2015 had its fair share of news, with budget cuts, administrators stepping down and conversations about mental health on campus. But with the year coming to a close, here’s some of the news that you should look out for in 2016.
More budget cuts
University President Steven Knapp announced the most recent round of budget cuts earlier this month, adding on to ones officials have been implementing over the past year. GW asked administrative divisions to cut 5 percent of their budgets after missing budget projections because of declines in graduate enrollment.
At the most recent Faculty Senate meeting, the chair of the senate’s finance committee Joseph Cordes said the University should still be looking for ways to cut back on spending, but did note that GW’s budget is in better shape now than it was earlier in the year.
Filling administrator vacancies
Top officials like Provost Steven Lerman announced they would be leaving their positions this year, leaving the spots vacant and needing to be filled. With Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Forrest Matlzman filling in as provost on an interim basis, GW is still in the process of finding a permanent replacement for Lerman, and a formal national search is expected to begin soon.
Other former officials like the former Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Terri Harris Reed and the former Vice Provost for Online Education and Academic Innovation Paul Schiff Berman also announced they would be leaving their position at GW and opening up the spots for new leaders to move into the programs GW is hoping to prioritize. But it appears unlikely that Berman will be replaced, and his post will likely be dissolved.
New vendors for J Street, District House
GW’s contract with the food service provider Sodexo is ending next spring, opening J Street and Pelham Commons to potential new vendors. The University began the search for a food service provider this fall in a process that has included students’ input, and many candidates for the Student Association’s top two positions included lobbying for a new vendor in their campaigns.
District House, GW’s newest residence hall, is set to open in the fall and will also have five food vendors in the bottom floor of the building, similar to the set-up in the basement of Shenkman Hall. Officials said last year that the University should have the vendors in the building decided by this spring.
UPD patrolling off campus
Ward 5 Council member Kenyan McDuffie, who is the chair of the D.C. Council’s Judiciary Committee, introduced a bill two weeks ago that would allow University Police Department officers to be able to patrol areas off campus.
GW said that the University, as part of a group of 13 universities in the D.C. metropolitan area, approached McDuffie about campus policing in the past year before he introduced the bill, but declined to say if GW specifically supports the bill because it is pending litigation. UPD officers had been reprimanded for patrolling off campus in the past, but GW has pushed for officers to have jurisdiction in areas near campus.
Juniors stuck on campus
Rising juniors in the fall 2016 semester will be the first class to experience not having the choice to live off campus their junior year, a policy announced two years ago. The housing mandate, which was proposed by a group designed to identify ways GW could generate more revenue, was defended by Knapp, who said the purpose of the decision was not to increase revenue from the added number of students that would live in GW housing next academic year.
To house the additional students, District House is expected to open next fall and will be home to about 850 sophomores and juniors, but the lease on City Hall, which houses about 380 students, is set to end in 2016. Student leaders have said they are concerned that there will be no space left for seniors to live on campus.