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AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Court allows GW’s deal with the Corcoran to move forward

The Corcoran merger with GW. Hatchet file photo.
D.C. Superior Court gave a green light to GW’s merger with the Corcoran on Monday. File Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer
GW cleared a major legal hurdle Monday when a D.C. Superior Court judge approved the Corcoran’s merger with the University and the National Gallery of Art.

The judge ruled that the Corcoran could change its nonprofit charter, which will allow GW to absorb the art school and the National Gallery of Art to acquire the Corcoran’s 17,000 works of art, according to a joint press release from the three institutions.

The ruling ends a month-long legal battle with Save the Corcoran, an advocacy group made up of artists, Corcoran professors and students who tried to block the agreement and preserve the Corcoran’s independent status.

The court battle drew University President Steven Knapp to the courthouse to testify as lawyers pored over the Corcoran’s financial statements, fundraising history and GW’s role in absorbing the school.

“Today we take a dramatic step toward realizing a dynamic partnership that will safeguard the Corcoran legacy for generations to come,” Knapp said in the release.

The Corcoran has faced mounting financial troubles for decades, and GW has touted the merger as a way to save the reputable art school while boosting its own art programs.

Corcoran students will begin classes as GW students this fall and may have to complete GW’s general education requirements. They will continue to take classes in the Corcoran’s building, according to the release.

In court last month, Knapp said renovations to the Corcoran’s aging building on 17th street could top $80 million. The University has already committed $25 million for the first stage of upgrades – which will fix problems with heating, cooling and mechanical systems – starting in October.

GW has given full-time Corcoran professors one-year contracts, but about 150 part-time faculty and staff will lose their jobs once the partners implement the agreement.

Provost Steven Lerman wrote a letter to D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Okun in July pushing for a timely decision about the merger. Lerman said in the letter that a delay could impact enrollment and complicate efforts to provide financial aid.

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