News and Analysis

GW plans to give GWorld cards to neighbors to use a new gate at the Mount Vernon Campus' W Street entrance. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Photographer

GW plans to give GWorld cards to neighbors to enter through a new gate at the Mount Vernon Campus’ W Street entrance. The gate will open next semester. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Photographer

The University plans to vet Mount Vernon Campus neighbors before giving them GWorld cards to pass through the grounds’ new W Street gate, which will open in early 2015.

The entrance near Merriweather Hall closed last month so construction of the gate could begin. A fence will stand in the front of the entrance until construction wraps up in the spring.

Anyone on the Vern will be able to exit through the gate freely, but University spokesman Kurtis Hiatt said only students living on the Vern and “immediate neighbors” with GWorld cards will be able to enter through it. Neighbors will have to fill out an application and sign a GW-given cardholder agreement.

Students who live on Foggy Bottom will not have GWorld access to the W Street entrance. Hiatt said during special events, “we anticipate making certain exceptions for gate access,” citing gatherings at the provost’s residence as an example.

Residence Hall Association President Ari Massefski said he’s heard students argue that GWorld access should be granted to residents from both campuses.

“We are still hoping for residents of all GW campuses to have pedestrian tap access through the gate,” he said.

Some students have voiced concerns over giving neighbors access to the gate.

Kiren Ajrawat, a freshman who lives in Somers Hall, said allowing neighbors on campus through the second gate could jeopardize student privacy.

“A benefit of living on the Vern is the privacy aspect that we don’t get in Foggy, and a lot of people that I know value that,” she said.

Regina Park contributed reporting.

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Rabbi Barry Freundel was charged with six counts of voyeurism for allegedly setting up a hidden camera in a changing stall used for a private ritual bath at Kesher Israel. His case was postponed until January when prosecutors requested more time. Olivia Harding | Hatcher Photographer

Rabbi Barry Freundel was charged with six counts of voyeurism for allegedly setting up a hidden camera in a changing stall used for a private ritual bath at Kesher Israel. His case was postponed until January after prosecutors requested more time. Olivia Harding | Hatchet Photographer

Updated: Nov. 13, 2014 at 1:56 a.m.

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Brandon Lee.

The D.C. rabbi charged with six counts of misdemeanor voyeurism will again appear before a judge early next year after prosecutors requested more time to try to identify additional victims before deciding whether to offer the rabbi a plea deal.

Barry Freundel, who until recently served at Kesher Israel in Georgetown, was arrested last month for allegedly setting up a camera in the synagogue’s changing area for the ritual bathhouse, or mikvah. The 62-year-old rabbi has pled not guilty on all counts and could face up to six years in prison if convicted.

GW graduate student Stephanie Doucette, who is in the process of converting to Judaism, told The Hatchet she is concerned she may have been one of his victims.

Freundel also taught at GW in the fall of 1998 and spring of 2000.

While prosecutor Amy Zubrensky asked the D.C. Superior Court judge for more time in the case, Freundel’s attorney, Jeffrey Harris, said he had not yet been able to review “what the prosecution claims as evidence.”

“A lot of the material seized are of an electronic nature, and I haven’t been able to go through them,” said Harris, who was told he wouldn’t be able to access the evidence until after Thanksgiving.

Zubrensky explained that the prosecution is creating a website for alleged victims to find updates about Freundel’s case. The site will also help alleged victims contact counselors and prosecutors. The defense did not object so long as the site’s contents were restricted to those two purposes.

Prosecutors banned the rabbi from leaving the country between the arrest and the hearing, but the Superior Court judge denied a motion to monitor Freundel’s cell phone.

Freundel remained silent throughout the 30-minute hearing. His next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 16.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported the name of the prosecutor. It was Amy Zubrensky, not Elizabeth Branski. We regret this error.

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Carvings closed Wednesday after losing hot water. Jacqueline Thomsen | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Carvings owner Sang Kyu Choi posted a sign over a D.C. Department of Health notice explaining the closure was due to a hot water stoppage. Jacqueline Thomsen | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The D.C. Department of Health temporarily shut down Carvings after the deli lost hot water on Wednesday.

The hot water failure was due to GW maintenance work on the water pumps that serve Carvings and Potomac House, which are part of the same building, University spokesman Kurtis Hiatt said.

“The university today worked to regulate the water temperature in Potomac Hall, which briefly affected hot water pumps serving Carvings,” Hiatt said.

Health inspectors posted a sign on the front door Wednesday stating that the store was in violation of D.C. food code regulations, “which presents an imminent health hazard to the public.” DOH spokeswoman Kristen Randolph confirmed a hot water stoppage was the only violation.

Carvings owner Sang Kyu Choi said hot water is again running and the deli will reopen on Thursday after a second health inspection, which he expects to pass.

District food safety regulations require that hot water in restaurants reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Updated: Nov. 11, 2014 at 10:26 p.m.

The GW School of Business moved up one spot in Bloomberg Businessweek’s ranking of full-time graduate programs, landing at No. 53 out of 85 schools.

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business topped the list, knocking Harvard University’s business school out of the top five for the first time. Bloomberg Businessweek ranks the country’s master of business administration programs every two years.

The business schools at several of GW’s other peer schools also beat GW in the rankings, including Northwestern, Emory, New York and Vanderbilt universities. GW did edge out peer schools like Boston, Tulane and Miami universities.

Schools were graded based on a student satisfaction survey, a survey of employers who hire graduates and the expertise of a school’s faculty.

Former business school Dean Doug Guthrie considered that third benchmark, which is measured by faculty publications in top journals, one of the school’s biggest shortcomings.

In a 2010 budget proposal that The Hatchet obtained this year, Guthrie said the school was plagued by “poor teaching and deficient scholarship.”

“Some departments publish in inferior-quality academic journals and maintain a lower tenure standard. This neither advances the school’s aspiration to rank among the top business schools nor supports the central administration’s goal to excel as a research university,” he wrote.

More than 21,000 graduating full-time MBA students completed the student surveys, which included questions about the quality of class offerings, the student body and students’ evaluations of their own skills.

Recruiters were asked how well graduates performed in specific areas, according to Businessweek’s methodology.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
Due to an editing error, The Hatchet incorrectly spelled the last name of former Dean Doug Guthrie. It is Guthrie, not Gouthrie. We regret this error.

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Ambassador James Kolker, assistant secretary for global affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, spoke in the Marvin Center Monday. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

James Kolker, assistant secretary for global affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, spoke in the Marvin Center on Monday about his agency’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Henry Klapper.

A top federal department of health official visited campus looking to disprove the myths about Ebola and argue the best ways to handle the outbreak in a discussion with students Monday.

Jimmy Kolker, assistant secretary for global affairs in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, spoke to GW’s chapter of the Alexander Hamilton Society about his agency’s response to the outbreak.

He said news coverage has spread inaccurate and misleading information about the chances of catching the disease, which are slim.

“You have a greater chance of your dying by a piano falling on your head than from Ebola,” Kolker said, adding that conditions like obesity and heart disease “are the real killers.”

Claire Standley, a senior research scientist at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, hosted the event in the Marvin Center.

Here are some key takeaways from his speech:

1. “The need for coordination”

To end the Ebola outbreak, Kolker said countries in West Africa need to collaborate, even if it is a challenge.

“Everyone recognizes the need for coordination, but no one likes to be coordinated,” Kolker said.

He said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security screens about 150 travelers from West Africa each day as they come into the country.

White House meetings about the outbreak have brought together representatives from more than two dozen government agencies.

“The State Department and the Department of Defense have been involved with the response making this a security, health and foreign policy issue,” Kolker said.

2. Boots on the ground

Kolker said the United Kingdom has staffed an army hospital in West Africa to take care of doctors who could have been exposed to the disease.

“Field and and Navy ship hospitals are effective – but only to a certain point,” Kolker said.

He said the U.S. has had the most “sustained” response to Ebola in West Africa, sending aid workers to care for the sick.

3. A state of denial

Kolker said “thousands of lives could have been saved” if a coordinated response had happened sooner. But many of the affected countries were “in denial” about the danger of the disease, he said.

Kolker said the lack of an effective response stemmed from government quarrels that made it difficult to coordinate quickly.

More than 4,900 people have died in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Nicole Radivilov | Assistant Photo Editor

Student Association President Nick Gumas, Provost Steven Lerman, Associate Provost for Military and Veterans Affairs Mel Williams and GW Veterans President Emanuel Johnson place a wreath in front of the wall of Veterans Memorial Park. Nicole Radivilov | Assistant Photo Editor

More than 100 student veterans, NROTC students and their friends and families gathered with GW officials at Veterans Memorial Park in Kogan Plaza on Tuesday morning to celebrate Veterans Day.

The wreath-laying ceremony honored the large military student population at GW and highlighted the programs the University offers to veterans.

Here are some takeaways from the event:

1. Keys to success

Emanuel Johnson, the president of the student organization GW Veterans, said the University is leading the way in providing services to military-affiliated veterans.

He said when he heard about the federal government’s new strategies for helping veterans, he knew GW already offered most of the programs. He said he could count on the University when other institutions let him and other veterans down.

“As we all know, our government doesn’t always get things right the first time up,” he said. “But the beauty of being an American is that they don’t always have to because institutions like GW have stepped up to play their part, ensuring the promise this country made to its veterans is kept.”

2. “They serve us twice.”

Provost Steven Lerman said it was crucial for non-military students to meet some of the more than 1,300 military affiliated students on campus because they have unique experiences to share.

“It is important that our classrooms include people who have served in the military, that the students who have not had that experience – undergraduate and graduate students – get an opportunity to interact with people whose life experiences are very different,” he said. “In that sense, they serve us twice.”

Lerman said a veteran’s opportunity to complete his or her education was an important part of the transition from military to civilian life.

“GW has always reached out to veterans to help them achieve a high-quality education, help them with financial benefits and served as a way to transition, for many of them, from military life to civilian life, to prepare them for civilian careers,” he said.

3. GW’s military-affiliated population

Retired Vice Adm. Mel Williams, the University’s associate provost for military and veterans affairs, said the number of veterans in the U.S. will shrink by a third over the next 30 years as older veterans pass away and fewer people decide to enlist.

Still, the number of veterans looking to earn a degree is growing today as members of the military end tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He said the University’s programs, including online courses, GW VALOR and help from the Office of Military and Veteran Student Services, were central to maintaining a strong veteran presence on campus.

“It’s a privilege for an older veteran like me to join the ranks of the 1,500 student veterans here at GW,” Williams said.

4. A military medley

The morning event featured a presentation of the colors by the GW Navy ROTC Color Guard and performances by the GW VALOR Chorus, made up of military affiliated students, faculty and staff.

After Student Association President Nick Gumas, Lerman, Johnson and Williams carried a wreath and placed it in front of the memorial, the chorus sang a medley of the anthems for each branch of the military. Veterans stood and were recognized as the chorus group their branch’s song.

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Greta Simons | Hatchet Photographer

Nigerian activist Bisi Alimi, who made a name for himself fighting for LGBT rights in the country, spoke to a crowd of GW students Monday about how to get involved with global human rights issues. Greta Simons | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Melissa Schapiro.

Nigerian activist Bisi Alimi spoke to a crowd of GW students Monday, telling them to use the their freedom to change the lives of those being persecuted around the world.

Alimi made headlines in 2004 for being the first openly-gay Nigerian to appear on television. After coming out, he continued his work with the LGBT community as well as those affected by AIDS until repeated death threats caused him to flee in 2007. Allied in Pride and the College Democrats co-sponsored the Marvin Center event, which saw about 50 people in attendance.

American politicians are hesitant to deplore human rights conditions in Nigeria because the country provides the U.S. with an abundance of cheap oil, he said. That’s an example of an area where young Americans have the ability to affect change and should take a stand, he added.

Alimi urged students to have conversations with the politicians whom they can access and to ask the tough questions. He insisted that young people need to challenge their leaders and hold them accountable for placing business interests ahead of basic human decency.

“Humane foreign policy should transcend trade, it should transcend arms deals [and] transcend war,” he said.

Alimi added that there is still much to be done for human rights worldwide because of all the politicians who are content to look the other way. He applauded leaders like Hillary Clinton, who are publicly proclaiming their dedication to fight for the rights of everyone, regardless of nationality.

He pointed to Clinton’s speech at the U.N. as a turning point in the discourse about marginalization in Africa, saying it helped the world see that it’s a global issue and not just something to be handled within African nations.

Alimi currently works in London and teaches political science. He remains incredibly passionate about humanitarian efforts in Nigeria, working with organizations such as Naz Project London to raise awareness of the atrocities that are being committed and to help gay Africans who immigrate to England.

He just Monday became an official British citizen, jokingly telling the audience that he received an email stating that he is now “a subject of the queen.”

Kate Bell, community service director of  GW’s College Democrats chapter, was instrumental in bringing Alimi to campus. Bell said the College Democrats were “overwhelmingly excited” to welcome Alimi, and were inspired by his speech to bring more human rights speakers to campus.

“We need to recruit more speakers to come and talk to us and keep that conversation going,” she said.

But she said the College Democrats want to do more than just talk. Aside from increasing the amount of speakers focusing on human rights concerns, she hopes to organize phone banks for students to call their representatives and talk about humanitarian issues.

“We definitely want to continue this momentum. Bisi has given us so much advice and motivation to go out and make tangible change,” Bell said.

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The Georgetown University student who made ricin in his dorm room was sentenced to a year in prison Monday, the Washington Post reported.

Daniel Milzman, 20, pled guilty in September to possessing the deadly chemical without registering it with authorities.

The jail time Milzman has served since his arrest – seven and a half months – will count toward his sentence, and attorneys say he could go to a half-way house by January. He was also ordered to complete a mental health evaluation, serve two years of probation and perform 400 hours of community service, the Post reported.

Milzman had learned about the poison from the TV show “Breaking Bad,” according to court documents.

In March, police were called to McCarthy Hall and found ricin, which can cause organ damage if ingested, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Sadie Ruben.

A year after Ebola broke out in West Africa, why have only two countries been declared free of the disease?

That’s the question anthropologists sought to answer Friday at GW during a forum hosted by the American Anthropological Association.

Eight panelists joined the association’s chair Susan Shepler, an associate professor at American Unviersity, to pinpoint the issues associated with the epidemic and discuss how to address the challenges of eradicating the disease in the region.

Here are three key takeaways from the event:

1. A trust gap

One of the biggest challenges to containing the disease in West Africa has been the backlash health and security workers have faced from communities distrustful of the government.

Young people in Sierra Leone have fought back against officials removing Ebola victims for burial, for example.

“The epidemic is evolving quickly while behavioral responses are evolving quickly,” Doug Henry, an anthropology professor at the University of North Texas said.

Tensions have flared when health officials flanked by security teams try to enter villages but are met with disgruntled and sometimes violent communities, said Daniel Hoffman, an anthropologist at the University of Washington.

Hoffman said officials can avoid clashes with the communities by recognizing the fear and uncertainty that these they are facing.

“One of the things we wanted to recommend is that people recognize that the initial point of contact with communities that are being asked to do things that are difficult and uncomfortable is absolutely decisive,” Hoffman said.

2. Food shortages

But even if health workers and government officials eradicate Ebola, the three countries most impacted by the disease – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – will likely face residual problems, like food shortages.

University of Michigan anthropology professor Michael McGovern said rice harvests will be hard hit because of the challenge for farmers to reach their fields. It now takes about two hours to reach the rice fields, which means birds, rodents and other animals are getting to the rice first.

“In the context of Ebola peaking in these three countries – all rice-growing countries and where rice is the main staple food – what we’re going to be getting is half and quarter harvests,” he said. “This is going to have an effect on people’s nutrition for the entire coming year.”

McGovern said the international community should plan to supply major food support to the region for the next two years.

3. Keeping African culture alive

Another difficulty in preventing the spread of Ebola is tied to traditional burial practices in the region that involve direct contact between the deceased and family members.

Bodies of recently deceased Ebola victims are most infectious, but health and safety officials have struggled to keep communities from stopping their practices to keep from being infected.

Mary Moran, a professor of anthropology and African studies at Colgate University, said communities should safely bury the bodies of the deceased and hold a ceremony to commemorate the victims at a later date.

Communities have worked together to come up with safe burial practices in infected countries.

“Families value being able to see the body, a question of visibility,” Moran said. “The best practices that seem to be emerging are ones in which there are provisions for safe viewing of the body.”

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Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014 11:50 a.m.

Welcome to the Stoner Learning Commons

The University announced part of the second floor renovations to Gelman Library would be renamed the George W. G. Stoner Learning Commons after a longtime staffer and donor to the University. Hatchet file photo.

The George W. G. Stoner Learning Commons were named after a longtime staffer and donor to the University. Hatchet File Photo

The second-floor study area in Gelman Library has been dubbed the George W.G. Stoner Learning Commons to honor a former longtime admissions director.

Stoner, who passed away in 2010 at age 84, was not only GW’s former director of admissions but also a prolific donor who made over 300 contributions to the University, mostly directed toward Gelman Library. He made GW a beneficiary of his estate when he died, giving $1.8 million to GW’s Librarian Discretionary Fund.

The naming comes a year after GW opened the learning commons to students following a $16 million renovation project.

After many alumni had met Stoner as they prepared to start attending classes at GW, Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski said naming such a central location on campus after Stoner was appropriate.

“As the man who signed all of our admissions letters for more than 30 years, that letter and his very signature symbolized the official start of the GW experience for generations of new students,” Konwerski said in a release. “It’s most fitting that a space serving current and future GW students on a daily basis should bear his name.”

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