News and Analysis

University President Steven Knapp issued a statement Tuesday about race relations on campus. Hatchet file photo

University President Steven Knapp issued a statement about continuing to improve race relations on campus. Hatchet file photo

University President Steven Knapp called for a campus-wide concentration on racial inclusion this upcoming academic year in a statement reacting to racially charged shootings last week.

Knapp said in the statement sent Tuesday that the GW community should push to create a “sustained and serious” dialogue about race on campus during his final school year as University president.

“In the coming year we will strengthen and accelerate our efforts to make sure we realize our promise to be a community of scholars in which the interests, contributions and aspirations of all our students, faculty, and staff are recognized, respected and given the fullest possible scope,” he said. “I invite every member of our community to join that effort.”

Knapp’s statement was in response to last week’s “national outrage, mourning and prayer,” he said: Two black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, were killed by police officers in separate events last week. Five police officers were shot and killed  in Dallas at a “Black Lives Matter” rally Thursday night.

This is the second time in a year that Knapp has issued a University-wide statement about race relations on campus: In November, he addressed protests surrounding racial bias at the University of Missouri that led to the institute president’s resignation.

Since his first statement, Knapp has been “moved and saddened” to learn about the barriers minority students and faculty face at GW, he said in Tuesday’s statement.

Faculty, staff and students should prepare graduates to encourage inclusivity beyond GW, he added.

“Our most important contribution to addressing the sources of such violence is not through what we say or do here but through the graduates who, when they leave us, carry their knowledge and their commitment to justice beyond these walls and out into the world we count on them to change,” Knapp said.

During his tenure, Knapp has presided over an effort to make the University accessible to diverse students. He oversaw creating a vice provost position focused on diversity in 2011, and he hired a new vice provost for diversity, equity and community engagement in May. Knapp also participated in a discussion at Howard University last year about race on campuses with student leaders and administrators from universities across the District.

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Michael Feuer, the dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, said the school is 'honored' by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Hatchet file photo

Michael Feuer, the dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, said the school is ‘honored’ by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Hatchet file photo

The Graduate School of Education and Human Development received a $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to launch a new online master’s degree program in secondary transition service, according to a University release Monday.

The program is aimed at teachers who work with students with “high-needs disabilities” as they transition from secondary school to adulthood, according to the release. The grant will also fund partial financial aid for 45 students in the program over the next five years.

The program, offered to both teachers and non-teachers, is the first of its kind online. It is also the first to focus on students with acute brain injury and autism, which are groups identified as “high-need” by the Department of Education, according to the release.

Michael Feuer, the dean of GSEHD, said in the release that the school was “honored” by the Department of Education’s recognition.

“One of our main goals as a school is to prepare future educators committed to expanding opportunities and transforming the lives of their students,” Feuer said in the release.

The first students can enroll in the course starting this September and the program will continue for the next five years, according to the release.

Because it is an online course, officials expect that the 36-credit program will attract working professionals, parents of young children, people switching careers and those who live in “geographically isolated locations,” according to the release.

Carol Kochhar-Bryant, a GSEHD senior associate dean, said in the release that teachers are often hesitant to enroll in graduate programs, especially in special education, because they are “inconvenient and costly.”

“We hope that by equipping more passionate and qualified teachers with the latest research and practices in these areas, we can help improve learning outcomes for students with high-needs disabilities,” Kochhar-Bryant said in the release.

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D.C. Fire and EMS responded to a pizza oven fire at Whole Foods Market Tuesday morning. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

D.C. Fire and EMS responded to a pizza oven fire at Whole Foods Market Tuesday morning. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Updated: July 12, 2016 at 3:30 p.m.

Whole Foods Market on 22 and I streets closed late Tuesday morning for D.C. Fire and EMS to respond to a pizza oven fire, a department spokesman said.

Doug Buchanan, the chief of communications for D.C. Fire and EMS, said units initially responded to a report of a structure fire and a “dark yellow smoke with an odor.”

After investigating whether roofers working on the building caused the smoke, the fire department found that the yellow smoke came from a burning pizza oven, Buchanan said. The fire did not spread outside of the pizza oven, he added.

Alexandra Agostini, a Whole Foods spokeswoman, said no one was injured.

The location was evacuated around 11:40 a.m. and reopened at 3:15 p.m., Agostini said.

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Hatchet file photo

The Department of Energy and Environment awarded GW’s community garden a $5,900 grant last month to install a rainwater collection system. Hatchet file photo

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Celine Bartels-Mills.

The Department of Energy and Environment awarded GW’s community garden $5,900 last month to install a rainwater collection system.

Kayla Williams, a rising senior and a GroW Garden community manager, said in an email that the system will collect water during storms to use to water the garden’s plants.

“We anticipate the grant covering the costs of the rain barrels without extra funding, although nothing has yet been purchased,” Williams said.

The grant was awarded to the organization as part of the DDOE’s goal of keeping stormwater runoff out of D.C. rivers.

Staff in the Division of Operations worked closely with GroW garden volunteers during the application process for the grant and suggested the group apply to fund rain barrels, Williams said.

Shannon Ross, the stakeholder engagement coordinator in the Office of Sustainability, said the grant will raise awareness on campus about environmental issues.

“A major value comes from the educational opportunity since the high visibility of this new feature will help educate GW students on this issue and show them how they can individually make an impact,” Ross said in an email.


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Monday, July 11, 2016 6:42 p.m.

GW launches African studies institute

Dean Rueben E. Brigety II had plans to develop the African Institute since he was hired in August. Paige James | Hatchet Photographer

Dean Rueben E. Brigety II had plans to develop the African Institute since he was hired last August. Hatchet file photo

GW launched the Institute for African Studies this week, according to a University release Monday.

Officials plan to create a more focused African studies curriculum and host an annual conference through the institute, which is housed in the Elliott School of International Affairs. The first conference will be held next spring and will center on the 50th anniversary of the Biafran War, according to the release.

Roy Grinker, a professor of anthropology, international affairs and human sciences, will lead the institute. Grinker has a topical expertise in sub-Saharan Africa and specializes in ethnicity and psychological anthropology.

“GW is committed to inspiring our students and faculty to study the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in Africa,” Grinker said in the release.

More than 50 faculty members who have experience in African studies will collaborate through the African institute. Leaders of the program for African studies and students will collaborate with other D.C. universities and libraries to take advantage of “access to the D.C. region’s large African-origin population,” according to the release.

Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Reuben Brigety intended to start the institute since he was hired last August. He is the former U.S. representative in the African Union and is the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

“Knowledge of Africa is essential for anyone working in international affairs,” Brigety said in the release. “The institute will bring together faculty across campus under one roof to collaborate on a wide range of Africa-related issues, providing exciting new opportunities for our students to engage with the continent.”

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GW researchers developed a model that will help researchers, policymakers, patients and providers improve acute care delivery, according to a release last week.

Researchers in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences created a model for acute, unscheduled care for emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, urgent care centers and telemedicine. The study was published in Annals of Emergency Medicine journal and was funded through the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the Department of Health and Human Services, according to the release.

“Our ultimate goal was to create a model about how and why people get sick and injured in this country, how they seek care, and the outcomes of that care including recovery, death, and importantly, costs,” Jesse Pines, lead author of the study and director of the Center for Healthcare Innovation and Policy Research, said in the release. “Our model includes many underappreciated factors, including the social and individual determinants of acute care such as violence, poverty, and public health, along with factors that affect care-seeking decisions, and care quality within specific settings.”

Using the model, healthcare providers can solve problems like long waiting times, high costs, poor communication between providers and poor care coordination after patients’ illnesses, according to the release.

Gaetano Lotrecchiano, a co-leader on the project and an assistant professor of clinical research and leadership at SMHS, said in the release that the researchers brought together providers, payers, policymakers and patients to make recommendations.

“The process of creating this model was truly multi-disciplinary and used both qualitative and quantitative means to understand the situation better,” Lotrecchiano said. “Including these different voices was vital in ensuring that the model reflected everyone’s experience with illness and injury, not just one group. It will make the model more useful for making policy.”

When providers use the suggested model, they should be able to eventually reduce healthcare costs, Mark Zocchisenior, co-author and research associate of CHIPR, said in the release.

“By describing how people get sick and injured in a simple way, this model serves as a jumping off point for comprehensive approaches to improving acute care delivery and outcomes, and hopefully in the end reducing costs of care,” Zocchisenior said.

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Members of the U.S. House of Representatives linked arms with protesters and marched down Pennsylvania Avenue. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives linked arms with protesters and marched down Pennsylvania Avenue. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Hundreds of people congregated around the north face of the White House Thursday evening to protest the fatal police shootings of two black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

Led by Deondre Moore, a junior at Sam Houston State University, the protestors marched a clear path down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol, chanting and singing “We Shall Overcome” as they passed.

“We can’t just protest, we have to unify,” Moore said.

Demonstrators were met on the steps of the Capitol by a blockade of 20 policemen and women, who prevented the marchers from entering the building itself.

Around 9:30 p.m., 13 members of Congress, including civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., came out to speak to the protestors behind the blockade. They urged for peace and pursuing democratic policies over violence, although the crowd often interrupted them with cries for accountability.

Shouts of “do your job” and “we want answers” cut through the speeches, making them almost incomprehensible to most of the people in the crowd.

Finally, the members of Congress pushed through the blockade to join the crowd and walk with them back to the White House, where they stayed and spoke to the protestors one-on-one.

“[I felt] empowered, elated, inflamed,” said Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill. “Ain’t nothing like the power of the youth because the power of the youth don’t stop.”

A bullhorn was also passed around the crowd so people could share their personal testimonies, thoughts and suggestions for the future. Members of the crowd also shared feelings of weariness with the status quo over the volume and frequency of police violence against the black community.

Many of the demonstrators in the crowd had their own personal experiences that inspired them to join the protest.

Sherri Joyner, a legal assistant in D.C., recounted how she was arrested and shoved into a van after a domestic incident in 2009, despite her repeated pleas that she was claustrophobic. Her screams to be released went unheard, and when she was finally allowed out of the van the policemen told her if she ran they would shoot.

“That’s a mentality that has been born and bred,” said Joyner. “I don’t think its every officer, but it’s something that is brewing and boiling over.”

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The School of Medicine and Health Sciences education program leading to the doctor of medicine degree received full accreditation for an eight-year term last month, according to a University release.

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education, a peer-review process that determines whether the program meets established educational standards, granted the accreditation after a data-gathering process and three-day site visit by an LCME team in February. The report said that the school is in compliance with all accreditation standards but two standards have a “need for monitoring,” according to the release.

The LCME requested a follow-up report to evaluate the program’s revised curriculum once it is completed in 2017. The committee also requested a follow-up report on the school’s efforts to relieve student debt and cited the average educational debt of medical students as a challenge for the school. These follow-up reports are due in August 2017.

“This was a remarkable accreditation survey that gives us much to be proud of,” Richard Simons, senior associate dean for M.D. programs, who led the LCME accreditation effort for SMHS, said in the release. “As we move forward, we will continue to strive for excellence on all levels of medical education.”

Every medical education program leading to the M.D. degree must meet the LCME accreditation standards every eight years. Programs are required to demonstrate that their graduates are ready for the next stage of their training.

“This is an outstanding outcome – and I am grateful to the incredible team of students, faculty, staff, and deans who worked extremely hard to achieve this result,” Jeffrey Akman, dean of SMHS, said in the release.

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Norman Brooks is a nine year veteran of D.C. Fire and EMS and is stationed at Engine 23 on G Street. Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor

Norman Brooks is a nine year veteran of D.C. Fire and EMS and is stationed at Engine 23 on G Street. Hatchet file photo

Updated: July 7 at 2:38 p.m.

A firefighter from a Foggy Bottom fire station is under investigation after posting statements on Facebook calling for gun violence against police officers.

Norman Brooks, who has worked for D.C. Fire and EMS for nine years and is stationed at Engine 23 on GW’s campus, posted that individuals should protect themselves with guns from “racist cops,” Fox 5 reported Wednesday. He wrote multiple Facebook posts after the fatal police shooting of 37-year-old Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La. Tuesday.

“It’s time to stop praying, stop protesting, start buying guns and start protecting ourselves from these crooked [expletive] racist cops,” Brooks wrote in one of the posts.

D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Doug Buchanan told Fox 5 that the agency learned of Brooks’ comments Wednesday from D.C. police officers. The agency is conducting an internal review of Brooks in addition to the law enforcement investigation, Buchanan said.

Brooks has been placed on “administrative duty” until the investigation is complete, Buchanan said.

Brooks later defended his statements, saying they were a “reaction to a horrific event,” but that he did not intend to offend people with his comments.

“Maybe I used strong language, but that is just what it is,” Brooks told Fox 5. “All I am saying is that I am a man reacting to the horrific things that are happening to my people in this country. I have no ill will to police officers.”

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Updated: July 6, 2016 at 2:47 p.m.

The Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education is moving to the Graduate School of Education and Human Development this year, according to a University release.

The consortium is “an alliance of educational, philanthropic and research institutions aiming to provide improved data and scholarship relevant to the practical needs of teachers, administrators and leaders in Jewish education,” according to the release.

The move is funded by $2 million in grants from the AVI CHAI and Jim Joseph foundations, two of the organizations that helped found the consortium in 2011, according to the release. The other founding organizations were the Stanford Graduate School of Education and Rosov Consulting.

Michael Feuer, the dean of GSEHD who will serve as the director of the consortium, said in the release that the idea behind the consortium is “to connect the world of high-quality education research to the needs of the Jewish community for the purpose of improving policy and practice in education.”

He said in the release that the first projects that will come out of the consortium after the move will include leadership at Jewish day schools and early childhood education. He added that part of the consortium’s “mission” is to “shed light” on how Jewish and secular education overlap.

“Jewish education takes place in secular institutions, and secular education takes place in Jewish institutions,” he said in the release. “CASJE takes advantage of that cross-fertilizing collaborative [potential].”

Feuer also said in the release that GSEHD is an “example of a secular institution where Jewish education takes place.” The school offers a degree in experiential education and Jewish cultural arts – the only such master’s program in the country.

“There are pressing, important questions about Jewish education, and the quality of research about those questions could always improve,” Feuer said in the release. “So we’re looking forward to being able to tackle that from a variety of angles and building off the remarkably rich and diverse perspectives of our faculty.”

This post has been updated to reflect the following correction:
Due to a reporting error, The Hatchet incorrectly stated that one of the projects from the consortium will be leadership at Jewish day camps. Those projects will actually take place at Jewish day schools. We regret this error.

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