From lawsuits to fitness centers, GW’s campus was an exciting place to be during 1995. Here’s a look at the hot stories covered within the pages of The GW Hatchet:
January: Several significant political leaders visited GW at the start of the semester. Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.) and White House adviser George Stephanopoulos visited GW as part of the national Teach for America Summit, held in the Marvin Center Jan. 14-15. Meanwhile, the annual Martin Luther King Jr. medals were given to Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary, Rep. Norman Mineta (D-Calif.), Bureau of Indian Affairs Assistant Secretary Ada Deer, San Francisco lawyer Jesse Arnelle and GW senior Anjelious Farmer.
Students benefited financially from the Student Association’s first-ever book exchange program, which exchanged more than $12,500 worth of used books among students. And GW’s new librarian, former Yale University deputy librarian Jack Siggins, promised to bring Gelman Library into the 21st century by revamping the library’s space, finding more funds for book-buying, and making the study rooms laptop-accessible.
GW Board of Trustees Chairman Oliver T. Carr Jr., one of the District’s most prominent real estate developers, announced he would step down in May. He was replaced by trustee John Zeglis, a vice president at AT&T.
Looking ahead to next year, the University announced that law and medical students will join the rest of the University for the 1996 175th Anniversary Commence-ment ceremony on The Ellipse.
February: The news of the month was the greatest game of all time. The GW men’s basketball team beat No. 1-ranked Massachusetts, 78-75, before a sellout crowd that included President Clinton and his daughter Chelsea. Students braved the cold twice that week by camping out in the snow to reserve tickets, then choice seats for the game.
Ten days later, the Colonials followed this victory with yet another win against the Minutemen, becoming the first visitors to win a game in UMass’ Mullins Center.
The Board of Trustees approved a 4.9 percent undergraduate tuition increase for the 1995-96 school year. The increase was two percent less than the previous year’s. With the increase, the total price of tuition, room, board and fees for 1995-96 rose to $25,622.
Controversial Surgeon General nominee Henry Foster discussed his agenda in a speech at GW’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
The administration of the Columbian College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, finally realizing the name was something of a tongue-twister, shortened it to Columbian School of Arts and Sciences.
The Program Board prompted controversy and widespread media attention when it decided to show a pornographic film, “John Wayne Bobbitt: Uncut” as part of a discussion on pornography.
March: A group of National Law Center students sued the University, charging that GW is breaking American Bar Association guidelines by taking 40 percent of law students’ tuition and diverting it to the general fund.
Gelman Library became smoke-free, forcing studious smokers to step outside if they wanted a cigarette.
Junior Mark Reynolds defeated four other candidates and garnered 61 percent of the vote to win the Student Association presidency.
The Faculty Senate passed a proposal to establish an honor code at GW, sending the proposal on to GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg’s desk. The honor code would establish a student and faculty council which would hear cases of alleged academic dishonesty.
The women’s basketball team beat Rutgers to become the Atlantic 10 champions, then went on to the NCAA Tournament, beating Drake in overtime in a nail-biter that sent the Colonial Women to the “Sweet 16” in Des Moines, Iowa.
Vice President Al Gore came to the Marvin Center March 17 to discuss climate control with a group of environmentalists. Most GW students didn’t catch the speech, as they were on their way off campus for spring break.
April: Two students were arrested and charged with making fake IDs in what police said was a large, interstate ring catering to many area universities.
Vice President for Academic Affairs Roderick French announced he planned to take a sabbatical from GW. Columbian College Dean Linda Salamon took his place in the administration.
The D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment gave final approval to the building of a new residence hall at 24th and H streets. The apartment-style hall is scheduled for completion in 1997.
May: The University made perhaps its biggest blunder yet when administrators, finding themselves with no backup plan, were forced to cancel Commencement ceremonies when a severe thunderstorm drenched The Ellipse. Angry graduates called for their money back. GW immediately went to work on a rain plan for next year’s Commencement, but the Class of 1995 had to be satisfied with a small, closed ceremony in the Marvin Center and a rain date celebration the following week in the Smith Center.
June: Transfer applicant Hamad Alqahtani sued the University for racial harassment, charging that an admissions employee solicited bribes from him and made racial slurs. The employee, E. Donald Driver, was fired by the University, but federal officials investigating him for the possible sale of false visas were not able to locate him.
GW students got upset when the men’s basketball team showed some serious interest in New York City high school basketball star Richie Parker, who was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse. Some further questioned GW’s motives when the University offered a full four-year scholarship to the girl Parker assaulted – she was still only a high school sophomore.
July: The University dropped recruitment of Richie Parker after several weeks of bad publicity in the area and national press and protest from students.
August: GW kicked off its 175th Anniversary Celebration with a boat trip down the Potomac River to historic Mt. Vernon. There, a descendant of George Washington helped light a lantern in the cupola of the mansion. The lantern is now at the top of a building on the University Yard, where it will burn throughout the year-long festivities.
September: Neighborhood protests against the proposed GW-WETA joint communication complex to be built on campus forced the local public broadcasting station to pull out of the deal. Critics from the Foggy Bottom community felt the building would have posed too many problems in the area. GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg announced that the University will go ahead with plans to build on the site without WETA, so that the communications departments will have their own facilities.
In addition, the GW Law School, formerly known as the National Law Center, announced it received a $4 million grant from the Shapiro Trust, which the University has pledged to match. The nationally recognized law school said the money would help expand its public service and environmental programs.
October: Hundreds of thousands of people converged on the District to participate in the Million Man March. GW’s Black Peoples’ Union celebrated with rallies on campus before going down to The Mall. GW students also noted another major fake ID bust on campus. A student was charged with five counts of counterfeiting and was kicked off campus.
November: A District judge dropped a lawsuit filed by three GW law students who sought to ensure more of their tuition money was not diverted to the University’s general fund. The lawsuit was thrown out after the judge ruled that it is not the courts’ role to control an institution’s internal financial decisions.
In addition, GW volleyball star Svetlana Vtyurina made history in becoming the NCAA’s all-time kill leader. The senior has dominated the kill category, the measure of offensive power in volleyball, throughout her four-year career. Vtyurina led the Colonial Women to their fourth straight A-10 championship. The team also made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive time.
-Michelle Von Euw contributed to this report.