News Briefs

False fire alarm in New Hall triggers investigation

The housing services office and several New Hall rooms suffered damage Saturday morning after a false fire alarm triggered emergency sprinklers, saturating the first floor.

Students in damaged rooms were moved out temporarily while the soggy rooms were cleaned.

“The Community Living and Learning Center asked the students to write down what damage was done to their private property and will work with the students to determine what course of action to take,” said Mark Levine, assistant dean of students.

Levine said he does not know exactly how much damage was incurred in the office or in the students’ rooms.

Junior Erica Majer, who lives on the fourth floor of New Hall, said all rooms on the 405 side of the floor incurred water damage. The study lounge on the second floor, and second and third floor rooms underneath the 405 side of the hall were damaged. The lobby and computer room also were damaged.

Levine said CLLC is working with the Metro and University police departments to investigate the cause of the fire alarm.

-Andrew Ganz and Gayle Horwitz

Walking tour reveals Washington’s immigrant history

Students took part in a walking tour of downtown Washington Sunday, which focused around Irish, German and Chinese immigrant history and cultural influence in the city.

“Its focus is on immigrants who came and settled in the commercial center of D.C.,” tour guide Christine Springet said. “The tours are designed for international students directly.”

The “Chinese New Year Tour,” which was sponsored by GW’s International Services Office, began at Metro Center and ended in Chinatown at the start of the Chinese New Year Parade. Tour sites included Ford’s Theater, Navy Memorial, Shakespeare Theater, National Building Museum and National Portrait Gallery, where Chinese dancers performed outside the entrance.

Springet said students should not only be exposed to American history but also come in contact with the city’s resources.

Graduate student Asquith Duncan, who is from Grenada, said she decided to take the tour because it sounded like fun.

“It’s a good break from heavy studies,” Duncan said. “We’re definitely coming back to the museums and to see a play at the Shakespeare Theatre.”

Despite the cold and wind, students took a lot away from the event.

“It was a very interesting day,” said freshman Elisabeth Stuart. “You walk by these sights everyday and you never really get to know the history behind them.”

Angie Schneider, ISO assistant director of programs and activities, said the office oversees cultural programming at the University and offers a variety of tours in the Washington area for students.

The next feature is the Cherry Blossom tour April 2, and a tour of Adams Morgan April 26.

-Joanna Romansic

Students rally for sensible drug policy

Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, formed by five GW students who advocate looser drug laws, held its first general meeting last Wednesday in the Marvin Center.

“We’re trying to educate first and be activists second,” said Shawn Heller, spokesperson for SSDP. “We needed a broader acknowledgment that the drug war is not working.”

In addition to promoting membership, the meeting focused on Opposition Resolution, a student-led campaign to oppose the Higher Education Act of 1998, which denies or delays federal financial aid to students who are convicted of a drug offense.

“What students are saying is the solution to drug prevention is not to deny them an education,” said Kris Lotlikar, Drug Reform Coordination Network university coordinator.

Since Jan. 28, students at more than 80 campuses nationwide are participating in the campaign.

Heller said SSDP will seek an endorsement for Opposition Resolution from the Student Association at the next Senate meeting.

“We have a senator who will possibly present this idea,” Heller said. “So when we talk to the (U.S. House of Representatives) we can say we have 200 college students backing this idea.”

-Reena Ninan

Students take a `step’ for charity

The second annual Step Show Competition, sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, drew a diverse crowd of about 1,500 people to Lisner Auditorium Friday night.

“The step show is a celebration and commemoration of African-American achievements as it’s rooted in the black Greek tradition,” said Ishmael Mitchell, Alpha Phi Alpha president. “The history of stepping dates back to West Africa, during the slave trade, and was used as a form of ritual and tribal identification.” “Looking Back, Moving Forward: Stepping into the Millennium,” was hosted by “K Man,” a disc jockey for the local hip-hop station 93.9 WKYS-FM.

The competing sororities were Alpha Omega, Zeta Phi Beta, Delta Sigma Theta (1st place), Sigma Gamma Rho (3rd place), and Alpha Kappa Alpha (2nd place). The fraternities were Omega Psi Phi (2nd place), Kappa Alpha Psi, Phi Beta Sigma (3rd place), and Alpha Phi Alpha (1st place).

The first-place winners received $1,000, and the second-place winners received $250. Proceeds from the ticket sales were donated to Walker Jones Elementary School.

-Chioma Mary Oruh

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