News and Analysis

The National Parks Services announced Monday that the Washington Monument would be closed indefinitely to address elevator issues. Hatchet File Photo

The National Parks Services announced Monday that the Washington Monument would be closed indefinitely to address elevator issues. Hatchet File Photo

The National Park Service announced Monday it would close access to inside the Washington Monument indefinitely, The Washington Post reported.

The agency cited “ongoing reliability issues” with the elevators going to the top of the monument and made the call to close access to the top of the obelisk until the elevators are fixed, according to The Post.

“As a result, we have made the difficult decision not to reopen the Washington Monument until we can modernize the elevator control system,” the service told The Post.

Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the National Park Service, told the Post that “it’s a long-term closure, one that will be measured in months.”

After on-and-off elevator service for the past few months and a month-long investigation about elevator problems, officials said they were not able to determine the exact problem with the monument’s lone. National Park Service officials listed several potential reasons for the problems, including the elevator is 15 years old and its mechanical and electrical systems are worn out, The Post reported.

The monument closed for about three years after an earthquake damaged the structure in 2011.

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Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 5:10 p.m.

JBKO evacuated after burner left on

Residents were evacuated from JBKO after a burner was left on in the building. Alyssa Bogosian | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Residents were evacuated from JBKO after a burner was left on in the building. Alyssa Bogosian | Hatchet Staff Photographer

JBKO was evacuated at about 4 p.m. Saturday after a burner was left on in a resident’s room, University spokesman Brett Zongker said.

University Police Department officers and D.C. Fire and EMS responded to the scene.

UPD officers asked residents to wait down the street away from the building. Residents were allowed back in JBKO Hall at approximately 4:30 p.m.

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A recent alumnus and current White House staffer’s email account was hacked this week, revealing political documents and messages from his time at GW.

The hacked Gmail account belonged to Ian Mellul, a White House staffer who is currently working on Hillary Clinton’s Democratic presidential campaign. The website DC Leaks, which claims to be started by American hackers, released the email correspondence Thursday morning.

Mellul, who graduated from GW in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, was a member of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and a leader of the Colonial Army. The leak includes emails from February 2015 through this July.

The leaked emails include correspondence between members of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity at GW. The emails between members have information about mixers, pledges, other Greek life organizations and the group’s test bank.

“For the pledges who show up to this, please make them your slaves,” one member of the fraternity wrote on Feb. 18, 2015, according to an email obtained by DC Leaks and allegedly received by Mellul.

The emails also include correspondence between Mellul and Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero from when Mellul served as leader of the Colonial Army and his messages with various GW professors.

Along with the emails, the hackers released a copy of First Lady Michelle Obama’s passport and other internal documents, including planning and travel information with Clinton’s detailed schedule.

Mellul deleted his Twitter and LinkedIn accounts Thursday morning.

The Secret Service said Thursday that officers are “aware” of the alleged hacks of a White House employee but did not confirm the authenticity of the passport photo or other communications, The Hill reported.


Earlier in September, DC Leaks claimed responsibility for leaking emails from former Secretary of State Colin Powell and messages from the Democratic National Committee.

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Commissioners of the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neigbhorhood Commission discussed the city's process for removing homeless encampments at the meeting Wednesday night. Jack Borowiak | Hatchet Photographer

Commissioners of the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neigbhorhood Commission discussed the city’s process for removing homeless encampments at the meeting Wednesday night. Jack Borowiak | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Brielle Powers.

D.C. officials removed homeless people living in tents near Washington Circle Tuesday, a liaison from Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office said at a neighborhood meeting Wednesday night.

During the crime report at the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission’s monthly meeting, community member Barbara Kahlow complained about the growing homeless encampment near Virginia Avenue, saying “it’s an entire city.”

“It’s a health and safety issue. I am sick of people following me and begging all the time. It is not safe for people to walk in the neighborhood anymore,” she said.

Richard Livingstone, the Ward 2 liaison for the mayor’s office and former member of the government and community relations office at GW, spoke about the city’s efforts to remove homeless encampments in public areas in the city.

“We are indeed getting individuals to get out of their tent and they either take it down, or the tent is removed,” he said. “However, what we are experiencing, is people coming back.”

He said the city posts signs about clean-ups in the encampment areas so that the homeless people expect when the clean-ups will take place. ANC Commissioner William Kennedy Smith asked if having tents in public areas is illegal.

“I have never seen any evidence of a clean-up,” Smith said.

Livingstone said officials have developed a protocol for removing the encampments and that the city is following it. He said the city does not forcibly remove homeless people from encampments, but that there is a high rate of compliance with clean-ups.

“We notify the individuals out there with signs,” Livingstone said. “We address behavior, we do not remove people.”

At-large D.C. Council member Elissa Silverman also attended the meeting in Funger Hall and spoke about her support for the Universal Paid Leave Act, proposed by the D.C. Council last year. The bill would provide up to 16 weeks of paid leave in situations like the birth or adoption of a child or caring for a seriously sick relative.

“This is a program that helps to maintain workers. I like to think of it like Social Security,” Silverman said. “We need a big pool of people to be helping everybody.”

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Ten sororities welcomed their new members at bid day on the National Mall Tuesday. Here are some of the moments sorority sisters shared with new members.

Members of Kappa Delta run after receiving their bids. Kevin Chen | Hatchet Photographer

Members of Kappa Delta run toward their new sorority sisters after walking to the National Mall from campus. Kevin Chen | Hatchet Photographer

Alexandra Kudatzky and Gabrielle Hangos of the Pi Beta Phi take a selfie during bid day. Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

Sophomores Alexandra Kudatzky and Gabrielle Hangos, members of Pi Beta Phi, take a selfie during bid day. Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

New members of Phi Sigma Sigma are greeted by sisters. Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

Phi Sigma Sigma members cheer as their new members approach. Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

Members of Sigma Kappa celebrate bid day in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

Members of Sigma Kappa celebrate in front of the Lincoln Memorial as new members approach. Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

Members of Alpha Epsilon Phi cheer while awaiting their new members on the National Mall. Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

Members of Alpha Epsilon Phi chant and jump while waiting for new members to arrive. Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

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D.C. Fire and EMS responded to a medical emergency inside the Smith Center early Tuesday evening. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

D.C. Fire and EMS responded to a medical emergency inside the Smith Center early Tuesday evening. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Liz Provencher.

An adult man playing basketball at the Smith Center went into cardiac arrest Tuesday night, a D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman said.

GW staff members working at the charity event performed advanced CPR on the scene and University Police Department officers treated the man with an AED unit, D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Vito Maggiolo said. EMeRG responded to the scene and took over medical treatment until D.C. Fire and EMS arrived.

Maggiolo said responders regained the man’s pulse before he was transported to “an area hospital.” He declined to say which hospital the man was transported to, citing privacy laws.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said the event was a charity basketball game that was not affiliated with the University. The event was the 18th Annual Hoops for Youth Congressional Fall Classic basketball game, according to the Hoops for Youth Foundation website.

Robin Eberhardt, Justine Coleman, Dan Rich and Sam Hardgrove contributed reporting.

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The Young Turks broadcast live from the Jack Morton Auditorium Monday night. Keren Carrion | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The Young Turks broadcast live from GW’s campus. Keren Carrion | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Chase Smith.

The Young Turks opened up with GW students about politics, sexting and gender as they broadcast live around the country from the Jack Morton Auditorium Monday night.

The online news program joined forces with the FUSION TV network in May to bring 12 hour-long live tapings of their show from college campuses across America. The 12 week program began last week at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Hosts Ana Kasparian and John Iadarola were joined onstage by FUSION host Nando Vila and in the audience by TYT political reporter Jordan Chariton. Special guests included Neera Tanden, the president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, as well as Student Association President Erika Feinman.

Here are some of the main takeaways:

1. ‘How much does it take to buy our youth?’

The first segment of the show focused on money in politics and asked audience members how much it would take for audience members to say they thought climate change was not real.

Two of the three audience members asked said it would take $0 and that they wouldn’t “put a price on the Earth.” A third audience member said it would only take $5 for him to change his mind.

Iadarola called money “corrosive from top to bottom,” and his co-host Kasparian pointed to a TYT initiative called “Wolf PAC,” which seeks to pass a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics.

Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress, said it can be a challenge to get things done in Washington because of the “problem of money in politics.”

“We have an issue right now, which is there’s a Supreme Court Justice seat that is open,” she said. “It’s really just one seat that can make the difference on Citizens United. [Which] is one of the reasons we have the system that we do where you can give unlimited amounts of money.”

2. Sexting candidates?

Fueled by the social media savviness of their young audiences and Anthony Weiner’s most recent sexting scandal, the hosts asked how many students in the audience had sent or received sexually explicit photos. Many in the audience owned up to sending and receiving the consensual photos, including host Jordan Chariton.

“At some point during a presidential campaign, we will see a candidate naked as a result of this behavior,” Kasparian said.

A live poll taken by applause indicated that the majority of the audience believed that a nude photo of a candidate would not have an impact on their vote.

3. Public figures and lies

The hosts played a montage of lies by each of the 2016 frontrunners, featuring clips of the presidential nominees – Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – saying lies. When the hosts asked the audience if they thought their government was representing them, the room fell silent, with no one raising a hand.

The hosts placed a large part of the blame on journalists like Matt Lauer, who was criticized for ignoring false claims by Trump during a forum earlier this month.

“The reasons politicians lie is because they can,” Kasparian said. “There’s no one keeping them honest.”

4. Highlighting identities

Feinman, the SA president, was featured as a guest during the program. Kasparian spoke with Feinman about their preferred pronouns as well as what it meant to be the first gender nonconforming student body president.

“Part of what helps me be a success here is that GW is so politically active,” Feinman said. “A big part of GW’s identity is making history and so I think students were really excited about that particular aspect.”

5. Staying politically active.

The hosts brought up GW’s reputation and ranking as the most politically active campus in the nation. Students urged the hosts to talk more about issues such as Puerto Rico and its debt crisis, and for political candidates to talk more about violence in America than focusing on issues like their opponents health.

“The audience was so fired up. It was like being in one of my favorite political science classes,” Iadarola said in a post-taping interview.

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Fewer responding students reported instances of sexual violence and more said they knew how to contact GW’s Title IX office, according to selected results released from the University’s second campus climate survey Monday.

Thirteen percent of the respondents said they had experienced sexual harassment, sexual violence, dating or domestic violence or stalking during their time at GW. Twenty-four percent had reported similar instances in the 2014.

Out of that 13 percent, 77 percent said the behavior was a joke, comment or gesture. Fifty-seven percent said they experienced unwanted touching, and nearly a quarter said they were forced to be involved in a sexual act.

More than 30 percent of responding students said they knew how to contact the Title IX office, compared to the 20 percent who said so in the first survey. Still, 91 percent of respondents who said they experience unwanted sexual behavior did not report the incident to any authority, and 63 percent of those who reported it said they contacted the Title IX office.

The online survey was sent to 3,000 students and 715 responded, roughly the same amount who responded to the first survey. Fifty-five percent of the respondents were undergraduates, according to the release.

The full results of the survey were not available as of Monday afternoon.

A number of new questions were also added to this year’s survey. When asked when unwanted behavior had taken place, 39 percent of respondents said they experienced at least one incident during their first semester freshman year, and 34 percent said one had occurred during the second semester of that year. Sixty percent reported experiencing the behavior during another academic year.

In a release, officials echoed comments from past years that they must do more to address sexual violence on campus.

“Title IX compliance requires constant self-critical analysis and a commitment to ongoing improvement,” Caroline Laguerre-Brown, vice provost for diversity, equity and community engagement, said in the release. “These surveys help us see where we are and how to improve our programs and services.”

But officials also pointed to results that showed 38 percent of all respondents had undergone Title IX training, up from the previous survey’s 31 percent. Eighty-eight percent of those respondents were first-year undergraduate students, who went through mandatory in-person sexual assault prevention training for the first time in 2015.

“Training and raising awareness are ongoing processes,” Title IX Coordinator Rory Muhammad said in the release. “The best way to get this information to sink in is to continue delivering it in multiple venues over a period of time.”

Other results from the survey include:

– About 70 percent of respondents said they felt “very safe” on campus during the morning, compared to 16 percent who said they felt the same at night. Roughly 55 percent said they felt not very safe or somewhat safe at night.

– Just under 10 percent of responding students said they would not speak out if they or someone they knew experienced the unwanted behavior, with 65 percent saying they would talk about it and more than a quarter saying they did not know. Of those who would discuss the behavior, 81 percent said they would talk to friends and 28 percent said they would reach out to the Title IX office.

– Nearly a quarter of LGBT respondents said they experienced unwanted sexual behavior. Twelve percent of heterosexual students reported the behavior.

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Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 6:01 p.m.

W Street house sold for $1.725 million

Updated: Monday, Sept. 12, 2016 at 12:58 p.m.

The former provost’s residence on W Street by the Mount Vernon Campus sold for $1.725 million, the University announced in a release Friday.

A private party purchased the property and the proceeds will help fund financial aid for students in programs affiliated with the Vern, like the Women’s Leadership Program and University Honors Program. Students will be able to find out more details about those programs as they are announced, according to the release.

The house was put on the market this July, and Washington Fine Properties represented GW in the sale.

Provost Forrest Maltzman said in the release that he is happy that the sale will help support students.

“When it comes to setting priorities for the university, supporting our students and financial aid is at the top of my list,” Maltzman said. “I am glad the proceeds from this sale will enhance access to a GW education.”

The University acquired the property in 1999 as part of its purchase of Mount Vernon College. Former Provost Steven Lerman lived in the home with his family until he stepped down last year, and he and his wife welcomed Vern residents into their home with events like pancake breakfasts. The house has been vacant since Lerman stepped down.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the proceeds from the sale would help fund programs affiliate with the Vern. The proceeds will help fund financial aid for students in those programs. We regret this error.

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Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016 12:58 p.m.

GW rises by one spot in U.S. News national rankings

GW has landed at the No. 56 spot this year in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of best national universities – one spot higher than its No. 57 place finish last year.

This is the first year the University has risen in the rankings since its was removed from the list in 2012 and listed as “unranked,” after officials admitted they had inflated admissions data for more than a decade.

In 2013, a year after being left off the list, the University dropped to the No. 52 spot, falling again in 2014 to the No. 54 spot.

Last year GW fell three spots to No. 57 because of slips in student graduation rates, retention and selectivity, according to the report’s author.

Even with its slight rise in rankings this year, the University still ranks below all but two of its peer institutions. GW is tied with peer university Southern Methodist University, as well as the University of Georgia and the University of Texas-Austin. American University is GW’s only peer school to rank below at No. 74.

The rankings are based on factors like first-year student retention, graduation rates and strength of the faculty, according to the U.S. News and World Report’s website. This year U.S. News and World report changed how they factor in class size to the rankings, previously basing it on two components that have now been combined into one “class size index measure.”

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