News and Analysis

Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015 11:43 a.m.

Classes canceled after snow coats D.C.

Hatchet File Photo by Charlie Lee | Hatchet Photographer

File Photo by Charlie Lee | Hatchet Photographer

The University has canceled classes and closed its offices Tuesday, according to a campus alert released at 4:37 a.m.

D.C.’s winter storm warning ended a little past 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, after the city received about 3.6 inches of snow, Capital Weather Gang reported.

Package services and the Colonial Health Center will both be closed Tuesday, according to a campus advisory. Gelman and Eckles libraries opened at 10 a.m., and the Marvin Center and the Lerner Health and Wellness Center are operating on normal schedules.

The Vern Express will run every 30 minutes until further notice. The shuttle from Foggy Bottom to the Virginia Science and Technology Campus is not running.

J Street opened at 7:30 a.m. with “limited service” for meals. Pelham Commons on the Mount Vernon Campus opened at 9 a.m.

The IT Support Center is only available for remote assistance.

Ryan Lasker contributed reporting.

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Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015 11:41 a.m.

Snow day watch: What’s open near campus

The University received a chilly rating from Money magazine for its graduates' return on investment. Hatchet File Photo.

Hatchet File Photo.

Updated: Feb. 17, 2015 at 3:40 p.m.

It’s cold. You’re hungry. Or maybe you already ran out of booze.

Our team of reporters found out what’s still open so you don’t have to. We’ll update this post throughout the day.

Confirmed open:
CVS at the Shops at 2000 Penn

Whole Foods Market (Though we’ve been told the store only has the more expensive champagne and beer left.)

Foggy Bottom Grocery (Normal hours, but the sandwich shop will open late.)

711 at 514 19th St.

711 at 912 New Hampshire Ave.

West End Market

Trader Joe’s

Potbelly, Gallery Market, Pita Pit (until at least 3 p.m.) and Dunkin’ Donuts at Shenkman Hall


The GW Deli

Captain Cookie and the Milkman

Did we forget your favorite place? Comment below and we’ll check it out. 

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly spelled the Shops at 2000 Penn as the Shoppes at 2000 Penn. We regret this error.

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Updated: Feb. 16, 2015 at 10:35 p.m.

The University is “monitoring” a storm that could potentially leave D.C. blanketed with almost a foot of snow through Tuesday, according to a campus advisory posted Monday afternoon.

The advisory stated that GW is watching for “possible inclement weather in the Washington metropolitan area,” and that updates will be posted to the website.

Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski posted on Twitter that GW would most likely make a decision about canceling classes early Tuesday morning.

Federal offices in D.C. will be closed Tuesday, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel. D.C public schools were also closed because of “inclement weather.”

Georgetown University canceled its Tuesday classes on Monday night.

A winter storm warning will be in effect in D.C. from Monday at 6 p.m. to Tuesday at noon, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA predicated the area could get between 6 and 10 inches of snow.

Gelman and Eckles libraries closed at 10 p.m. on Monday, according to Gelman Library’s Twitter account.

GW’s Office of Off-Campus Student Affairs sent an email to students living off campus Monday night reminding them to clear their sidewalks and walkways, or face a fine from the D.C. government.

A city snow emergency will go into effect at 7 a.m. Tuesday, according to the office of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Capital Weather Gang, a blog run by the Washington Post, reported that D.C. public schools have a 50 percent chance of closing Tuesday. For all other D.C. schools, the analysts predicted a 75 percent chance of closure. They reported that snow fall will begin by 4 p.m., but the heaviest snow will start falling from midnight to 3 a.m.

American University has cancelled Monday evening classes, according to its Twitter account.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Sophie Kaplan.

Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg came to Lisner Auditorium on Thursday to talk about their long friendship and differing opinions on court decisions.

Nina Totenberg, NPR’s legal affairs correspondent, moderated the conversation sponsored by the Smithsonian Associates to a sold-out audience.

Didn’t score tickets? Here are some highlights from their hour-and-a-half discussion.

1. A long-term friendship

Ginsburg and Scalia said they’ve been close friends since they served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit together over 30 years ago.

“She’s a nice person, what’s not to like?” Scalia said. “But her views about the law.”

Ginsburg said her favorite moment with Scalia was when they rode on an elephant together.

“Your feminist friends made fun of me for riding behind you on the elephant,” Scalia said.

“It had something to do with weight distribution,” Ginsburg said.

2. United States v. Virginia

Ginsburg and Scalia were on opposite sides when it came to a high-profile Supreme Court case on the Virginia Military Institute, which originally would not allow women to enroll.

Scalia said allowing women into the school would ruin a long-standing tradition at the military institute.

Ginsburg disagreed, saying the institute for women didn’t have facilities of the same quality.

“Faculty were more supportive of the admission of women, and why? Because it would upgrade their applicant pool,” she said.

3. Rooted in the Constitution

Scalia and Ginsburg said their differences in opinion are rooted in their interpretations of the Constitution.

Scalia said the Constitution’s meaning has remained the same throughout the years.

“There is no living Constitution unless it’s enduring,” he said.

Ginsburg, who is one of the liberal members of the Supreme Court, said the text was written by white male property owners and wasn’t representative of all Americans.

“The Founders had some grand ideas,” she said. “These grand ideas were meant to develop as society developed.”

4. It’s about that time

The justices are in their late 70s and early 80s, but they said they had no intention of leaving the Supreme Court in the near future.

Scalia said he will retire when he thinks he no longer does the job the way he used to do it.

Ginsburg, who is three years older than Scalia, said she won’t retire as long as she can work “full steam.”

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A panel made up of NPR hosts and podcast creators discussed the future of radio in the digital age. Lydia Francis | Hatchet Photographer

A panel made up of NPR hosts and podcast creators discussed the future of radio in the digital age. Lydia Francis | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet Reporter Henry Klapper.

The School of Media and Public Affairs hosted a panel of four NPR and podcast hosts Wednesday to discuss the future of radio and NPR in the digital age.

The panelists dissected the success of podcasts in a discussion led by SMPA fellow and former NPR religion correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty.

1. Changing the game

Andrea Seabrook, the host of the podcast Decode D.C. and a former Congressional correspondent for NPR, left the station and started the show in the fall of 2013 after deciding she “didn’t want to be the mouthpiece for Congress.”

Seabrook said the show gives background on all kinds of topics related to politics and is geared toward younger listeners.

Guy Raz, the host of TED Radio Hour, said he wanted to create a program that’s a little quirkier than NPR’s traditional material.

“I wanted something new,” Raz said. “I saw a TED talk and thought that this had to be on the radio,” he said.

Raz, one of SMPA’s two Shapiro fellows this semester, teaches a class on “Making NPR Style Radio” to show students the nuts and bolts of public radio broadcasting. Raz was previously a bureau chief in Berlin and London, as well as the host of the flagship show All Things Considered.

2. Doing it yourself

Linda Holmes, the host of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, said that people interested in hosting a podcast shouldn’t let costs be a barrier.

“You don’t need a million dollars to have a great show,” Holmes said.

She said even though high-quality equipment may make a show sound better, the content is still the most important aspect to a great podcast.

“Sure my microphones sound great, they cost more than your car,” Holmes said. “But, you can create a really great podcast on the cheap.”

Raz said creators of new podcasts should focus on making content they love before worrying about attracting an audience.

“Do what you love and your tribe will find you,” Raz said.

3. Looking in the crystal ball

When asked, “Is radio as we know it doomed?” all panelists said no.

Panelists said new, popular podcasts like Serial have helped boost the medium and bring in new fans.

“NPR has millions of listeners, and thanks to these innovations there will be millions more,” Raz said.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Grace Gannon.

GW’s Residence Hall Association won the “School of the Year” award at a regional conference over the weekend.

The award recognizes student achievement in leading residence hall initiatives within the 75 schools that make up the National Association of College and University Residence Halls’ Central Atlantic region.

RHA President Ari Massefski, who made the announcement at the group’s monthly meeting Monday, said the executive board had to make a bid for the award.

“The bid very much focused on all the different things that have happened throughout RHA this year, whether it’s programming or the kitchen in Thurston or other advocacy projects,” Massefski said.

The communal kitchen in Thurston Hall opened this semester after months of negotiations between the University and the RHA.

The RHA will host a conference of other college and university residence hall associations in the region later this year.

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GW’s campus was part of a water outage spanning most of downtown D.C. Wednesday morning.

D.C. Water informed the University that the area was experiencing low water pressure, University spokesperson Maralee Csellar confirmed.

Gelman Library experienced a water outage, which the University confirmed at 11 a.m.

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 2.18.51 PM

D.C. Water tweeted that they were investigating the problem at 10:30 a.m., then again at 10:50 a.m. that the problem was caused by a broken valve on a water main.

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 1.55.05 PM


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Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015 2:43 p.m.

Merriweather Hall evacuated after gas line damaged

Merriweather Hall was evacuated Tuesday morning after a construction worker hit a gas line near the W Street gate.

The students who live in the hall were evacuated to the Webb Building, University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said in an email. Washington Gas assessed Merriweather, and Csellar said it would take at least 24 hours to repair the damage.

“We are working with the 42 residents of Merriweather Hall to offer them temporary, alternative housing,” she said, adding that the rest of the Mount Vernon Campus was not affected.

Csellar said there were no injuries reported after the leak, and that the heat in the building would be turned off.

Residence Hall Association President Ari Massefski said the incident has been a “great bonding experience for the residents of Merriweather.”

“Staff from Mount Vernon Campus events have been giving them food, keeping them updated and taking care of them very well,” he said.

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Associate Professor Cheryl Thompson moderates a panel discussion about historically black colleges. Clara Lishan Ong | Hatchet Photographer

Associate Professor Cheryl Thompson moderates a panel discussion about historically black colleges. Clara Lishan Ong | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet Reporter Clara Lishan Ong.

Eight panelists participated in a two-hour-long debate Monday about the benefit of historically black colleges or predominantly white schools.The panel consisted of graduates from each type of school.

The panel discussion was hosted by Cheryl Thompson, an associate professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs.

This debate, hosted in SMPA, is part of the month-long Black Heritage Celebration, put on by several multicultural student organizations and the GW School of Business.

Here are the key takeaways from the event:

1. Choose a school that suits you

Members of the panel gave different reasons for why they choose HBCUs or predominantly white schools.

“Choose an institution you know you’ll thrive in,” said Damien Pinkett, a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park.

For example, Donna Chatman Owens, a member of Montgomery County’s multicultural Greek organization Theta Omega, said she chose Duke University for its strong academic reputation in the sciences.

2. Look beyond stereotypes

Shonda Goward, a senior undergraduate academic adviser in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, said people are often “lumping” together schools when they are actually different.

Though historically black schools are associated with stereotypes and lower graduation rates, Chatman Owens suggested looking beyond stereotypes when assessing a school’s success.

“Instead of looking at graduation rates, look at why people are not graduating,” Owens said.

3. Find diversity

Thompson, who teaches journalism classes in SMPA, said students can find diverse friends wherever they end up going. At whichever college a student chooses, they can find friends from different backgrounds.

“I had friends from Kansas, Detroit, New York, and so on,” said Kelley Butler, a senior at Howard University.

4. What can you gain?

“Way too often we go into a classroom and we don’t have an expectation of your professors,” said George Rice, the associate director of the Multicultural Student Services Center.

Kimberly Pennamon, the associate vice president of student affairs at the University of the District of Columbia, said employers now consider other aspects besides grades when analyzing a potential candidate.

“Employers are now looking at how well graduates can perform in the workforce, which means analytical and problem-solving skills are becoming more important,” Pennamon said.

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Sen. Frank Fritz (CCAS_U) introduces a bill that would allow GW students to vote on whether or not they believed the University should divest its holdings in fossil fuel companies. The bill failed by one vote. Kiana Robertson | Hatchet Photographer

Sen. Frank Fritz (CCAS-U) introduces a bill that would allow GW students to vote on whether or not they believed the University should divest its holdings in fossil fuel companies. The bill failed by one vote. Kiana Robertson | Hatchet Photographer

A bill that would allow GW students to vote on whether the University should divest its holdings in fossil fuel companies lost by one vote in the Student Association Senate Monday night.

The bill required a two-thirds majority to pass. Exactly two-thirds of the senators present voted in favor of holding the referendum, leaving Executive Vice President Avra Bossov to cast the final “no” vote after 45 minutes of intense debate.

Multiple amendments had been debated, including a request for the University to disclose all of its investments, which failed. Only one amendment did pass: To make the wording of the referendum more understandable to students.

“The question at the end of the debate was different – due to the amendments – than when we began,” Bossov said. “And because of that, I could not support it.”

Sen. Frank Fritz, CCAS-U, who introduced the bill, said he planned on re-introducing it at the next SA meeting in two weeks.

“Of course I’m disappointed but democracy’s a messy thing,” he said. “I think that both Nick and Avra thought that the debate had been too controversial and that’s why they decided not to pass it on such a controversial note. Hopefully next time now that everyone’s aware of the bill, we have debated every facet of this bill, I think that we can pass it when everyone has fresh eyes.”

Sen. Alfredo Joseph Pelicci, Law-G, called for a vote of no confidence on Bossov because she had consulted with SA President Nick Gumas before casting her vote. No other senators joined him and he later said he had overreacted.

More than thirty students, many from Fossil Free GW and wearing orange felt pins with black X’s, attended the meeting in support of the bill.

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