Spring Break in Review: Students face Madrid bombing, Kerry speaks at GW

Sen. Kerry speaks at GW

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry called for a military family bill of rights in a speech at GW’s Jack Morton Auditorium last Wednesday. Kerry is also set to speak alongside former Vermont Governor Howard Dean at a campaign rally in Kogan Plaza Thursday morning.

Addressing a standing room crowd of about 300 people, the Massachusetts senator decried President George W. Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq and criticized his treatment of soldiers and their families.

“Our military is still waiting for help,” Kerry said. “This time, help is on the way, and it won’t be coming from President Bush.”

Flanked on stage by former cabinet members including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Kerry said his proposal would provide health care funding and other benefits for veterans, whom he called “the neglected soldiers of America.” He also advocated upgrades in military technology.

In his address, the Navy veteran attempted to cast himself as a national security candidate while deflecting recent criticism from Republicans for his Senate vote against an $87 billion military funding bill.

While Kerry voted in favor of the congressional resolution authorizing the president to use force in Iraq last year, the senator continued his criticism of the way Bush has handled the war.

“We are still bogged down in Iraq, and the administration stubbornly holds to failed policies that drive potential allies away,” he said. “The lesson here is fundamental: At times, conflict comes, and the decision must be made. For a president, the decision may be lonely, but that does not mean that America should go it alone.”

-Brian Costa

GW students unharmed in Madrid terrorist attack

GW students studying abroad in Madrid were not among those killed or injured in massive bombings in the heart of the Spanish capital March 11.

At least 10 bombs ripped through three train stations, killing 190 and wounding more than 1,200 in the deadliest terrorist attack in Spain’s history.

The University’s Office of Study Abroad had accounted for all students and staff in Madrid by that afternoon, including the 30 students taking classes at GW’s Madrid Study Center, media specialist Matt Lindsay said.

After hearing about the attacks, which occurred during the city’s morning rush hour, the study abroad office communicated with students in Madrid and their parents.

In a coordinated attack, bombs exploded in some of Madrid’s busiest train stations, including the main terminal a block away from the famous Prado Museum, which is a popular attraction for students and tourists. Authorities are blaming al-Qaeda for the attacks.

The GW study center, located in the northern part of Madrid, is not near the sites of Thursday morning’s bombings, which occurred in the south and southeast parts of the city, Lindsay said.

-Michael Barnett

Labor board postpones union talks

The National Labor Relations Board will hold a hearing between GW and adjunct professors Thursday concerning unionization. The hearing, originally scheduled for last week, was rescheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday at 1099 14th St.

The hearing will afford the University the opportunity to recognize adjunct professors, who are attempting to unionize under Service Employees International Union Local 500. Union organizers said they would like to receive higher salaries and benefits.

“I think there is overwhelming support for unionization here,” said Anne McLeer, a union organizer and adjunct professor in the women’s studies department.

Matthew Nehmer, assistant director of Media Relations, wrote in an e-mail that GW did not request a postponement of the hearings, and cited “procedural issues” that “frequently arise during the hearing and election process.”

-Elizabeth Chernow

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