Meet the Press” this summer.

While at GW, Thomas interned at Fox News and stayed in D.C. to work as a lobbyist after graduation.

“Half, if not all, of your professors have connections,” she said. “Everything you can do in D.C. and still go to class is what GW can offer you.”

Wilson recalled interning on Capitol Hill while taking classes at the University.

“I love politics to my core. Because of that, there is no better place than here,” he said. “Forget about Georgetown, that’s way too far away.”

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported the last name of SMPA associate professor Cheryl Thompson. It is Thompson, not Thomson. We regret this error.

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