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Among law schools nationwide, the GW Law School received the third-most for the Class of 2017. Hatchet File Photo.

Among law schools nationwide, the GW Law School received the third-most applications for the Class of 2016. Hatchet File Photo.

The GW Law School is bringing in more applications than most other law schools in the country, even as interest in legal education nationwide continues to fall.

The school received the third-highest number of applications for fall 2013, according to a U.S. News and World Report list released this week. It earned the same place on U.S. News’ list of popular law schools last year.

GW, ranked No. 20 in the nation overall, received 6,005 full-time applications, putting the school behind neighboring Georgetown University, which received 7,257 applications, and the University of Virginia, which brought in 6,048.

While the school attracted more applications than most of its competitors, its total number of applications declined last year for the fifth application cycle in a row.

And the school accepted 762 more students last year than the year before, raising its acceptance rate by 13 percentage points. GW accepted 42 percent of applicants last year, compared to 17 percent in 2004.

The school’s yield rate – the number of students who accept an offer of admission – has also dropped to 16.7 percent, the lowest the school has seen in a decade.

After accepting a smaller-than-average class in 2012, GW enrolled 484 students this past year. The additional tuition dollars helped fund school programs, including one that gives stipends to recent graduates who take short-term, unpaid legal jobs.

Blake D. Morant will take over the GW Law School in September. Photo courtesy of GW media relations.

Blake D. Morant will take over the GW Law School in September. Photo courtesy of GW media relations.

The school saw its average LSAT score drop two points to 165, while its average GPA increased from 3.60 to 3.71 last year.

When the school comes under new leadership this fall, Dean Blake D. Morant will have to decide how the school should adjust to the changing law school admissions climate.

Moody’s Investor Services predicts that law schools will not see application numbers rebound, though most schools have not announced formal changes to their business models to adapt to waning interest.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014 8:22 p.m.

University’s debt reaches all-time high

The bonds will help pay for campus construction projects, Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz said.

Lou Katz, the University’s executive vice president and treasurer, said GW will issue $300 million in bonds to help pay for campus construction projects and refinance existing debt. Hatchet File Photo

Updated: July 28, 2014 at 11:25 a.m.

GW’s debt will total an all-time high of $1.7 billion after officials announced last week that they will issue $300 million in bonds to cover construction projects across campus and refinance existing debt.

The debt load is now about $220 million more than the University’s endowment. The credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s gave GW an A+ rating in a report released two days after the announcement, and Moody’s Investor Service gave it an A1 rating. The agencies gave GW the same ratings last year.

The loans will go toward the $130 million residence hall District House, renovating the Marvin Center to make room for a two-floor health center and revamping the Hall on Virginia Avenue.

District House will fit nearly 900 sophomores and juniors. Courtesy of the Office of Campus Development

District House will fit nearly 900 sophomores and juniors. Photo courtesy of the University.

S&P has cautioned in the past that if the University takes out more loans to cover expansion plans, it “could consider a negative outlook or lower rating.”

Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz said in a release that the University will look to refinance portions of its debt within the next two years.

“This bond sale is part of our overall financial strategy to refinance debt at lower interest rates and invest in capital projects that are important to the University,” Katz said in the release.

Historically, GW has only paid off the interest on its debt each year without paying off the total debt it owes at the same time. Last year, the interest payments alone cost an estimated $60 million.

Yearly debt payments have more than doubled since 2003, and the financial burden is one of the strongest forces keeping the University tied to tuition for 62 percent of its revenue.

Katz said GW is in “solid financial health.” He pointed to endowment growth and the University’s ongoing efforts to cut costs and grow revenue with projects through the Innovation Task Force.

This is the second time the University has has taken on $300 million in debt. GW first took out that largest-ever total in 2012 as it recovered from the recession.

Both credit rating agencies noted last year that the difference between GW’s operating costs and revenue was about $187,000 – a sliver of the $16 million cushion it had in 2012.

This post was updated to reflect the following corrections:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that GW owed more than it had in the bank. While the University’s debt load is greater than its endowment, it is not greater than GW’s assets. The Hatchet also incorrectly reported that yearly debt payments have quadrupled since 2003. They have actually more than doubled. Finally, The Hatchet reported that GW had already issued the bonds, but the process is ongoing. We regret these errors.

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Two intersections near campus are considered some of the most dangerous in the city.

The intersection at Wisconsin and M streets had the city’s second-highest crash frequency between 2010 and 2012, according to an analysis by the Washington Post. In the same timeframe, 17th and I streets landed at No. 13 in the city.

A total of 173 crashes occurred at 14th and U streets between 2010 and 2012, and it was also the intersection where drivers were most likely to crash. The data comes from a recently released 132-page report by Howard University for the District Department of Transportation.

The researchers tallied more than 18,400 car accidents in D.C. in 2012, the highest total since 2004. Nineteen people died in those accidents, down from almost three dozen the year before. Distracted driving and cell phone use caused most of the accidents.

GW launched a safety campaign last fall to remind students to look up when crossing the street. | Hatchet file photo.

GW launched a safety campaign last fall to remind students to mind their surroundings when they cross the street. Hatchet File Photo.

Crashes with pedestrians have increased 18 percent since 2010, topping 900 in 2012. Accidents killed eight pedestrians in 2012, according to the report.

Ward 2, which includes Foggy Bottom, had the highest frequency of crashes resulting in injury.

Last fall, GW launched a pedestrian safety campaign on campus, placing brightly colored stickers on intersections around campus to remind students to look up from their cell phones when they cross the street.

As biking has become increasingly popular, the number of bikers hit by cars has jumped 30 percent since 2010. About 640 bikers were struck in 2012.

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Mitt Romney may have lost his presidential bid in 2012, but now his campaign manager will get to teach budding GW politicos what he’s learned from the defeat.

Matt Rhoades, the campaign manager during Romney’s presidential run in 2012, will be one of three fellows in the Graduate School of Political Management starting next year, the University announced Tuesday. Rhoades, who is also an alumnus of the school, will give guest lectures and serve on panels at select events.

The former campaign manager, known as someone who kept a low profile but kept a close eye on details during the Romney campaign, now leads America Rising, a Republican super PAC and opposition research firm.

He also served as Romney’s communication’s director in 2008, when the Republican hopeful vied for the party’s nomination but lost to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

After Romney’s 2012 loss, the Republican National Committee called on the party to modernize, and Rhoades stepped forward with two former communications officials to form America Rising.

Ali Lapp, who leads the House Majority PAC, which aims to elect more Democrats to the House of Representatives, will also join the school as a fellow. Both she and Rhoades landed on Politico’s 2012 list of 50 political operatives to watch.

Maria Cardona, a principal at the Dewey Square Group, is the third fellow. She leads the organization’s Multicultural and Public Affairs practices. Born in Colombia, she founded Latinovations, an advocacy group for Latino Americans.

Cardona is also a contributor to CNN and served as a senior adviser to the Hillary Clinton for President campaign in 2008.

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GW will launch a new wireless system called GWireless before classes begin this fall. Hatchet File Photo.

GW will launch a new wireless system called GWireless before classes begin this fall. Hatchet File Photo

When students return to campus this fall, they will connect their laptops, tablets and smartphones to a new wireless network.

The Division of Information Technology will launch “GWireless” before the start of the semester, the University announced Tuesday. Students, faculty and staff will be able to connect to the network directly using their NetIDs and passwords, rather than first installing a separate software as they do now to connect to GW1X.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar declined to comment on which day GWireless would launch or why GW wanted to change its network.

GW last upgraded its wireless three years ago, when the Division of IT launched GW1X so devices like Android phones, iPads and Apple OS X computers could more easily connect.

That system followed another that was also called GWireless, which prompted users to log in every time they tried to access wireless internet on campus. At the time, users complained they could easily get booted off the network.

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Judge Robert Okun ruled that Save the Corcoran's members who are currently affiliated with he Corcoran have  the right to represent their special interest in the merger. Hatchet File Photo.

Judge Robert Okun ruled that Save the Corcoran’s members who are currently affiliated with the Corcoran have a right to oppose the merger. Hatchet File Photo.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Surya Greer.

Nine current students, faculty and staff of the Corcoran College of Art + Design and the Corcoran Gallery of Art will be allowed to intervene in legal proceedings to finalize the art school and gallery’s merger with GW and the National Gallery of Art, a D.C. Superior Court judge ruled Monday.

Judge Robert Okun said members of the advocacy group Save the Corcoran who are currently affiliated with the Corcoran can make their case to stop the merger. Former employees and alumni cannot.

Save the Corcoran is looking to intervene in the Corcoran’s petition to change it’s nonprofit charter, a necessary step before GW can acquire it. Save the Corcoran blames financial mismanagement for the school’s inability to operate independently.

Okun said the smaller group is allowed to challenge the proposal because the merger “would fundamentally change the very nature of their institution.”

He said it has legal standing in the case because the members have a “special interest” that isn’t represented by the Corcoran or D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan’s office.

Nathan’s office has already sided in favor of the deal, endorsing the merger in a court record that includes 233 pages of documents, two weeks after Save the Corcoran filed its motion to intervene.

The members of Save the Corcoran will be able to voice their opposition to the merger at a July 28 hearing.

Save the Corcoran can now sift through seven years of the Corcoran’s audited financial records as well as the minutes from Board of Trustees’ meetings since 2010, the Washington Business Journal reported.

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Ryan Shucard, a press secretary for Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., came into the Cannon House Office Building carrying a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun. Hatchet File Photo

Ryan Shucard, press secretary to Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., entered the Cannon House Office Building with a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun in his bag. Hatchet File Photo

Updated: July 23, 2014 at 12:42 p.m.

The former student who was arrested for bringing a gun into a House of Representatives office building last week was released from police custody Saturday after pleading not guilty to a felony charge.

Ryan Shucard, press secretary to Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and will return to court on Aug. 7, CQ Roll Call reported. If a court finds him guilty, Shucard could face up to five years in prison.

But Shucard’s attorney said Saturday that his client did not mean to bring a gun to work, the Washington Post reported.

“Everything points to this being completely inadvertent,” he said. “Ryan didn’t intend to bring a gun into the office building.”

Shucard was placed on unpaid leave after he was arrested Friday morning. He reportedly passed through a security checkpoint at the Cannon House Office building with an unloaded 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun and a magazine of hollow-point bullets in his bag.

Shucard, who studied in the School of Media and Public Affairs in 2009, graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 2011, according to his LinkedIn page. He began working in Marino’s office in May and previously spent about 18 months as an assistant to Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.

Shucard is not the first congressional staffer to bring a weapon into a Capitol Hill office building.

In 2007, an aide to then-Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va. was arrested for bringing a loaded gun to work. Prosecutors eventually dropped that case, Roll Call reported.

This post was updated to reflect the following corrections:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Ryan Shucard was an alumnus. While Shucard took classes at GW, he did not earn a degree from SMPA, University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said. The Hatchet also reported that before studying at GW, he graduated from the University of Northern Colorado. Shucard attended the University of Northern Colorado from 2006 to 2011, and went to GW in 2009, according to his LinkedIn page. We regret these errors.

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Advocacy group Save the Corcoran hopes a D.C. judge will allow them to intervene in court proceedings for the Corcoran to turn itself over to GW. File Photo by Hatchet Staff Photographer Zach Montellaro.

Save the Corcoran hopes a D.C. judge will allow it to intervene in court proceedings before the art institution turns itself over to GW. File Photo by Hatchet Staff Photographer Zach Montellaro.

A D.C. Superior Court judge will rule Monday on whether an advocacy group has a stake in the University’s deal to acquire the Corcoran College of Art + Design.

Save the Corcoran, an organization made up of curators, artists, Corcoran professors and alumni, is looking to intervene in the nonprofit’s petition to amend its charter, a necessary step for the merger with GW.

In a room filled with about 80 onlookers, Judge Robert Okun heard arguments Friday from attorneys representing the Corcoran’s trustees, the D.C. attorney general’s office and Save the Corcoran.

Save the Corcoran’s lawyer, Andrew Tulumello, told Okun that mismanagement on the Corcoran’s part undercut the institution’s ability to operate on its own.

“We believe that management choices that have been made over the last several years contributed significantly to the issues that the Corcoran has brought before the court,” he said.

Tulumello argued that the Corcoran should release financial records from the last ten years, proving that poor management caused its collapse.

Charles Patrizia, the attorney representing the Corcoran, told the judge that the group’s concerns were already represented by D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan, who speaks on behalf of the public interest. Patrizia said the advocates lack clear legal standing that would give it a right to intervene.

“Concerns and fears are not the establishment of an interest,” he said. “A legal interest is more than just ‘I’m interested’ or ‘I’m worried’ or ‘I have fears and concerns.’”

Nathan endorsed the merger on Wednesday, even after Save the Corcoran filed a motion to block the merger earlier this month.

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The Israeli Defense Force salutes. Photo courtesy of Tomer Canaan

Troops in the Israeli Defense Force salute during a military ceremony. Photo courtesy of Tomer Canaan.

Updated: July 21, 2014 at 9:05 a.m.

When two GW students boarded planes to Israel at the beginning of the summer, neither gave much thought to whether they would find themselves in the line of rocket fire a month later.

But as the conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated, juniors Tomer Canaan and Samantha Beck have both heard air raid sirens that have sent them running for cover as rockets tear through the sky. Over the past week, Israel and Hamas have traded rockets and missiles, leading to two Israeli deaths and hundreds of Palestinian casualties.

They are just two of the six students who are registered with GW’s Office of International Programs as located in Israel. Nine others are in the West Bank this summer, and the University has not made plans to evacuate any of the students from the region.

Canaan, who is originally from Israel but now lives in New Haven, Conn., spent the month of June in a cultural immersion program in a village in the Galilee region, but has spent the last few weeks visiting family about 30 minutes south of Tel Aviv.

The first time he heard the sirens, Canaan said he thought it was coming from the television or a ringing phone, but his father told him it was a rocket siren, and the pair realized they weren’t near a bomb shelter.

“We are essentially sitting ducks in this case. If a rocket were to fall on our roof, there would be nowhere to hide,” he said in an email. “Unlike what is shown in international media outlets, Israeli bomb shelters are common, but not common enough that every civilian has access to a nearby shelter.”

And while Beck is studying in Jerusalem, further from the Gaza Strip, she has also had to rush to bomb shelters – twice in one hour last weekend, she said. Hamas fired several long-range rockets that were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system above Jerusalem.

A decommissioned Israeli tank on a hilltop overlooking the West Bank. Jeremy Diamond | Hatchet Photographer

A decommissioned Israeli tank sits on a hilltop overlooking the West Bank. Jeremy Diamond | Hatchet Staff Photographer

During some of the Hamas strikes, Canaan said he watched from the balcony of his family’s home as the Iron Dome missiles stopped the rockets.

While the defense system has kept the civilian casualty count in Israel at just one, Canaan said the rockets have had a serious psychological impact.

“Countless times I was awoken by rockets and I panicked and began sweating profusely,” he said. “The sirens and explosions do not make you feel safe, even if the Iron Dome system is shooting down rockets.”

Beck said she was inspired by how Israel came together as a nation after three kidnapped teenage boys were found dead about three weeks ago.

When Hamas began firing a daily barrage of rockets, Beck said she was “scared of the unknown,” but felt more confident after seeing how well-prepared the country was for the conflict.

She witnessed that readiness when sirens sounded as she was traveling on Jerusalem’s light rail. Soldiers instructed passengers to exit the train, lay on the ground and cover their heads.

Beck said her time in Israel has been eye-opening, as she has watched people carry on with their daily lives as Israel and Hamas trade fire. But living in Jerusalem, she doesn’t feel as threatened as those living near the Gaza Strip, where civilians have 15 seconds to get to a bomb shelter.

“They live with this notion every day, and it’s sad to think that it’s normal for them,” she said.

Canaan plans to return to the U.S. on Friday, but Beck will stay in Jerusalem for another month.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Tomer Canaan is from New Canaan, Conn. He is from New Haven, Conn. We regret this error.

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Ryan Shucard, a press secretary for Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., came into the Cannon House Office Building carrying a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun. Hatchet File Photo

Ryan Shucard, a press secretary for Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., came into the Cannon House Office Building carrying a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun. Hatchet File Photo

Updated: July 23, 2014 at 12:31 p.m.

Police arrested a former student Friday on Capitol Hill after he brought a gun into a House of Representatives office building.

Ryan Shucard, a press secretary for Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., came into the Cannon House Office Building carrying a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun and magazine, Politico reported. The gun was not loaded.

U.S. Capitol Police arrested Shucard at 9:15 a.m. and charged him with carrying a pistol without a license, a felony. The weapon was found during a search that all staffers are subject to when they enter the building, which includes stepping through a metal detector and sending their bags through an X-Ray machine.

Marino’s chief of staff, William Tighe, told CQ Roll Call that the congressman’s office had placed Shucard on unpaid leave “until we know more about the situation.”

Shucard studied in the School of Media and Public Affairs in 2009, according to his LinkedIn page.

The Colorado native started his job for Marino in May, and previously worked about 18 months as an assistant to Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. He graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 2011, according to his LinkedIn page.

This post was updated to reflect the following corrections:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Ryan Shucard was an alumnus. While Shucard took classes at GW, he did not earn a degree from SMPA, University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said. The Hatchet also reported that before studying at GW, he graduated from the University of Northern Colorado. Shucard attended the University of Northern Colorado from 2006 to 2011, and went to GW in 2009, according to his LinkedIn page. We regret these errors.

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