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Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 3:21 p.m.

GW to announce new president

GW will announce the next University president at 4 p.m. Friday, according to a post on GW’s official Facebook page.

The announcement, which will be made live on Facebook, comes a little more than six months after the search for the University’s 17th president began. University President Steven Knapp said in June that he will be stepping down from his post at the end of this academic year.

Follow The Hatchet on our site and on Twitter at @gwhatchet for live updates.

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Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016 2:59 p.m.

Year in Review: Top headlines from 2016

Although the year may have flown by for some, it has been an eventful 366 days at GW. With major announcements like University President Steven Knapp’s departure from his post to hacked emails leading to the closure of GW’s Pi Kappa Phi chapter, the headlines keep rolling in – and it doesn’t look they’ll stop any time soon.

Here’s a quick recap of some of the top news stories at GW from 2016:

Body mix-up shuts down donor program

Three families filed a lawsuit against the School of Medicine and Health Sciences after it was revealed that the program had misidentified donors' remains. Hatchet file photo by Olivia Anderson.

Three families filed a lawsuit against the School of Medicine and Health Sciences after it was revealed that the program had misidentified donors’ remains. Hatchet file photo by Olivia Anderson.

Officials shut down the body donor program at the School of Medicine and Health Services in February after realizing the remains of donors had been misidentified. Fifty bodies could not be identified as of February.

Officials said they had been aware since the fall of 2015 that the program’s management was not sufficient for families. In September, three families filed a class action lawsuit against the University for the “gross mismanagement” of the donated bodies.

A switch to open dining

The closure of J Street was one of several major changes made to GW dining's options over the past year. Hatchet file photo by Dan Rich | Photo Editor.

The closure of J Street was one of several major changes made to GW dining’s options over the past year. Hatchet file photo by Dan Rich | Photo Editor.

Officials announced in March that students would now use a new open-dining plan, meaning students were no longer required to spend money in a dining hall and instead had a set number of dollars to use at nearby vendors. Combined with the closure of the main – and infamous – dining hall J Street on the main campus, students entered the fall semester facing a whole landscape when it came to dining on campus.

The University also announced plans to host five restaurants in the new residence hall District House. Although one of the restaurants has opened, four remain untouched, a surprise to students who had expected to have access to eateries in the basement, and past the Halloween start date officials had previously given.

Feinman elected SA President

Erika Feinman celebrates after winning the Student Association presidential election in March. Hatchet File Photo.

Erika Feinman celebrates after winning the Student Association presidential election in March. Hatchet File Photo.

Erika Feinman was chosen to become the president of the Student Association with 53 percent of the vote in March, becoming the first SA president to openly identify with a non-binary gender. They ran a campaign promoting student representation in the Board of Trustees, which a trustee committee began researching in August.

Bye to Bronson

Rapper Action Bronson was originally chosen to headline Spring Fling in March, until students expressed their disapproval of his song “Consensual Rape” from 2011. At first, Program Board released a statement recognizing the criticism but sticking with the performer choice, but later decided to remove the rapper from the lineup – a choice that garnered national attention and headlines.

A spring start to becoming Greek

Greek life groups will soon only be able to add freshmen members in the spring. Hatchet file photo by Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

Greek life groups will soon only be able to add freshmen members in the spring. Hatchet file photo by Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

In April, the University announced that all sorority and fraternity recruitment will occur in the spring semester starting next year. Students planning on joining Greek life will need to complete 12 credit hours before being recruited, unlike any other student group on campus, which officials said will help students adjust to being at college before making such a major commitment. But the decision wasn’t without criticism: Greek life student leaders said they felt left out of the decision-making for deferred recruitment.

And that’s a Knapp

University President Steven Knapp announced that he will step down at the end of this academic year. Hatchet file photo

University President Steven Knapp announced that he will step down at the end of this academic year. Hatchet file photo

In June, University President Steven Knapp announced he will depart from his job in the summer of 2017. By the time he steps down, Knapp’s 10 year-long tenure will be marked by the completion of projects like District House and the Science and Engineering Hall, an major expansion of GW’s research portfolio and the start of major budget cuts to the central administration.

As Knapp prepares to leave, the Board of Trustees has begun its search for a new president. But faculty have criticized the selection committee as not being diverse enough when it comes to faculty representation, which they claim could potentially lead to essential candidates to be missed. In October, the Board of Trustees released the presidential profile, showing that GW is looking for a president who is dedicated to diversity and has creative fundraising ideas.

Loner-gone

Former men’s basketball coach Mike Lonergan was fired in September after an investigation found that he “engaged in conduct inconsistent with the University’s values.” Hatchet file photo by Dan Rich | Photo Editor.

Former men’s basketball coach Mike Lonergan was fired after allegations of verbal and emotional abuse surfaced in July against him, triggering a Title IX investigation into the accusations.

The University stayed quiet about the investigation until Lonergan was dismissed mid-September. Officials then said the inspection found he “engaged in conduct inconsistent with the University’s values.” Maurice Joseph was soon named as interim head coach for the men’s basketball team, which has a current record of 8-6.

Hacked emails shut down Pi Kappa Phi

The GW chapter of Pi Kappa Phi shut down in October following the DC Leaks release of emails from a White House staffer and former member of the fraternity, Ian Mellul. The emails included messages from the fraternity’s Listserv that did not follow appropriate student conduct according to Christina Witkowicki, the director of student involvement and Greek life.

RAs attempt to unionize

Resident advisers at GW are pushing to become the first unionized student group at a private university. Hatchet file photo.

Resident advisers at GW are pushing to become the first unionized student group at a private university. Hatchet file photo.

Resident advisers at GW filed a petition through the local labor group, Service Employees International Union 500, late November after two years of planning to unionize. The University quickly appealed the petition.

Representatives from both the University and the group of RAs testified at a National Labor Relations Board hearing in December, where it was concluded both groups will submit briefs by Dec. 16 and will be informed of a decision after all the briefs are analyzed.

If the RAs were to unionize, they would be the first student union at a private university in the country.

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University President Steven Knapp signed onto an open letter to the Trump administration urging action on climate change. Hatchet File Photo.

University President Steven Knapp signed onto an open letter to the Trump administration urging action on climate change. Hatchet File Photo.

University President Steven Knapp joined more than 170 higher education leaders in signing an open letter urging President-elect Donald Trump and the next Congress to take action on climate change.

In the letter, the leaders express their commitment to “academic and ethical responsibilities” to supporting research and education about climate change, and to take “aggressive climate action” to preserve the planet for future generations.

“We are committed to developing and deploying innovative climate solutions that provide a prosperous future for all Americans,” the letter reads.

The letter, which was penned by a group of university leaders in collaboration with the Boston-based climate change policy nonprofit Second Nature, calls on the incoming administration to support participation in the Paris Agreement, continue academic and federal research on climate, energy and related policies and to support investments in low-carbon economy.

“Your support for these three areas is a critical investment in the future of the millions of students we serve,” the letter reads. “We will continue to prepare graduates for the workforce as well as lead in world-class research and innovation in order to secure a healthier and more prosperous future for all.”

Tufts and New York universities are the only others of GW’s 11 peer schools who have signed the letter as of Dec. 20, although others can sign onto the letter until Jan. 13.

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Officials laid out their responses to student demands on protecting undocumented students in a statement Wednesday.

In the email, the University stated five principles to show their “commitment to the safety and success of all GW students.” This comes after students presented a list of demands to administrators in the wake of the incoming President-elect Donald Trump’s administration.

The statement reads that officials will continue provide information to undocumented students on how to apply to GW and request financial aid, and will not require that admitted or current students provide proof of citizenship, according to the release.

The university will also assist undocumented students through GW Law School’s immigration law clinic and confidential student records regarding immigration status of undocumented students will not be released. Students will not be questioned, held or arrested by the GW Police Department on the basis of immigration status alone and UPD officers will not participate in joint immigration enforcement efforts unless required by law, according to the release.

Last month, University President Steven Knapp joined more than 180 other university presidents nationwide in a letter supporting a program that prevents the deportation of young undocumented citizens.

Students held several events in the days after the election, including a walk-out with more than 400 participants. The walk-out was a part of a national effort on campuses to demand that university administrators create a campus that is deemed safe for students of color, immigrants, undocumented students and members of other marginalized groups.

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University President Steven Knapp spoke at the opening of the Cancer Center on Wednesday night. Elizabeth Rickert | Hatchet Photographer

University President Steven Knapp spoke at the opening of the GW Cancer Center on Wednesday night. Elizabeth Rickert | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by staff writer Catherine Moran.

More than 200 people celebrated the opening of the GW Cancer Center Wednesday night in the Science and Engineering Hall.

The center features new labs and equipment on the eighth floor of the Science and Engineering Hall. Before the ribbon cutting ceremony, leaders in the University and the center said that this location will help more researchers work together, and that the center will fill a local need for patient care. They added that the resource could inspire Congress to support more funding for cancer research.

Eduardo Sotomayor, the director of the center, joined GW last year after a years-long search to become the inaugural director of the center. Sotomayor said that the center’s opening marks “the beginning of a challenging, but highly exciting journey.”

“I think we are in a unique position to be a cancer center of the future,” Sotomayor said. “We are truly committed to our work, our vision to drive innovative research, personalized patient care and cancer policy. So we are ready.”

Philanthropy played an “enormous role” in the efforts to make the center a reality, Sotomayor said. During the ceremony, he thanked the multiple donors and said that the multiple $1 million gifts helped get the center off the ground.

The center’s floor will house equipment for molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology work and a facility for patient-derived xenograft model, a preclinical platform that could help predict the effectiveness of targeted agents for cancer patients.

Eventually, 12 to 15 labs will occupy the entire floor, which will provide areas for research focused on cancer epigenetics, immunology and immunotherapy.

The center was announced in 2013 as a collaboration with GW Hospital, Medical Faculty Associates, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Milken Institute of Public Health.

University President Steven Knapp said that when officials were designing the Science and Engineering Hall, there was an interest in making sure that space would be available for future interdisciplinary research, which is why the seventh and eighth floors were “shelled out.”

“We had a notion that we wanted to make sure this was left open for initiatives that are highly innovative,” he said.

Knapp said that he is impressed by the way Sotomayor is assembling the center’s team of researchers from institutions across the country and with collaboration among different schools at GW.

“So if you’re looking for interdisciplinary work, it’s really going to shape the future of science,” Knapp said. “This is one of those places to see it happening on the eighth floor of the Science and Engineering Hall.”

The University established a 10-year strategic plan in 2012 with goals of increasing interdisciplinary opportunities and research.

Knapp said that in 10 years, the center hopes to earn designation from the National Cancer Institute as a comprehensive cancer center and “join the ranks of the many prestigious cancer centers around the nation.”

“We are very confident under Dr. Sotomayor’s strategic, focused leadership that we will accomplish that goal, but our aim above all is to make sure that we are contributing to the battling of cancer,” Knapp said. “We think we have resources, we have the talent, we have the strategic focus to make a huge difference in that battle.”

Douglas Lowy, acting director of the National Cancer Institute, said that the center supports the NCI’s emphasis on interdisciplinary research.

“I think the opportunities are limitless here,” he said. “I really think the center is in excellent hands.”

Jeffrey Akman, dean of the medical school, spoke at the opening of the Cancer Center on Wednesday. Elizabeth Rickert | Hatchet Photographer

Jeffrey Akman, the dean of the medical school, spoke about the importance of the new GW Cancer Center Wednesday. Elizabeth Rickert | Hatchet Photographer

Ellen Sigal, the founder and chairperson of Friends of Cancer Research, said that the center fills a vital local need for patient care, inspiration for Congress to support cancer funding and interdisciplinary collaboration among scientists.

“GW Cancer Center breaks down artificial silos,” Sigal said. “Here in the nation’s capitol, GW is taking claim to national leadership in the battle to conquer cancer. This is about delivering quality better, better care and hope for patients.”

Jeffrey Akman, the dean of SMHS, said the Cancer Center’s timely opening celebrates a culmination of years of preparation and hard work on the same night that Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which will help fund cancer research.

“It is really perfect timing for us to open a new cancer center and to build a new cancer center,” Akman said.

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University President Steven Knapp was ranked 27th among the nation's highest-paid university executives. Hatchet file photo

University President Steven Knapp was ranked 27th among the nation’s highest-paid university executives. Hatchet file photo.

University President Steven Knapp is the 27th highest-paid private university executive in the nation, according to the most recent data from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

This ranking is a three-spot drop from last year’s report, when Knapp was the 24th-highest earner.

The Chronicle’s database, which was updated Dec. 4 with salary information from fiscal year 2014, lists Knapp’s total compensation as $1,170,264, and his base salary, before benefits and bonuses, as $873,191. Knapp was listed among more than 1,200 chief executives at both public and private universities.

Knapp’s total compensation increased the following year to $1,196,264, a 7 percent increase, according to the University’s financial documents from fiscal year 2015.

Executives at nine of the University’s 14 peer schools earned more than Knapp in fiscal year 2014, according to the Chronicle.

The top private college earner was Jack Varsalona, president of the University of Wilmington in Delaware. Parsalona earned $5,449,405 in fiscal year 2014.

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University President Steven Knapp addressed student concerns following Tuesday's election results. Olivia Anderson | Contributing Photo Editor

University President Steven Knapp addressed student concerns following Tuesday’s election results. Olivia Anderson | Contributing Photo Editor

This post was written by reporter Colleen Grablick.

University President Steven Knapp and Provost Forrest Maltzman addressed students’ concerns and reactions to the election results during the Faculty Senate meeting Friday.

Maltzman said at the meeting that he met with with several students over the past few days who voiced concerns regarding their safety in light of the election of President-elect Donald Trump. Students have held or participated in protests over the course of week, saying that Trump’s rhetoric during his campaign has marginalized minorities.

“It is true that some of our students feel like there is a sort of bullseye on their back,” Maltzman said.

Maltzman said that during times like these, the University must work to maintain its celebration of diversity.

“We do have core values and those values include a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and I think we are a stronger institution because of that,” Maltzman said.

Maltzman added that it was important that faculty have allowed open discussion of the election in their classrooms.

“I think it is really a tribute to our faculty that in a number of our classroom, in a large number of our classrooms, there were discussions about the election that I think students found a very appropriate and healthy forum for expressing some of their concerns,” Maltzman said.

Knapp echoed Maltzman’s statements, and reread his statement which he issued Monday afternoon, urging students to remain respectful and civil during this time. He added that students’ commitment to political activism on campus is an important part of campus life.

“The truth is that our students are engaged in the fact that they want to be politically involved in the process, they really do want to make a difference, and they really do want to make history,” Knapp said.

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Luann Barndt, a U.S. Coast Guard Academy alumna and Coast Guard retiree, spoke about the importance of women in the military during the Friday morning ceremony. Charlie Lee | Senior Staff Photographer

Luann Barndt, a U.S. Coast Guard Academy alumna and Coast Guard retiree, spoke about the importance of women in the military during the Friday morning ceremony. Charlie Lee | Senior Staff Photographer

This post was written by reporter Leah Potter.

Members of the GW community honored veterans and current military members at the annual Veteran’s Day wreath-laying ceremony in Kogan Plaza Friday morning.

The GW NROTC Color Guard began the ceremony with the presentation of the colors, while the GW Troubadours sang the National Anthem to a crowd of about 30 people.

Attendees also heard from University President Steven Knapp and members of GW’s military community, which includes more than 1,700 veterans, ROTC and military family members.

Here are some of the highlights:

1. Dedication to veterans

The ceremony marked the end of the University’s veterans awareness week, which included other events like service projects with local elementary schools and a career services workshop.

Knapp highlighted some key moments in the University’s history of dedication to veterans, like becoming the first university in D.C. to join the Yellow Ribbon benefits program in April 2009.

The program, created by the Post-9/11 GI Bill, currently supports more than 1,800 veterans and their family members through the current GI Bill at GW, Knapp said.

Knapp credited the University’s veteran services program, GW VALOR, with helping to create a veteran-friendly environment.

“Two years ago, we sort of formalized the veterans service being offered through the University by launching operation GW VALOR,” Knapp said. “We are striving to be one of the nation’s most veteran friendly institutions.”

GW was ranked No. 31 on Military Times’ list of military-friendly universities this year.

2. Education after service

Adam Popp, a student veteran and the 2016 Pat Tillman Scholar, spoke about his experience pursuing a master’s degree after 12 years of military service.

Popp joined the Air Force in 1997 and served for 12 years before retiring as an improvised explosive device technician. After 19 years of working in the military community and earning his bachelor’s degree in psychology, Popp is currently pursuing his master’s degree in the hopes of becoming a rehabilitation counselor focusing on veterans with disabilities.

In addition to studying at GW, Popp holds positions with the Wounded Warriors Foundation and Team Red White and Blue and has earned an array of service medals.

Popp said that while members of the military are diverse, they are unified by common strengths and values.

“These service members we honor today come from all walks of life,” Popp said. “But they share several fundamental qualities. They possess courage, pride, determination, selflessness, dedication to duty, and integrity – all the qualities needed to serve a cause much greater than ourselves.”

Popp also honored Pat Tillman, the namesake for Popp’s scholarship, who put his football career on hold in order to serve his country in the military.

“We weren’t selected because of our previous achievements, but rather our future potential to impact the community,” Popp said. “I know this potential exists in every veteran, and we challenge each of you to use the tools and skills the military gave you to continue to make an impact on your community.”

3. Women in service

Luann Barndt, a U.S. Coast Guard Academy alumna and Coast Guard retiree, discussed the progress women have made in the military with respect to equality and leadership. After earning her bachelor’s degree in science and three graduate degrees, Barndt is working on her dissertation in GW’s executive leadership program in human organizational learning.

Barndt said that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the decision to allow women to attend military academies in the U.S.

“Over the last 40 years, women have continued to make strides, and we’ve celebrated many firsts since that decision to allow women to attend military academies,” Barndt said. “And we continue to conquer those barriers as recently as 2015, with the first women to earn the coveted Army Ranger title – renowned as not being for the weak, or faint hearted.”

Barndt shared the story of two Coast Guard veterans that holds significant meaning to her, the first being Douglas Munro, who was the first and only member of the Coast Guard to receive the medal of honor.

Upon visiting Douglas Munro’s gravesite, Barndt and her family also noticed the gravesite of Edith Munro, Douglas’ mother. Barndt decided to research her story, and discovered that shortly after Douglas Munro received the medal of honor, Edith Munro accepted an appointment in the women’s reserve SPARS in 1943.

Though she was two decades older than the other 20-year-old SPARS that reported to the Coast Guard academy for training, Edith Munro led the way in training as well as in her service, Barndt said.

“As a Gold Star mother, she transformed her loss into significant service, and continued to serve the Coast Guard for over 50 years beyond her active duty spar service.” Barndt said. “So as a proud Coast Guard veteran, and more importantly a military mother, I’m so very grateful for Lt. Edith Munro, and everyone like her that blazed the trail for those of us who chose the non traditional military career path.”

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University President Steven Knapp issued a statement Wednesday post-presidential election. Hatchet file photo

University President Steven Knapp issued a statement Wednesday post-presidential election. Hatchet file photo.

University President Steven Knapp issued a statement Wednesday afternoon in response to the U.S. presidential election results.

In the statement, Knapp told students to “maintain civility” and “celebrate our diversity,” after Republican Donald Trump was declared the election’s winner.

“A hallmark of our community is the civil discourse that takes place on our campuses every day,” Knapp said.

Knapp pointed to GW’s long-standing ranking as the most politically active campus in the U.S. and urged students to “set a national example in their ability to disagree passionately but without rancor,” according to the statement.

Knapp last issued a statement over the summer, in which he called for “sustained” dialogue about race on campus after national racially charged violence.

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Monday, Oct. 17, 2016 11:48 a.m.

SEAS inducts six alumni into Hall of Fame

Six alumni were inducted into the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Hall of Fame last week, according to a University release.

The six alumni – William Austen, Bahram Javidi, Christyl Johnson, Gerald McNichols, Çağatay Özdoğru and Rodolfo Rodriguez – joined a program that has honored more than 60 alumni since its creation in 2006. The program honors those who have made “significant strides in engineering, technology, management or public service,” according to the release.

David Dolling, the dean of SEAS, said at the ceremony that the inductees represent the best of the engineering and computer science world and bring “distinction” to GW, according to the release.

The inductees all have prominent roles in engineering fields – Austen is president and CEO of Bemis Company, Javidi is a Board of Trustees distinguished professor at the University of Connecticut and Johnson is deputy center director for technology and research investments at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

McNichols is a philanthropist and angel investor, Özdoğru is the CEO and board member of Turkey’s Esas Holding and Rodriguez is founder and chief scientific officer of Advanced Animal Diagnostics, according to the release.

University President Steven Knapp said at the ceremony that the alumni all embodied the theme of “Excellence in Engineering Leadership,” and help to improve the University’s engineering programs.

“SEAS as a whole has now truly assumed its rightful place as a leader in engineering education and research,” Knapp said, according to the release.

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