News and Analysis

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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Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016 10:14 a.m.

SA senate elects new chairperson pro tempore

Zachary Graybill, G-SEAS, was elected chairperson pro tempore of the Student Association Senate Monday. Photo by Sam Hardgrove | Photo Editor

Sen. Zachary Graybill, G-SEAS, was elected chairperson pro tempore of the Student Association Senate Monday. Photo by Sam Hardgrove | Photo Editor

The Student Association senate elected a new chairperson pro tempore Monday night after the senator who previously held the position resigned.

Former Sen. Evan Bursey, U-at-Large, resigned from his senate position for personal reasons, SA Executive Vice President Thomas Falcigno said during Monday’s meeting. This year was Bursey’s second term as an SA senator.

The chair pro tempore heads the senate’s leadership committee and would take on the executive vice president’s role of presiding over the senate if the executive vice president were to step down or was otherwise not able to fulfill his or her duty.

Two senators, Sen. Zachary Graybill, G-SEAS, and Sen. Evan Bryan, G-CPS, were both nominated for the position. Graybill won in a written vote.

Graybill served as an undergraduate senator for two terms before being elected to the graduate position. He was also a member of the senate’s finance committee, which he said during the meeting has prepared him for the chairperson position.

“I’ve appreciated seeing over the past few years our missions, and I’d love to have this position,” Graybill said.

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Trustees Nelson Carbonell and Madeline Jacobs field questions at a town hall meeting for faculty. Madeline Cook | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Trustees Nelson Carbonell and Madeline Jacobs field questions at a town hall meeting for faculty. Madeline Cook | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporters Lauren Gomez, Sam Rosin and Sera Royal.

GW students, faculty and staff attended a series of town hall meetings Monday afternoon to give input on the University’s presidential search.

At all three town hall meetings, Jonathan Post, the assistant vice president for board relations, moderated the discussion, while the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Nelson Carbonell and Madeleine Jacobs, a trustee and chair of the presidential search committee, described the search process and answered questions. Deputy Executive Vice President Ann McCorvey also sat on the panel during the staff town hall.

At all three town halls, Post asked attendees questions about important qualities to look for in the next president, opportunities and challenges that face they face regularly and priorities they should have to help create a profile for potential candidates.

At the staff town hall meeting, around 90 GW staff members gathered to talk about issues from diversity of the search committee to transparency.

Carbonell said he is unconcerned about the search committee’s current level of diversity, after some faculty raised concerns over the makeup of the committee, and stressed his belief that a new president must embrace diversity as a core university value.

“From the board standpoint, diversity isn’t just something that we want to stress just because we are nice people, or we think that it’s popular,” Carbonell said. “In 20 years, we are going to have a very different country, and GW has to be a place that’s welcoming to everyone. It has to be a place where everyone can thrive and succeed. If we don’t have that environment, we’ll fail.”

He later noted during an interview that when looking at the overall makeup of the committee, including board members, the committee becomes significantly more diverse.

Carbonell said the University must also select a president committed to finding new ways to fundraise, acknowledging that traditional fundraising techniques, like tuition and philanthropy, currently provide the bulk of the University’s resources.

“We need to have somebody who’s going to think outside the box to bring resources to the university,” Carbonell said. “We need somebody to innovate to help us gather the resources we need to operate.”

Staff attendees, which varied from board members to men’s basketball coach Mike Lonergan, underlined the need for the new president to value online learning, international recruitment and coordination with groups and institutions in the greater D.C area.

Staff members also expressed their hopes for a change in leadership style. They encouraged the search committee to hire a candidate with an “open-door policy,” who would properly the “appreciate” the high-level of staff effort.

At the open town hall later in the afternoon, about a dozen students, faculty and staff emphasized a focus on student engagement, philanthropy and affordability for the new president.

International students said they wanted more avenues to provide their perspectives to the GW community, and other students said they wanted the administration to be more receptive and respectful toward student activism.

Some students spoke about fundraising issues at GW. Yannick Baptist, the president of GW Veterans, said he was particularly troubled by the low number of alumni who participate in fundraising efforts and give back to the university.

“A majority of students see this as an institution where they pay, they do their courses, then they leave,” he said. “How do we create this environment that will be more of a home for them, so they’ll be more inclined to give back?”

Attendees also voiced concerns about the accessibility of the University given its high tuition rates.

“Higher education institutions across the country are facing increasing tuition and decreasing family income,” Thomas Falcigno, the Student Association’s executive vice president, said. “GW is facing this issue of affordability, and I’d like to see GW to be a leader in how we address those problems.”

At the faculty town hall, about eight faculty members voiced concerns on issues like finding a president committed to academics, generating increased resources and revenue, especially given D.C.’s cap on students for the University and taking better advantage of GW’s location in D.C.

Gregory Squires, the chair of the sociology department, said he believes it is important to have a president with strong academic values.

“We need somebody who is committed to core academic values and understands something about the pursuit of knowledge and critical thinking,” Squires said. “That’s my concern because with basic core values, the rest just follows.”

Marie Price, a professor of geography and international affairs, said she was concerned about finding alternative revenue streams to traditional things like tuition and sponsored research, as well as negotiating the student enrollment cap currently placed on the University by D.C.

Carbonell said the he is trying to get a meeting with D.C.’s mayor and city council to discuss the cap, which he called a “constraint on resources,” and something the next president will have to address.

“The student cap itself borders on ridiculous,” Carbonell said. “It’s one thing to cap undergrad students, and there may be some reasons to do that, but it’s absolutely ridiculous for us to have a cap on grad students. So the next president is going to have to be able to be a pretty good politician on that.”

Carbonell said in an interview Monday that as the search process moves forward, he and other trustees will continue to meet with different schools and programs at GW and solicit feedback from all different kinds of members of the University.

“That’s so when the president shows up, he or she can be a successful president, and all of us are behind our president and we see them collectively as our leader – not just the board picked the president,” he said. “So I think that’s why we’re putting the energy in now upfront.”

Jacqueline Thomsen contributed reporting.

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Police blocked traffic near Funger Hall for about two hours because of a car crash Monday afternoon. Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

Police blocked traffic near Funger Hall for about two hours because of a car crash Monday afternoon. Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

Police blocked traffic at the intersection of 22nd and G streets for about two hours Monday after a bus hit a moving car.

The Martz bus and a black Audi sedan were both turning on 22nd Street toward G Street when the accident happened around 3:30 p.m., Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Rachel Schaerr said. MPD and University Police Department officers responded to the scene and closed vehicular traffic on G Street in front of Funger Hall.

The accident caused property damage, but there were no injuries, Schaerr said.

UPD officers directed traffic toward 22nd Street until about 5:30 p.m., when the car was towed.

The woman driving the car declined to give her name or a comment on the accident, citing insurance reasons.

Ryan Lasker contributed reporting.

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A person affiliated with the University reported a non-forcible purse snatching in the back of Guthridge Hall, according to an alert sent to students Saturday evening.

There were no weapons involved in the robbery, according to the alert sent around 6:30 p.m. The suspects are four or five men in their late teens on bicycles, according to the alert.

Officers in the University Police Department will remain on the scene while investigating the incident, according to the alert.

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University and officials celebrate convocation Saturday morning. Haelin Oh | Hatchet Photographer.

University and officials celebrate convocation Saturday morning. Haelin Oh | Hatchet Photographer.

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Janna Paramore.

The University formally welcomed the Class of 2020 at convocation in the Smith Center Saturday morning.

After the ceremony, freshmen participated in GW’s eighth annual Freshman Day of Service, where they completed community service at 44 sites with 39 organizations across all eight wards of D.C. and in neighboring Maryland and Virginia.

University President Steven Knapp, Provost Forrest Maltzman, other senior administrators and deans from each school attended the ceremony.

Here’s how University leaders kicked off a day of service and the freshman class’s college years:

1. Ceremonial bookends

Maltzman was the first speaker to welcome freshmen to the University. Maltzman called the convocation ceremony one of the two bookends for GW students, with the second being Commencement on the National Mall.

“The lessons I learned in college shaped who I am to this very day,” Maltzman said as he urged the Class of 2020 to seize any opportunities that are offered to them.

2. Continue to serve

Senior Sara Durrani, the president of the student organization Alternative Breaks, urged freshman to find ways to do service throughout college.

She said the time she spent doing community service shaped her experience as a student, and that freshmen had the chance to do the same.

“Today is a great opportunity to learn about your home here in D.C. and make community service a part of who you are,” Durrani said.

3. Reasons to reflect

Knapp shared that 9/11 Day, one of the organizations GW partnered with for Freshman Day of Service, also chose the reflection theme for this year’s day of service.

“Together Tomorrow: A Call for Empathy, Service, and Unity” is the theme freshmen will reflect on as they complete community service as a tribute to the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Knapp said.

Knapp read a letter he sent to the University in early July in which he called for “sustained” racial dialogue on campus. He said the letter and the theme for the day of service correspond.

“That premise is especially relevant at this moment in our history as we face not only what is arguably the most divisive national election in living memory, but are still reeling from tragic incidents that have so dramatically highlighted our differences and division in the past several years,” Knapp said.

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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016 6:46 p.m.

Student-run food pantry to open in October

Updated: Sept. 15, 2016 at 10:08 p.m.

Students struggling with food insecurity have a new solution in The Store, a new, student-run food pantry.

The Store is located in District House and will open on Oct. 1, according to the Division of Student Affairs website. Students in need will be able to access the inventory daily from 6:00 a.m. to noon and from 2:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.

“Over the past couple of years, this need has increased on college campuses, and large populations of students often skip meals and go hungry because they cannot always afford enough to eat,” the website reads. “Our mission is to alleviate student hunger at GW by offering food items to ensure that every student has enough to eat.”

The Class Council surveyed students last semester to determine the demand for a food pantry. The group and the Center for Student Engagement will co-manage the location.

Students will request access to The Store by completing a form, which allows them the option to remain anonymous by using only their email and GWID to register, according to the website.

Volunteers, who will be trained by Class Council, will handle the day-to-day operations of the pantry. The Store is partnering with Capital Area Food Bank for inventory and will also use monetary gifts to purchase fresh produce through GW’s Community Supported Agriculture program, the website states.

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