Newsroom

News and Analysis

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.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

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.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

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.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

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.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Michael Morsberger will step down at the end of this month. Hatchet File Photo.

Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Michael Morsberger will step down at the end of this month. Hatchet File Photo.

Updated: Oct. 9, 2014 at 9:48 a.m.

This post was written by Hatchet news editors Mary Ellen McIntire and Colleen Murphy.

GW’s fundraising chief will step down from his post at the end of this month, the University announced Wednesday.

Michael Morsberger, the vice president for development and alumni relations, has served as the leading force behind the University’s massive fundraising campaign, which aims to raise $1 billion and launched publicly about three months ago. His sudden resignation, which he said was for personal reasons, means GW will lose the face of the largest fundraising drive in its history.

“I am so grateful to so many who have made my family and me part of the GW community. In Development and Alumni Relations, we have taken George Washington’s credo, ‘deeds not words,’ as our own,” Morsberger said in a release.

Morsberger helped bring in GW’s largest-ever gift last spring, an $80 million donation that renamed the Milken Institute School of Public Health. Since he came to the University in 2010, he’s expanded GW’s fundraising operation to a team that officials trusted to raise a 10-figure haul.

He brought in 26 gifts of $1 million or more last year, five more than the previous year. GW’s donor base last year increased 15 percent, the largest number of donors to give to the University ever.

Aristide Collins, vice president and secretary, will take over direction of the campaign while a national search for Morsberger’s replacement begins.

Michael Nilsen, vice president for public affairs at the Association for Fundraising Professionals, said while Morsberger’s departure “may take some getting used to,” it is not uncommon for a school to lose their chief fundraiser during a campaign.

Nilsen said the University will have to maintain Morsberger’s connections with donors, which helped him bring in $530 million in gifts during the three years leading up to the campaign’s launch.

“GW will probably miss relationships he’s built, but they have other people. The connection first and foremost is with the organization and the cause,” Nilsen said. “Why you wanted to give still remains, even if the particular person you had a close relationship with is gone.”

In a letter to University leaders, University President Steven Knapp said Morsberger helped lead a team of 230 staff and “reorganized our development operation in preparation for an unprecedented philanthropic endeavor.”

“Working closely with me and the entire administration and faculty, as well as trustees and hundreds of other volunteer leaders, Mike and his team synthesized the University’s strategic plan, marketing initiative and fundraising efforts into a unified vision,” Knapp wrote.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

An alumnus who spent seven and a half years in captivity during the Vietnam War died of complications from Parkinson’s disease last week. He was 83 years old.

James F. Bell had received a master’s degree in administration from GW, the Washington Post reported.

Bell graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1954. While flying a reconnaissance mission in 1965, the Navy captain and pilot was shot down by antiaircraft fire. He was later released and brought back to the U.S. in 1973.

At one time during his imprisonment, Bell was in the same group of soldiers as John McCain, now a Republican senator for Arizona.

Bell received the Purple Heart, two Silver Stars, the Bronze Star with Combat V and two Legions of Merit.

After Bell retired from the Navy, he became an engineering consultant, and spent the last 40 years living in Alexandria, Va.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Michael Brown announced last week that he would leave his position this spring. Hatchet File Photo.

Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Michael Brown announced last week that he would leave his position by the end of the academic year. Hatchet File Photo.

The Elliott School of International Affairs is immediately launching a search for a new leader to replace Dean Michael Brown, University President Steven Knapp said Tuesday.

The search will be GW’s fifth in the last three years, and the second GW will conduct this fall. A committee of Elliott School professors, administrators and students will interview candidates before likely inviting a group of finalists to campus this spring.

Brown, who announced he would step down after a decade at the school’s helm last week, was the last holdover dean from former University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg’s 19-year tenure.

The School of Nursing will continue to search for a replacement for Dean Jean Johnson this fall. Johnson plans to remain in her role as dean until December, Knapp said at a Faculty Assembly meeting Tuesday.

In June 2013, Johnson announced she would step down by the end of the 2014 academic year, but agreed to stay on until a replacement was chosen. The University pushed off the search after the GW School of Business unexpectedly had to find a replacement for former dean Doug Guthrie, who was fired last fall.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
At the Faculty Assembly on Tuesday, Provost Steven Lerman told professors that GW hoped to restore about $20 million in expenditures that it was forced to cut this year. Daniel Rich | Hatchet Photographer

At the Faculty Assembly on Tuesday, Provost Steven Lerman told professors that GW hoped to restore about $20 million in expenditures that it was forced to cut this year. Daniel Rich | Hatchet Photographer

The University was forced to make up about $20 million in its budget this year, after a decline in graduate enrollment and overspending put GW below its projections last fiscal year.

Provost Steven Lerman told faculty members at the Faculty Assembly on Tuesday that academic and administrative departments had been forced to cut costs this year after the University had to dip into its reserve funds at the end of the last fiscal year.

GW fell about $10.9 million short of its expected net revenue last year, since enrollment in graduate programs fell across most schools. GW’s total expenses last fiscal year were also about $10.6 million more than planned, Lerman said.

“It is very clear that the issues in the downturn of our graduate revenues has affected us in ways we’d rather not have happened, and the key here is to restore graduate enrollment. Each of the deans is looking at all their programs, and we continue to work with them,” Lerman said.

To make up for its losses, Lerman said GW reduced its number of vice provosts by one, cut costs in schools and brought in about $1 million through a program that brought about 400 Brazilian students to GW this past summer.

The decline in graduate enrollment meant the University spent less on financial aid for graduate students, Lerman said. He also said that GW cut about $6 million in areas that report to University President Steven Knapp and Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz.

Lerman said the University would make up for its losses this year, and that he hopes to restore some of the areas where GW has reduced costs.

“Looking at the 2015 numbers, we are meeting the numbers we need to meet. Our undergraduate enrollment is actually a little higher than forecast. Our graduate enrollment is on target, although that may vary by school. In the aggregate, that is a true statement,” he said.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Victoria Sheridan.

Three days of traveling with the College Democrats on their canvassing trip to Kentucky couldn’t all fit in one story. Here are some behind-the-scenes moments from the weekend.

1. Sleeping on the ground wasn’t what kept them up at night

While the canvassers knew they would be lodging in a gymnasium, they didn’t anticipate that some lights would not go off in the facility, even when “lights-out” time arrived.

On Friday night, some students’ had an even harder time falling asleep when they heard sounds outside that they thought were either gunshots or fireworks.

But College Democrats Vice President Amelia Williams said it didn’t hurt their enthusiasm during the trip.

“One would think that after riding on a bus for 11 hours and then sleeping on a hard floor in a fully lit room, people wouldn’t be so cheerful and excited to do this,” she said.

2. A group outing turned into a surprise “birthday party” for one College Democrat

During a group dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack, the students decided to help a fellow canvasser, who is a junior, pretend to celebrate his “16th birthday.”

Other patrons looked on at the large group, joined by the waiters, as they cheered for their friend who danced and hula-hooped while others sang “Happy Birthday.”

3. One canvasser’s conversation with a voter almost had a chance to go viral

Several residents of the Louisville neighborhoods had posted “no soliciting signs” outside their homes, but one homeowner didn’t realize that College Democrats member Greg Gaffney-Bills was there to discuss politics.

The resident tried to film Gaffney-Bills violating the rule, and he and his girlfriend secretly taped their conversation with Gaffney-Bills. Only when Gaffney-Bills was about to leave did they tell him what they had originally planned.

Had they not been Democrats themselves, they said they would have shared the video on Youtube, hoping to embarrass the sophomore.

4. Wardrobe malfunctions

Many students filled their bags for the trip with t-shirts depicting President Barack Obama and their GW College Democrats shirts with Obama’s name emblazoned on the back.

But it wasn’t until they got to Kentucky that canvassers remembered to be careful not to connect Democratic candidates there with Obama. Alison Grimes, who is running against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, wanted to differentiate herself from the president and the administration’s policies that don’t resonate with Kentucky residents, like Obama’s policies toward coal mining.

Luckily for them, the weather was so cold they had to cover up anyway, and their t-shirts were hidden under jackets and sweatshirts.

Sophomores Christine Farzan and Lauren Hoffman campaign in Kentucky with the GW College Democrats last weekend. Hatchet File Photo by Victoria Sheridan | Hatchet Photographer

Sophomores Christine Farzan and Lauren Hoffman campaign in Kentucky with the GW College Democrats last weekend. Hatchet File Photo by Victoria Sheridan | Hatchet Photographer

5. Religious canvassers?

Some student canvassers struggled to keep residents from shutting the doors in their faces in particular in one neighborhood. A Jehovah’s Witness center was nearby, and a few students said neighbors probably mistook them as preachers.

“It made me feel like a Jehovah’s Witness,” freshman Sean McCormack said.

6. “The West Wing” wasn’t the only way they passed time on the bus

Students spent about 20 hours of the three-day trip on a coach bus without Wi-Fi or electric outlets, so the students made sure they had enough movies and TV shows on DVD to pass the time. They watched hours of “The West Wing,” and also picked films like “Mean Girls,” “Harry Potter” and “The 40-Year-Old-Virgin.”

While watching “The Mrs. Carter World Tour,” some students even sang along, danced and cheered as if they were audience members at a Beyoncé show.

7. An acoustic guitar jam session

One student decided to surprise the others by breaking out his guitar and serenading them one night.

A group of students gathered around as he played chords and asked them to sing along to popular holiday songs like “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.” When one student requested Sinatra, he played songs like “My Way” and “New York, New York.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Monday, Oct. 6, 2014 5:24 p.m.

GW Museum to open in March

Updated: Oct. 7, 2014 at 1:28 p.m.

This post was written by assistant news editor Jacqueline Thomsen.

The GW Museum will open to the public March 21, after construction was completed this summer. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Photographer

The GW Museum will open to the public March 21, after construction was completed this summer. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Photographer

The GW Museum and Textile Museum will officially open to the public this spring.

The museum complex will open March 21, almost four years after the University first announced the projects. Construction was completed on the 46,000-square-foot building on the corner of 21st and G streets this summer.

“We look forward to celebrating the results of these efforts with the University community and many others when the museum opens this March,” museum director John Wetenhall said in a release. “The opening shows should be spectacular.”

The GW Museum will feature artifacts from the Textile Museum and exhibits from donor Albert Small’s Washingtoniana collection. Two of the three opening exhibits will feature items from the Washingtoniana collection, and the third will be the Textile Museum’s largest to date.

The conservation and collections resource center on the Virginia Science and Technology Campus will hold remaining museum pieces.

GW expanded the original budget and size of the facility 50 percent last May to house additional collections and exhibits. Most of the donations for the museum came from Small’s collection and the Textile Museum.

The GW Museum opened in June for a preview with 400 guests, but none of the textiles, artifacts or other exhibits had been moved into the building.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that GW decided to expand the facility’s size and budget in May. It actually did so in May 2013. We regret this error.

  • Permalink
  • Comments