Law professor, D.C. councilwoman, Cheh to take sabbatical

Law professor and recently elected D.C. City Councilwoman Mary Cheh announced she will take temporary leave from school in April, after previously insisting her teaching would not interfere with council business.

During Cheh’s run for the Ward 3 Council seat, the professor said that being a law professor at GW would in no way impede her work as a D.C. councilmember. Cheh said in an interview with The Hatchet that her decision was not caused by difficulties managing her position as a D.C. councilmember.

“I am entitled to a sabbatical like anyone else,” Cheh said. “I am not and will not be getting any special treatment.”

She added that although she will be on sabbatical, she will continue to perform her duties as a law professor.

“(On sabbatical) I will devote myself to academic and scholarly work and will also continue my responsibilities as they are asked of me as a member of the D.C. Council,” she said.

Steven Schooner, GW Law School’s senior associate dean for Academic Affairs, confirmed Cheh will be taking a year-long sabbatical from the school beginning in April.

During her campaign for the Ward 3 Democratic nomination, Cheh was criticized by her lead opponent, former GW professor Erik Gaull, for her plans to stay at the University. Cheh defeated Gaull in the primary election and went on to win the general election in November.

Gaull, who was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine during his bid for the seat, said Cheh’s job would interfere with representing Ward 3 in the council. He told reporters during the election that Cheh’s decision to keep teaching was a matter of concern.

While he showed respect for her decision, he said, “There’s (still) lots of debate about her commitment to teach.”

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