News and Analysis

A professor has found a reason why some people find the smile of presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tx., unappealing.

Richard Cytowic, a professor of neurology, attributed the unpleasantness of Cruz’s face to his unconventional smile in a Psychology Today article this week.

Crytowic, after noting how several members of the Republican Party have shown disdain for Cruz, said humans read faces and make instant judgements based off facial expressions, a concept that dates back to the survival instincts of stone-age humans.

“Senator Cruz’s countenance doesn’t shift the way I expect typical faces to move. Human faces can’t help but broadcast what we feel, what we may be thinking, and even what we may intend,” he wrote.

He wrote that Cruz’s mouth typically tightens into a straight line when he smiles and the corners of his mouth bend down, not upwards. Downturned expressions, he stated, usually signal disagreeableness or disgust, but in a natural smile the corners of the mouth go up and are controlled by voluntary muscles.

“For the record I am not a Democrat. I’m at a loss to verbalize what unsettles me so when I watch the freshman senator,” Crytowic wrote. “But it leaves me cold.”

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Updated: Feb. 6, 2016 at 2:10 p.m.

GW’s body donor program is no longer accepting donations after officials were unable to identify and return ashes to families, the dean of the medical school said Friday.

Jeffrey Akman, the dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, said in a statement that officials shut down the program after discovering that ashes of donors were misidentified. He said the individual responsible for managing the program no longer works for the University.

The statement was released following questions from The Hatchet.

The program accepted the cadavers of individuals who wished to donate their bodies to the medical school and was housed in the department of anatomy and regenerative biology. Students learned using the bodies to get a realistic understanding of how the human body works.

Akman said in the release that medical school officials learned last fall that management of the program was not fulfilling the standards that “donors and their families deserve and expect nor what I would expect as dean.” He said officials then stopped accepting donations and began an internal review of the program.

“It is with deep regret that I report that, despite exhaustive efforts, we have been unable to make a positive identification of certain donor bodies and as a result are unable to return ashes to some families who have requested them,” Akman said in the statement.

Akman said the school has contacted the families of the donors who they “believe may be affected by the program irregularities.”

“Our foremost concern has been the families who so generously honored their loved ones’ desire to donate their bodies to science and medical education,” Akman said in an email. “We have been working very hard to reconcile the records, and we will answer any questions from family members privately.”

The dean’s office is now handling oversight and management of the program, according to the release.

“As the dean and as a former medical student whose education benefitted greatly from the altruism of a body donor, I extend my deepest and most sincere apologies to all of the affected families and the entire SMHS community,” Akman said.

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Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016 2:20 p.m.

Gray announces he will run for D.C. Council

Former D.C. mayor and GW alumnus Vincent Gray announced he will be running for a D.C. Council seat Thursday. Samuel Klein | Senior Photo Editor

Former D.C. mayor and alumnus Vincent Gray announced he will be running for a D.C. Council seat Thursday. Samuel Klein | Senior Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet Reporter Joseph Konig.

Former D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray announced his candidacy for the Ward 7 D.C. Council seat Thursday.

His bid comes about two years after he lost his mayoral reelection campaign to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. In a press conference Thursday, Gray said he was focused on where he could do the “greatest good” if elected.

“I’m a public servant at heart,” he told WAMU Thursday. “This is an opportunity to continue to do things for people.”

Gray, an alumnus, previously represented Ward 7 from 2005 to 2007 and later served as Council chairman. He has lived in the area for many years, and has spent time fixing up his home there since he left office.

“Ward 7 is home. I’ve lived in Ward 7 for a very long time,” Gray told WAMU. “There is, sadly, wide dissatisfaction at this stage with the representation.”

Council member Yvette Alexander currently represents Ward 7 on the Council. Polling done by a pro-Gray political action committee, Higher Ground PAC, has Gray leading Alexander by 16 points, according to a press release.

Gray’s reelection bid was marred by a years-long federal investigation into a $668,800 illegal campaign fund that allegedly buoyed his 2010 mayoral bid. Federal officials ended that investigation in December without bringing charges against Gray. Gray has since said if it were not for that investigation, he could have coasted to a reelection victory. Several of Gray’s associates were prosecuted as a result of the federal investigation.

“When people ask why I am returning to the campaign trail, I tell them, ‘Because we have a lot of work to do,’” Gray said in a statement Thursday.

The Ward 7 democratic primary will be held June 14.

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Updated: Feb. 4, 2016 at 1:26 p.m.

Undergraduate applications increased by 28 percent this year, months after GW went test-optional, according to a release on Thursday.

GW received more than 25,400 applications, with a “significant increase” in first-generation, international, African American and Latino students, according to the release. Students who chose not to submit test scores made up about 20 percent of the applications.

GW hopes to enroll a class of 2,500 to 2,600 students next fall, a potentially slightly larger class than the 2,574 students officials enrolled in the Class of 2019.

Applications dropped by 13 percent in 2014, GW’s first decline in nearly a decade, after GW began only accepting the Common Application.

Officials attributed the increase in applications this year to the test-optional policy, as well as “targeted outreach” to high school counselors, data-driven recruitment and an updated campus visit program.

“We adopted our test-optional policy to strengthen and diversify an already outstanding applicant pool by reaching out to exceptional students who have been underrepresented at selective colleges and universities,” University President Steven Knapp said in the release. “These initial results suggest that our efforts are on the right track.”

Applications from first-generation students increased by nearly 1,100, according to the release. When GW decided to waive the standardized test requirement this summer, officials said they hoped it would attract a more diverse group of students. But experts questioned at the time whether the policy – which about 125 other institutions also share – would do much to increase racial or financial diversity.

When Virginia Commonwealth University went test-optional last year, the Washington Post reported that the school received between 450 to 500 additional applications after the change – far lower than the about 5,080 applications with no test scores that GW received.

Last year, GW admitted 45 percent of students, the highest admission rate in more than a decade, as officials increased the size of the freshman class amid a budget shortfall. GW relies on tuition for about 75 percent of its revenue.

The students GW accepted early decision have an average GPA that is “slightly higher” than the previous class, according to the release. Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and Retention Laurie Koehler said in the release that is a signal “GW is on its way to enrolling its strongest and most academically gifted class to date.”

“We are excited to see such a diverse group of applicants who feel that GW is a great fit for them,” she said.

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Student Association President Andie Dowd said at a neighborhood meeting Wednesday night that she remains neutral on  a D.C. Council bill that could send University Police Department officers on patrols off campus.  Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Student Association President Andie Dowd said at a neighborhood meeting Wednesday night that she remains neutral on a D.C. Council bill that could send University Police Department officers on patrols off campus. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet Reporter Joseph Konig.

Students and neighbors met Wednesday night to hash out details of a D.C. Council bill that would would allow University Police Department officers to patrol off campus.

The Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission, the neighborhood group that held the meeting, will formally suggest changes to the bill based on the discussion. During the nearly two-hour-long meeting, students and neighbors asked for more specifics in the bill, which they said was vague and hard to understand.

The bill is the most formal effort to send UPD officers off campus in recent years, and would impact all campus police officers in D.C. Officers would also be able to assist at other institutions in the event of an emergency, an effort that Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier would oversee.

Attendees asked for definitions about what the Council considers on- or off-campus locations, whether satellite campuses like the Mount Vernon Campus would be counted in the legislation and how crime data would be tracked.

ANC Commissioner Florence Harmon said the bill is “elitist” and “offensive” because it allows university students living off campus to avoid dealing with the Metropolitan Police Department when breaking city laws.

“I’m a little bit worried that we’re granting kids who come from privileged backgrounds a pass, versus the teenager in southeast who’s partying and doing the same thing,” Harmon said.

Eve Zhurbinskiy, an ANC commissioner and a sophomore, said at the meeting she is concerned that the official D.C. Council hearing for the bill will be on March 17, when many students will be away from GW for spring break and unable to testify in person.

“I think that kind of takes away our student’s voice from on the bill,” Zhurbinskiy said.

The commissioners agreed to ask the Council to postpone the hearing date, so that more university students could attend.

The Student Association opposed the bill last month, saying it would threaten the safety of students on campus. Ward 5 Council member Kenyan McDuffie had introduced the bill in December. GW has yet to take a public stance on proposal, but did seek to empower UPD off campus in 2013.

Student Association President Andie Dowd spoke at the beginning of the meeting and said she remains neutral on the bill. She said she knows student leaders from other institutions in D.C. are concerned that the police jurisdiction could be controlled by one person. She said she plans to meet with McDuffie’s office to discuss the bill further.

“I look forward to meeting with them and hopefully coming up with a more concrete decision on what the student body is feeling,” Dowd said.

Marina Streznewski, the president of the Foggy Bottom Association and a long-time neighbor, said the FBA will hold trainings to teach community members and students to about how to effectively testify in front of the Council.

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Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016 9:05 p.m.

Gelbucks to give 24/7 operation another shot

Hold onto your lattes kids – Gelbucks is going back to 24/7.

Gelbucks will test-drive staying open overnight later this month, according to its Twitter account. The popular Starbucks said in a Twitter exchange with Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski that it would track student turnout on Feb. 22 and 23.

The store currently closes at 1 a.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on weekends, but it seems like visiting Gelbucks before dawn on Feb. 23 will pay off for students who hope to throw back an espresso shot at 3 a.m. when midterms roll around.

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Graduate School of Political Management Director Mark Kennedy said the global advocacy program will give the college another niche. Hatchet File Photo

Graduate School of Political Management Director Mark Kennedy is in the running to become president of the University of North Dakota. Hatchet File Photo

Mark Kennedy, the director of the Graduate School for Political Management, is one of the top seven candidates in the running to be the next president of the University of North Dakota, the Washington Times reported Wednesday.

A committee had narrowed the candidates from a list of 41 and interviewed 16 people in Minneapolis on Monday and Tuesday, according to the Times.

Kennedy has led GSPM since 2012. Before coming to GW, Kennedy represented Minnesota’s second and sixth districts in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Washington Times reported that candidates will be brought to UND’s campus between Feb. 11 and March 3 before final interviews later in March. UND’s president retired last month after almost seven years at the institution.

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Nelson Carbonell, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, and his wife have a son with autism. They donated $2.5 million to fund the director position. Hatchet file photo.

Nelson Carbonell, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, and his wife have a son with autism. They donated $2.5 million to fund the director position. Hatchet file photo.

A researcher with 15 years of experience will lead GW’s autism institute, the University announced today.

Kevin Pelphrey was named the inaugural director of the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute, according to a press release. Pelphrey, who specializes in cognitive neuroscience and developmental disorders, will start at GW April 1.

The Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute was created in 2010 and is one of five new research institutes that have launched since 2009. The institute will be housed on GW’s Virginia Science and Technology Campus.

Pelphrey was the founding director of Yale University’s Center for Translational Developmental Neuroscience. He will bring $20 million in seven active grants that he currently holds with the National Institutes of Health and the Simons Foundation according to the release.

The institute will work with the Children’s National Medical Center and focus on adults with autism.

“Autism is a lifelong diagnosis but is so rarely researched past childhood,” Pelphrey said in the release. “The Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute provides the opportunity for us to take a lifespan perspective and consider the disorder from molecules to minds, looking at everything from the chemical makeup of the disorder to how it manifests in people’s behaviors.”

GW is investing more than $5 million to establish the institute as a leader in autism research. Pelphrey will soon be tasked with hiring five new faculty members and administrative staff, according to the release.

The institute began their search for a director in 2014. Leo Chalupa, the vice president for research, said they were looking for a candidate who is a leader in the field and would bring established research funding.

“Dr. Pelphrey’s experience as a psychologist, neuroscientist and parent of a child with autism makes him the ideal person to lead the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute,” Chalupa said in the release. “I am confident that he will build the institute into a top-tier resource for individuals with autism and their families.”

Nelson Carbonell, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, and his wife have a son with autism and donated $2.5 million to help fund the director’s position. He said that they hope expanded research at GW will help the cause.

“Dr. Pelphrey will be a catalyst to bring in more resources to help autistic children and adults,” Carbonell said in the release. “Right now, there aren’t enough programs, policies or strategies for adults and teens with autism transitioning to adulthood, but the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute, under the leadership of Dr. Pelphrey, has the real potential to change that.”

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Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016 11:06 a.m.

GW ranks No. 1 for student internships

The Center for Career Services advises students searching for jobs and internships. GW was ranked the No. 1 college or university for internships. Hatchet File Photo by Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor

The Center for Career Services advises students searching for jobs and internships. GW was ranked the No. 1 college or university for internships. Hatchet File Photo by Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Janna Paramore.

GW maintained its status as the No. 1 college in the nation for internship opportunities for the second year in a row.

The Princeton Review ranked 2,000 public and private institutions in a variety of categories to determine the “colleges that pay you back.” While GW didn’t rank high in other categories like graduation rates or alumni salaries, the University has gotten high marks from the organization on city location, politically active students, residence hall quality and study abroad programs.

About two-thirds of GW undergraduate students complete internships, according to a University website.

GW slashed tuition fees for students who needed to receive academic credit for internships after former Student Association President Nick Gumas pushed for the change. Students now pay $50 per one credit to receive academic credit for internships, a dramatic drop from the $1,300 students were paying each semester.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Liz Provencher.

Metropolitan Police Department Police Chief Cathy Lanier said she would shut down a local bar, Barcode, for 96 hours for police to investigate a double stabbing that occurred there on Sunday night, according to The Washington Post.

Robinson Pal, 29, was at the bar on 17th and L streets Sunday night around 11:30 p.m. when a large fight broke out, Borderstan, a community news site that focuses on Northwest D.C., reported Tuesday. Pal and another man, whom police did not identify, were both stabbed during the altercation.

Pal died shortly after the assault and the other man was treated at GW Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, the news site reported.

An “unruly and aggressive crowd” were gathered at Barcode that night, according to authorities. Police arrived on the scene in an attempt to restore order and found a bloody knife and broken glass scattered on the bar, Borderstan reported.

MPD also requested to revoke Barcode’s liquor license following the homicide, the news organization reported. MPD posted a letter from Lanier to D.C.’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration requesting the license’s revocation on the bar’s door.

“This homicide can be connected directly to the operations of ‘Bar-Code’ and it is clear from from the violent outcome that the safety of residents and visitors to the city was severely endangered,” Lanier said in the letter.

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