Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Sign up for our twice-weekly newsletter!

Top news from the last academic year

File photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer
File photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Updated: June 9, 2015 at 12:24 p.m.

Been too distracted with senior year to keep up with your future college’s news? Want to be able to talk loudly about something on the Vern Express without sounding uninformed? No worries — here’s a roundup of the biggest stories from the past academic year:

Face of fundraising resigns
The University’s former head of fundraising Mike Morsberger resigned in October, about four months after officials went public with their $1 billion fundraising campaign. During his four years at GW, Morsberger helped officials shape the campaign and helped officials bring in their largest-ever gift, a combined $80 million from billionaire philanthropists Sumner Redstone and Michael Milken that renamed the public health school. He was replaced by Aristide Collins, the former vice president and secretary of the University, in February.

Police chief resigns
University Police Department chief Kevin Hay retired from his position in November after spending four years at GW. He left a department facing several complaints from officers of a hostile work environment. Officers have filed five complaints alleging racial, sexual or age discrimination since 2010. RaShall Brackney, a 15-year commander of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, will take over his position this month.

Colonials find success
In March, the women’s basketball team ended their season in a bittersweet loss against Gonzaga at its first appearance at the NCAA Tournament since 2008. The team also set a program record for most wins in a season. The men’s season ended after they lost to Temple University at the National Invitation Tournament. However, both teams saw success in mid-season tournaments, with the women winning the Junkanoo Jam title and the men upsetting the then-No. 11 Wichita State Shockers to win the Diamond Head Classic.

Funding plan fails
In November, officials announced they were unable to pay for the construction costs of the $275 million Science and Engineering Hall using their initial plans because of lackluster fundraising. Officials had hoped to bring in about $75 million for the project through donations, but as of November had only brought in $7 million. Instead, officials will rely more heavily on government subsidies for research and rent from The Avenue apartment complex to help cover the costs.

McFadden’s closes
The popular dive bar McFadden’s was shut down in January after five people were stabbed and seriously injured in December. Police immediately closed the venue after the incident, and the bar lost its liquor license three days after the stabbing before being permanently shut down.

Tau Kappa Epsilon kicked off campus
Tau Kappa Epsilon lost its charter in January following an investigation by GW. The fraternity is the second in two years to be shut down on campus. TKE’s international organization had temporarily suspended the chapter’s charter in the fall following an investigation concerning a marijuana arrest.

Knapp OKs peer support
University President Steven Knapp committed to adding a peer counseling program to bolster GW’s mental health services on campus, four months after the Student Association passed a bill suggesting the University implement the system. Former SA President Nick Gumas centered his platform on the topic and has pushed officials to expand resources.

Tuition increases to support mental health
The Board of Trustees approved a 3.4 percent tuition increase for the Class of 2019 in February, and officials will funnel a portion of that bump up to mental health resources on campus. The increase, which is on pace with past years, marks the first time tuition has crossed the $50,000 threshold. Officials hired five specialized clinicians to Mental Health Services, formerly the University Counseling Center, last semester and the center will add two more general clinicians to the center this summer.

Budget cuts persist
Knapp announced in March that 5 percent budget cuts across divisions stem from a drop in graduate enrollment. Provost Steven Lerman also said that the cuts would delay some parts of the University’s strategic plan. Last year was the second year that officials have asked departments to cut spending, after graduate enrollment first began declining two years ago.

Dowd wins SA presidency
Now-senior Andie Dowd won the presidency in this year’s Student Association elections by about 53 percent, beating out Ben Pryde and Alex Cho for the position. Her platform focused on wellness, increasing accessibility to sexual assault resources and improving 4-RIDE. Dowd was also formally endorsed by The Hatchet in the election. Casey Syron also became the executive vice president, winning the plurality with 44 percent of the vote.

In-person sexual assault prevention training
Freshman starting with the Class of 2019 will now be required to attend mandatory in-person sexual assault training during Welcome Week and discuss sexual assault resources at meetings during Colonial Inauguration, a decision made after students protested the University’s initial decision to host the training online only. University President Steven Knapp approved the decision in April after an in-person meeting with leaders from Students Against Sexual Assault. Originally, the University only guaranteed an online module for sexual assault education after 92 percent of voters asked for in-person sessions.

A year of losses
First-year law student James McFadden died in May. McFadden, 27, went into sudden cardiac arrest after choking on food and was taken off life support about two weeks later. McFadden was the third GW Law student to die this academic year. Second-year law student Gregory Levine died by suicide in November. Another law student, fourth-year Mark Lee, was found dead in his off-campus apartment in December, though his cause of death has not yet been released. Two other students died from accidental causes in August and September.

Commencement speaker tells graduates to live their values
Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke about civil rights and living a life in line with your morals as the Commencement speaker in May. Cook said he followed his “north star” with the company and used a desire to make the world better as his motivation.

Former graduate student sentenced to life in prison
Former graduate student Rahul Gupta was sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree murder of his friend and Georgetown law student Mark Waugh. He told police on the scene that the thought that Waugh and his girlfriend, Taylor Gould, were involved romantically behind his back. Gupta stabbed Waugh multiple times with a butcher knife after the three had gone out drinking for Gupta’s 24th birthday.

More to Discover
Donate to The GW Hatchet