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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Faculty Senate preview: Senators to present resolution asking officials to halt the arming of GWPD

The resolution asks officials to present data that informed their decision to arm GW Police Department officers before continuing to arm the department.
Sage Russell | Assistant Photo Editor
Faculty senators mingle before a meeting earlier this semester.

Faculty senators will hear a resolution at a Faculty Senate meeting Friday that calls for officials to halt the implementation of arming GW Police Department officers unless they release data and feedback that contributed to their decision.

Eight senators will introduce a resolution asking the Board of Trustees to release information surrounding their decision to arm some GWPD officers, including feedback they solicited from members of the community, how arming officers changed GW liability insurance and GWPD’s operations costs. The resolution, which has seven total demands, also asks officials to halt their progress in arming the department unless officials comply with the demands, expressing concerns that officials did not properly consult faculty before opting to arm the department and drawing from a May statement that more than 230 faculty members signed in opposition to the decision.

Officials have armed six of the roughly 20 top-ranking officers they plan to equip with handguns so far this fall. GWPD Chief James Tate said in August that arming the department will cost roughly $150,000 in the first year and $50,000 every year that follows — funds that he said he would take from GWPD’s internal operating budget of unused salaries.

The resolution asks officials to publicly release the input that community members shared on the GWPD website about the decision “in the name of transparency” and share the disaggregated data about the responses with faculty senators. The resolution also asks officials to share consulting reports and other data that backed their decision.

Consulting firm Witt Associates shared a report advising the Board not to arm their department after officials sought out input on the potential decision following campus shootings at Virginia Tech in 2009, according to the resolution.

The resolution also calls for officials’ participation in a public committee forum to discuss the decision and the creation of a multistakeholder task force for collecting relevant campus police data before carrying out upcoming implementation phases.

Chief Financial Officer Bruno Fernandes will also present a report on the Medical Faculty Associates’ $65 million debt increase and $78.8 million loss for fiscal year 2023. He will share officials’ plans to launch an Ambulatory Oversight Group, reduce excess spending and continue implementing “risk and mitigation strategies” in FY 2024.

The MFA lost nearly a quarter million dollars in the last four fiscal years, including nearly $80 million losses in FY 2023 and FY 2022, according to the University’s financial statements. In a January Faculty Senate meeting, former interim University President Mark Wrighton walked back on officials’ original goal of the MFA breaking even by the end of FY 2023 and said GW loaned the MFA $15 million in December 2022 and $45 million in January.

Jim Tielsch, the co-chair of the senate’s Physical Facilities Committee, will present a resolution on the scope of the Physical Facilities Committee. The resolution calls for the committee to be renamed the Physical Facilities and Campus Safety Committee and for its responsibilities to be expanded to all University-related campus safety issues.

Jennifer Lopez, the associate vice president for total rewards, will present a Human Resource Management & Development report on benefits updates. She will share changes to medical, dental and vision coverage for faculty and staff and changes to Internal Revenue Service account-based plans.

University President Ellen Granberg, Provost Chris Bracey and Faculty Senate Executive Committee Chair Ilana Feldman will also share reports with the senate.

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