News and Analysis


Jacqueline Thomsen

Jacqueline Thomsen is the senior news editor for the Hatchet. A junior from Massachusetts studying journalism and mass communication, she writes about research, faculty issues and anything else she feels like writing about. · @jacqthomsen
Speaker Paul Ryan spoke at the Jack Morton Auditorium as part of a CNN town hall Thursday evening. Madeline Cook | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Speaker Paul Ryan spoke at the Jack Morton Auditorium as part of a CNN town hall Thursday evening. Madeleine Cook | Hatchet Staff Photographer

House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke about topics like health care, immigration and trade deals to a full audience at Jack Morton Auditorium and to viewers across the country during a CNN town hall Thursday evening.

Ryan, who was targeted throughout the past election cycle by President-elect Donald Trump, talked at the event about Trump’s priorities and how he and other Republican leaders were already working with the incoming presidential administration to get projects rolling before inauguration.

Jake Tapper, the chief Washington correspondent at CNN, led the discussion with Ryan who answered questions from the audience.

Missed the broadcast? Here are some of the biggest takeaways:

1. Health care, health care, health care

The first third of the town hall featured questions about health care, which were particularly relevant as the House of Representatives had voted to begin dismantling the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, the night before.

Jeff Jeans, a cancer survivor from Sedona, Az. who said he would have died without assistance from the health care law, asked Ryan why he and other Republicans wanted to repeal the law without offering a replacement.

Ryan said the process of repealing the law would happen at the same time that lawmakers introduced a new health care law that would provide citizens with tax credits to purchase plans.

“The law is collapsing and so we’ve got to rescue people,” he said, citing rising premiums in states like Jean’s home state of Arizona and Texas.

Shannon Doe, a GW student, asked Ryan about the impact of defunding Planned Parenthood, which Republicans have threatened to do over the years, and how they would replace the services that women use at the centers.

Ryan said he would instead support instituting federal community health centers because Planned Parenthood is too controversial for performing abortions, even after Tapper pointed out that tax dollars don’t fund abortions.

“We don’t want to effectively give taxpayer money to an organization providing abortions,” Ryan said, claiming that even though the dollars wouldn’t go directly to abortions, the funds could impact the services indirectly.

2. Two sides of immigration

Mary Anne Mendoza, who lost her son in a head-on collision with an undocumented man who was found to be using drugs at the time, asked Ryan how he would work to deport undocumented criminals and build the wall between the U.S. and Mexico that Trump famously campaigned on.

Ryan said he and others are already working with Trump’s team on those projects and condemned sanctuary cities, cities where leaders have promised to assist and protect undocumented residents. D.C. is a sanctuary city.

“Sanctuary cities are a violation of the rule of law, and they are not to be tolerated,” he said. “That means if you want federal assistance, you’re not going to get it. You’ve got to enforce the law.”

Angelic Villalobos, an undocumented immigrant who moved to the U.S. as a child and is currently protected from deportation by a law designed to protect undocumented residents who came to the U.S. as children, asked Ryan if he wanted to deport immigrants like her.

Ryan said that as he and others worked on immigration laws, they would protect those currently shielded by the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, but did not provide specifics on how they would do so.

“What we have to do is figure out how to have a humane solution to this very legitimate, sincere problem and respect the rule of law,” he said.

3. Tweeter-in-chief

The final question from the audience came from Christine Ford, a GW student who asked how Trump’s tweeting habits could impact his policies and the U.S.’s reputation internationally.

Ryan said that Trump’s use of Twitter was “extremely effective for getting elected president” and that while he does expect Trump to continue to use the platform, he thinks the president will become more restrained.

“I am just marveled and amazed how well he connected with so many people,” Ryan said. “I think he has a very special, personal relationship with individuals and he connects directly with them.”

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Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 3:21 p.m.

GW to announce new president

GW will announce the next University president at 4 p.m. Friday, according to a post on GW’s official Facebook page.

The announcement, which will be made live on Facebook, comes a little more than six months after the search for the University’s 17th president began. University President Steven Knapp said in June that he will be stepping down from his post at the end of this academic year.

Follow The Hatchet on our site and on Twitter at @gwhatchet for live updates.

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A student was the victim of an armed robbery near campus Thursday night, a University spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.

The victim was approached by a suspect armed with a gun on Hughes Mews near 25th Street at 8:40 p.m., according to a narrative of the event provided by the Metropolitan Police Department. The suspect drew a gun and forced the victim into a home, where the suspect demanded money.

After the victim handed over the money, the suspect assaulted the victim before fleeing down an alley into the 2500 block of I Street, according to the narrative. The case is still under investigation.

The incident took place two blocks from campus but students did not receive a University alert. Alerts are typically sent out when officials deem there is an ongoing threat to the campus community, whether it’s when the University Police Department responds to or is made aware of a potentially dangerous situation, or when MPD shares information about an incident they’re responding to on campus.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said she was unaware of the incident until about 12 p.m. Friday. MPD did not inform the University of the incident until “many hours later” so officials did not see the need to send out an alert, she said.

“An alert is sent out when there’s an ongoing immediate threat to the campus community,” Csellar said. “This is information we learned hours after this happened.”

This policy on alerts has been called into question before: Officials said they didn’t send out an alert to the campus community after a man attempted to sexually abuse two female students near the Foggy Bottom Metro station two years ago because the man was arrested.

MPD spokeswoman Aquita Brown said in an email that MPD prioritizes student safety and that officers work with school officials to report on-campus incidents in a timely manner. In this case, the reporting process was different because the incident took place off campus, she said.

“In situations like this it is up to the victim to determine whether they want to inform campus officials about the offense, as MPD doesn’t want to violate the victims’ privacy rights,” she said.

Brown did not respond to a question clarifying MPD’s policy on how their officials communicate with GW about off-campus events compared to on-campus incidents.

Communication between MPD and the University Police Department has been questioned before. In 2013, GW’s security chief said miscommunication between the two departments led to confusion over two gun threats on campus, including a slow response from D.C. police who responded to an armed robbery on campus.

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A student was struck by a car at the intersection of 20th and G streets Monday night. Keegan Mullen | Hatchet Photographer

A student was struck by a car at the intersection of 20th and G streets Monday night. Keegan Mullen | Hatchet Photographer

A student was stuck by a car in a hit and run accident at the intersection of 20th and G streets Monday night.

The male student was crossing the street when a car passed another waiting car and hit the student, eyewitnesses said. They said the driver of the car was turning from 20th Street onto G Street when the accident happened.

Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Office Hugh Carew said the department received a call about the incident at 8:39 p.m. He said a conscious and breathing adult male was transported to a local hospital and that officers are searching for a blue or black vehicle with Virginia tags.

Andre Andrews, an International Monetary Fund employee, said the driver struck the student once before slowing down and hitting him again.

“The driver heard him say, ‘get his tag number’ and also ‘call the fire department and police’ – the guy was gone,” Andrews said.

Donnell Burrell said he was in the car in front of the driver and had pulled over on 20th Street to park, which he said irritated the driver.

“He was cussing me out, but I saw the student coming across so I tried to tell him to stop,” Burrell said. “Maybe he thought I was cussing at him, back at him, but he proceeded on and he hit the guy in slow motion and I blew my horn real hard and that’s when he noticed the student was halfway on his hood.”

Burrell, who said he is an EMT, was going to treat the student, but the student was walking around after the accident.

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Monday, June 27, 2016 5:19 p.m.

Maltzman named permanent provost

Forrest Maltzman will now serve permanently as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. Hatchet file photo by Anne McBride | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Forrest Maltzman will now serve permanently as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. Hatchet file photo by Anne McBride | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Forrest Maltzman will permanently serve as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, University President Steven Knapp announced Monday.

Maltzman has served as interim provost since former Provost Steven Lerman stepped down in January. He was previously the senior vice provost for academic affairs and planning for four years.

“After consulting with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and the deans and after working closely with him over the past six months, I am confident that Dr. Maltzman is ideally suited and well-positioned to lead the university’s academic programs through the presidential transition,” Knapp said in a release. Knapp announced earlier this month that he will leave the University next year.

This announcement contradicts previous statements from the University that there would be a national search for a new provost this fall. Officials are currently conducting four searches to fill positions after seven high-level administrators left GW over the past year.

“I am honored to serve as Provost, and I continue to look forward to working with President Knapp, the Deans, faculty and staff to help secure GW’s future in a changing higher education environment and to advance our teaching and research missions,” Maltzman said in the release.

Since taking over as interim provost, Maltzman has overseen a restructuring of the provost’s office, shifting GW’s online programs under the libraries, moving veterans services into the student affairs division and expanding the role of the University’s diversity chief to include community involvement.

And as the chief academic officer and No. 2 in the University, he will play an instrumental role in consulting and implementing the 3 to 5 percent budget cuts that are set to take place each year in the central administration until 2022, starting this year. The first round of cuts, which were announced last month, saw about 40 staff positions cut and shifted offices’ responsibilities, with at least two offices merged.

He also has started preparing for GW’s accreditation, which takes place every 10 years. He helped to lead accreditation in 2008.

As senior vice president for academic affairs and planning, Maltzman also played a leading role in major projects like the Science and Engineering Hall, crafting and implementing the strategic plan, and weathering GW through an admissions scandal.

Before starting his senior vice provost role, Maltzman was chair of the political science department for three years. He joined GW’s political science department in 1993. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and his doctorate from the University of Minnesota.

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Updated: March 22, 2016 at 6:51 p.m.

The Secret Service and Metropolitan Police Department are investigating a suspicious package by 17th Street and New York Avenue, a MPD spokesman said Tuesday.

The MPD spokesman said the Secret Service called MPD for assistance in the investigation around 4:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Pedestrian and vehicular traffic was initially shut down near the Corcoran Gallery of Art on 17th Street but has since reopened, according to a GW email alert sent at 6:40 p.m.

An event at the Corcoran for Tuesday night was cancelled due to the police activity, according to the school’s Twitter account.

A University spokeswoman did not immediately return request for comment.

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Graduate School of Political Management Director Mark Kennedy will be the next president of the University of North Dakota. Hatchet File Photo

Graduate School of Political Management Director Mark Kennedy will be the next president of the University of North Dakota. Hatchet File Photo

Mark Kennedy, the director of the Graduate School of Political Management, has been named the next president of the University of North Dakota.

Kennedy was voted unanimously into the position by the State Board of Higher Education, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Tuesday. He beat out Minot State University President Steven Shirley and University of Toledo engineering dean Nagi Naganathan for the spot.

Kennedy, who has led GSPM since 2012, oversaw the creation of the school’s strategic plan and increased the school’s focus on international politics. He also weathered a scandal in 2013 when Kennedy allegedly discriminated against a former gay GSPM staffer on the basis of sexual orientation.

Kennedy also oversaw the creation of GSPM’s first massive open online course in April last year and the launch of GW’s first Spanish and foreign language MOOC last fall.

Before coming to GW, Kennedy served as a Congressman for three terms and held financial leadership positions at several national companies, including at the conglomerate that now owns Macy’s.

A University spokeswoman did not immediately return request for comment.

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Tony Hart is the third student to announce his candidacy for Student Association president. Elizabeth Lane | Hatchet Photographer

Tony Hart is the third student to announce his candidacy for Student Association president. Elizabeth Lane | Hatchet Photographer

Updated: Feb. 22, at 7:52 p.m.

A former member of the Student Association cabinet is running for the SA presidency with a focus on community service.

Tony Hart, a junior in the Elliott School of International Affairs, is running on a platform that includes changing the way community service hours are logged at GW. He said if it were easier for students to track their service hours, the student body could be officially racking up as many as 1 million community service hours each year.

Hart, who was the director of community service in former SA President Nick Gumas’ cabinet, said the software used in the Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service to log service hours can be difficult to use and some students don’t even know about the service.

He said he has spoken to officials in the community service office about the issues behind tracking hours and would push for the program, NobleHour, to continue to work on an app to better track student service.

“People want to do community service, they don’t want to spend time figuring out how to log their hours,” Hart said.

He said he would also encourage more students to be involved in community service in general, especially at locations close to campus, like St. Mary’s Court and Miriam’s Kitchen. He said he would also emphasize the honors students receive if they reach 100 hours of community service: White House recognition and an honors cord for Commencement.

“We don’t really take into consideration that these are also members of our community,” Hart said about local service opportunities. “We see them, we might give food or money to them, but they are a part of our community and we should be able to give back to them as much as possible.”

Hart, who is majoring in international affairs with a concentration in peace studies, said he would also create a task force of students from the Mount Vernon Campus to advocate for their facilities and resources in the Foxhall neighborhood. He lived on the Mount Vernon Campus his freshman year and is a staff member at Eckles Library.

The SA already has a director of Mount Vernon Affairs, but Hart said his task force would create a larger group of students to advocate for themselves.

“It seems to me that the wants and needs of the Vern community are not fully represented, and the residents of the Foxhall community sometimes are able to overshadow what the best needs are for the Vern community,” he said.

Officials closed a side entrance to the campus in 2014 to make the Whitehall Parkway more of the official entryway to the Vern, but residents of the campus still have GWorld tap access through that entrance.

The two-time resident adviser said he would also create a group within the SA to represent staff and their rights. He said while organizations like the Progressive Student Union host events and petitions to represent the staff perspective, he said a task force would give an official channel through the SA to present these concerns, particularly those of student staff members.

Hart is a member of multiple multicultural student groups like the Black Student Union and said as SA president he would continue to advocate for renovations for the Multicultural Student Services Center.

Last year, Gumas called for smaller MSSC updates, like new couches and computers, while he and other students pushed for larger improvements.

“The biggest thing I hear is the Student Association is a bunch of students who don’t look like them and can’t readily and personally advocate on their needs, so diversifying the Student Association even more so,” Hart, a first-generation American with an Egyptian background, said. “It’s getting there, but even more so.”

This post has been updated to reflect the following clarification:
The Hatchet reported that Tony Hart is a member of the Organization of Latino American Students. While he has attended events hosted by the group, he is not an official member.

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GW classes, events and other activities taking place at noon or afterward Friday are canceled, according to a campus advisory posted Thursday at 6:49 p.m.

The announcement includes events on the Foggy Bottom, Mount Vernon and Virginia Science and Technology campuses, and other locations throughout the Arlington and D.C. metropolitan areas.

A major snowstorm is expected to hit the D.C. area starting Friday, leaving behind anywhere from 16 to 30 inches of snow, Capital Weather Gang reported.

The Metro will shut down all services Friday night, and D.C. public schools and the city government will also be closed all day.

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Paul Schiff Berman, vice provost for online learning and academic innovation, will return to the GW Law School full-time faculty in January. Hatchet File Photo

Paul Schiff Berman, vice provost for online learning and academic innovation, will return to the GW Law School full-time faculty in January. Hatchet File Photo

Updated: Oct. 23, 2015 at 9:54 a.m.

Paul Schiff Berman, the vice provost for online education and academic innovation, will step down from his post in January to serve as a full-time faculty member of GW Law School, Provost Steven Lerman announced Thursday.

Berman, who led the law school for 18 months, transitioned to the vice provost position from dean in 2012 after facing declining enrollment numbers. Months later, some faculty members said they had planned to oust Berman from the school after disagreeing with his leadership style and poor decision making, and had plans for a vote of no confidence in the leader.

Since leaving the law school, Berman has spearheaded online education initiatives that University leaders have started to lean on more heavily as enrollment numbers in graduate programs dropped and online learning offered a more inexpensive alternative to in-person courses. More than 100 online degree and certificate programs are now offered through GW.

Berman also oversaw the launch of three massive open online courses and the start of an in-house program where faculty and officials can work with animators and technicians to enhance online materials.

Berman said he was looking forward to concentrating on teaching and research full-time. He has maintained a faculty position since taking on the vice provost position.

“I commend President Knapp and Provost Lerman for having the vision to create this important university role, and I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to serve the university in this crucial strategic area,” Berman said in the release.

Lerman said in the release that Berman has done a “tremendous” job in building GW’s online course portfolio.

“I’m extremely grateful for his efforts over the past three years to help develop new and innovative courses, and look forward to his continued contributions to the university community as a member of the GW Law faculty,” Lerman said.

No replacement for the vice provost position was announced in the release, and plans for a search were also not stated.

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