» Michael Bruns http://georgetownvoice.com Georgetown's Weekly Newsmagazine since 1969 Thu, 09 Oct 2014 18:59:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Eyewitness Report: Fire races through GU public libraryhttp://georgetownvoice.com/2007/05/03/eyewitness-report-fire-races-through-gu-public-library/ http://georgetownvoice.com/2007/05/03/eyewitness-report-fire-races-through-gu-public-library/#comments Thu, 03 May 2007 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.georgetownvoice.com/2007/05/03/eyewitness-report-fire-races-through-gu-public-library/

Throngs of bystanders took a few minutes out of their afternoons last Monday to watch as the roof of the Georgetown Branch of the D.C. Public Library collapsed in on itself amidst tongues of flames and jets of water. The three-alarm fire, the second of the day after the blaze that destroyed Eastern Market, required 200 firefighters to subdue it.

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Throngs of bystanders took a few minutes out of their afternoons last Monday to watch as the roof of the Georgetown Branch of the D.C. Public Library collapsed in on itself amidst tongues of flames and jets of water. The three-alarm fire, the second of the day after the blaze that destroyed Eastern Market, required 200 firefighters to subdue it.

The exact cause of the fire is still unknown.

Additional firefighters had to be called in from Arlington, Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties to cover personnel shortages.

In addition to its regular collection, the Georgetown branch was home to the Peabody room, a priceless compilation of records and artifacts detailing the history of the Georgetown neighborhood.

Mark Livingston, an off-duty D.C. firefighter, was standing outside the burning building at 1:00 p.m., watching the ladder trucks pour water into the building from above. He said he was driving down Wisconsin Ave. a little after noon on Monday when he saw flames and smoke billowing up from the roof of the library and called 911.

By 1:00 p.m. the roof of the library was mostly collapsed and the steel skeleton was clearly visible. Firefighers poured water in at a rate of 4,000 gallons per min.
Michael J. Bruns

Fire trucks and emergency vehicles outnumbered regular civilian traffic for a two-block radius for much of the afternoon, lacing the area with a net of high-pressure gray hoses as firefighters converged on the area by the dozen.

Drivers honked angrily as 35th St. became bloated with detoured traffic from Wisconsin Ave., with some turning around in the driveway of Georgetown Visitation School to find an alternate route around the area.

Alan Etter, a spokesperson for D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services on the scene, said that firefighters had been inside the building earlier but had to evacuate because of the instability of the building.

“The roof had begun to crumble and collapse around them,” he said.

Tony Dorsey, another Fire and EMS spokesman, said that strong winds were responsible for the voracity of the fire, feeding the flames and blowing embers around the attic of the building, where the fire began. The 12-person staff of the library, as well as all patrons, had just evacuated the building by the time that fire department personnel arrived.

“Everyone escaped in time, right as firemen were entering the building,” Monica Lewis, spokeswoman for D.C. Public Libraries, said. She credited the quick exit to the branches’ routine fire drills.

The fire was already raging by the time that firefighters arrived, but they lost additional time because one hydrant next to the building was not working, according to Dorsey, and had to move to other nearby hydrants.

The three-alarm fire, which started in the library’s attic, brought more than 200 firefighters and over 70 pieces of fire-fighting equipment to the scene.
Michael J. Bruns

Charles Kiely, Assistant General Manager of D.C. Water and Sewer Authority, said that the firefighters had no significant water problems. He said that they were using 4,000 gallons per minute, the maximum capacity of the system, and estimated that they were using between eight and nine hydrants. The one non-functional hydrant did not significantly impact their ability to combat the blaze, he said. The broken hydrant had been identified earlier by work crews but was overlooked by administrative staff.

“We had a clerical error and screwed up,” Kiely said.

Fortunately for historians, the Peabody room escaped the disaster mostly unscathed. Dorsey said that 95 percent of the collection was saved. According to a library press release, library employees, as well as contractors from a document-preservation company called Belfor Property Restoration, were able to re-enter the building early on Tuesday and began loading water-sogged records into refrigerated trailers to prevent mold from setting in.

Though no timetable has yet been set, Mayor Adrian Fenty’s office estimates reconstruction will cost between $15 and $20 million. In the meantime, local residents will still be able to get their reading fix. According to the library release, “A bookmobile is being readied to serve the Georgetown community while efforts get underway to establish a temporary library.”

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V. Tech comments cause anxietyhttp://georgetownvoice.com/2007/04/26/v-tech-comments-cause-anxiety/ http://georgetownvoice.com/2007/04/26/v-tech-comments-cause-anxiety/#comments Thu, 26 Apr 2007 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.georgetownvoice.com/2007/04/26/v-tech-comments-cause-anxiety/ Reynold Urias (COL’10), who goes by the name Rei Sairu, moved out of his Harbin room on Tuesday under the unwavering watch of Lorenzo Caltagirone, an area coordinator for the Office of Residence Life. Sairu said he underwent a psychiatric evaluation on Monday after the University received word that he had made a threatening comment regarding Virginia Tech, and that he is no longer allowed on campus. Sairu will finish the rest of his classes while living off-campus.

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Reynold Urias (COL’10), who goes by the name Rei Sairu, moved out of his Harbin room on Tuesday under the unwavering watch of Lorenzo Caltagirone, an area coordinator for the Office of Residence Life. Sairu said he underwent a psychiatric evaluation on Monday after the University received word that he had made a threatening comment regarding Virginia Tech, and that he is no longer allowed on campus. Sairu will finish the rest of his classes while living off-campus.

University Spokesperson Julie Green Bataille would not confirm or deny that the incident took place or speak to Georgetown’s policy on threatening comments. Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson, however, said in a public meeting last night in Sellinger Lounge that Georgetown had addressed at least one misunderstood threat in the last ten days.

Rei Sairu (COL ‘10), who acted in Swimmy and Other Stories earlier this year, moved out of his Harbin room this week.
Simone Popperl

Ryan Hart (SFS’10), Sairu’s roommate, called the Counseling and Psychiatric Services hotline on Thursday, after Sairu had left on a trip to Canada with his French Theater class, to alert CAPS about a comment that Sairu made on Tuesday.

“I just heard something that made me feel uncomfortable,” Hart said.

Sairu said that he did make a comment about “pulling a Virginia Tech” on Tuesday but that he was not serious. Sairu said that he was stressed about his upcoming trip to Canada and father’s recent minor heart attack. He said he had also just participated in an MTV special, “Voices from Virginia,” about the violence at Virginia Tech, so the shootings were particularly on his mind.

“I had spent the last five hours with Virginia Tech on my head,” he said.

Sairu and Hart were not particularly close roommates by either of their accounts.

“I was never on good terms with Ryan,” Sairu said.

“We had a civil relationship,” Hart said.

Guy Spielmann, the professor who led Sairu’s class on the trip, said that he was contacted once by Caltagirone while in Canada, but that he did not know that anything was wrong until the group returned to Georgetown late Sunday night.

He still has not received official notice from the University that Sairu is no longer allowed on campus.

“The University didn’t notify me of anything officially,” he said. The class has two more performances scheduled, and Spielmann is unsure what to do without Sairu, who performs in the play.

Sairu made it clear that he is not being expelled and that he will have the option to come back next fall semester. He said that, although he feels the University is being too harsh, he has decided to cooperate with their requests that he leave.

“When people are scared they make mistakes,” he said. “I think it would be best to leave and let the dust settle.”

Sairu’s floormates had various reactions to his departure. Chris Schuville (MSB ’10) thought that Hart did the right thing in reporting Sairu’s behavior, but that the University’s response might have been too extreme.

“I think they had to do something, but maybe not to that extent,” he said.

Other Harbin residents had stronger opinions, saying that they would no longer feel safe living close to Sairu.

“It’s better to take action quickly than wait and see what happens,” Jamee Brody (COL ’10) said. “At this point, you have to take every single threat seriously.”

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Carrying on: NAA: News Addicts Anonymoushttp://georgetownvoice.com/2007/04/26/carrying-on-naa-news-addicts-anonymous/ http://georgetownvoice.com/2007/04/26/carrying-on-naa-news-addicts-anonymous/#comments Thu, 26 Apr 2007 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.georgetownvoice.com/2007/04/26/carrying-on-naa-news-addicts-anonymous/

Hi. My name is Michael and I’m a news addict.

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Hi. My name is Michael and I’m a news addict.

It hasn’t always been this way. When I came to Georgetown I barely managed to browse Time magazine every week. I only knew the outside world existed because my dad and I would watch CNN Headline News after “The Simpsons,” catching the occasional sound-bite while silently lusting after the CNN anchor Rudi Bakhtiar. Ignorance is bliss, they say, so I was content, but grossly uninformed, knowing little about anything that the good people at CNN decided wasn’t newsworthy or, more importantly, visually interesting. I knew nothing of China, but everything about the unsolved kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, the Dow-Jones high and low for the day and, thanks to a brief break for local news, which grocery store had had a canned-food drive with cute children that day.

Stephen Fry

I’d still be the same way if there had been free cable in Harbin my freshman year. There wasn’t, so for several weeks I got no news beyond the tidbits I picked up from dinner conversations in which I pretended to have heard the news already. After a while, my ignorance began to show through and this strategy became untenable, so I was forced to turn to the New York Times online. It took just 10 minutes to browse each of the main headlines so I wouldn’t look like a fool.

Unfortunately, like many habits you pick up because of peer pressure, it became an addiction. It started out innocently—just the top stories—but soon that wasn’t enough. I’d have a few extra minutes, so I’d glance at Times Science … then Times Technology … then Most Frequently E-mailed articles. I’d tell myself, “We’ll just see what Friedman has to say,” then move on to Dowd, just to argue with her. It got to the point where I’d spend 45 minutes every morning, sitting in my towel looking over housing prices in Manhattan while I was “waiting for my hair to dry.”

But the Times was just a gateway to harder stuff. By the end of sophomore year I’d usually have exhausted it by lunchtime. During my time abroad in Spain, I came in contact with El Pais, the dominant Spanish paper. In the few minutes between classes, I started glancing over the Spanish daily, only reading two or three articles, I swear.

It deteriorated from there. I took a class on Israel, so I started reading Haaretz to get a better idea of the conflict. I began learning Italian and the Corriere della Sera is great practice. I took a seminar on Islam and Democracy, so I have to check Al-Jazeera (Google-translated version) just to keep a balanced viewpoint. I pick up Express and El Pregonero when I ride the GUTS bus. I work for the Voice and obviously need to read our competitors at the Hoya. I tried to cut back once, by reading the abbreviated tabloid 20 Minutos for Spanish news. But I still find myself at El Pais almost every day, only now I also have to check out 20 Minutos.

The effort to follow news is futile, but at the same time, intoxicating. On an average day I waste at least three hours reading news from all over the world: Italian fireworks explosions, Israeli IDF appointments and Spanish sex habits. Every day I check the Al-Jazeera daily poll and lament their short-sightedness. But it doesn’t help at all; every article I read introduces a new subject I know nothing about, and the chain continues. The more you read the more you realize what you don’t know, and the more frustrating it gets when you’re sitting at dinner bewildered by how a friend of yours knows how hot French presidential candidate Ségolãne Royal is and you haven’t read a thing about her. Because that’s how the news is—no matter how much it dominates your life, you’re always going to be one step behind.

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Bus crashes into Georgetown buildinghttp://georgetownvoice.com/2007/04/19/bus-crashes-into-georgetown-building/ http://georgetownvoice.com/2007/04/19/bus-crashes-into-georgetown-building/#comments Thu, 19 Apr 2007 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.georgetownvoice.com/2007/04/19/bus-crashes-into-georgetown-building/ Georgetown faculty and staff in the Harris administrative building were rudely surprised yesterday morning to learn that a driverless D.C. Circulator bus left an employee injured after it rolled backward and knocked a large hole through the wall of the first floor. The Harris building, located near the intersection of Wisconsin Ave and 35th St., houses a variety of University administrative offices.

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Georgetown faculty and staff in the Harris administrative building were rudely surprised yesterday morning to learn that a driverless D.C. Circulator bus left an employee injured after it rolled backward and knocked a large hole through the wall of the first floor. The Harris building, located near the intersection of Wisconsin Ave and 35th St., houses a variety of University administrative offices.

The parked bus rolled backward, smashed a parked minivan and broke through into the offices of the Center for Intercultural Education and Development. Joe Kinzey, the building engineer, said that a CIED employee named Maria – presumably Maria Pryshlak, the only Maria in the CIED office – was taken to the hospital. According to University Spokesperson Julie Green Bataille, Pryshlak was under observation for the night but suffered no serious injuries.

Kinzey said that the damage was minimal, and not much more repair would be needed beyond re-bricking the wall.

One of the District’s noticeable red buses took a turn for the worse yesterday, leaving a gaping hole in the brick wall of Georgetown’s Harris building, which houses University Information Services and the Health Policy Institute.
Michael J. Bruns

“[The bus] hit between two columns,” he said. “No structural damage at all.”

Circulator buses often park across the street from the Harris Building, according to Andrew Phillips, who works for University Information Services. Pointing to the bus stop, across the street and up the block from the building, Phillips traced a curved path down the hill to a neat, square hole surrounded by firefighters. Since the stop is at the end of the line, he said, drivers often set the parking break using the bathroom.

The District Department of Transportation, which owns the Circulator service, said that an official investigation into the accident had begun.

Jack Hoadley, whose office in the Health Policy Institute is only 40 feet from where the back of the bus broke through, said that he felt a tremor on impact. Phillips, however, who works in a different part of the building, was not aware of the accident and did not see the red bus sticking out the side of the building until he evacuated.

The bus remained undamaged except for the back window and side grills.

“They thought they would have to tow it and they were actually able to drive it out,” Phillips said.

The driver has been placed on administrative leave pending drug-testing results and an investigation, according to the DDOT press release. Bataille said that Georgetown, which leases the building, had not yet considered whether to solicit monetary compensation. The building will be re-opened to employees today.

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SFS receives $1 million donation from Yahoo!http://georgetownvoice.com/2007/04/19/sfs-receives-1-million-donation-from-yahoo/ http://georgetownvoice.com/2007/04/19/sfs-receives-1-million-donation-from-yahoo/#comments Thu, 19 Apr 2007 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.georgetownvoice.com/2007/04/19/sfs-receives-1-million-donation-from-yahoo/ In response to concerns about its own human rights record, Yahoo! announced a $1 million donation last Thursday to the SFS’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, establishing an eight-year fellowship on the intersection of Internet technology and human rights.

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In response to concerns about its own human rights record, Yahoo! announced a $1 million donation last Thursday to the SFS’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, establishing an eight-year fellowship on the intersection of Internet technology and human rights.

The money will annually support one professional scholar or expert as a Yahoo! Fellow and two MSFS graduate students as Junior Yahoo! Fellows.

The fellowship is part of a larger initiative by Yahoo!, along with other Internet companies and NGOs, to establish a universal code of Internet conduct about how to respond when laws interfere with human rights, according to the Yahoo! press release.

The company also donated $1 million to the Knight Fellowship program at Stanford University for journalists from countries with strong press restrictions.

In 2005, Yahoo! released information to the Chinese government which was used as evidence to imprison Chinese journalist Shi Tao. Jim Cullinan, a Yahoo! spokesperson, and John Kline, the Director of Georgetown’s MSFS program, both said that the donation was related to Tao’s arrest. Kline said that Yahoo! wants to plan for similar problems in the future, and that the fellowship will not be restricted by Yahoo!’s interests.

“Basically the gift is given and Yahoo! has no control or say over this,” Kline said. “They will have no representation on the selection committee.”

Kline said that the ISD depends heavily on funding from both private individuals and corporations, and that the center’s academics had sufficient integrity from their experience as professors to resist any potential biases associated with corporate funding.

“I think that’s always a concern,” he said.

Kline said that Yahoo! chose Georgetown and the SFS because of its strong international background.

“[The SFS] is renowned for preparing future leaders in international affairs,” Cullinan wrote in an e-mail. “That was one of the best reasons for partnering with Georgetown.”

While Yahoo! is pursuing a code of ethics in the short term, Kline said that the fellowship has a wider mission than Internet privacy. When asked about possible research topics, he mentioned two scenarios, one where hypothetical fishermen in India check market prices before deciding to sell their catch and another where they use cellphones to keep track of the authorities and avoid fishing limits.

“This isn’t all Internet. It’s really communication technology … seeing the good and the bad of it,” Kline said. The ISD plans to send out advertisements for the new fellowship by the end of this week.

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The wrong side of the lawhttp://georgetownvoice.com/2007/04/12/the-wrong-side-of-the-law/ http://georgetownvoice.com/2007/04/12/the-wrong-side-of-the-law/#comments Thu, 12 Apr 2007 04:00:00 +0000 http://www.georgetownvoice.com/2007/04/12/the-wrong-side-of-the-law/ One Georgetown law student is accusing the Law Center of practicing cafeteria Catholicism – picking and choosing which Church dogma to uphold.

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One Georgetown law student is accusing the Law Center of practicing cafeteria Catholicism – picking and choosing which Church dogma to uphold.

In January, Jenny Woodson (LAW ’10) accepted a legal internship with Planned Parenthood. Because the internship was unpaid, she applied in March for a stipend from the Equal Justice Foundation, a student-organized group that receives $100,000 from Georgetown University, as well as contributions from professors and students.

Normally these donors decide which proposals are funded, but Woodson’s proposal was removed from the process at the request of the T. Abraham Aleinikoff, Dean of the Law Center, because Planned Parenthood promotes abortion as an option for family planning.

Aleinikoff could not be reached for comment as of press time. Woodson received a separate stipend from a fund of donations from law professors.

Though Woodson does not dispute Georgetown’s right to not fund work that goes against Catholic doctrine, she claims that the Law Center selectively picks and chooses which aspects of Catholic doctrine to enforce, allowing internships with pro-choice political candidates or prosecutors who defend the death penalty.

“We just found out today that the 185 applicants will all be funded,” Woodson said. “Mine was taken out.”

Woodson is not the first student to request funding for working for a pro-choice group, and said that other students had received EJF funding before.

“It slipped in under the radar for a few years,” she said.

Woodson thinks that the Law Center downplays its Jesuit ties in order to not scare away potential students.

“You’re never really told that this is a Jesuit institution,” she said. “I think they’re not open about it intentionally.”

Father Lawrence Moore, S.J, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the College of Law at Loyola in New Orleans, said that Georgetown was right to deny funding for abortion.

He emphasized that even if a Catholic university supports internships that conflict with Catholic ideology, such as in a prosecutor’s office that pursues the death penalty or a gay rights group, it is not hypocritical to reject internships with abortion groups because other internships pursue issues that are not diametrically opposed to Catholic doctrine. Abortion, on the other hand, goes completely against the religion’s ideals, he said.

“The Catholic Church teaching on abortion is very clear,” he said. “It seems to me to be confusing apples and oranges in terms of direct involvement.”

He also said that Jesuit universities, while they have significant freedom, must respect the church hierarchy, which means not provoking them.

“You would like to avoid pushing the envelope to the extreme,” he said.

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Carrying on: Radiohead through the rolling foghttp://georgetownvoice.com/2007/03/29/carrying-on-radiohead-through-the-rolling-fog/ http://georgetownvoice.com/2007/03/29/carrying-on-radiohead-through-the-rolling-fog/#comments Thu, 29 Mar 2007 04:00:00 +0000 http://www.georgetownvoice.com/2007/03/29/carrying-on-radiohead-through-the-rolling-fog/ After finishing my last paper of freshman year, I decided to go for a walk at night to celebrate my new freedom. It was a simple walk through Georgetown, a route I often took to go see movies on K Street, but that night the pedestrian became glorious, the uncomfortable became terrifying and the everyday neighborhood looked like something out of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I was listening to Radiohead in the fog.

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After finishing my last paper of freshman year, I decided to go for a walk at night to celebrate my new freedom. It was a simple walk through Georgetown, a route I often took to go see movies on K Street, but that night the pedestrian became glorious, the uncomfortable became terrifying and the everyday neighborhood looked like something out of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I was listening to Radiohead in the fog.

I started from the Car Barn patio, among the brick gargoyles that look over the gateway Key Bridge. That night there was a thick fog rolling in from Virginia, billowing under the arches of the bridge. I pulled out my iPod and started a Radiohead mix that I had made, beginning with “Pakt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box”, and began to walk down the cobblestones of 34th street. My stride coincided perfectly with the beat of the music.

At the bottom of the hill most people turn left down M Street, but the tone of the music was dark, so I walked straight into the shadows of Francis Scott Key Park. As I set foot on the small iron footbridge across the canal, “Kid A” began. At the same time, I saw the solid bank of fog ooze across the boathouse to my right and spill into the canal. The canal must have been colder than the air, because the fog hugged the surface of the water as it floated toward the footbridge. I stood in wonder as it enveloped and distorted the light from the streetlights behind the park, and when I couldn’t see ten feet ahead I went down the steps to K Street.

In the course of a few feet the tranquil night scene became an industrial wasteland, with a forest of riveted steel columns, rusted industrial tractors and piles of scrap metal. The track switched to the gritty, pounding bass of “National Anthem,” and I began to swagger in time with the music through the oppressive fog that had gone from being beautiful to sinister. The violent horns and the pounding bass made me feel powerful. I picked up a piece of scrap iron to defend myself from the would-be attackers I hoped would spring from the dark corners all around me.

Just as suddenly as I had entered that hellish industrial desert, I was through it, standing on the dewy grass of the park. Above the flowing waters of the Potomac, the fog was now a peaceful cloud. I felt the river breeze flow over me. The gentle chords of “Airbag” resonated in my ears, blurring the distinction between me and the calm, friendly whiteness that inundated everything around me. Dazed, I wandered along the river as the song shifted to Paranoid Android.

In the distance I saw a bobbing shape through the haze. I squinted to see it until my peripheral vision faded to almost nothing. When the pleasant strumming erupted into jagged distortion and the peace of the white curtain of fog fell away, exposing me to the raw sensory overload of Nick’s Riverside Grill, I felt like I had just been clubbed over the head.

As if I were leaning against a door that was just opened from the other side, I nearly fell into a group of stylishly dressed young professionals. The music was painful in my ears; I heard no conversation but was overwhelmed by the bright red lips of the women around me, the hungry eyes of the men around them and the giant fountain shooting spray into the air 30 feet above me, garishly lit with red, yellow and orange lights. The final garnish was a low-flying helicopter along the river, banking over the harbor towards Maryland. It was like the LSD bridge scene in Apocalypse Now come to life.

Then, it was done. The song ended, and I found myself standing in a crowd on the dock. I looked back the way I had come and saw the park and the river. The Whitehurst Freeway was perched above K Street, same as every day. There ever-present fog was still there, but it was just fog, without intention or motive. I walked back to campus in silence and contemplation.

I have tried to recreate that walk and re-live the emotions I experienced. I have walked the streets of D.C. in rain, wind and snow, but never sun. I have marched down dark alleyways oblivious to the people around me and all but the most blatant stimuli, absorbed in music and my thoughts. But I have never felt the same way again.

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Banned from funhttp://georgetownvoice.com/2007/03/22/banned-from-fun/ http://georgetownvoice.com/2007/03/22/banned-from-fun/#comments Thu, 22 Mar 2007 04:00:00 +0000 http://www.georgetownvoice.com/2007/03/22/banned-from-fun/ While office managers nationwide find themselves forced into the role of bookies and even the baristas at Starbucks become basketball experts when March Madness rolls around, you won’t see Roy Hibbert, Jeff Green or any other NCAA athlete participating in the betting pools that have become a national pastime. Even athletes who play sports other than basketball run the risk of losing their eligibility for the rest of the year if they fill out a bracket.

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While office managers nationwide find themselves forced into the role of bookies and even the baristas at Starbucks become basketball experts when March Madness rolls around, you won’t see Roy Hibbert, Jeff Green or any other NCAA athlete participating in the betting pools that have become a national pastime. Even athletes who play sports other than basketball run the risk of losing their eligibility for the rest of the year if they fill out a bracket.

According to an NCAA press release, sports wagering means “putting something at risk—such as an entrance fee—with the opportunity to win something in return.”

The NCAA’s policy covers activities from online sports books to basketball pools.

While students betting on their own performance presents an obvious conflict of interest, athletes face an equally severe penalty for betting on sports whose outcomes they cannot directly effect.

NCAA spokesperson Stacy Osburn said that the NCAA rules are written by member universities that want to maintain the character of college sports.

She noted that most forms of sports wagering, including NCAA pools, are illegal in most states, and that the NCAA basketball tournament is about celebrating athletic performance, not gambling.

“There doesn’t need to be money involved for the tournament to be fun,” she said.

The press release mentions that student athletes indebted to bookies sometimes alter their performance in their own games as payment.

According to the 2003 National Study on Collegiate Sports Wagering and Associated Health Risks, 17 of 388 college basketball players surveyed admitted to altering their behavior, knowing of another player who had, or being approached to do so.

Though the bylaws do not specifically prohibit pools where a prize is offered without charging an entry fee, like the $25,000 basketball bracket on Facebook, these pools are heavily discouraged. Many NCAA member universities, including Georgetown, do not allow athletes to participate in such pools.

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D.C. court says gun ban unconstitutionalhttp://georgetownvoice.com/2007/03/15/d-c-court-says-gun-ban-unconstitutional/ http://georgetownvoice.com/2007/03/15/d-c-court-says-gun-ban-unconstitutional/#comments Thu, 15 Mar 2007 04:00:00 +0000 http://www.georgetownvoice.com/2007/03/15/d-c-court-says-gun-ban-unconstitutional/ A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled last Friday that the D.C. gun restrictions are unconstitutional, overruling a previous decision by D.C. District Court.

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A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled last Friday that the D.C. gun restrictions are unconstitutional, overruling a previous decision by D.C. District Court.

The 2-1 decision abrogated the 1976 law which stated that handguns cannot be registered in the District and “long-guns,” including rifles and shotguns, cannot be moved, even from room-to-room within one’s personal home, without a permit. It also states that long-guns can never be fully assembled or loaded, including when being used for self-defense.

“You cannot have it ever in a functional condition,” Attorney Alan Gura (LAW,’95) of the law firm Gura & Possessky, said.

Gura, arguing against the D.C. government in Shelly Parker et al. vs. District of Columbia, claimed that the handgun ban and restrictions on long-guns violate the Second Amendment. He represented six individual D.C. citizens who wanted to have guns at home for self defense, but feared being prosecuted for gun-control violations. Gura cited two cases where D.C. residents who fired unregistered pistols at home-intruders were not indicted for shooting at the intruders, but for possession of unauthorized firearms.

Mayor Adrian Fenty said in a press release that he strongly opposed the court’s decision.

Tracy Hughes, spokesperson for the D.C. Office of the Attorney General, said that her office would likely request that the case be re-heard by the entire Court of Appeals. The judges will then decide whether to review the ruling. The D.C. government has until April 9 to make the request.

Gura does not believe that the Court of Appeals will decide to reconsider the case, but thinks that, because of the constitutional issues, the Supreme Court is likely to review it.

The central question of the case is whether the Second Amendment is intended to protect states’ right to have armed militias, as argued by District attorneys, or whether it protects the right of individuals to own firearms, as argued by Gura. The Supreme Court has not issued an explicit ruling on the issue.

“It’s a key legal issue,” Hughes said.

The majority opinion, filed by Circuit Justice Laurence Silberman, states that, “There is certainly nothing in [US] history to substantiate the strained reading of the Second Amendment offered by the District.

In the dissenting opinion Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson argues that the Supreme Court established that arms are only protected for militia use in the 1939 case United States v. Miller.

Henderson further argues that, since D.C. is not a state, rights reserved for citizens of states, such as the right to bear arms, do not apply.

“The District is inescapably excluded from the Second Amendment because it is not a state,” the dissenting opinion states.

Officer Junis Fletcher, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department, said that the MPD will continue to enforce the original law until the appeals process is complete.

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Gallaudet’s accreditation woeshttp://georgetownvoice.com/2007/03/01/gallaudet-s-accreditation-woes/ http://georgetownvoice.com/2007/03/01/gallaudet-s-accreditation-woes/#comments Thu, 01 Mar 2007 04:00:00 +0000 http://www.georgetownvoice.com/2007/03/01/gallaudet-s-accreditation-woes/

Though the protests against Provost and former president-elect Jane Fernandes have subsided, Gallaudet University is still suffering from the long-term effects of last fall’s student strike. The country’s only deaf university may soon lose its accreditation from the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, the same organization that evaluates and accredits Georgetown.

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Though the protests against Provost and former president-elect Jane Fernandes have subsided, Gallaudet University is still suffering from the long-term effects of last fall’s student strike. The country’s only deaf university may soon lose its accreditation from the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, the same organization that evaluates and accredits Georgetown.

Gallaudet, which last faced evaluation in 2001, submitted a Periodic Review Report to the Commission last June to renew its status. After the protests in October, which received national attention, the Commission decided to withhold approval and requested a secondary report from Gallaudet.

The new report questions the effectiveness of University governance and the “climate of respect” on campus, includes plans to manage enrollment and asks for “evidence of the academic rigor of the degrees offered,” according to a public disclosure by the Commission.

A federal funding program assessment by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget that classified Gallaudet’s performance as ineffective was also a factor in the Commission’s decision. Gallaudet receives $107 million annually in federal funds, but has an undergraduate graduation rate of only 42 percent. The assessment has since been changed to “adequate” by the OMB. While the new assessment did not list any particular improvements, it did mention that President Bush’s proposed 2007 federal budget allocates $600,000 to develop a strategy to improve the University.

Gallaudet has until the end of March to draft a report showing the University’s progress towards addressing the Commission’s concerns. Representatives of the Commission will also make an official visit to the school at the end of April for further evaluation, and the school’s accreditation status will be determined at the Commission’s next official session in June.

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