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Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016 12:56 p.m.

Irene Ly: This week’s best and worst

Irene Ly, a junior majoring in psychology, is The Hatchet’s contributing opinions editor.

In case you missed it, here’s the best and worst news from around campus and the District this week.

Thumbs up:

The School of Engineering and Applied Science now has taken another impressive project under its belt.

GW has been awarded a $900,000 grant from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to develop a new solar power panel design. The research will be led by Matthew Lumb in SEAS. He will be partnering with four other groups, according to a University release Monday.

Semprius, one of the research partners, has created an alternative design to the current typically flat-plate rectangle, consisting of panels that use micro-scale solar cells, which is more cost effective and energy more efficient.

The announcement comes after the news earlier this summer that GW researchers would receive $1.6 million for heart failure research. It’s great to see the University receiving money to research such important issues that have the potential to benefit people’s everyday lives and that might bring GW national attention.

SEAS has definitely earned some more bragging rights this summer. The recognition and prestige from conducting such research will hopefully attract more aspiring engineers to GW, where the engineering school has always struggled in being as well-known as its international affairs programs.

Thumbs down:

Feel free to go on your stroll along the Potomac River, but don’t touch the water.

A new lawsuit is claiming that the level of the fecal bacteria E. coli in D.C.’s river water is dangerously high, the Washington City Paper reported Tuesday. Fecal bacteria can cause symptoms like vomiting, indigestion, diarrhea, fever and other infections.

Despite this, the Environmental Protection Agency approved of the thresholds and did not ask for any actions to be taken. Local nonprofit organizations are suing the EPA for approving the District’s total maximum daily loads – the maximum amounts of pollutants a body of water can have while still passing water quality standards.

We already know that you shouldn’t swim in the Potomac River because it has been named dirtiest rivers in the country, but it’s alarming to hear that any contact with the water can spike the risk of illness. It’s even more disheartening to hear that the EPA has turned a blind eye to something that is potentially harmful.

The groups are hoping the U.S. District Court will declare the EPA’s approval of the District’s maximum loads “unlawful and arbitrary” and demand the federal government to change standards within a year.

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Laura Castro Lindarte, a sophomore double majoring in journalism and political science, is a Hatchet opinions writer.

Living away from your parents for the first time can be unsettling. Most GW students went through this odd transition during freshman year, but I’m first experiencing it this summer for the first time because I’m a commuter student at GW. Being in Colombia alone for two months is the closest experience I’ve had to moving away from home for college.

Being away from home these two months was a confusing experience for a lot of reasons. But it was an experience that I think all commuter students should have because it forces them to become more independent. I have learned skills from living separate from my parents for two months that I could not have learned under my parents’ roof.

Being a commuter student at GW has given me one fewer worry than many GW students: budgeting money. For the first time, I’m learning to consider how I spend my money because I only have a limited amount of money that I was given for my trip. It might sound like a small thing, but figuring out how to do this in a foreign country is a lot harder than it would have been if I was learning how to be independent in the company of thousands of college classmates.

Also, I’ve had to function without constant physical and emotional support of my parents. Even though I talk to them via text or over the phone, I’ve felt left out of their lives and have wanted them to have a more active role in my life in Colombia. I have quickly learned that talking to someone on the phone is not the same as talking to someone in person.  

As an only child, I am extremely close to my parents. I tell them everything, because they were my main companions for 19 years. Because of these two months without them, I have learned just how much I enjoy their company. I have learned to replace the support I usually get from them by talking more with other members of my family that are here with me like my cousins or the aunt that I am staying with. I have also learned to be more patient and figure things out on my own since I can’t have their input all the time.

But being away from my parents also has given me the tools to be more independent. I envy that most GW students – and college students who live on campuses across the U.S. – have the freedom to live on their own. And having that sort of freedom is something I hadn’t really ever imagined.

These past two months, I was able to go out with friends without feeling like I had to introduce every single person to my parents. The few times that I went places with my cousins or friends I felt like I could spend money without feeling too guilty because it was my own money that I was spending. Of course, I still had to maintain a budget, but I didn’t have to tell my parents exactly what I spent money on.

I have always admired college students who leave their homes at 18-years-old and venture off on their own. Sometimes I wonder if it’s wrong to be as attached to my parents as I am now. This summer may have given me two months of a semi-normal college experience, but there’s a lot more out in the world that I’ll never experience alone until I graduate college.

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Melissa Holzberg, a junior majoring in political communication, is The Hatchet’s opinions editor.

In case you missed it, here’s the best and worst news from around campus and the District this week.

Best:

After over a year of student advocacy, officials finally debuted an updated Haven – GW’s sexual assault resource website.

The new website takes a more user-friendly approach by listing emergency resources’ contact information on each page. The website also boasts separate tabs for legal resources, on-campus resources and support contacts unaffiliated with GW. Although the old Haven website may have had some of the same information, this new update should bring students a sense of relief that sexual assault survivors will have a less overwhelming website – which was a key point for student advocates.

While it may have taken over a year for the website revamp, it seems that GW took into consideration many issues that student groups had with the old website. For example, the dated Haven website listed Title IX policies and regulations on the front page, and resources listed were listed as names and addresses rather than with explanations. A website won’t stop sexual assaults from happening on campus, but Haven can now better educate sexual assault survivors and bystanders and can empower other members of the GW community.

Whether you’re a student coming to GW for the first time this year, or if you’re entering your final year as a student here, sexual assault education is likely something that is or will be part of your college experience. It’s heartening to know that officials considered students’ concerns and made the website more helpful for the entire community.

Worst:

The Federal Transit Authority just handed the Washington Metro Transit Authority a hefty list of failures.

After a train derailment last week in East Falls Church, the FTA said Metro’s track conditions failed to meet “allowable safety parameters specified in [Metro’s] track safety standards, and were not found or addressed by [Metro] personnel prior to the derailment,” according to the report. The FTA also determined that WMATA wasn’t adhering to established standards for track inspections.

If that wasn’t enough bad news for Metro officials, the National Transportation Safety Board alleges that Metro officials have known about their lackadaisical safety procedures since 2009. Officials will not be meeting until Aug. 25th – a full month after the train derailment in East Falls Church – to discuss how to move forward with train inspections and recommendations. We can expect officials to discuss much more than just track issues at this meeting. They have other topics to discuss, like Metro operators running red lights and a Metro Transit Police Officer recently charged with providing material support to ISIS.

Although this report doesn’t give any new information about the train derailment or the inspection procedures for WMATA, it adds new difficulty to an already rocky summer for Metro officials. Unfortunately, the difficulties are becoming the norm for Metro.

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Kendrick Baker, a junior double majoring in political science and economics, is a Hatchet columnist. 

Students across the country have been calling on their universities’ boards of trustees to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry, including students at GW.

The calls for divestment by student groups often fail to consider the full implications of divestment, and they ignore potential financial damage to the University. GW’s endowment isn’t as big as some better-known universities, like Stanford University or Harvard College, so divestment would have a more severe impact on the University’s financial well-being.

We shouldn’t blindly call for divestment without knowing how much it will affect us. Only by studying the impacts of divestment first can we ensure that divestment would not severely harm GW’s budget.

Before groups continue to advocate for divestment, the managers of GW’s endowment fund should conduct and publish a study investigating the financial impact of divestment. Because GW’s endowment breakdown isn’t public, commissioning an in-depth study by GW’s fund managers is the only way to determine whether divestment would have a significant negative impact on the school’s finances. The results of such a study should be made public to students, so they can fully understand the financial implications of divestment.

Although some smaller universities have divested their endowments from all fossil fuels, these early adopters tend to be institutions that do not have or do not heavily depend on large endowments for salaries, scholarships and other institutional costs. GW’s per-pupil endowment is too small to take the hit to funding that Stanford University and Harvard College can. GW is far more dependent on endowment funding than smaller schools that have divested, yet does not have a large enough endowment to absorb potential losses on its rate of return.

At GW, 11.6 percent and 13 percent of endowment income goes toward student aid and professorships, respectively. Although these figures are not outliers compared to institutions like GW, they demonstrate that our endowment still represents a vital funding stream for the University.  We cannot afford to miscalculate or ignore the financial costs of divestmentbecause our endowment has an impact on our financial aid and our professors’ jobs.

For the environmentally conscious, GW retaining a portfolio that contains fossil fuel-invested stocks may feel morally irresponsible, but based on similar endowments at businesses and other universities, GW probably only invests a small fraction of its over $1 billion endowment in fossil fuel stocks. That means that the small fraction of $1 billion that would actually be divested from the fossil-fuel industry would not have a substantial direct effect on oil company profits. But losing even a fraction of one percent of the endowment could have an effect on students in the short run and on GW’s finances in the long run.

Students need to question what’s more important: moving ahead with an aggressive divestment strategy without complete information or wait a while longer to commission a study and ensure that the future health of the University.

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Melissa Holzberg, a junior majoring in political communication, is The Hatchet’s opinions editor.

In case you missed it, here’s the best and worst news from around campus and the District this week.

Thumbs up:

GW officials are on the cusp of exceeding fundraising expectations. As of the end of July, officials have raised $875 million for the University’s $1 billion campaign. Not only does this mean officials raised over $40 million dollars in just five months, but it also means that there is a real chance that officials will cross the $1 billion finish line seven months ahead of the June 2018 deadline. If the campaign continues at a rate of raising $40 million every five months, the campaign would reach $1 billion dollars by November 2017.

Students should take notice, because a lot of the donations directly benefit student life. Although some may have been skeptical that officials would be able to reach such a seemingly lofty goal, the success of the campaign shows a commitment to student life and education at GW. We should be proud of the campaign, and we should encourage officials to continue the campaign through June 2018 and expand the goal, regardless of when they hit $1 billion.

While there’s no way to predict the level of success officials will have in fundraising during this fiscal year, the campaign’s structure should give students and officials hope that donations will stay on track. Because donors can give money to specific schools and organizations, they can notice the direct effects of their money. That’s important because parents and recent alumni often give money to the activities in which they or their children participated. If officials can show near-immediate return on investment to donors, it’s more likely that those donors will give more in the future or encourage others to donate.

It’s nearly impossible to walk around campus without hearing the familiar #OnlyAtGW moments that officials and tour guides say cheerfully and students say sarcastically. But perhaps this new fundraising bump, and the real chance of an early finish, will give students and officials something they can both be proud of.

Thumbs down:

Students signed up for sculpture classes this upcoming semester will have to wait a bit longer to post an Instagram photo of the newly renovated Flagg Building – home of the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design.

Sculpture classes that were set to be held in the Flagg Building will be temporarily moved to Smith Hall or the Science and Engineering Hall for the first three weeks of the semester until the renovations are complete. These renovations are part of the first phase of the multi-year $47.5 million construction project scheduled for the Corcoran that includes updates to things like bathrooms and faculty offices.

Although moving classrooms for just three weeks isn’t all that bad, officials aren’t doing much to improve their reputations for longer-than-expected renovations. In March 2015, two months after the Science and Engineering Hall opened, many researchers still hadn’t moved into their facilities because renovations ran late. And the renovation of the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design is only one of the major renovation projects happening this summer. Construction on District House is finishing up to be open for fall move-in, and the basement of Shenkman Hall is being updated.

Hopefully sculpture students get to move into their new digs by the three-week deadline. But until then, students will have to chisel in less majestic rooms on campus.

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Laura Castro Lindarte, a sophomore double majoring in journalism and political science, is a Hatchet opinions writer.

Most American young adults can commiserate about one of the toughest choices they faced in their 18 years: choosing a college. Deciding where we wanted to study to earn our degrees was stressful and seemed almost impossible.

After making the tough decision of where to study, we had to decide what we wanted to study. And many of us change our majors after a semester or two because we realize that we didn’t really know what we wanted when we started college.

Imagine making those decisions at 16 years old with little to no opportunity to change your mind. That’s what Colombian students have to do.

Students in the U.S. should be grateful we have the opportunity to explore subjects outside of our majors, because most other students around the world don’t.

Recently, I met a 17-year-old boy in Colombia who was already in the second semester of his freshman year of college. I was shocked that this boy was at the stage of most 19-year-old students in the U.S.

Here in Colombia, high school ends after 11th grade, not 12th like in the U.S. Students enter college earlier and the higher education system doesn’t let them change their majors. When students choose their majors, they take classes related to their majors right away and they are given charts that detail how their college careers will progress. Students are placed in groups that consist of people in their major who they take most of their classes with.

It may seem like starting college at 16 isn’t that different than at 18, but two years when you’re still a teenager can make a big difference. When I was 16, I was dead set on moving to New York, not going to GW. My life would be completely different had I graduated two years earlier.

And I changed one of my majors at the end of my first semester at GW. It was a last-minute decision that I made because I realized I was more likely to get a job with a degree in political science compared to sociology, and I have always found politics interesting. In the U.S., and especially at GW, it was an easy decision to make because I hadn’t officially declared my major yet. It’s also helpful that we are required to take courses in different subjects.

Being exposed to a wide range of classes during my freshman year proved that when I started college, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. And I had the chance to rectify that choice. Students in Colombia aren’t given that chance and may not ever know if there was something else they’d rather do than what they decided at the end of finished high school.

During my time at the university I attended here in Colombia, I overheard some students talking about how it was almost impossible to take classes from other departments. I realized how much I, and other GW students, take for granted the chances we have to explore different subjects. It’s easy to complain about G-PAC classes. But some students find fitting majors or at least new interests through those required classes. 

I constantly hear GW students complain about having to take required classes outside of their majors, but being able to take a large array of courses is helpful. It allows us to open our minds to other ideas, learn things that might make us better citizens and, most importantly, be sure that what we have chosen a major that really suits us.

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Thursday, July 28, 2016 9:42 p.m.

Irene Ly: This week’s best and worst

Irene Ly, a junior majoring in psychology, is the Hatchet’s contributing opinions editor.

In case you missed it, here’s the best and worst news from around campus and the District this week.

Thumbs up:

D.C. is finally on its way to becoming a little more affordable for residents.

The District’s Zoning Commission voted last week to allow developers to construct larger buildings than they are able to currently if they agree to build more units with lower monthly rents, the Washington City Paper reported Tuesday.

If the D.C. Council and Mayor Muriel Bowser approve the program, more than 2,600 affordable units would be built over the next five to 10 years, according to the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute and the Coalition for Smarter Growth.

Currently, inclusionary zoning requires new residential buildings to set aside one-bedroom units that cost $1,600 or less a month, which are meant for families with an annual income of around $79,000 or lower to comfortably afford. The change would require those one-bedroom units to cost $1,100 or less per month for people making $59,000 or less per year.

The changes in zoning standards are intended to help the many low and middle-income residents who spend more than half of their income on housing costs.

While rent in D.C. may be too damn high, we should be seeing more affordable units popping up around the area over the next few years. Not only will more housing with affordable rents reduce the financial burden of low income families, it will also make it more feasible for college students working jobs with entry-level salaries to stay here after graduation.

Thumbs down:

Getting home after a night out could get a lot harder, even after SafeTrack is over.

WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld will announce a new proposal that would permanently end late-night weekend rail service after SafeTrack maintenance is completed next March, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Under the proposal, Metro service would end at midnight Fridays and Saturdays, instead of 3 a.m. and at 10 p.m. Sundays. The earlier closing times would give overnight workers enough time to perform repairs and maintenance on the system.

If WMATA chooses to change the hours of operation, no doubt it will have an impact on college students and adults going out on the weekends, giving them few options outside of a much-more-expensive Uber ride.

The proposal will have the most detrimental effect on restaurants and small businesses, who have been voicing their opposition to the proposal. Business owners have said that the earlier suspension of service on weekends would negatively impact nightlife and business and the ability of workers to get home after their late shifts, according to the Washington City Paper.

But the plan might not become a reality, thankfully. Metro’s board of directors will have to approve Wiedefeld’s proposal before they decide on permanent changes
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Rachel Furlow, a senior majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet opinions writer.

Abuse allegations about athletics head coaches at Division I schools are nothing new. In the past two years, Mike Rice from Rutgers University, Joanne McCallie from Duke University and Connie Yori from the University of Nebraska have all been accused or found guilty of verbally or physically harassing their players. And now GW men’s basketball coach Mike Lonergan has been accused of similar misconduct.

In an explosive Washington Post article published last week, several anonymous current and former players accused Lonergan of repeated verbal and emotional abuse against student athletes and of making graphic remarks about Athletic Director Patrick Nero. 

Title IX Coordinator Rory Muhammad allegedly told a student that University officials had already investigated the coach’s behavior and that it had been “handled.” The student athlete expressed concern that he and his teammates felt that their complaints had not been taken seriously by administrators, especially because no other players had been contacted to corroborate or refute the allegations.

The Title IX office is now conducting another investigation of Lonergan’s behavior, calling in outside counsel to assist, as “some of the reported allegations go beyond the scope of Title IX,” according to a University release.

Because the investigation is still ongoing, it is critical that the GW community doesn’t assume guilt or innocence in the allegations. The true controversy lies with the alleged actions, or lack thereof, by GW administrators when they investigated Lonergan in the past. This instance, combined with a proven history of coaches’ misconduct nationally and general university inaction, indicates a troubling trend for university officials to limit their liability at the expense of the well-being of students.

Officials won’t release details about the investigation because it is a personnel issue. However, if the University did not properly investigate a player’s report or if the investigation caused Lonergan to increase harassment against Nero, the University would be in violation of Title IX.

Regardless of whether University officials conducted a fair investigation in the spring, they certainly failed in making students feel like their concerns would be fully investigated, which the student athletes indicated to the Washington Post.

GW needs to conduct a thorough and fair investigation into Lonergan’s behavior, because universities’ high-profile teams and coaches are not above the rules of the law, nor do they outweigh student athletes’ well-beings, just because they bring an institution notoriety and revenue. It’s time GW asks the hard questions that many other universities didn’t ask, rather than simply stopping after officials clear the sports programs of any legal liability.

Lonergan’s career at GW has led the Colonials to a NIT win and a bid in the 2014 NCAA tournament, turning the program from an underdog to a team to be watched. As a result, Lonergan’s contract was extended in 2014 for seven more years at GW.

GW men’s basketball currently brings in the most revenue – $3.1 million in 2012 – and has well-attended games. This increases the University’s revenue and can attract higher quality applicants who follow the team. In cases of alleged harassment by coaches towards their players at schools across the country, the success of the team – and revenue brought into the school – seems to forgive indiscretions.  

The 2013 Rutgers University scandal with their head men’s basketball coach, Mike Rice, is disturbingly similar to what is currently occurring with Lonergan, but with physical abuse in lieu of Lonergan’s reported verbal harassment. Eventually, it became clear that Rutgers University officials had been aware of the situation before a video of the harassment was publicly released. The initial investigation on Rice found that he had not created a “hostile work environment.” After the public release of the video and a second investigation, though, Rice was fired.

By initially clearing Rice of the fireable offense of creating a “hostile work environment,” Rutgers cleared the institution of any Title IX investigation liability while hedging on the more murky issue of whether a coach that yelled obscenities was fit to work with students.

In the case of Mike Rice, there is some suspicion over Rutgers’ initial investigation, because the team was bidding to enter the A-10 conference at the time. Although the administration denies there is any link between that and the leniency of Rice’s punishment, it is undeniable that a coach accused of serious assault would not look favorably upon the university’s chances at admittance to the conference.

Just as Rutgers University protected Rice after the internal Title IX investigation, other coaches accused of verbal and physical abuse have been protected by athletic institutions. Bob Knight, Indiana University’s successful men’s basketball coach, was well-known for violent outbursts, but he continued to coach for 30 years before being offered a lucrative analyst position at ESPN. His coaching prowess and success of his team is often cited as the reason that Knight never faced consequences.

GW needs to avoid any missteps in an investigation and consider students’ concerns first and foremost. The GW community will have to wait and see what comes of the current investigation into Lonergan’s alleged misconduct, but while the investigation is still ongoing, officials should put players first.

Athletics departments must remember that they are nothing without their student athletes, and universities are nothing without their students.

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Stefan Sultan, a sophomore majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet opinions writer.

I woke up the morning of June 12 to a notification from the Associated Press that 49 people had been killed during a shooting at a nightclub in Florida. At first, I wasn’t sure how to feel. I was sad to hear about the lives lost, but ever since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, I have become somewhat desensitized to the seemingly frequent mass shootings in the U.S.

It was only when I learned that this shooting had happened at a gay nightclub that I began to cry. In that moment, I realized this had not been just an act of terror but an act of hate directed at the LGBT community.

Because she was gay, Kimberly Morris never made it home on June 12. Because of one victim’s sexual orientation, his father refused to claim his body. Because they were at an establishment that not only accepted members of the LGBT community, but welcomed them with open arms, 49 people were killed in cold blood.

The nightclub shooting in Orlando was not the first time the LGBT community has been the target of hate or violence. But some of us in the LGBT community are too young to remember darker times our community faced. We have never experienced police raids at gay bars or watched a presidential administration turn a blind eye to the AIDS epidemic.

The attack in Orlando shocked us. After all, young LGBT people live in a world where police officers propose to their boyfriends during pride parades, the U.S. president supports LGBT rights and the Supreme Court recognizes our right to marry.

Despite the progress that the LGBT community has made, the Pulse nightclub shooting still shouldn’t be unimaginable, because some people are filled with hatred for LGBT individuals today. This tragedy was likely fueled by homophobia, which has become prolific enough throughout our public discourse and political policy that as victims of the massacre lay in hospital beds in desperate need of blood transfusions, gay and bisexual men were banned from helping fellow members of their community.  

As many conservative politicians said they stood with us and condoned the attack at Pulse, they failed to mention that gay and bisexual men had to watch their LGBT peers bleed out without being able to donate blood. In many ways, that was the cruelest irony.

U.S. blood donation guidelines currently state that men must wait an entire year after having sex with another man before they are allowed to donate blood. One would imagine that this guideline would be rooted in facts, rather than in ignorance and fear. Yet there is no scientific proof to back up the ban on gay and bisexual men’s blood donations. And although the current guideline replaced a previous lifetime ban, the current protocol still serves as a de facto lifetime ban for most gay and bisexual men.

It is true that it may have made sense to restrict blood donations at the height of the AIDS / H.I.V. epidemic in the 1980’s. At that time, we didn’t have the technology to screen blood quickly or understand the source of the virus. But today, the ban is indefensible.

Ever since I was 17 – old enough to donate blood – I always volunteered for blood drives at high school. Despite the brief discomforts of giving blood, I’ve always felt that the lifesaving benefits outweigh the the momentary pain. As such, for much of my young adult life, I proudly donated my blood – until I became barred because of my sexuality.

When I came out to my entire high school school during a meeting for worship – a time of silent meeting we had at my Quaker school – I stood up and paraphrased Martin Luther King, Jr.: “If it is true that the arc of the moral universe is long, yet it bends towards justice, then it is my hope that one day this coming out will no longer be necessary nor courageous, and that it will be just as normal for a kid to say they are gay as it is to say that they are straight.”

I’m luckier than many LGBT people because I’ve grown up in a time when acts of hate, such as the one in Orlando, seem antithetical to the seemingly gay-friendly spirit of the 21st century. Yet as I sat and watched the bloodshed in Orlando, I was reminded that I couldn’t even do my part to help.

When my friend and I arrived in New York for the New York City Pride Parade last year we were ecstatic. Not only was it our first pride parade, but the Supreme Court had just extended marriage equality to all 50 states just two days before. Finally, it had seemed, that full equality had been extended to all LGBT Americans and all of New York was ready to celebrate.

My mood on that day was markedly different from this year’s Pride. As I began to make my way uptown, fully decked out in every rainbow piece of apparel I owned, I couldn’t help but feel uneasy. Given the events at Orlando, and the fact that I was completely alone, I began to wonder if I should just take a taxi to the location my friend and I had agreed on. Despite my nerves, I decided I would probably be fine walking.

As I continued to walk, I passed a woman who turned to me with a giant smile and emphatically exclaimed “Happy Pride!” At first I was taken aback. For some reason, this kind gesture was not something that I was expecting after the Orlando shooting. After taking a moment to comprehend what this person had just said to me I smiled back and said “Happy Pride.”

As I walked away, I teared up for what was at least the 10th time since the shooting. Yet this time my tears were not caused by a horrific and needless act of hate, but from the random, however small, act of kindness from a stranger. While homophobia and hate may never be fully defeated, we can take steps to lessen them, whether through kind words to a stranger or through legislation ending the ban on gay blood donations.

I still believe that the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice, no matter how long it may seem after events like those in Orlando. It is in pursuit of the seemingly unremitting quest to reach the end of that arc that we must take action.

While there is still a long way until we reach the end of the arc of the moral universe, one way to start is to finally end the archaic ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men. In the words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.” So go. Call your senator, write your Congressperson and get in touch with your state representatives. And when November comes around, vote for those who will fight to end the ban on blood donations.

The arc of the moral universe may bend toward justice, but it will still take work to get there.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016 8:50 p.m.

Irene Ly: This week’s best and worst

Irene Ly, a junior majoring in psychology, is The Hatchet’s contributing opinions editor.

In case you missed it, here’s the best and worst news from around campus and the District this week.

Thumbs up:

A D.C. chef is using cooking skills to stop gun violence. 

Recent gun-related violence has prompted Beuchert’s Saloon Executive Chef Andrew Markert to organize a fundraiser called “Forks Up, Guns Down” to benefit the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Washington City Paper reported Monday. The CSGV is a nonprofit umbrella group that consists of 47 national organizations that work to reduce gun violence through research and political advocacy.

The event will be held July 31 and will feature food from Bar Pilar’s Jesse Miller, Sixth Engine’s Kyle Bailey, The Hamilton’s Anthony Lombardo, as well as drinks from guest bartenders including The Dabney’s Tyler Hudgens.

Beuchert’s Saloon had hoped to raise $5,000 for the CSGV by selling 100 tickets to the event for $50 apiece. Tickets have already sold out.

While no significant gun control legislation has passed despite the recent events of gun violence, it is encouraging to see that people on the other side of the Hill are doing their part to make a difference, and being creative about it.

Thumbs down:

The District may have the most to lose from a Donald Trump presidency.

In the Republican Party’s official platform released Monday, the party rejected the idea of D.C. statehood and budget autonomy, Washington City Paper reported. The District’s statehood “can be advanced only by a constitutional amendment” and that “any other approach would be invalid,” according to the platform.

The Washington Post referred to the language used in the document as “the most forceful anti-statehood language in decades.”

Despite the platform, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser continued with her push for statehood and traveled to Cleveland Tuesday to visit the Republican Convention to lobby for D.C. statehood, the Washington Post reported.

Although D.C. shadow senator Paul Strauss said that Bowser was recognized and welcomed at the convention, it is likely her calls for statehood will do little to sway those in support of the platform.

The Republican Party’s anti-statehood views contrast those of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who has said she will advocate for D.C. statehood. Passing statehood for the District is also in the draft of the Democratic platform.

Whether or not the president supports statehood may ultimately not have a significant effect on enacting statehood. But it may give D.C. residents another reason to support one candidate over another.

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