News and Analysis

A professor in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, according to a University release Wendesday.

Joel Gomez, an associate professor of educational leadership and the director of the Institute for Education Studies, will lead a project helping public school teachers and education administrators in Virginia teach English learners or students who do not have full fluency in English, according to the release.

The program, which was developed by Gomez and Lottie Baker, a visiting assistant professor of curriculum and pedagogy in GSEHD, will focus on teachers in science, math or history, as these are the subjects that students learning English tend to struggle with most. Students who are not fluent in English have a hard time in these subjects because they often use complex sentence structure or passive voice, according to the release.

“One of the major challenging factors today for students is learning the academic language they need for school,” Baker said in the release.

The program will begin with a 12-credit online teaching certificate for working teachers with the Virginia Department of Education choosing participants. The participants will then take part in several in-person “institutes,” which fellow teachers, administrators, principals and school board members can attend, according to the release.

“We really want to build a community to serve these learners,” Baker said in the release. “It can’t be just one teacher in a classroom with the door closed.”

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Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 2:59 p.m.

Supreme Court Justice Breyer to speak at Lisner

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, center, will speak at Lisner Auditorium on Oct. 27. | Hatchet file photo

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will speak with NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg at Lisner Auditorium on Oct. 27, the University announced Wednesday.

Breyer and Totenberg will discuss his interpretation of the Constitution, his life as a Supreme Court Justice and his book, “The Court and the World.”

President Bill Clinton nominated Breyer to the Supreme Court in 1994, where Breyer has served since.

A limited number of student tickets will be available for $10 at the Lisner Box Office starting at 10 a.m. Thursday. The event will begin at 7 p.m.

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The Colombian ambassador to the U.S. talked about peace in the country at an Elliott School event Tuesday. Max Sall | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The Colombian ambassador to the U.S. talked about peace in the country at an Elliott School event Tuesday. Max Sall | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Mabel Kabani.

Juan Carlos Pinzon, Colombia’s ambassador to the U.S., spoke with students and faculty members at the Elliott School of International Affairs Tuesday evening about Colombia’s transformation from unrest to peace.

As the former senior adviser to the executive director of the World Bank, Pinzon said he is familiar with D.C. and GW, specifically. He began his speech highlighting the benefits of attending a university in the U.S. capital.

Pinzon introduced basic facts about Colombia and then discussed the country’s recent political, economic and social transformation.

Here are some highlights from the ambassador’s talk:

1. Colombia’s decline

Although the Barometer of Happiness and Hope once ranked Colombia as the happiest nation in the world due to its “long-lasting democracy,” Pinzon said crime rates, homicides and drug trafficking made the country less peaceful about 20 years ago.

Around the same time, Colombia’s economy also began to destabilize and people fled the country in search of safer and more stable lifestyles, Pinzon said. Unemployment rates reached 21 percent and the country had negative GDP growth in the 1990’s.

“The entire social tissue of the nation was collapsing as opportunities to progress ran out,” Pinzon said.

2.’Plan Colombia’

“Plan Colombia,” a U.S. diplomatic and military project to battle drug cartels and guerrilla groups in Colombia, spurred real progress for the country, Pinzon said.

The program was successful because it secured and legitimized Colombian armed forces and strengthened the justice system, he said.

“This was critical to help us build development that is important for years to come,” Pinzon said.

3. Peace process

Pinzon said that Colombia’s current president, Juan Manuel Santos, has consistently pushed for peace: He wrote a peace accord that won him the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. The peace accord, which citizens recently voted against, called to include members of FARC  – the most notorious guerrilla group – in Colombia’s parliament.

Santos thought this would give Colombia the chance for a new future, Pinzon said. Though the accord didn’t pass, it did “instill a new ideology in the minds of Colombians” about what it takes to achieve peace, he added.

4. Recent improvements

Twenty years ago, about 30,000 homicides occurred in a year, but now the homicide rate in Colombia has dropped to 13,000 per year, Pinzon said. He added that the number of rebel group members has dropped, and kidnapping numbers are lower than they have been in 20 years.

Pinzon said Colombia has been recognized as one of the top economic performers internationally and the country has been left out of the University of Mexico’s annual list of most violent countries in recent years.

“Things aren’t easy or fast and there is no timeline for when this will be over,” Pinzon said. “However, here is an opportunity for the end to finally result in a more stable, long term and extended peace.”

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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. will be on campus next month to talk about his new book, “Our Revolution,” the University announced Monday.

Sanders will discuss his memoir which will feature his experience running for president this year and detail how he will continue to fight for a more equitable country, according to the release. He will be in Lisner Auditorium at 7 p.m. Nov. 16, the day after his book is scheduled to be released.

Students can purchase tickets to the event for $10 at the Lisner box office, which does not include a copy of Sanders’ book. Students will be able to also buy copies of his book at the event, and a limited number of ticket holders will receive a signed copy of the book from Sanders, according to the release.

The day before Sanders’s appearance, the University will also host Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery to discuss his book, “They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement,” on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Jack Morton Auditorium.

As one of the most prominent reporters covering the Black Lives Matter movement, Lowery recounts his coverage of fatal police shootings of black males in the book. He was a member of The Post team that won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for their work on police shootings.

Students can buy tickets for the conversation with Lowery for $5 online.

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D.C. has been named the third-most rat infested city in the country. Hatchet file photo by Katie Causey.

D.C. has been named the third-most rat infested city in the country. Hatchet file photo.

D.C. residents may have more roommates than they think: The city is the third-most rat infested city in the U.S., according to Orkin exterminators.

Orkin, a pest control company, released a list ranking every major city in the U.S. Monday, based on the number of rodent treatments they completed between fall 2015 to fall 2016.

Chicago topped out the list, followed by New York in second place and D.C. in third. Baltimore comes in at No. 6, right below Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The District has held Orkin’s title for third-most rattiest city in the U.S. since 2013. Orkin also named D.C. as the third-most mosquito infested city.

For some locals, this ranking comes as no surprise: Last semester, four students moved out of Francis Scott Key Hall after evidence of rat droppings, and the Foggy Bottom Association organized educational meetings on how to deal with an increasing rat population.

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Monday, Oct. 17, 2016 11:48 a.m.

SEAS inducts six alumni into Hall of Fame

Six alumni were inducted into the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Hall of Fame last week, according to a University release.

The six alumni – William Austen, Bahram Javidi, Christyl Johnson, Gerald McNichols, Çağatay Özdoğru and Rodolfo Rodriguez – joined a program that has honored more than 60 alumni since its creation in 2006. The program honors those who have made “significant strides in engineering, technology, management or public service,” according to the release.

David Dolling, the dean of SEAS, said at the ceremony that the inductees represent the best of the engineering and computer science world and bring “distinction” to GW, according to the release.

The inductees all have prominent roles in engineering fields – Austen is president and CEO of Bemis Company, Javidi is a Board of Trustees distinguished professor at the University of Connecticut and Johnson is deputy center director for technology and research investments at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

McNichols is a philanthropist and angel investor, Özdoğru is the CEO and board member of Turkey’s Esas Holding and Rodriguez is founder and chief scientific officer of Advanced Animal Diagnostics, according to the release.

University President Steven Knapp said at the ceremony that the alumni all embodied the theme of “Excellence in Engineering Leadership,” and help to improve the University’s engineering programs.

“SEAS as a whole has now truly assumed its rightful place as a leader in engineering education and research,” Knapp said, according to the release.

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Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016 7:13 p.m.

Suspicious package shuts down 19th, E streets

The Metropolitan Police Department has blocked off 19th and E streets in both directions due to a suspicious package that was found in the area Sunday evening.

D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Vito Maggiolo said the package appeared to be a backpack and other personal items that were left along the sidewalk on the 400 block of 16th Street. An adult man who opened the package experienced “some sort of physical reaction, Maggiolo said.

Maggiolo said that he could not describe what the man’s reaction was, but that it does not appear to be life-threatening. The individual is undergoing examination by emergency responders but has not yet been taken to a hospital.

“The only potential injury is the individual who opened the package and who looked inside the package,” Maggiolo said. “We want to determine what the substance is so we don’t accidentally contaminate the hospital environment.”

A University alert sent at 6:45 p.m. notified students that the roads were closed and advised that they avoid the area.

We will continue to update this post.

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University President Steven Knapp addresses the Parents' Association Advisory Council for the final time. Max Wang | Hatchet Photographer

University President Steven Knapp addresses the Parents’ Association Advisory Council for the final time. Max Wang | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by staff writer Catherine Moran.

At his last address to the Parents’ Association Advisory Council Saturday morning, University President Steven Knapp discussed some of his accomplishments and parents’ roles on campus.

“I think parents are great ambassadors because you can speak to people in your communities about the experiences that your children are having here,” Knapp said.

This was the council’s last meeting, as the Division of Student Affairs introduces a new body for parent volunteers.

Here are some highlights from Knapp’s address:

1. Campus highlights

During the 45-minute conversation, Knapp highlighted the resume-worthy moments form his time at GW, ranging from the completion of building projects like District House, the Milken Institute School of Public Health and the Science and Engineering Hall.

He also mentioned the improvements in student safety and the “strong addition” of University Police Department Chief RaShall Brackney. He added that he is proud of the new food pantry in District House and an internship fund that provides financial support for students with unpaid internships.

“George Washington would not have imagined what this would become,” he said. “He couldn’t envision that, but we remain committed to educating civic leaders.”

2. Access and success

Knapp said that he hopes his legacy as University president will be increasing student support by building a sense of community on campus, centralizing student health services in the Marvin Center and revitalizing career services.

“Now, I’ve been talking about buildings, but I want to tell you that as much as we’ve been focused on building the University in all of these dimensions that I’ve been describing, we’re focused on making it possible for our students to succeed in all of their endeavors and to achieve their aspirations.” he said.

Knapp applauded the University’s growing inclusiveness and said this year is the “most diverse student body that we have ever had.”

“Our democracy can only succeed if the doors are not only actually but physically open to people coming from all communities across our country,” Knapp said.

Continuing to make new spaces for students helps to foster a sense of community on campus, he added. Foggy Bottom’s former dining hall J Street will become a student “living room.”

3. The importance of parents

Knapp emphasized the importance of parental involvement as a “source of connection” between the University and the rest of the world.

“I think we’ve had a great relationship with parents all the time I’ve been here,” Knapp said. “They are sometimes aware of things that we don’t hear about except from parents because students are telling their parents things that they aren’t necessarily telling me.”

Knapp has seen parents’ involvement increase over his years leading the University, especially by attending campus events, he said.

“Parents have become a really integral part of supporting the community,” he said.

4. Ending with a laugh

Knapp addressed the delay in opening permanent food vendors in District House and said he has an “addiction” to Peet’s Coffee – one of the future vendors – and he gets the coffee delivered to his house.

After the final parent’s question, Knapp interrupted the applause to share a regret from from his tenure as University president.

“One of the questions that we didn’t get to in the stack that I saw was things I’m most proud of and things I’m most disappointed about in the years I’ve been here,” Knapp said. “When it comes to disappointment, I do have one disappointment: That we have not yet made it in either men or women’s basketball to the Final Four.”

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Friday, Oct. 14, 2016 8:09 p.m.

University 57 students from enrollment cap

This post was written by Hatchet staff writers Sera Royal and Catherine Moran.

GW is close to capacity.

Provost Forrest Maltzman said at a Faculty Senate meeting Friday that the University has almost hit its enrollment cap on the Foggy Bottom Campus.

He said that 99.66 percent of the available spots for undergraduate and graduate students on Foggy Bottom are filled. With only 57 slots to spare, Maltzman said that GW “effectively landed a 747 on the curb.”

The enrollment cap is part of a 20-year agreement with D.C. that limits GW to 16,553 on-campus students. Officials must be creative about where they house new programs to avoid hitting the cap, Maltzman said.

In March, Maltzman said he would work with officials to expand off-campus and online opportunities to prevent GW from hitting its enrollment cap.

How the University counts students toward the enrollment numbers depends on how many credits the students earn on the Foggy Bottom Campus compared to how many they earn on other campuses or online, Maltzman said during the meeting. Undergraduate students who live on the Mount Vernon Campus do not count toward the limit.

Officials must be creative about where they house new programs to avoid hitting the cap, Maltzman said.

“The enrollment growth that’s occurring is largely online and off-campus and it’s clearly helping us manage towards the cap,” he said. “So it’s important as schools contemplate big new programs and stuff like that we think a lot about where it’s located.”

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Police arrested two men in connection to a shooting in Foggy Bottom early Monday morning, a Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman said Friday.

Police arrested Michael Ansara Ferebee, 23, and Julius Bowens, 24, for carrying a pistol without a license, MPD spokeswoman Rachel Schaerr said. Assault with a dangerous weapon and destruction of property were also listed as offenses associated with the case on a MPD report.

The U.S. Secret Service responded to a call reporting gunshot sounds on the 1000 block of 22nd Street around 3 a.m. Monday, according to the report. Police stopped a Nissan Sentra with gunshot marks in front of 403 17th St. – the Red Cross Museum – and searched the vehicle.

“Upon searching the vehicle a silver revolver was located in the glovebox,” according to the report.

Officers located a victim with a gunshot wound to his right hand on New Hampshire Ave. and Dupont Circle, and the victim was transported to GW Hospital, according to the report.

Police also found two vehicles, a Honda Accord and a Subaru, with gunshot damage on 22nd Street. There were gunshots in windows and walls on buildings near the location, adding up to total damages between $2,300 and $3,600, according to the report.

The crime was “club related,” according to the report.

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