GW as busy as ever over summer

Though the majority of GW students departed campus and D.C. for the summer, the news did not stop over vacation. From important University decisions to local D.C. issues, summer 2005 was busy with a flurry of activity while many students were away.

In case you are unaware of what’s been going on for the past several months, here’s what you’ve missed.

May 2005

BU scholar to head Law School

Following a year-long dean search, Boston University law professor Frederick Lawrence was chosen to head GW’s Law School. University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Donald Lehman handpicked the former assistant U.S. attorney for southern New York from a field of 10 candidates.

Lawrence spent the last 17 years teaching civil rights law at BU. He authored a book on hate crimes and won the university’s highest teaching award in 1997. Lawrence assumed the GW post Aug. 1.

June 2005

Georgetown professor chosen to lead ESIA

Michael Brown, director of several policy programs at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, was chosen to head the Elliott School of International Affairs and filled the position in early August.
Brown told The Hatchet in July that he would like to explore the expansion of the ESIA’s research centers, but cautioned that he is not coming to the job with a specific “blueprint.”

With Brown’s selection and the summer announcement that a Boston University professor will head the Law School, the University has only one more high-profile academic vacancy to fill. After a year-long search, GW is still fielding applicants for the top post at the School of Media and Public Affairs (see story, page 7).

“Crossfire” ends run at GW

After 23 years on the air, CNN’s political debate show “Crossfire” broadcast for the last time from GW’s Jack Morton Auditorium June 3.
James Carville and Robert Novak hosted the farewell show with co-host Paul Begala, who participated via satellite from Boston. Carville offered “a big thank you to The George Washington University” for hosting the show for the last three years.

CNN President Jonathan Klein announced “Crossfire’s” cancellation in January in an effort to shift the network’s focus toward hard news. The cable network will continue its partnership with GW, filming the weekly news roundup program “On the Story” in the Media and Public Affairs building.

Body discovered outside Munson Hall

Metropolitan Police and the D.C. Fire Department investigated the suicide of a middle-aged man with no affiliation to GW. His body was found June 10 in an alley behind Munson Hall.

At the time, officials said the man may have fallen from the top floor of a parking garage next to the residence hall. Third-floor Munson residents called the police after discovering the dead body outside their room in an area behind the residence hall.

Professor gets jail time

Former professor Nabih Bedewi was sentenced to 38 months in federal prison for embezzling and mismanaging federal funds designated for research at GW facilities. He was also ordered to pay $872,000 to GW, which agreed in April to a $1.8 million settlement with the government.
The sentence means GW will pay the government $1 million for the mismanagement of funds.

Bedewi, who once headed the National Crash Analysis Center at GW’s Virginia campus, funneled federal money toward the purchase of Washington Redskins tickets, a car and a Florida condominium, according to court documents.

July 2005

Smoke-free at St. Mary’s

St. Mary’s Court became smoke-free July 1, following a March fire ignited by a fallen cigarette. The new policy met some resistance among residents of the Foggy Bottom elderly complex, located at the corner of 24th and G streets.

A string of recent fires, including the March blaze that engulfed the building’s fifth floor, led the building’s board of tenants to review its smoking policy. The new policy will be enforced by a three-strike policy, which can result in eviction for smokers who violate the ban.

Union supporters, GW trade fighting words

Part-time faculty union organizers leveled an unfair labor practice charge against the University after administration officials said they refused to recognize a collective bargaining group on campus.
Part-time professors narrowly voted to unionize in October, and in May the National Labor Relations Board concluded that adjunct faculty voters approved a union in the October vote. The board’s decision was thought to have capped eight months of discussion between University officials and union supporters over 50 disputed ballots, but GW officials continue to contest the eligibility of some adjunct faculty votes.

After filing a charge of unfair labor practice against the University with the NLRB, union members said they hope to force GW to engage in collective bargaining. The board now must decide whether GW is not following employment regulations by refusing to recognize the union. NLRB representatives said the University might seek to challenge the board’s certification in U.S. courts, allowing for possible judicial review of the NLRB’s decision.

It’s not just St. Mary’s: D.C. considers smoking ban

The District City Council introduced legislation that aims to ban or restrict smoking in D.C. restaurants and bars. Council members are considering at least two separate bills, and they predict that some sort of smoking law will pass by the end of this year.

The bill, sponsored by a majority of council members, would ban smoking in indoor venues outright, while the other would give tax relief to non-smoking businesses and require establishments that allow smoking to install an expensive air-purifying system.

City ups security in wake of attacks

D.C. Metro Transit Police increased security measures in the city’s Metro system as a result of the July 7 bombings of the London transit system. Students can expect to find increased police patrols and surveillance of trains and buses in the Metro system.

While New York City and New Jersey are performing random bag checks on subways and trains, D.C. Metro Police officials have not yet followed suit.

The Department of Homeland Security elevated the terror alert level for U.S. mass transit systems from code yellow, or elevated, to code orange, or high, in July after terrorists killed more than 50 people on three London subway cars and one bus.

August 2005

Incoming freshman dies in skateboarding accident

Jonathan Sisto was killed Aug. 11 in a skateboarding accident, only three weeks before he was set to begin his first semester as a GW student.
Sisto, a native of Orinda, Calif., died from head injuries after he fell off the skateboard he was riding while holding on to a moving car, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Orindo police officials told the Chronicle the 17 year-old Sisto wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time of his fall. n
-compiled by Marissa Levy

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