News and Analysis

A professor in GW Law School will become the vice provost for faculty affairs, according to a University release Thursday.

Christopher Bracey, who joined the law school faculty in 2008, will replace Dianne Martin. Martin announced her retirement in April, after a nearly 33-year career at GW.

Bracey served for four years as the senior associate dean for academic affairs in the law school and brings with him expertise on race relations, individual rights and criminal procedure, according to the release.

“GW has an excellent faculty, and I’m very excited to serve in this role so I can work to ensure the continued excellence of the faculty,” Bracey said in the release.

Martin was lauded for providing faculty a valuable connection to the University’s administrators, and Bracey said in the release that he hopes to continue the “philosophy of shared governance” that Martin helped to establish.

“The most important feature is to make sure the voice of the faculty is heard at critical moments in administrative decision making,” Bracey said. “When you position faculty to succeed, you position students to succeed as well.”

Provost Forrest Maltzman said in the release that Bracey’s experience working in teaching, research and administrative roles has prepared him well for this new position.

“This is a crucial role and Chris’s background and experience will enable him to hit the ground running,” Maltzman said.

Blake Morant, the dean of the law school, said he is “thrilled” that Bracey was selected to serve as vice provost.

“Chris is a bright and skilled administrator with a deep commitment to faculty success,” Morant said. “We are fortunate to have him as part of the leadership team.”

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Peet's Coffee & Tea will open on the ground floor of District House this fall. Hatchet file photo by Katie Causey.

Peet’s Coffee & Tea will open on the ground floor of District House this fall. Hatchet file photo by Katie Causey.

Updated: Aug. 24, 2016 at 12:09 p.m.

Skip the line at Gelbucks – Peet’s Coffee & Tea will be opening in District House this fall.

The San Francisco-area brand will be located on the new residence hall’s ground level, according to a University website. Peet’s will be the only District House food vendor on the ground level, and the building’s other vendors will be on the basement level in the student dining area.

A Coffee Bar & Cafe, operated by GW’s dining partner Restaurant Associates, is also opening in Ames Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus on Aug. 24.

A grab-n-go convenience store will also open on the ground floor of the Marvin Center in mid-September, featuring items like Starbucks to Go coffee, according to the website. Renovations for the former J Street location are underway, and an announcement on the future of the space is expected this semester.

Pita Pit in Shenkman Hall has closed, as well as GDub Java in Duques Hall. Both locations are set to be replaced with new vendors that will be named this semester, according to the website.

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Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier will be replaced by assistant chief Peter Newsham on an interim basis. Katie Causey | Hatchet file photo

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier will be replaced by Assistant Chief Peter Newsham on an interim basis. Hatchet file photo

The Metropolitan Police Department’s assistant chief will lead the department on an interim basis after Cathy Lanier, the current chief, leaves next month.

Peter Newsham, the department’s assistant chief, will take over for Lanier Sept. 17, NBC Washington reported Tuesday.

Newsham has been MPD’s assistant chief and was head of the Office of Professional Responsibility, the Investigative Services Bureau and MPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, according to an MPD website.

He was hired to the department in 1989 and served as commander of MPD’s second district, which includes GW’s Foggy Bottom campus.

Newsham holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of the Holy Cross and a law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Lanier announced last Tuesday that she will leave MPD after 26 years to serve as the NFL’s head of security.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a press conference Tuesday that the internal and external search for a permanent chief has already begun, according to the Washington Times.


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Friday, Aug. 19, 2016 11:56 a.m.

GW names first director of retention

GW’s first director of retention joined the University this month, officials confirmed Friday.

Oliver Street started at GW on Aug. 8 after serving as associate university registrar for academic services at West Virginia University. He will lead GW’s retention efforts, nearly a year after University President Steven Knapp said the University would prioritize ways to keep students at GW. Provost Forrest Maltzman first announced the new role in May.

Laurie Koehler, the vice provost for enrollment management and retention, said Street joins previous hires focused on keeping students enrolled, including a retention officer and a retention coordinator.

“His role will be to collaborate with partners across campus to develop a strategic approach to strengthen retention and graduation rates for undergraduate students while leading a team of dedicated enrollment retention professionals in advancing these efforts,” Koehler said in an email.

The hire comes after GW’s enrollment division was expanded earlier this year to include a focus on retention efforts. Koehler said in an email that the goal of the retention office is “bringing academic and administrative units, as well as administrators, faculty, staff, and students together to ensure that those who matriculate succeed.”

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GW has selected a national firm to assist in the search for the University’s next president, according to a release.

Members of national executive search firm Isaacson, Miller will help facilitate the university’s search for its 17th president. Isaacson, Miller will identify a “qualified and diverse pool of candidates” and advise the search committee throughout the recruitment process, the release stated.

“Isaacson, Miller has an extensive record of recruiting exceptional leaders,” Madeline Jacobs, the chair of the presidential search committee, said in the release. “The committee looks forward to their expertise throughout the search process.”

Isaacson, Miller is the largest higher education executive search practice in the country. The firm has led searches for presidents, chancellors and deans at many top universities and colleges, including Bowdoin College and Vanderbilt University, according to its website.

University President Steven Knapp, who came to GW in 2007, will leave at the end of July 2017, after deciding not to renew his second five-year contract. The Board of Trustees announced the launch of the presidential search process in June with a 19-member search committee.

Forums will be held in the fall for members of the GW community to give feedback to the presidential search committee and Board of Trustees, according to the release. The new president is expected to be announced this upcoming spring.

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Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016 6:09 p.m.

GW joins Virginia “smart city” project

GW has joined a planned $500 million “smart city” project in Ashburn, Va. to help build the “backbone” for the high-tech city, according to the Washington Business Journal.

GW has partnered with 22 Capital Partners, the private equity firm behind the project, as well as the Center for Innovative Technology, Microsoft and Crescent Ridge Capital Partners LLC to create the 2.5 million-square-foot Gramercy District, “an ‘ecosystem’ of smart city technology,” the Journal reported Monday.

A smart city is a city which combines technology into every aspect of its framework, layout, structures and day-to-day functions, from buildings to parking lots to retail options, according to a Washington Business Journal article from earlier this year.

The partners, as part of a new entity, 22 CityLink, are hoping to develop a “Smart City In-A-Box” platform that can be carried through to more smart cities in the future, linking real estate development with an intelligent technological framework, according to the Journal.

Gramercy District will be the first Smart City In-A-Box, a plan for a smart city designed to be portable and replicated in future smart cities.

“We believe that modern technology is going to be a major force in urbanization projects and can improve the overall quality of life for the citizen,” Minh Le, 22 Capital Partners’ managing partner, told the Washington Business Journal.

Gramercy District will be Metro-accessible (once the Ashburn station is completed) and will be built over the course of at least two phases. It is expected to include more than 900 residential units, about 34,000 square feet of retail space, an 85,000-square-foot hotel, a 350,000-square-foot office building, a high-tech business center and two parking garages, according to the Journalds.

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Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier announced she will resign from her position in MPD Tuesday to take a job leading security for the National Football League. Katie Causey | Hatchet file photo

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier announced she will resign from her position in MPD Tuesday to take a job leading security for the National Football League. Katie Causey | Hatchet file photo

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier announced Tuesday that she will resign from her position next month to head security for the National Football League.

Lanier, who has been MPD’s chief for 10 years and on the force for 26 years, said she decided to take the job for the unique opportunity it provided for her, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Lanier’s time as MPD chief is longer than usual for chiefs, who usually stay for three or four years. D.C.’s first female police chief said she turned down offers to head other police city departments because “I owe my life to this city and to MPD.”

“This is the nation’s capital,” Lanier told The Washington Post. “What’s more important than being responsible for public safety and security than the nation’s capital? Where do you go from here right? When I thought about the NFL, it’s America’s favorite sport and what’s more important than making sure America’s favorite sport is safe?”

Mayor Muriel Bowser said she will appoint an interim chief in the next few days and then start the search for the new permanent chief, according to The Post.

“She’s built a fantastic force, professionalized the force, built a force that the community trusts which is going to be a lasting legacy,” Bowser told The Post.

Lanier earned two degrees from Johns Hopkins University and a masters from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Lanier headed the department amid the city’s homicide spike last year, with the homicide rate increasing by 54 percent in 2015, according to MPD crime data. The department also created a Robbery Intervention Task force in January to combat an increase in robberies in the city.

City officials also responded to the crime spike by confiscating illegal guns from the streets. The city recovered more than 1,600 guns in 2015, according to MPD data.

Lanier also headed MPD during communication mishaps with the University Police Department. In 2013, both MPD and UPD mishandled a pair of gun threats on campus: MPD officers waited hours to inform UPD about an armed robbery on campus, and UPD waited 15 minutes to inform MPD about a reported gun threat in South Hall, which turned out to be unfounded.

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Researchers at GW are partnering with four other groups to develop new solar cells with plans to create the world’s most efficient solar panel, according to a University release.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, a government agency within the U.S. Department of Energy that funds research and development for advanced energy technologies, awarded the $900,000 grant to GW. Research scientist Matthew Lumb in the School of Engineering and Applied Science will lead the research to produce a new concept in solar panel design.

“This is an exciting opportunity for GW to partner with a leading innovator in solar energy,” Lumb said in the release.

GW researchers will partner with Semprius, a startup in North Carolina, the Naval Research Laboratory, tool supplier Veeco and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for a total budget of $3.6 million, according to the release.

Lumb said in the release that the most common types of solar panels, the grid-like rectangles on the roofs of houses, use flat-plate photovoltaics technology to convert sunlight into energy.

Semprius, one of the research partners, created a different option that uses more sophisticated materials to increase efficiency. The company created concentrator photovoltaic panels that use micro-scale solar cells, which is both more cost effective and more efficient.

Lumb said in the release that he’s teaming up with Semprius to develop a design that is both cost effective and can be used across different locations.

Lumb and Semprius have been working on a six-junction solar cell that will improve energy conversion efficiency. He said in the release that these cells are made from high-quality crystals that interact with light and split the solar spectrum six ways to generate electrons that power solar panels.

The current record for efficiency in a concentrator cell, measured under direct sunlight, is 46 percent. Lumb’s team is aiming for 50 percent efficiency with their concentrator cells.

Lumb said in the release that his research will extend the reach of solar energy technology to previously uneconomical locations and set a new precedent in solar panel performance.

This research project is one of 11 solar technology innovations that ARPA-E is funding through a $24 million program called MOSAIC.

“The MOSAIC program places an emphasis on solutions that combine cutting-edge scientific research, pushing the boundaries of what is possible, but which maintain a clear path to low-cost, manufacturable processes and designs,” Lumb said in the release. “These factors create the potential for a disruptive impact on commercial photovoltaics of the future.”

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GW announced the sale of the former graduate residence hall, the Hall on Virginia Avenue, Friday. Hatchet File Photo

GW announced the sale of the former graduate residence hall, the Hall on Virginia Avenue, Friday. Hatchet File Photo

GW has sold the Hall on Virginia Avenue for $36 million, the University announced Friday.

The building was sold to Urban Investment Partners and JP Morgan, two organizations specializing in property management and financial services. Officials announced that they would consider selling the former graduate residence hall in November, abandoning plans for a $35 million facelift to the building as a concession to the students who would stay there. Officials selected CBRE Group, Inc. as a broker to find potential buyers for the building in January.

The former residence hall will be turned into residential apartments, according to a release.

Senior Associate Vice President for Operations Alicia Knight said in a statement that the money will go toward GW’s academic and research missions.

“The university regularly reviews its real estate portfolio with the goal of maximizing its assets and brings an opportunity to the real estate market if there is a potential demand and the property is no longer strategically positioned for long-term ownership by the university,” she said in the release.

The building was one of GW’s two graduate residence halls until it closed for renovations in May 2014. The renovated building was to feature common rooms and up to half of it could have been reserved as housing for faculty.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporters Madelyne Ashworth and Avery Anapol.

Sigma Phi Epsilon’s national organization voted to close its GW chapter last month, according to the Center for Student Engagement’s list of disciplinary sanctions on student organizations for violating GW’s code of conduct.

Christopher Bunker, the former president of GW’s Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter, said in an email that the chapter has “no comments regarding what happened.”

Staff members at Sigma Phi Epsilon’s national headquarters did not return requests for comment.

The Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter removed multiple members last October after leaders said some members were not upholding the fraternity’s values.

The chapter was placed on disciplinary probation through the end of 2017 because members interfered with University events, were dishonest and had disorderly conduct, according to an entry in the disciplinary sanctions document from July 2015.

The fraternity was also placed on social probation in 2014 and 2015 for hosting unregistered mixers with sororities, according to the sanctions list. Sigma Phi Epsilon lost its on-campus house in 2011.

Two fraternities were shut down on campus between 2014 and 2015, and Delta Gamma’s national organization closed its GW chapter last fall.

Sigma Phi Epsilon is no longer listed on GW’s Interfraternity Council website and has been removed from OrgSync.

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