News and Analysis


Lillianna Byington

Colonial Inauguration will be altered this summer to increase the orientation program’s focus on academics and to reduce costs for families, according to a University release Monday.

CI will be held more frequently with smaller groups of students and without parent programming starting summer 2017, according to the release.

Provost Forrest Maltzman said in the release that the changes will reduce costs for families traveling to D.C. and will help students feel more academically prepared.

“We want to ensure Colonial Inauguration best meets the needs of our students and their families,” Maltzman said.

The summer sessions will be for students only, and programming for parents will be offered online during the summer, move-in weekend in August and Colonials Weekend in October, according to the release.

The CI sessions for domestic students will be offered over six two-day periods in June, as opposed to three three-day periods as they were in years past, according to the release.

International and transfer students as well as first-year domestic students who cannot attend a June session will still be able to attend CI in August, according to the release.

Students will participate in additional programming during move-in weekend, according to the release. Administrators will continue to restructure parent programs and will release more updates this spring.

The Division of Student Affairs, which organizes CI, discussed potential changes with students as part of a review process, according to the release.

Student Association President Erika Feinman said in the release that they were happy administrators considered students’ input when making changes.

“We are eager to see how the new program plays out, and we hope it returns the expected results,” Feinman said.

Peter Konwerski, the vice provost and dean of student affairs, said in the release that CI is often the first time students are able to experience campus and begin their transitions to GW.

“So it is especially important for us to regularly review programs such as CI to help us continue to meet our students’ needs and set them up for success even before they officially start their first year,” Konwerski said.

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Officials laid out their responses to student demands on protecting undocumented students in a statement Wednesday.

In the email, the University stated five principles to show their “commitment to the safety and success of all GW students.” This comes after students presented a list of demands to administrators in the wake of the incoming President-elect Donald Trump’s administration.

The statement reads that officials will continue provide information to undocumented students on how to apply to GW and request financial aid, and will not require that admitted or current students provide proof of citizenship, according to the release.

The university will also assist undocumented students through GW Law School’s immigration law clinic and confidential student records regarding immigration status of undocumented students will not be released. Students will not be questioned, held or arrested by the GW Police Department on the basis of immigration status alone and UPD officers will not participate in joint immigration enforcement efforts unless required by law, according to the release.

Last month, University President Steven Knapp joined more than 180 other university presidents nationwide in a letter supporting a program that prevents the deportation of young undocumented citizens.

Students held several events in the days after the election, including a walk-out with more than 400 participants. The walk-out was a part of a national effort on campuses to demand that university administrators create a campus that is deemed safe for students of color, immigrants, undocumented students and members of other marginalized groups.

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Monday, Nov. 21, 2016 4:41 p.m.

Alumnus named Rhodes Scholar

An alumnus received a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship this weekend, according to a University release.

Josh Pickar, who graduated from GW in 2014, is the second GW-affiliated recipient of the scholarship, which provides an all-expenses-paid study abroad at the University of Oxford in England. Pickar will study global governance, diplomacy and comparative social policy at the University of Oxford, according to the release.

The Rhodes Scholarships are the oldest international fellowship program in the world and recipients are sent to Oxford to study the promotion of international understanding and peace.

Applicants must be endorsed by their college or university. This year 2,500 students sought endorsements, and 882 were endorsed by 311 different colleges and universities, according to the Rhodes Trust release. Candidates undergo three levels of review: the university level, state committee level and district committee level. Thirty-two individuals are then selected to represent the United States at Oxford for a duration of one or two years.

Pickar, who graduated early from high school and finished his international affairs degree at GW in two years, said in the release that his dream is to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations or secretary of state, which he described as “lofty goals.”

Pickar said in the release that when he was at GW, he had the opportunity to intern for then-Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., where he researched environmental policy and racial discrimination.

“It was the first time that I really got to work in policy and understand how what you’re studying affects the real world, and it was just a really useful experience,” Pickar said.

Pickar also studied at GW Law for a year before transferring to the University of Chicago Law School.

Pickar has worked with the International Refugee Assistance Project, to help grant asylum and relocation for an LGBT Iraqi refugee to the U.S. after the refugee was assaulted by his family and exiled, according to the release.

Pickar, who speaks Russian, French and Spanish fluently, and is learning German, Italian and Arabic, said in the release that he has a passion for global communication and understanding other cultures, laws and politics.

“In order to be an effective policy or lawmaker, you have to be able to communicate with other people, so I hope to be able to use languages to work on international treaties or negotiation and better understand why different countries feel a certain way about policies from the U.S.,” Pickar said in the release.

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GW Hospital is one of 18 hospitals in the U.S. to be honored for quality surgical patient care two years in a row.

The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program recognized GW Hospital as one of 61 participating hospitals that have achieved meritorious outcomes for surgical patient care last week, according to a release.

“We are thrilled to once again receive this recognition from The American College of Surgeons for our outstanding surgical care,” Kimberly Russo, the Chief Executive Officer of GW Hospital, said in the release. “This national acknowledgement is a reflection of our ongoing dedication and commitment to providing our patients with the highest quality care.”

ACS NSQIP is a patient care improvement program within the American College of Surgeons that measures and enhances the surgical patient care. ACS NSQIP is currently used in more than 650 adult and pediatric hospitals.

As a participating hospital, GW Hospital is required to track the outcomes of inpatient and outpatient surgical procedures and to collect data on patient safety and surgical care improvements.

The ACS NSQIP recognition program recognizes a small group of hospitals for achieving positive outcomes in eight clinical areas of patient management, including mortality, cardiac incidents and surgical site infections. The 61 hospitals awarded the recognition achieved the distinction based on their quality score in those eight areas.

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Monday, Oct. 10, 2016 10:09 p.m.

GW to aid hurricane victims in Haiti

GW will provide relief to Hurricane Matthew victims in Haiti, according to a University release Monday.

Faculty and officials have expressed interested in responding to the emergency in Haiti, Doug Shaw, the senior associate provost for international strategy, said in the release. Shaw will coordinate the University’s aid efforts.

“GW has world-class expertise and a unique platform to help focus global attention on the recovery effort,” Shaw said in the release.

About 900 people have died after Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti last week, and about 500,000 Haitians are reportedly stranded in the south of the country. Cholera, an acute diarrheal illness, has also begun to break out in the country’s coastal areas.

GW has assisted Haiti in recovering from previous natural disasters: After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that left more than 300,000 people dead, GW worked with Elisabeth Delatour Préval, the then-first lady of Haiti and a School of Business alumna. Préval later attended two GW symposiums about Haiti’s reconstruction.

University President Steven Knapp said in the release that after 2010’s earthquake, the GW community responded by offering humanitarian aid in a “multi-pronged approach.” Students raised more than $9,000 for disaster relief and organized a candlelight vigil and letter-writing event, according to the release. Officials also sent emergency medical and nursing personnel to Haiti.

“The hurricane has further and tragically complicated the country’s ongoing recovery efforts from the catastrophic 2010 earthquake,” Knapp said. “Our collaboration has been ongoing, and Dr. Shaw will ensure that, once again, the University’s response is appropriate and effective.”


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Trustees Nelson Carbonell and Madeline Jacobs field questions at a presidential search town hall for faculty last month. The search committee released its profile for prospective candidates Monday. Hatchet file photo by Madeline Cook | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Trustees Nelson Carbonell and Madeline Jacobs field questions at a presidential search town hall for faculty. The search committee released its profile for prospective candidates Monday. Hatchet file photo by Madeline Cook | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The presidential search committee are looking for candidates with a commitment to diversity and fundraising.

The Board of Trustees released its profile for the University’s next president in a document Monday. The profile states the challenges and opportunities the University’s 17th president will face and the qualifications that the search committee is looking for.

Among the seven challenges and opportunities for the next president, the profile states that the candidate will need to articulate a “distinct vision” for the university, show an ability to further develop the commitment to diversity and inclusion on campus, and grow fundraising, according to the document.

The search committee will be looking for qualities in the next president that include “proven, visionary leadership,” previous academic leadership, management skills, a commitment to diversity and inclusion, dedication and accessibility to the student body, personal character and fundraising experience, according to the document.

The Board of Trustees developed the profile after more than two dozen town halls for students, faculty, staff and alumni in September and October.

“I greatly appreciate the feedback we received from a wide range of university community members,” Nelson Carbonell, chair of the Board of Trustees, said in a release. “The input has helped inform the profile we have developed for a transformational leader who can guide the university in its third century.”

The presidential search website allows members from the community to give feedback and submit questions for the search committee to ask presidential candidates. The board is expected to make its selection in spring 2017 with input from the search committee, the Faculty Senate’s executive committee and the faculty consultative committee.

The presidential search comes after current University President Steven Knapp announced in August that he would leave the University at the end of this upcoming academic year. Later that month, GW selected the national executive search firm, Isaacson, Miller, to help facilitate the search.

The Board announced the launch of the presidential search process in June with a 19-member search committee.

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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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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016 10:03 a.m.

Jason Rezaian selected as SMPA fellow

A Washington Post reporter who spent more than a year in an Iranian prison was added to the list of distinguished Terker fellows in the School of Media and Public Affairs.

Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter who reported on Iran until he was arrested in 2014 and sentenced to prison for espionage, was named the 2016-17 Terker fellow, according to a University release Thursday.

Rezaian, a U.S.-born Iranian-American, became a Washington Post bureau chief in 2012 after freelancing in Tehran since 2009. He covered Iran’s nuclear negotiations, the sanctions brought against the repressive regime and two presidential elections.

Rezaian and his wife were arrested after his home was raided in 2014. Rezaian spent 546 days in prison and was released in January of this year.

Frank Sesno, the director of SMPA, said in the release that Rezaian will bring “unique and invaluable perspective” to the school.

“His courage as a journalist and his commitment to telling the stories of Iran to the wider world will enlighten our students and illustrate the important role journalists play in informing and engaging our citizens,” Sesno said.

Rezaian said in the release that he will share his experiences about covering a controversial beat and living in a place that few American readers will ever experience firsthand.

“As a reporter who covered a key international beat and one that also experienced the very real threats faced by contemporary journalists, I hope to take part in an essential dialogue about reporting the news in a complicated world,” he said. “Particularly important to me is developing ways we can do our jobs more safely without lessening the power and scope of stories.”

Rezaian advises journalism students to spend time getting to know and understand the subjects of their stories, he said in the release.

“Focus on the stories of real people,” Rezaian said. “A big part of what we do, whether we are always conscious of it or not, is relaying the contemporary human experience.”

The SMPA Terker Distinguished Fellows program was established in 2010 by Bruce and Cindy Terker to bring media, political communication and public affairs professionals to SMPA every year.

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GW has selected a national firm to assist in the search for the University’s next president, according to a release.

Members of national executive search firm Isaacson, Miller will help facilitate the university’s search for its 17th president. Isaacson, Miller will identify a “qualified and diverse pool of candidates” and advise the search committee throughout the recruitment process, the release stated.

“Isaacson, Miller has an extensive record of recruiting exceptional leaders,” Madeline Jacobs, the chair of the presidential search committee, said in the release. “The committee looks forward to their expertise throughout the search process.”

Isaacson, Miller is the largest higher education executive search practice in the country. The firm has led searches for presidents, chancellors and deans at many top universities and colleges, including Bowdoin College and Vanderbilt University, according to its website.

University President Steven Knapp, who came to GW in 2007, will leave at the end of July 2017, after deciding not to renew his second five-year contract. The Board of Trustees announced the launch of the presidential search process in June with a 19-member search committee.

Forums will be held in the fall for members of the GW community to give feedback to the presidential search committee and Board of Trustees, according to the release. The new president is expected to be announced this upcoming spring.

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Researchers at GW are partnering with four other groups to develop new solar cells with plans to create the world’s most efficient solar panel, according to a University release.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, a government agency within the U.S. Department of Energy that funds research and development for advanced energy technologies, awarded the $900,000 grant to GW. Research scientist Matthew Lumb in the School of Engineering and Applied Science will lead the research to produce a new concept in solar panel design.

“This is an exciting opportunity for GW to partner with a leading innovator in solar energy,” Lumb said in the release.

GW researchers will partner with Semprius, a startup in North Carolina, the Naval Research Laboratory, tool supplier Veeco and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for a total budget of $3.6 million, according to the release.

Lumb said in the release that the most common types of solar panels, the grid-like rectangles on the roofs of houses, use flat-plate photovoltaics technology to convert sunlight into energy.

Semprius, one of the research partners, created a different option that uses more sophisticated materials to increase efficiency. The company created concentrator photovoltaic panels that use micro-scale solar cells, which is both more cost effective and more efficient.

Lumb said in the release that he’s teaming up with Semprius to develop a design that is both cost effective and can be used across different locations.

Lumb and Semprius have been working on a six-junction solar cell that will improve energy conversion efficiency. He said in the release that these cells are made from high-quality crystals that interact with light and split the solar spectrum six ways to generate electrons that power solar panels.

The current record for efficiency in a concentrator cell, measured under direct sunlight, is 46 percent. Lumb’s team is aiming for 50 percent efficiency with their concentrator cells.

Lumb said in the release that his research will extend the reach of solar energy technology to previously uneconomical locations and set a new precedent in solar panel performance.

This research project is one of 11 solar technology innovations that ARPA-E is funding through a $24 million program called MOSAIC.

“The MOSAIC program places an emphasis on solutions that combine cutting-edge scientific research, pushing the boundaries of what is possible, but which maintain a clear path to low-cost, manufacturable processes and designs,” Lumb said in the release. “These factors create the potential for a disruptive impact on commercial photovoltaics of the future.”

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