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A Question of Substance


Usually it’s the Supreme Court justices who get to ask the tough questions. But every so often, prominent public figures come to Georgetown, and undergraduates glean the rare opportunity to ask questions in return.

Last Wednesday, those who attended Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s lecture received an index card where they could write one question for Sotomayor to answer during the standard post-lecture question-and-answer session — a Gaston Hall standard that usually fosters a candid discussion and enriches university programming. In Wednesday’s case, however, the questions were screened and posed by a university official, rather than the student or event attendee who originally wanted an answer.

Georgetown to rename two buildings tied to slavery

WASHINGTON (AP) - Georgetown University has announced it will rename two buildings that had been named for school presidents who organized the sale of slaves to help pay off campus debt in the 1830s.

The Washington Post reports university President John J. DeGioia sent an email to the Georgetown community Saturday evening saying he was changing the names based on a recommendation from his Working Group on Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation.

Mulledy Hall is a dormitory named for President Thomas F. Mulledy, who authorized the sale of 272 slaves to a Louisiana plantation owner in 1838. It will be called Freedom Hall until a permanent name is chosen.

Georgetown retailers accused of using messaging app for profiling

GEORGETOWN, DC (WUSA9) -- Many Georgetown retailers are using a messaging app to combat shoplifting, but some critics say the messages are another form of racial profiling.

The app the shopkeepers use is called "GroupMe", a real-time group messaging application that people all over the country use to communicate. The retailers are using it to let other retailers know about suspicious activity or shoplifting. 

But many posts are about African American people, commonly abbreviated as "AA" whom retailers allege shoplifting or suspicious activity.

Keisha Greene manages Sports Zone, and yesterday they put a lookout on an African American man. He didn't steal anything.

"He's one of the guys who look suspicious and checking out what we have," Greene said. "They'll probably come in the next time and steal it."

Pack Light, Pack Right While Traveling by Air This Fall

Pack Light, Pack Right While Traveling by Air This Fall

Fall is a time when millions of people around the country begin to make their travel plans. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the busiest travel times of the year are just around the corner, which include Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. There are some great reasons why packing light will help make your trip easier and more enjoyable. And the good news is that it’s not difficult to do, either.

“If you want to pack right when you travel then you really need to focus on packing light,” explains Tina Aldatz, chief executive officer of Savvy Travelers. “There’s much less hassle and stress when you pack light and stick to the basics. You can put your focus on your travel, rather than having all of your attention go to dragging around way too much luggage.”

Here are some Savvy Travelers tips for packing light and right for fall and holiday air travel:

Georgetown Peeping Tom rabbi issues public apology

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A disgraced Georgetown rabbi who admitted to secretly videotaping women undressing has issued a public apology from jail.

In an apology given to Washington Jewish Week, Barry Freundel says, “No matter how many times I attempt to apologize, it will never be enough. There are simply no words to sufficiently assuage the hurt that I caused. I am sorry, beyond measure, for my heinous behavior.”

Prosecutors say Freundel installed hidden cameras in a ritual bath adjacent to Kesher Israel Congregation in Georgetown and may have recorded as many as 200 women. 

Freundel pleaded to charges of voyeurism and is currently serving a six and a half year prison sentence.

Source: Naked man pulled from Potomac River

According to the source, paramedics worked to resuscitate the man after he dove in from the Washington harbor dock. Police say he was transported to a hospital, where he later died.

D.C. police divers found the man under murky water about 20 feet from the dock.  

Witnesses told WUSA9 that the man appeared high, threw off his clothes and jumped into the river. Police told WUSA9 they could not confirm whether the man had drugs in his system, pending an autopsy.   

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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Changes coming to DC cat cafe

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- It's going to be a little tougher to get into D.C.'s only cat cafe. And when you do, it will hit your wallet a little more.

Crumbs and Whiskers announced Monday that they're implementing a number of changes, including reducing the number of people in the cafe and increasing the cover charge for entry to $15.

The cafe, which opened two months ago, allows customers to sip coffee with cats in need of a home. In those two months, the cafe says 23 cats have been adopted from the cafe through their partnership with the Washington Humane Society.  

However, the cafe says overcrowding has been a problem. Hence the change from allowing 37 people in the cafe to now allowing a maximum of 24.

DC residents concerned about "Rooftop running"

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- About two weeks ago, Georgetown resident Greg Fishbin was scratching his head after he and his wife saw some people climbing and jumping on top of roofs, including theirs.  

"We were like 'Get off of our house. Like, what are you doing on our house?' And they said, 'Oh we're just roof running,'" Fishbin said.  

It's something that has a lot of the people in the neighborhood concerned and worried it could be a trend. One complaint was posted online and sent to the police- but this isn't a new thing. 

Roof running or using something like a roof as an obstacle course is usually part of a fitness discipline called Parkour.  

Mark Toorock runs the American Parkour Academy. He says he hasn't heard of this particular complaint, but he knows this type of thing happens.

Georgetown track program under investigation

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Georgetown students say they're concerned about the future of the school's track program after the university announced it is investigating both racial bias and misconduct allegations regarding the program. .

The investigation into racial bias began first, in late March, and is being done by Georgetown University's Office of Institutional Diversity Equity and Affirmative Action. An investigation into the Men's Track team and Misconduct began in late April, according to a statement by the university.

It appears this all came to light when a track athlete filed complaints of racial bias. The school launched investigations.

Two wanted for theft at Georgetown restaurant

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Surveillance video caught two men stealing bottles from behind the bar of a restaurant in Georgetown.

According to D.C. police, the two men entered Cafe Milano in the 3200 block of Prospect Street NW on July 1 at around 1:54 a.m.

In the video, the two men, one dressed in a suit and the other in a backpack, enter the restaurant through the kitchen and walk out into the bar area. The man in the backpack then grabs a couple of bottles from behind the bar and walks to another area of the restaurant while the man in the suit serves as a lookout.

You can watch the video here:

Anyone with information on the identify of the two people in the video is asked to call D.C. police at 202-727-9099. A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for any information that leads to an arrest or conviction.