News and Analysis

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney will speak to students at the School of Media and Public Affairs next Thursday. Official White House photo by Pete Souza

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney will speak to students at the School of Media and Public Affairs next Thursday. Official White House photo by Pete Souza

White House press secretary Jay Carney will speak at the School of Media and Public Affairs on April 17 at 10 a.m.

Carney will take the stage for an interview with CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett, who is one of this year’s SMPA distinguished fellows.

SMPA students can claim free pre-sale tickets Wednesday at 5 p.m. for 24 hours before they are released to other students and faculty across the University.

Carney, who serves as the chief spokesperson for President Barack Obama, took the role in 2011, after serving as Vice President Joe Biden’s director of communications. Before working in the public sector, he was the Washington bureau chief for Time magazine.

Students will also get a chance to ask Carney questions in a Q&A session. Just don’t ask questions like this Daily Caller intern:

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Hatchet File Photo

Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Zaid Shoorbajee.

Several GW police officers were scratched after trying to restrain an intoxicated student outside of Thurston Hall last week.

Officers chased the male student down the street after he failed to pay his cab fare and attempted to flee at about 1 a.m. on Friday. The student “became disorderly” as officers tried to restrain him, University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said.

The student’s friend paid the fare, and the student was referred to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for disciplinary action.

The incident was listed as an assault of a police officer, a theft and a liquor law violation in the University’s crime log.

Sixteen University Police Department officers have been attacked in the last two years, and about half of those cases involved intoxicated individuals, UPD Chief Kevin Hay said last month.

Incidents can range from yelling, spitting or shoving to more severe attacks, including one that required 21 stitches to an officer’s head after he was thrown into a metal pipe.

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Junior Joe Holleran, right, and second-year law student Alex Schneider, middle,  discussed their award-winning ideas for the Innovation Task Force with the head of that effort, Dave Lawlor. Photo courtesy of GW Media Relations.

Junior Joe Holleran, right, and second-year law student Alex Schneider, middle, discussed their award-winning ideas for the Innovation Task Force with the head of that effort, Dave Lawlor. Photo courtesy of GW Media Relations.

Two students each won a year of free tuition this week after pitching plans to shut off GW’s energy-consuming technology at night and ditch the company making its international payments – ideas that are both worth $1 million in savings.

Junior finance major Joe Holleran and second-year law student Alex Schneider each earned $50,000 scholarships after beating out 47 other ideas for projects to help GW reach its goal of finding $60 million a year in cost-saving or revenue-producing programs.

After interning at an international processing company, Holleran realized that the University and students could save money if GW switched contractors and used foreign exchange strategies on international wire transfers.

Holleran, an international student from England, said a small firm GW contracts with currently charges fees up to 5 percent of the total payment, but larger companies like Western Union or World First, where he worked, charge at most 1 percent.

GW could also save money by negotiating flat rates on international wire transfers, which are used to pay for study abroad program fees and other dealings abroad, Holleran said.

Schneider, who is also a Hatchet columnist, found that by using Energy Star’s electricity settings, the University would be able to turn off computers and other technology systems that consume large amounts of energy at nights, dramatically cutting GW’s energy bill.

“It’s nothing new,” he said, pointing to similar conservation plans that have been adopted at schools nationwide. “I think the simplicity of it is something they really liked.”

University President Steven Knapp formed the Innovation Task Force in 2009 after the financial crisis forced GW to be more cost-conscious. He charged the group with finding $60 million in cost-savings or revenue-producing programs a year – essentially doubling the annual payoff from GW’s endowment.

Dave Lawlor, chair of ITF, said students brought “momentum” and fresh ideas to the group, which has already gone through five rounds of pitching projects across the University. Staffers in GW’s finance department will start working on implementing the students’ ideas this year, he added.

“We desired to tap this very knowledgeable and thoughtful base and wanted to recognize that participation in a meaningful way,” Lawlor said in an email. “I love the creativity and professionalism the students brought to this competition.”

The committee had planned to pick one winner, but decided that both ideas stood out as unique and possible innovations, Lawlor added.

This post was updated April 9, 2014 to clarify how GW could save money with international payment strategies.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014 12:21 p.m.

Cheh pushes bill to overhaul city transportation

by admin

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rachael Gerendasy.

Ward 3 Council member and GW Law School professor Mary Cheh proposed sweeping legislation Tuesday to overhaul the District’s transportation system.

The bill would abolish the D.C. Taxicab Commission and take responsibility for public transit, bicycles and the upcoming H Street streetcar line away from the D.C. Department of Transportation.

The measure would create two new offices: the Department of Parking Management and the District Transit Authority.

“We need a government operation that conforms to the way real people live,” Cheh, the chair of the Council’s transportation committee, told WAMU. “We haven’t had the benefit of an agency looking comprehensively and coherently at all of these different modes of transit, and now we will separate that out and do that.”

She said the move comes after frequent mistakes and communication breakdowns across the agencies. Cheh has slammed the mayor’s office for lagging in its $800 million expansion of the city’s light-rail lines, the Washington Post reported.

The proposal could take about a year for the city to implement if it gets approval from the Council and the mayor.

The Taxicab Commission came under fire last spring after officials mandated that all taxis accept credit cards, which prompted the Teamsters taxicab union to file a lawsuit.

Last summer, Cheh co-sponsored a bill with Foggy Bottom’s Council member Jack Evans to keep app-based car services like UberX, Lyft and SideCar in the District and free from city regulations.

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The threeway deal between GW, Corcoran College and the National Gallery of Art will add a school of more than 500 students to the University’s own shrinking art department, where just 15 students earned a bachelor of fine arts degree last year.

Administrators are taking longer than expected to hammer out the final details of a deal to acquire the Corcoran Gallery of Art, a University spokeswoman said Sunday.

The Corcoran, GW and the National Gallery of Art – which will store the Corcoran’s 17,000 pieces of art – have been in talks since February about how to preserve the pieces of one of the country’s oldest art institutions and spokeswoman Candace Smith said the groups will need more time than the original April 7 date to finalize the details.

“Given the complexities involved in coordinating resolution of all issues among three institutions, it is likely that the parties will continue their work beyond April 7,” Smith said. She added that the three groups are still committed to completing the process but did not give a new deadline for the negotiations.

The takeover of Corcoran College, which has about 500 students, has excited administrators with possibilities of attracting more arts students, fundraising and partnerships across the country.

Administrators have spent the last six weeks answering big questions like how to integrate the small community of Corcoran students into GW’s liberal arts college, which has an even smaller group of fine arts students.

Since the merger was announced, some Corcoran students have voiced concerns about how their community would mesh with students at GW and said last month they hoped classes could remain small.

University President Steven Knapp said in February that he hopes that bringing Corcoran’s esteemed name to GW’s programs will help create an arts and culture hub in Foggy Bottom, but said he knew it would be a slow process to make the big decisions.

“In terms of the college becoming part of the George Washington University, it’s going to take a while to figure out exactly what the programs will be and how we will use the space,” University President Steven Knapp said in February.

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Duques Hall, School of Business

The School of Business was ranked No. 59 among top undergraduate programs in the U.S. on Friday. Hatchet File Photo

The GW School of Business jumped a dozen spots in Bloomberg Businessweek’s ranking of top undergraduate programs Friday, its first gain in three years.

The school rose to No. 59 this year after three years of slipping in rankings, which are based on factors such as student and employee feedback as well as the average starting salary.

About 81 percent of GW’s business school graduates earned job offers, with an average salary of about $52,000. With a program cost of $47,290, it’s also the most expensive out of the 132 schools.

Businessweek also considers data such as students’ average SAT scores, the student-to-faculty ratio and the percentage of students with business-related internships.

The school’s spokesman did not return a request for comment by publication time.

The University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business nabbed the No. 1 spot for the fifth straight year. Six of the universities that GW considers its peers landed in the top 25 spots, including Washington University of St. Louis and New York, Georgetown, Emory, Southern Methodist and Boston universities.

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Katie Causey | Hatchet Photographer

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called for the next generation of educators to ignore their own backgrounds and come together to solve the nation’s education shortcomings. Katie Causey | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Rachael Gerendasy.

The nation’s top education leader urged teachers across the country to embrace the growth of alternative training programs like Teach for America and strive toward a common strategy of high-quality instruction.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Monday in the Marvin Center that graduate degree-holding educators must abandon an “us vs. them” mentality to focus on preparing a generation of students that can compete in a global workforce.

“We have one common enemy, and it is academic failure,” Duncan said. “Not everyone may agree, but I am for different routes into teaching, whether it be traditional schools of education like GW or alternative routes that bring great talent in from other walks of life.”

The secretary, speaking with Graduate School of Education and Human Development Dean Michael Feuer and other experts, has made similar appeals at GW in the past.

Duncan and the other members of the panel aimed to recruit students for teaching jobs as part of a nationwide Department of Education campaign, which will visit 21 college campuses to encourage high-achieving students to become educators after graduation.

Duncan said public education was the only way to shrink the nation’s income gap, calling the system an instrument of “social justice.”

“Right now, we are dealing with very significant, sad bit of data that we have allowed income inequality in this country to go way out of control,” he said. “Education is one of the areas that is suffering the most from this, and also the area where we have the best chance of trying to address it and maybe even reverse it.”

GW sent the fifth-most graduates to Teach For America out of any medium-sized school this year. More than 300 graduates have entered the program over the last two decades.

Education reformers have criticized the program for sending 20-somethings with five weeks of training into the classroom. But Duncan said hard work and effective teaching outweigh a teacher’s background.

He called on GW students to give back to communities by becoming teachers.

“If you want to strengthen families and communities, if you want to transform the lives of children, there is no place better to do that than in our nation’s classrooms,” Duncan said.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Benjamin Kershner.

City officers arrested two students for possession of marijuana and other controlled substances, including Adderall, in JBKO Hall on Thursday.

Metropolitan Police Department officers arrested the two 20-year-old students after a search yielded marijuana, three Adderall pills, four prescription cough pills, three bongs and five metal sticks. Officers also found a white powder that initially tested positive for opiates, according to MPD documents, but a second test was inconclusive.

University Police Department Captain Mark Balazik said four fake drivers’ licenses were also found.

A University police officer had detected a suspicious odor in the first floor room at about 1 a.m. and notified GW Housing staff who conducted an administrative search, according to police documents.

The male student was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and the female student was charged with possession of a controlled substance, according to MPD documents. The documents did not name the students.

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Monday, April 7, 2014 5:30 p.m.

Counseling continues at Eckles Library

Two students died in West Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus last week. Hatchet File Photo

About 600 students live on the Mount Vernon Campus, which lost two students last week. Hatchet File Photo

University Counseling Center staff will continue to take walk-in appointments on the Mount Vernon Campus every day this week.

Students will be able to speak to counselors at Eckles Library from 4 to 7 p.m.

GW’s counseling office, which has about 20 employees in its K Street office, has bulked up its staff from other areas of the University, such as the medical school and the psychology department, as well as bringing in outside clinicians.

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 4.59.13 PM

Counselors will also hold walk-in hours at the Multicultural Student Services Center from 2 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, in addition to private meetings with student organizations across campus.

Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski said the University will keep counselors on the Vern through mid-May. Officials will discuss lasting options for that campus this summer. Three students have died in West Hall since January.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Drew Lawrence.

Students, city residents and visitors lined up in Lisner Auditorium on Friday night to have books signed by author and financial journalist Michael Lewis, who spoke about his newly released Wall Street read.

The day after “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt” was published last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that it had been looking into high-frequency traders and insider trading.

Lewis, known for his bestseller “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” and other non-fiction works, said his new book focuses on Brad Katsuyama, the founder of IEX, who he called a “smart, ordinary Joe.”

Lewis came to dive into the “darker workings of our financial system,” said Bradley Graham, co-owner of Politics & Prose, which organized the event that’s part of its “Newsmaker Series.” Through a partnership with Lisner, the bookstore has also brought John Heileman and Mark Halperin, Elizabeth Smart and Doris Kearns Goodwin to campus to speak.

The book follows Katsuyama’s investigation into high-frequency traders, or Wall Streeters who use complex algorithms to cut stock trading down to fractions of a second.

“Technology has greatly reduced the need for WS,” Lewis said.

He said Wall Street has had to resort to complicated measures of trade so “people on the other side” will not understand what they are buying. These high-frequency trade exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange charge a fraction of a penny to generate high-speed information, allowing them to gain a sneak peek at upcoming trades.

High-frequency traders then use information that’s collected when someone buys or sells stock “to collide with the ordinary investor.”

“It is another way that WS has found to bill people without actually showing them the bill,” he said.

Andrew Sullivan of The Dish moderated the conversation about Wall Street ethics, gender in the business world, high-frequency trade and the “moral impulse” of some of Lewis’s characters.

“Michael’s books are about human character,” Sullivan said to the packed audience, adding that the characters had “cause to live their lives like they wanted to look back on it.”

Lewis called Katsuyama a “warrior,” who gives the public a reason to still trust Wall Street by trying reform the system.

“I get enormous pleasure telling a story that is satisfying to me,” he said, “I get moved by things, and I found what Brad did was moving.”

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