News and Analysis

Updated: Nov. 9, 2015 at 12:44 p.m.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Mabel Kabani.

The White House kicked off the national week of action this week for the “It’s On Us” campaign, a national movement to end sexual assault on college campuses.

To jumpstart the week, CollegeHumor partnered with “It’s On Us” to create a PSA centered on the specific statistic that one in five women will be sexually assaulted by the time they leave college. They announced the video during a press phone call on Thursday.

Though a serious issue, Spencer Griffin, executive producer of CollegeHumor, said he wanted to create a funny digital short to spread the message.

“We wanted to leverage comedy to reach and break through this generation. I am proud of this video and the impact it can have,” Griffin said.

New Girl actor Jake Johnson, star of the digital short, also spoke during the press call about his interest in the campaign because “hearing the one in five statistic sickened him.”

“I think that this is something worth doing and something worth getting out,” Johnson said. “Comedy is a great way to reach people with important messages and we need to make the world a better place for other people.”

Johnson added that the campaign can meet college students where they are to really make a difference.

“I just like that this campaign makes it the community’s responsibility because it’s on you to make sure you help out,” he said. “It’s a way to reach people not involved in policy.”

“It’s On Us” was launched by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden last year to end the issue of sexual assault on college campuses nationwide. What separates this initiative from the others is that it asks everyone, men, women and children across America, to make a commitment and be a part of the solution to end campus assault.

University President Steven Knapp and Student Association president Nick Gumas attended a kickoff event at the White House last year.

White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett said during the call that it has become “a rallying cry inviting everyone to engage, because solutions begin with us.”

Over 250,000 students have signed the “It’s On Us” pledge and the initiative has launched 800 events so far.

As a part of the Week of Action next week, 249 events, such as pledge drives, lectures, social media chat rooms and other student led events, will take place at 92 schools.

Biden will also be attending a few schools to participate in roundtable discussions on sexual assault.

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Teenage males who consume certain pesticides might have defective sperm, according to researchers at the Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Melissa Perry, a professor and chair of the department of environmental and occupational health at the public health school, led a research project based on sperm and blood samples from 90 men who lived in the Faroe Islands, an island in the North Atlantic, to find a link between fertility and consuming environmental pollutants. The study, which was published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, revealed findings that indicate that people should be aware of the pesticides they take in.

Perry said in a press release that there’s not yet enough evidence to relate how “pollutants may be affecting the maturation of the testicles and their function,” but this is the first step in finding a relationship.

Perry and her team collected blood samples from 33 men at age 14 to track the amount of pollutants found in their sperm and blood samples later in life. She also used a sperm imaging system to look for “sperm disomy, a condition in which sperm cells have an abnormal number of chromosomes,” according to the release.

Perry chose to research men in the Faroe Islands because the population there tends to eat pilot whale meat and whale blubber, which contain high concentrations of organochlorine pesticides, the toxin that Perry screened in sperm and blood samples. These pesticides are banned in the U.S.

“This study, and others like it, suggest that any decisions about putting biologically active chemicals into the environment must be made very carefully as there can be unanticipated consequences down the road,” Perry said in the release.

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Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 2:40 p.m.

Metro names new general manager

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority named Paul Wiedefeld as general manager and chief executive officer Thursday morning.

Wiedefeld, who will be formally appointed at WMATA’s Nov. 19 board meeting, served as chief executive of BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and ran day-to-day operations of the MARC commuter rail as administrator of the Maryland Transit Administration, Washington Business Journal reported.

Interim general manager Jack Requa will continue to serve until Wiedefeld steps in. Requa has served as interim since January.

Metro officials have faced criticism for long delays and halted trains in recent years, inspiring a Twitter handle, Unsuck D.C. Metro, with more than 40,000 followers and a petition that asked Pope Francis to bless the public transit system when he visited in September.

In January, a Metro train leaving the L’Enfant Plaza station filled with smoke, leading to the death of a female passenger and more than 30 other passengers seeking treatment at GW Hospital.

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GW landed at No. 4 on a list of the top 100 most militarized universities in the country, Vice News reported Thursday.

The ranking was based on the number of former students from each university who work in the intelligence community and have the closest ties with national security in terms of training and education in the field. The University of Maryland at College Park, American Military University and the University of Phoenix snagged the top three spots before GW.

GW ranks No. 4 in the number of students who have a “top secret” clearance and comes out 54th on the list for the university with the most national security funding.

Vice also noted GW’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security and the University’s consistently high rankings for criminology programs.

The University’s affiliations with the National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and the Reserve Officer Training Corps program were also listed as the factors leading to GW’s top-five ranking. Other factors considered in making the list were GW’s national security programs like GW’s intelligence and homeland security studies.

The University receives more than $7.3 million in the U.S. Department of Defense research and development funding, according to Vice. The publication also stated that 6 percent of students receive tuition assistance under the federal GI Bill.

George Mason University comes out No. 5 on the list and Georgetown University is No. 10.

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The number of alcohol violations recorded this Halloween weekend was the highest in seven years. Hatchet File Photo.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Jack Thomson.

The number of alcohol violations recorded this Halloween weekend was the highest in seven years, increasing only by one from last year’s numbers.

This past weekend, 22 cases of alcohol violations were reported to the University Police Department. Similar numbers were reported last year with a total of 21 incidents. Two years ago, the number of violations during the holiday weekend marked the fifth year of declines.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said in an email that UPD held two events to communicate with students about safety during Halloween weekend. The department hosted a “Coffee with a Cop” event Thursday in Thurston Hall, where UPD Chief RaShall Brackney and officers “talked with students and offered safety tips and reminders about Halloween weekend,” Csellar said.

On the same day, UPD also held a campus safety cookout on the Mount Vernon Campus to discuss safety leading up to the Halloween weekend, Csellar said.

Alexis Janda, the associate director of GW’s Health Promotion and Prevention Services, said the office offers online and in-person resources to inform students about things like alcohol, nutrition and sexual health.

She said her organization “works to educate students about a wide variety of substances so that they may make informed and responsible decisions for their health and wellbeing.”

The number of student disciplinary referrals for alcohol and drug violations dropped by about half last year, according to the annual security report.

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The Elliott School received about $2.5 million in Carnegie Grants. Hatchet file photo by Katie Causey

The Elliott School received about $2.5 million in Carnegie Grants. Hatchet file photo by Katie Causey, Photo Editor.

Four faculty members at the Elliott School of International Affairs received Carnegie Grants totaling nearly $2.5 million, according to a University release.

Charlie Glaser, Henry Hale, Marc Lynch and Janne Nolan, all professors of international affairs, earned the grants to support projects on Eurasian studies, Middle Eastern politics, bipartisan nuclear security solutions and nuclear policies toward China, respectively.

Reuben Brigety, the dean of the Elliott School who began his tenure last month, said in the release that these awards demonstrate the schools position “as the preeminent place to create policy-relevant research.”

“We look forward to continuing our joint efforts to connect the school’s research, and that of the broader academic community, to policymakers around the world,” Brigety said.

Hale, the co-director of the Program on New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia, received $800,000 to develop security and policy approaches in Russia and Eurasia, and plans to use the grant to understand and come up with possible solutions to the Russia-Ukraine war, the Syrian crisis and U.S.-Russia relations.

Glaser will put $450,000 from Carnegie toward a series of articles on U.S.-China nuclear relations. Nolan received a $530,000 to also fund a group of experts on nuclear relations.

The Carnegie Corporation renewed its funding of the Institute for Middle East Studies, which Lynch runs, with a $700,000.

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D.C. could lower the voting age to 16 years if a measure proposed Tuesday passes through the D.C. Council. Jordan Emont

D.C. could lower the voting age to 16 years if a measure proposed Tuesday passes through the D.C. Council. Hatchet file photo.

This post was written by Staff Writer Emily Robinson.

D.C. could lower the city’s voting age to 16 years if a new measure passes through the D.C. Council.

Ward 6 Council member Charles Allen proposed the Youth Vote Amendment Act of 2015 on Tuesday, citing the other activities 16-year-olds can legally do like driving, having a job and paying taxes, according to a summary of the bill. The document says the bill would apply the “No taxation without representation” movement in D.C. to 16- and 17-year-old residents and give them a say in their government.

“The age of 16 has an important place in our society. It is an age when we remove, generally, the mantle of childhood and instead apply many expectations of adulthood,” the summary reads.

Supporters of the bill hope giving younger people the right to vote will make them more politically engaged throughout their lives.

“By lowering the voting age to 16, we can bring our young people directly into the political process and, hopefully, create lifelong voters,” the document reads.

Takoma Park already allows 16-year-olds to vote in municipal elections, according to the bill.

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Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 1:35 p.m.

GW ranked low based on economic value

GW was ranked 307 on a list of colleges based on economic value.

GW was ranked 307 on a list of colleges based on economic value. Hatchet File Photo.

GW was ranked No. 307 on The Economist’s first-ever college rankings this week, which placed colleges based on their economic value.

The authors of the ranking determined that the economic value of a university is equal to how much graduates earn compared to how much they could have potentially made if they studied somewhere else.

The list reported that the median earnings of GW graduates is $64,500, while the expected value that students pay for is $62,346. Based on other factors that students pay for like location and college size, the value added for students who choose to attend GW is about $2,100.

The Economist used data from the U.S. Department of Education’s college scorecard, which was released in September and included data that compared individuals’ student-loan applications to their tax return forms 10 years after graduation.

The magazine also considered factors like the wealth of the states colleges are in, whether they have ranked undergraduate business schools and the percentage of families who receive federal Pell Grants.

Georgetown and Duke universities, two of GW’s peer institutions, landed in the top 20, while Washington and Lee University in Virginia snagged the top spot.

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Potomac Hall residents looking to wash their Halloween costumes were met with a mess in a laundry room on Sunday.

University spokesman Kurtis Hiatt said a clogged drain in a laundry room in Potomac Hall took hours to fix because staff had to perform multiple “rounds of work” on the pipes.

“Staff members worked throughout Sunday to fix several issues in a laundry room in Potomac Hall related to clogged drain pipes,” he said. “Given this repair took several hours to complete, we apologize for the inconvenience this has caused, and for the delay in cleaning the debris, which was due to the need to complete several rounds of work on the clogged pipes.”

A photograph of the sludge attracted more than 300 “likes” in the Facebook group GW Overheard.

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Monday, Nov. 2, 2015 7:43 p.m.

GW receives economic impact award

The Science and Engineering Hall helps diversify GW's economy, University President Steven Knapp said in a statement Monday.  Media credit: Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer.  Hatchet File Photo.

The Science and Engineering Hall helps diversify GW’s economy, University President Steven Knapp said in a statement Monday. Media credit: Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer. Hatchet File Photo.

GW received an economic impact award from the D.C. Chamber of Commerce last week, the University announced on Monday.

University President Steven Knapp accepted the chamber’s annual award at the chamber’s Choice Awards and Gala at the Marriott Marquis hotel on Friday night, according to the announcement. He cited GW’s 26,000-member student population and 12,000-member employee population as factors for how GW helps contribute to the economy. GW is also one of the city’s richest landlords.

“So we really do contribute directly to the economy in that respect,” Knapp said in a televised statement.

He added that the GW community contributed hundreds of thousands of community service hours in the D.C. community. First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at Commencement in 2010 after students completed her community service challenge.

“We have a strong culture of service. I think it goes all the way back to our namesake tradition to educate citizen leaders in the nation’s capital,” Knapp said. “That core culture of service is something we’ve held true to now for almost 200 years.”

He added that the $275 million Science and Engineering Hall that opened last year helps to create jobs and inventions that are “driving the economy” in D.C.

“We’re also helping to diversify the economy through the intellectual work of our students and faculty here,” he said.

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