News and Analysis

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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Wednesday, July 6, 2016 8:07 a.m.

The new dining plan, explained

The University announced a new dining plan that will not require freshmen to spend dining dollars at on-campus eateries. Hatchet file photo by Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor.

The first floor of the Marvin Center is undergoing renovations, just as University officials revamp the way dining works at GW. Hatchet file photo by Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor.

Updated: July 6, 2016 at 2:52 p.m.

Students will face a revamped dining hall this fall, with fewer options on where they can use their allocated dollars.

The changes, revealed in documents that officials gave to incoming freshmen at Colonial Inauguration, will give freshmen more overall money for dining after officials dropped the mandate to spend a certain amount at on-campus dining venues. The new plan will also no longer allow dining money to be spent on laundry, printing, books or other non-dining venues that previously accepted Colonial Cash.

In March, officials announced a major overhaul to the University’s dining system as the decade-long contract with Sodexo drew to a close and Restaurant Associates is set to replace it beginning this month. The plan will also effectively mark the end of J Street, the much-griped about dining hall on the Foggy Bottom Campus. Here’s a look at what the changes will look like.

What’s happening to J Street?

J Street was the main dining venue on the Foggy Bottom Campus, located on the first floor of the Marvin Center. Up until this academic year, it featured several separate dining venues, all owned and operated by Sodexo, which sold sandwiches, salads, pizza and pasta, coffee, fruits and vegetables, a salad bar and a hot bar.

Freshmen were allocated $2,300 per year in Colonial Cash to spend at any partner restaurants near campus that accept GWorld and $1,400 that could only be spent at on-campus venues, like J Street and Pelham Commons on the Mount Vernon Campus.

This summer, J Street is closing for renovations to make it what officials have called a “more modest” dining venue, and freshmen will no longer be required to spend any money there. Officials have so far not said which, if any, dining venues will open in J Street’s place once renovations are complete. Officials have already planned a renovation of the Marvin Center first floor.

So there won’t even be a dining hall?

Not on the Foggy Bottom Campus. Pelham Commons will still operate as a more traditional dining hall on the Mount Vernon Campus and its Sunday brunch will continue.

In Foggy Bottom, there will be what officials have billed as an “open dining plan,” where students will be able to spend “dining cash” at more than 90 partner restaurants around campus. The venues that will accept dining cash range from “delivery to grab-and-go to made-to-order dining and sit-down restaurants,” according to documents detailing the new plan that were given to incoming freshman at Colonial Inauguration.

The partner restaurants also include campus vending machines, grocery stores, convenience stores like CVS and 7-Eleven and the vendors opening in the basement of District House this fall, according to University spokesman Kurtis Hiatt.

The plan is unique among colleges and universities across the country, which typically rely on a centralized dining hall.

How much ‘dining cash’ will be available next year?

Freshman will have a total of $3,900 in dining cash to spend this year, $1,950 per semester. That’s a $200 increase from last year, when first year students were given a total of $3,700 to spend in Colonial Cash and dining dollars.

The sophomore, junior and senior meal plans will remain the same with $2,500, $2,000 and $1,000 to spend respectively.

“The university considered many factors when determining the amount of Dining Cash for each class of undergraduate students, including costs for various items and meals at participating dining and grocery partners as well as feedback from students regarding how much they spend on food each day,” Hiatt said.

Students receive less in dining money over the years, Hiatt said, because they are “more likely to be spending more time off campus and may want more flexibility in terms of meeting their dining needs and preferences,” and upperclassmen residence halls typically include in-room kitchens.

What else will be different next year?

Starting this fall, GWorld funds that are part of the meal plan can only be used at dining venues.

In the past, GWorld also included funding for on-campus printing, laundry, the University bookstore and other non-dining business near campus including hairdressers, nail salons and the UPS Store.

Beginning this fall, if students want to use GWorld for those services, they’ll have to put extra money on their card, Hiatt said.

“Students may voluntarily deposit Colonial Cash to pay for additional dining and non-dining expenses on their GWorld cards,” he said.

Laundry machines in residence halls only work by paying with GWorld or using quarters and GWorld or credit card are acceptable forms of payments for printing kiosks around campus. The exclusion of the bookstore from GWorld vendors means students will have to put up extra money if they want to use GWorld to buy textbooks this academic year.

Additionally, a new system called GET will replace JSA Technologies as the GWorld account management service. Students will now use GET for information about their GWorld account and to deposit more funds, Hiatt said.

He added that the service also offers a mobile app that provides access to a GWorld account plus information about and directions to partner restaurants. The system will also offer mobile ordering from some partner restaurants.

This post has been updated to reflect the following correction:
Due to a reporting error, The Hatchet incorrectly stated that officials will create a “living room” on the first floor of the Marvin Center. This is a statement that has been made only by student leaders. We regret this error.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016 7:32 a.m.

American University to debut Metro discount


Metro will offer discounted rides to American University students beginning next fall. Hatchet File Photo.

American University will become the first college in the District to offer discounted Metro rides for its students, officials announced Tuesday.

Under the plan, all full-time undergraduate, graduate and law students at AU will receive a special Metro card called a U-Pass starting this school year, enabling unlimited rides on Metrorail and Metrobus for roughly $1 per day during the school year, according to a news release from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

AU students will pay for the discount through a student benefits fee, the release stated.

“This is an important partnership that enables Metro to better serve the region’s universities, build ridership in the near term and encourage the next generation to become public transit users,” Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul Wiedefeld said in the release.

WMATA proposed a similar discount for GW students that could have started as soon as this fall. Student leaders spoked with WMATA and University officials throughout last academic year and in a referendum during last spring’s Student Association elections, 73.5 percent of students voted in approval of a proposal that would have offered discounted rides for a tuition fee.

In April University officials opted not to adopt the proposal, saying it wasn’t “feasible or fair” to charge students who don’t use public transportation the Metro fee. Officials said they would continue working with WMATA to come up with a proposal for students who frequently ride Metro.

WMATA first suggested the proposal to colleges across the District last fall as a way to boost declining ridership and encourage area college students to use Metro.

Tuesday’s release said AU’s discount was a pilot program and would be reevaluated at the end of the school year.

“Metro expects the pilot to attract other colleges and universities in the region that have expressed interest,” the release said.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016 7:13 p.m.

GW joins digital humanities consortium

Geneva Henry, the dean of XX, advocated for a digital humanities research project. Faculty and students from four universities will kick off the project at GW. Hatchet file photo.

Geneva Henry, the dean of libraries and academic innovation, advocated for a digital humanities research consortium, which will kick off at GW next month. Hatchet file photo.

Students and faculty from four universities will meet at GW next month to begin a digital humanities research project, according to a University release Monday.

The collaboration between GW, Rice University, Davidson College and Prairie View A&M is a two-year project that is funded by a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Ben Vinson, the dean of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, and Geneva Henry, the dean of libraries and academic innovation, came up with the idea for the consortium, which is called “Resilient Networks to Support Inclusive Digital Humanities.”

Henry said in the release that digital humanities is the “application of computational techniques by humanities scholars to enable a deeper analysis and understanding of digital humanities content,” and that the research will improve students’ and faculty’s understanding of digital culture, according to the release.

“Digital resources and platforms increasingly shape how culture is created and communicated,” Henry said.

Undergraduate and graduate students interested in the field will have new research and mentorship opportunities through the consortium, Henry added.

“By receiving digital technology training, working intensely on project development and assessment and working alongside faculty and librarians, interested students will be better poised for pursing a career suited to their particular expertise and academic interests,” she said.

University President Steven Knapp said in a letter of support for the project that research in the digital humanities will push GW to become a top research institution, according to the release.

“The ‘Resilient Networks’ model will encourage innovation through collaboration across academic disciplines and institutions, bringing together students, scholars and librarians to share methodologies and technological tools with the goal of advancing knowledge,” Knapp said.

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Costas Solomou will begin his position as the dean of undergraduate admissions Aug. 15. Photo courtesy of Costas Solomou

Costas Solomou will begin his position as the dean of undergraduate admissions Aug. 15. Photo courtesy of Costas Solomou

The former dean of admission at Queens University in Charlotte, N.C. will serve as GW’s dean of undergraduate admissions starting Aug. 15, according to a University release Friday.

Costas Solomou worked in admissions and enrollment management at the University of Rochester for 15 years before he started at Queens University. He introduced a data-driven approach to recruitment at the University of Rochester that increased “quality and diversity of enrolling students,” according to the release.

“I hope to bring both passion and vision to GW, while inspiring others to become life-long learners,” Solomou said in the release.

He has also held leadership roles with the New York State Association of College Admission Counseling and the College Board.

Officials have recently launched partnerships with the Posse Foundation and Say Yes to Education as part of their focus on making GW accessible to low-income students.

The University also implemented a test-optional admissions policy last summer, which officials said contributed to a dramatic undergraduate application increase this year.

Provost Forrest Maltzman said in the release that Solomou will continue the University’s commitment to accessibility and enrolling diverse students.

“Costas is an outstanding leader whose student-centered approach will enable us to continue building on our momentum of enrolling a class of high-achieving and diverse first year and transfer students,” Maltzman said.

Former dean of undergraduate admissions Karen Stroud Felton stepped down from the post in May, and officials conducted a national search for her replacement over the past semester.

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