2014: A year in review
Throughout the year, you may have found yourself too busy with schoolwork to keep up with what’s been happening on and around campus. Never fear—Student Life’s got you covered with a recap of our major stories from 2014.
The University also announced a tuition increase of $1,600 for the 2014-15 academic year, which it claimed was the lowest increase in decades.
February marked St. Louis’ city-wide celebration of the 250th anniversary of its founding. On campus, another milestone was marked with the 25th annual performance of Black Anthology. The show, titled “Post-,” reviewed the University’s relationship with black students dating from the late 19th century.
Freshmen who sent Residential Life a proposal requesting to be able to live in a mixed-gender suite on the South 40 were turned down, upsetting some students. At the time, students were only allowed to live with students of other genders in upperclassman housing. Residential Life announced later this year that it would be allowing mixed-gender suites on the South 40 for the 2015-16 year.
In March, the University announced plans to resurrect the sociology department in the College of Arts & Sciences. The sociology department had previously been closed in 1991 for what the University said were financial reasons, although some professors around at the time believed other factors were in play.
The Olin Business School also expanded with the opening of Knight and Bauer Halls.
The Student Union general budget was passed in March, increasing funding for WILD while completely cutting funding for Bauhaus.
Student activism was highlighted when University students held a 16-day sit-in under Brookings Archway to protest the University’s involvement with Peabody Energy.
Academically, faculty members voted to discontinue the University’s involvement with Semester Online, a consortium of colleges and universities that offered virtual classes to students of any member institution. The consortium itself folded shortly after the University vote.
On the last day of classes for the semester, Childish Gambino performed as the first solo WILD headliner since Social Programming Board took over managing the semesterly concert.
Two students were struck by a hit-and-run driver on Hoyt Drive in front of Brookings Hall as they were returning from an off-campus formal. They were both taken to Barnes-Jewish Hospital, where they were reported to be in fair condition. Then-senior Julian Phan was arrested shortly thereafter and charged with an assault and DWI later in the summer.
The Congress of the South 40 made national news when a bear cub that had been brought to its petting zoo on the Swamp event bit several students and was suspected of having spread rabies. Plans to kill the bear to conclusively determine whether it had rabies drew ire from some students, although a later email from the University said the bear was confirmed to be rabies-free while still alive.
Although the Peabody sit-in had ended, student concerns had not. Washington University police arrested seven students who attempted to enter the Knight Center, where the University’s board of trustees was meeting, to deliver a letter asking Peabody CEO Greg Boyce to resign from the board.
Josh Whitman was named the new director of athletics after John Schael, who had been in charge of the athletics department for 36 years, announced in January that he would be stepping down. Whitman’s previous role was athletic director at the Division III University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
Jill Carnaghi, former assistant vice chancellor for students and director of campus life, stepped down in June. Some alumni, suspecting that Carnaghi was forced out of her position, sent a letter asking the University to explain Carnaghi’s departure and acknowledge her contributions to the University, which they felt it had not adequately done. Chancellor Mark Wrighton responded to the letter, saying that although he could not discuss Carnaghi’s departure, “we certainly do value greatly the important contributions that Jill [Carnaghi] made during her tenure with us.”
Steven George took over as the chair of the department of biomedical engineering after Frank Yin stepped down.
With Ferguson teenager Michael Brown’s death fresh in their minds, hundreds of students participated in a silent march around campus on the first day of classes.
The registrar, First Year Center and other institutions were temporarily displaced by renovations to the Women’s Building, which were completed on Dec. 1.
Many students were excited about the full-service Starbucks that opened in Bauer Hall.
Washington University was criticized for the second year in a row by the New York Times for its low enrollment of low-income students compared to other colleges and universities with similar endowments. The University, meanwhile, reported that 8 percent of the freshman class was eligible for Pell grants, which are awarded to students from low-income backgrounds. The figure, though preliminary, was an increase of 2 percent over the Pell-eligible percentage in the current sophomore class.
After receiving record amounts of funds back from student groups that had not spent all of their allocated money, Student Union implemented a new 90-percent rule, under which student groups that spend less than 90 percent of the money that they are allocated for a given semester can be funded no more money than they had spent in that semester for the following year.
There was additional shifting among the University’s upper administration, with Vice Chancellor for Students Sharon Stahl announcing her plans to retire at the end of the school year and Dean of Engineering Ralph Quatrano stating his plans to step down and resume his position as a biology professor in 2016. Meanwhile, professor of economics Steve Fazzari was named head of the rebuilding sociology department.
Alpha Delta Phi, the fraternity that had been operating unofficially on the Danforth campus since early 2012, received recognition from the University and Interfraternity Council, making it the first new fraternity recognized at Washington University in 86 years.
The family of Yongsang Soh, a member of the class of 2014 who fell from the balcony of his 23rd-floor off-campus apartment and died in October 2013, filed a lawsuit against Washington University. The lawsuit claims that the University did not refer members of Sigma Alpha Mu—the fraternity of which Soh was a member before its disbandment—to local police for prosecution for drug violations and other alleged criminal activities. It further alleges that because SAM was not disbanded, Soh was able to participate in these activities, which led to his death.
The Monday before the official start of the University’s Thanksgiving break, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced that a grand jury had decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown. That night and the following morning, students participated in several protests in Ferguson, Clayton and Shaw, where teenager Vonderrit Myers was killed by a police officer in October.
Protests about the grand jury’s decision in Wilson’s case and in the death of Eric Garner, who was choked by a police officer in New York, continued after students returned from Thanksgiving break, with students blocking traffic early the Monday after break and holding a walkout event later that day. Protests later that week spread further across campus, with a Thursday rally traveling to Olin Library and the lawn of Chancellor Mark Wrighton’s residence before students blocked traffic at the intersection of Skinker and Forsyth Boulevards for around 20 minutes. Wrighton agreed to meet with student activist organizers in January about these issues.