SA, officials question homelessness initiative over funding
During the first Student Association meeting of the year, the senate tried to allocate $6,000 for T-shirts, buttons, banners and other material to promote a local homelessness campaign called GW F.E.E.D. The legislation for the initiative was later vetoed by SA president Nicole Capp – the only veto issued during her presidency.
Many of the student organization’s sponsors said they were unsure of the program after questions arose about its funding. In the spring, the initiative registered as a student organization.
Satirical anti-Muslim posters cause campus strife
GW garnered national media attention when students found hundreds of controversial posters hung around campus satirizing Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, which was hosted by the conservative Young America’s Foundation. The posters, which read “Hate Muslims? So do we!!!,” drew immediate outrage from GW Muslims and members of YAF. University President Steven Knapp quickly issued a statement, which said the University did not condone posters that “that vilify any religious, ethnic, or racial group.”
Seven students, who met each other through an anti-war group, later admitted to hanging the posters. They said in a statement that the GW community and media “missed the clear, if subtle, message of our flier.” Adam Kokesh, an Iraq war veteran, and the six other students involved in the incident received disciplinary probation and $25 fines.
Fines imposed for vomiting on Vern Express
In fall 2007, The University began to charge students who vomit on The Vern Express shuttle more than $300. Robert Snyder, director of Mount Vernon Campus Life, said vomiting on the Vern Express is reported about two or three times a semester.
An e-mail sent to students said that “mystery riders may soon be joining you on your overnight trips to and from The Vern.” Snyder said the high cost is because the bus must be temporarily taken out of service and replaced.
The real Colbert talks at Lisner
Comedian Stephen Colbert visited GW and told NBC’s Tim Russert what it was like to write his book, “I Am America (And So Can You!)” and be the power-hungry host of Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report.”
“I want to be like all kinds of pundits,” Colbert said. “I want to be as concerned about broken borders as Lou (Dobbs). I want to be as shiny as a dime as Anderson Cooper. I just want to be as incurious as Sean Hannity.”
Freshman reports swastikas, later admits to drawing them
Freshman Sarah Marshak, who is Jewish, separately reported finding six swastikas on her door over several weeks, prompting a University Police Department and FBI investigation. After a great deal of local and national media speculation, Marshak confessed that she drew more than three of the six swastikas.
“This is a definite cry for help on her part,” said Robert Fishman, the director of GW Hillel. “I can’t imagine why anyone would do anything like this. I feel very sad for her. At the same time I am upset that she had to resort to the actions she took.”
Marshak later withdrew from the University.
Knapp inaugurated as 16th University president
With pomp and circumstance, the University inaugurated Steven Knapp as the 16th president of GW following the 19-year presidency of Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. About 3,000 people attended the ceremony and several hundred students, staff, faculty and community members participated in events throughout the week including a neighborhood clean-up, alumni receptions and the presentation of two sheep from George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate to Knapp, who keeps sheep at his Maryland farm.
“My job from this day forward will be to do everything in my power, working with all of you, to make (The George Washington University) synonymous with the highest degree of excellence,” Knapp said during his inauguration ceremony.
University busts APES leaders
University officials placed some of the leaders of Alpha Pi Epsilon – an unrecognized off-campus fraternity – on a 21-day suspension after University Police Department officers pulled students out of class and confiscated cell phones and other evidence in an unprecedented investigation into the fraternity’s activities including “dangerous hazing.”
GW officials said they contacted Metropolitan Police Department because of possible crimes, including potential violations of D.C.’s anti-gang law. Membership in an unrecognized fraternity does not violate University policy, but its members are still required to follow the Code of Student Conduct, a University spokesperson said.
In May, the University sent a letter to former APES members warning them not to reorganize.
Fee increase approved for first time in 16 years
The student body voted to increase the student fee, which charges students per credit hour and gives the money – through the Student Association – to student organizations. The fee was increased from $1 per credit hour to $1.50, which gives the SA more than $1 million to distribute this fall.
The student fee had remained the same for 16 years – despite rising inflation – making it difficult for the SA to properly fund student organizations.
“I am ecstatic that the students have voted so overwhelmingly and in such high numbers in favor of the referendum,” said former SA President Nicole Capp. “I am confident that this historic vote will benefit student life on campus for years to come.”
EMeRG calls hit record high
Calls to EMeRG reached a record high for the academic year – with several weeks still remaining in the spring semester. EMeRG took 218 students to the hospital this academic year, as compared to 201 students last year and 168 students in 2005-2006 academic year, The Hatchet reported in March.
“Thurston Hall has just about half of the number of EMeRGs among freshmen, and it houses about half the number of freshmen,” said Tara Pereira, director of Student Judicial Services. “We are still tremendously concerned, but it’s not like ‘Oh my god, Thurston has 90 percent (of the EMeRGs), and everybody else’s halos are shining’ . it’s across the board.”
Clinton visits GW on the campaign trail
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) spoke for the third time at GW during the spring semester and delivered one of the most infamous gaffes of her presidential campaign for the Democratic nomination.
During opening remarks at the Marvin Center, Clinton said she was under sniper fire when she landed in Bosnia during a trip in the 1990s. It was later reported that she did not land under such conditions and she later blamed her inaccuracy on a grueling campaign schedule.
Men’s basketball bottoms out, women go to Sweet 16
After appearing in the NCAA tournament each of the past three seasons, the men’s basketball team imploded, winning just nine games and missing the Atlantic 10 tournament. Senior captain Maureece Rice was dismissed from the team before the season was over for “violating team rules.” Hobbs also kicked off senior Cheyenne Moore and sophomore Miles Beatty.
The women’s team maintained the consistency they have been known for, making their second consecutive Sweet 16 in March, but falling short of their goal of making the Final Four. Kimberly Beck, Sarah-Jo Lawrence and Whitney Allen led the team to another Atlantic 10 regular season title, and Beck was drafted by the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. Head coach Joe McKeown resigned in June to take the same position at Northwestern University, after 19 years at GW in which he became the Atlantic 10’s most successful women’s basketball coach.
Pope parades through campus
Pope Benedict XVI spent three days of his six-day trip to the U.S. in the District, which included a brief visit through GW.
On the second day of his first visit to the United States since becoming pope, the pontiff waved to thousands of onlookers on Pennsylvania Avenue as he traveled through campus in his Mercedes-Benz popemobile.
“We’re just here to show our love for him and have an encounter with him,” Willie Hendricken, a spectator, said. “I’ve met people out here from Texas, Florida, all over the U.S. It’s kind of a pilgrimage to come here and see him.”
Fire erupts in Schenley Hall
Fire broke out from a malfunctioning air conditioner in Schenley Hall, causing more than $75,000 in damages. No students in the sophomore residence hall were injured and most were able to return to their rooms later in the evening.