News and Analysis

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition demanding the expulsion of several students at American University after emails from an unofficial fraternity discussing an alleged rape were leaked to the administration.

American University officials are investigating dozens of emails that were sent from an anonymous email address and came from an unofficial fraternity called Epsilon Iota. The group lost their charter at AU in 2001 after a date rape scandal, according to a blog which published censored versions of the emails.

“By perpetrating these heinous acts, they have proven themselves unworthy of being members of our community,” the petition read, which had been signed by 1,341 people by Wednesday night. The most recent emails are from 2013.

The petition called for increased education about sexual assault for the entire campus with mandatory bystander intervention training at freshmen orientation and trainings for Greek members every semester.

It also called for the hiring of a full-time survivor advocate to work with victims of sexual assault on campus. A separate petition for that position has reached 2,795 signatures.

The university is investigating the incident, according to a memo sent to the community by AU President Neil Kerwin on Monday.

“That these alleged behaviors may have occurred within our community reminds us that we are not immune from the problems that have occurred on campuses across the country,” he said.

Last April, a leaked email from the president of a Delta Gamma sorority chapter at the University of Maryland went viral as the president harassed members in an expletive-laced tirade.

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Adam Savader was sentenced to 30 months in prison Wednesday. Photo Courtesy of Facebook.

Adam Savader was sentenced to 30 months in prison Wednesday.

A former GW student was sentenced to 30 months in prison Wednesday for threatening to distribute illegally obtained nude photos of more than a dozen women.

Adam Savader, 22, pled guilty in November to cyberstalking and extortion after allegedly sending anonymous and threatening messages to 14 women two years ago, according to court documents.

Savader transferred to GW as a sophomore in fall 2010 and attended through spring 2012.

Judge Marianne Battani said he caused the women emotional distress, the Associated Press reported.

The investigation launched last year after a victim approached police in Ann Arbor, Mich. and reported that a hacker had obtained nude photos of her through her email.

Savader hacked 14 email accounts and obtained nude photos from them in 2012, according to court documents. He then created several anonymous Google Voice phone numbers and sent them messages threatening to share the images with their friends and family unless they sent him more.

The Republican activist from New York was involved with the College Republicans during his time at GW and was featured in a GW Today article for his work on Newt Gingrich’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Last year, Savader had more than a dozen photos of himself posing with Republican politicians and pundits on Facebook, according to

This post was updated Wednesday, April 23 at 9:35 p.m. to reflect the following corrections:
A previous headline reported that Savader was sentenced to 30 years. The sentence was, in fact, 30 months. The Hatchet also incorrectly reported that the women who were cyberstalked were from Michigan when in fact, they were from several American cities. We regret these errors.

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Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Carbonell announces he will give $51,000 to GW's scholarship fund at last year's senior class gift event. Hatchet File Photo.

Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Carbonell announces he will give $51,000 to GW’s scholarship fund at last year’s senior class gift event. Hatchet File Photo.

Looking to snag two front row tickets to Commencement on the National Mall next month?

Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Carbonell and his wife, Michele, will give away a pair of highly coveted seats to a student who donates to the Senior Class Gift Campaign by Friday. Carbonell said he hopes the raffle will excite more seniors to donate to the fund, which challenged at least 55 percent of the Class of 2014 to donate before accepting their diplomas this year.

“The committee thought that would energize participation. So I put up my two tickets as an incentive,” Carbonell said. “I am glad to be able help out with the commencement tickets and our matching gift.”

If the senior class gift reaches its participation goal, this year will be the third that the Carbonells donate a five-figure match. They have given $101,000 to GW’s scholarship fund each of the last two years as part of the annual challenge.

Getting graduates in the habit of donating each year will also be a key for GW to expand its relatively small alumni donor base. Colleges nationwide see challenges like the senior class gift as a way to get students donating early.

The winning ticket holders will also have access to the VIP tent at University-wide Commencement, where headline speaker and celebrity chef José Andrés will relax after the event.

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Alia Bouran, who was born in Amman, Jordan, and started her career as a professor of environmental science, took on her first ambassadorial role in 2001 and has since advanced through government posts. Katie Causey | Hatchet Photographer

Alia Bouran, who was born in Amman, Jordan, and started her career as a professor of environmental science, took on her first ambassadorial role in 2001 and has since advanced through government posts. Katie Causey | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Hanna Willwerth

With her country embroiled in a nearby civil war in Syria, the first female ambassador from Jordan told a packed room of about 50 students and professors Tuesday that the country was dependent on its relationship with the U.S. to help support the growing number of Syrian refugees.

Here are the biggest takeaways from Alia Bouran’s hour-and-a-half-long talk, which was sponsored by the International Affairs Society:

1. Consequences of the Syrian crisis

Some 600,000 refugees have fled to Jordan since the crisis began, bringing the total number of Syrian refugees there to 1.3 million, in addition to millions of Iraqis and Palestinians. The refugee crisis has strained Jordanian resources and infrastructure, but most Syrians view their support as a source of national pride, Bouran said.

“You know that they fled danger, torture, rape and death to take shelter here in Jordan, so this is sympathy, this is something we take pride in,” Bouran said.

2. Jordan’s key relationship with the U.S.

The two countries have had a long-standing relationship that helped Jordan support refugees after the crisis in Syria broke out. Bouran said Jordan was able to “shoulder this mighty responsibility” because of support from the U.S.

The Jordanian government will use U.S. loans to invest in human capital, sustainable energy and new infrastructure, Bouran said. One plan looks to connect the Red Sea to the Dead Sea to produce electricity for desalination.

3. A focus on diplomacy

Bouran said peacefully reaching a solution would be key to resolving civil war in Syria. Jordan will continue to encourage combatants in the Syrian civil war to participate in international peace conferences to come to a solution, she said.

4. Advocating for a two-state solution

To resolve the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian border dispute, Bouran advocated for a two-state solution. She said Jordan’s location, which borders both Israel and the West Bank, means the country is a key stakeholder in the peace process.

“This is the future of the Middle East. No other solution will provide Israel the security or give the Palestinians the state that they need,” she said.

5. A unique experience in the Arab Spring

While there were many demonstrations in Jordan during the Arab Spring, the country did not spiral into conflict or unrest like other countries. The Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization for international politics, has ranked Jordan as “not free” – which Bouran disputed.

“There were [11,000] demonstrations but no deaths, no shots. Police went unarmed and gave protesters water and juices so they could express ideas freely,” Bouran said about the conflicts.

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Terri Harris Reid, the University's vice provost for diversity and inclusion, was hired in 2011. Hatchet File Photo

Terri Harris Reid, the University’s vice provost for diversity and inclusion, was hired in 2011. Hatchet File Photo

The Supreme Court upheld its ban on affirmative action in Michigan on Tuesday, a decision that could pave the way for states across the country to restrict universities from considering race in the admissions process.

The 6-2 ruling signals a shift away from supporting racial preferences in admissions – a practice that GW uses when considering its applicants.

Higher education and legal experts say the ruling could ultimately lead more states to ban affirmative action in admissions, but University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said Tuesday that the Supreme Court decision will not change policies at GW.

“GW continues its commitment toward using lawful and appropriate means to attain a diverse student body,” she said in an email.

Eight states have now banned affirmative action in public university systems, including California and Texas. Last summer, the Supreme Court also ruled that affirmative action case Fisher v. University of Texas would need to be retried in a federal appeals court, which justices said botched its decision.

Vice Provost of Diversity and Inclusion Terri Harris Reed said shortly after she was hired in May 2011 that she would be looking to reevaluate the way GW recruits more diverse students.

She said in December 2011 – after the federal government released new guidelines that expanded universities’ legal freedom to consider race in admissions – that the ruling could give GW more leeway in pursuing a diverse pool of applicants.

“What we will do is look at the guidance to see if there are things we can do that we weren’t doing, that we may have been more cautious to do,” Reed said then. She was not available for comment Tuesday.

Mikyong Misun Kim, a higher education administration professor in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, said a ban on racial preferences in college admissions could negatively affect classroom discussions.

“You want to, and should have, plenty of diversity in your class,” she said. “A little more diversity could improve a student’s perspective.”

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Massive development plans that will transform the West End neighborhood will move forward after a lawsuit delayed construction for two years.

The construction project that will revamp the vacant, 47-year-old West End Library and fire station will break ground “as soon as possible,” the developer’s president told the Washington Post.

It will set off a construction boom in the quiet neighborhood, with plans to build affordable housing and add retail space.

A lawsuit levied by the D.C. Library Renaissance Project, a group affiliated with consumer activist Ralph Nader, has held up construction since 2012. The organization sued the city for giving public land to a private company that planned to earn $40 million in profits in five years. The District Court of Appeals, D.C.’s highest court, struck it down earlier this month.

The Library Renaissance Project claimed that D.C. would lose $30 million through its deal with developer EastBanc, Inc. That arrangement gave EastBanc ownership of the downtown properties in exchange for EastBanc paying for construction.

EastBanc will invest $45 million in the project.

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The Metropolitan Police Department responded to a mob of 60 young people who were jumping on cars and vandalizing the area near the Watergate complex Monday, according to its public information office.

City police received a call at 7:12 p.m. reporting that about 60 teenagers were jumping on cars between 25th St. and Virginia Ave. Officers also deployed to the 800 block of New Hampshire Ave. after hearing of destruction of property there at 7:21 p.m.

No arrests were made, MPD spokesman Paul Metcalf said. A nearby resident, Trey O’Callaghan, said he saw officers question two young men, who had been handcuffed, about an hour after the group passed by.

Witnesses said at least a dozen law enforcement vehicles blocked off the streets surrounding near the Watergate. Police vehicles sped down Virginia Avenue toward the Watergate, where witnesses said they had seen a boisterous crowd of dozens of young people.

Brandon Morris, who lives at 24th and H streets, said he watched police officers order two men to get on the ground around 8:30 p.m. He had also seen the large group shouting as they marched toward the Watergate.

“The shouting seemed angry, then celebratory, almost like a sporting event,” he said.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said the University Police Department has no records of vandalism to GW facilities or the Foggy Bottom Metro station.

Dan Stessel, the Transit police spokesman, said the office did not receive reports of criminal activity in Foggy Bottom.

In recent months, there have been reports across the country about “robbery flash mobs,” where groups use social media to organize large, disruptive events. Last month, about a dozen teenagers robbed a True Religion clothing store on M Street, stealing thousands of dollars worth of jeans in several minutes.
– Zaid Shoorbajee contributed to this report.

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Hatchet File Photo

Hatchet File Photo

GW’s fundraising chief is the 18th highest paid fund raiser in higher education, but was beat out by several of his peers at GW’s top competitor schools.

Michael Morsberger was paid $491,816 in 2011 for meeting deep-pocketed donors and overseeing GW’s fundraising and alumni relations arms, according to GW’s 2012 tax filing. Chief fundraisers at five of the schools GW calls its peers, including New York, Tulane and Vanderbilt universities, the University of Southern California and Washington University in St. Louis, earned higher salaries that year, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education analysis.

Morsberger out-earned his contemporaries at Georgetown, Emory and Southern Methodist universities.

The top earner among the 14 schools GW says it competes with was Albert Checcio at the University of Southern California, who had a $722,317 salary in 2011. He ranked fourth on the total list.

Susan Feagin of Columbia University topped the list with a salary of $1,066,951 as the university’s former executive vice president of university development and alumni relations. She now works as a special advisor to the university’s president.

Since joining the University in 2010, Morsberger has guided the University towards a likely $1 billion fundraising campaign which will go public within the year. He also lead the division as it pulled in the two largest donations in GW history.

Last month, officials announced billionaire philanthropists Michael Milken and Sumner Redstone would donate a combined $80 million to GW’s public health school. In 2011, the University also received a $25 million donation for the GW Textile Museum.

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President Stephen Knapp

University President Steven Knapp announced Monday that GW would join the Real Food Challenge. Hatchet File Photo

University President Steven Knapp announced Monday that one-fifth of all food at GW’s dining halls will come from local and sustainable sources by 2020, becoming one of the largest private universities to make the commitment.

GW is the first university in D.C. to sign the Real Food Challenge, a student-led campaign across the country to improve sustainable dining options.

“It’s important that we play a leadership role like this in convening dialogue about that, that we set goals that are aspirational goals, and then over time I think this will get defined as the dialogue proceeds,” Knapp told a group of students and administrators in Kogan Plaza ahead of Earth Day on Tuesday.

But Knapp said shaping GW’s specific goals would pose challenges – and take time.

“There’s a whole question about definition here: what counts as real food, what doesn’t count as real food? I just think as a University it’s important to be a part of that dialogue,” Knapp said.

About 9.6 of GW’s dining hall is currently labeled as “real” food, Knapp said. That’s far more than the Food Justice Alliance had estimated earlier this year.

Senior Jesse Schaffer, who has helped lead advocacy by the Food Justice Alliance, said the group will work with Sodexo to find more local sources for produce and poultry.

He and other members have researched a year’s worth of GW invoices to calculate its sustainability score, he said. That research helped convince Knapp to sign on to the project, he said.

“We’ve had hundreds of student signatures, large amounts of student orgs that have supported it, and so maintaining that momentum is key,” Schaffer said. He added that the group would focus on maintaining J Street prices.

Sodexo, GW’s dining service contractor, signed on to the challenge last year.

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More than 1,400 people have signed a petition calling for a brick wall to be added to the sidewalk along Baltimore Avenue and Knox Road, where senior Carlos Pacanins was killed after being struck by a car.

Media Credit: Hatchet file photo by Sam Johnson | Hatchet Photographer

Adding a wall to the intersection, which is lined with bars and restaurants near the University of Maryland’s campus, would keep pedestrians from entering the road before arriving at the crosswalk.

The petition, created by a UMD student and addressed to the city’s mayor, comes after four people have been hit in the area since January 2013. A UMD student, Cory Hubbard, was killed in the area in January.

“We need to make it so that all pedestrians are directed towards the marked crosswalks so that incidences like these don’t happen,” the petition read.

Since the April 11 incident that killed Pacanins, the city has stationed officers on street corners, installed temporary lights and placed large signs calling it a pedestrian safety zone. Police officers have also passed out fliers about pedestrian safety to people walking down the street.

The College Park City Council and Mayor Andrew Fellows sent a letter last week to the state highway administration, proposing to lower the speed limit by 5 mph to 25 mph, add flashing signals at the crosswalk and install better lighting.

Marc Limansky, a police department spokesman at UMD, said cars often drive faster than the 30-mile-per-hour speed limit in the area, which can become even more congested when the bars close.

Limansky said he could only recall two deaths in his 20 years patrolling the area, which he said was “very lucky given the number of people that cross the street there.”

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