Even if you’ve pretended GW didn’t exist all summer, administrators still made major decisions while you were gone. Here’s what you missed while you were out of the Foggy Bottom bubble.
Off-campus policy changes
Administrators proposed this month that they would crack down on student parties off campus, with quicker disciplinary action for students and an online complaint system for neighbors to use. The University will record the addresses of every fraternity and sorority member living off campus this fall, and other students in the spring. GW will also try to push a bill through the D.C. Council that allows the University Police Department to operate outside of its jurisdiction of campus.
Smoking ban officially begins
GW went smoke-free this month after more than a year of planning. Still, there will be a two-month transition period where students, faculty and staff can wean off cigarette habits and sign up for programs to help them quit. Details on how administrators will enforce the ban are hazy, though UPD officers have said they will enforce the ban verbally.
Juniors mandated to live on campus
Starting with next year’s freshmen, GW will require three years of on-campus living. The decision outraged student leaders, who said many students move off campus to avoid GW’s steeper housing prices. Student Association president Julia Susuni pledged to fight the policy.
Gelman’s $16 million renovation unveiled
The entrance to Gelman Library no longer resembles a cave, as University President Steven Knapp had described the previous H Street entrance. Instead, students will walk up a grand staircase and see sleek, bright-colored furniture with glass walls all around. The new ground floor space also offers more areas for group work and classrooms with updated technology. The project comes six years after administrators, students and faculty began pushing for renovations to the now 40-year-old Gelman Library.
Former staffer alleges he was fired for being gay
David Marshall, an ex-staffer in the Graduate School of Political Management, alleged that the school’s director, Mark Kennedy, fired him in May for being gay. The past employee claimed that Kennedy, a former Republican congressman, created “a hostile work environment,” and may press charges in D.C. court. GW denied his claims in an informal grievance hearing earlier this summer.
Students evacuated from Egypt
Shortly after Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was ousted in July, GW told its seven students in Cairo to leave the country. The move came after a Kenyon College student was killed during the protests and the State Department ordered Americans to evacuate. At least one student ignored the warning and stayed to witness the aftermath of the military-backed coup.
University ‘superdorm’ renovations
GW’s $132.5 million residence hall will merge three buildings in the center of campus, house about 900 sophomores and juniors, and include retail shops when it opens in 2016. The building will keep the façade of the original structures, following D.C.’s historic building codes.
Same-sex marriage supporters celebrate Supreme Court rulings
The Supreme Court handed down two landmark rulings on gay marriage in June, striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and allowing same-sex marriages in California. Many GW students cheered the decision outside the courthouse, just like in February when students staked out spots there to hear the oral arguments.