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Chuck Todd led a discussion of the 2016 election in the Jack Morton Auditorium on Wednesday. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Chuck Todd led a discussion of the 2016 election in the Jack Morton Auditorium on Wednesday. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Updated: Sept. 2, 2015 at 11:19 p.m.

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Vaidehi Patel.

Chuck Todd led a panel of political experts to discuss the 2016 campaign in front of a packed crowd in the Jack Morton Auditorium Wednesday night.

The panelists of pollsters and strategists quickly acknowledged the growing popularity of Trump, a “flamboyant” Republican candidate. Known for his countless controversies with the media since the start of his campaign, Trump has quickly become well-known for his politics and strategies – and not just for his business ventures or TV presence.

Paul Wilson, the chairman and CEO of Wilson Grand Communications, said Trump’s ability to effectively use social media like Twitter and make his campaign similar to reality TV has given him an edge over the other candidates.

“He treats media like a salt shaker,” Wilson said.

Amy Walter, the national editor of The Cook Political Report, said that Trump is different from the other candidates because he tends .

“He is seen as the kid on the playground not playing by the rules,” Walter said.

A panel of political strategists discussed the 2016 campaign. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

A panel of political strategists discussed the 2016 campaign. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The panelists also criticized Democratic candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for doing few national interviews.

Frank Fahrenkopf, the co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates, said that Clinton’s campaign depends on the votes of all kinds of minority groups, including African Americans, Asians, Hispanics and women. If she doesn’t make herself more accessible, she could lose the votes from these key populations, the panelists agreed.

But Cornell Belcher, the president of Brilliant Corners Research & Strategies, said that any candidate could lose to a late campaign launch from the “amiable” Vice President Joe Biden.

And all panelists agreed that the American people have lost trust in Washington politicians, meaning that anxiety over the future and anger are driving forces behind their choice of candidate. Candidates will have to work on becoming likeable to win the voters over, they said.

“The most important thing that the people want is a president they like,” Belcher said.

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Nicholas Upton was a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity and the men's rowing team. Photo courtesy The George Washington University.

Nicholas Upton was a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity and the men’s rowing team. Photo courtesy The George Washington University.

Updated: Sept. 2, 2015 at 3:26 p.m.

The junior missing off the coast of South Africa is presumed drowned, his parents confirmed Tuesday.

Local officials called off the search for 19-year-old Nicholas Upton, his parents said. Upton was last seen swimming in the East Cape Province on Sunday, Aug. 30 at about 10:30 p.m. local time. Weather conditions had “hampered” the original search, according to an Aug. 31 release from the National Sea Rescue Institute.

His father, Jim Upton, said he and Nicholas Upton’s mother had been told Tuesday morning that there was a “zero percent chance” that his son was still alive and a 5 percent chance that they would be able to recover the body.

Margaret Mirowski, Nicholas Upton’s mother, said she will travel to South Africa on Wednesday to hire a private search. She said she still has hope her son can be found alive.

Mirowski said that local officials weren’t doing enough to search for her son and said U.S. officials should “make a wave” to help her get the resources needed to find him. She said officials should not have called off the search.

“I don’t think that’s fair, I don’t think anyone would believe that’s fair,” Mirowski said. “We’re going out there and we’re finding Nicholas.”

A kickstarter campaign started by a family friend has brought in more than $55,000, which will be used to conduct a private search.

Nicholas Upton is from Redding, Conn. He is a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity and the men’s rowing team. His father said those organizations have been “fantastic” in contacting government officials to raise awareness of his son’s disappearance.

Jim Upton said students visited dozens of Congressional, State Department and military offices Monday asking U.S. officials to encourage South African officials to devote more resources to the search.

“As a direct result of that, the consulate guy that we’re working with was complaining about getting so many calls from congressmen, so they did a tremendous job getting the word out,” Jim Upton said.

Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski said in a statement late Tuesday night that officials are in touch with Nicholas Upton’s family and “is offering support to those students affected by this devastating news.”

“Our hearts go out to them and others who knew and loved Nick,” Konwerski said

Members of the community can contact Mental Health Services at 202-994-5300.

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Sen. Thomas Falcigno, CCAS-U, sponsored a resolution supporting GW's move to become "test-optional." Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor

Sen. Thomas Falcigno, CCAS-U, sponsored a resolution supporting GW’s move to become “test-optional.” Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor

The Student Association Senate endorsed GW’s decision to make standardized test scores optional for applicants during the group’s first meeting of the year Monday night.

Sen. Thomas Falcigno, CCAS-U, who sponsored the resolution, said Laurie Koehler, the senior associate provost for enrollment management, explained the administration’s decision to members of the SA during the group’s retreat over the past weekend.

Falcigno said Koehler told the group that the change was made with “neither selectivity or prestige in mind,” and added that he decided to sponsor the bill because the University becoming “test–optional” creates a “more holistic admission process and therefore a more holistic GW.”

He called the new policy a step in the right direction, but added that “test-optional undergraduate admissions is only a Band-Aid on a wound that needs stitches and that “there are still gaping holes in our system that lead to disproportionate wealth disparity among GW students.”

Falcigno cited the three-year on-campus housing requirement, the cost of tuition and the University’s need-aware admissions as policies that “need to be reexamined if we are truly going to say that we are attempting to improve diversity and promote opportunity.”

The senate also approved more than $6,000 in funding for the Latino Heritage Celebration to bring Lucy Flores, an assemblywoman in Nevada, to be the keynote speaker for the month-long series of events. The celebration is organized by the Organization of Latino American Students.

Both SA President Andie Dowd and SA Executive Vice President Casey Syron asked that students keep junior Nicholas Upton, who has been missing in South Africa since Sunday night, and his family in their thoughts and prayers.

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Monday, Aug. 31, 2015 11:42 a.m.

Junior missing in South Africa

Updated: Aug. 31, 2015 at 4:49 p.m.

We will continue to update this story.

A junior studying abroad in South Africa has been declared missing, according to a University statement.

Nicholas Upton was last seen swimming in the East Cape Province on Sunday, Aug. 30 at about 10:30 p.m. local time. He “went missing in the surf,” according to a release from the National Sea Rescue Institute in Transkei, South Africa. Five other University of Cape Town students had also gone swimming with him, and attempted to find him along with staff from a nearby lodge.

At about 4 a.m., the National Sea Rescue Institute were alerted, according to the NSRI release. Until about 10 a.m. local time, “unfavorable weather conditions” hampered the search. Cape Town authorities are conducting a search and are working with program representatives, Upton’s family and the U.S. Embassy, according to the GW release.

Marron Roberts, an official at the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center in Cape Town, said the search for Upton was ongoing. He said local police, volunteers and K-9 units were involved in the search.

“We are using all efforts possible to try and find him,” Roberts said Monday.

Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski said in the statement that GW is “closely monitoring this situation.” Officials are in touch with Upton’s family, he added.

“We continue to hope and pray for Nicholas’ safe return,” Konwerski said.

Upton is a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity and the men’s rowing team, according to a statement on the Kappa Alpha Facebook page.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said Monday that Upton is one of four GW students participating in the Cape Town program.

Jacqueline Thomsen and Jeanine Marie contributed reporting.

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Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 9:00 a.m.

MØ, Holychild to perform at Fall Fest

Mø will headline Fall Fest this year, according to Program Board Thursday. Photo by Wikipedia user Kim Metso used under CC BY-SA 4.0 license

Mø will headline Fall Fest this year, according to Program Board Thursday. Photo by Wikipedia user Kim Metso used under CC BY-SA 4.0 license

Updated: Aug. 27, 2015 at 12:35 p.m.

Indie pop singer MØ will headline Fall Fest this year, the Program Board announced Thursday.

MØ, the stage name for Karen Marie Ørsted, is best known for being featured on Major Lazer’s summer hit, “Lean On.” The electro-pop Danish singer has released one album, “Mythologies to Follow,” and has collaborated with Iggy Azalea.

In June, Rolling Stone called MØ one of the 50 best things to happen at Bonnaroo, a music festival in Tennessee, where the singer performed.

Opening for MØ is Holychild, a pop indie duo that graduated from GW in 2012 after meeting in a modern dance class. This is the fourth time a GW student or alumnus has performed during a campus-wide concert. During Spring Fling last academic year, a then-GW senior opened for 3LAU, and student band Bencoolen and DJ Haile Supreme both opened for main acts in the past two years.

Last year, indie rock group Cold War Kids headlined Fall Fest, and Theophilus London headlined Spring Fling.

The University-wide free concert begins at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 5 in University Yard, and will also include multiple vendors, according to a press release.

Holychild’s hits include “Happy With Me” and “Running Behind,” which was featured in a global commercial about the Apple Watch.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly listed one of Holychild’s hits as “Happy to Me.” The song title is “Happy With Me.” We regret this error.

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Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015 12:49 p.m.

Provost Steven Lerman to step down in January

Provost Steven Lerman will step down from his post at the end of the calendar year, the University announced Wednesday.

He will take a yearlong sabbatical in California and will return to GW as the the A. James Clark Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Lerman was the head architect of GW’s ambitious 10-year, $110 million strategic plan, which was launched two years ago and outlines far-reaching goals like the addition of 100 faculty members and doubling the number of international students. Lerman served as the right hand to University President Steven Knapp during his nearly five years at GW, and was well known across campus for hosting pancake breakfasts in his home on the Mount Vernon Campus.

Lerman announced the move in a letter to colleagues, saying that “being part of the leadership team as well as a member of this distinguished faculty, and having the opportunity to work with such talented staff and students, has been an enormous privilege. One of the great joys of my job has been that I have learned something new here every single day.”

During his time as provost, Lerman oversaw appointing more than a dozen top administrators to their positions, including new posts like an associate vice provost for international strategy and a director for the University’s new STEM academy.

“Steve Lerman has been a terrific partner over the past five years,” said President Steven Knapp. “He led us through one of the most significant strategic planning processes in the university’s history and oversaw a significant restructuring of student affairs and the GW medical center. To all those efforts he brought a spirit of openness and collaboration that I hope will persist as a permanent feature of the university’s culture.”

Before coming to GW in 2010, Lerman spent 40 years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a faculty member and administrator, and earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral engineering degrees there.

We will continue to update this post.

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D.C. police blocked traffic to the Key Bridge in Georgetown on Tuesday night after a man on the bridge threatened to harm himself. Katie Causey | Photo Editor

D.C. police blocked traffic to the Key Bridge in Georgetown on Tuesday night after a man on the bridge threatened to harm himself. Katie Causey | Photo Editor

The Georgetown Key Bridge was shut down to pedestrian and vehicular traffic for about two hours on Tuesday night because of a man on the bridge “threatening to harm himself,” according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Officers on the scene put the man in custody late Tuesday night and took him to an area hospital. Katie Causey | Photo Editor

Officers on the scene put the man in custody late Tuesday night and took him to an area hospital. Katie Causey | Photo Editor

At around 8:30 p.m., police blocked the bridge to vehicular and pedestrian traffic. More than 40 people were waiting on 35th and M streets to cross the bridge by the time it opened around 10:30 p.m.

MPD Lieutenant Eric Hayes said on the scene the man was admitted to an area hospital. Hayes did not say which hospital and did not provide additional information about the man. A spokeswoman at GW Hospital declined to confirm whether the man had been taken there, citing patient privacy laws.

Special units and the MPD Harbor Patrol were also on the scene, in addition to D.C. Fire and EMS.

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A new neighborhood program will allow Foggy Bottom and West End residents to document possible incidents with off-campus students. Hatchet File Photo.

A new neighborhood program will allow Foggy Bottom residents to document possible incidents with off-campus students. Hatchet File Photo.

A new program will provide residents in Foggy Bottom and West End an opportunity to report potential incidents with GW students living off-campus.

The GW Community Response Program, which was announced by the University Monday, will offer a hotline for neighbors to report possible incidents with off-campus students. Responders can document the time, location and nature of the event.

The program is the latest step in officials cracking down on student behavior off-campus, which has for decades created tension between neighbors and GW.

All reports filed through the program will be reviewed by University staff and students will only be held accountable for incidents that are verified by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, according to the release.

The program will run for 10 weekends during the 2015-2016 academic year, including Labor Day, Halloween and Commencement weekends.

Responders to those incidents will be trained by the Division of Student Affairs, the GW Office of Government and Community Relations and the GW Offices of Safety and Security. Community members or GW employees can be responders.

Student leaders have been briefed about the new program over the past few weeks, according to the release. More information on the program will also be available during “Be A Good Neighbor” orientation sessions during the first week of classes.

University Police Department officers were reprimanded by city police officers in 2013 for violating off-campus jurisdiction. Punishments for off-campus noise and trash violations were created last August.

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A crowd-funding page to support celebrity chef José Andrés has raised nearly $10,000.

The funds are backing Andrés in a lawsuit filed by real estate mogul Donald Trump, the Washington Business Journal reported Thursday.

Trump Old Post Office LLC sued Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup and an affiliate, Topo Atrio LLC, for $10 million after Andrés, an adjunct professor at GW, backed out of a deal to open a Spanish restaurant in Trump’s future D.C. hotel last month.

The page was started by Jorge Guajardo, Mexican ambassador to China from 2007 to 2013. Guajardo has tweeted to his donors in Spanish, saying Andrés was not alone against Trump.

The friction between Andrés and Trump, who is running for president, began when Andrés said that Trump’s “statements disparaging immigrants” made it “impossible” for him to open a restaurant in the future hotel. Andrés, who is originally from Spain, pointed out his own history as an immigrant and said many of his employees are Hispanic.

Even if you don’t donate to the cause, the Indiegogo page is worth it for the image of Andrés holding a giant chicken leg that’s been Trumped.

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Updated: Aug. 20, 2015 at 3:50 p.m.

GW gave one in five members of the Class of 2017 who did not indicate financial need received merit grants to attend the University.

The University gave 20 percent of freshmen who did not indicate financial need an average of $18,307 in grants and scholarships for the academic year of 2013-2014, according to a survey released by The Washington Post. Colleges often give these types of grants to lure in students who can afford to pay the full price of tuition.

GW has increased the amount of smaller, merit-based scholarships and grants it gives to students by almost a third since 2010.

The University, which is roughly 70 percent reliant on tuition to fund its daily functions, also increased its financial aid pool to $182 million for undergraduates in May to help support a larger incoming freshmen class. In 2013, GW administrators admitted that they were not a “need-blind” institution, putting hundreds of students on the waitlist for not being able to afford tuition, while accepting other students who could pay.

Only four of GW’s peer schools, Southern Methodist and Tulane universities, the University of Miami and the University of Southern California, gave grants to 20 percent or more of the freshmen class who did not indicate that they needed financial aid to pay for tuition.

Georgetown University did not give any grants to students who did not indicate financial need, according to the survey, while 4 percent of Duke University’s freshmen who did not indicate that they needed financial aid received grants with an average of $56,043.

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