Hard fought-activism wins – Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is no longer teaching at GW. In a recent commitment, the University is also taking steps to reduce gun violence in the United States with other schools. On the downside, we found out we lost two historical GW community members who shaped the GW we attend today.
To catch you up with the latest, here is the best and worst of this week’s headlines:
In an email obtained by The Hatchet Wednesday, lecturer Gregory Maggs, who co-taught a Constitutional Law Seminar with Clarence Thomas, told students Thomas is no longer teaching this fall. His name has already disappeared from the GW Law course list. The reason for his absence is simply that he is “unavailable,” according to the email. Whether Thomas willingly made this decision or not, it reflects the desires of more than 11,000 people who signed a petition in the past month, demanding his removal from the law school’s faculty. Thomas supported stripping the basic right to bodily autonomy away from all people who can get pregnant when he voted to overturn Roe v. Wade in June. His stances against gay marriage and protecting contraceptives further prove he is unfit to teach any course at the University. Even though GW itself did not directly remove Thomas as the petition had urged, his absence is still a resounding victory.
The University should officially fire Thomas to keep him from teaching here ever again. Good riddance.
GW joined the other schools in the District last week in a national initiative to end gun violence. The Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area – a coalition of 20 colleges and universities, including GW – created the 120 Initiative to advance plausible and actionable solutions to fighting gun violence in the United States. The name of the initiative honors the consortium’s estimate of 120 or more victims of gun violence who die every day on average, an unacceptable number that should be reduced to zero. This epidemic deserves more attention, and this initiative is a great first step toward depoliticizing deaths due to gun violence. Risa Zwerling Wrighton, interim University President Mark Wrighton’s wife, is personally joining the initiative after she penned an op-ed in The Hatcher earlier this month calling for better gun control in the United States. This initiative outlines potential solutions that can pressure leaders and officials to develop an action plan that they can implement in six months’ time. No more words, thoughts and prayers – this country needs action.
Two impactful and historic GW community members have died within the last month. Roderick French, a former professor and vice president of academic affairs, died in June at the age of 93 after dedicating 28 years of service to GW. Norma Lee Funger, one of the namesakes of Norma Lee and Morton Funger Hall, died earlier this month at the age of 90. She was a philanthropist and donated to improve GW’s schools, like the Columbian College of Arts and Science and the Elliott School of International Affairs.
An expected heat wave in the District nearly sent temperatures into triple digits last weekend. In preparation for D.C.’s hottest conditions in six years, Mayor Muriel Bowser enacted an emergency heat plan that opened cooling centers and 11 public pools throughout the city. D.C. residents experienced over 95-degree heat throughout the day Sunday, and Monday had a heat index of 102 degrees. If you’re outdoors as the extraneous heat continues into this week, stay safe and make sure to cool off!
Riley Goodfellow, a rising sophomore majoring in political science, is the contributing opinions editor.