American University's campus. Photo by Darrow Montgomery.

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The closing days of summer are officially upon us: College students are making their way back to campuses and students in five Virginia public school districts return to the classroom this week. Students moving in at American University will also likely see staff members striking for fair wages.

Sticking to the Union

After negotiations failed to result in a deal last week, members of the American University Staff Union are on strike. Academic affairs staff are fighting for higher wages, but believe that the university’s most recent offer, which would raise base salaries between 1 and 3 percent, doesn’t go far enough. In a letter to the community, the workers describe a university with significant financial resources: Its net worth increased by $229 million over the past year and it’s in the middle of a $500 million fundraising campaign.

Those who want to support the striking workers can do so by donating to the strike fund or join the workers on the picket line. They plan to rally near the Washington College of Law until 3 p.m. today.

In a letter of her own, AU president Sylvia Burwell, who earns more than $1 million a year, assures the community “that the university has negotiated in good faith.” 

The Masked Campus

Campus move-ins have begun at colleges across the District, and with relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, students will see campuses that look quite different than they did a year or two ago. Masks are still required in most indoor spaces at George Washington University, and are required in classrooms at American and Georgetown universities, but regular viral testing will no longer take place. Masks are optional at the University of Maryland and George Mason University; Howard University professors may require masks in their individual classrooms. 

College leaders say this move away from masking will allow students to have a more typical college experience and engage more closely with their peers. As to how they’ll deal with monkeypox cases, colleges recommend students do a lot of laundry

Caroline Jones (tips? cjones@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • To see today’s COVID-19 data, visit our coronavirus tracker.
  • Officials have said that Maurica Manyan’s death was the result of a tragic accident. She was shot and killed in early August by a retired D.C. police lieutenant during a training session to become a library officer. Her family is disputing the official narrative that Manyan’s death was an accident. [Post]
  • Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi was suspended for five days without pay for tweeting about his publication’s decision not to include bylines and datelines on stories from reporters in Russia. [Washingtonian]
  • A judge dismissed a lawsuit from parents in Montgomery County who claimed that guidelines for how schools should support transgender or gender nonconforming students violated their rights as parents. [WTOP]

By City Paper staff (tips? editor@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Credit: Darrow Montgomery/file

Judge Tosses Vincent Orange’s Defamation Lawsuit Against Koma, Washington Business Journal

Vincent Orange says he will appeal a judge’s decision to toss out his defamation lawsuit […]

  • D.C. has identified 833 children who could be eligible for the city’s new “Baby Bonds” program, which would provide them with checks up to $25,000 when they turn 18 in an effort to break the cycle of poverty in D.C. The new initiative, spearheaded by Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, is getting attention as the first on-the-ground pilot of the idea nationwide. [AP]
  • More than 28,000 students are behind on their vaccinations as the school year rapidly approaches. DC Health expects those numbers to improve quickly, but Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George still called it “alarming” that roughly a third of the student body still needs shots. [WTOP]
  • A federal court rejected a legal challenge from the D.C. Police Union seeking to undo the city’s new law barring the union from negotiating over disciplinary rules for officers. The measure was part of the police reform bill the Council passed in the immediate aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. [Law360, Twitter]

By Alex Koma (tips? akoma@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Kevin Hart bailed on an alleged commitment to sling margs at Mi Vida, where he would boost his tequila brand. But is the tequila itself good? Eh. It tastes like tequila. [Washingtonian]
  • Meet the guys trying to revive a century-old whiskey brand: Mt. Pleasant Whiskey Club. [Post]
  • Here are some cheapish places to eat in (and around) this expensive city. [Eater]

By City Paper staff (tips? editor@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • IA&A at Hillyer is looking for exhibit proposals for 2023! [Twitter]
  • Thousands gathered in Chuck Brown Memorial Park to celebrate D.C.’s “Godfather of Go-Go,” Chuck Brown, 10 years after his death. [WUSA, Post]
  • Betty Brown Casey, one of D.C.’s most prominent philanthropists who supported the Washington National Opera, WETA, and other organizations, died last week. [Post]
  • Sue Bird notched a double-double as the Seattle Storm swept the Mystics out of the WNBA playoffs. With 18 points and 10 assists, Bird, 41, is the oldest WNBA player to record a postseason double-double. [ESPN]
  • The Nationals organization is playing a lot of guys nobody else wanted. [Post]
  • D.C. United was demolished 0-6 at home by the Philadelphia Union. [Black and Red United]
  • The Mystics and Wizards want their fans to vote and are holding voter registration drives at all events. [WTOP]
  • Dennis Rodman said he “got permission” to go to Russia to negotiate for Brittney Griner’s release, according to what he told an NBC reporter in a D.C. restaurant. Griner was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison after she was found with marijuana oil in her luggage. [NBC Washington]

By City Paper staff (tips? editor@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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