News and Analysis

Updated: Oct. 15, 2014 at 4:40 p.m

The student recovering from a nine-story fall from Shenkman Hall isn’t suffering from brain trauma and has no internal organ damage, her family told The Hatchet.

Junior Emily Thompson can feel her limbs and “wiggle her toes” even after a fall that broke both her feet, both femurs, her knee cap, right arm and cracked her spine, her older brother Sean Thompson said.

She had jumped from a ninth-floor window of the residence hall last Thursday in an attempted suicide, her brother said.

Her brother said his sister has had a history of depression and that he hopes her story inspires students to “help others that need the help and get help themselves.”

“I want people to be helped by this and not scared or hurt or worried. I want whatever good that can come from it to come from it,” Sean Thompson said. “Talk to your roommates and talk to your friends. Call home and talk to your mom even. Use this as a reminder that everyone has everyone’s back.”

Emily Thompson has now undergone three surgeries at GW Hospital, and is set to have another at the end of the week, her brother said.

He launched a gofundme campaign Tuesday with a $10,000 goal to help cover the costs of medical care, rehabilitation and therapy. In 22 hours, the page drew more than $5,800 in donations.

“The big thing is she survived. The cash part is so secondary to that,” Sean Thompson said.

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Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 1:54 p.m.

Building bridges from diasporas to homelands

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Regina Park.

Diaspora organizations met Tuesday at the Elliott School of International Affairs to discuss the challenges and positive developments for people who live outside their homeland at the Global Diaspora Media Forum

The International Diaspora Engagement Alliance, a non-profit organization that helps diaspora communities give back to their homelands, sponsored the day-long forum in partnership with GW’s Center for International Business Education and Research and AudioNow, a “call-to-listen” platform.

The forum focused on the disconnect between diaspora communities and their homeland and bridging that disconnect.

Here are the top three takeaways from the event:

1. Leveraging the media

First Secretary and Consul Elmer Cato of the Philippine Embassy diaspora is a challenge by the very nature that people can be dispersed around the globe and there isn’t a central physical area to target those populations.

But that gap can be closed through media outlets and technologies to connect members of a diaspora, said Anne Bennett, the executive director of Hirondelle USA, a group that tries to facilitate peaceful democratization.

“There is an enormous potential for greater partners and investment in independent broadcasting.” Bennett said.

2. Investing at home

Some government programs help members of a country’s diaspora more effectively help their original communities.

The Mexican government’s 3×1 program, for example, match funds raised independently to help expatriates invest in their home communities, Deputy Press Secretary at the Mexican Embassy Vanessa Calva said.

“Help from the government really brings the community together and organizes them,” Calva said.

3. Progress in the future

Diasporas have existed for centuries, but new technologies and organizations are transforming the way diasporas stay connected to their homeland.

Part of that innovation lies in startups, from new, targeted media outlets to programs that connect people across a diaspora, Bennett said.

“These are vibrants startups that have huge followings.” Bennett said. “We really are just at the beginning of that.”

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Dave Lawlor, chair of the Innovation Task Force, will begin a new position at UC Davis in November. Hatchet File Photo.

Dave Lawlor, the chair of the Innovation Task Force, will take a new position at UC Davis in November. Hatchet File Photo.

One of the University’s top finance officials is leaving Foggy Bottom for a position on the West Coast.

Dave Lawlor, the senior associate vice president for finance, will serve as chief financial officer and vice chancellor of finance and resource management at the University of California, Davis, the institution’s chancellor Linda Katehi announced Tuesday. He will begin his new position Nov. 3.

“I feel very fortunate to move from one world-class institution to another,” Lawlor said in a UC Davis press release. “The financial challenges, opportunities for growth in research and fundraising, globalization factors, and new modes of instruction present similar business decision points.”

Lawlor leaves GW after seven years, during which he also served as chair of the Innovation Task Force, University President Steven Knapp’s signature program to cut costs and create revenue-generating initiatives. Knapp asked the group to find $60 million in savings annually, a goal the ITF has faced setbacks in reaching.

Knapp praised the departing administrator in the UC Davis release, saying “his dedication and his collaborative style enabled the ITF to identify savings and new revenue sources that are having a transformational impact on our university.”

Before coming to GW, Lawlor was chief financial and chief operating officer at PCTEL Maryland, Inc. and also served as vice president of strategy and business development at the Chicago branch of PCTEL, Inc.

With Lawlor’s departure, the University will have to fill the vacancies of three senior administrator who chose to step down this month.

Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Michael Brown will step down at the end of the academic year, and Mike Morsberger, vice president for development and alumni relations, announced last week he will leave at the end of the month.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Lawlor was the third senior administrator to announce his departure from the University this month, following Dean Michael Brown and Mike Morsberger. Though he is stepping down from his position as dean, Brown will continue to work at GW as a professor. We regret this error.

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Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta spoke in the Jack Morton Auditorium Tuesday afternoon to discuss his recently published memoir and thoughts on national security challenges. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta spoke in the Jack Morton Auditorium on Tuesday about his recently published memoir and national security challenges. Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Pim Anukularmphai.

Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta reflected on his time in President Barack Obama’s cabinet Tuesday at the Jack Morton Auditorium, joining a lineup of former department heads to speak on campus this year.

Leon Panetta, also a former director of the CIA, came to GW to talk about his memoir, “Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace,” which was published last week. This past summer, former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton visited campus to discuss their respective memoirs.

School of Media and Public Affairs Director Frank Sesno moderated the conversation Tuesday, which also focused on national security and foreign policy and was part of an SMPA series.

1. Criticism of Congress, Obama

Panetta, who served as secretary of defense from 2011 to 2013, said Congress “discouraged” the president’s ability to make change.

He also said Obama’s key weakness was his reluctance to offend members of both the Republican and Democratic parties.

“[Obama] is fully capable of getting in the ring and challenging the process,” he said.

Panetta argued that in a democracy, an effective president either accomplishes tasks through leadership or crisis.

2. Russia as threat to U.S. interests

Panetta called Russia’s intervention in Ukraine “a warm-up act.” He said President Vladimir Putin is interested in reasserting authority over the former Soviet Union, and that Russia will attempt to gain influence over its former republics.

He recommended that the United States work closely with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to enforce economic sanctions against Russia.

3. The fight against extremism, terrorism

When the conversation turned to the Middle East, Panetta said putting “boots on the ground” in neighboring countries would prevent the Islamic State from expanding.

He also said maintaining a military presence in Middle Eastern countries would prevent the Taliban from reversing democratization efforts.

Panetta said having troops in Afghanistan was “not a wasted effort,” claiming it taught Afghani citizens how to recognize illegitimate leaders.

“We’ve given them the right start, we’ve given them a chance,” he said.

The Progressive Student Union, led by Cavan Kharrazian, a student at GWU, and CODEPINK held a protest outside the SMPA building against Leon Panetta and the U.S.' use of drones in warfare. Lydia Francis | Hatchet Photographer

Cavan Kharrazian, a member of the Progressive Student Union, other members of the organization and CODEPINK held a protest outside the SMPA building against Leon Panetta and the use of drones in war. Lydia Francis | Hatchet Photographer

4. Students protest

Outside of the auditorium, members of the Progressive Student Union demonstrated against the event, accusing Panetta of violating the Geneva Conventions by authorizing drone attacks and causing the deaths of American citizens.

“GW students will not stand for our University supporting and publicizing a war criminal,” said PSU member Cavan Kharrazian.

While Panetta was speaking about his opposition to budget sequesters in Jack Morton, an attendee stood up and began yelling that “we need that money for education.” She was then escorted from the auditorium.

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Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 5:57 p.m.

D.C. tops list of most expensive cities

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Christina Carpenter.

Turns out it’s more expensive to live in D.C. than in New York, according to a government study.

D.C. is the most expensive U.S. city to live in, according to a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tallied Americans’ average expenditures on housing, utilities, furniture and housekeeping costs in various U.S. cities.

After the District, San Francisco came in a close second, and New York City claimed the No. 3 spot.

The average Washingtonian spends $28,416 on housing costs, while the average American spends $16,887 on housing annually, according to the report.

The report looked at costs from 2012, but a report released in August showed that housing costs have grown less rapidly in D.C. than in other cities since 2013.

And the high cost of living in D.C. could be tied to the city’s allure for young professionals.

A study by the Urban Institute released last week concluded that residents between 18 and 34 are driving up demand and kicking up the cost of real estate in D.C.

The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Foggy Bottom is the most expensive in the city at $2,662, according to an list.

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Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014 6:44 p.m.

Knapp: Afraid of Ebola? Get a flu shot

University President Steven Knapp offered up his plan on Friday to quell fears of an Ebola outbreak: get a flu shot.

Knapp said the University is taking the opportunity to encourage students and faculty to get a flu vaccine since the symptoms of the seasonal illness are similar to those of Ebola. His remarks came after doctors at GW Hospital evaluated a patient for Ebola last week and determined he had the flu, according to a statement from the hospital.

“The symptoms of Ebola and the flu are initially indistinguishable,” Knapp told members of the Faculty Senate. “Obviously the outcomes are quite a bit worse.”

Knapp added that the University and GW Hospital are “developing all the necessary protocols” after a man in Texas died of Ebola and a patient at Howard University Hospital last week showed Ebola symptoms, but ultimately tested negative.

GW Hospital spokeswoman Wendy Adkins did not return multiple requests for comment about the hospital’s preparations to respond to Ebola.

More than 4,000 people have died in the latest outbreak of the virus in West Africa, the World Health Organization announced today.

But Knapp said chances of the disease spreading are rare, and slammed media coverage of the potential for outbreak.

“It’s a mixed bag when CNN does this. They want to reassure and terrify you – it’s how they keep the ratings going,” Knapp said.

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Police respond to a report of an unattended package near Thurston Hall on Friday. Garrett Mils | Hatchet Photographer

Police respond to a report of an unattended package near Thurston Hall on Friday. Garrett Mills | Hatchet Photographer

Emergency officials responded to a report of an unattended package in the 1800 block of F Street on Friday, shutting down the surrounding streets for about an hour and a half.

D.C. fire officials, the Hazmat team, Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police Department responded to the scene, which was cleared at about 12:50 p.m., said Nicole Mainor, a spokeswoman for the Secret Service.

F Street from 18th to 20th streets and 19th Street from G to E streets were closed during the incident, which included the street in front of Thurston Hall.

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Police had responded to a call of a suicide Thursday at Shenkman Hall. GW later released a statement that a student was injured in a fall from a ninth-floor window. Samuel Klein | Photo Editor

Police had responded to a call of a suicide Thursday at Shenkman Hall. GW later released a statement that a student was injured in a fall from a ninth-floor window. Samuel Klein | Photo Editor

Updated: Oct. 10, 2014 at 7:20 p.m.

This post was written by Hatchet news editors Colleen Murphy and Eva Palmer.

The female junior who fell from a ninth-floor window of Shenkman Hall on Thursday is recovering from her injuries.

University spokeswoman Candace Smith said Friday morning that she could not give more information about the student’s condition. She declined to provide the student’s name.

The student was found unconscious and suffering from abrasions, apparent broken bones, possible internal injury, swelling and “other major injury,” according to a police report. She was brought to GW Hospital.

University President Steven Knapp said at a Faculty Senate meeting Friday that the student was “severely injured” by the fall.

“The student is hospitalized and recovering from those injuries, which nevertheless are serious,” Knapp said. “Obviously we are doing everything we can to support the student and her family.”

The University has “no indication that the incident was the result of a criminal act,” according to a statement released Thursday.

The Metropolitan Police Department had responded to a call of a suicide Thursday at the residence hall at 616 23rd St. City officers were on the scene investigating the incident with assistance from GW police.

Police received the call at about 4 p.m. and shut down 23rd Street between F and G streets for about two hours.

Members of the community can contact the University Counseling Center at 202-994-5300.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Zunara Naeem.

World economic leaders weighed in on recovery prospects for the global economy Thursday at a CNN-moderated debate in Lisner Auditorium.

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, joined panelists from the U.S. Federal Reserve, Bank of Mexico, Bank of Negara Malaysia and Eurogroup in the debate, which was moderated by CNN’s Richard Quest. The event was part of the nearly week-long summit co-hosted by the IMF and the World Bank this week, and many talks took place on GW’s campus.

Quest said a new IMF report had an “uncheerful” outlook for countries recovering from the recession.

Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:

1. Positive signs for recovery

Steve Fischer, vice chair of the Federal Reserve, said the global economy is in a state of “fragility,” but he said there was some optimism as the U.S. and Europe have seen improvements.

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent in September, the lowest rate since 2008, Fischer said.

Jereon Dijsselbloem, the Netherlands’ minister of finance and Eurogroup president, said many European countries are also experiencing economic growth – and can continue to improve with the right guidance.

“We don’t need to be too gloomy if we know what to do,” Dijsselbloem said. “A number of measures have yet to take effect. We need to continue the consolidation path in a growth-friendly manner.”

2. Growing and emerging markets

The topic of growth dominated the debate. Zeti Akhtar Aziz, governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, said stronger systems in developing countries would help their economies expand.

Emerging markets would be “better able to handle volatility due to the development of stronger financial systems,” Aziz said.

Agustin Carstens, governor of the Bank of Mexico, said nations also need structural reforms and the ability to generate their own economic activity.

“If the U.S. is experiencing growth at a certain rate, other smaller economies will be growing at smaller rates. We need to find new ways to engineer growth internally,” he said.

3. Calling for reform

Quest asked the panelists whether policies currently in place are enough to help struggling economies. Lagarde argued that political leaders needed to be more involved in constructing and maintaining economic reforms.

She said all world leaders should aim to grow the global economy by 2 percent over the next two years. But she added that all reforms cannot be applied to all countries in the same way.

“We see more and more that despite being interconnected, these solutions are not one-size-fit-all. You have to be really detailed,” Lagarde said.

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The Metropolitan Police Department had responded to a call for a suicide at Shenkman Hall. GW later released a statement that a junior had been injured in a fall from a window. Samuel Klein | Photo Editor

The Metropolitan Police Department had responded to a call for a suicide at Shenkman Hall. GW later released a statement that a junior had been injured in a fall from a window. Samuel Klein | Photo Editor

Updated: Oct. 9, 2014 at 6:24 p.m.

A female junior was injured in a fall from a ninth-floor window of Shenkman Hall on Thursday, according to a statement from GW.

She was taken to a local hospital and is receiving treatment for her injuries.

“At this time, we have no indication that the incident was the result of a criminal act,” the statement read.

The Metropolitan Police Department had responded to a call for a suicide at the residence hall at 616 23rd St., public information officer Paul Metcalf said.

Metcalf said police received the call at about 3:57 p.m.

About 10 police cars were on the scene, and police shut down 23rd Street between F and G streets. The street reopened at about 6 p.m.

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