News and Analysis


Andrea Vittorio

was senior news editor of The GW Hatchet in spring 2012. She majored in journalism and worked for The Hatchet since her freshman year, slowly migrating from features to news over time. Andrea is a proud native of Philadelphia, Pa., where it is always sunny. · @alvittorio

University President Steven Knapp and Board of Trustees Chairman Russell Ramsey broke ground on the Science and Engineering Hall in October – a project expected to ramp up GW's research reputation. Hatchet File Photo.

Updated April 8, 7:50 p.m.

The University broke into the top 100 colleges for research and development spending in fiscal year 2010, according to data released by the National Science Foundation today.

GW’s research funding across external and internal sources, ranging from the federal government to nonprofit organizations, reached a total of $196,917,000 in 2010 – the highest point since 2002 – to bring its rank in the NSF’s list to No. 99. The 34-spot climb over the year before brings the University closer to its goal of becoming a top 80 research institution by 2015.

University President Steven Knapp has looked to build up the University’s research portfolio since he arrived from Johns Hopkins University in 2007. In the last few years, GW has expanded its research leadership, focused on hiring research faculty and put more money toward undergraduate research programs.

The amount of internal funds GW devoted to research doubled from fiscal year 2010 to 2011 to ring in at $2.1 million. Most of that money went toward medical research.

As the University plays catch-up with its market basket institutions, Vice President for Research Leo Chalupa called the spike in the NSF’s ranking “another clear indication that GW is well on its way to realizing President Knapp’s plan of becoming one of the nation’s top research universities.”

Chalupa predicted that GW’s research spending will steadily grow as the four-year construction of the $275-million Science and Engineering Hall – which will include 480,000 square feet of state-of-the-art facilities – nears completion.

Universities nationwide reported spending 6.9 percent more money on research and development in all fields between fiscal year 2009 and 2010, according to NSF data.

The NSF’s annual list of research and development expenditures represented more than 700 universities across the U.S. This year’s full report, which employed a new survey design intended to produce more consistent data, has not yet been released to the public, but a preliminary report was published in late March.

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Rapper Childish Gambino will headline this year's Spring Fling. | Photo by Jonathan Koifman used under Creative Commons license.

A stand-up comedian turned musician will bring his blend of electronica and hip hop to campus next month for GW’s annual Spring Fling performance.

Donald Glover, who performs under the stage name Childish Gambino, is known for his role in NBC’s series “Community.” He will perform April 15 in the Smith Center.

Glover released a new album called “Camp” last November, with hit songs like “Bonfire” and “Heartbeat.” Since drawing attention as a member of sketch group Derrick Comedy, has also written for “30 Rock” and “The Daily Show.”

Before Childish Gambino’s 5 p.m. performance, Program Board will offer activities, giveaways and food truck snacks between Square 80, or Guthridge Park, on G Street and the Smith Center starting at 2 p.m.

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Thursday, March 1, 2012 4:32 p.m.

Fire breaks out at Jefferson House apartments

A member of the D.C. Fire Department exits the Jefferson House apartment building Thursday afternoon. Michelle Rattinger | Senior Photo Editor

Dozens of firefighters from at least five different fire houses reported to the scene along 24th street. Michelle Rattinger | Senior Photo Editor

Updated March 1, 5:31 p.m.

A fire broke out on the sixth floor of the Jefferson House apartment building this afternoon, producing black smoke that left an odor blocks away.

More than 30 firefighters arrived along 24th Street near City Hall at about 3:45 p.m., D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Oscar Mendez said, with about half a dozen emergency vehicles in tow.

Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Byrne said the flames were “heavy” upon arrival, but put under control within 10 minutes.

The cause of the fire is not known at this time and the soot-filled sixth floor remains closed to residents. No injuries have been reported.

– Chelsea Radler and Sarah Ferris contributed to this report


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A handful of dining venues experienced temporary GWorld outages for more than 12 hours today due to a server problem in South Hall. | Hatchet File Photo

A simultaneous Internet and GWorld outage hit areas of campus early this morning and continued for more than 12 hours.

The Division of Information Technology and Facilities Management worked since about 2 a.m. Sunday to resolve a power outage in South Hall that caused in-house network equipment and servers to go down, knocking out Internet, telephone and cable TV access in the residence hall, interior GWorld readers at Lafayette Hall and network services in neighboring buildings.

GWorld issues were also reported, affecting Colonial Cash deposits, debit parking, vending, laundry and off-campus vendors from The Avenue complex to Ivory Tower. GWorld services were restored Sunday at 3:45 p.m., Rachel Blevins, marketing and communications manager for the Division of Information Technology, said.

To mitigate the impact of the outage, IT administrators contacted various departments, including the University Police Department to resolve building access issues related to the GWorld outage.

Electricians worked with with external vendors to repair the equipment in South Hall and restored GWorld operations by switching to a backup server, Blevins said.

Michael Walker, a support analyst in the Division of Information Technology, said he received an alert from administrators at about 5 a.m. and the server outage was resolved at 4:45 p.m. He said he could not provide details of its cause due to “a security issue.”

Though he said it was not a common occurrence, Walker did not expect such an outage to happen again.

“We have certain things in place for this not to happen,” he said.

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Nurse practitioner Callie Johnson waits for students in Thurston Hall room 110 Thursday afternoon, where Student Health Services held free walk-in office hours to give advice on staying healthy in the midst of a norovirous breakout on campus. Michelle Rattinger | Senior Photo Editor

Updated Feb. 16, 9:57 p.m.

Student Health Service offered a five-hour block of free walk-in assistance at Thurston Hall this afternoon to help treat students suffering from the norovirus outbreak.

A nurse practitioner was stationed on the first floor of the residence hall from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Student Health Service’s existing satellite office to answer students’ questions and perform triage.

Isabel Goldenberg, medical director of Student Health Service, said the office “chose Thurston because it houses freshman students who may need more support while being sick.”

Office hours have not been scheduled for other locations on campus, Dean of Students Peter Konwerski said.

A public health notice issued by the University Wednesday estimated that about 85 students had been affected by the virus. University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard declined to provide an updated case total Thursday, saying it was difficult to measure because most students have decided to stay home and wait out the virus after learning about the outbreak.

Symptoms of the norovirus – passed through contact with infected individuals or contaminated areas – include diarrhea, throwing up, nausea and stomach cramping.

There are no plans to cancel classes.

“We continue to clean and spread the word about hand washing and other prevention protocols that help stop the spread of the
norovirus,” Konwerski said.

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Vincent Gray

Then-D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray speaks to reporters outside the Reeves Municipal Center after filing paperwork to begin his campaign for mayor in March 2010. Hatchet file photo

A local political activist filed a request today to recall the District’s mayor and the chair of the city council.

Frederick Butler cited “unethical behavior” in his letter to the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics as cause for seeking to hold a recall election to oust Mayor Vincent Gray, an alumnus, and D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown.

Gray and Brown received the paperwork today and have 10 days to file a response. To put a recall on the ballot, Butler would need to gather signatures from at least 10 percent of registered voters in the District – or more than 45,000 people – over the next 180 days.

Butler founded a website last June to lead recall efforts. The movement gained steam after Council member Harry Thomas Jr. resigned from his seat representing Ward 5 as he plead guilty to embezzling more than $350,000 in government funds and filing false tax returns.

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Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012 10:18 a.m.

GW Hospital searches for new CEO

The GW Hospital

The position of CEO for the GW Hospital has been vacant for more than three months. Hatchet file photo

Updated Jan. 8, 10:51 a.m.

The GW Hospital is looking for a new leader after CEO Trent Crable stepped down more than three months ago.

Crable’s resignation was announced in a brief letter to hospital employees eight days before his departure Sept. 30, but the change in leadership was only made public Friday through an article in the Washington Business Journal.

The letter, which came from the outside company that maintains primary ownership of the hospital, called Crable’s decision to resign “mutually agreeable.”

Crable served in the post temporarily beginning in June 2008 before assuming the permanent title of chief executive officer and managing director of the hospital in January 2009. Chief Operating Officer Kim Russo and Chief Financial Officer Rick Davis will share the responsibility of overseeing hospital operations during the ongoing national search for a replacement.

Lisa McDonald, director of marketing and business development for the hospital, said Crable’s resignation was not related to the recent reorganization of the medical center, which split the three medical schools of the University into separate entitles after a yearlong review, or recent leadership shifts in the medical center.

McDonald declined to comment as to why the change in hospital leadership was not previously made public through its communication arm. The hospital has not published a press release on its website since Sept. 20 and it has not yet updated all of the site’s pages to reflect Crable’s resignation.

The top levels of University leadership were informed of the vacancy, but as a legally distinct body, the hospital has no obligation to report such news to the broader GW community.

McDonald also declined to provide a target date for naming a new leader.

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Professor John Banzhaf

GW Law professor John Banzhaf claimed that the single-sex dorms at The Catholic University of America violated terms of the D.C. Human Rights Act. Courtesy photo

A law professor’s challenge to same-sex housing policies at The Catholic University of America was tossed out by District officials Wednesday.

John Banzhaf campaigned for five months against alleged discrimination in the local university’s housing policy that assigned students to residence halls by gender.

The D.C. Office of Human Rights issued an order saying Catholic University’s housing assignments do not violate the city’s Human Rights Act, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The order cited in The Post said Banzhaf’s argument would have called for “a prohibition on same-sex bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams, which would lead to absurd results.”

Banzhaf sued the same university in October for alleged religious discrimination, filing a complaint against the institution for not providing Muslim students a location for prayer. The campaign against Catholic University, he said, represented an attempt to provide a voice on issues that he thought would otherwise go unnoticed.

“I think it is important that professors, particularly law professors because we have the legal knowledge, go out and bring cases which might seem controversial, because if we don’t, who else will?” Banzhaf told The Hatchet earlier this month.

The professor has gained a reputation as a legal activist by bringing hundreds of lawsuits to court, including a case against former Vice President Spiro Agnew over alleged bribery and an anti-smoking push to balance cigarette advertisements on television.

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President Barack Obama 2010

President Barack Obama spoke at GW last year in the Marvin Center where he encouraged young voters to mobilize before the midterm elections. File photo

The University will relocate a half-dozen classes and shut down streets surrounding the Jack Morton Auditorium for the campus visit of President Barack Obama and a group of celebrities Thursday morning in a ONE Campaign event.

Vehicular traffic will not be permitted from about 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. along 21st Street between I and H streets as well as H Street from 21st to 20th streets. Street parking will be prohibited and pedestrians will be restricted access to portions of H Street from the CVS entrance until the corner of 20th Street during the same time period.

The event, called “The Beginning of the End of AIDS,” will start at 10 a.m. Panelists include Obama, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., U2 lead singer Bono and Alicia Keys in person and Bush, former President Bill Clinton, President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of Tanzania via satellite.

The parking garage for the Media and Public Affairs building will be closed between 6:00 a.m. and 6:15 a.m. and again between 9:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Those parking at the garage between 6:15 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. must go through a security checkpoint at the garage’s entrance.

People looking to enter the building from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and again between 9:30a.m. until 10:45 a.m. will face restricted access. Students will be allowed entrance up until 9:35 a.m.

With the exception of seven classes, those beginning at 9:35 a.m. and after will resume as usual in the MPA building.

The following classes are being moved from MPA to other locations:

Classes normally located in MPA 208:
9:35 a.m.- 10:50 a.m., University Writing, new location: 1957 E 211
11:10 a.m.- 12: 25 p.m., Beginning Arabic I, new location: GELM 608

Classes normally located in MPA B01:
8:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m., Intro to Newswriting and Reporting, new location: Duques 250
9:35 a.m.- 10:50 a.m., Intro to Newswriting and Reporting, new location: OM 312
11:10 a.m.- 12:25 p.m., Intro to Newswriting and Reporting, new location: COR 111

Classes normally located in MPA B07:
9:35 a.m.- 10:50 a.m., Environmental Geology, new location: Marvin Center Grand Ballroom
11:10 a.m.- 12:25 p.m., Media in a Free Society, new location: 1957 E 113

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Jody Ganiban

Photo used under Creative Commons License.

As childhood obesity rates climb nationwide, a psychology professor will spend the next five years investigating factors contributing to the trend with the help of a new $3 million federal grant.

With funding from the National Institutes of Health, Jody Ganiban will explore the effect of a child’s genetic makeup, prenatal history and home environment in causing obesity.

By tracking the growth of 561 adopted children from birth up to 9 years old, Ganiban said in a press release that she hopes to “tease apart genetic and prenatal influences on child weight from their current home environments.”

“The long term goal of this project is to understand how the home environment can mitigate or boost the impact of a child’s genetic and prenatal risk for obesity,” Ganiban said in the release.

In collaboration with researchers from the Oregon Social Learning Center, a non-profit research institute, and the Pennsylvania State University, Ganiban will also interview adoptive parents about their child’s daily habits and connect with birth families to assess genetic-based risks for obesity.

Since 2007, obesity has the central focus of the STOP Obesity Alliance, a research effort based in School of Public Health and Health Services that looks to find ways to improve prevention and care for obesity.

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